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Traditional Episcopalian Worship

"O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: let the whole earth stand in awe of him."  (Psalm xcvi. 9)

To Anglicans, worship is the most important thing we do in this life, and, ultimately, this should characterize our moral behavior as well, for we believe that we do all things as doing them unto God. If you are new to St. George's, the following will help you to understand our services, some of our worship practices, and why Anglicans to what they do.


Reverent, Altar-Centered Worship

Worship according to the Anglican Faith tends to be quietly reverent and dignified. Our uniformity of worship, while allowing for minor variations, serves to remind us of the universal nature of the Faith. In the Liturgy we are united with the past, present and future generations of Christians. Our worship is carried out with a view to the glorification of God, not for our entertainment; thus Anglicans are not spectators but active participants in liturgical worship. Members of the congregation take their proper part in the worship of God. It is God, and not ourselves, that we seek to please with our worship. Therefore, you as an intelligent part of communal worship need to be properly prepared, be focused by means of your attention, and be willing to cooperate by your active participation in the service.


Preparation for Worship

First, make a spiritual preparation. When you enter the church, kneel and pray to God to open your heart, your soul, and your mind to be attuned to His Spirit, His Word, and His Will. Pray for those who will take part in leading the Divine Worship, the acolyte, lay reader, choir members, and priest. Secondly, you will want to examine the bulletin. Find your place in the Prayer Book and Hymnal as needed. Review any parts of the service with which you are unfamiliar so that you will know what to do. The rubrics (instructions in fine print) will provide most of the information. Our parishioners are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

People in Church

Devotional Actions

The general rule is: kneel to pray, sit to be instructed, and stand to give praise. The bulletin and rubrics will guide you. (The fine print instructions in the Prayer Book are called rubrics because they were once printed in red.) The sick or the infirm may sit while others kneel or stand. You may stand at the altar rail if you cannot kneel. If you cannot go to the altar rail, please ask an usher to request that the priest bring the Blessed Sacrament to you. Stand when the priest and other ministers enter at the beginning of the service, and when they leave. Stand at the opening sentences of a funeral. Stand when the bride enters at a wedding. Stand during processions.


Gestures of Reverance have been left to the piety and discretion of the individual. Gestures when they are used reflect the courtesy and protocol of service in the court of a king, in this case, the King of kings. Using optional devotional gestures such as the sign of the Cross, genuflecting, etc., enables us to worship not only mentally and spiritually, but physically as well. The sign of the Cross is marking of someone or something with the Cross of Christ. It was once a secret sign amongst persecuted Christians. Now it is a public announcement of someone or something that belongs to Christ. 


When to make the sign of the Cross?

  • On entering and leaving a church

  • At the end of the Gloria in Excelsis

  • Before the Gospel on forehead, lips, and heart

  • At "Pardon and deliver you" in the Absolution

  • At the words "and the Life of the world to come" in the Creed

  • At the invocation of the Holy Trinity

  • At the beginning of the Benedictus, "Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord"

  • At the elevation of the paten and chalice during the Consecration

  • Before and after receiving the Blessed Sacrament

  • At the Benediction

  • At the end of the service

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