What it means to be an Anglican 

Anglicans trace their Christian roots back to the early Church, and their specifically Anglican identity to the post-Reformation expansion of the Church of England and other Episcopal or Anglican Churches. Historically, there were two main stages in the development and spread of the Communion. Beginning with the 17th century, Anglicanism was established a longside colonisation in the North America, Australasia, and South Africa. The second stage began in the 18th century when missionaries worked to found Anglican churches in Asia, Africa and Latin America. As a worldwide family of churches, the Anglican Communion has more than 77 million adherents in 39 national or regional churches, across 161 countries. Anglicans speak many languages and come from different races and cultures. Although the churches are autonomous, they are also uniquely unified through their history, their theology, their worship and their relationship to the ancient See of Canterbury. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral sets forth the four basic marks of the Christian church as Anglicans have received them:

* The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as ‘containing all things necessary for salvation' and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.

* The Apostles' creed as the Baptismal symbol, and the Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.

* The two sacraments ordained by Christ himself - Baptism and the Supper of the Lord, administered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution, and the elements ordained by him.

* The historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of his Church.

By Baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a person is made one with Christ and received into the fellowship of the Church. This sacrament of initiation is open to children as well as to adults. Anglicans recognize the baptism of all other Christian churches.prayers also change, in order to provide variety.

Page numbers for parts of the service printed elsewhere in the Book are usually announced or given in the service leaflet. But do not be embarrassed to ask your neighbour for the page number. You will find the services of the Anglican Church beautiful in their ordered dignity, God-centered, and yet mindful of the nature and needs of human beings.

Before and After It is the custom upon entering church to kneel in one's pew for a prayer of personal preparation for worship. In many churches it is also the custom to bow to the altar on entering and leaving the church as an act of reverence for Christ.

Most Anglicans do not talk in church before a service but use this time for personal meditation and devotions. At the end of the service some persons kneel for a private prayer before leaving. Others sometimes sit to listen to the organ postlude.

Coming and Going If there are ushers or greeters, they will greet you, give you the service bulletin.  If you desire, they will answer your questions about the service. The prayer books are in the pews. Pews are usually unreserved in Anglican churches. Following the service the pastor usually greets the people as they leave.

Credit: The Church of England

The Diocese

The Diocese of Montreal was created by Letters Patent of the Crown on July 18, 1851. From a geographical perspective, the Diocese covers the Island of Montreal and its environs, including the Laurentian and South Shore communities. It is headed by the Right Reverend Barry B. Clarke who was elected Bishop in the fall of 2004.

The Diocesan Office provides a number of services to parishes, including the administration of various grants, programs, and a payroll service. These services are intended to facilitate ministry in our community and to provide a wider background and community for Anglicans worshipping here. The Diocese is led by the Bishop, the Executive Archdeacon, the Treasurer, the Controller, the Program Officer, and many others. 

The church year 

The Anglican Church observes the traditional Christian calendar. The season of Advent, during which we prepare for Christmas, begins on the Sunday closest to November 30. Christmas itself lasts twelve days, ending on the feast of the Epiphany (January 6). Lent, the forty days of preparation for Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday. Easter season lasts fifty days, concluding on the feast of Pentecost. During these times the Bible readings are chosen for their appropriateness to the season. During the rest of the year--the season after Epiphany and the long season after Pentecost (except for a few special Sundays) – parts of the Bible are read more or less sequentially from Sunday to Sunday.

Guests and newcomers

When you visit an Anglican church, you will be our respected and welcome guest. You will not be singled out in an embarrassing way, nor asked to stand before the congregation nor to come forward. You will worship God with us.

A brief history of the Anglican Communion 

When the British people settled the British Empire they took their religion with them and thus Anglicanism spread overseas. Eventually these overseas parishes became autonomous churches, independent, yet closely linked. These churches, while autonomous in their governance, are bound together by tradition, Scripture, the Prayer Book, and the inheritance they have received from the British Churches. They together make up the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion consists of over 77 million members organized in 39 self-governing Churches made up of over 600 dioceses, 30,000 parishes and 64,000 individual congregations in a total of 164 countries.

The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian body in the world and it is, after the Roman Catholic Church, the most widespread. In 1930 resolution 49 of the Lambeth Conference described the Anglican Communion as "a fellowship, within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury. It consists of "particular or national Churches [who] promote within each of their territories a national expression of Christian faith, life and worship." The resolution described a common liturgical heritage and concluded: "they are bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference."

An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church defines the Anglican Communion as follows: "The Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury throughout the world. Member churches exercise jurisdictional independence but share a common heritage concerning Anglican identity and commitment to scripture, tradition, and reason as sources of authority. Churches in the Anglican Communion continue to reflect the balance of Protestant and Catholic principles that characterized the via media of the Elizabethan Settlement."

Unity and co-operation within the Communion are facilitated by a number of bodies including four which are sometimes referred to as the Instruments of Communion, namely: The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates' Meeting, the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council. Some churches within the Anglican Communion are called Episcopalian (meaning, governed by bishops). Some of these churches come from the Scottish Episcopal Church. This Church is as old as the English Church and has a very different history. The Anglican Communion, therefore, has two roots: the English Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

What clergy wear

To add to the beauty and festivity of the services, and to signify their special ministries, the clergy and other ministers wear vestments. For Mattins, Evensong and other non-sacramental services, “choir vestments” consist of an undergown called a cassock (usually black) and a white, gathered overgown called a surplice. The clergy may also wear a tippett (a black scarf) and an academic hood. Another familiar vestment is the alb, a white robe that covers the body from neck to ankles. Over it (or over the surplice) ordained ministers wear a stole, a narrow band of coloured fabric. Deacons wear the stole over one shoulder, priests and bishops over both shoulders. At the Holy Eucharist a bishop or priest frequently wears a chasuble (a circular garment that envelopes the body) over the alb and stole. The deacon's corresponding vestment has sleeves and is called a dalmatic. In some parishes the Priest and Deacon wear a Maniple (a small band of coulored fabric worn over the left arm). The Maniple is a symbol of servanthood. Bishops wear a special headcovering called a mitre. Stoles, chasubles, and dalmatics, as well as altar coverings, are usually made of rich fabrics. Their color changes with the seasons and holy days of the Church Year. The most frequently used colors are white (symbolizing purity), red (blood, for the feasts of martyrs, or fire, for the Holy Spirit), violet (penitence, for Lent, or royalty, for Advent), and green (creation).

Web Resources

The Anglican Communion
The Anglican Church of Canada
The Diocese of Montreal
The Church of England
The Scottish Episcopal Church
Anglicans Online

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