Sunday Morning Worship
At Christ Church, the liturgy that we participate in each Sunday morning is the central activity of our life together as a parish community. .Although some elements of the service vary somewhat depending on the church season, the service described here is typical of our 10:30 a.m. service and is very much like what you will find at Episcopal churches everywhere.
This service is known as Holy Communion, because in it we commune with God and also with each other as the Body of Christ. It is also known as Holy Eucharist, which is the Greek word meaning "Thanksgiving." In the Eucharist, we give thanks for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.
The Eucharist brings both the past and the future together in the present as we remember Jesus' life, death, and resurrection and await his coming again. The first half the service, "The Liturgy of the Word" is based on Jewish worship, which preceded Christianity. Godís mighty acts in history are recalled through scripture and applied to our lives in the sermon. The second half of the service which follows the "Passing of the Peace," is "The Celebration of the Eucharist" also known as "The Great Thanksgiving."
The liturgy is not something that a priest does alone. It is something that the church, the assembled faith community, does together, entrusting the leadership role in the service to the priest. We prepare ourselves through prayer, we are strengthened and renewed by God's Holy Word, and we are nourished by God's Holy Sacrament. We are thereby empowered to go out into the world as ministers constituting the People of God.
Please note that all are welcome to receive bread and wine in our communion service.
The service itself, from the Book of Common Prayer, is on the right, with notes about the service on the left.
The service begins with an opening hymn, the procession, and the opening acclamation. The opening hymn or the opening acclamation is a time for all the voices of the congregation to join as one to prepare to begin the work of the people together, so that by the time of the opening words of the service, we may respond as one gathered community
The Holy Eucharist Rite Two
The Word of God
A hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung.
Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever.
|This prayer is known as the collect for purity. A collect is a particular form of prayer, which reveals some aspect of God or something God has done, asks for something specific and then closes with praise to God.||
The Celebrant may
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our
hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may
perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The service continues with a Song of Praise.
This song of praise is often The Gloria, which is at right. This song centers the service on the God we are gathered to praise in our worship.
appointed, the following hymn or some other song of praise is sung or said, all standing
Glory to God in the highest,
This collect is written to go along with both the season of the church year and the readings for the day. It summarizes the attributes of God as revealed in the scripture for the day.
The Collect of the Day
Celebrant says to the people
People And also with you.
Celebrant Let us pray.
The Celebrant says the Collect.
Reading and commenting on scripture goes back to the earliest times of Christianity. Using the pattern of Jewish synagogue worship, readings follow a set pattern for what will be read. This is known as a lectionary.
Each week we read an Old Testament passage, followed by a Psalm and then a reading from a New Testament epistle, or letter.
people sit. One or two Lessons, as appointed, are read,
A Reading (Lesson) from ____________ .
A citation giving chapter and verse may be added.
After each Reading, the Reader may say
People Thanks be to God.
or the Reader may say Here ends the Reading (Epistle).
Silence may follow.
The Gospel, since it is the record of what Jesus himself said and did, is always given the highest honoróthis is why we stand when it is read.
A Psalm, hymn, or anthem may
follow each Reading.
Then, all standing, the Deacon or a Priest reads the Gospel, first saying
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
People Glory to you, Lord Christ.
After the Gospel, the Reader says
The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.
The sermon brings the Word of God, recorded in the Scriptures, to bear on our own lives. Having someone comment on the scriptures goes back to the earliest days of Christianity and to the Jewish Synagogue worship which preceded it.
|Since the Sixth Century, the church has recited the Nicene Creed at the Eucharist. The word creed comes from the Latin credo for "I believe."||
We believe in one God,
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
|Now we pray for ourselves and on behalf of others. The prayer book offers different forms for these prayers, but the Prayers of the People always contain these six elements:||
The Prayers of the People
Prayer is offered with intercession for
The Universal Church, its members, and its mission
The Nation and all in authority
The welfare of the world
The concerns of the local community
Those who suffer and those in any trouble
The departed (with commemoration of a saint when appropriate)
The Prayers of the People are followed by the confession of sin. The confession is a time to reflect on our own personal choices and decisions, to see where we have been wrong or at fault and to ask for God's forgiveness.
The Deacon or Celebrant says
Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Silence may be kept.
Minister and People
|In giving absolution, the Priest assures us that all who make sincere confession are forgiven by God.||
The Bishop when
present, or the Priest, stands and says
Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins
through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen.
and been absolved of our sins, we demonstrate our love for one another by
"Passing the Peace," a practice that dates back to the earliest days of the
Church. Today we shake hands or hug. There are no set words to use
in greeting each other, but "Peace," "Gods peace," and "Peace be
with you" are all commonly used.
All stand. The Celebrant says to the people
People And also with you.
Then the Ministers and People may greet one another in the
After the Passing of the Peace, we begin the second half of the service, "The Celebration of the Eucharist." It is based on Jewish Fellowship meals, particularly the observance of the Passover.
|The Holy Communion|
This second half of the service begins with the
offertory. Here we give back to God from the gifts God has given us. That is what is meant
by the offertory sentence, "All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we
During the Offertory, a hymn may be sung.
Representatives of the congregation bring the peoples offerings of bread and wine, and money or other gifts, to the deacon or celebrant. The people stand while the offerings are presented and placed on the Altar.
Our offering is the first of four
actions in the Eucharist. Just as scripture tells us
that Jesus took, blessed, broke and
gave the bread and wine. So this first of our four actions is for the priest to
bread and wine.
The second action is to
BLESS the bread and wine. We call this the consecration. Then the
priest performs the third action, BREAKING of the bread which we call the
Fraction. The fourth action is to GIVE the bread and wine. This is a simple
pattern that has been varied and elaborated on according to the Church's
needs in history.
While the bread and wine remain the bread and wine, they are not unchanged, the significance of the bread and wine for those partaking of them changes radically. Though they remain ordinary bread and wine, the elements of communion become the outward signs of inward grace. That grace, or gift from God is Jesus real presence in the Eucharist through the power of the Holy Spirit. The real presence of Christ is a full statement of our belief in God as a Trinity of persons.
The Great Thanksgiving
The people remain standing. The Celebrant, whether bishop or priest, faces them and sings or says
The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Then, facing the Holy Table, the Celebrant proceeds
Here a Proper Preface is sung or said on all Sundays, and on
Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and
Celebrant and People
The people stand or kneel.
Then the Celebrant continues
At the following words concerning the bread, the Celebrant is to hold it or lay a hand upon it; and at the words concerning the cup, to hold or place a hand upon the cup and any other vessel containing wine to be consecrated.
On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our
|This real presence is not the result of a magical incantation on the part of the priest. No set of words makes Eucharist happen. It is the whole action taken together that effects the Eucharist: the gathered community of faith remembering Jesus last meal with his disciples and calling on the Holy Spirit to transform the gifts of bread and wine into spiritual food and drink. It is Gods action that makes the Eucharist.||
After supper he took the cup of
wine; and when he had given
thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you:
This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you
and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink
it, do this for the remembrance of me."
Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Celebrant and People
Christ has died.
The Celebrant continues
We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in
All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ. By him, and
And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
The Lords Prayer follows
and may be either sung or said
The link between our daily bread and the spiritual food we receive in the Eucharist is an ancient connection. In the Lords Prayer we ask for daily bread meaning the things we need to get through each day. But as a part of that, the bread also symbolizes Gods presence, which is something that is also essential to our getting through the day.
At Christ Church, when the Lord's Prayer is sung, it is usually followed by singing Pu Nee Nah, an Eskimo translation of Bread for the World.
People and Celebrant
Father, who art in heaven,
Communion is taken by first
receiving the bread by placing your right hand over your left and extending it to the
priest. You may then either eat the bread at once and then partake of the wine, guiding
the chalice to your lips, or you may hold the bread to dip it in the wine. Dipping the
bread in the wine and consuming them together is called intinction. Anyone who does not wish to receive communion, may either wait in
the pew, or
come forward for a blessing. If you wish to come forward, but not to receive
either one of the elements, please cross
your arms over your chest in an "X" as a silent request for a
During communion, Healing Prayers are offered at the back of the church. You may ask for prayers for yourself or on behalf of someone else.
Some of our communion is set aside each week to take to those who cannot come to church. If you or someone you know would like to have communion brought to them, you can ask a priest to make arrangements.
The Breaking of the Bread
The Celebrant breaks the consecrated Bread.
A period of silence is kept.
Then may be sung or said
Facing the people, the Celebrant says the following Invitation
The ministers receive the Sacrament in both kinds, and then immediately deliver it to the people.
The Bread and the Cup are given to the communicants with these words
During the ministration of Communion, hymns, psalms, or anthems may be sung.
We participate in the Eucharist and are spiritually nourished, but it is not for our benefit alone. Communion strengthens us to return to the world with renewed vigor for proclaiming the Gospel in our words and in our lives. In the Eucharist, Christs presence both nourishes us and challenges us.
After Communion, the Celebrant
Let us pray.
Celebrant and People
|Special Prayers and announcements follow the blessing. This is the time in our service when we pray for birthdays, anniversaries, travelers, and those with special needs. It is also the time when we share information about the ministries and activities in the coming week.||
The Bishop when present, or
the Priest, may bless the people.
|As the celebration ends, we are charged to "Go in Peace to love and serve the Lord." The Eucharist is therefore not an exclusive gathering that separates us from the world, but a challenge to reach out beyond our own church to the world around us.||
Hymn as we
process into the world
The Deacon, or the Celebrant, dismisses them with these words
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
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