Church life

A basic guide to Anglicanism

The Parish Church is one of the great strengths of the Church of England because whether you are a regular attender or not, the church is your church. As a parishioner you have the right to have your baptism, marriage and funeral service in church and you can call upon the parish priest for guidance, comfort, teaching and prayer. All our churches are open every day and anyone can walk in and spend some time in quiet reflection.

WHAT’S IT LIKE AT A CHURCH OF ENGLAND CHURCH?

Most of our 5 churches have roots back into Saxon England when there would have been simple wooden churches with very basic decoration. Gradually over time stone churches were built, with additions and alterations made over the centuries – sometimes a bell tower would be added, churches might have new aisles tacked on the side and if there was enough money stained glass windows were installed. Some churches were even knocked down completely and rebuilt (often in Victorian times).

Our churches are therefore soaked in the history and faith of local people with lots of different eras and attitudes represented within them. Churches might appear “timeless” but they are very much products of their times and continue to reflect the world in which we live.

WHAT IS AN “ANGLICAN”?

Anglican is a term used for those who belong to the Church of England. This church made a break with Roman Catholicism under Henry 8th and Elizabeth 1st and forms the third largest body of Christians throughout the world.

Anglican faith is based on the Bible, and, among other things, the traditions of the early church, the ministry of Bishops, priests and deacons, and the writings of the Early Church Fathers.

WHAT’S A SERVICE LIKE AT A CHURCH OF ENGLAND CHURCH?

Anglican worship follows a pattern called “liturgy”. This means the services have a beginning and end, shape and form. Everyone is invited to participate in the service by saying prayers out loud together and by singing together.

All Anglican worship is based on the Bible and pretty well everything that we say and sing comes from verses of Scripture. The services reflect our belief in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Holy Communion is open to all and is at the heart of the Church’s life.

Anglicans have a “liturgical year” where the great stories and beliefs of the Christian faith are celebrated.

Our services are a blend of words, music, movement, gesture and silence. They are the best we can make them in order to reflect the beauty and holiness of God. Our services are welcoming and hospitable, inclusive and aware of the needs of our communities.

There are lots of different styles of Anglican worship. Some services use the Book of Common Prayer which was written in 1662 and uses the English of that time. Other services are much more relaxed and use modern English and up-to-date worship songs.