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Region: England, Wales and Northern Ireland

RE:QUEST

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Church: Anglican Worship

How is liturgy used in the Church of England?

 

At the heart of the Church of England lies worship. Christians believe that it is through encountering God within worship that we are changed to be more like Jesus. One form of worship that is encountered in church services is liturgical worship. Liturgy simply refers to set patterns, words and actions through which public worship is conducted. Some Anglican liturgy is quite old, over 350 years to be precise! Some churches still use this old version of the liturgy which includes the passage:

"Almighty God, unto whom all our hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name, through Christ our Lord. Amen." (From The Book of Common Prayer, 1662).

This simply means ,"You know everything about us God. Please send your Holy Spirit to give us hearts to love you and to do things that give you a good name." Alongside the spoken liturgy the service will also include music - this may be hymns accompanied by an organ but often it will be modern worship songs led by a worship leader and band. Prayers are another essential part of the service. These are led by either the Vicar or members of the church. People will usually sit or kneel for prayers. In some churches there will be special soft kneeling pads to kneel on.

A passage from the Bible is also read at each service. The passage is traditionally chosen from the Lectionary - a list of Bible passages set out by the Church of England to be read on each Sunday.

Christians believe that God speaks to us through the Bible, so the reading is often followed by a sermon or talk that helps explain what can be learnt about God and ourselves from the passage. At some services communion will also be shared. This is where Jesus' death on the cross is remembered.

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