How We Worship

Our Worship Is...

Our two central acts of public worship are the Daily Office and the Holy Eucharist. We commonly refer to these services as “liturgies” (from the Greek for a “public service” or a “work done on behalf of the people”). They follow set patterns and forms that remain consistent across the Church’s year and also vary to reflect the seasons and important observances of the year. Many of these patterns can be traced to the earliest days of the Church (and even before). When we pray according to the liturgy, we join our hearts, minds, and voices with the centuries of Christians who have worshipped in these same forms and words, and we take our part in that unceasing offering of praise and thanksgiving to God that extends through time and space.

For Anglicans, it is our liturgy—rather than a confessional document—that best articulates what we believe. Our worship in the liturgy is the primary way we know and encounter God in the Church; every other statement about our beliefs is a secondary reflection on that primary encounter. The best way to know what we believe is to worship with us.

Our chief act of worship in the Eucharist obeys Our Lord’s command to “do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19, 1 Cor. 11:24). Likewise, the Daily Office is a continuation of the ancient practice of worship at different times throughout the day (which we see, e.g., in Ps. 119:64 and in the “prayers” of Acts 2:42).

Beyond these biblical warrants for our worship, Holy Scripture fills our liturgy. At every Eucharist, we hear a reading from the Gospel and the Epistles, as well as numerous quotations from the Psalms and other Old Testament books. In the Daily Office, we read a significant portion of the Bible in a year. Beyond this, the language of both the Eucharist and the Daily Office draws directly from phrases and images taken from the Scriptures. In our worship, we pray in the truest language available to us—the revealed Word of God in Scripture.

The word tradition comes from the Latin for “to hand over” or “to hand down.” Our liturgy is traditional in the fullest sense: It represents what has been handed down and entrusted to us by the Christians who have come before us with the expectation that we will likewise hand it over to the next generation of Christians. Therefore, we have an obligation to preserve that legacy because it reflects the wisdom of ages of Christians in the Church about how God is best to be worshipped and known.

Innovation in science, medicine, and technology may be desirable, but we find that we worship most effectively when we know what to expect. For this reason, our liturgy avoids novelty and surprise. The great Anglican C.S. Lewis described this well: “Every service is a structure of acts and words through which we receive a sacrament, or repent, or supplicate, or adore. And it enables us to do these things best — if you like, it ‘works’ best — when, through long familiarity, we don’t have to think about it. As long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.” We prefer those forms of worship that are like the well-known steps of a familiar dance.

The liturgy is not just something we do; it is who we are. As baptized Christians, we are a “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9) whose vocation is to offer all that we are and have—“our selves, our souls and bodies”—to be “a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice” to the Lord (1928 Eucharistic Canon). We are made for worship. When we enter the House of God and approach the Gate of Heaven (Gen. 28:17) to meet the Lord at His Altar, we encounter the living God whose presence draws us out of ourselves and into loving communion with Him.

Our individualist, consumerist culture constantly seeks to form and shape our desires in ways contrary to what we were created to be. We can easily become captives of a relentless cycle of getting and spending, of seeking to craft our identities through our possessions and status. But the liturgy offers us way to resist this cultural (de)formation. True worship directs our desires and loves toward what truly matters: God. The liturgy re-orients us toward holiness, virtue, and love. It makes us desire blessedness. In this way, our liturgy draws us into a transformative relationship with the One who continually sustains us. It liberates us to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12:2 and Eph. 4:23) so that we may become what God has created us to be—His sons and daughters.

Anglo-Catholic Worship

St. Edward’s is an “Anglo-Catholic” parish. Historically, Anglo-Catholics have valued highly the tradition of the early, undivided Church and have seen its authority as co-extensive with Scripture. They have re-emphasized the Church’s institutional history and form. Anglo-Catholicism draws upon aspects of the pre-Reformation Church, including the reintroduction of the language and symbolism of the eucharistic sacrifice, and the restoration of the seven traditional sacraments, including private confession. A nineteenth-century movement in America and the United Kingdom, its spirituality is evangelical but “High Church” in content and form.

Consequently, our worship at Mass places a definite and unambiguous emphasis on what the Most Blessed Sacrament is: the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Because we believe that the Sacrament is truly Our Lord’s Body and Blood, we approach this sacred Mystery with the utmost reverence possible, and we aim to offer our best in worship. Everything in the liturgy points our attention and our adoration to Jesus Christ and His redeeming work for our salvation.

What We Believe

No matter who you are, or who you have been, Christ's grace, love and mercy can transform you, bringing you joy and peace, now and eternally.

Meet Our Clergy

The clergy at St Edward's are available to meet with you for pastoral guidance and prayer.

Worship With Us

We are a Christian church following the Anglican tradition of worship. Newcomers are always welcome!