What to Expect When You Come to the Sunday Service
Our principal act of worship as a community of Christians is the weekly Liturgy, which includes:
- Our gathering and preparation
- The liturgy of the word
- The liturgy of the sacrament
- The dismissal
In this service, we offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God, to remember Christ’s death that we might have life, and to renew our covenant bond with our Father by receiving His Son with bread and wine.
For two thousand years Christians have gathered weekly to listen to the words of Jesus and of the apostles and prophets of Biblical days, to remember Christ’s death and resurrection, and to be nourished by His divine life.
Entering the Church
When you first arrive at St. Chad’s, you enter the Narthex (the lobby) and will be greeted and given a bulletin, which outlines the order of the liturgy. The greeter will also hand you a hymn book, prayer book, and Bible.
If you are coming with children, you may also pick up an activity bag which contains colouring sheets, crayons, and a few other activity items. Please return the activity bag at the end of the service.
Parts of the Church
As you enter the church, you come into the main seating area, called the NAVE (from the Latin word for “ship”). In Christian art, the Church is sometimes pictured as a ship sailing for the kingdom of God. The passengers of the ship are the parishioners sitting in the main part of the church.
From your seat, you can see the other parts of the church. At the front is the CHANCEL, raised by a step above the level of the nave. It is from here that the liturgy will be led.
To the right is a LECTERN (from the Latin “to read”). The Bible readings appointed for the week are read from here. To the left is the PULPIT (from the Latin, “raised structure on which preachers stand”). This is where the minister preaches the sermon.
In the centre is the ALTAR. The altar is where the bread and wine of Holy Communion are consecrated and administered. It is the Lord’s Table.
Preparing To Worship
A Community Act
You may sit anywhere you like in the nave (in the areas that are not roped off). Prepare your heart and mind for what is about to happen by quietly praying. The word LITURGY means “work of the people.” Everyone is involved in the worship.
The clergy at St. Chad’s normally wear a white garment called an ALB (from the Latin for “white”). When clergy conduct a service of Evening Prayer, they wear a black garment called a cassock. When a cassock is worn, a surplice is worn over it. It is white and quite loose with large sleeves. The clergy who leads the service is called the celebrant.
At 4:30 p.m., it is time for the Liturgy to begin. The service liturgy is based on either the Book of Common Prayer or the modern English 1552 Holy Communion service approved for use in the Anglican Network in Canada.
Our Gathering and Preparation
We begin with a greeting and a song, joining our praise with all the saints who continually offer their praise to God in heaven.
After this, we pray. One of the prayers we pray is called the COLLECT FOR PURITY. This is a prayer of preparation for worship. We ask God to help us worship Him.
A COLLECT (pronounced CALL-LECT) is a short prayer comprised of a single sentence. It usually has five parts:
(1) an address in which we invoke God,
(2) an acknowledgement of a Divine attribute related to our request,
(3) a request,
(4) a desire for some benefit resulting from the granting of the request, and
(5) a conclusion in which we invoke the name of Christ or of the Holy Trinity.
Here is the Collect for Purity according to this five-fold pattern:
(1) ADDRESS – Almighty God
(2) ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – to whom all hearts are open and all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid,
(3) REQUEST – cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
(4) DESIRE – that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name,
(5) CONCLUSION – through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Review of the Commandments
The next thing we do is hear a summary of the commandments, or the recitation of the Ten Commandments. This is done to remind us of God’s holy character, and that we are called to reflect His life and holiness.
We sometimes follow this with a short prayer: “Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.” We do this because after hearing the law, we come with all our failings to receive God’s mercy.
Following this prayer, we pray the Collect for the Day, a prayer which changes each week, but which follows the general outline of Address, Acknowledgment, Request, Desire, Conclusion.
Liturgy of the Word
What follows next is the Liturgy of the Word. Here we listen to readings from Scripture, and hear a sermon. We also confess our faith by reciting the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed.
The scripture readings come from a lectionary, a schedule of readings that has two aims. One aim is to help the church systematically read most of the Bible every three years. A second aim is to reflect themes related to the particular time in the Church year. The lectionary provides four readings each Sunday: an Old Testament lesson, a Psalm, an Epistle lesson, and a reading from the gospels.
The gospel reading is handled differently than the other readings.
- Whereas members of the parish read the first and second lesson, the gospel is generally read by the clergy.
- Whereas we sit for the other readings, we always stand for the gospel. Whereas the other readings are announced and read, before and after the gospel reading we say words of praise, “Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ!” and “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Whereas the other readings are always from the lectern, the gospel may also be read from the centre of the church or from the pulpit.
Before the sermon, children 12 years old and under go to their Sunday school class and return before the Administration of Communion.
The sermon is usually based on one of the readings, but could be based on another text or topic at the discretion of the preacher.
This is where we declare our common faith. Occasionally we use the Apostles’ Creed, which is shorter and is the creed we affirm at our baptism. The Nicene Creed is longer and a wonderful outline of our faith. It tells God’s story and summarizes the important things God has revealed to us about the Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and about God’s work in the world, primarily through his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our focus now shifts from Word to Sacrament, from the pulpit to the altar, from Christ’s words to us to Christ’s sacramental presence in our midst.
The liturgy of the sacrament begins with bringing our offerings to the Lord, for the work of the church. We do this during the offertory hymn.
The Prayers of the People
The Liturgy continues with prayer led by the clergy or a member of the congregation. We pray for the Church, the world, the ministries in our local parish, the needs of the sick and troubled, and those who need to come to the light of faith.
Confession & Absolution
Our prayers continue with a prayer of confession. This is where we acknowledge the ways we have closed ourselves off from God’s life in us. Then, in response to our prayer, the celebrant speaks words of absolution. This is a pronouncement of God’s forgiveness based on God’s promise.
Assured of God’s forgiveness, we now say. “The peace of the Lord be with you./ And also with you.” When we use the modern 1552 service we may say this greeting to those around us. When we use the Book of Common Prayer service, the clergy says the first part of the greeting and the people reply with the second part. We are at peace with God and with one another.
The Eucharistic Prayer
“Eucharist” is from the Greek “to bless” or “give thanks.” At Jesus’ last supper with his friends, our Lord gave thanks at the start of the meal by saying a prayer of blessing over the bread. After the supper, he gave thanks for the wine. These prayers of thanksgiving had their roots in traditional Jewish table prayers. What made the last supper unique was that not only did Jesus give thanks for bread and wine, but he identified himself with the elements, saying, “This is my Body. This is my Blood.” He also commanded that that his followers continued to replicate this friendship meal.
The Eucharistic Prayer has several parts:
- First, there is the Sursum Corda (Latin for “lift up your hearts”). This part of the prayer is a call to lift our hearts to the Lord, to which the congregation responds, “We lift them to the Lord.” Next the celebrant says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,” to which we respond, “It is right to give our thanks and praise.” The name Eucharist comes from the Greek word to give thanks, and that is what we are about to do.
- The second part of the prayer, sometimes called the preface, is the fulfillment of what we have just been invited to do. This part of the prayer rehearses God’s acts of creation and redemption and thanks him for them.
- Next is the Sanctus hymn (Latin for “holy” and pronounced sank-toos). This is the song that Isaiah (Isaiah 6: 1) and John (Revelation 5) heard sung around God’s throne. When we sing or say it, we participate with them, not sentimentally, but actually. That is why the Sanctus is usually introduced with the acknowledgement that we are singing with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven who have served our Lord in every age. They are with the Lord now, and in the Eucharist we are lifted up to participate in the worship of heaven.
- The prayer of consecration continues and includes an important moment when the celebrant repeats Jesus’ original words of institution: “This is my body. This is my blood.” Until now, the focus has been on our being lifted up to the Lord. But in these words we are struck with the mystery of the Incarnation, that Christ has come down to us, offering us his very life, his body and blood.
Administration of Communion
All baptized believers in Christ (Anglican or otherwise) are welcome to receive Holy Communion.
At St. Chad’s we go forward and stand together at the front of the church to receive communion. As you stand at the front, form a cup with your two hands to receive the bread, and then eat it in remembrance that Christ died for you. When the person with the chalice comes to you, use your hand on the base of the chalice to guide the wine to your lips. Drink in thanksgiving that God is in covenant with you and that Christ gives his life to you.
If you have not been baptized, you are welcome to come to the altar to receive a prayer of blessing. Simply cross your arms in front you, with your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder. This is a posture that lets us know you would like a prayer of blessing.
After we have received Christ’s Body and Blood we give thanks to God with prayer and singing. We give glory to God and worship his faithfulness.
At this time the clergy or other leader gives the announcements. On the first Sunday of each month, we sing ‘happy birthday’ to those whose birthdays fall in that month, and pray for them.
The celebrant then gives us God’s blessing, after which we sing our concluding hymn.
We have celebrated God’s mighty acts by hearing his Word; we have received the Body and Blood of his Son under the forms of Bread and Wine; we have been taken to heaven in a liturgy shared with the communion of saints.
Now we are dismissed to the world to take up our lives in the power of the Spirit and refreshed with the life of Christ. The celebrant calls out the dismissal, a dismissal which in fact is a re-commissioning to a life of ministry and service, and we all respond, “Thanks be to God!”
Following the dismissal, people are invited to go into the Fellowship Room, where we have Coffee Hour.
How To Get To St. Chad’s Sunday Service
We meet in the Kingsway Baptist Church building at 41 Birchview Boulevard. Birchview is one block north of Bloor Street, off Montgomery Road. The church is on the corner of Montgomery and Birchview. Enter through the main church door on Birchview.
By TTC, take the subway to Royal York station, and exit at Royal York Road. Birchview is across the street from that exit. Walk along Birchview (one short block), and the church is on your left.
If you come by car, please note that Birchview is a one-way street going east. There is some parking available in the church lot. Paid parking is available on Birchview itself, but the surrounding streets have on street parking.