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10 things I like about going to an Anglican Church
My family has been part of St. Aidan Anglican Church in Moose Jaw, physician Saskatchewan, for over 5 years now. I grew up Presbyterian, with a foray into the Vineyard Christian Fellowship during my college years, so I’m rather surprised to find myself here! I can’t say much about the wider Anglican Communion, or even other congregations in the Anglican Church of Canada, but here are 10 reasons I like worshipping with our specific body of believers:
The liturgy: Our church uses the Book of Alternative Services (BAS), which is similar to the Book of Common Prayer, but with more modern language. I have grown to love it, as the liturgical prayers have become familiar and soul-nourishing
The Eucharist: The Eucharist (communion) is the central part of the worship service, and it happens every week. It starts with one of several Eucharistic prayers, either spoken or sung. This blog post, about one of my favorite parts of Eucharistic prayer 3, gives a sense of the rich and transcendent language.
The gospel focus: Our church focuses on the essentials of the Christian faith. Christ crucified, Christ risen, Christ working through us in the world. There is very little emphasis on secondary theological issues that, at least for me, can be more distracting than inspiring. I have never detected any arrogance or sense of superiority in relation to other Christian denominations. Of course, this may be due to general Canadian politeness!
The music: There’s a nice mix of hymns, contemporary worship choruses, Taize songs, and traditional Anglican music. Many parts of the liturgy are sung as well.
Emphasis on Scripture: Every week, we hear passages from the Old Testament, New Testament, Gospels, and the Psalms. The sermon always relates to one or more of these readings.
The children’s ministry: The preschool and elementary age children at our church use the Godly Play program for Sunday school. Every few months, St. Aidan has an intergenerational worship service, where the kids stay for the whole service, participating in music, prayer, skits, and Scripture reading. We also have an Advent Brunch every year.
Connection to history: I like being part of a church that’s been around for a very long time. Also, many of my favorite authors are/were Anglicans: C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright, Madeleine L’Engle, and Alister McGrath.
Connection to the world: The Anglican Communion is worldwide. Our church has a special relationship with dioceses in Malaysia and England.
Outreach to the world: Our church has done a wide variety of outreaches, such as Operation Christmas Child, clothes drives, Vacation Bible School, outreach lunches after our church service, Habitat for Humanity projects, and ministry to immigrant high school students.
Diversity: We have college students, singles, families, and many elderly people. Some are lifelong Anglicans, and others have come from other faith traditions, or from none at all.
As Robert Webber explains in Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail: Why Evangelicals are Attracted to the Liturgical Church, this can be a spiritual path well worth exploring!