About our Worship
If you've previously attended a liturgical
church you may recognize many of the elements of our worship
service. St. Francis uses The Book of Common Prayer, 1928
Edition, as the
basis for all of our worship. The Prayer Book is a document
which is best described as being an orthodox expression of the
Christian faith, using the liturgies which have been a part of
catholic worship for centuries. There is no modern "innovation"
in the Prayer Book; it calls upon us to conform ourselves to
God's Word, rather than trying to change the church's teachings
to fit the earthly "desires" of mankind.
New to a Liturgical Church?
The order for all of our worship services is found in the Book
of Common Prayer. Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, sometimes
referred to as the "Daily Offices", allow for being used as
public worship, or as a private devotion. There are Prayers and
Thanksgivings for many purposes, helping us to express our
concerns and praise to God in the events of daily life.
Extensive use is made of the Psalms, which are an integral part
of the Prayer Book. And there are services for those occasions
which arise in our lives when we turn to God in faith, or seek
some extra help: Baptism, by which we become members of the Body
of Christ; Confirmation, which bestows the gifts of the Holy
Spirit; Holy Matrimony, the joining of a man and woman as
husband and wife; Anointing of the Sick, wherein our ailing
bodies and spirits are strengthened; Burial of the Dead, through
which we commend the souls of the faithful departed to God's
mercy; and Ordination, which sets apart ministers for service in
Of all the services contained in the Book of Common Prayer, Holy
Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is the most important part of
our worship. Through Holy Communion, we offer God our prayers
and praise for his gift of salvation brought to us by Jesus
Christ, and at the same time we receive God's grace as we
partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. Some parishes follow
the Order for Holy Communion exactly as it is written in the
Prayer Book; others supplement the service with materials from
the Missal, which includes many traditional prayers and
liturgical practices. In either case, Holy Communion includes
all the elements in the Prayer Book, which is the standard used
to guard our worship against modern innovation and false
If you've not previously worshiped in a liturgical church
you may find it somewhat different than in other
denominations. While all churches follow some order of
worship, liturgical churches use a formal structure and
common prayers for much of the service. Generally the
liturgy contains the following parts in one order or
Confessions of sins
Pronouncement of Absolution
Acknowledgment of God's authority
The reading of God's Word
A hymn of praise
Prayers of the church
The 1928 Book of Common Prayer used by St. Francis follows a very long history of development. In fact, one could say that when the disciples came to Jesus asking Him to teach
them to pray He gave them, not twelve different prayers (as doubtless John's needs were different from Peter's, and so on) but a common prayer: "When ye pray say 'Our Father. .
.'". This was the beginning of common prayer and over the centuries a tradition of common prayer has been developed. The language and depth of these common prayers are so rich
that they continually unfold new meaning for our spiritual lives.
Each pew contains the full Book of Common Prayer as well as a booklet containing only the portion that we use for Sunday services. You will find it easy to follow along
using these booklets. Do not be concerned if you "goof up". God does not grade your liturgical performance nor will your fellow worshipers.
Communion is celebrated every Sunday at St. Francis. You do not need to be baptized in the Episcopal/Anglican Church to receive communion. As the Nicene Creed declares, "We
acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins". Baptized Christians who are repentant and who believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist may receive
Communion is distributed at the communion rail. As you kneel at the rail hold out your hands and the priest will provide you with a communion wafer (the Body of Christ). A
second priest will follow with the chalice at which time you may dip the communion wafer into the wine (the Blood of Christ) or drink from the chalice.
If you do not wish to receive communion you may still go to the railing for a blessing. Simply cross your arms and the priest will give you a blessing.
We hope that this addresses any questions or concerns you may have. It's not meant to be comprehensive, but sometimes attending a new church can be daunting especially if the
form of worship is new to you. Please be assured that you will find the atmosphere warm and the presence of God palpable.