My mind is constantly working in architectural images. As I reflect on the life of St. Peter’s, and the programs we create, I think of us as the House of God, founded on the Rock of Christ, and supported (bound together) by four solid pillars: worship, fellowship, education, service. In worship we encounter the Living God, and are fed on His Word proclaimed (through Scripture and preaching) and His Word made flesh (the body and blood of Christ). Worship is what gives our lives focus and purpose while binding us to God and to one another. It is through worship that we become the Body of Christ. As we sing our praises together, confess our sins, affirm our faith, and kneel side by side to receive the same body and blood of Jesus, we begin to be knitted together in one holy fellowship. This fellowship is more than friendship, it is that binding of soul to soul that makes us one in Christ. We experience this fellowship in small groups, on the church lawn, at Wednesday night dinners, and in the many ways we love and support one another as we grow together in the Lord.
This experience of encountering the Living God in worship and fellowship leads us to want to know more of this God as He reveals Himself in His Word. Christian education, whether in a Wednesday evening Bible Study, a Sunday School Class, or an Acts 2:42 group, is the way we seek to know this wonderful God more fully. We immerse ourselves in His Word, seeking to understand ourselves and our lives more deeply through the lens of Scripture. And, as we grow in our understanding of the grace and truth of God, we cannot help but want to serve Him; to reach out our hands in love to others that they too might know the joy and wonder of life in Christ. Worship, Fellowship, and Education, lead to Service; God forms us through worship, fellowship, and education, SO THAT we might be the Light of Christ in the world.
We believe that these four pillars represent the four simple steps, the on-going process of growing in Christ. We pray that every child, every teenager, every adult in this parish will allow these pillars to become such consistent supports in their lives, that everything they say and do might be defined and shaped by this life in Christ.
We hope with all our hearts that “St. Peter’s is a place where Christ is Changing Lives to Change the World” through Worship, Fellowship, Education, and Service.
God’s Blessings, Eric D. Dudley+
Anglicanism is the third largest Christian tradition in the world. Each Sunday, 77 million Anglicans gather across the globe to worship God as He is revealed in our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Anglicanism is often referred to as the via media, the “middle way,” between Protestantism and Catholicism. Like Protestants, we understand Scripture as the final authority for our teaching and preaching. Like Catholics, we embrace the traditions of worship from the ancient Church. We invite you to come experience the good work that God’s Spirit is doing in the Anglican branch of His Body, the Church!
The Christian faith was came to Britain in the middle of the First Century AD. Sixteen hundred years later, during the Reformation, The Church of England was formed. While retaining its Catholic heritage in the ancient creeds, sacraments, and the threefold ministry of deacons, priests, and bishops, the Anglican Church embraced the elements of the Reformation that focus on Biblical authority. Anglicans have a firm commitment to the doctrine of justification by faith and a missionary zeal to draw others into this great life in Christ. As the British Empire expanded throughout the world, this expression of Christian worship took root in a wide variety of places, from the United States to Uganda to Australia. As the Empire retracted, the Anglican Church remained and thrived as it continued to worship the Lord in a common voice across the globe.
Anglican worship is firmly based on the witness of God’s inspired Word. Indeed, over the course of three years, almost the entire Bible is read aloud and preached upon!
Worshipping God in the beauty of holiness is the defining practice of the Anglican Church. The worship styles of Anglicanism vary between parishes – from guitars leading worship in a school auditorium to English church music and vested choirs in Gothic buildings – but our focus is always the same – to give praise to our redeeming God!
No matter where worship takes place, Anglican churches worldwide practice a unified way of honoring God taken from The Book of Common Prayer. Through this book (which is 80 percent pure Scripture, simply organized for worship), we form a worldwide chorus of praise, glorifying God with one voice!
“Liturgy” means “the work of the people,” which is just a fancy way of saying that Anglican worship is an act of the entire congregation (not just the clergy or the choir) offering God praise, thanksgiving and adoration. Thus, our worship is not designed to entertain the congregation, but rather to honor the true “audience” of Anglican worship, the Lord Himself.
Scholarship and Biblical faithfulness go hand in hand in the life of the Anglican Church. We believe we are to love God with heart, soul, body and mind. Many noted evangelical scholars come from the Anglican tradition, including C.S. Lewis, John Stott, J.I. Packer and N.T. Wright.
Every Sunday, Anglicans come to the table of our Lord, to experience His real presence in the act of Holy Eucharist (also known as Communion or the Lord’s Supper). This is the high point of our worship, as we strive to follow Christ’s command to do this in remembrance of God’s great love for creation.
The Book of Common Prayer does not replace the Bible but supplements it by organizing scripture for worship. Eighty percent of its content is directly from scripture, which is the principle authority in shaping the Anglican tradition.
The lectionary in The Book of Common Prayer ensures that much of the Bible is read aloud in church over a three year period, with the same passages read on the same days by the larger church worldwide. Additionally, a two-year cycle of scripture readings is provided to assist us in the daily discipline of worship at home as well as in church.
The first Christians adopted the practice of praying together from Judaism and its regular pattern of prayers and readings from scripture. In 1549, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, compiled The Book of Common Prayer. Drawing from ancient traditions, the Prayer Book outlines the basic needs of the church in one book: Sunday worship, daily prayer, baptism, confirmation, matrimony, and burial.
Cranmer printed the book in English rather than the traditional Latin, then made it available to the entire church – a move that empowered church members to participate more fully in worship. Previously, books about worship were exclusive to priests. Today, this remarkable book creates unity within the worldwide Anglican Church and has become part of the fabric of English literature.
The Anglican Church of North America is currently working on a new prayer book for the Province. The new prayer book will be based on the theology of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.