What is an Anglican?
An Anglican is a Christian who is part of the world wide family of the Anglican Church. Today there are 70 million Anglicans in 163 countries. We here in Wavertree are a tiny part of a great multi racial, multi lingual, family.
Anglicans are bound together by:
Our belief that Holy Scripture (the Bible) contains the core of all Christian faith and thought; a common loyalty to a way of worship and life that was first set out in the Book of Common Prayer; a shared joy that Jesus comes to us in Baptism and in the Lord's Supper (often called the Eucharist or Holy Communion); a system of Church order that stems from the most ancient times and is focused in the ordained ministry of Bishop, Priest and Deacon; a firm commitment to the ministry of the whole people of God, lay and ordained together; a way of Christian thinking that involves Scripture, Tradition and Reason held together in creative tension.
We live out this Christian way of life in:
Worship and parish life; Reaching out to the whole community; Sharing our story with others; Seeking God's love and wisdom in prayer and study together; Using our gifts, money, time and talents for God's work.
Anglicans share the one common Christian faith that has been handed down through the centuries from the days of the first Christians. This is what we mean when we say that Anglicans are part of the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church". ("catholic" means: everywhere, always and for all). We believe there is one God who created all the cosmos, who forgives sin, who has defeated death and who sends the Holy Spirit to renew us as the children of God. We seek to follow Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Our mission as the people of God (the Church) is to enable all people to have the opportunity to share in God's healing, God's love and God's forgiveness and new life given to us in Jesus. We celebrate our faith in the three great catholic creeds: the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. The Nicene Creed (dating from 325AD) is the creed we use in our services of Holy Communion:
I believe in one God the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried. On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father. With the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in one holy universal and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.
We come together Sunday by Sunday and in the week to worship God's holiness, to hear God's Word, to offer our prayer and to rejoice in God's presence among us. We are very much a parish church. Every person who lives in the parish is welcome, as of right, to join us in worship. We welcome those seeking baptism and marriage and confirmation. The Eucharist and Scripture are the foundations of all our worship, enhanced by our choral music. We sit firmly in the Anglican Tradition and our liturgical practice is central in our use of liturgy, vestments and ceremony. Since Cranmer wrote the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549 the intention for Anglicans has been to provide forms of daily prayer and weekly worship that are common to the whole people of God. We celebrate that great tradition through word and sacrament, through teaching and prayer, drawing on the Prayer books of old and new.
We are a mission centred Church, reaching out into the community. Our Diocesan rule of life inspired by the bishop asks us to pray, read and learn. This leads us to serve and give. And so we are to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom; to teach, baptise and nurture new believers; to respond to human need by loving service; to seek to transform the unjust structures of society; to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the earth.
The life of an Anglican starts in Holy Baptism. Baptism is one of the two great sacraments. The other is Holy Eucharist. The word sacrament means "promise". God promises to be with us as we come together to use his gifts as a means of his love and healing. All sacraments have two "parts": something we can see and an inner reception of God's power and love.
In Holy Baptism we take water as the outward sign of God's gift to us of the Holy Spirit.. In Holy Baptism we become members of the community of believers, which the New Testament calls the Body of Christ. The person to be baptised (or their Godparents for them) makes a commitment to Jesus, to live for Him and to live in His way. The priest then pours water on them (or sometimes dips them right into the water) and signs them with the sign of Jesus' cross. The water is a sign both that God washes away our our sin and pours out the love of the Holy Spirit upon us to help us follow Jesus and to live in his way. Anglicans believe that we can be baptised only once because once baptised God will not fail to strengthen us with the Holy Spirit when we ask. See the FAQs section for information about how to apply for Baptism at Holy Trinity
Around the world Anglicans come together on Sunday and daily to share the Eucharist. The word Eucharist means Thanksgiving. We give thanks for God's love shown to us in Jesus. There are other names for the Eucharist,. other names include Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper and the Mass. Jesus comes to us in bread and wine to equip us to serve him in our daily discipleship at home or at work. Through Holy Communion we become one with Jesus and one with each other. We share Jesus' body and blood given for us on the Cross. We know we are forgiven and have a share in the Risen Life of our Lord Jesus. All Christians of whatever church are welcomed at our altar table to share the bread and wine.
Confirmation is when a baptised person makes a mature commitment to God and receives a special blessing from the Bishop. The Holy Spirit, given once for all in our Baptism, strengthens us again (confirms us) in our commitment to Jesus. Normally Anglicans can only receive Holy communion after confirmation.
Ordination is when a person is received into the ministry of the church. The Church of England maintains the historic threefoild ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. Its ministers are ordained by bishops according to authorised orders of service, with the laying-on of hands. Some ordained people remain as deacons, others go on to be ordained as priests.
When Anglicans are married they come to church to be blessed by God and to make a public commitment to each other in the sight of the whole community. This is Holy Matrimony. The couple are blessed by God and may be certain that the people of God will support them throughout their life together.
Reconciliation of Penitents
Sometimes people need a personal assurance that God has forgiven them . Jesus Christ died on the Cross for us all. A priest can offer that assurance formally or informally in the reconciliation of penitents.
When someone is very ill the priest will anoint them with oil as a sign of God's love and healing. This is called unction.
All the people of God share in Jesus' mission and ministry. Anglicans believe that the ordained ministry is a gift to the whole Church to focus our ministry and to enable everyone to know and fulfil their gifts in God's service. When God calls someone to this special ministry they are trained and then the bishop ordains them by laying hands on their head and praying.