The Anglican Liturgy follows the seasonal patterns of the church year.
How will Covid change our liturgical practice?
While the Covid-19 Pandemic has disrupted our worship, it has also given us an opportunity at St Catherine’s to broaden what is on offer in terms of service styles.
As we return to regular Sunday services with the Eucharist on offer in two kinds (wafer and wine) we have retained our monthly Saturday Evensong, our expanded OutdoorChurch programme, a weekly Sunday zoom Compline.
Zoom Compline allows us to connect with St. Catherine’s family members on other continents and on occasion with the other Baden-Württemberg chaplaincies in Heidelberg and Freiberg.
What is available on our menu of choices:
Eucharist @Church most Sundays
Holy Communion (also known as the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, or the Mass)
In this service:
we gather as the church, the body of Christ, in this place at this time, to pray and learn and sing God’s praise together
we listen to God’s word and allow it to speak to us
we give thanks over bread and wine for all that God has done and continues to do for us and in us and through us and we remember the meal Jesus shared with his disciples on the night before he died
we are sent out to serve God’s world and be a blessing to his world
There is beautiful music and the richness of the liturgy, as we gather to celebrate together. There are hymns and songs, and sometimes chants and usually a sermon, and the service lasts about an hour.
During the pandemic we have had to be flexible and imaginative to keep everyone safe so sometimes we sing outside or leave the organist to sing solo.
Services of the Word
This is a catch all way of describing all non-sacramental liturgies.
Instead of the focus of the worship being the sacrament (Eucharist or Baptism) the focus is instead the Word.
to that end you will find
-perhaps more Bible Readings
-perhaps a Canticle which is essentially also a Bible text or compilation
-perhaps a longer sermon or learning activity
-perhaps something to act upon arising from all of the above
These services can be Morning or Evening.
They can be traditional (like Evensong or Mattins) or contemporary – where those descriptions apply to the language not the content.
Like at the sacramental services – there will also be prayers and music.
Morning Prayer @home
From earliest times Christians gathered at regular hours during each day and night to respond to God’s word; with praise on behalf of all creation and with intercession for the world. By the fourth century, morning and evening prayer had emerged as the pre-eminent hours for this. They have remained so ever since, especially on Sundays when the Church commemorates both the first day of creation and the day of Christ’s resurrection. When this service comes in traditional (1662) language it’s name is Matins.
Evensong @Church on Saturday evenings currently once a month
(plus also online)
This is the common name for a Christian church service originating in the Anglican tradition as part of the reformed practice of the Daily Office or ‘Canonical Hours’.
It is roughly the equivalent of Vespers in the Roman Catholic Church although it was originally formed by combining the monastic offices of Vespers (Evening Office) and Compline (Night Office). Although many churches now take their services from Common Worship or other modern prayer books, if a church has a choir, Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer, which is still the only official prayer book of the Church of England, often remains in use because of the greater musical provision available.
Services of Evensong are centred around readings from the Bible, singing the Psalms and the canticles Magnificat and Nunc Dimmitis. The language is approximately ‘Shakespearean’. The theology is much more penitential than Common Worship.
When we have Evensong, it may need simply to be listened to (and enjoyed) as a cultural experience and joined in when it begins to feel less foreign.
This service is also part of our Online provision and as such is a very different experience, moving from communal worship, to private prayer.
Compline on Zoom every Sunday
The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin word meaning ‘completion’ (completorium). It is above all a service of quietness and reflection before rest at the end of the day. It is most effective when the ending is indeed an ending, without additions, conversation or noise. If this serves as a service in church, those present depart in silence; if at home, they go quietly to bed. Online we have offered both the Traditional and the Contemporary language options.
Ante Communion @home
Many people in the Anglican Church recall the time when Morning Prayer (Matins) was the main Sunday morning act of worship, with the celebration of the Eucharist happening either early in the morning at a quiet, said service, or else after the main morning act of worship for those who wished to stay and make their communion. At the time of the Reformation, reformers like Luther and Calvin were concerned to restore the weekly reception of Holy Communion to the Church. They realised this had been the practice of the Early Church and yet by the Middle Ages, the Mass had become so elaborate and removed from the congregation that most people received communion only once a year, at Easter. Many people attended Mass weekly, but only the priest received communion.
As with most radical shifts in practice, receiving Communion weekly was strongly resisted by many people, and, since the Prayer Book forbade the celebration of the Eucharist without everyone being offered the opportunity to receive communion, the celebration of the Eucharist became less frequent, monthly, or even quarterly. On the Sundays on which there was no Communion, the presider stopped after the Prayers of Intercession; this was called Ante-Communion. In the 19th century, in the interest of shortening the service, the Litany and Ante-Communion were omitted and the sermon and the collection tacked onto Morning Prayer, creating the new service of Morning Prayer and Sermon. On Communion Sundays, Morning Prayer and the Litany were omitted.
The Catholic revival associated with the Oxford Movement in the 19th century restored the weekly celebration of the Eucharist as normative in Anglicanism, but this frequently took the form of an “early Communion service” without music or preaching, attended by “the devout”, early risers, and those determined to avoid music, preaching or both. The usual worship experience of Anglicans was choral Morning Prayer (Matins). The Liturgical Movement in the middle of 20th century restored the Eucharist as the main Sunday morning act of worship.
In some periods, such as the Middle Ages, the Church has emphasized the Sacramental presence of Christ and largely ignored the proclamation of the Word. In others, such as the 17th and 18th centuries, the pendulum swung in the other direction, the Word and the sermon were emphasized and the Sacraments celebrated only occasionally.
Today we attempt to strike a balance and follow the example of the earliest Christian centuries and of the great Reformers, as we obey Christ’s command, “Do this for the remembrance of me.”
A service of Ante Communion affords space in worship to recall the broader tradition of which we are part. It can offer the faithful a pause in their Eucharistic worship, to allow the lay leadership of worship and to resist the temptation to slip into ‘communion with everything, with or without a priest.’
Whilst all of the above, are well established anglican liturgies, here is an opportunity to work within that framework but do some adapting. So, about three times a year we take Church outside to a park somewhere on a sunday morning. The venues have included Schloß Solitude also Killesberg also Egelsee. The liturgies have varied enormously from a straight Eucharist or Harvest or something less formal with creative activities amid the worship and prayers. Always we finish with a picnic and also games for those who can linger.