The Anglican Faith
About the Anglican Church
The Anglican Church is part of the original ancient Christian Church established by our Lord Jesus Christ and continued by His Apostles beginning on the Day of Pentecost by the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is the same Church described in the Bible as the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 12: 27; Ephesians 5: 23 – 25). Throughout its 2000+-year history, Anglican Christianity has strived to remain faithful to the teachings and practices passed on from the Apostles and the early Church Fathers (2 Thessalonians 2:15; Jude 3).
The Ancient Christian Church began in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1 – 4), and from there spread throughout the world. The Christian faith came to Britain in 38 A.D. by St. Joseph of Arimathea and was rapidly embraced. In the 6th century, the Anglican Church came under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church but engaged in a reformation in the sixteenth century returning the Anglican Church to its ancient Faith and Tradition.
Today some 85 million people identify themselves as Anglican, most of whom live in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia, the United States, Canada, India, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Central Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America, Jerusalem, and the Middle East.
Origins of the Name “Anglican”
The name “Anglican” is traced back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Europe. The tribal name was spelled “Engles” or “Angles” and the tribes’ speech was the precursor to the English language. Their island became known as England, and their Christians were known as Anglicans.
The Faith We Seek to Preserve
The Anglican Christian faith is thoroughly grounded in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Anglicans believe “the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the authentic record of God’s revelation of Himself, His saving activity, and moral commands—a revelation valid for all men and for all times” (The Affirmation of St. Louis). The ‘Apocryphal Books,’ found in some, but not all Bibles, are also used in our worship, being read for instruction; however, they are not used to establish doctrine.
We believe the Ancient Creeds—Nicene, Apostles, and Athanasian—express the faith of the Church and are to be understood as they are originally written. This makes the Anglican Church a creedal church, not a confessional one.
The Creeds, which come from the earliest years of Christianity, summarize “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). They teach us:
- God is one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- God the Son became man, born of the Virgin Mary, is our Lord Jesus Christ
- By our Lord’s sinless life, death, resurrection, and ascension, He gained access for us to God the Father, poured out the grace of the Holy Spirit on all faithful, and opened the way for us to be children of God and to live with Him for all eternity.
Regarding Christian morality, we believe “every Christian is obligated to form his/her conscience by the Divine Moral Law of the Mind of Christ as revealed in Holy Scriptures, and by the teachings and Tradition of the Church” (The Affirmation of St. Louis). Such teaching is especially seen in the Sermon on the Mount (St. Matthew 5 - 7) and in our Lord’s Summary of the Law (St. Matthew 22:37 – 40), which states we must first love God with our heart, soul and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. We also hold to Christ’s teaching on the sanctity of all human life, marriage, and the family.
The Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist is the very heart of Anglican life and faith. In it we receive the Body and Blood of Christ which unites us with other Anglican believers throughout the world. We are also united to the whole ‘communion of saints’—all living Christians as well as departed loved ones, martyrs, and holy fathers and mothers of past ages. Together, we join with the hosts of angels and heavenly luminaries giving unceasing glory to God (see Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 7: 9 – 17). Most importantly, though, the Holy Eucharist unites each of us to Jesus Christ, for He offers Himself to us in His very Body and Blood (see St. John 6: 53 – 57). Therefore, Anglican churches celebrate The Holy Eucharist every Sunday as well as on feast days and special observances throughout the year.
The form of Anglican worship can be understood by the following:
- Experience the presence of God—Heaven and earth meet in this time and place
- God centered—We worship the Holy Trinity in spirit and in truth
- Liturgical—Hands on and experiential—everyone participates in prayers, psalms,
- Sacramental—We celebrate the Lord’s Supper each Sunday, on feast days, and special observances. We also receive the sacrament of Baptism with Chrismation and observe the rites of Reconciliation, Confirmation, Anointing of the sick, Marriage, and Holy Orders
- Communal—We experience joy being together in a community of faith, love, and peace
The Holy Eucharist (Communion)
It is the custom at St. George that all baptized Christians, who with faith, reverence, and penitence, are welcome to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We believe the Eucharist is the mystical presence of Christ given for us in the bread and wine. One receives the Bread and then, may either drinks directly from the Cup or dips the Bread in the Cup (intinction). (During COVID, the Priest, masked and gloved, places the Bread in the hand of the communicant and then, the communicant takes a single cup of wine from the tray.) If you are not prepared to receive the Holy Eucharist, you may come forward for a blessing signifying this by crossing your arms across your chest.