Our way of following Jesus
To be an Anglican is not to embrace a distinct version of Christianity, but a distinct way of being a “Mere Christian.” We strive to believe “that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all.” The Anglican ethos has often been described in the Latin phrase, via media (middle way). The desire of the early Anglican reformers was to stay true to the ancient traditions of the early church but in a way that was accessible and relevant to the people of 16th century England. So right at the heart of Anglican Christianity is a desire to be simultaneously rooted and relevant, ancient and modern, traditional and innovative. Nowhere is this more plainly seen than in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).
Originally compiled in 1549 by Thomas Cranmer, the BCP revolutionized the life and worship of the Church. Cranmer’s BCP was a brilliant in that it brought new life and meaning to the ancient worship traditions of the church, because, for the first time, they were simplified and written in the language of the people rather than in Latin. The BCP is also thoroughly infused with Scripture references from beginning to end as Cranmer had a deep conviction in the transforming power of God’s written word. Basically, the BCP structures our worship in a way that we are able to worship through the words and ethos of scripture.
Anglican Core Beliefs
Our core beliefs that unite us with Anglicans around the world are:
The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as “containing all things necessary to salvation,” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
We confess as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture the historic faith of the undivided church as declared in the three Catholic Creeds: the Apostles the Nicene and the Athanasian.
Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures.
We receive The Book of Common Prayer as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.
We receive the 39 Articles of Religion, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing the fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.
A sacrament involves the use of material things as a sign and pledge of God’s grace and as a means by which we receive his gifts.
The two parts of a sacrament are both the outward and visible sign as well as the inward and spiritual grace. Jesus Christ, in the Gospel, appointed for his Church two sacraments. They are Baptism and Holy Communion.
Anglican churches baptize infants, young children, and adults. It is required that persons to be baptized should turn from sin, exclusively embrace the Christian faith, and give themselves to Christ … to be his servants. Anglicans baptize infants and young children because, though they are not yet old enough to make promises to God for themselves, others (i.e. their parents and Godparents/sponsors) make promises on their behalf and commit to raise those baptized to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Not to be confused with our calendar of events, the larger Church Calendar reminds us of the great events of the Gospel story from which Christian worship springs.
- Advent prepares us to celebrate Christ’s first coming and his second coming to judge the living and the dead.
Christmas is the anniversary of our Lord’s birth.
Epiphany (January 6) which, with the following Sunday, speaks of the glory of God revealed in Christ.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts 40 days, excluding Sundays. This period recalls the 40 days of our Lord’s temptation. It is a season of penitence and fasting in preparation for Easter.
Holy Week opens with Palm Sunday and leads our thoughts through our Lord’s Passion from his entry into Jerusalem, through the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, to his Crucifixion on Good Friday, and his lying in the grave on Easter Eve.
Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This season of rejoicing extends through the 40 days after Easter.
Pentecost celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples (the Church) as described in the Book of Acts, chapter 2. The season after Pentecost continues for the rest of the Church year until the beginning of Advent.
Anglicans embrace the threefold order of ordained ministry that emerged early in the life of the Church.
A bishop leads in serving and caring for the people of God and works with them in the oversight of the Church. As a chief pastor, a bishop shares with fellow bishops a special responsibility to maintain and further the unity of the Church, to uphold its discipline, and to guard its faith. A bishop promotes the Church’s mission throughout the world.
A priest is called by God to work with the bishop and with fellow priests, as servant and shepherd among the people of God to proclaim the Word of the Lord. A priest presides at the celebration of the Holy Communion. A priest leads God’s people in prayer and worship, intercedes for them, and teaches and encourages by word and example.
A deacon serves the Church of God by working with its members in caring for the poor, the needy, the sick, and all who are in trouble. A deacon assists the priest in leading the worship of the people, especially in the administration of the Holy Communion.
Church of the Holy Cross is in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri,
a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.