An Introduction To Anglican Worship

Liturgical Worship

Disputation of the Holy SacramentGood Shepherd is a Liturgical Church that uses the 1928 Book of Common Prayer in the conduct of worship.  Liturgy is derived from a Greek term which means “the work of the people.” This term was co-opted by the authors of Scripture and the Church to describe the work of the people in the service of God.  Hence the worship gatherings of the Church have often been referred to as worship “services.”

Liturgy has its beginning in the worship life of Old Testament Israel and was developed by the Apostolic Church to reflect the Good News of the redemption of Jesus Christ.  The Church’s liturgy is a means by which the people of God are enabled to offer their prayers, praises and thanksgiving with one voice.  It is not unlike a dance which allows all members of the congregation to present a coordinated offering unto God.  (For the development of this thought, see Letters to Malcolm by C.S. Lewis)

The Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer (BCP), compiled by Archbishop Cranmer, has been in use by Anglicans throughout the world beginning in the 16th Century.  Cranmer sought to reform the services of the Roman Catholic Church in accordance with Scripture and the tradition of the first five centuries of the Church.  It is said that more than 85% of the BCP is either direct quotation from the Bible or allusion to it.

Cranmer had five specific intentions in compiling the Book of Common Prayer: 1) correct the corrupt doctrine of the Roman Mass, 2) unite the people of England under a single liturgy, 3) provide for a liturgy understandable to the people, 4) encourage lay participation in the Church’s services, 5) instruct the people in the Scriptures through the reading of the whole Bible in the course of a year and the reading of the Psalms once a month.