How We Worship
Welcome to the Anglican Orthodox Church
Every Christian denomination has its own set of doctrines and methodologies for worship. Our Communion is no different. Consider the following helpful items which will assist you in your worship and study with us.
Prior to organized worship:
As Anglicans, when we enter our place of worship prior to any service, we ought to privately do the following:
1. We confess to God our sins and trespasses.
2. We give him thanks for the blessings which we have received from his hand over the past week and pray for those in need.
In general, this is a time to prepare our hearts for Christian worship. Effectual and fervent prayer, we are told, availeth us much so let us remember to keep the world out and God in during this important time.
We are a liturgical church:
We follow the order of worship set forth in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer which includes the following mechanics in our services.
1. We stand when we sing, and when we hear a reading of the gospel.
2. We kneel (if we are able and where convenient) when we pray.
3. We sit for announcements, the sermon, and the reading of the epistle lesson.
4. When it is time to receive communion, we draw near to the holy table and kneel (or stand if one has trouble kneeling) to receive the elements. Communion is received by placing one’s right hand in the hollow of the left with the palm open to receive the Unleavened Bread. To receive the wine, one should grasp the cup either from the bottom with one hand and tilt it up, or guide the cup to one’s lips with both hands. We also permit intinction, or the dipping of the bread in the cup.
Our worship is a time to honor our heavenly Father as we lift up our prayers and praises to his throne of grace. We also honor him with our substance via our gifts and offerings, as well as with our undivided attention. There should not be any conversing with others and that includes cell phone and texting during the service. In fact, all cell phones should be switched off for our worship. If you are expecting an emergency call, please set your phone to “vibrate” rather than “ring”.
Church Authority and Selected Doctrines
Oversight and authority of the presiding Bishop:
The episcopal authority resides with the bishop of each diocese, and with the Presiding Bishop of the wider Communion. All ecclesiastical matters are decided or enforced by the Presiding Bishop and those other bishops under his oversight. But even the Presiding Bishop has no authority to bypass the Constitution, Canons, and Bylaws of the Communion.
A bishop’s duty is to:
1. Defend the faith and doctrine of the church from corrupting influences and heretical doctrines.
2. He is to teach, preach, and advocate the Christian Gospel
3. He is the minister of the priests and watches over them in Christian love.
4. He also is the under-shepherd of the churches under his authority.
The gender roles within the Communion:
All biblical training of men must be performed by a man in Holy Orders. Women, however, may teach the younger women, the children, and conduct adult women Bible studies. Our ministries around the world must be guided and directed by male clergy.
The forms of address for our ministers:
In the Gospel of St. Matthew we are told that we have one Heavenly Father. None of our ministers are to be called Father. They should be called Mr. (last name) or Rev. (last name) .
The institution of marriage:
The Holy State of Matrimony is defined by Holy Writ as that existing only between one man and one woman.
No fellowship with apostate denominations and groups:
We are forcefully commanded in the Scriptures to have no affiliation with those who do not accept the Word of God as their compass and guide. The AOC has, over its history, carefully avoided uniting with other churches and groups who do not advocate an uncompromising conformity to Scripture. Therefore, inviting a priest, not approved by our Bishop, to come into our church from a denomination that teaches and commits error is strictly forbidden.
Immorality not sanctioned:
Our Communion encourages all who have sinned to come clean through private confession to God in the name of Jesus Christ. If immoral behavior is found within the body, the minister is duty bound to admonish the evil liver to come clean before God, or else he will deny to said person the sacraments until such time as he receives a satisfactory assurance of such a confession by the offending party.
Forgiveness and acceptance:
All who are members of the body of Christ ought to possess a spirit of forgiveness for our Lord commanded that we have such in our relationships both within and without the congregation. When a brother or sister has wronged us in any way and seeks our forgiveness, we ought to accept their offering and give our pardon much as God through Christ has pardoned us for our transgressions against him. And in every case, we ought to go to God and forgive them before his throne of grace, not bearing a grudge in our hearts regarding any offense by others.
Tithes and offerings:
We have no set rule on tithing except that which is in the Scriptures wherein St. Paul saith, Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (II Corinthians 9:7).
Standing for the truth and contending for the faith:
Each of us as born-again Christians should, as the apostle Jude once commanded, contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Witnessing to others as God gives us leave to do is one of our principal duties as Christians. We may not know if we are successful, nevertheless, if God wills, those who hear our witness might come to him and be saved. Remember the Great Commission: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations… (Matthew 28:19, 20).
Doctrines and tenets:
Our doctrines and tenets are found within the Holy Bible and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion found on pages 603-611 in the Book of Common Prayer.
Our Statement of Faith
1. We believe that there is one God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost which is referred to in the Holy Scriptures as the Godhead. We believe that God is immortal, invisible, everlasting, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.
2. We believe that he is a just, righteous, merciful and loving God, who in his infinite wisdom, created all things both visible and invisible. We accept his divine hand in the ordering of the creation as found in the Holy Bible.
3. We accept God’s moral law, which he gave to Moses, as articles which convict us of sin and which reveal our gross unworthiness to offer him any sacrifice which would eternally cleanse us from all unrighteousness apart from the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son, in whose blood we obtain victory over both sin and death. We further acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as the only name under heaven in whom men and women must be saved.
5. We acknowledge that the Holy Spirit of God proceeds from the Father and the Son and that through his divine assistance we who were dead are now made alive in God through Jesus Christ our Lord. We further acknowledge that the Holy Ghost guides us as believers into all truth and away from all error and false doctrine as well as the unequal yoke with the ungodly.
6. We believe that the Holy Scriptures are the true, inspired and inerrant word of God and that the best translation of them into the English language is that of the 1611 King James, or Authorized Version, of the Holy Bible.
7. We adhere to the ancient tenets of the Christian faith as articulated in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of the Anglican faith. And we adhere to a firm Protestant understanding of godly worship and practice in our exclusive use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.