Anglican Rituals

by Brian Gabriel

Anglicanism is a denomination of the Christian religion. Neither Protestant nor Catholic, the Anglican denomination is a unique body of Christians with some of its own distinctive rituals. Some Anglican rituals, such as the Eucharist sacrament and the practice of godparents, follow Catholic ritual traditions. The worldwide Anglican Communion consists of several independent churches that share the same core doctrines. The most prominent member church in the Anglican Communion is the Church of England.

Book of Common Prayer

Anglican worship is distinct from other Christian denominations with its use of the "Book of Common Prayer." This book, which contains prayers, Psalms and hymns, provides a framework by which Anglicans can conduct their worship services. One of the features of the "Book of Common Prayer" is the Lectionary, which provides a Biblical passage that is supposed to be read each day of the year.

Ordination of Priests

The Anglicans have a ritual called the “laying-on-of-hands” in the ordination of priests. During ordination, other priests as well as an ordaining bishop lay their hands on the new priest to welcome him into the Order of Priests. According to the Anglican Diocese of Perth, Australia, new priests are not ordained specifically as “Anglican priests” but rather as priests in “the Church of God.”

Godparents

Godparents are adult role models who are responsible for encouraging a young person and demonstrating how to live a proper Christian life. Godparents in the Catholic tradition have the role of preparing a Catholic for the Sacraments of Initiation, which include baptism, holy Eucharist, and confirmation. The Anglican Church refers to godparents as “sponsors.” Some Anglican churches, such as St. Stephens Anglican Church in Calgary, Australia, will supply a sponsor to adult converts after their baptism. These individuals do not necessarily have to be members of the Anglican denomination, but are expected to be active members of a Christian community.

Holy Communion

The most common name for the Eucharist sacrament in the Anglican Church is “Holy Communion.” The Holy Communion ritual is one of the earliest rituals in the Christian religion. It is a ritual celebration of Jesus' work of redemption and offer of forgiveness of sins. In an Anglican celebration, the entire congregation shares Holy Communion together in remembrance of Jesus' work of salvation. Anglicans practice this ritual in a way that is similar to that of the Catholics. Both denominations believe that the holy partaking of the Eucharist enables the believer to enter into a communion, or participation, with Christ Himself.

Cathedral Worship

The ritual of cathedral worship in the Anglican Church is centered on choral music with very little congregational participation. St. George's Cathedral in Perth notes that members of the church are encouraged to “worship by listening.” Liturgical scholar Marion Hatchett, Th.D., notes that the pipe organ is the primary musical instrument of the Anglican faith. Hatchett claims that pipe organs are used by Anglicans as a form of musical outreach to listeners who cannot find the same type of music outside the Anglican denomination.

About the Author

Brian Gabriel has been a writer and blogger since 2009, contributing to various online publications. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Whitworth University.

Photo Credits

  • Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images