About Our Ancient Anglican Tradition


The following Q & A answers many of the questions often asked about our Anglican Tradition:

Why do you use the Book of Common Prayer (BCP)?  Here are 3 reasons:

  1. To be Bible-centered.  We want to ensure that our liturgies for worship are thoroughly biblical in their language. The BCP contains a large amount of biblical content and proven to relate to believers coming from a wide variety of Christian tradition
  2. To acknowledge historical precedent. The ancient prayers, canticles, songs, creeds and liturgies contained in the BCP have been used in worship by Christians for the past 2000 years.
  3. To celebrate the liturgy corporately.   The word liturgy, derived from the technical term in ancient Greek (Greek: λειτουργία), leitourgia, which literally means "work of the people" is a literal translation of the two words "litos ergos" or "public service." All Christian churches follow a liturgy when they gather for worship. It's important to remember that liturgy is not dead or alive, but true or false.  The liturgical integrity found in the BCP firmly rooted in the holy scriptures and shaped by over 2000 years of apostolic tradition has enabled Christians over the centuries to have a life-transforming worship encounter with the Holy Trinity and lead spiritual seekers to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  

What Are the Sacraments of the Anglican Church? 

The Gospel Sacraments instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ are Baptism and the Eucharist (a.k.a. Lord's Supper, Holy Communion);  Sacraments of the Church include Confirmation, Absolution (Confession), Holy Orders (Ordination), Marriage, and the Anointing of the Sick. The Christian Sacraments (a.k.a. the Holy Mysteries) are outward, and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace given by God to help believers mature in their Christian Faith.

Why do your Clergy (deacons, priests, and bishops) dress differently than the Laity for services and other ministry events?

Not all Anglican clergy dress alike.  During our Sunday worship celebration our pastor typically wears a vestment called an Alb (a symbol of being clothed with the purity of Christ and the "white robes" worn by the Elders in heaven – Rev. 4:4), a pectoral cross and stoles of varying colors which change with the liturgical seasons of the church year (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time). Most of the time you will see him wear his clerical collar which is a symbol of his ordained office as a presbyter (elder) in the body of Christ as well as makes him recognizable as a priest and pastor in public (like a soldier or policemen who wears a uniform while on duty) which provides him with many opportunities for ministry.

Why do Anglicans stand, sit, and kneel during worship?

The Bible exhorts us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, which means having the liberty to get our whole person – body, soul, and spirit, involved in worship.  At CtR you will see  people lift their hands when they sing and pray; sit for instruction; kneel as an act of reverence during prayer and the consecration of the Holy Eucharist and express other acts of worship found in the Psalms (i.e. clapping hands, offering shouts of praise, dancing before the Lord, etc.)

Why do some people raise their hands or cross themselves?

Some people like to raise their hands in song or prayer as a gesture of surrender or praise to God. Uplifted hands in prayer, while standing or kneeling, is a thoroughly Biblical practice and was a standard prayer posture in Jesus' day as was kneeling. Others cross themselves as a reminder that we are to be crucified with Christ as a way of life.  Only Christ's blood sacrifice on the cross and our faith in Him as Savior and Lord enable us to enter God's holy presence boldly.  Making the sign of the cross is a sacred recalling of that gift.  Making the sign of the cross not only during the liturgy on Sunday,  after prayers at mealtimes at home or when in public at a restaurant also helps to "make visible" the Kingdom of God to spiritual seekers.  No one is required to offer any of these expressions of worship, but they are ancient and appropriate signs and used throughout the history of the Christian Church.  

Why do we celebrate the Holy Eucharist (a.k.a. the Lord's Table, Holy Communion, Mass, the Lords Supper) every Sunday?

The Eucharist is considered by most Christians as the central act of Christian worship. It brings to our remembrance the sacrificial blood that our Lord Jesus Christ shed when he died on the cross for our sins and is a means of grace that nourishes us by strengthening our union with the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  As an evangelical, charismatic, and sacramental church, we pattern our Sunday Worship Celebration after the ancient Christian Church who celebrated the Eucharist on the first day of the week (Sunday).  Our liturgy retains the integrity of the earliest liturgies we have found, like the liturgy of Hippolytus from about 215 A.D.  

All baptized Christians who are seeking to follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are welcome to receive the Holy Eucharist at CtR.  Those in attendance who have not yet been baptized, or whose conscience may prevent them from coming are invited to come forward at the time when Holy Communion is being served to receive a priestly blessing.   Those who would like to learn more about what the Bible teaches about Baptism and the Lord's Table are invited to make their desire known to our pastor.  

What is Apostolic  Tradition, and why is it important?

Apostolic Tradition refers to passing along the  ancient Christian Faith. This is carried on through a variety of means; The Scripture of the Old and New Testaments, the historic Creeds, the Sacraments, and the apostolic lineage of Bishops, Priests and Deacons in Apostolic succession all assist the Church to pass on the Apostolic Faith and Life of the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic" Church founded upon the chief cornerstone of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Chief Bishop and Head of the Church.  We enjoy fellowship with Christians from churches of many denominations who believe that the Holy Scriptures are the final authority on matters of Faith, practice and doctrine; that the historic Creeds of the undivided Church provide a clear and indisputable summary of the Christian Faith; that the Christian Sacraments are a means of imparting the grace of God, and that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today through spiritual gifts and signs given to the Church.

Why do you have Bishops, Priests, and Deacons?

The English word "priest" is a short form of the Greek word "presbyter," or elder.  At the Reformation of the 16th Century in England, the Anglican Church sought to keep all in the life and witness of the Church that was in harmony with the Scriptures. Bishops, priests, and deacons are forms of Church Orders depicted in the New Testament (for more on this see the Pastoral Epistles) and raised up in the early Church under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  Many bishops, priests and deacons were proponents of the Reformation and Biblical in their Faith. Thus, the ancient Orders were kept as a blessing and an expression of continuity with the historic Church. Faithful Christians disagree on the need for and functions of these Orders, so other forms of ordained ministry were adopted in some other reformed traditions.

How are Anglicans the same as, and different from, the Roman Catholic Church?

The Anglican Church is like and unlike the Roman Catholic Church in many ways. We are like the Roman Catholic Church in that we both uphold the traditional Holy Orders of ordained ministry: bishop, priest, and deacon; we both accept the first seven ecumenical councils and the theological statements made by those councils as normative, and most of our churches celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday. Chief among the ways we are different is that the Anglican Church embraces the theological strengths of the Reformation while holding to the supreme authority of Holy Scripture in the "reformed Catholic" tradition. Anglican Churches are not under the jurisdictional authority of the Bishop of Rome, nor do we require the celibacy of the clergy. Anglicans generally disagree with the emphasis on, and elevation of the virgin Mary espoused by some in more recent Roman Catholic tradition.  While we both believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, our views differ on how this happens.

How are you the same as, and different from, other evangelical churches?

We are both like and unlike other evangelical churches. We are like other evangelical churches in that we uphold:

  • The authority and sufficiency of Holy Scripture
  • The uniqueness of our redemption made possible by the shedding of Christ's precious blood and death on the cross
  • The need for personal conversion to Jesus Christ
  • The necessity and urgency of evangelism to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our lost and dying world beginning with our family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers

How are you the same as, and different from, other charismatic churches? 

We are both like and unlike other charismatic churches. We share the belief that the Holy Spirit is active in distributing supernatural gifts in the Church today. We believe that the Holy Spirit can speak and work through any believer, even during Sunday worship!  Unlike some Pentecostal Churches, we do not believe that every believer must speak in tongues in order to be saved. We do believe that the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 are for the Church today and that they should be sought, received, and freely exercised in accordance with biblical guidelines.

How do Anglicans address their Clergy (Father, Pastor, Reverend)?

The way that Anglicans address their clergy varies with each parish depending on their personal preferences and traditions.  Like most Anglican pastors, our pastor is an ordained priest  (“priest” is a short form  of the word for "presbyter").  When using a form of pastoral most people call him either ”Father Dean” ( Since the very early days of the Church, bishops and presbyters have been called “father” not because they take the place of God, but because in their fatherly care for their flocks, they lead people to God, and they exercise fatherly authority within a church family) or “Pastor Dean” (ro`eh; poimen; literally, a helper, or feeder of the sheep, used for a minister or priest-in-charge of a Christian Church).  For other thoughts on how to address Anglican clergy you may want to check out What Do You Call An Anglican Pastor?

How important is Anglicanism in your identity?

Our identity has several layers.

  1. First and foremost, we are biblical Christians who love Christ's Church.  Our fervent prayer is that the Church of the Third Millennium will be healed from the Great Schism that took place in 1054 A.D. which divided the Church into Latin Western Catholicism and Greek-Byzantine Eastern Orthodoxy and further divisions caused by the Protestant Reformation in 1520 A.D. which further fractured the Church into thousands of denominations, sects, and groups.  While we embrace the ecumenism espoused by St. Augustine; "In essentials, unity; In non-essentials, liberty; and in everything, love" and have a passion for seeing  "oneness" restored to the body of Christ  in answer to the high priestly prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 17, we cannot walk in fellowship with those who ignore the apostolic teachings, practices clearly set forth in God's Word in favor of doing what's  "right in their own eyes" (Judges 17:6). 
  2. Secondly, our church is fully evangelical, fully charismatic, and fully sacramental which the Anglican tradition and liturgy as contained in the Book of Common Prayer give us the freedom to fully express.
  3. Third, we are affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), an emerging Province within the global Anglican Communion which unites some 100,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada into a single Church.  Members of the Anglican Church in North America are in the mainstream, both globally and historically of orthodox Christianity. For more information on the ACNA please click here.  Churches affiliated with the  ACNA are also members of the  GAFCON movement, a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion. Our mission is to guard the unchanging, life-transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world. We are founded on the Bible, bound together by the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008, and led by a Primates Council, which represents the majority of the world’s Anglicans.  GAFCON works to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching and teaching which frees our churches to make disciples by clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ in all the world.  For more information on GAFCON please click here 

If you have other questions about our Anglican Tradition you can access our Anglican Catechism here.