The following comes from the Anglican Identity and Worship Prague Statement of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, 2005:

V Some Anglican emphases, trends and aspirations.

In worship, we are drawn into a living relationship with the Triune God in patterns of prayer that are in themselves Trinitarian in form and content, and invite us to enter more deeply into God’s life and love as those who are called to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1.4). In our coming before God in adoration and thanksgiving, penitence and prayer, we recognize that liturgical celebration is both our corporate action, our work, words and ritual gestures, and also an occasion when God, through the Holy Spirit, is active and at work making and re-making our lives.

Our worship is rooted in God’s work of creation, incarnation and redemption and so needs to be embodied and enacted in ways that engage all the senses. Thus we honour the goodness of creation, pray for its healing, and come to delight in splendour as we celebrate both the beauty of holiness and the holiness of beauty.

We recognize that God’s creation is often disfigured by sin, by human greed and violence and we seek that healing grace which flows from the cross of Christ. As we commemorate Christ’s saving death and transfiguring resurrection in the celebration of the Eucharist we are again made one in him and strengthened to witness to his reconciling love in our broken world.

We invoke the Holy Spirit, seeking to be open to God’s future, and to orient ourselves to the fulfilling of God’s purposes. Recognizing this essential eschatological dimension of Christian worship, we seek to attend to the various relationships that transcend both space and time: our sharing in the Communion of Saints, with our Anglican brothers and sisters around the globe, and with the whole oikoumene. Through our conversations and engagement with each other in the work of Christ we seek to realize more fully the unity that God has given us and to which Christ calls us.

We believe that our worship conveys and carries the historic faith of the Church, and recognise that as we are blessed with reason, memory and skill we are called to use our gifts in crafting liturgy that honours our received and living faith in this time and context.

We believe that the rhythm of worship, our gathering and our being “sent out” mirrors the mission of God, of God’s engagement with the world and the claims of God’s Kingdom of justice, righteousness and peace. We therefore commend again the inseparable relation between worship and mission.

AIDS TO WORSHIP: Anglican worship makes use of material things and the senses in its praise of God. The various actions in our worship enable our bodies to join with our spirit in the total worship of God. The whole body participates as we meet to worship God in Spirit and in truth.

Candles: Candles remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world. The two candles that are placed on the altar represent the human and divine natures of Christ.

Candelabra: a branched holder consisting of three, five or seven candles, representing the Trinity, five wounds of Christ, and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit or Church.

Paschal Candle: a large white candle symbolising the risen Christ. The Paschal candle burns at all services through Pentecost.

Genuflection: We genuflect by bending the right knee and allowing it to touch the ground. In this act we reverence the Blessed Sacrament. We believe that Christ is truly present in the reserved sacrament on the altar.

Incense: "And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Revelations 8:3).

Incense is a symbol of prayer. As the smoke rises to heaven it symbolises our prayers rising to God. Incense is also burnt as a sign of honour and respect. Censing of the congregation reminds the faithful of their honour in sharing in the priesthood of the believers.

Holy Water: On entering and leaving the Church we dip our hands in the holy-water stoup and make the sign of the cross. This act calls to mind our baptism and commitment to the Christian faith. Holy water is used in blessing objects, things and persons; an act of sanctification and protection from the power of evil.

Kneeling, Sitting, Standing: Kneeling is the most common posture for prayer. (Read Luke 22:41, Acts 20:36, Acts 7:60). Kneeling expresses humility, submission and obedience. We kneel to pay homage to God.

Sitting symbolises our willingness to listen to God's word and be guided by it. Sitting is NOT the posture for prayer.

Standing is a sign of respect. We stand in the presence of those who are higher than we are.

We kneel for prayer, sit for the sermon and Bible readings, and stand for the Gospel reading, the Creed and singing of hymns.

Sanctus Bells: The trio of bells rung at the singing of the Sanctus and at the consecration of the bread and wine in the Eucharist. The bells call out attention to and aid our devotion to our Lord who is present under the form of bread and wine.

Sign of the Cross: We make the sign of the cross, by putting the right hand to the forehead, then to the breast, and then to the left and right shoulders respectively, saying quietly, "In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Amen.

To make the sign of the cross says we are Christians. The cross is the universal sign of Christianity.

We make the sign of the cross at the beginning of our prayers and the Mass, to fix our mind on Jesus.

At the reading of the Gospel three small crosses are made - on the forehead, the lips and the breast. These gestures are to remind us that we are to use our minds, mouths and wills in the reception of the Gospel of Christ and to make the Gospel a part of our total lives.

At the end of the Creed we make the sign of the cross to remind us that we share in the resurrected life of Christ.

At the words of institution "This is my body, this is my blood" we make the sign of the cross as an act of devotion, a reminder of Christ's sacrifice for salvation of the world. The sign of the cross is made at the absolution (after the confession) to reassure us of God's forgiveness.

Before and after receiving Holy Communion; and at the end of Mass the sign of the cross is also made as a way of invoking God's blessing on our lives. Whenever the sign of the cross is made it reminds us of our baptism into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

Stations Of the Cross The fourteen Stations of the Cross highlight the last events in our Lord's earthly life and aid our devotion as we walk with Christ to Calvary.


Vestments are the distinctive wear of the clergy and other ministers worn at the Eucharist and other church services. They are not necessary for the valid celebration of the sacraments and other rites, but they play an important part in our worship.

In Old Testament times the priests wore a distinctive dress when officiating. Clear instructions were given for the priestly garments:

Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honour. Tell all the skilled men to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, they are to make: a breast piece, an ephod, a robe, woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.

Exodus 28:2-5

In the secular world various uniforms and types of dress denote the functions and offices of certain individuals. Judges, policemen, lawyers, nurses, clerks, and many other persons are known and identified by their uniforms and forms of dress. In our social life, different occasions require certain dress appropriate for the occasion. How one is dressed speaks of the nature or function he is attending, and symbolises the degree of respect or value he holds for that event. The vestments of the ministers speak of the importance of the event they are celebrating. Vestments add a festive colour to worship.

The dress of the clergy and other ministers tells us of their function and role within the worshipping community. The vestments are not meant to make the ministers look pretty. They are not costumes worn by actors. Vestments identify those persons who are fulfilling an official function.

Persons who lead the congregation in worship are the representatives of Christ. Worship leaders are not to project and draw attention to themselves. Vestments cover up the personality of the ministers and emphasise their role or function. The servant disappears behind the Lord whom he serves.


The Eucharistic vestments were not dissimilar in form from the ordinary dress of civilians. However, the ordinary dress adopted by the church was given a new meaning and used to represent some aspect of our Lord's passion.

ALB: A long white robe, which reaches to the ground and covers the whole body. In ancient times this was the garment worn by professional people or by anyone who enjoyed dignity. The Alb signifies the purity that should adorn the lives of the priests.

AMICE: This is a square of white linen wrapped around the neck and shoulders. The Amice symbolizes 'the helmet of salvation (I Thessalonians 5:8, Ephesians 6:17) that helps the priest to overcome the attacks of Satan.

CHASUBLE: The outer and chief vestment of the mass worn by bishops and priests. The Chasuble symbolises charity and the yoke of unselfish service for the Lord. As he puts on the chasuble the priest prays "O Lord, who has said, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light: make me so to be able to bear it, that I may obtain Thy favour. Amen.”

CINCTURE: A cord used to gird the Alb. It symbolises chastity and continence, modesty and righteousness, readiness for hard work in God's service.

STOLE: This is the chief sign of the priestly office of the priest. Whenever a priest performs a function of a priestly nature he is required to wear a stole. As the priest places the stole around his neck, he prays that on the last day the Lord will give him the "state of immortality which I have lost through the sin of my first parents."

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