The Anglican Church
The Anglican Church
The Anglican Church is a community of worshipping Christians, with more than 70 million members around the world. In Canada our church is called the Anglican Church of Canada. In other countries, it is known as the Church of England or Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, is the head of the world-wide Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Church is divided into regional groupings called “dioceses”. Each diocese has its own bishop (or bishops), who have the overall responsibility for the spiritual well-being and administration of the churches within the area.
St. George’s is part of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal. Our bishop is Bishop Barry Clark.
You can find out more about our diocese by going to www.montreal.anglican.ca
Worship is at the very heart of Anglicanism. Our styles of worship vary from the simple to the elaborate, from evangelical to Catholic, from charismatic to traditional, depending on the preferences of the individual congregation.
Since the 16th Century, Anglicans have worshipped using traditional rituals and prayers. Over the years we have created new forms of worship as language and ideas in our culture have changed. At present, Canadian Anglicans use two worship books – the Book of Common Prayer and the Book of Alternative Services. The Book of Common Prayer is based on traditional rites of the 16th Century and uses language of that century. The Book of Alternative Services, published in 1985, uses more contemporary and inclusive language and draws on a broader range of prayers and rites.
Anglican services include Bible readings, spoken and sung words of praise, preaching, prayers, and the singing of hymns and other music. The celebration of Holy Communion (also known as the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, or the Mass) is central to our worship. In the Eucharist we recall the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we share the bread and wine we remember the sacrifice offered to ensure our everlasting salvation. The act of Communion is a personal encounter with God, an act of praise and thanksgiving.
The Anglican Church of Canada
In Canada, about 800,000 Anglicans worship in 30 dioceses, from Vancouver Island to St. John’s, Newfoundland. The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz is the head (called the “Primate”) of the national church. The Anglican Church of Canada supports churches in large urban areas, small rural villages, and in remote northern regions. In addition to English-language services, services are offered in French, Spanish, Cantonese, Japanese, Mandarin, as well as Indigenous languages.
You can find out more about the Anglican Church of Canada by going to: www.anglican.ca
Every three years, approximately 400 representatives from dioceses across the country gather together at a meeting called General Synod to make decisions on the spiritual and administrative direction of the church. Between Synods, a group called the Council of General Synod is authorized to make decisions on behalf of the wider church. Other counsel or advise is given by the “House of Bishops” -- a gathering of bishops and archbishops from across Canada who meet regularly to reflect on spiritual and moral issues.
In the Diocese of Montreal, we gather every November for our own Synod.
In our Parish, we are governed locally by our Corporation, consisting of the Parish Priest and two Wardens, assisted by our Leadership Team. Our Parish Council, which meets once a month, is an important time for us to communicate with one another. Everyone is invited to come to Parish Council.
The Anglican Church consists of lay persons, deacons, priests and bishops. We consider all baptized Christians to be “ministers” as they share their gifts and talents. However, some members of the church feel called to be ordained as deacons, priests or bishops. In the Anglican Church of Canada, both women and men are eligible for ordination.
Deacons serve as a bridge between church and community. Often employed outside the church, deacons help to interpret the needs and concerns of society to church leaders and help to support and nurture church members. There are two kinds of deacons -- Transitional deacons, who serve in this role for an interim period before being ordained to the priesthood, and Vocational deacons, who choose the diaconate as a lifelong ministry.
The priest serves as a pastor and teacher to members of the church, leads worship, preaches, and supports members of the congregation as they reach out into their community. Some priests find their vocation in a non-church setting, such as a hospital, university or prison chaplaincy.
Bishops are elected by priests and lay people. They provide leadership and care for congregations and serve as a link with the mission and ministry of the national and international church and with other faith traditions. When bishops are elected to exercise oversight for a larger constituency within the church, such as an Ecclesiastical Province or as head of a national church, they receive the title Archbishop.
The Anglican tradition emerged in the 16th Century, during a turbulent period of reform in the church. Anglican reformers chose a “middle way�� between Roman Catholicism and the various forms of Protestanism which developed in Europe at that time. There were two main stages in the spread of Anglicanism -- the first in the 17th Century, during the colonialisation in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The second stage began in the 18th Century, when missionaries travelled to Asia, Africa and South America to spread the Gospel and to establish churches.
The Anglican Church strives to offer a moderate and inclusive approach to faith. While the church presents clear, biblically-based teaching and guidance on most subjects, we also understand that there are some issues in life that can be experienced and interpreted in different ways by different people. We encourage respectful listening, dialogue rather than debate, and “unity in diversity” among our members as we seek to live faithful and fruitful lives.
What Anglicans Believe
Although our members come from many different races and cultures and speak many different languages, we are unified by our belief in the transforming love and power of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We believe that God offers unconditional love and eternal life to those who place their trust and faith in him and we strive to follow Christ’s teachings of compassion, justice, mercy, respect, and love towards others. Central to our life in faith is the concept of “stewardship” -- the belief that all things in creation (including our own talents, skills, and financial resources) come from God. We believe that God has entrusted these gifts to us to be used wisely and responsibly for the good of all people.