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  St. Francis Anglican Church, 3401 Oak Creek Dr., Austin, TX 78727
 
 


About our Worship

If you've previously attended a liturgical church, you may recognize many of the elements of our worship service. St. Francis uses The Book of Common Prayer, 1928 Edition, as the basis for all of our worship. The Prayer Book is a document which may be described as an orthodox expression of the Christian faith, using the liturgies which have been a part of catholic worship for centuries. There is no modern "innovation" in the Prayer Book; it calls upon us to conform ourselves to God's Word, rather than trying to change the church's teachings to fit the earthly "desires" of mankind.

The order for all of our worship services is found in the Book of Common Prayer. Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, sometimes referred to as the "Daily Offices", allow for being used as public worship, or as a private devotion. There are Prayers and Thanksgivings for many purposes, helping us to express our concerns and praise to God in the events of daily life. Extensive use is made of the Psalms, which are an integral part of the Prayer Book. And there are services for those occasions which arise in our lives when we turn to God in faith, or seek some extra help: Baptism, by which we become members of the Body of Christ; Confirmation, which bestows the gifts of the Holy Spirit; Holy Matrimony, the joining of a man and woman as husband and wife; Anointing of the Sick, wherein our ailing bodies and spirits are strengthened; Burial of the Dead, through which we commend the souls of the faithful departed to God's mercy; and Ordination, which sets apart ministers for service in the Church.

Of all the services contained in the Book of Common Prayer, Holy Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is the most important part of our worship. Through Holy Communion, we offer God our prayers and praise for his gift of salvation brought to us by Jesus Christ, and at the same time we receive God's grace as we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. Some parishes follow the Order for Holy Communion exactly as it is written in the Prayer Book; others supplement the service with materials from the Missal, which includes many traditional prayers and liturgical practices. In either case, Holy Communion includes all the elements in the Prayer Book, which is the standard used to guard our worship against modern innovation and false doctrines.

New to a Liturgical Church?

If you've not previously worshiped in a liturgical church, you may find it somewhat different from other denominations. While all churches follow some order of worship, liturgical churches use a formal structure and common prayers for much of the service. Generally the liturgy contains the following parts in one order or another:

Confession of sins
Pronouncement of Absolution
Acknowledgment of God's authority
The reading of God's Word
A hymn of praise
Sermon
Offering
Prayers of the church
Holy Communion

The 1928 Book of Common Prayer used by St. Francis follows a very long history of development. In fact, one could say that when the disciples came to Jesus asking Him to teach them to pray, He gave them not twelve different prayers (as doubtless John's needs were different from Peter's, and so on) but a common prayer: "When ye pray say 'Our Father. . .'". This was the beginning of common prayer, and over the centuries a tradition of common prayer has been developed. The language and depth of these common prayers are so rich that they continually unfold new meaning for our spiritual lives.

Typically, copies of The Book of Common Prayer are found in racks attached to the pews. Regrettably, St. Francis has not had pews since 2013 (we hope to acquire some in the future), but there are booklets containing only the portion of the Book that we use for Sunday services. Normally, an usher will offer you a booklet along with the service bulletin as you enter; if no usher is on duty, look for the booklets and the bulletins on a table near the entrance. You will find it easy to follow along using these booklets. Do not be concerned if you "goof up". God does not grade your liturgical performance, nor will your fellow worshipers.

Communion is celebrated every Sunday at St. Francis. You do not need to be baptized in the Episcopal/Anglican Church to receive Communion. As the Nicene Creed declares, "We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins". Baptized Christians who are repentant and who believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist may receive Communion.

Because we recognize that the presence of Covid-19 in the community poses certain risks, the manner of administering the Holy Communion has been altered somewhat. As is customary, Communion is distributed at the Communion rail. If you choose to receive, then please proceed to the rail along with those seated to either side of you. Kneel at the rail, holding out your hands, open but cupped together, and the priest will provide you with a Communion wafer (the Body of Christ). If you intend to receive Communion in both kinds, then please simply hold the Bread in your hands until the the priest returns with the chalice. Then you may offer it back to the priest, and he will intinct (dip) it into the wine (the Blood of Christ) and place it on your tongue. Drinking from the chalice is not allowed at this time. If you choose not to receive Communion, you may still go to the rail for a blessing. Simply cross your arms over your chest, and the priest will confer a blessing.

We hope that this addresses any questions or concerns you may have. It's not meant to be comprehensive, but sometimes attending a new church can be daunting, especially if the form of worship is new to you. Please be assured that you will find the atmosphere warm and the presence of God palpable.


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