Conducting Services In the Anglican Church & Dress Code for Lay Readers & Trained Evangelists by Ven. Dr Endurance Otobrise
We consider this simple and liturgically technical assignment as a rear privilege that has paved way for us to share together as co-labourers in the Lord’s vineyard the liturgical intrigues and etiquettes involved in conducting services in the Anglican Church. I personally applaud this initiative geared towards sustainability of the fundamentals of the Anglican Heritage and to guide against the Liturgical Virus (importation of irrelevant varieties during worship) into the system. I therefore crave the indulgence of all participants to pay apt attention to all we shall discuss and learn today.
CONDUCTING MATTINS/ CELEBRATION OF HOLY COMMUNION- ISSUES INVOLVED:
- Understand the task and your role as a minister/priest 1 Cor. 1:26-30
- Make the Holy Spirit your senior partner.
- Preparation (1) Spiritual – Solitude. (2) Physical- Get acquainted with the prayer book and rubrics
- Avoid over confidence/ familiarity 2 Sam 6:6-11
- Ensure self participation- The minister/ priest is a part of the worship.
- Be congregational oriented- Carry the worshippers along
- Appreciate the supremacy and sovereignty of God- God is the object of worship not the minister. His gifts, talents and other spiritual endowments notwithstanding.
- Avoid profuse apology in case of error during the course of leading worship.
- Guide against the people making you the object of worship.
- Deal with personal mannerism during any liturgical assignment.
- Avoid congregational distractions.
- Fight and overcome inferiority complex.
- Time management-Avoid unnecessary waste of time.
- Self aggrandizement- Don’t lead to impress the congregation or to outsmart a colleague
- Composure/personal carriage.
- Stability in all ramifications- psychologically, emotionally, and mentally.
- Understand the dynamics of the liturgy- The liturgy is dynamic with contemporary update e. g
- The expression “all that is seen and unseen” (Gloria in excelsis)
- No personal welcome and exchange of pleasantries apart from what the rubric provides at the beginning of the service.
- Dismissal before withdrawal hymn is sung
- Skipping stanzas of hymns to the last stanza is liturgically wrong. ANNOUNCING OF LESSONS/ READINGS IN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH LESSON/MATTINS Before- (Before each lessons these words may be said, ‘Hear the word of God, as it is written in (Name of the book), the chapter, and the …verse’). After- At the end of the lesson this may be said: This is the word of God. All: Thanks be to God READINGS/ HOLY EUCHARIST OLD TESTAMENT READING: Before: The reader says, ‘Hear the word of God, as it is written in (Name of the book), the chapter, and the …verse’. After- At the end of the lesson this may be said: This is the word of God. All: Thanks be to God EPISTLE: Before: The Epistle is written in the (name of book), chapter… beginning at …verse. After: At the end, the reader may say: This is the word of God. All: Thanks be to God THE GOSPEL: The Holy Gospel is written in the (name of book), Chapter,… beginning at the …verse. All: Glory to Christ our Saviour. At the end the reader shall say: This is the Gospel of Christ. All: Praise to Christ our Lord DRESS CODE FOR LAY READERS/ TRAINED EVANGELISTS The biblical injunctions pertaining to dress code of priests and other ministers assigned special duties in the Old Testament were given serious considerations during the Levetical Era, Exo39:22ff; which is an indication that the LORD is interested in the manner and form in which we appear before him during worship. We should be constantly guided with the popular saying that ‘you will be addressed by the way you dress’. My personal encounter with security personnel with and without my clerical outfits is a good instance to cite in this regard. Consequently, the need to be properly dressed during divine worship cannot be overemphasized. In the Anglican Diocese of Warri for instance, lay readers/ trained evangelists are expected to appear neatly in cassock & surplice and scarf upon a black shoe and socks including the customized hat for female only.
- It is imperative for every Anglican minister to be guided by the liturgical rules and rubrics in conducting services in the church. The Minister must see himself/herself as a channel and a vessel to preserve our most cherish heritage as Anglicans. The Anglican Church is a Church of order with very robust and rich liturgical heritage. Thus, varieties introduced in course of divine services should not distort the liturgical ingredients of the service.