Anglicanism is often known for taking the middle way, or the via media. This middle way is better described as a being a church that embraces the principles of Mere Christianity. Although this term was made famous by the lay Anglican Theologian C. S. Lewis, in his radio addresses that eventually became his well-known book, the principles it sets forth can be dated back to the early church. The idea that guides us in Anglicanism is commonly called the Vincentian Canon which states that that the “Church must take care to hold to that faith which was believed everywhere, always, by all.”
When St. Vincent wrote those words in the 400s, he was addressing the numerous heresies that were popping up throughout the church at the time. When he refers to the Catholic Church, he means Christians as a body, who held a unified belief. This unified theology was to be held in common among all Christians, in all places, and times.
At All Saints Anglican Church, we strive to dwell within the Vincentian Canon. Where it is possible for Scripture to explain itself we rest in that understanding. Where it is unclear, or various bodies of the church have had different opinions, we defer to the beliefs held by the church in antiquity. In our understanding of this, we strive to be a truly classical evangelical Anglican Church.
What is a classical evangelical Anglican?
The best way to explain this is to look at each of these words.
Classical – we worship in the way that Anglicans and in fact Christians have worshipped in for a vast majority of the history of the church, through a common form of liturgy. Anglicans, specifically, have used a book called The Book of Common Prayer to guide their worship lives. This book contains daily services called Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, as well as a service for Holy Communion, and other rites that are used less often including marriage, baptism, confirmation, and ordination. The guide for life of the Anglican church is the Word of God and the Book of Common Prayer.
Most countries where the Anglican Church is present have unique prayer books that reflect the Christian communities there. There have been several generations of Prayer Books in The United States, at All Saints, we use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which we believe stays faithful to the original prayer books written in England during the Reformation and it allows us to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our American context.
Evangelical – We believe that we are all sinners, that we have gone away from the will of God, and that we are separated from him because of the sin of our first father Adam. We bear the pain of the curse that was put upon Adam in his rebellion. Because of our sinfulness, we have consistently failed to uphold the way of the Lord, and fail to love God and our neighbors as we are called. However, Christ came to save sinners, and in that, we are invited to dwell in His death and resurrection and walk with the Lord again.
We confess that the Bible contains all things necessary for salvation and as such we strive to mark, read, and allow the Holy Word of God to be our source of life and to guide in all we do. In doing this, we take seriously Christ’s call to make disciples, starting first within our community, equipping our fellow Christians to live out the Gospel in all aspects of their life and then to go into the world to make disciples.
Anglican – The Anglican Church is a product of the Reformation. In the English Reformation and the Book of Common Prayer, we can distinctly see the influence of European reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin. However, sometimes these reformers embraced novel theology, English reformers sought to capture what it means to be a Christian in the most ancient sense. At All Saints, we strive to embrace the reformed theology of mainland Europe that is in line with the practices and beliefs of that the Church has held throughout all times, in all places, and by all Christians. Additionally, we affirm the 39 Articles of Religion, Anglicanism's historic confession of faith.
Some Common Questions
Why don’t you have Holy Communion every week?
While we would love to meet at the Lord’s table every week, we also want to have time to delve deep into the word of God. To have more in-depth sermons, we have Morning Prayer a couple of times a month. These more comprehensive sermons allow us to explore the truth and the saving grace of Jesus Christ as thoroughly as possible.
Do you have childcare?
We believe that Children are an essential part of the church, and we encourage people of all ages to worship the Lord as one body. We know that at times children may feel the need laugh, cry, giggle, and make noise at points that may seem to be an interruption, but we recognize that as part of the worship of the Lord. We also know that you do need to step out for a moment, we have a room at the back of the church where you may go, if you need to.
We also have bags available with some coloring and quiet toys that children may wish to use during worship. If you need a changing table for your child, there is one available in the parish hall lady’s room. This room is single stall restroom, so fathers are welcome to use it for changing if need be.
May I receive communion?
We invite our fellow baptized Christians from other branches of the church who love our Divine Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in sincerity to join us at the Lord’s table. It is our practice to require confirmation for membership and ask Children under the age of 12 to abstain.
Are you Catholic?
Yes and no. We are not Roman Catholic. However, if you are familiar with the Roman Catholic liturgy, you may find some elements of our worship familiar. In so far as we believe the faith which has been outlined in Holy Scriptures and confessed by all Christians, throughout the whole world, and in all ages, we are Catholic.