Liturgy is how people worship God in community: prayer, music, sacraments, words, actions, and much more. The Anglican Church prides itself in beautifully crafted liturgies which are faithful both to our historical roots and to our ecumenical relationships with other Christian churches. The Anglican Church describes itself as both catholic and reformed: catholic in its understanding of sacraments and church order, and reformed in its openness to the insights of each new generation, age and society and in its willingness to change and reform.
Here at the Cathedral all liturgies are shaped by the five priorities:
Deepening our Faith
Attracting New Members
Radical Transformation and Justice
Some of the liturgies at the Cathedral are old and traditional: the 8am Sunday Eucharist and the 4pm Sunday Choral Evensong both use the 16th century English language of the Book of Common Prayer.
Most of the liturgies at the Cathedral follow the liturgical reforms of the 1960s. The ritual is far simpler, the texts are more varied and in modern language, and the symbolism is the People of God gathered around God’s table.
Occasionally we experiment with new liturgical expressions and ideas, new translations and new rituals, and artistic media.
At the Cathedral you will find:
inclusive language when we talk of God the Holy Trinity and when we translate the holy name Yahweh from the Old Testament.
inclusive involvement of different people within worship, especially children.
seasonally changing texts for the Confession and for the Affirmation of Faith, and for certain other parts of the service. These texts come from other parts of the Canadian Book of Alternative Services as well as from the books of other parts of the Anglican Communion, especially Common Worship from the Church of England. All the material used at the Cathedral has been authorized by Bishop Mary for use in this diocese.
simplification of ritual Clergy wear the traditional eucharistic vestments to signify their identity with an age-old and ecumenically catholic understanding of the three-fold ministry of deacon, priest, and bishop and of the sacraments, and yet certain elements of ritual which might be seen as exclusive are removed: the peace is shared between clergy and laity equally; deacons, like the readers of the Old and New Testament readings, pray their own blessing before they read. The priests, deacons, and servers do not kiss books, altars, and hands as a special clerical prerogative.
There are some questions in the liturgy which are not yet resolved: As a community we have not yet worked out how best to receive Holy Communion in a way which honours the central nave altar as our principal altar and yet allows people to kneel to receive Communion in a dignified and prayerful way.
There is also no obvious place for the choir to be located so that it can be near enough the organ, comfortable, and at the same time lead the congregation in singing. We are working on these as a community.