Sundays at Christ Church

On Episcopal Worship

At Christ Church, we worship within the Anglican/Episcopal tradition supported by the beauty of ancient ritual and sacred music. The rich tradition of the English church and the apostolic faith shape our worship still to this day. A typical Sunday begins with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, a practice of faith and worship rooted in the earliest days of the Christian community and concludes with the beauty of Choral Evensong in the English cathedral tradition. Worship at Christ Church, however, extends beyond Sunday with  Morning and Evening Prayer on Zoom and a quiet celebration of the Eucharist on Thursday evenings.  

At Christ Church we observe many ancient customs as we conduct the ceremonies of the church. Although our liturgies are full of words, they are also made up of actions that reinforce what we are saying and, on occasion, touch on truths for which we have no words. Together, words and actions are both symbolic – representing our offering of ourselves, our lives, and our faith to God.

In the Episcopal Church we are blessed with a rich heritage of language and ritual that has also benefitted from a measure of renewal. At Christ Church we use a variety of forms and styles of ritual, most of which are come from the Book of Common Prayer 1979. You will find services that employ contemporary language – usually denoted as a liturgy using "Rite II" in Prayer Book terminology. You will also find services that employ more traditional language ("Rite I"). But you will also find services that borrow language from the BCP 1662, and, occasionally from the Anglican Missal. Musically, we enjoy singing hymns from the Hymnal 1982, but we sometimes employ hymns from other sources as well. Our choirs sing music as ancient as Gregorian chant, and as recent as music composed just for us by contemporary composers, and everything in between.

Whether the service is a "High Choral Mass" or a simple said service, when two or three are gathered, we are invited to encounter again the mystery of God's love.
Holy Eucharist (a.k.a. "The Great Thanksgiving")
At the center of our community, we celebrate The Holy Eucharist,  as we come to offer our thanks for, and to experience again, the mystery of God’s love for us.

Throughout the week we celebrate the Eucharist with varying degrees of ceremony and solemnity.
Sunday morning is punctuated by the celebration of the Eucharist as we immerse ourselves in the rich choral tradition of the English church.  Our principal Sunday service (at 9am) is supported by our liturgical choirs and incorporates  hymns sung by all and sacred anthems offered by the choir.  Our 8 am service, on the other hand, is a simple, said service of Word and Sacrament. On Thursday, we gather in Saint Margaret's Chapel for a simple service. Regardless of ceremony and style, however, each celebration of the Eucharist reminds us of God’s in-breaking love and presence among us and invites our hearts in return.

Over the years, the Holy Eucharist has been known by several names: the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, the Divine Liturgy, and the Mass. In the Eucharist we celebrate the sacrament of Christ's body and blood, and in it we are made one with one another and with Jesus' first disciples. Today we continue this ancient practice as disciples ourselves, remember Jesus' words to "do this" in remembrance of him. The word Eucharist comes from the Greek eucharistia meaning "thanksgiving" reminding us that our first response is gratitude to God.
Daily Prayer and Choral Evensong
In contrast to the weekly celebration of the Eucharist, we also maintain the daily rhythm of worship and prayer found in the Daily Office. Throughout the week, our clergy and a small cohort of lay women and men gather for quiet prayer in the monastic form of Morning and Evening Prayer. These quiet services invite participants to listen daily for the still small voice of God calling out to us today. On certain Sunday afternoons, the simplicity of Evening Prayer gives way to the beauty of Evensong offered in the English Cathedral tradition. Led by our clergy and choirs, Choral Evensong provides worshippers an opportunity for quiet reflection while enjoying one of the most beautiful expressions of Christian worship.