We are part of a global family with ancient roots living out our faith here in Rock Hill. We seek to participate in relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as well as the Church, the Body of Christ. To participate in this relationship it is foundational to understand that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the gospel that sets people free, renews our broken world, and thus is central to every aspect of life and ministry. This is the core of who we are as Anglicans and on this we will not waiver. There are a handful of other distinctives that set us apart from other denominations. Here are some of the features of the Anglican Church that can help you better understand our local community:
Anglicans represent the third largest body of Christians in the world, speaking many languages and coming from many different races and cultures.
The Anglican Church in North America is united with the overwhelming majority of provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The ACNA unites 160,000+ Anglicans in 1,200+ congregations across the United States, Canada and Mexico into a single Church.
Anglicans trace their geographical roots back to Britain but farther back than just the Reformation. Early Christian writings indicate the presence of a church in Britain as early as the third century AD. In the 16th century, English Reformers, including Thomas Cranmer and Richard Hooker, joined the Protestant Reformation happening all over Europe, seeking to rediscover the beauty of salvation as a gift from God (justification by faith, not works) and put the Scriptures into the daily lives of God’s people. Though Anglicanism admittedly spread widely through the era of English colonialism, the riches of the Christian faith as practiced by Anglicans have blessed people all over the world and continue to be passed on in every generation in independent nations.
Perhaps one of the most unique features of Anglican spirituality is the Book of Common Prayer, an ancient prayer book compiled by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer during the Reformation in 16th century England. While other Reformation era churches developed confessional statements of faith, the Anglican church developed a Prayer Book to guide and shape our beliefs and practices. The Prayer Book is fundamentally pastoral and holistic rather than abstract and theoretical. Cranmer, by shaping the prayers around the Word of God, helped to shape future generations of Anglicans by grounding them in the rhythms, language, and cadence of our ancient faith.
Anglicans embrace the threefold order of ordained ministry that emerged in the apostolic era of the Church and continues today.
The ministry of a bishop is to serve as the chief priest/pastor of a diocese (a group of churches in a specific geographic area); to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church; to proclaim the Word of God; and to ordain others to continue Christ's ministry.
The ministry of a priest is to serve as a pastor to the people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments.
The ministry of a deacon is a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.
Anglican spirituality is birthed out of the earliest practices of the Church. These practices developed by placing real importance on living life in and with Jesus Christ through the different events and seasons of his birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection. The Christian year is rhythmical and patterned. It's not governed by the standard calendar, which can now lead to a focus on production and consumption. Instead, we who “live and move and have our being” in Christ choose to focus to live by the reality of his life. And we do this together through the Church Calendar.
The forty days leading up to Christmas during which we focus on the incarnation of Christ and identify with Israel longing for the Messiah. It is a penitential season for humbling ourselves and confessing our need for God’s salvation. Purple is the color of each penitential season.
The twelve days of Christmas, from sunset on Christmas Eve to sunset on January 5th. White and/or Gold, the most celebratory of colors, are the colors of Christmastide.
The season following Christmas that focuses on the revelation of Christ the King to the world. Epiphany begins with the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus and ends with his Transfiguration to Peter, James and John on the mountain. Green is used during Epiphany, which is considered an ordinary time. Green symbolizes new life.
The forty days leading up to Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday. Lent commemorates Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness and provides an opportunity to search ourselves individually and as the Church in a posture of repentance, which is why we call it a penitential season. Lent concludes at sundown on the day before Easter, what we call the Great Vigil. Purple is the color of each penitential season.
From Monday to Saturday, we journey with Christ in his Passion from Gethsemane to the Cross. Holy Week includes 3 services called the Triduum held on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil on Saturday. Red is the color used for Maundy Thursday to symbolize the blood of Christ. Black is used on Good Friday and during the Great Vigil to symbolize mourning.
The fifty days from Resurrection Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. Easter season recognizes God's ongoing work of establishing new creation through Christ. White and/or Gold are the colors of Easter.
The season of commemorating Acts 2 and celebrating the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church. Literally meaning “50 days after,” the day of Pentecost falls 50 days after Easter. Red, symbolizing fire, is the color of Pentecost.
This season’s name comes from the word ordinal, which means “counted.” Beginning on the first Sunday after Pentecost, ordinary time focuses on specific themes of interest or importance to a local congregation. Green, symbolizing new life, is used during ordinary time.