What makes the Anglican Church different?
Anglicans believe the Holy Bible to be the inspired word of God, and to contain all things necessary to our salvation. We adhere to the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds as basic statements of Christian belief. We recognize the sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Communion as the church’s two fundamental sacraments. We also adhere to the historic episcopate, that is, the continuity of the line of bishops since the time of Christ. We are a liturgical church, a church that has a range of ordered, traditional services that have proven to encourage involvement, accentuate attention to the Word of God, and build on the richness that is Christ.
For many years the Episcopal Church in the United States carried on the Anglican traditions here. However, for many Anglicans, the Episcopal Church has moved away from both Scripture and tradition over the past 25 years. Those traditions and that scriptural focus is being continued, however, by the Anglican Church of the Valley and a growing, national network of continuing Anglican churches, churches increasingly a part of the Anglican Church in North America or affiliated with more orthodox and traditional Anglican Provinces in areas outside the United States.
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Where did the Anglican Church come from?
The Anglican Church and its worldwide communion sprang from the Church of England centuries ago, a church formed perhaps for political reasons, that then worked hard to follow many ancient Christian and Catholic traditions, but with a spirit of reason and acceptance essential to a – then – national church. The Anglican Church does maintain an episcopate, or unbroken string of bishops all the way back to the time of Christ. Essentially Anglicans uphold the Catholic and Apostolic faith and follow the teaching of Jesus Christ as revealed in Holy Scripture and the Catholic creeds, and interpret these through our faith, reason and scripture. The spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion is the Archbishop of Canterbury, although individual Provinces have distinct legal structures and may see slight variances in tradition.
Who can attend Anglican Churches?
Anyone! You don’t need to be an Anglican, or even a Christian to join us as we all explore what God has to say to us. The Holy Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, a ceremony conducted at most of our services, is open to all baptized Christians of any denomination. To anyone not baptized who would like to know more about baptism and what it means to be Christian, just ask any of us, or our minister. We are all exploring God’s world and his relationship with us. You are welcome on our journey.
The Anglican Church of the Valley is open to all who wish to worship God using the beautiful liturgies and scripture-based traditions of the Anglican Church.
Who leads services at the Anglican Church of the Valley?
Most services feature the Eucharist or Holy Communion. Such services are led by an ordained priest (who may also be called a minister or pastor. Priests may wear vestments, or simply a “stole” or scarf-like formal piece of cloth around their neck. It is a symbol of their priestly vocation. Clergy frequently also have the “backwards” collar. You can call an Anglican priest “Father,” or “Reverend,” or just “Mister.” You can also call him by his first name. Occasionally the ACOTV may have a service without clergy, Morning Prayer without Eucharist. In those cases the man or woman who leads the service is a lay member of the parish.
Why attend the Anglican Church, or any church? Can’t I be a Christian in private?
No one ever said faith was easy. In our world with its focus on the material and the senses, it is difficult to stand alone and keep our awareness of God and his wishes for us foremost in our minds. Being part of a church is simply being a part of a community where we all can work and explore our faith together.
Why do I have to be part of a certain church and go to routine Sunday services?
Services don’t have to be routine, or on Sunday. But there are three traditional reasons for being a part of a church, and attending services. The first is worship. By formally getting together to worship God, we not only recognize that He deserves our respect and love, we assemble in a group to reinforce our faith and joyfully recognize that we are not alone in our love of and need for God. The second reason for being a part of a church and its services is teaching, and learning. Scripture and time-proven prayers are read to us in a service, sermons and insights may be offered, and we learn new ways to relate our Christian faith to real life. It simply allows us to exchange ideas, to gain perspectives and understanding in ways we cannot do alone. The third reason for being part of a church is fellowship. Christians are a community of people with common goals. Working together we can accomplish more than we can alone, in supporting each other and our community. And, frankly, we like hanging out together.
How is the Anglican Church of the Valley connected to the Anglican Communion?
The Anglican Church of the Valley Inc. is a member of the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America. The Anglican Church in North America unites more than 100,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada into a single Church. It is a Province-in-formation in the global Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Church in North America was initiated at the request of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCon) in June 2008 and formally recognized by the GAFCon Primates – leaders of Anglican Churches representing more than 70 percent of the active Anglicans globally – on April 16, 2009.
How can I find out more about The Anglican Church of the Valley?
Ask. The Anglican Church of the Valley is a fairly new church formed in 2007 to continue the worship, traditions and Scriptural focus of the Anglican Communion here in the Shenandoah Valley. Its members are enthusiastic about our church, its reality and its future. We will be delighted to share with you what we are doing, and what being an Anglican means.
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