You are most welcome at any service of the Anglican Church of the Valley.
We meet in a historic Jewish synagogue, the Temple House of Israel on Market Street in Staunton. If you join us one Sunday, here's something of what you will experience.
At Our 10 am Study Group
At 10 each Sunday morning a group meets in a portion of the Temple community room. You'll see from 10 to 20 folks sitting around tables , usually in casual conversation about anything before the group starts at 10. We begin our discussion with a short prayer, then the study leader, usually a priest - sometimes the priest who will be performing the service that day begins a discussion on a topic related to that day's lessons, or church history,and belief.
At the Anglican Church of the Valley, discussions are open and animated,with many people chipping in. We all have ideas, problems or questions about all kinds of things and the discussion group allows us a time to learn, to share and to experience along our individual paths to Christ. You will see from the comments that we all have questions, and we all seek a better understanding - including a few members who are retired priests. The discussions are usually active, full of laughter, and always interesting. You will notice that when we bring the session to a close about a quarter to 11 so the clergy can prepare for the service, many or most of the participants are reluctant to end = and you may see threads of conversation show up again after church.
At Our 11 am Service
The Sunday service is held in the Temple sanctuary, a beautiful old space filled with old pews facing a raised altar area backed by a beautiful marble enclosure holding the Torah or the Pentateuch,. The Torah or Pentateuch is the primary religious book in the Jewish tradition, and is essentially the first 5 books of the Christian Old Testament.
The Anglican Church of the Valley uses the two podiums at each side of the Torah, and places an altar between them.
One of the first things you may notice as you enter the Sanctuary will be the people. We may be dressed traditionally in suits and dresses, or more casually in jeans or slacks and shirts. But we are friendly and will introduce ourselves to you.
After you take a seat, you'll notice the altar is draped in a beautifully embroidered linen in a color appropriate to the church season. On top of the altar you'll see something draped in a matching linen. That's the chalice (cup) and paten (plate) used to distribute the bread and wine to all baptized Christians as the central part of the Eucharist service.
As the time for the service approaches, you'll see the priest or priests - wearing vestments - and an acolyte or acolyte also vested with a white robe - go to the back of the Sanctuary. They will process in during the first hymn of the service.
During the service the congregation stands for some elements, sits during lessons and sermon, and stands or kneels at other times. Usually indications about standing or sitting are in the bulletin. We stand for hymns - except for the offertory hymn. For the confession and Eucharistic prayers, you see people standing and kneeling. You can choose to do either. There are kneelers available in the area to the right of the altar before the service.
You will notice that the liturgy opens with prayer and praise, then presents portions of scriptures and a psalm. The reading of a portion of the Gospels is followed by a sermon offering us perspective on the Word of God. Then we move to a section of prayers of the people - our petitions to God for His guidance or help. After offering our alms to God, we go into the more formal Eucharist portion of the service where we consecrate bread and wine as the Body and Blood of Christ and then actually partake of those Holy Elements.
Our Holy Communion or Eucharist is open to all baptized Christians, not just Anglicans. If you are not baptized and would like to learn about baptism and other church sacraments, just ask any member of the clergy.
The order of the Anglican Church is drawn from the service order of the earliest Christians, those of the first few generations following Christ. In turn, that early Christian service was based heavily on the order of service in the Jewish Temple. So you can see the Anglican service is not only very reflective of the early church, it also contains in lessons and in text read in the service a lot of Scripture.
Authentic Anglicanism is not only traditional, it is heavily Scriptural.
If you have any questions about the service, it's components or why we do the things we do, please ask any of the clergy or church leaders. We love our church and will be delighted to answer your questions.
Copyright 2013. Anglican Church of the Valley. All Rights Reserved.
All Baptized Christians are welcome to join us for Holy Communion.