FAQ

We know that visiting a church for the first time can be an intimidating experience. We hope that the following will answer some of the questions that you may have, and make your visit with us more comfortable and enjoyable. NEVER HESITATE to drop an email to the Rev. Ethan Magness at ethanatgrace@gmail.com if you have any other questions you would like to ask!

 

What Is Anglican?
That’s a good question, because many people don’t know. The Anglican Church is the third largest Christian denomination in the world (right after the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox). Anglicans are Protestant Christians who trace their roots back to the English Reformation. We are a more traditional-looking Church which uses the Book of Common Prayer, we frequently celebrate Holy Communion together, we believe the Scriptures communicate God’s own word to us and ‘contain all things necessary to salvation’ (a phrase from the Prayer book), and we affirm the importance of those doctrines clarified at the Reformation (that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, the sufficiency of the Bible, etc.).

What are Anglican worship services like?

Anglicans worship in a fairly traditional way, using Liturgy (that is, set forms, prayers, and ‘calls and responses’) from the Book of Common Prayer (a guide and text for worship written during the English Reformation), but we are open to contemporary elements in worship, too.  The Sacraments of the Church are also very important to Anglicans.  Our church celebrates Communion every week, except on the first Sunday of the Month (in which we have Morning or Evening Prayer).  But while we may be rather traditional in our worship services, we aren’t at all “stuffy”.

Do the words ‘Anglican’ and ‘Episcopalian’ mean the same thing?
You can really use either word to describe our denomination.  The word ‘Anglican’ is derived from the word ‘England.’  The word ‘Episcopal’ comes from the Greek word Episcopoi (meaning bishops).  Thus, ‘Anglican’ refers to our English heritage, and ‘Episcopal’ refers to our system of church government (we have bishops who oversee priests and deacons).  Both ‘Anglican’ and ‘Episcopal’ are appropriate titles for our tradition.

Why do Anglicans use Liturgy in their worship?
Liturgy was fairly common in most Protestant traditions until rather recently. The vast majority of Christians believe that liturgy is helpful in worship, and we do, too. Here is why: A steady Liturgy transcends the ever-changing realities in our daily lives, and so we can count on it to bring us back to things that are true and constant. Also, Liturgy teaches us how to pray, as it was written by biblically grounded theologians who knew how to craft and teach Christian prayer. Also, Liturgy connects us with millions of other Christians (from all over the world and throughout time) who have said the same prayers to the same God. Can someone ‘fake it’ through Liturgy and simple go through the motions? Sure. Though you can pretty much ‘fake it’ through any style of worship, whether formal or informal. We think that if you give this style of worship a chance (that is, stick around for a month or so), you’ll begin to love it!

Anglicans often call their ministers “priests”. Why is that?

Anglicans will sometimes call their clergy “priests”, but the terms pastor or minister are also fine.  The reason behind it: the Greek word Presbyter (used in the New Testament for a person who was a pastor or “elder”) was shortened in Old English to the word “Prest”, which after some time became “Priest”.  So, it’s basically the contracting of an old Greek word!

Who is welcomed to receive Communion in an Anglican Church?

All baptized, believing Christians of an understanding age (that is, they have a basic understanding of what Communion is about) are welcome to receive the Sacrament with us, regardless of a person’s denomination or church background.

My spouse is a Catholic and I’m a Protestant. Would we both be happy in an Anglican Church?
We certainly think so. While our beliefs are Protestant, Anglicans retain some ceremonies which look more “catholic” to many people, along with helpful traditions from the early Church that Roman Catholics would find comfortably familiar. So, both groups would feel very much at home.

Where can I read about the basics of Anglican theology?

The founding theology of the Anglican Church can be found in the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion.  The theology presented there is in line with the Protestant Reformation and the ancient Creeds of the Church.  Just search online for “The 39 Articles” and give them a read.  Keep in mind they were written during a contentious time in the Church’s life, so they are a tad ‘polemical’ … but the theological truths to which the Articles point are rock-solid.

How did Grace Anglican Church have its start?

Ten years ago, people started to pray for an Anglican Church in Slippery Rock.  In 2005, some local residents asked the Rev. Paul Cooper of St. Christopher’s Church in Cranberry, PA to assist them in planting a church in northern Butler County.  While he wasn’t able to do the actual planting of the church, he hired the newly-ordained Ethan Magness to head up the effort.  Grace Anglican Church began with a lot of prayer, planning, and trust in the power of the Gospel to transform lives.  We started worshiping weekly in September of 2006, and have continued steadily since then!

Who comes to Grace Anglican Church?
We have a wide variety of folks who are a part of our church family.  There are life-long Christians, and others who are exploring the Christian faith for the first time.  We have people who are from various church backgrounds, and a few who were raised in the Episcopal/Anglican Church.  We have families, senior citizens, young children, and lots of students from Slippery Rock University and Grove City College.  We invite you to check us out!

Some find Anglican Terminology to be confusing.
Here are some definitions to frequently used words
:

terminology
church calendar: A common way of ordering the year according to Christian doctrines (so we celebrate days/seasons like Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Advent, etc.).

collect: A short prayer used to ‘collect’ people’s attention toward God. collect: Eucharist: Derives from a Greek word meaning “to give thanks”; often used to describe Holy Communion.

high-church and low-church: High-church and low-church are terms that both refer to traditional forms of worship (note: low-church doesn’t mean ‘informal’).  Low-church simply means ‘Protestant-looking’ worship, and high-church means ‘Catholic-looking’ worship.  We at GAC lean toward the low-church, Protestant expression of Anglicanism.

rector: Head-pastor of a local parish church.

vestry: The ruling board of a Church, made up (at GAC) of 6 people (plus the Rector).

vicar: Head-pastor of a local church plant seeking to affiliate with a Diocese.