One of the fundamental aspects of our identity as Anglicans and, therein, as Episcopalians, is our use of the Book of Common Prayer. As the standard for worship in Episcopal Churches, it unites us together in prayer across time and place.
It is often said that you can live and die in this book, and, though you may want to read a few other books in your lifetime, the prayer book contains collects (another word for ‘prayer’) and rites (another word for a ‘worship service’) for almost any occasion in someone’s life. Our rites for baptisms, marriages, burials, ordinations, confirmations, daily prayer, and Holy Eucharist are all contained within these pages.
Much of the language in the prayer book is scripture, and it contains a unique translation of the entire book of the Psalms. The Word of God scattered abundantly throughout these pages shapes our imaginations, our actions, and especially the words we say to God in worship and prayer.
If you are unfamiliar with the book, or are not used to worshiping in a church that uses a formalized liturgy – not to worry! We print all the page numbers in our Sunday bulletin, and our regular members will be happy to help you out if you need it. But if you want to simply soak it in and follow along, the beauty of the language and liturgy welcomes that kind of participation as well!
“It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.”
-‘Holy Eucharist: Rite II,’ The Book of Common Prayer, 361