| 39 Articles of Religion
| Church Calendar
Liturgical Colours | Sacraments
The Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is the worldwide fellowship of churches owing
their origins to the Church of England. This is a fellowship within
one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, of those diocese,
provinces or regional churches in communion with the See of
The Anglican Communion is
wide-ranging, doctrinally as well as geographically, but yet
there are certain beliefs which unite Anglicans. The Lambeth
Quadrilateral, set out at the Lambeth Conference in 1888,
defines these as:
- The Holy Scriptures of the Old and
New Testaments as "containing all things necessary to
salvation," and as being the rule and ultimate standard of
- The Apostles' Creed as the
Baptismal Symbol, and the Nicene Creed as the sufficient
statement of the Christian faith.
- The two sacraments ordained by
Christ himself - Baptism and Holy Communion - ministered with
unfailing use of Christ's words of institution and of the
elements ordained by him.
- The Historic Episcopate, locally
adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying
needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of
Churches within this Communion are
influenced by the Church of England in many ways, such as in matters
of faith (39 Articles of Religion), church government (Episcopal),
worship and liturgy (Book of Common Prayer), church laws (Canons of
the Church of England) and church ordinances (Sacraments and
Articles of Religion
As part of the universal Church of Christ, inheriting the faith of
the early Church, the Anglican Church does not subscribe to
doctrines different from that of the universal Church. However, the
Anglican Church possesses certain distinctives in the way it
received the Christian faith and tradition, and these are captured
in the 39
Articles of Religion.
Canon A5, Canons of Church of
England: "The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in
the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers
and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures.
In particular such doctrines are to be found in the 39
Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the
These Articles of Religion together
with the Creeds, Catechism, Litany, Church Calendar, Lectionary, and
Psalter, were translated and compiled by Thomas Cranmer in 1549,
into the Book of Common Prayer which was authorised in 1662.
The Church Calendar is planned to remind us of the great events of
the Gospel story, out of which Christian worship springs. Sunday is
the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. For every
Sunday and the chief commemorations in the year, a Collect, Epistle,
and Gospel are provided. The Collect often sets the note of the
day's worship. The Gospel and the Epistle are respectively from the
Gospel story and usually from the pastoral messages of the Apostles.
The Psalms are read through in daily
portions every month at the Morning and Evening Prayer, but special
Psalms are selected for congregational use on Sundays, and
"proper" Psalms are set for the chief festivals. The
Lectionary provides for orderly reading of the Bible morning and
evening throughout the year, with special lessons for Sundays.
Advent prepares us to
celebrate Christ's first coming and warns us that He will come again
to judge the living and the dead. Christmas, the anniversary
of our Lord's birth, leads to Epiphany (January 6) which,
with the following Sundays, speaks of the glory of God revealed in
Christ. Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima,
so called because they precede Easter by about seventy, sixty, and
fifty days, respectively, bridge the interval between the Epiphany
season and Lent.
on Ash Wednesday, and last forty days, excluding Sundays.
This period recalls the forty days of our Lord's temptation. It is a
season of penitence and fasting in preparation for Easter. The fifth
Sunday in Lent, called Passion Sunday, foreshadows Holy Week.
Holy Week opens with Palm
Sunday and leads our thoughts through our Lord's Passion from
his entry into Jerusalem, through the last Supper on Maundy
Thursday, to His Crucifixion on Good Friday, and His
lying in the grave on Easter Eve.
Easter, the festival of the
Resurrection, is kept for eight days, the "octave."
Its date varies according to the date of the Passover full moon. The
season of rejoicing extends through the forty days after Easter,
ending with Ascension Day, when Christ is proclaimed to Lord
of all life; and then to Pentecost Sunday (Whitsunday), when
the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the Church.
The series ends with Trinity
Sunday, which declares the fullness of the Christian revelation
of God. The following Sundays leading up to Advent are named
Rogation Days fall on the
Sunday before Ascension Day and three days following. These are days
when the focus of prayers is on God to bless man's labour to produce
the necessities of life.
At the turn of each season, three
days, Ember Days, are fixed for prayer on behalf of Christian
ministry. Ordinations usually take place at these times.
Other events of our Lord's life and
those great men of God in the New Testament are commemorated
throughout the year on Holy Days or Saints' Days.
The colours of the hangings on the
pulpit and lectern, and of
the stoles and Communion vestments worn by the clergy are
appropriate to the season of the Church Year. Each colour is
- White, for purity and joy, is used
during the great festivals of Christmas and Easter.
- Red, signifying blood and fire, is
used on martyrs' days and Pentecost.
- Purple or violet, symbolising
penitence and mourning, is the colour of the Advent and Lent.
- Green is for life, hope, and
peace; it is used for seasons of Epiphany and Trinity. (Photo on
the right: Priest's vestments in green)
- Black is for death and it is used
on Good Friday and for funerals.
A sacrament involves the use of material things as a sign and pledge
of God's grace, and as a means by which we receive his gifts. The
two parts of a sacrament are the outward and visible sign, and the
inward and spiritual grace. Jesus Christ, in the Gospel, appointed
for his Church, two sacraments as needed by all Christians for the
fullness of life. They are Baptism and Holy Communion.
(Photo on the right: The chalice during Holy Communion )
||Union with Christ in
his death and resurrection, the forgiveness of sins, and a new
birth in God's family, the Church.
||Bread and Wine
||Receiving the Body
and Blood of Christ for the benefit of our union with Christ
and his Church, the forgiveness of sins, and the nourishing of
our whole being for eternal life.
In general, the Cathedral practises
baptism by immersion for adults and baptism by pouring for infants.
It is required that persons to be baptised should turn from sin,
exclusively embrace the Christian Faith, and give themselves to
Christ and to be his servants. Infants are baptised, because, though
they are not yet old enough to make promises to God for themselves,
others, i.e. their parents and Godparents, making the promises for
them, can claim their adoption as children of God. (Photo of a
church member being water baptised by the priest)
these two sacraments, the Anglican Church also practises ministries
of grace. Although these rites were not directly instituted by Jesus
Christ, they are recognised as being ecclesiastical customs which do
not contradict the Holy Scriptures, and are practised for the good
of the Church and her members.
||Laying on of hands
||The Holy Spirit is
received to complete what he began in Baptism and to give
strength for the Christian life.
declares forgiveness of God on the repentant sinner
forgiveness for sins through confession and resolution to
make amends according to his law.
||Laying of hands
upon the candidate for Holy Orders of becoming deacon,
priest, or bishop
grace and authority to be ministers of God in his Church.
||Vows and rings
grace and blessings to fulfill marriage vows as the man and
woman enter into a life-long relationship.
||Laying on of hands
and anointing with oil
grace for the healing of spirit, mind, and body, in response
to faith and prayer.
is also an Anglican rite where baptised Christians who are 14 years
and older and admitted as communicant members (regularly receiving
Holy Communion) of the Anglican Church.
(Photo on the right: Bishop laying hands on communicant members
during Cathedral Confirmation Service)
Ministry in the Diocese of Singapore is the teamwork of members of
the clergy (bishop, priests, and deacons) and laity (deaconesses,
parish workers, lay readers, and others).
Apostolic Succession, the ministry of
the early apostles handed down the ages is a feature in Anglican
Church ministry, which includes the laying on of hands during the
consecration of bishops and the ordination of priests and deacons.
As stated in the Ordinal of the Alternative Service Book 1980, the
duties pertaining to the three-fold order of bishop, priest, and
deacon are as follows:
bishop is called to lead in serving and caring for the people of
God and to work with them in the oversight of the Church. As a
chief pastor, he shares with his fellow bishops a special
responsibility to maintain and further the unity of the Church, to
uphold its discipline, and to guard its faith. He is to promote
its mission throughout the world. It is his duty to watch over and
pray for all those committed to his charge, and to teach and
govern them after the examples of the Apostles, speaking in the
name of God and interpreting the Gospel of Christ. He is to know
his people and be known by them. He is to ordain and to send new
ministers guiding those who serve him and enabling them to fulfill
He is to baptize and confirm, to
preside at the Holy Communion, and to lead the offering of prayer
and praise. He is to be merciful, but with firmness, and to
minister discipline, but with mercy. He is to have a special care
for the outcast and needy; and to those who turn to God he is to
declare the forgiveness of sins.
A priest is called by God to work with the bishop and with his
fellow-priests, as servant and shepherd among the people to whom
he is sent. He is to proclaim the Word of the Lord, to call his
hearers to repentance, and in Christ's name to absolve and declare
the forgiveness of sins. He is to preside at the celebration of
the Holy Communion. He is to lead his people in prayer and
worship, to intercede for them, to bless them in the name of the
Lord, and to teach and encourage by word and example. He is to
minister to the sick, and prepare the dying for their death. He
must set the Good Shepherd always before him as the pattern of his
calling, caring for the people committed to his charge, and
joining with them in a common witness to the world.
A deacon is called to serve the Church of God, and to work with
its members in caring for the poor, the needy, the sick, and all
who are in trouble. He is to strengthen the faithful, search out
the careless and the indifferent, and to preach the Word of God in
the place to which he is licensed. A deacon assists the priest,
under whom he serves, in leading the worship of the people,
especially in the administration of the Holy Communion. He may
baptise when required to do so. It is his general duty to do such
pastoral work as is entrusted to him.