Luminous has recently become a part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) via Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO), a community of churches and leaders committed to nurturing existing congregations as well as planting new churches. Under the leadership of Diocesan Bishop Todd Hunter, C4SO seeks to announce, embody and demonstrate the Kingdom of God. and is part of an international communion of churches known as the Anglican Communion. This communion grew out of the missionary expansion of the Church of England over the past 500 years and now consists of more than 38 self-governing provinces around the world, in over 165 countries, with tens of millions of people.
Book of Common Prayer
At the heart of Anglican Christianity is a desire to be simultaneously rooted and relevant, ancient and modern, traditional and innovative. Nowhere is this more plainly seen than in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).
Originally written in 1549 by Thomas Cranmer, the BCP revolutionized the life and worship of the Church in England. Cranmer’s BCP was a brilliant innovation that brought new life and meaning to the ancient worship traditions of the church, because, for the first time, they were simplified (made user-friendly) and written in the language of the people rather than in Latin.
The BCP is also thoroughly infused with Scripture references from the beginning to end as Cranmer had a deep conviction in the transforming power of God’s written word.
The Middle Way
The Anglican ethos has often been described in the Latin phrase, via media (middle way). The desire of the early Anglican reformers was to stay true to the ancient traditions of the early church but in a way that was accessible and relevant to the people of 16th Century England.
Liturgy is not the deluxe or heavy-duty version of Christian worship. It is for everyone who is spiritually hungry and seeking training in heartfelt obedience to God and his purpose for our lives. Responding to the grace of God, we worship by participating in ancient Christian practices as spiritual disciplines, seeking intimacy with Jesus and transformation into his likeness, becoming his cooperative friends for the sake of others.
Liturgy is participatory. If you get off track in liturgy, don’t worry. Just breathe and relax in the moment and make yourself peacefully present to, and alert to the Holy Spirit. Allow yourself to be immersed in the community around you—in rest, song, prayer, and Word.
Baptism marks the point in a person’s life when they both publicly declare their commitment to Christ and the church declares their commitment to supporting them in their discipleship. There really is no more beautiful example of real community than in that of the sacrament of baptism.
At Luminous, we have the honor of baptizing infants, children and adults. In the case of infants and some children, since they are not yet old enough to make promises to God for themselves, others (i.e. their parents and Godparents/sponsors) make promises on their behalf and commit to raise those baptized to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. It is confirmation that these persons then have a chance to affirm their faith for themselves.
Confirmation marks the point in a person’s faith journey when they affirm the faith into which they were baptized as a child and their intention to live a life of discipleship to Jesus. We intentionally assist older children along this process.
This affirmation is confirmed through prayer and the laying on of hands by our Bishop. The church also asks God to give them power through the Holy Spirit to enable them to live in the way of Jesus.
Anglicans embrace the threefold order of ordained ministry of women and men that emerged early in the life of the Church.
Bishop: A bishop leads in serving and caring for the people of God and works with them in oversight of the Church. As a chief pastor, a bishop shares with fellow bishops a special responsibility to maintain and further the unity of the Church, to uphold its discipline, and to guard its faith. A bishop promotes the Church’s mission throughout the world.
Priest: A priest is called by God to work with the bishop and with fellow priests, as servant and shepherd among the people of God to proclaim the Word of the Lord. A priest presides at the celebration of Holy Communion. A priest leads God’s people in prayer and worship, intercedes for them, and teaches and encourages by word and example.
Deacon: A deacon serves the Church of God by working with its members in caring for the poor, the needy, the sick, and all who are in trouble. A deacon assists the priest in leading the worship of the people, especially in the administration of the Holy Communion.