A Guide for the Perplexed
The Order of Service for the Sunday Liturgy

The Mass (also called Holy Communion, Eucharist, Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper etc) is celebrated at St Paul’s according to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (hereinafter BCP), supplemented by additional prayers and ceremonies from the Anglican Missal, and by some other local idiosyncrasies.

This booklet is intended as a guide to help visitors follow the service, and contains in bold type all the parts in which the people customarily join.

The weekly bulletin gives the name of the feast (e.g. "Third Sunday after Trinity"), the page-numbers of all the texts found in the BCP, the texts of the "Minor Propers", and the hymn-numbers (not page-numbers) of the hymns and other music found in the 1940 Hymnal. The hymn-numbers are also shown on the hymn-board.

Notes about posture (e.g. "Kneel", "Stand") are only a guide to customary local practice – please do not feel obliged to kneel or stand longer than is comfortable!

Baptised Christians who have been confirmed by a bishop are welcome to take communion with us; all others are invited to come to the altar-rail at the time of communion for a blessing – please kneel with arms crossed over the chest to indicate that you do not wish to receive communion.

The Entrance Hymn (the number in the bulletin and on the hymn-board)

All stand at the beginning of the Entrance Hymn, during which the priest and servers process into church, and begin their preparatory prayers at the altar step; these prayers may or may not take longer than the hymn. At the end of the preparatory prayers, the priest says "Let us pray", and all kneel while the priest says…

The Collect for Purity: "Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open…" ( text in BCP p 67)

The priest (and deacon, if present) then ascend to the altar while the choir sings…

The Introit (text in the bulletin)

This is the first of the "Minor Propers", the special chants appointed for the feast in the Missal, the others being the Gradual, the Alleluia or the Tract, the Offertory Verse, and the Communion Verse; these chants are scriptural texts, often from the Psalms, set to the plainsong of the "English Gradual". After the Introit, the priest turns to the congregation and says…

The Summary of the Law: "Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith…" (text in BCP p 69)

All then join in singing…

Kyrie Eleison (Greek for "Lord, have mercy" – text and music in Hymnal # 710)

Lord, have mercy upon us,

Lord, have mercy upon us,

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us,

Christ, have mercy upon us,

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us,

Lord, have mercy upon us,

Lord, have mercy upon us.

The people then stand to sing…

The Gloria (Latin for "Glory" – text in BCP p 84, text with music in Hymnal # 713. The Gloria is omitted during Advent, and from Septuagesima to the end of Lent.)

The priest sings "Glory be to God in high", and the people join in singing:

… and on earth peace, good will towards men, We praise thee, we bless thee, we *worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only-begotten Son, *Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, *receive our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high + in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

* - a bow of the head is customary at these points

+ - the sign of the cross is customary at this point

The priest then sings "The Lord be with you", and the people respond:

And with thy spirit

The priest then sings…

The Collect (the bulletin will give the page-number in the BCP)

This is the main prayer appointed for the day; occasionally, as during Advent, Lent, and the "octaves" (following weeks) of some feasts, there may be a second collect. To each collect, the people respond:

Amen.

After the collect, the people sit, while a server reads…

The Epistle (the bulletin will give the page-number in the BCP)

The first scripture reading is usually from one of the New Testament Epistles; occasionally it is a passage from elsewhere in the New Testament, or from the Old Testament.

At the end of the reading the server says "Here endeth the Epistle" (or, "Here endeth the portion of scripture appointed for the Epistle"), and the people respond:

Thanks be to God.

The choir then sings the second and third of the "Minor Propers"…

The Gradual, and the Alleluia (or the Tract) (text in the bulletin)

The priest (or deacon) then descends the altar step to sing…

The Gospel (the bulletin will give the page-number in the BCP)

The priest sings "The Lord be with you" and the people respond:

And with thy spirit.

The priest announces the Gospel ("A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew/Mark/Luke/John") and the people respond:

Glory be to thee, O Lord.

At the end of the Gospel, the people sing:

Praise be to thee, O Christ.

After the Gospel, all remain standing for…

The Nicene Creed (text in BCP p 71, save for the insertion of the word "Holy" before "Catholic Church")

The priest says "I believe in one God", and the people join in:

…the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord *Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, **and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is *worshipped and glorified, who spake by the Prophets. And I believe One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the + life of the world to come. Amen.

* - a bow of the head is customary at these points

** - a genuflexion is customary from "and was incarnate" to "and was made Man"

+ - the sign of the cross is customary here.

After the Creed, all sit for…

The Sermon

The choir then sings…

The Offertory Verse (text in bulletin)

The people then stand to sing…

The Offertory Hymn (the number in the bulletin and on the hymn-board)

During this hymn two collections are taken, the first for general parish expenses, the second for charitable and missionary works. At the end of the hymn, the people’s gifts are taken up to the altar for…

The Presentation of Alms

The priest says "All things come of thee, O Lord," and the people respond:

And of thine own have we given thee.

The priest then says…

The Offertory Prayers

The priest presents the bread, saying:

"Blessed art thou, Lord, God of all creation, through thy goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth hath given and human hands have made: it will become for us the bread of life. Blessed be God for ever."

The priest presents the wine, saying:

"Blessed art thou, Lord, God of all creation, through thy goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands: it will become the cup of our salvation. Blessed be God for ever."

The priest bows low at the altar, and says:

"With a humble spirit and a contrite heart may we be accepted of thee, O Lord; and so let our sacrifice ascend in thy sight this day, that it may be pleasing unto thee, O Lord God."

If incense is used, the priest now blesses incense and with it censes the bread and wine, and then the altar; a server then censes the priest, servers, and congregation. After washing his hands the priest turns to the people and says:

"Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father Almighty."

The people respond:

The Lord receive this sacrifice at thy hands, to the praise and glory of his Name, both to our benefit and that of all his holy Church.

The priest says "Amen", then says the "secret" offertory prayer appointed in the Missal. He then begins…

The Prayer for Christ’s Church: "Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church…: (text in BCP pp 75-6 )

The prayer ends "…our only Mediator and Advocate", and the people respond:

Amen.

The priest (or deacon) then invites the people to confess their sins, saying "Ye who do truly and earnestly repent…" (text in BCP p. 75), and the people say together…

The Confession (text in BCP p 75)

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; we acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we from time to time most grievously have committed, by thought, word, and deed, against the Divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings. The remembrance of them is grievous unto us, the burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father. For thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life, to the honour and glory of thy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The priest then turns to the people to say…

The Absolution: "Almighty God, our heavenly Father…"(text in BCP p 76)

At the words "pardon and deliver…"the priest makes the sign of the cross over the people; the people customarily make the sign of the cross on themselves at this point. The priest (or deacon) then says the "Comfortable Words" (text in BCP p 76) "Hear what comfortable words…"

The priest then sings…

The "Sursum Corda" and the Preface (text in BCP pp 76-9)

"Sursum corda" is Latin for "Lift up your hearts", and is the name given to the dialogue which precedes the preface:

Priest: The Lord be with you.

People: And with thy spirit.

Priest: Lift up your hearts

People: We lift them up unto the Lord.

Priest: Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.

People: It is meet and right so to do.

The priest then sings the Preface to the Prayer of Consecration; this may be the Common Preface on pp 76-7 of BCP, or one of the Proper Prefaces on pp 77-9 of the BCP, or occasionally a Preface from the Missal. All the Prefaces end…

"… evermore praising thee and saying:"

The people join in singing…

The Sanctus and the Benedictus (text with music in Hymnal # 797)

"Sanctus" is Latin for "Holy", "Benedictus" is Latin for "Blessed":

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts,

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory,

Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High.

Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord:

Hosanna in the Highest.

The priest then begins…

The Prayer of Consecration (text in BCP pp 80-1)

The Prayer of Consecration is the central prayer of the mass, by which the bread and wine are consecrated to become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The text of the prayer is as in the BCP, save for the insertion of the "Commemoration of the Dead" translated from the Latin of the old Roman Prayer of Consecration, which asks a place of "refreshing, light, and peace" for the souls of the faithful departed, and which honours the memory of the martyrs venerated in the ancient Church of Rome.

All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou, of thy tender mercy, didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his most precious death and sacrifice, until his coming again: For in the night in which he was betrayed, he took Bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, TAKE, EAT, THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH IS GIVEN FOR YOU; DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.

(The people make the sign of the cross as the priest elevates the bread.)

Likewise after supper, he took the Cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying DRINK YE ALL OF THIS; FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS; DO THIS, AS OFT AS YE SHALL DRINK IT, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.

(The people make the sing of the cross as the priest elevates the wine.)

Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of thy dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we, thy humble servants, do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts, which now offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make; having in remembrance his blessed passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension; rendering unto thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same.

And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to bless and sanctify, with thy Word and Holy Spirit, these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine; that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.

And we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant that, by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we, and all thy whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. And here we offer unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him.

The Commemoration of the Dead:

Remember, O Lord the souls of the servants and handmaids who have gone before us signed with the sign of faith to rest in the sleep of peace. To them, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, we beseech thee to grant a place of refreshing, light, and peace. To us sinners also, thy servants, trusting in the multitudes of thy mercies, vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with thy holy Apostles and Martyrs, with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and with all thy saints, within whose fellowship we beseech thee to admit us.

And although we are unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice; yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end.

The people respond:

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer (text in BCP p 82, text and music in Hymnal # 722)

The priest sings "And now, as our Saviour Christ hath taught us, we are bold to say…"

The people join in singing…

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And for give us our trespasses,

As we those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory,

For ever and ever. Amen.

The Peace

The priest says the Prayer for the Peace of Christ’s Church: "O lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto thine Apostles…"(text in BCP p 49), then turns to the people and says:

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

The people respond:

And with thy spirit.

All join in singing:

Agnus Dei (Latin for "Lamb of God), text and music in Hymnal # 712)

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

Grant us thy peace.

Invitation to Communion, Communion

The priest presents the host and the chalice to the people saying: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold him that taketh away the sins of the world".

The people respond:

Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.

Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.

Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed.

The priest then summons the people to communion, saying: "Draw near and receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for you, and his blood which was shed for you. Take this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving."

During communion is sung…

The Communion Hymn (number in the bulletin and on the hymn-board)

After communion, the priest says…

The Post-Communion Prayers

The priest says "The Lord be with you", and the people respond:

And with thy spirit.

The people kneel, and the priest reads the Post-Communion Prayer appointed for the feast in the Missal, followed by the Post-Communion Thanksgiving from the Book of Common Prayer: "Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee…" (BCP p 83); to each prayer, the people respond:

Amen.

The choir then sings…

The Communion Verse (text in bulletin)

The priest then moves to the centre of the altar and turns towards the people to say…

The Blessing and the Dismissal

The priest says "The Lord be with you", and the people respond:

And with thy spirit.

The priest says the blessing (text in BCP p 84):

The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God Almighty, + the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, be with you and remain with you always.

+ - the people customarily make the sign of the cross at this point.

The people respond:

Amen.

The priest then moves to the north end of the altar to say…

The Last Gospel (text in BCP p 97)

The priest says: "The Lord be with you", and the people respond:

And with thy spirit.

The priest then announces: "The beginning of the Holy Gospel according to John", and the people respond:

Glory be to thee, O Lord.

The priest then reads the gospel:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made, that was made; in him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. **And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

** - a genuflexion is customary at this point

At the end of the reading, the people respond:

Thanks be to God.

The Closing Hymn (number in bulletin and on hymn board)