Dear Friends,

Today we begin to do something “new”. Please be patient and please pray for Messiah as we make these “changes”.

Why did I put “new” in quotation marks? It is because I think God is calling us to return to something wonderful, venerable and ancient which happens to be “new” to us.

What is this “new” thing? A Morning Prayer service. In the English Reformation, the reformers developed two types of Sunday morning services. One was “A Service of the Lord’s Supper commonly called Holy Communion”. The other service was “Morning Prayer”. The communion service had Scripture readings and sermon and holy communion. The Morning Prayer service had Bible readings and sermon and prayers, but no Lord’s Supper.

Throughout most of Anglican history, the main Sunday morning service has been Morning Prayer. In many parts of the world this is still the case. In Canada in general and Ottawa in particular, up until the late 1970s, almost every Anglican church had a communion service only once a month; the other services being Morning Prayer. I am not a “cradle Anglican” and I was not attending Anglican churches in the 1970s, so I do not know why things changed. I just know that by the time I became an Anglican, most Anglican churches in Ottawa had stopped doing Morning Prayer and only did communion services.

To paraphrase Jesus, “Church services were made for people, not people for church services.” I believe this! So, our Morning Prayer service has modernized the language and relaxed some of the “rubrics” (Anglicanese for the worship service equivalent of “stage instructions” in a play.)

Morning Prayer services have a different rhythm. The confession and sermon and prayers and announcements are in different places in the service compared to a communion service. I will talk more of this the next time we do a Morning Prayer service. For now, on top of the service having a different flow, there will be some other changes as we prayerfully gauge how to adapt the service for our good and God’s glory.

The musicians, singers, readers, intercessors, “collection counters”, Sunday School and nursery workers will be the ones who most notice the changes. So, please pray! Pray for all who serve at Messiah on a Sunday morning. Pray that we are not just “going through the motions”, but that the Holy Spirit will move with power as we gather in Jesus’ name to hear His word, remember the Gospel, repent of our sins, intercede for others and praise the Lord.