Monday, September 7, 2009
What do Reformed Episcopalians do, anyway?
I'm just back from Hamilton, where I visited St George's Reformed Episcopal Church for Communion Sunday on the Labour Day weekend. The 1962 BCP was followed pretty faithfully, although options such as the Agnus Dei were not used. The hymnal was that of 1938, but again with more Evangelical choices. There was some added congregational participation - such as during the Thanksgiving after Communion and the Grace, interpolated Mattins-style at the end of the recessional hymn. Most bizarrely, the Prayer of Consecration was read in unison congregationally from the after the Words of Institution to the Doxology. I didn't recognize the Gloria. The Sanctus and Benedictus was said, and I missed the Decalogue, so couldn't say whether the responses were sung. (Our bus driver on the Hamilton Street Railway decided to stop at Tim Hortons while en route, so we ducked in during the Epistle). The acclamations before and after the Gospel were sung to an unfamiliar setting, as was the blessing over the alms.
Although it was decidedly low church, I would have no trouble returning to St George's on future visits to Hamilton for a change of pace. The people there are very friendly and the service was reverently executed. And they really do celebrate at the north end in surplice and tippet (although all paraments, including burse, veil, and super-frontal, were green).