First Time at St. Peter’s or at an Anglican Church?
Our Frequently Asked Questions will help.
What time does your service start?
Our Sunday worship service begins at 10:00 a.m.
What do I wear?
There is no dress code. Wear what makes you comfortable. Generally, people at St. Peter’s dress casually.
Do you have to be an Anglican to go to St. Peter’s?
No. All people are welcome here. Many of our members come to us from other faith traditions or none.
What happens when I come into the church?
- You will be greeted by a member of our welcome team and given a brochure with our Sunday service, Bible readings and announcements. Our hymns (songs) are found in the blue Book of Common Praise in the back of the pews (seats)
- Feel free to ask our greeters any questions you may have.
- Take a seat wherever you feel comfortable.
- You may notice some people bow or genuflect towards the Altar before sitting or leaving. This is a special sign of respect and reverence for Christ. Some people also may bless themselves with the sign of the cross in prayer or with holy water when entering and leaving the church as a reminder of their baptism. Again, only do what feels right for you.
- People usually pray or read scripture before the service to help centre themselves in the presence of God before the service begins.
What if I don’t know what to do during the service?
Don’t worry! You are invited to follow along with as much, some or none of the service as you feel comfortable with. You may follow along with the flow and actions of others, ask for help by the person nearest you, or speak to a member after the service to learn more about why we do what we do. Or you can just sit and let it all soak in. Often instructions are included in the service book. A general guide is that we sit to listen and stand to sing, pray and praise.
What do you do for Sunday worship service?
The central act of worship of the Anglican Church is called the Holy Eucharist, also known as the Mass, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper and the Divine Liturgy just to name a few. At the Eucharist we come together around the altar table to share the sacred meal of bread and wine that Jesus gave us to remember him by. Eucharist means “Great Thanksgiving” in Greek. At this divine banquet, we give thanks and celebrate Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and his living presence here among us now. Being fed and nourished by Jesus in his word and Eucharist, we are given strength to go out from the church to do the work of God in the world.
You may sometimes hear the word “Liturgy” being used as a word to describe our worship services. Liturgy is Greek for “The People’s Work” and means the people’s offering back to God. Liturgy and Service mean pretty much the same thing.
Can I receive the Bread and the Wine?
All people of any age who are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are welcomed to receive. You may receive the bread or wine standing or kneeling. If you prefer not to receive the wine, cross your arms over your chest. If you do not wish to receive the bread or the wine, we encourage you to join us at the Altar to receive a blessing. Cross your arms over your chest to indicate that you would like a blessing. If you are unable to come to the Altar, let one of our greeters know and Holy Communion will be brought to you.
How would you describe your Sunday service?
At St. Peter’s we like to think of our style of worship as reverent yet relaxed; having a little sense of mystery, but approachable. We believe that a response to being in the presence God calls for a sense of wonder. Yet we also believe that a response to being in God’s presence should call out for a sense of joy. We believe that our worship should engage all the senses, and so we use a variety of colours, music, incense and ritual that changes throughout the year to enhance the different Church’s seasons. At St. Peter’s, we like to draw on both the ancient and modern richness of the Church’s resources. All services are in modern English. We use the Book of Alternative Services of the Anglican Church of Canada. Occasionally, parts of services are drawn from a variety of different Christian traditions. Our service is usually about an hour long. For more info see our page on Anglo Catholicism.
Do you have other services?
Yes. On Sundays at 9:15 am we have quiet meditations that last about 15 minutes. On third Sundays of the month the Sacrament of Healing is offered. Throughout the year we have many other services. Regularly check out our website or sign up for our weekly “What’s Happening at St. Peter’s” email to get the latest news.
Are children welcome?
Of course! Currently we offer an informal children’s activity at the back of the church. Children are also most welcome to stay with their parents or guardians throughout the church service and are welcomed and encouraged to be part of the worship and to receive the bread and wine of Holy Communion. Don’t worry if your child talks or makes noise during the service - all of us are invited by God to make a “joyful noise”.
Are LGBT people welcome?
Certainly! St. Peter’s is an inclusive church, a member of Proud Anglicans and is a safe place for the LGBTQ community. We annually take part in Toronto Pride and Durham Pride celebrations by joining in the marches and having our welcome and info booths.
Will they tell me how to think, how to act or how to vote?
Absolutely not. In the Anglican Church we know that every journey toward God is unique. You won’t be forced to think a certain way or “get in line” with everyone else. In fact, you’re welcome to bring your questions, doubts, hopes and dreams with you. You’ll be encouraged to seek guidance from God through prayer, the tradition, worship, scripture and reading, meditation, and other methods that work for you. Each one of us finds God in different ways.
What do you call the clergy?
Ordained men and women clergy in the Anglican Church are bishops, priests and deacons. Everybody in our congregation is a “minister” as a minister means someone who serves. Each of us is called by God to serve in a different way. At St. Peter’s, if the priest is male, we usually address him as “Father”, a traditional term of respect and affection (example: “Hi Father John”.) Some women priests prefer to be called Mother (e.g. Mother Joan), some do not. If you’re not sure how to address the clergy just ask them.
Is the Anglican Church Protestant or Catholic?
Yes. Both. Neither. All of the above. In the Anglican tradition, we like to think we embrace the best aspects of both the Protestant and Catholic traditions, in terms of worship styles, beliefs and actions. We often refer to the Anglican tradition as a “middle way” between Protestants and the Catholic tradition We share a liturgical and Apostolic tradition with the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches, yet with Protestants we stress the centrality of Scripture and value individual reason.
What is the Anglican Church?
“Anglican” comes from the Latin word meaning “English” and describes the Christian Church in the British Isles that evolved over the centuries, went through a period of reformation in the 1500's, spread out from England to all over the world and continues to evolve. Although the Anglican Church has no ruling head (i.e. no Pope), the Anglican Churches are bound together by our bonds of communion with each other, a common tradition and our union with the Archbishop of Canterbury who represents (but does govern) the Anglican Communion as a whole.
What do Anglicans believe?
For Christians, God is understood and known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (The Holy Trinity) - the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of all life.
God the Father - God is love, caring for creation and for every human being as God's beloved children created in his image.
God the Son, Jesus - God as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. Jesus' life, work, teachings, death and resurrection hold the key to knowing God, and to making sense of life, before, during and after death.
God the Holy Spirit - God is alive, loving and active today, inspiring faith, justice and truth, sustaining the life of the world, giving spiritual gifts to the Church and whose presence is seen by changing lives and transforming society.
For more information, see our page on Baptism.
There are three basic guides to Anglican belief:
The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and the New Testament reveal God to humankind and tell of humanity’s responses to God in history. The New Testament reveals God’s love as revealed in Jesus’ life, teaching and actions, death and resurrection to new life.
Reason is a gift of God’s Holy Spirit to use our minds to discover and understand our relationship to God and what it means to be part of his world. Anglicans are encouraged to use reason to explore and comprehend God’s works and to make responsible moral decisions under the guidance of Scripture, prayer and the traditions of the church.
Tradition is the wisdom and experience of generations of past Christians handed down to us from the earliest beginnings of the Church. Tradition helps us to interpret Scripture and lets us share the experiences of the Christians of every era. Ideally, tradition passes on the best of the past in the teaching, hymns, prayers, and rituals that keep our faith alive. Traditions’ continuity and consistency can help preserve the essential truths of our faith.
For more info see our page on Scripture, Tradition and Reason.
Want to Know More?
Check out the other articles on the Resources section of this website. Better yet, come and check us out on a Sunday morning and explore the spiritual journey with us!
We can’t wait to meet you!