Anglicanism, in its polity (governance), theology, and types of worship, is commonly understood as a distinct Christian tradition representing a middle ground between what were perceived to be the extremes of the claims of 16th century Roman Catholicism and the Calvinism of that era, and as such, is often referred to as being a via media (or middle way) between these traditions. Anglican faith is founded in the Scriptures and the Gospels, the traditions of the apostolic Church, and the historic episcopate. Traditionally Anglicans understand the Old and New Testaments as “containing all things necessary for salvation” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of our faith. Anglicans in general understand the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed as the sufficient statements of the Christian faith. St St John's our liturgy (the words we use in our service) can also include other creeds that are inclusive contemporary in nature.
Anglicans generally believe the ‘catholic’ (which means universal) and ‘apostolic’ (the doctrine of relating the church to the original twelve apostles) faith is revealed in Holy Scripture and the catholic creeds, and interpret these in light of the Christian tradition of the historic Church, scholarship, reason, and experience. Thus it has been said that when Anglicans look at an issue, they do so through the lenses of Holy Scripture, history and contemporary reason; all three.
Anglicans celebrate the traditional Christian sacraments, with special emphasis being given to the Holy Eucharist, also called Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper or the Mass. The Eucharist is central to worship for most Anglicans as a communal offering of prayer and praise in which the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are proclaimed through prayer, reading of the Bible, singing, and the offering of the bread and wine, giving God thanks over them for the innumerable benefits obtained through the passion of Christ, the breaking of the bread, and reception of the body and blood of Christ as instituted at the Last Supper. In Anglicanism a considerable degree of liturgical freedom is permitted in the celebration of the Eucharist, and worship styles range from the simple (sometimes called ‘Low Church’) to elaborate (sometimes called ‘High Church’).
At St John's we use the Book of Alternative Services and other contemporary liturgies for our Holy Eucharist and other sacramental services. We are an inclusive community and welcome and cherish all of God’s children and embrace the varied and many gifts they have to offer. We would consider ourselves neither High or Low Church as our sacramentality tends to fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of Anglican practice.