Home Church

Being a Home Church

The early church began as a home gathering to which family, friends and seekers were invited to hear the good news about Jesus and experience Christian community and God's love and healing power. In this challenging time of pandemic many people can not gather in their regular church or may not have a regular church. This is a time for each family group to gather daily or weekly for the spiritual comfort of experiencing God's love, grace, forgiveness and healing. There is a great wealth of resources available to home churches, even churches of one:

  • Most churches share their weekly services and midweek teachings on Zoom and Youtube
  • Lucille and I do a weekly "participatory home communion" on Sundays at 10.00 on Youtube where we intentionally include people in the prayers, intercessions, confession and absolution and in receiving the sacrament spiritually in their hearts by intention
  • The resources below include the simple liturgy we use and links to the Common Lectionary of Sunday readings 
  • Two teachings on Baptism preparation
  • The blog itself is searchable by keyword and the name of the Sunday
  • More will be added


Resources For Home Churches:

  1. Holy Communion liturgy
  2. Baptism Questions, Promises and Covenant
  3. Baptism / Confirmation Course

Holy Eucharist

(Anglican Book of Alternative Services)

 

Gathering Music, Greeting:

(Presider): The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.   Response: And also with you.

 

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Collect / Prayer for the Day  (Response: Amen)

 

Ministry of the Word (Readings, Psalm, Hymn, Homily)

 

(Gospel Responses): Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ / Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

 

Apostles creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

 

Prayers of the People (Response: “Hear our prayer”)

(Add names, short prayer requests as appropriate in pauses)

 

Confession / Healing our Separation from God & Others

Let us in a moment of silence examine our consciences and recall the things we have done which have separated us from God and from each other .......(long silence for self examination).........

 

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us, that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.

 

Priest gives Absolution (Response “Amen”)

 

The Peace:

The peace of the Lord be with you!

(Response)  And also with you. (Greet those around you)

 

(Hymn or Music while offerings are received)

Prayer over the offerings (Response: “Amen”)

 

Eucharistic Prayer # 3

Priest: The Lord be with you. / R And also with you.

Priest: Lift up your hearts. / R:  We lift them to the Lord.

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

Response: It is right to give our thanks and praise.

 

Preface of Season (Priest)

 

(All) Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

 

 

(Priest We give thanks to you, Lord our God, for the goodness and love you have made known to us in creation; in calling Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in your Word made flesh, Jesus your Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary, to be the Saviour and Redeemer of the world. In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.

 

On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, a death he freely accepted, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: this is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

 

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

 

Therefore, Father, according to his command,

(All) we remember his death, we proclaim his resurrection, we await his coming in glory;

(Priest) and we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you, Lord of all; presenting to you from your creation, this bread and this wine.


  1. (Priest) We pray you, gracious God, to send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts, that they may be the sacrament of the body of Christ and his blood of the new covenant. Unite us to your Son in his sacrifice, that we, made acceptable in him, may be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In the fullness of time, reconcile all things in Christ, and make them new, and bring us to that city of light where you dwell with all your sons and daughters; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the firstborn of all creation, the head of the Church, and the author of our salvation; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory are yours, almighty Father, now and forever.  People: Amen.

 

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from the evil one. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.  Amen.

 

Breaking of Bread

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

We being many, are one body, for we all share in the one bread.

 

The Communion (Anyone baptized may receive, others come for a blessing / healing prayer with hands down.

 

Prayer after Communion.   Response: Amen.

 

Glory to God , whose power working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever.  Amen

 

Blessing, Announcements, Dismissal



 



1. Baptism Questions, Promises and Covenant

Rev. John Gishler, 2015, 2020

 

Baptism, Confirmation or the Re-affirmation of faith is a sacrament whereby an individual enters a covenant agreement with God. In the Baptism Covenant a person turns from dependence on self to dependence on Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour. In return for this faith and loyalty, God provides a way to be forgiven from sins, inherit eternal spiritual life and enter the spiritual Kingdom of God. God also sends the Holy Spirit to live in a person and guide, protect and heal them. Water is used to as a sign that past sins have been washed away and the person has died to their old self and been born again. Holy Oil is used to make the sign of the Cross on the forehead to seal the Covenant and pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

The Baptismal questions and promises summarize what the Baptized person (or sponsors / godparents of infants) is required to do to keep the Covenant. It is important that everyone answering these questions and making these promises understand how serious they are and what they mean. It is offensive to God when these questions and promises are not taken seriously.

1. The Examination Questions: Adults and older children

Just like the Marriage Service, Baptism begins with a series of questions designed to ensure readiness to make the promises. For adults and older children there is only one question: “Do you desire to be baptized?”This presumes personal knowledge and experience of Christianity, which could include Bible reading, church attendance and the Alpha Course or some other a course of instruction. 

2. The Examination Questions: Infants and younger children
Children can be baptized on the assumption that the Godparents or church Sponsorswho answer the following questions will be able to ensure the child is raised in a Christian environment:
A. “Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is nurtured in the faith and life of the Christian community?”
B. “Will you by your prayers and witness help this child to grow into the full stature Christ?”
   These questions assume the Godparents and Sponsors are personally attending a church and have some kind of daily prayer life. Alternatively, the local church community can recommend a parish “Sponsor” who would work with the parents in nurturing the child in the faith and life of the Christian community.

3. Baptismal Promises (Candidates OR Parents and Godparents)
The priest asks the following questions to both individuals seeking Baptism and the Godparents and Sponsors of young children. It is assumed that people making these promises have had some teaching and understand; and believe in the spiritual worldview of the Bible, particularly the reality of sin, Satan and demonic forces of evil.
A.“Do you Renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?”
This is the spiritual worldview of the Bible which many people in our time have unfortunately rejected as mythical. (see Ephesians 6.10-18) This question tests whether people are ready to take sides in an eternal spiritual battle – with significant consequences. Our words have power in the spiritual dimension. This is nothing less than a renunciation of our old pattern of life that may have been guided or even controlled by the temptations and deceptions of evil spirits.
B. “Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?”
The evil powers of this world include the human temptations of pride, anger, envy, sloth, lust, gluttony, fear, selfishness, power, control, sex and materialism. These are the things that can control our lives, distract us from Jesus and separate us from God. These ‘idols’ can become the ‘lord’ of our life. We need to renounce them before we are ready to accept Jesus as the Lord of our life.
C. “Do you renounce the sinful desires that separate people from the love of God?”
Our sinful desires include personal power, control, greed, materialism, lust etc. 
D. Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Saviour?
Many people believe they can just be good and save themselves. They do not understand or believe that Jesus sacrificial death on a Cross can pay for their sins and enable them to have an eternal spiritual life with God who is holy.
E. Do you put your whole trust in His grace and love?
Do you depend on Him for the forgiveness of sin and your eternal salvation?

F. Do you promise to obey Him (Jesus) as Lord
Means having no other idols or gods – popularity, materialism, power and control

4. The Baptismal Covenant

A. What God Does – Inward & Invisible

  • ·     God covenants to Includes us in the Church – the spiritual body of Christ 
  • ·     Connects us spiritually to the sacrificial death and Resurrection of Jesus
  • ·     Enables forgiveness of past and future sins when we specifically repent and ask in faith
  • ·     Covers us with spiritual protection
  • ·     We can renew and strengthen this Covenant weekly in the Eucharist
  • ·     God gives us eternal spiritual life (Raised to new life after death.)
  • ·     Holy Spirit comes and lives in us
  • ·     God gives us the gifts of the Holy Spirit as we ask
  • ·     Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Healing, Wisdom
  • ·     Knowledge, Faith, Prophecy, Tongues & Interpretation

·     

B. What the priest does

  • ·     Hears the promises of the Baptismal Covenant
  • ·     Washes in water to symbolize the washing away of past sin and guilt
  • ·     Blesses and Signs with a Cross to seal the identity of the person as belonging to God in Christ
  • ·     Anoints with Holy Oil to symbolize the coming of the Holy Spirit into the persons’ life





2. Baptism / Confirmation Preparation Course

by Rev. John Gishler, Revised 2014

This Course is intended for adults considering baptism or preparing to act as parents, parish sponsors or godparents of a child in a Baptism Service. If parents are not attending church regularly the parish may appoint a sponsor in consultation with parents to ensure the integrity of the promise – “to continue in the fellowship...”. The promises should not be made by anyone who has not read and worked through this Course either alone or in a workshop group. Part One explains the meaning of Baptism / Confirmation. Part two explains the questions. Part Three is a discussion of the promises made by Candidates, or in the case of children; by parents, sponsors and godparents. Baptism is now considered full membership in the Church which may be re-affirmed as confirmation. Baptized children may receive Communion.


I. What Is Baptism?

Christian baptism is a service celebrating an individual’s entry into the Kingdom of God in the tangible form of joining the church community. It is intended to mark a dramatic change in the person's life where they renounce their attraction to power, materialism and spiritual forces of evil; and turn to Jesus Christ for help in beginning a new spiritual life. The service includes the mystery of the death and washing away of past sins - anything that has tended to separate the person from God; and prayers for the coming of the Holy Spirit into the persons’ life. In baptism a person is adopted as a child of God and is mystically joined to the saving action of Jesus on the Cross. Baptism alone is not a permanent inoculation against sin or a guarantee of salvation. Christians believe they are saved by living out their personal faith in Jesus Christ. The faith connection of the baptized to Jesus Christ is strengthened by regular Bible reading, listening to teaching, personal prayer and weekly participation in the celebration of the Eucharist in a Church community.

Readings for discussion: 
Mark 1:1-13; 10:13-16; John 3:3-6; Romans 6:1-14
Book of Alternative Services p.153-162


II: The Examination of the Candidates / Sponsors / Godparents

 The "Examination of the Candidates" in the service of baptism is designed to make sure candidates, godparents and sponsors clearly understand what they are promising. The Bible Readings and reflection questions are provided to help them answer with confidence during the service - “I will”, “I renounce them" or "I do” in a voice that the priest and Congregation can clearly hear.

1. Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is nurtured in the faith and life of the Christian community?
Reading for discussion (What does this mean for my life?): Acts 2:42-47
.
2. Will you by your prayers and witness help this child to grow into the full stature of Christ?
Reading for discussion (What does this mean for my life?): Ephesians 4:1-16

3. Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness
that rebel against God?
Reading for discussion (What does this mean for my life?): Ephesians 6:10-18

4. Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and
destroy the creatures of God?
Reading for discussion (What does this mean for my life?): Acts 19:11-17

5. Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?
Reading for discussion (What does this mean for my life?): Colossians 3:5-14

6. Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your saviour?
Reading for discussion (What does this mean for my life?): John 3:16

7. Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?
Readings for discussion (What does this mean for my life?): Acts 15:5-11; 2 Corinthians 13:13

8. Do you promise to obey him as your Lord?
Readings for discussion (What does this mean for my life?): Acts 16:29-34; 1 Corinthians 12:1-3



III. The Eight Promises of the Baptismal / Confirmation Covenant

Christian baptism is a celebration that someone has entered the kingdom of God in the tangible form of joining a particular church community. Baptism is open to anyone who believes the Apostles Creed and is prepared to make and keep the five Baptism promises in the Anglican Book of Alternative Services (page 159). Since all baptized persons are full members of the Church and welcome at the Communion table it is now required that all candidates, or in the case of infants, the parents, godparents and sponsors be properly prepared before they make these promises.  Godparents who are not able to attend the preparation workshop are sent copies of the material so they study the readings as preparation for their responsibilities. The following readings and questions are designed to ensure candidates, parents, godparents and sponsors fully understand the Faith they are affirming and the very serious promises they are making before God During the Baptism service (page 158) the Bishop or Priest will invite the congregation to stand along with the candidates and Godparents and affirm their faith in the words of the Apostles Creed. The questions that will be asked are:

1. Do you believe in God?
Response: "I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and Earth."
Readings: Genesis Chapters 1:1-2:3 and 12:1-9 Exodus 12:21-28
Question for discussion: What does "I believe in God" mean to you?

2. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God?
Response: “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”
Readings for discussion: Matthew 1:18-23; and John 6:37-40
Question for discussion: What does "I believe in Jesus Christ" mean to you?

3. Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
Response: “I believe in God the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
Readings for discussion: Acts 1:1-8; 2:1-18; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Question for discussion: What does "I believe in God the Holy Spirit" mean?

4. Will you continue in the Apostles teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers?
Response: “I will with Gods' help.”
Readings for discussion: Matthew 26:17-28; Luke 24:13-32; John 6:47-58
Question for discussion: What does this tell us about the Holy Communion or the Eucharist?

5. Will you persevere in resisting evil and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
Response: “I will with Gods' help.”
Readings for discussion: Matthew 6:5-17; Matthew 4:1-11; John 20:21-23
Question for discussion: What can we do to protect ourselves from evil?
            
6. Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?
Response: “I will with Gods' help.”
Reading for discussion: Luke 4:16-21
Question: How can we proclaim the word?

7. Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?
Response: “I will with Gods' help.”
Reading for discussion: John 13:1-17; 34-35;
Question: Everyone is invited to think of and share a small example of serving others from their own life.

8. Will you struggle for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
Response: “I will with Gods' help.”
Reading for discussion: 1 Corinthians13.1-13
Question: What does this tell us about Christian love for others?









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