While we are Anglicans the style of Worship at St. Stephen’s can be viewed as quiet different from most Anglican Parishes.
One of the first and most striking differences is the we call the service of Holy Communion (or the Eucharist) Mass which is a word normally reserved with Roman Catholics. At St. Stephen’s we refer to this word as it is part of the Catholic heritage of our Anglican Faith. Conversely, while in the majority of Anglican (or even Roman Catholic) Parishes will have the Priest facing towards the people (versus populum) we will typically have the Priest facing away from the people, but more importantly, oriented East or Ad orientem.
On a typical Sunday we have two Masses: a Low Mass that is entirely spoken and without any accompanying Music at 8:00 am, and a High Mass that is partially chanted and with a great deal of accompanying music at 9:30 am.
Book of Common Prayer
The majority of Anglicans in Canada will go to a contemporary-language Communion service using the 1985 Book of Alternative Services. At Stephen’s we use the 1962 Canadian Book of Common Prayer for nearly all of our services. This book, while failing into disuse, is still the de jure Prayer Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and thus we feel it is important to use this Prayer Book which is a valuable part of our Anglican Heritage.
The Music played at St. Stephen’s is, by far, more traditional and played on the Pipe Organ, and occasionally the Grand Piano. Conversely, the musically portions we use for Mass take their origins from John Merbecke’s Prayer Book Noted from 1550 and from the English Gradual.
St. Stephen’s also has two other Sunday services in addition to our Masses. Before High Mass is an abridged version of Morning Prayer beginning at 9:00 am. We also have a service of Evensong, specifically Evening Prayer with chanting and hymns, at 7:00 pm.