At the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples, on the night before died, he took bread and wine, blessed, broke and shared them, ordering his disciples to 'do this in remembrance of me.' 2000 years later, Christians across the world are still obeying this specific instruction. Since the second century AD, this meal has become a structured event, with fixed forms of words and actions.
Holy Trinity celebrates the mass on most days. People being what they are prefer different times and different styles, and so throughout the week, mass is celebarted at different times and in different ways, sometimes using modern language, sometimes traditional; sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening.
The main service on a Sunday is the Parish Mass. As a family, the Christian community gathered around the table of the Lord - the altar - to be fed by God's word, either the spoken word - holy scripture, or the 'word made flesh' - holy communion, Jesus' body and blood. This service is enriched by colour, sight, sound and even smell, and taste as we receive Jesus.
All, especially children, are welcome at the services; if you'd like to know more, please contact the parish office.
The Church of England is a sacramental church. By that, it means that in common with the majority of Christians in the world today, we believe that God makes himself present in very special and real ways.
There are seven sacraments in the Church. Two are directly given by Jesus: Holy Communion - the Mass and Baptism (sometimes called Christening). On the night before he died, Jesus took bread and wine, blessed them and shared them, telling us to 'do this in remembrance of me.' He declared they were his body and blood, and so Christians believe that when we receive Holy Communion - Jesus' body and blood - we are actually receiving Jesus. And before he went back to heaven after his resurrection, he instructed his disciples to 'go and baptise people everywhere' and to pass on his teaching.
The other sacraments are these: confirmation, ordination, confession, marriage and anointing.
Confirmation is when we 'confirm' the promises made on our behalf at baptism, if we baptised at an early age.
Ordination is the divine commission by the Church to act in Jesus' stead in the world. The Church has three 'orders' of clergy: deacons (who cannot celebrate the sacraments), priests (who cannot confirm or ordain) and bishops.
Confession is found in the Bible (James 5) and also in the Book of Common Prayer (1662), and is very much part of C of E life. When we want to know for certain that our sins have been forgiven, but confessing them to God through a priest, we receive absolution the outward sign of God's forgiveness.
Marriage 'is a gift of God, and made holy by the presence of Jesus Christ at a wedding in Cana in Galilee'. It is no accident that Jesus' first miracle - changing water into wine - was a wedding. Christians believe that God joins husband and wife together in 'holy' matrimony.
Anointing means being anouinted with Holy Oil. For thousands of years it has been a gift of God to his people as a sign of healing and his comforting presence. Jesus himself was offered oil - myrrh - by the Wise Men and the Queen was anointed at her Coronation. There are three Holy Oils: the Oil of Cathechumens, the Oil of Chrism, and the oil of Infirmarium. The oil of Cathechumens is used at the beginnign of baptism, showing that we are beginning to learn about Christ. Chrism - the same word as 'Christ' - is a reminder that we are members of Christ's family, used at Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination. Infirmarium is used as a sign of God's healing at times of sickness. All three oils are used regularly at Holy Trinity as part of its normal ministry. The oils are blessed by the bishop in the week before easter every year and distributed to the parishes.
From the mid 1800s, the Church of England rediscovered the importance of the sacraments, and here at Holy Trinity they are all regulalrly celebrated. A technical definition of a sacrament may be 'an outward and invisible sign of God's inward and invisible grace' but that doesn't always help much! rather look on them as physical signs of God's love and presence. How many different ways do you show love to other people? It's just the same. The bread and wine, the water of bapstism, the touch of hands at confirmation and ordination, the sign of the cross at absolution, the joining of the couple's hands, the feel of oil - these are all outward signs of God's love at important and possibly life-changing points in our lives, when we'd be glad to know God is really with us.