Welcome to Grace Anglican Church
Grace Anglican Church conducts Sunday morning worship at the Congregation of Agudat Achim, a Jewish Synagogue located at 268 Washington St., Leominster.
Who we are
Grace Anglican Church is a small church, planted within the last ten years, that serves as a spiritual home for members from all over North Worcester County. Though we are a small congregation, topping not quite twenty members at a time, we have begun with the basics:
“The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.” – from the 39 Articles of Religion
We are a gathering of Christian believers centered around the preaching of the Bible and the celebration of the Sacraments, in accordance with the historic Anglican tradition, by the grace of God, not by the will or works of man. We strive to worship and follow Christ in good faith, and go forth into the world to do the good works he has given for us to do.
Who we yet may be
As we are still a small and growing congregation, there is much that we could be doing but have not developed yet.
We have hosted periodic weekday services for those unable to make it on Sundays, and for those seeking weekday fellowship and spiritual nourishment.
We have hosted occasional midweek study groups and evenings of fellowship and informal worship, providing opportunity for believers and non-believers alike to visit and get to know us, as well as strengthen the bonds of our own little community.
We have ministered to local homeless children in temporary housing, funding one of our members to bring them food, love, and attention.
We have contributed to a local college ministry both personally and financially, especially through our Vicar mentoring individual students, one of whom came to be Confirmed as an Anglican and remains an active participant elsewhere in the diocese now that he has graduated.
We have enjoyed music ministry from two different people over the years, leading us both in contemporary styles and in the great hymns of our tradition.
But these have all been small and temporary projects. Where does your heart and passion for Christ point you? We are eager to grow, and there is plenty of room for the talents and passions of new members.
Fr. Matthew began with Grace Anglican Church as our keyboardist, before he was ordained and before we were even meeting weekly for worship. He went through his final steps of the discernment process, was ordained first a Deacon, and then a Priest while ministering among us, before becoming our Vicar in early 2014. He and his wife Becca have been married since 2010, and both have a background in music. They live in Fitchburg with their two young lads, William and Harold. Matthew has a passion for mentoring and tutoring, preaching and teaching, especially showing Christ in the Old Testament; he also has an appreciation for the Anglican liturgical tradition and enjoys helping others understand “why we do what we do” in worship.
Anglican Diocese in New England (ADNE)
Grace Anglican Church is a part of the Anglican Diocese in New England (ADNE), shepherded by Bishop Bill Murdoch. With Bishop Bill are Gail Gardner and John Deery, our Lay Pastors. Our diocese is a dynamic and active group of nearly 30 congregations across New England including Ugandan, Kenyan, South Sudanese, and Hispanic congregations. It is our mission to reach New England with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.
Our diocese is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), which was established in 2008 by the advice and instruction of a gathering of Anglican leaders from across the globe in Jerusalem that year. Not merely a “breakaway” group from the Episcopal church, the ACNA is a unique and colorful coalescence of various Anglican groups across the continent with relational ties to Kenya, Rwanda, South East Asia, Nigeria, and indeed the majority of the Anglican Communion worldwide.
The Anglican Diocese in New England: http://ad-ne.org/
The Anglican Church in North America: http://anglicanchurch.net/
The Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans: https://www.gafcon.org/
Jerusalem Declaration of 2008:
Our Prayer Book in formation: http://anglicanchurch.net/?/main/texts_for_common_prayer
Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly
Our mission is to be a visible church of Christ, a congregation of faithful followers in which the Word of God is preached. Our vision is to create an atmosphere where faith is possible.
"Come to church! You can do that of your own free will. You can leave your home on a Sunday morning and come to hear the sermon. If you will not, you are of your own free will excluding yourself from the place where faith is a possibility." Deitrich Bonnhoeffer
The Anglican Diocese in New England
ADNE is a united Anglican movement in New England seeking to exhibit such irresistible spiritual power in Word and Sacrament that people are drawn into a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ and become members of the Body of Christ, His Church.
ADNE is a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the worldwide Anglican Communion, united in our commitment to make disciples of Jesus Christ, plant churches in New England and work with other believers to plant churches in the United States and worldwide.
"Let the church be the church!"
A rallying cry from John MacKay, missionary statesman and ecumenical leader of an earlier generation.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses. . . . . to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8
"Triduum" is Latin for "three days," and it refers to the final sequence of days during Holy Week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Together they tell, remember, and reenact the final days of Jesus' pre-resurrection life. Thursday was the Last Supper, his arrest, and abandonment by his disciples. That's why we have a mostly-normal Communion service that ends with the shock of stripping the altar and leaving in silence without any benediction or blessing or dismissal. That's also to highlight the fact that the story isn't over yet: Jesus' trials continued overnight and into the next day, leading up to his condemnation, crucifixion, and death. The picture attached is of the reserved bread & wine covered in white linens with a candle keeping vigil. This is what would normally be called an "altar of repose." Jesus' last day, Good Friday, is characterized by a much more solemn worship service than usual. The prayers include periods of silence, and Communion is not celebrated. Instead, some consecrated bread and wine is reserved on Thursday to be received today. The tradition of not consecrating any more bread and wine on Good Friday and Saturday is best understood in the context of historic Western Christianity: normally throughout the year priests celebrate daily mass - celebrating each day the death and resurrection of Christ. But on these two days that patterns stops. Because for two brief days, as we're walking through Holy Week and the Triduum and approaching Easter, we follow Christ to his death. Once the reserved bread and wine are consumed on Friday, his sacramental presence on earth is completely gone. This is a dramatic recapturing of his death! Holy Saturday is a short and quiet worship service meditating on the repose of Jesus in the tomb - his Sabbath rest, if you will. Like the first disciples, it is a time of quiet uncertainty, but unlike them it's a time of waiting, since we already know the whole story, and that he will rise again. Saturday night is the tradition of the Great Vigil of Easter. This is arguably the most sublime and beautiful worship service in the entire tradition of the Church. It begins in darkness with the light of Christ being symbolically re-lit on a special candle. It continues with a series of readings from the Old Testament, tracing the story of God's salvation for the human race throughout history, finally culminating in the moment all this has been building up to: the joyful celebration of the resurrection of Jesus!
Fr. Matthew †
Vicar of Fitchburg