05 September 2022

The ‘guiding principles’ behind
the ‘Ornaments & Ceremonies’
in All Saints’ Church, Calverton

The framed Anglo-Catholic poster on ‘Ornaments & Ceremonies’ and ‘Pious Customs’ in All Saints’ Church, Calverton(Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

I was at the Parish Fete in All Saints’ Church, Calverton, on Sunday afternoon.

Calverton is a small, pretty village just 3 km outside Stony Stratford, and I have visited Calverton on many occasions in recent months. But this was my first time to see inside the parish church, with its beautiful layout, decorations, furnishings and stained-glass windows.

All Saints’ Church, Calverton, is an interesting example of Victorian church architecture and decoration at the height of the Tractarian revival of Catholic liturgy in Anglicanism.

I hope to write about that visit in the days to come. But this afternoon I thought I would share this framed poster which has survived on the south wall, and which seeks to explain the rationale behind the Anglo-Catholic rituals, liturgical practices, vestments and customs that are part of the tradition of this church.

(I have modified the capitalisation and punctuation in my transcription to make it easier to read).

Ornaments & Ceremonies of the Church and her Ministers.

Guiding Principles.

I. That everything may be done to the glory of him whose presence is in his Holy Temple, and whose presence is vouchsafed to the Christian in the Blessed Sacrament.

II. That everything that is done shall have a meaning, and serve as a help to worship and an incentive to reverence.

III. That nothing shall be done contrary to the spirit of the English branch of the Catholic Church, as expressed in her Canons, and in the Ornaments Rubric: or contrary to the Ceremonial retained at the Reformation.

‘And here is to be noted, that such Ornaments of the Church, and of the Ministers thereof at all Times of their Ministration, shall be retained, and be in use, as were in this Church of England, by the Authority of Parliament, in the , is the Second Year of the Reign of King Edward VI.’

(Book of Common Prayer)

Ceremonies in use, and their meaning.

I. Of the Altar, Sanctuary, and the Ministers.

An Altar Cross is placed in the most conspicuous position. to remind us of our Redemption by Jesus Christ.

Altar Lights: two are lighted at celebrations of the Blessed Sacrament to signify ‘that Christ, God and Man, is the very True Light of the World.’

Other lights are used to serve to teach a distinction in the dignity of Festivals, thus two upon any Ordinary Day, four upon saints’ days, six upon Festivals of Our Lord (smaller lights are added as a symbol of joy).

The Perpetual Light kept burning by night and by day symbolises the perpetual presence of God, and serves as a reminder that because of his presence, reverence is required of all who enter his house.

(They differ in number, sometimes one, or three, or five, or seven)

Incense is offered as a symbol of offering to God all things, persons, and acts of praise and prayer, through the one offering of Christ upon the cross. Malachi i 11, speaking of Christian times, says ‘In every place Incense shall be offered to my name, and a pure offering.’ It is also a symbol of cleansing from earthly impurities all that we offer to God.

Vestments are used because God himself instituted their use (Exodus xxviii), and because of the honour and dignity due to him whom we worship, and especially due to the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

They are: the Amice, the Alb, the Girdle, the Stole, the Maniple, the Chasuble, the Cope, the Tunicle and Dalmatic.

Unleavened Bread (sometimes in the form of wafers) is used, because similar to that used by Christ himself at the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament.

Water is Mingled with the Wine in the Blessed Sacrament, because in the Church it has always been the custom, after the example of Christ himself, at the institution of the Blessed Sacrament.

Colours are used in the vesting of the Altar, Sanctuary and Minister, to remind us of the change in the Church seasons and our duties in regard to those seasons, thus:

White (or Gold), Festal Days (except Whitsuntide);

Red, Whitsuntide and Festivals of Martyrs;

Green (or Blue) Trinity Season;

Violet (or Purple) Lent, Advent, Rogation, and Embertide.

Flowers are used because we would delight to give of the best and purest of God’s gifts to his honour and the beauty of his sanctuary.

Eastward Position is taken by the priest at the celebrations of the Blessed Sacrament that he may be the leader of the people in this their offering to God that he may be one with the people in their prayers for the gifts and graces of God.

A Processional Cross is used for the same reason that the colours are borne in front of a Regiment.

II. Pious Customs.

An Obeisance is made on Entering and Leaving the Church as a symbol of the worship we owe to our Great King, it is made towards the Altar, as the throne of Christ in the Church.

We stand at the entrance and exit of the clergy out of respect to their office as the Ministers of God.

We turn Eastward at the Creeds and Glorias as a token of unity in the faith of the Blessed Trinity, and to express in this unity our belief that Christ shall come (the Light of the World) to judge the quick and the dead.

We bow at the name of Jesus in honour of the holy name, and upon the authority of Scripture.

The Sign of the Cross reminds us that we are his servants, who gave us the same sign in Holy […] In token that hereafter we should not be ashamed to confess Christ Crucified, and manfully to fight […] his banner, against Sin, the World, and the Devil.’


Peter James-Smith said...

Makes me nostalgic for good order and due reverence.

Anonymous said...