Worship at Christ Church
Anglican-Catholic liturgy and theology, exquisite music and art, and the more beautiful commitment to social justice and a community reflective of God’s abundant love are what we pray will mark our journey into the future.
Worship at Christ Church has been described as "completely and totally oriented toward God." The center of our life together will be an active, intentional, and deep worship of God in the regular patterns of the Daily Office, Communion, and the community Eucharist at Berkeley Divinity.
Especially moving, for many young people, is Compline at Christ Church on Sunday nights. Darkness and incense - heavy silence greet those who enter Christ Church on Sunday nights. Candles offer the only light. Sheathed in colored glass, red, blue, green, they cluster at the foot of the shrine to the Virgin Mary; they drape the High Altar; seven lamps hang suspended in the sanctuary like the Pleiades.
People in their street shoes walk slowly up the long center aisle; some genuflect, bending a knee and crossing themselves. Some simply stare. Shortly before nine o'clock , the church bells begin to clang, distant and discordant. And then an unseen choir begins to sing...
Every Sunday night, Christ Church has 100-150 college students in attendance at Compline, it is the perfect start to a hectic week and a time of profound rest in the midst of the chaos of the city.
Solemn High Mass
The principal Eucharistic liturgy on Sunday mornings is Solemn High Mass, held at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. in the summer months). This service uses traditional language, with service music by the Christ Church Choir, as well as with hymns for the congregation. This service makes use of many different parts of the church: the Old Testament lesson is read from the lectern by a member of the congregation, the Epistle from beneath the rood cross by a subdeacon.
The Gospel is chanted from the center of the Nave by a deacon, and the sermon is delivered from the elevated pulpit. The celebration of the Eucharist itself takes place at the High Altar in the Sanctuary, beneath the East Window. At the appropriate moment, the members of the congregation come forward from the Nave to the Sanctuary, to receive Holy Communion at the Altar rail.
Christ Church offers weekday Masses at regular posted times. These Masses usually resemble the 8:00 a.m. Low Mass on Sundays (though they alternate between Rite I and Rite II language) and are held in the Lady Chapel. Through the daily offering of the Holy Eucharist, Christ Church continually shows forth the great acts of God in the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which, we believe, all creation has been made new.
So, each day we bring our supplications and our thanksgiving before God as we offer ourselves to God's service and will, all in communion with the one great self-offering of Jesus, Our Lord.
Every day at Christ Church begins with prayer and reflection on the Psalms and Scriptures in the Service of Morning Prayer. Christ Church also celebrates the major and minor Feasts of the year, which are announced in the church newsletter and on this website.
Worship at Ascension House
Those interns living at Ascension will be part of a unique opportunity to craft worship as part of an ongoing reimagination of that church and its relationship to the community. Developing at Ascension is a unique post-M.Div. training program for new clergy called Ascension House.
As part of this re-imagining we will develop a new Eucharistic community which gathers on Saturday evenings at Ascension Church. This community will explore new modes of worship while drawing on our tradition and gain an understanding of both planting a new worshipping community and serving in more traditional ones.
Saint Hilda's interns who live at Ascension will have the unique opportunity to be part of not only new worship at Ascension but forging a vital relationship with our neighbors there through community action, engagement, and worship.