Tonight marked the opening service of worship for the Anglican 1000 Atlanta Regional Event. Bishop Todd Hunter served as preacher, and Bishop Foley Beach presided at the Table.
The service was quite good. The music was lead by two amped, acoustic guitars and one of those beat box, drum things that you set on (what do you call those things?). It was a blend of more contemporary songs and hymns, but, of course, the hymns had a contemporized sound.
I was surprised, however, that the service was a bit less . . . formal than I anticipated. I'm not talking about the expressiveness of those worshipping. It was refreshing to be among liturgical folks raising their hands in worship. That really looks much like the kind of Wesleyan-Anglican church I would like to develop.
The lack of formality to which I am referring includes the clergy not vesting, except at the time of serving at the Table. The deacon and Bishop Beach then donned stoles only. Further, the service did not utilize the newly approved ACNA texts. The Eucharistic prayers were much abbreviated. They did, though, include the sanctus, words of institution, and epiclesis.
I was actually looking forward to experiencing a service using the new texts. Nevertheless, the service went well. In fact, it is causing me to continue rethinking the length of the Eucharistic texts I have adapted and contemporized from Wesley's The Sunday Service. I have been considering whether and how I might abbreviate them.
Another change that they made was the use of the general prayer of confession at the beginning of the service, while leaving out the invitation and confession prior to coming to the sacrament. - By the way the service was conducted, I supposed that Bishop Beach's background was The Episcopal Church. Upon checking, I discovered I was correct.
I look forward to the worship services during the rest of the week. Friday & Saturday morning services are identified as "Worship/Morning Prayer," but tomorrow's service is listed as "Worship." - It does not look like there will be another Eucharistic service.
I am also looking forward to the various plenary sessions and workshops. It looks to be a great week!