Saint Ansgar's Lutheran Church
Montreal - Quebec - Canada

When you come to St. Ansgar's: What to expect.

Lutheran worship services are liturgical services, that is the order of service and the prayers follow a regular, predictable pattern called a liturgy. Within the liturgy, there are many opportunities for variation and novelty, yet the service still follows a predictable path with which all worshippers can become comfortable.

Here is a brief description of what to expect when you come to worship with us at St. Ansgar's. Links at the end provide more detail and background.

[Links] [Full Services]

We generally follow Setting One from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Minneapolis: Augsburg Press, 2006), pages 94-115. Sometimes, for variety, we use Setting Ten (pages 203-209).

  • Prelude: The organist begins to play about five minutes before the service begins. This provides for a time of silence and reflection within the sanctuary, as people get into the mood for worship.
  • Call to Worshop: A single bell peals three times. Alternatively, the Bell Choir may have prepared a piece, which they will play at this point.
  • Deacon's Opening Prayer: The deacon of the church or another lay person reads a short opening prayer:

    O Lord, we have come into Your House to listen, to pray, and to praise You, who created all things with a single word. Send us now, we pray, Your Holy Spirit, so that our hearts may be open to receive your life-creating Word in Jesus Christ.
    May prayer and praise be in our speech and hearts, so that our worship may honour Your Holy Name and be a blessing to us.
    In Jesus' Name we pray.

  • Words of Welcome: The pastor, or other officiator, says a few words of welcome.
  • We Speak to God

  • Opening Hymn: The first of the day's hymns are sung.
  • Gathering: Confession and Forgiveness: We are led with prayers into communal recognition of sins and forgiveness:

    Either: Most merciful God, we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen

    Or: Gracious God, have mercy on us. We confess that we have turned from you and given ourselves into the power of sin. We are truly sorry and humbly repent. In your compassion forgive us our sins, known and unknown, things we have done and things we have failed to do. Turn us again to your and uphold us by your Spirit, so that we may live and serve youin newness of life through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.

    The presiding minister announces God's forgiveness.

  • Apostolic Greeting: the minister proclaims:

    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

    To which we respond:

    And also with you.

  • The Kyrie: (Usually sung)

    In peace let us pray to the Lord.
    Lord, have mercy.
    For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
    Lord, have mercy.
    For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the church of God and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
    Lord, have mercy.
    For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.
    Lord, have mercy.
    Help, save, comfort and defend us, gracious Lord.
    Amen, amen.

  • The Hymn of Praise: (Omitted in some seasons):

    Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God's people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
    Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
    For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
    Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God's people on earth.

  • Prayer of the Day: The minister offers a short prayer, according to the season.
  • God Speaks to Us

  • The First Lesson: Typically an old testament reading; it is read by a parishioner. (Sometines omitted.)
  • The Psalm of the Day: The congretation is led in chant by the organist.
  • The Second Lesson: Typically an epistle reading; it is read by a parishioner.
  • The Holy Gospel: Typically read by the minister.

    Gospel Acclamation:

    Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.
    Lord to whom shall we go? You havve the words of eternal life.

    (During Lent, different words are used, with the Alleluias.)

    The minister announces the Gospel lesson.

    The congregation responds: Glory to you, O Lord.

    The minister reads the Gospel lesson.

    The congregation responds: Praise to you, O Christ.

  • The Second Hymn is sung.
  • The Sermon: The pastor or presiding minister delivers the message of the day, typically 10 to 20 minutes.
  • The Third Hymn is sung.
  • We respond to God's Word

  • The Creed: Typically, the Apostle's Creed is read, although the Nicene Creed or the Athanasian Creed may be used on occasion. Typically the creed is only included on Sundays when there is no communion:

    I believe in God, the Father alighty, creator of heaven and earth.
    I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day her rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
    I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.

  • Prayers of the People: A representative of the congregation offers petitions of prayer for specific needs. There is typically a response after each petition:

    Lord in your mercy,
    Hear our prayer.

  • The Liturgy of the Holy Sacrament

    (Usually one Sunday per month, or when the pastor is away, we have only a Service of the Word, during which many of the elements below are left out. Those that would remain anyway are shown with the star (*).

  • *The Offering: The offering is taken up while the organist provides accomanying music. When the offering is brought forward, the congregation stands and sings one of the following:

    Create in me a clean heart, o Lord, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphole me with your free Spirit.
    Or: Lord, listen to your children praying. Lord, send your spirit in this place. Lord, listen to your children praying. Send us lov e, send us power. Send us grace.

    A prayer of thanksgiving is then offered.

  • The Eucharistic Prayer: is led by the pastor:

    The Lord be with you. And also with you.
    Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
    Let us give thank to the Lord our God.
    It is right to give our thanks and praise.

    The pastor recites various forms of the eucharistic prayer... ...we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

    Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

    In the night in which he was betrayed....

    Again, after supper, he took the cup....

    ...we proclaim the Lord's death until he comes:

    Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

  • *The Lord's Prayer: Whether or not there is communion, the Lord's Prayer is recited communally:

    Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

  • The Communion Service: The pastor invites all to the table. At St. Ansgar's, we practice open communion; the Lord's table is open to all who believe in the elements. All are welcome.

    We sing the Lamb of God:

    Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us.
    Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us.
    Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: grant us peace. Grant us peace.

    Parishioners who wish to come to the communion rail do so as they desire. There is no particular order. If the rail is full, others wait quietly in line. The bread is distributed to all and the wine is served into small, individual cups.

    The body of Christ, given for you.
    The blood of Christ, shed for you.

    When all have communed, the congregation stands and sings the following song:

    Now Lord, let your servant go in peace: your word has been fulfilled. My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.
    Now, Lord, let your servant go in peace.

  • The Post-Communion Prayer: The worship assistant gives a prayer of thanks.
  • Sending Forth in Mission for Others

  • The Benediction: The presiding minister offers the Benediction:

    The Lord bless us and keep us
    The Lord's face shine on us with grace and mercy.
    The Lord look upon us with favour and give us his peace.
    Amen, Amen, Amen

    The three-fold Amen is typically sung.

  • Announcements: At this point, timely announcements are made to the congregation, and birthdays and anniveraries are recgonized.
  • The Closing Hymn is sung.
  • The Deacon's Closin Prayer is recited by the deacon or another member of the congregation:

    Lord, we offer You our heartfelt thanks for having taught us what to believe and what to do.
    Help us, O God, through the Holy Spirit, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, to keep Your Word in pure hearts, in order to strengthen our faith, perfect our holiness and comfort us in life and in death.

  • Worship Bells: The closing bell peals three times.
  • Dismissal: The minister recites: Go in peace and serve the Lord. To which the congretation responds:

    Thanks be to God.

  • The Postlude: It is the custom at St. Ansgar's to remain seated quietly while the organist plays the postlude. The congregation may even applaud. All typically remain seated until the pastor or minister exits the church.
  • Fellowship: There is nearly always a period of fellowship after the service, in the adjoining hall. Coffee and sweets will typically be served.

Links to Background Information on the Liturgy




Web Page maintained by Roger Kenner and Jette Blair.
St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church - Montreal: Last Updated: 2018/01/24