What is Anglo-Catholicism?

St Michael & All Angels and St Paul's are Anglican (Church of England) Churches in the modern Anglo-Catholic tradition. What does Anglo-Catholic mean? In essence, the term 'Anglo-Catholicism' describes a range of theological views and traditions within Anglicanism which emphasise the continuity of the Church of England - and those churches born out of it - with the teaching and practice of Christianity throughout the ages, rooted in scripture and the teachings of the early church. At St Michael's and St Paul's, we treasure our heritage and tradition and are very strong believers in maintaining those ancient traditions, particularly in the areas of worship, liturgy and sacraments.

'Anglo-Catholics' have always valued the sacramental life of the church, adhering strongly to doctrine such as the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the continuity of the apostolic orders of Bishop, Priest and Deacon. A significant stress on liturgy and worship - performed in order to maintain the beauty of holiness - makes worship in an Anglo-Catholic church an experience which is intended to appeal to one's whole person: to heart as well as head, to senses as well as to intellect. Liturgy literally means, “the work of the people”. Worship in the early church was liturgical - it was not a passive experience but a participatory action and event in which the assembled people of God actively worshipped together. Liturgy requires the active participation of the whole assembly through corporate forms of prayer, song, response, and action. We believe that liturgy itself mediates God’s presence and message to us in powerful ways; we wait expectantly on God who graciously comes to us in these ordinary, earthly ways, just as God came to us as a tiny infant in a straw-filled manger.

Our life is lived through the sacramental worship of God; through the Mass celebrated during the week and on Sundays, through daily worship in the Office of Morning and Evening Prayer and through encounters with God in day-to-day life. We are called to be open to God’s touch and message and can expect to see it in the beauty of creation, the rhythm of worship, in water, bread, wine, in a beautiful picture or icon, in the radiance of a candle flame, in an image shining through a stained glass window, or in the gesture or touch of another person.

  • An excellent guide to Anglicanism by an Episcopalian priest can be found HERE.
  • For an explanation of the Mass held in the Anglo-Catholic tradition at St Michael's, please click HERE (PDF document).