Of course, every denomination differs, but the Church of the Holy Comforter in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, offers a grand introduction to how worship and the Christian life work in the Anglican Church.

First, a word about its mural behind the altar, which was discussed on a post at Titus One Nine. Pictured are the mural in its entirety then a detail of it, both courtesy of the church’s website.

The church’s rector, Fr Jonathan, explains here:

The mural that you see at the east end is a painting of the Communion of the Saints that was done by one of our parishioners in the 1950s. Until coming to Holy Comforter I’d never seen anything like it. The bottom portion is an ordination service for the priest who was rector at the time. Then there are several rings of saints, including many Anglican figures, such as William Temple, Samuel Seabury and William White, and Saint Hilda. It also includes a former pope and patriarch of Constantinople (all in a parish with a classical lowchurch background!). Then there is a ring of apostles and patriarchs. The top ring is, as it should be, the Holy Trinity with Christ at the center, patterned off of an ancient carving from Antioch

The detail shown is from the lower centre of the mural, showing an ordination with the customary laying on of hands by bishops.

If you are interested in going to church at Christmas — or, indeed, any other time — you couldn’t get a more comprehensive, easily understood and friendly introduction than the Church of the Holy Comforter’s website.  Kudos to Fr Jonathan and his parish for putting this together so beautifully.

First, there’s the ‘Why we worship’ page:

Worship is an act of love. The word worship literally means ‘to give worth to’ or ‘to acclaim as worthy’… God gives Himself totally for us in the person of Jesus Christ. He does this for us purely out of love for us. God doesn’t need our worship. But we offer it to Him anyway, out of love for Him …

We believe that when we celebrate the Eucharist, the line between heaven and earth thins, and the whole Church throughout the world and throughout time is joined as one with God. In our worship space this is symbolized for us in a mural above the altar that depicts the Communion of the Saints ...

Then, the ‘How we worship’ page:

… When we gather, we bless bread and wine and share them with one another, just as Jesus did with his disciples on the night before he died for us. We believe that Jesus is truly present in this celebration, that it’s more than just a symbol, that we actually receive His Body and Blood.

Our worship can sometimes seem strange or confusing to people who come in for the first time. At most of our services the whole text of the service is printed in a service bulletin. Generally, we stand or kneel to pray, stand to sing, and sit to hear readings or to be instructed …

If you get lost the first time that you come to worship with us, don’t panic. There are plenty of people around you who are more than willing to help you out. The important thing is not what you do or don’t get right. The important thing is to find and be found by God who is present in each moment of our worship …

They don’t mention a Communion policy.  Normally, it’s ‘all baptised Christians are welcome at the Lord’s table’, but it doesn’t say here — my only criticism, but perhaps I missed it.

The introduction in ‘About us’ is great:

… As Anglican Christians, we believe that the story of God’s great love is told to us through the Bible and revealed to us in Jesus, the only Son of God the Father. We also believe that God has sent his Holy Spirit to us and that the Spirit will guide us and form us. Our faith is summarized in the words of the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. We believe that God speaks to us through prayer, through scripture, and especially through the holy sacraments …

Want to know more about us? The best way to find out what we’re all about is to see what we do. We invite you to come and worship with us on a Sunday. We especially invite those of you who are searching, skeptical, or suffering from wounds that have been inflicted on you by other Christians …

That last sentence is particularly helpful. 

Finally, there is the page on the sacraments — Catholic readers, please take note.  All are described, including Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick.

While there are a number of rites that may properly be called sacraments, the Church has always recognized that Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist have a special significance. This is because these two sacraments alone were given by Jesus for the salvation of all people

An excellent site, nicely done. 

If you live in or near Drexel Hill and are looking for a church to attend, why not give the Church of the Holy Comforter a try this Christmas?