Worship at Tewkesbury Abbey
We are a parish church deeply committed to the transforming power of worship. We strive to achieve a ‘beauty of holiness’ in our rituals, readings, prayers and symbolic actions known as the “liturgy”.
At the Abbey worship stands at the heart of who we are, what we do and what God is asking us to become. We believe that in worship, both personal and corporate, our hearts and minds are opened to the work of the Holy Spirit. Three streams of spirituality combine in The Abbey to give us a shape to our worship. First and foremost, in order to become Christ’s Body for the world we are fed with the body and blood of Christ at The Eucharist. The Eucharist is our primary act of worship on Sundays and other Feast Days. Secondly, we say or sing the Daily Office (Morning and Evening Prayer) which includes readings from the Bible and prayers for the world. Finally, we engage in personal devotions: the private prayer of each individual which express that deep, unique relationship to God in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. Some will want to express this relationship in groups, others in contemplation and meditation, and still others in adoration.
As our approach to worship is intentional, we celebrate the different seasons by using different prayers and forms of worship. Many people put in numerous hours each week contributing to every aspect of our liturgy. Currently, we are exploring the use of silence during worship so that we can concentrate on what is taking place in the present, rather than rushing to the next thing. We listen, we engage, we reflect, and then we move-on together.
We are a people who by drenching ourselves in worship are drawn together so that we can be sustained, renewed, and inspired. So transformed by worship, we can then be God’s people sent out in service to God’s world.
“Eucharist” means thanksgiving. The Sunday Eucharist, or the Mass, is the weekly event in which Christ becomes known to us in the breaking of bread. We gather in the name of Jesus, hear the story of our salvation in scripture; pray for ourselves as well as for others; share a meal together and, in the power of God’s Spirit, are sent out to do God’s work in the world. Jesus shared table fellowship with everyone and so in the Abbey all are welcome to participate in and receive communion. We celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday at 10.30am (with contemporary language and music) or (with traditional language and beautiful music, incense and the drama of High Mass). We also have several Eucharists during the week in the various intimate chapels around the Abbey.
The Daily Office
The Church’s daily act of prayer is called, “The Daily Office”. Whether said corporately in one of the chapels, sung in the choir of The Abbey, or said privately at home, the Office is our participation in the Church’s daily praise of God. Different psalms, readings and prayers are appointed for each day and we encourage and train our members to say the office at home or corporately when we meet.
God’s relationship with us in Jesus is unique. Whilst that relationship is developed in the Eucharist and the Daily Office, Christians also need ways that resonate with their individual personality and needs. Personal devotions are a way to do this. Through personal devotions, an individual can experiment with forms of prayer, reading the bible and being open to the Spirit that deepen their intimacy with God and illuminate their experience in the light of faith. Some will make use of contemplation or meditation; others will be attracted to prayer and praise; still others will be drawn to adoration. The clergy team is here to help all people find their own unique way in their personal devotions.