St. Matthias Fourth of July Service
St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Athens is planning the ultimate retro Sunday worship service to celebrate the Fourth of July, which lands on a Sunday this year.
The congregation will use prayers from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer which was universally used in the Church of England congregations throughout the world in 1776. The prayers will mirror those used after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, said the Rev. Matthew Frick. The prayers will include edits recommended by the first American Episcopal bishop, Samuel Seabury, who suggested eliminating language about King George III and/or the Royal Family.
“The service will consist of morning prayer immediately followed by the litany then Holy Communion as would have been done on a communion Sunday in that time period,” Frick said. “I will be vesting and only using what was customary at the time.” For fun, the vicar will wear a powdered George Washington style wig.
Furniture will be temporarily rearranged in the chancel to more closely resemble a colonial Anglican church. Only hymns and tunes that were in common use at the time will be used in the service. A patriotic prelude will be offered prior to the service consisting of patriotic hymns and prayers for the nation including such favorites as: God of our Fathers, My Country Tis of Thee, America the Beautiful and Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The Sons of the American Revolution will join the ceremony and form a color guard. Afterward, the church will have a luncheon for all parishioners and visitors. “We will gather together for the first time in more than a year and a half to eat and enjoy one another’s company over hamburgers, hotdogs and watermelon,” Frick said.
All are invited to the Fourth of July service. The prelude starts at 10 a.m., at St. Matthias, 205 Willowbrook Drive, Athens, Texas 75751.