Morning Prayer, Sundays at 11 a.m. First Sunday: Holy Communion
Our Tradition of Worship
Our congregation's prayerbook, The Book of Common Prayer According to the Use in King's Chapel, is unique. The first edition was published in 1785 under the ministry of the Rev. James Freeman. At that time, the congregation voted to make changes to the 1662 Anglican prayerbook then in use in order to give expression to a classical Unitarian Christian theology. Among other thing, the recitation of a creed was omitted and the prayers were directed to God alone. In the words of the Preface to the current (ninth) edition of the Prayerbook published in 1986: "The resulting liturgy is both reformed and catholic. It is reformed because it is based on Scripture and is open to periodic amendment. It is catholic, as the early Unitarians used this word, because it includes a broad spectrum of Christian beliefs and is open to many interpretations."
Music is also an important element of worship at King's Chapel. King's Chapel was the home of the first church organ in New England, acquired in 1713, and music has taken a central place in Morning Prayer and other services since the congregation's founding in 1686. The King's Chapel Choir is a professional chorus of great distinction, augmented on occasion by singers from the congregation. Hymns and chants, as well as anthems accompanied by the organ or other instruments, punctuate the reading and hearing of the Word. Heinrich Christensen, Music Director and Organist, carries forward a long tradition of musical excellence that has always been a notable feature of our worship.
The final element of worship in King's Chapel is preaching. The sermons are generally based upon or inspired by Bible readings appointed by a schedule which, with some variation, follows the Revised Common Lectionary. King's Chapel has long cherished a tradition of freedom of the pulpit. Its ministers have traditionally preached from a Unitarian Christian viewpoint. Guest preachers from time to time include other ministers affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association as well as ministers and priests from Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, United Church of Christ and other Christian denominations and occasionally leaders of non-Christian religious communities.
We worship in a beautiful Georgian sanctuary designed by Peter Harrison, completed in 1754, and lovingly maintained by the congregation since its completion. Our sanctuary is an important component of the experience of worship at King's Chapel as it has been the center of religious life and a spiritual home for generations of families.