First steps on the christian journey – finding out, commitment – sacraments, baptism, confirmation, communion – helps along the way.
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There have been three editions/revisions of the Book of Common Prayer.
The first was in 1549 (Edward VI), then after the ten year reign of Catholic Mary, in 1559 (Elizabeth I), and in 1662.
And the Book of Common Prayer has been adapted to provide for the various local usages of the Anglican Communion around the world.


Here is the introduction to the sacrament of Baptism from the 1549 BCP:

IT appeareth by auncient wryters, that the Sacramente of Baptisme in the olde tyme was not commonly ministred, but at two tymes in the yeare, at Easter and Whytsontyde, at whiche tymes it was openly mynistred in the presence of all the congregacion: Whiche custome (now beeyng growen out of use) although it cannot for many consideracions be wel restored again, yet it is thought good to folowe the same as nere as conveniently may be: Wherfore the people are to bee admonished, that it is moste conveniente that baptisme shoulde not be ministred but upon Sondayes and other holy dayes, when the most numbre of people maye come together. As well for that the congregacion there presente may testifie the receyvyng of them, that be newly baptysed, into the noumbre of Christes Churche, as also because in the Baptisme of Infantes, every manne presente maye be put in remembraunce of his owne profession made to God in his Baptisme. For whiche cause also, it is expediente that Baptisme be ministred in the Englishe tounge. Neverthelesse (yf necessitie so requyre) children ought at all tymes to be baptised, eyther at the churche or els at home.


An Anglican Catechism first appeared in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549.
This is the Introduction:

CONFIRMACION wherin is conteined a Cathechisme for children.

To the ende that confirmation may be ministred to the more edifying of suche as shall receive it (according to Saint Paules doctrine, who teacheth that all thynges should be doen in the churche to the edification of the same) it is thought good that none hereafter shall be confirmed, but suche as can say in theyr mother tong, the articles of the faith, the lordes prayer, and the tenne commaundementes: And can also aunswere to suche questions of this shorte Cathechisme, as the Busshop (or suche as he shall appoynte) shall by his discretion appose them in. And this ordre is most convenient to be observed for divers considerations.

¶ First, because that whan children come to the yeres of discretion and have learned what theyr Godfathers and Godmothers promised for them in Baptisme, they may then themselfes with their owne mouth and with theyr owne consent, openly before the churche, ratifie and confesse the same, and also promise that by the grace of God, they will evermore endevour themselves faithfully to observe and kepe such thinges, as they by theyre owne mouth and confession have assented unto.

¶ Secondly, for asmuch as confirmation is ministred to them that be Baptised, that by imposition of handes, and praier they may receive strength and defence against all temptations to sin, and the assautes of the worlde, and the devill: it is most mete to be ministred, when children come to that age, that partly by the frayltie of theyr owne fleshe, partly by the assautes of the world and the devil, they begin to be in daungier to fall into sinne.

¶ Thirdly, for that it is agreeable with the usage of the churche in tymes past, wherby it was ordeined that confirmation should bee ministred to them that were of perfecte age, that they beyng instructed in Christes religion, should openly professe theyr owne fayth, and promise to be obedient unto the will of God.
And that no manne shall thynke that anye detrimente shall come to children by dijferryng of theyr confirmation: he shall knowe for trueth, that it is certayn by Goddes woorde, that children beeyng Baptized {if they departe out of thys lyfe in theyr infancie) are undoubtedly saved.

A CATECHISME, that is to say, an instruction to bee learned of every childe, before he be brought to be confirmed of the Bishop.


This is the 1662 BCP catechism in modern English, from the Church Society English Prayer Book of 1994:

Q1 What is your name ?

A My name is . . .

Q2 Who gave you this name ?

A My parent( s ) and godparents at my baptism.
Through baptism I was made a member of Christ,
the child of God,
and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.

Q3 What did your parent(s) and god parents do on your behalf at your baptism ?

A They affirmed their allegiance to Christ,
their rejection of all that is evil,
and their resolve to fight against evil and to follow Christ.
They affirmed all this in my name as well as their own.

Q4 What does following Christ involve ?

A It involves three things:

first, renouncing the devil and all his works,
the empty show and false values of the world,
and the sinful desires of the flesh;

secondly, believing all that the Bible teaches about the articles of the Christian faith;

and thirdly, keeping God's holy will and commandments all the days of my life.

Q5 Do you think yourself bound to do these things ?

A Most certainly, with the Lord as my helper.
I heartily thank God our heavenly Father that he has called me to the state of salvation through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
And I pray that he will give me his grace to continue in this state to the end of my life.

Q6 What do you believe ?

A (Apostle's Creed)

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father.
From there he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Q7 What do you chiefly learn from the Apostles' Creed ?

A First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who has made me and all the world;
secondly, in God the Son, who has redeemed me and all mankind;
thirdly, in God the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies me and all the elect people of God.

Q8 How many commandments are there ?

A Ten.

Q9 What are they ?

A They are found in Exodus, chapter 20, where we read that God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

1 You shall have no gods other than me.

2 You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
You shall not bow down to them nor worship them,
for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me,
but I show love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments.

3 You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God,
for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

4 Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.
On it you shall not do any work, neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the foreigner living among you.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

5 Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

6 You shall not commit murder.

7 You shall not commit adultery.

8 You shall not steal.

9 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

10 You shall not covet your neighbour's house.
You shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, his maidservant, his ox or donkey, nor anything that belongs to him.

Q10 What do you chiefly learn from these commandments ?

A I learn two things:
my duty to God
and my duty to my neighbour.

Q11 What is your duty to God ?

A My duty to God is:
to believe in him, to fear him, and to love him
with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength;
to worship him, to give him thanks, to put my whole trust in him,
to pray to him, to honour his holy name and his Word and to serve him truly throughout my life.

Q12 What is your duty to your neighbour ?

A My duty to my neighbour is:
to love him as myself and to do to all as I wish they would do to me;
to love, honour, and care for my parents;
to honour and obey the Queen and all in authority under her;
to submit to my teachers and spiritual pastors;

to be humble and show respect;
to hurt no one by word or deed;
to be true and just in all that I do;
to bear no malice or hatred in my heart;
to keep my hands from stealing and my tongue from evil speaking, lying, and slandering;
to keep my body in temperance, sobriety and chastity;
not to covet nor desire other people's goods;
but to learn to work honestly for my own living
and to do my duty in that state of life to which it shall please God to call me.

Q13 You are not able to do these things in your own strength ,
nor are you able to keep his commandments or serve him without his special grace.
This you must learn at all times to call for by diligent prayer.
Therefore recite the Lord's Prayer.

either or
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,
thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, now and for ever.

Q14 What do you ask God for in this prayer ?

A I ask God our heavenly Father, the giver of all goodness, to send his grace to me and to everyone,
so that we may worship him, serve him, and obey him as we ought.
And I pray God to send us all that we need both for our souls and bodies;
that he will show us mercy and forgive us our sins;
that he will be pleased to save and defend us in all spiritual and bodily dangers;
and that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness, from our spiritual enemy, and from everlasting death.
This I trust he will do out of his mercy and goodness, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
And therefore I say, Amen, so be it.

Q15 How many sacraments has Christ ordained in his church ?

A Two only, as generally necessary to salvation:
and the Lord's Supper (or Holy Communion).

Q16 What does the word sacrament mean ?

A A sacrament is an outward and visible sign
of an inward and spiritual grace, given to us,
ordained by Christ himself,
as a means by which we receive that grace and a pledge to assure us of it.

Q17 How many parts are there to a sacrament ?

A Two:
the outward visible sign,
and the inward spiritual grace.

Q18 What is the outward visible sign in baptism ?

A Water:
in which a person is baptized
in the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.

Q19 What is the inward and spiritual grace ?

A Death to sin and new birth to righteousness;
for being born with a sinful nature and being children of wrath,
we are by the new birth made the children of grace.

Q20 What is required of persons to be baptized ?

A Repentance,
by which they forsake sin,
and faith,
by which they firmly believe the promises of God proclaimed to them in that sacrament
and through which, when they believe, they are accounted righteous before God
solely on account of the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Q21 Why then are infants baptized when by reason of their age they can neither repent nor believe ?

A Because God has promised to be both our God and the God of our children.
At baptism the parent(s) and godparents of infants promise to bring them up in the Christian faith.

Q22 Why was the sacrament of the Lord's Supper ordained ?

A For the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ and of the benefits we receive from it.

Q23 What is the outward part or sign of the Lord's Supper ?

A Bread and wine, which the Lord has commanded us to receive.

Q24 What is the inward part , or thing signified ?

A The body and blood of Christ,
which are truly taken and received,
only in a heavenly and spiritual manner,
by the faithful in the Lord's Supper.

Q25 What benefits do we who partake receive ?

A We are strengthened and refreshed in our souls by the body and blood of Christ,
as our bodies are by the bread and wine.

Q26 What is required of those who come to the Lord's Supper ?

A They must examine themselves to see whether they truly repent of their sins and have resolved to lead a new life.
They must have a living faith in God's mercy through Christ with a thankful remembrance of his death.
And they must have love for all.

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