In a liturgical Church, services have a set order. This means that all services are always exactly the same, no matter what country they are conducted in. The only difference is the language it is conducted in.In Liturgical Church services, the altar is at the centre of the Eucharist, or “thanksgiving”. This is because the altar is the place where the sacrifice of the Eucharist takes place. This is the sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross. This gift of himself is shown in the bread and wine offered at the Eucharist.
Roman Catholics believe in the “Transubstantiation”. This is the act in which the bread and the wine offered by the priest at the altar actually become the body and blood of Christ. The bread and the wine also remind us of the Last Supper shared by Jesus and the Apostles.The priest wears special garments to show that he is different from the laity (the congregation). The long white garment worn on the inside is called the Alb.
It is meant to remind us of the long, flowing white garments worn in the middle east, which is of course where Jesus lived, to keep cool. The outer garment is called the Chasuble. Chasubles have been used since Roman times, so the priest wears it as a symbol of the antiquity of the priesthood. The colour of the Chasuble depends upon the time of the religious calendar. It is a different colour during each major festival of the year, e.
g.: purple during Lent.Finally, the priest wears a Stole. This is the long scarf-like garment he wears around the neck and which almost reaches down to his ankles. It is a symbol of the priest’s authority.The most important part of the Liturgical service is the Liturgy of the Word. It is a planned reading read by the priest, and represents the theme of the entire service. The theme corresponds with the time of the liturgical or religious year.In a non-liturgical Church, services have no set order. Instead, the Bible is the focus of services, and worship is spontaneous, often involving joyful singing and dancing. Church buildings are a lot plainer, and the altar is a table. A lot more importance is given to the Sermon – preaching and teaching from the minister, and to prayer, than to ceremony and tradition. Again the offering of the bread and the wine plays an important part, but as in the charismatic and Anglican denominations, the Church does not believe in the Transubstantiation. Community singing and hymn books play important parts in worship.In charismatic Churches, attention is mainly focused n the Holy Spirit. There is no service order as the congregation wait upon the Holy Spirit to provide the inspiration and its gifts. Worship involves plenty of drama, with healing of illnesses etc. via the laying on of hands by the minister, people speaking in prophecy tongues, and enthusiastic hymns. There are no symbols in the church building, which can often be just a plain building. Great importance is also placed upon Bible readings, the preaching of the minister, and prayer.