A. The Confession placed at the very beginning of the service: (Book of Common Prayer 1979 refers to this as the “Penitential Rite”) Each Sunday in procession we ceremonially move into God’s presence and are called to worship with Opening Acclamations. This is followed with the Collect for Purity, acknowledging to God “all hearts are open” and from Him “no secrets are hid.” We ask God to “cleanse our hearts” so that we can indeed approach Him in true worship. Part of our cleansing is to confess those things “done and left undone” in our lives over the week; therefore, the General Confession becomes very appropriate at this point. The Priest pronounces that God does indeed forgive us and considers us cleansed. We move on joyfully and unencumbered into worship with the singing of the Gloria or another Song of Praise.
B. The Confession placed after the Readings, Sermon and Prayers of the People: At this point in the liturgy we have heard God speaking to us in the readings, sermon and prayers. These things often prepare us for true confession and convict us of those things “done and left undone.” The General Confession, therefore, also serves us very well at this point in the liturgy. Furthermore, this immediately precedes our expression of reconciliation with our neighbor in the Passing of the Peace and our expression of union with God in Holy Communion, both for which confession is a key component.