When you arrive at the church, an usher will greet you and provide a service bulletin. You may choose a seat wherever you like. In the Episcopal Church, our liturgy (the order of service) comes from the red or black Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which is in a rack in every pew. If you take a close look at the Book of Common Prayer, you will see that many, if not most, of the prayers we use are worded directly from the Bible.
We move a lot in our worship, sitting and standing and kneeling. We worship with our entire bodies, from taste and smell and sight and voice and hearing. Using our bodies in worship to sit, stand, kneel, and even bow involves us more fully in what we’re thinking and doing. Watch what others are doing and feel free to go along as you are comfortable or not if you don’t want to. You’ll see not everyone around you does the same thing.
We typically read four lessons from the Bible each Sunday in a set rotation. You can find the lessons for any given Sunday at The Lectionary Page. We usually have our Bible lessons printed out for you, but of course you can bring your Bible. Our ministers usually preach on one or more of the scripture passages, and you can check out previous sermons online.
In special services of celebration and on certain holy days (Christmas Eve, Easter Vigil, Pentecost, St Martin’s Day, All Saints’ Day, and maybe a few others), we may use incense. Using incense in worship is a meaningful and worshipful tradition with ancient Hebrew roots, and in modern times a tradition that we share only with Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Incense engages our senses in inescapable ways. The smoke we see rising from the burning incense is the physical representation of our prayers rising to God. The aroma we smell reminds us to live our lives as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
In our normal Saturday and Sunday worship services, we celebrate Holy Communion, or Holy Eucharist. Eucharist is a Greek word meaning thanksgiving. Every person who joins with us in worship, and is prepared in their own conscience to receive Christ in this way, is welcome to share in the bread and wine of Holy Communion with us at the table in the front of the church. No matter where you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome at this table. If moving is a difficulty for you, let an usher know and our ministers will bring communion to you in your pew. If you have a wheat allergy, we have gluten-free bread at communion – let the minister offering you bread know.
Jesus welcomed children, and so do we! Parents are welcome to bring their children into services with them. During our 10:30 service, younger children (usually third grade and below) are invited to Children’s Chapel immediately after the Gospel reading. During this time, they will hear a message, talk about faith, and pray for each other and the world (just like the grown-ups do!). Children rejoin with us in the sanctuary right before Holy Communion.
We also offer Nursery care for children from infancy to 3 years at our 10:30 am Sunday service.
After each Sunday morning service, we catch up with each other over a cup of coffee or lemonade and a snack of donuts in a building adjacent to the church. We’d love to meet you!
If you have any questions while you’re at church, ask someone with a nametag on, and they’ll try to connect you with the right person to answer your questions. We wear magnetic nametags so everyone can get to know each other. There’s a spot on the “Tell us about yourself” card in the pew rack to request a nametag. Many people leave their nametags on the metal board by the back door so they have them at church; that’s where new nametags will be after they’re made.