WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I VISIT?
We want you to know what to expect when you come on a Sunday morning to visit us for worship. The following will walk you through what the normal Sunday morning looks like.
|We offer two opportunities to worship on Sunday; 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. as well as a service Wednesday at 11 a.m.
We have two buildings on our campus. The Church where worship is held is closest to the Drexel Road entrance. The education and office wing where classes, the nursery and Children’s Chapel are held is closer to Franz Road.
The early service is at 8:00 and most people arrive between 7:45 and 8:00 a.m. This is a Holy Eucharist service using Rite 1. The second service is at 10:30 and is a Rite 2 service with choir and organ music. Young children may go to children’s chapel with Ms. Julia during the sermon at the 10:30 service.
Now let me explain what all that means.
Holy Eucharist is a service with two parts, the liturgy of the word that includes readings, a sermon, prayers and confession. The second portion is a celebration of communion (Eucharist) where the priest consecrates (blesses) bread and wine in commemoration of the Last Supper. Rite 2 means we are using contemporary English. Rite 1 uses Elizabethan language and is more formal.
|Our Formation Classes (Sunday School) for all ages begin at 9:15 on Sunday mornings, and meet in the classroom and office building next to the church. We are not a huge place, everyone is friendly and will be happy to guide you to the correct room.
We offer classes for Children from pre-school through High School. A friendly welcome is assured to your child even if they have never been to church before. Click on either children, teens or adults to see our offerings.
We encourage children to be in worship!
After Christian Formation ends at 10:15, worship begins at 10:30. After the opening processional, a few prayers and the readings for the day, Fr. Mark will invite the children to go with Miss Julia to Children’s chapel. Children ages Pre- Kindergarten through 3rd grade go to a brief service made just for children during the sermon and prayers, then return just before communion. They will hear an age appropriate discussion of the readings. As you enter the church be sure to ask one of the ushers for an activity bag for your younger children.
Body of Christ, Bread of Heaven
After the prayers where the priest blesses the bread and wine, it’s your turn. Everyone is invited to come forward to the communion rail. You can either kneel or stand to receive communion. Simply put out your hands in front of you. The priest or deacon will come by first and give you a piece of bread that is the body of Christ. You can eat it right away or you can wait to dip it in the wine and then eat it. Some who have been raised in the Roman Catholic tradition choose to receive just bread and that is fine. If you are gluten intolerant let the priest know by crossing your hands in front of you with the palms towards the floor and he or she will give you a gluten free wafer.
Blood of Christ, Cup of our Salvation
Then a person will come by with the Chalice (a silver or pottery cup). You can gently hold the cup, and with the server, guide it up to your lips and take a small sip of the wine. Or if you held onto the bread, you may dip it into the wine and then eat it.
If you do not wish to have the communion you can come forward and cross your arms across your chest and the priest or deacon will give you a blessing. Do what is comfortable for you!
Communion holds a deep and varied meaning for us in the Episcopal Church. It contains the mystery of what Christ did when he died on the cross for the sins of the world.
Protestant or Catholic?
The Episcopal Church is sort of a mix between a Protestant Church and a Catholic Church, so you will see things that look like both. In many ways it’s very simple and after a few times through the service you will be comfortable with our worship. If you would like, an usher will find someone to sit with you to help you through the service the first few times. We also have members of our visitor’s ministry who can help you through the service.
There are places where we bow to show reverence for Christ, places where we kneel to humble ourselves before God. There are times we cross ourselves as a way of using our entire bodies to worship and remember Christ’s sacrifice. We read ancient creeds and prayers together out-loud to affirm our faith. Our parish has members from all over the United States and often from other countries as well. Each person brings some of their own personal practice so there really is no right or wrong way to do any of this. The best way to learn this is to the watch people in front of you and follow along. Our members are friendly, and you can feel free to ask questions of the person next to you.
I still have questions!
That’s wonderful, we are happy to answer your questions. The best way to get to know our parish is to meet with our Rector, The Rev. Mark Wilkinson. You can schedule a time up at the church, which allows him to show you around or if you wish, a cup of coffee or a home visit. Email Mark or call (281) 391-2785.