What to expect
What to expect at church on Sundays:
When you first visit a new church it can be intimidating… not really sure where to go, what to wear, what to do, etc… This little introduction is to help answer some of those questions you may have.
Nope. You certainly can if that is how you will feel most comfortable in church, but you don’t have to. We have some who dress up and some who come in shorts, t-shirts, and sandals… Hey, Jesus wore sandals and we follow his example.
There are several spaces in the church parking lot and there are more along Main Street or the side streets. A few are reserved for handicapped parking.
The main entrance is off Main Street, but if you come in another door, that is okay too. We will help you find your way.
At the main entrance is a table that holds the worship service bulletins. Pick one of those up. There may be other printed materials that interest you on the table, grab whatever you see that rouses your curiosity (small devotional booklets, informational pamphlets, etc…).
In the pews/seats, there will be two books: The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) and The Hymnal 1982. The BCP has lots of different worship/devotional pieces in it. Feel free to explore its contents before or after the service. The bulletin will direct you to certain pages during the worship. The Hymnal has some/most of the songs for worship it in. Any songs prefaced by the letter “S” are “Service” music and are found at the front of the hymnal. Other songs with just a number refer to the number of the song in the Hymnal.
A typical worship service is about an hour long.
You can find the bathrooms by going through the parish hall to the other end of the room. There are two.
Mostly, just follow what the others do or what you are comfortable doing. We have folks that do one or all of the above at different times during the service. You won’t stand out if you do or don’t do something, I promise.
We sometimes have children in the service. We have a special kid-friendly space near the front so that they can easily see everything that is happening. Parents can sit directly adjacent in pews. Before the main sermon, the preacher will give a short kid’s message.
If we have children on a more regular basis, we will have a children’s’ chapel in which the kids will go into the next room (parish hall) for a kid’s message during the adult sermon time. Kids will then return for communion and the rest of the service with their parents/family.
We also have a fenced playground area for kids to play in after the service and expend some of their energy.
Communion is offered weekly in Episcopal Churches. When we have a priest or bishop present, we will offer communion, which is most weeks. Occasionally, we have someone from the congregation lead Morning Prayer when our priest is unavailable and in those instances, we don’t have communion.
We welcome anyone/everyone who feels comfortable doing so to come forward for communion. Jesus welcomed everyone to eat with him and we follow his example.
We follow the description of how Jesus began this practice at the last supper. He had one bread that he broke and gave to his followers and he had one cup of wine that he passed around to his followers.
After the bread and wine (yes, real wine) is blessed, join with the other people who will begin coming up to the altar rail. You may either stand or kneel to receive. Hold out your hands to receive the bread. You may then eat the bread or you may dip the bread in the wine and then eat it. If you eat the bread, then afterwards you may guide the cup to your mouth for a sip of wine to go with the bread.
You can receive the bread and when the cup comes afterward, just cross your arms in front of you across your chest to indicate you do not wish to have the wine.
When the bread comes to you, cross your arms over your chest to indicate you do not wish to receive the bread. You will receive a blessing instead.
You can still come forward and receive a blessing. Just cross your arms in front of you across your chest and the priest will offer you a blessing, instead. You can also simply stay in your seat during this part of the service.
We have a coffee hour/brunch/refreshments in the parish hall after the service. This is our fellowship time when we catch-up on how everyone is doing. We support each other with love, prayers, and sometimes other support.
After we eat a little something, there is often a short program (Bible Study, discussion, presentation, or church meeting). It will be announced in advance what is happening each Sunday.