Episcopal liturgy is based on ancient patterns of Christian worship but is contemporary in language and thought. We follow a lectionary that specifies scripture lessons (Old Testament, epistle, and gospel) for each day, in a three-year cycle. Usually the sermon is based on one or more of those scripture readings.
The church calendar proceeds in a cycle of seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphanytide, Lent, Eastertide, and the long season known as After Pentecost (or Ordinary Time).
If the Episcopal way of worship is new to you, please relax. The printed bulletin is your guide to where to find the various parts of the service in the prayer book (red) and hymnal (blue). We are formal but not stuffy! Just be comfortable and let the beauty of the prayers and music fill your soul.
Our usual Sunday service is the Holy Eucharist, which is very similar to the Mass in Roman Catholicism and the Holy Eucharist in the Lutheran Church. The 8:00 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist is without music; the 10:00 a.m. service includes congregational hymn singing and an anthem by our small volunteer choir (except in the summer).
We use The Book of Common Prayer as the basis for our services; at 10:00 we also use The Hymnal 1982. The service leaflet guides you to page numbers in The Book of Common Prayer and hymn numbers in the hymnal. The scripture readings for the day are printed in the service leaflet.
The prayer book gives directions for when to stand, sit, or kneel. However, for those who find standing and kneeling difficult, it is also appropriate to sit for any part of the service. We generally stand for all hymns except the Communion Hymns, for which we sit.
All baptized Christians are welcome to receive communion. You may stand or kneel – and if you cannot come to the altar rail, communion will be brought to you in your seat. Whether at the rail or in your seat,
- you can receive the bread in your hand and drink from the cup;
- you can receive the bread only, in your hand;
- you can receive the wine only, drinking from the cup;
- you can let the chalice bearer intinct (dip) the bread in the wine for you.
Note that priests, chalice bearers, and altar guild members sanitize their hands with Purell before touching the bread or the cup. If you need gluten-free communion bread, just ask – it is always available.
If you do not wish to receive communion, you may come to the altar rail and cross your arms over your chest, and the priest will be pleased to give you a blessing.