Stir Our Compassion

Stir Our Compassion

God, whose everlasting arms support the universe: We thank you for moving the heart of Lillian Trasher to heroic hospitality on behalf of orphaned children in great need, and we pray that More »

Shed Your Light On Those Who Love You

Shed Your Light On Those Who Love You

Judge eternal, throned in splendor, you gave Juan de la Cruz strength of purpose and mystical faith that sustained him even through the dark night of the soul: Shed your light on More »

We Pray For Illumination

We Pray For Illumination

Loving God, for the salvation of all you gave Jesus Christ as light to a world in darkness: Illumine us, with your daughter Lucy, with the light of Christ, that by the More »

Help Us Renounce Vanity

Help Us Renounce Vanity

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace gladly to renounce the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in More »

Help Us Live In Friendship

Help Us Live In Friendship

O God, the shepherd of all, we give you thanks for the lifelong commitment of your servant John Raleigh Mott to the Christian nurture of students in many parts of the world; More »

Grant That We May Show Our Faith

Grant That We May Show Our Faith

O God, who by the teaching of your faithful servant and bishop Remigius turned the nation of the Franks from vain idolatry to the worship of you, the true and living God, More »

Deliver Us From Worldliness

Deliver Us From Worldliness

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your More »

Help Us Follow You

Help Us Follow You

 We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with More »

Pour Forth Your Holy Spirit

Pour Forth Your Holy Spirit

Almighty God, who called your faithful servants John Coleridge Patteson and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia, and by their labors and sufferings raised up a More »

Grant Us Concord

Grant Us Concord

Almighty God, who called your servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and gave him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, More »

 

What to Expect

baptismEpiscopalians worship in many different styles, ranging from very formal, with vestments and incense, to informal services with contemporary music. Yet all worship in the Episcopal Church is based in the Book of Common Prayer, which gives worship a familiar feel, no matter where you go.

Worship in the Episcopal Church is “liturgical.” The congregation follows service forms and prayers that don’t change greatly from week to week. This gives worship a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar to the worshipers.

For the first-time visitor, liturgy may be exhilarating or confusing. Services may involve standing, sitting and kneeling, as well as sung or spoken responses, that may provide a challenge for the first-time visitor. Here’s what to expect.

Readings
We begin by praising God through song and prayer, and then listen to as many as four readings from the Bible—usually one from the Old Testament, one from the Psalms, one from the Epistles, and always a reading from the Gospels. The psalm is usually sung or recited by the congregation.

Sermon

Creed
After the sermon, the congregation recites the Nicene Creed. Written in the 4th Century, it is the Church’s statement of what we believe.

Prayers of the People
Next, the congregation prays together—for the Church, the world, and those in need. We pray for the sick and for those who have died, and thank God for all the good things in our lives.

Confession
The congregation formally confesses their sins before God and one another. This is a corporate statement of what we have done and what we have left undone, followed by a pronouncement of absolution. In pronouncing absolution, the presider assures the congregation that God is always ready to forgive our sins.

Peace
The congregation then greet one another, usually with a handshake and a message of “Peace” or “Peace be with you.”

HEEucharist
In the Episcopal Church, the entire service is referred to as the Holy Eucharist. The actual taking of bread and wine is the central focus of the service.

The priest stands at the altar, which has been set with a cup of wine and a plate of bread or wafers, and begins the Eucharistic Prayer. The priest blesses the bread and wine, and the congregation recites the Lord’s Prayer. The bread is broken and offered to the congregation, as the “gifts of God for the People of God.”

All baptized Christians‚ regardless of age or denomination‚ are welcome to receive communion. Episcopalians invite all baptized people to receive, not because we take the Eucharist lightly, but because we take our baptism so seriously.

To receive communion, follow others to the altar and kneel or stand in an open spot at the communion rail. A minister with bread will come around first. Simply hold your open hands out in front of you, one on top of the other. The minister will place a small wafer in your hand and say, “The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven.”

You may eat the bread then or hold it until the wine comes. A minister with a chalice of wine will stop in front of you and say, “The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.” You may either drink directly from the chalice or, if you saved your bread, simply dip it into the wine and consume both together. When you have received both bread and wine, you can stand and return to your seat.

Visitors who are not baptized Christians are welcome to come forward during the Communion to receive a blessing from the priest. If you wish to receive a blessing, instead of holding your hands out to receive the bread, simply cross your arms over your chest. The priest will take it from there.

Dismissal
At the end of the Eucharist, the congregation prays once more in thanksgiving, and then is dismissed to continue the life of service to God and to the world.