There is no dress code, and you will meet folks dressed casual, formal, and everything in between. It’s all good. If you drive, you may want to park in the alley behind the church accessible from Louisiana. There should be a visitor spot open for you.
When you come through the front doors on 22nd Avenue, you will be greeted by friendly folks, and given a bulletin that is (hopefully!) easy to follow. Children’s programs and a nursery are available and many around you are able to show you the way.
We also have a gated seating area with a padded carpet, books, soft toys, and coloring sheets for families who want to have their children join in the worship.
Stand to give praise
We begin the formal service standing and singing together. Some music is printed in the bulletin, some in one of two hymnals. Much of our music has a traditional or classical sound. Piano and organ are the main accompaniments. The worship leaders come down the center aisle behind the cross.
Listen to the scriptures
We sit to hear readings from the scriptures and to sing or say a psalm. These readings are appointed according to a three year cycle to help us hear the whole scope of the scriptures over time. We stand for the Gospel reading as a way of indicating special reverence for the life and teachings of Jesus. A sermon follows (usually no more than fifteen minutes long). We stand to proclaim our faith in the words of the Nicene creed.
Offer our prayers
We remain standing as one of us leads the community in prayer for the church, the world, our leaders, all in any need or trouble and those who have died. Often we will kneel for a common confession of sin and hear God’s forgiveness.
Welcome one another
We stand to greet one another with a handshake or sometimes a hug for those around us in the pews, saying “The peace of the Lord be with you”, or just “Peace”. This is a sign of mutual respect and love before we come to the table to receive communion. Once a month we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events in the life of the congregation with our blessing bank, the money from which goes to support Episcopal Relief and Development.
The collection of money is a sign of our lives offered to God. You are welcomed to participate as able, but no one is expected to give financially. This is a time to recognize our part in the greater life of God, and make ourselves available to God for service. We stand as the offerings come forward together with offerings of bread and wine. They are received by the priest at the altar and blessed.
Come to the table (Communion)
After the prayers of blessing, the bread is broken and folks are invited to come to the altar rails. This meal unites us to the love of God and to one another, and strengthens us spiritually for God’s service. Everyone is welcome, though there is no pressure to partake. Most people kneel, but standing is just fine, and those with mobility issues can stay in the pew to have the bread and wine brought to them, just let an usher know.
Most folks receive a small portion of bread in their hands from the priest and then eat it. (Gluten free wafers are available on request). A lay leader will then come and offer a sip of wine from the chalice. Some people do not drink wine, and show this by crossing their arms over their chest. After receiving the wine, we return to our seats for quiet prayer and singing.
Get ready to serve
After communion the priest often sends members of the congregation out with bread and wine to people who are too sick or weak to be with us. We then pray, some of us kneeling, some standing, with thanksgiving, asking for the will to go and serve. After blessing us, we sing a final hymn, and are dismissed to serve. The whole service last roughly an hour, give or take.
Hang out and eat
A great coffee hour takes place in the parish hall most Sundays following the service. Simply follow the crowd or the signs to the parish hall.