If You Visit

Eucharist is the primary form of worship in the Episcopal Church. It is also commonly known as Holy Communion or The Lord’s Supper. At St. Mary's, we have Eucharist every Sunday. The service has four distinct elements; Gathering, Listening and Responding to the Word of God, Sharing the Meal of Christ, and the Sending. This is the pattern of worship of the ancient Christian Church, reflecting the pattern found in Jesus’ feeding of the thousands and in the Last Supper as recorded in the Gospels.

Jesus said to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our minds. In other words, with our whole selves. Traditionally then, Episcopal worship has sought to engage the whole body and all five senses in the act of worship. You will find that in Episcopal worship, there is a lot of movement: standing, sitting, kneeling and coming forward to receive communion. Though many people find these patterns of worship comforting, no one is required to participate in such a way as to make them uncomfortable. The Episcopal Church welcomes all baptized persons, of any age and from any Christian tradition at communion.

St. Mary's has two Sunday morning services

  • The 8:00 service uses the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which contains the entirety of the service and is easy to follow.  Copies of the BCP are available for all worshipers.  This service is spoken word only, without music
  • The 10:00 service uses a worship bulletin which includes the whole of the service drawn from the BCP and other authorized sources. This service includes music and congregational singing. Music includes a mix of traditional hymnody drawn from the hymnal of the Episcopal Church and a variety of modern compositions. 

Finding a Seat
St. Mary's doesn’t have traditional pews, but uses individual chairs.  Please come in and take a seat anywhere you look; there are no reserved seats. Sitting up front gives you the best view of what’s happening.

Children
Children are very welcome at our services, and baptized children of any age are invited to take communion with their parents. We know children come in all degrees of squirminess; don’t worry about that! God made them that way and they are welcome here.

Education/Sunday School
We offer a Sunday School for children 4-12 during the 10:00 service during the school year (September - early June).  They typically meet from 10:00 am until 10:30 am, at which time all children join their families for communion.

Tweens and teens are encouraged to take part in the worship service as Acolytes, Lectors or Chalice Bearers.

We also offer forums and other educational opportunities for adults regularly, but not every week.

Following Along with the Service
Each service follows a pattern of worship we call “the Liturgy.” If you are familiar with Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Lutheran worship – worship at St. Mary's will feel familiar.  The BCP and worship bulletins are easy to follow and give directions for congregational responses. If you’re concerned about not knowing when to sit or stand, don’t worry; when in doubt just follow your neighbors. What matters most is that you’re here – you can’t do worship “wrong.”

The 10:00 bulletin draws on all the authorized worship materials of the Episcopal Church and is changed throughout the year as the seasons of the Church Year change. All the words for the service are included in this bulletin, including words to the songs. If you'd like to have music to follow along with, hymns are usually found in The Hymnal 1982, which is a blue book that can be found in each row, or in Gather, copies of which are available at the back of the church.

The sermons will focus on the Scripture readings for the day.  We usually include four Scripture readings:

  • Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament- the stories of God’s people, Israel)
  • Psalm (one of 150 ancient poems expressing the human experience of God)
  • Epistle (one of a series of letters written by Jesus’ disciples to early Christian churches)
  • The Gospels (stories about Jesus’ life)

The Peace is a time to pass the “peace of the Lord” along to your neighbors by greeting them with a handshake or hug.

Passing the Collection Plate
The collection is the time when many people give their financial offerings for the ministry of the church. Financial support of the church is a spiritual discipline and a sign of commitment to living out your faith in this particular community. We understand that, as a visitor, you might feel unready to give yet; that’s okay.

Communion
All baptized persons, of any age, are welcome and encouraged to receive Holy Communion. As you come forward, place your right hand in your left and hold them in front of you to receive the bread. You may dip the bread in the wine and consume them together, or you may eat the bread and drink from the chalice (cup). Please help guide the chalice to your lips and take a small drink. We do use wheat in our communion bread, and our wine does contain alcohol.

All persons are invited forward to receive a blessing in lieu of communion.  Please cross your arms across your chest to indicate your desire to receive a blessing from the priest.

Fellowship after the Service
Following the service, please join us for refreshments. We gather in the Fireside Room, down the short hall at the back of the Sanctuary. This is a great opportunity to connect with community members and our priest.

What to Wear
There is no dress code for church.

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