Welcome! We're glad you're here! We hope you'll look at the information provided below to help you get to know a little bit about us and how we worship. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us.
What to Expect When You Visit
Worship in the Episcopal Church
Sunday is traditionally when Episcopalians gather for worship. The principal weekly worship service is the Holy Eucharist, also known as the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or Mass. In most Episcopal churches, worship is accompanied by the singing of hymns, and in some churches, much of the service is sung.
Here at St. Andrew’s, we offer a combination of both styles: Our 8:30 AM Service is known as Rite I, a traditional liturgy, and most or all of the service is spoken. Our "early service folks" cherish the quiet atmosphere of this service. Our 10:30 service offers a choir, a procession, and a variety of service participants. You will be welcomed by our Ushers and official Greeters. They'll be glad to help you find your way around to the restrooms, nursery, or assist you with seating as needed. All ages are welcome at our services, but we offer the Nursery as a service to our family parishioners who have small children. All are welcomed in our church.
Episcopalians worship in many different styles, ranging from very formal, ancient, and multi-sensory rites with lots of singing, music, special clothes (called 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.
Here at St. Andrew’s, we use a printed service leaflet containing all the readings and hymns to guide parishioners during the services. We also have a Weekly Gazette available with announcements of upcoming events and ongoing activities.
Liturgy and Ritual
Worship in the Episcopal Church is said to be “liturgical,” There is a three-year cycle that mostly covers the entire Bible. Each Sunday there are three readings: Old Testament, The Palm ( from the Old Testament) New Testament or Epistle, and the Gospel. For the first-time visitor, the liturgy may be exhilarating… or confusing. Services may involve standing, sitting, kneeling, sung, or spoken responses. Liturgical worship can be compared with a dance: once you learn the steps, you come to appreciate the rhythm, and it becomes satisfying to dance, again and again, as the music changes. Most believe that the services are deeply spiritual experiences in a community of other faithful people.
The service is divided into two sections the Liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Table.
The Liturgy of the Word
We begin by praising God through song and prayer and then listen to as many as four readings from the Bible: one from the Old Testament, a Psalm, something from the Epistles, and (always) a reading from the Gospels. The psalm is usually recited by the congregation either in total or responsively.
Next, a sermon, usually interpreting the readings appointed for the day, is preached. The purpose of the sermon or homily is to connect scripture to today and challenge the listener to practice the faith.
The congregation then recites the Nicene Creed, written in the Fourth Century and the Church’s statement of what we believe ever since.
Next, the congregation prays together—for the Church, the World, and those in need. We pray for the sick, thank God for all the good things in our lives, and finally, we pray for the dead. The presider (e.g. priest, bishop, lay minister) concludes with a prayer that gathers the petitions into a communal offering of intercession.
During most seasons of the Church year, 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 priest or bishop assures the congregation that God forgives our sins.
The congregation then greets one another with a sign of “peace.”
The liturgy of the Table
Next, the priest stands at the table, which has been set with a cup of wine and a plate of bread or wafers, raises his or her hands, and greets the congregation again, saying “The Lord be With You.” Now begins the Eucharistic Prayer, in which the presider tells the story of our faith, from the beginning of Creation, through the choosing of Israel to be God’s people, through our continual turning away from God, and God’s calling us to return. Finally, the presider tells the story of the coming of Jesus Christ, and about the night before his death, on which he instituted the Eucharistic meal (communion) as a continual remembrance of him.
The priest or bishop blesses the bread and wine, and the congregation recites the Lord’s Prayer. Finally, the presider breaks the bread and offers it to the congregation, as the “gifts of God for the People of God.”
The congregation then shares the consecrated bread and the wine. At St. Andrew’s, Ushers assist in directing parishioners by rows to move forward to the altar rail and stand or kneel according to ability, to receive Communion. Everyone is encouraged to participate, but it is not a requirement of the service at all.
All Are Welcome
All baptized Christians—no matter 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.
Visitors who are not baptized Christians are welcome to come forward during the Communion to receive a blessing from the priest.
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 to the World.
1. What should I wear?
Clothing is not optional. Within that framework, you are welcome to dress up or dress casually, according to your preference. We are happy to see you!
2. Who can I ask when I have questions about the service I'm planning to attend or that I attended?
Our Interim Priest, Mo. Jan Hosea, and our Deacon, Phil Runge, will be delighted to answer any questions you may have and can be identified by the clerical collar they wear. If you are interested in exploring the Episcopal denomination or being officially received into the Episcopal Church, classes are offered periodically during the year to help you with that process. If you are already an Episcopalian, and you want to permanently join our family at St. Andrew’s, you can transfer your membership to our parish.
3. What is the Sign of the Cross? Why are people doing it? Do I have to do it?
Crossing oneself is an ancient Christian gesture wherein a person touches the forehead, heart, the left shoulder, and right shoulder and back to the heart. It symbolizes our connection to the sacrifice Jesus made for us, his five wounds, and our commitment to keep God in our minds, bodies, and spirits. It is an optional and voluntary gesture. Watch the priest for cues when to do this action.
4. Does the Episcopal Church actually welcome everyone?
As the leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said it best: "As the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement today, we Episcopalians are committed, as our Prayer Book teaches to honor the covenant and promises we made in Holy Baptism: To proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ; To seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves; to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being." We hope that you will find the people at St. Andrew’s a living example of that statement.