What to expect on Sunday

What to expect on Sunday

Episcopalians worship in many different styles, ranging from formal service , with vestments and incense, to informal gatherings. Yet all worship in the Episcopal Church is based in the 
Book of Common Prayer, which provides  familiar worship no matter where you attend an Episcopal Church. .

Worship in the Episcopal Church is “liturgical.” The congregation follows a service and prayers that have developed from ancient Christian tradition brought into the language and meaning of our current time. The liturgy provides a worship experience with a rhythm that transcends the world and time, and welcomes persons to participate. As a first-time visitor, you will discover that worship may involve standing, sitting and kneeling, as well as sung or spoken responses.   

Our worship is called Holy Eucharist.  The Holy Eucharist has two parts the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Table.  Together they balance the scripture lessons, and Holy Communion.


Liturgy of the Word, includes Scritpure, Sermon, Creed, Prayers, Confession and Peace

Liturgy of the Word includes Readings, Sermon, Creed, Prayers, Confession and Peace

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 
The sermon or homily is where the presider, interprets one or more of the days scripture lessons for the people applying their content to daily life and the world.  

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.”  Often the greeting is returned.


The Liturgy of the Table, Holy Eucharist

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

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, because we take our baptism so seriously. If you are not baptized you may still come forward and a blessing will be given to you. 

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 offer a blessing. 

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.

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