is a big part of St. John’s identity as a community of faith.
We worship using the Book of Common Prayer, first published
in 1549 and revised and adapted many times since to meet the needs
of changing times and peoples. It was last fully revised in the
US Episcopal Church in 1979, and a continuing offering of authorized
alternative forms and texts underscore that liturgy is a living
and dynamic part of corporate Christian life.
We find this combination of ancient tested and proven patterns
of worship along with attempts faithfully to offer worship in
light of contemporary questions and answers to be both beneficial
Our normal order of worship is the Holy Eucharist (Eucharist is
a Greek word meaning “thanksgiving”). Every baptized
person who joins with us in worship, and is prepared in their
own conscience to receive Christ this way, is welcome to share
in the bread and wine of Holy Communion with us. You are welcome
to receive communion kneeling or standing and, if steps pose a
difficulty for you, feel free at the later service to use the
communion station near the lectern.
We try to use real things in our worship: real bread, real wine,
real candles, real music, real flowers. Even real people! Occasionally
one of them will goof and make some kind of misstep, mispronounce
a word or name (we apologize in advance for that!), or bring forth
a wrong note. Goofs are real too, and prove that our worship is
not “canned.” As you enter into worship with us, please
don’t worry about mistakes – you won’t have
been the first to make one if you do, we promise! We know our
worship can be complicated at first – we’ve all felt
that way. But we’ve found this way of worship to be rich
and full; it doesn’t “get old” in a few weeks,
but ages quite well and is worth the effort.
We move a lot in our worship, sitting and standing and kneeling.
We worship with our entire bodies, not just our minds. Because
the Christian faith is incarnational – celebrating the good
news of God taking on the fullness of human life in Christ, we
believe Christian worship should be incarnational as well, using
our physicality, from taste and smell and sight and hearing up
to and including body posture. What kind of an athletic competition
would it be if people just sat like lumps in the stands? Using
our bodies in worship involves us more fully in what we’re
doing. Watch what others are doing and feel free to go along as
you are comfortable. For some “official” guidelines,
check the italicized instructions (rubrics) in the prayer book.
Episcopalians are funny – we love to socialize, but we also
like to begin our worship in a reverential way. So when we enter
the church before worship we tend to sit quietly, praying our
special concerns or just enjoying the meditative music. This doesn’t
mean we’re unfriendly, it simply means we do our primary
socializing in other contexts and places in the building.
Children of all ages are welcome in our worship. Baptized persons
of all ages are welcome to receive communion. We think that some
children can participate better if they have something to do as
they listen, and so we provide simple “hospitality bags”
at the rear of the church. Feel free to get one and bring it with
you to your pew. There are papers themed to the Sunday readings
for drawing and coloring, and some illustrated bible story books
in each bag. Please return it to the hook when you’ve finished.
And if your children get bored with our activity bag, you can
certainly prepare one from home and bring it along.