How we worship
Worship provides the center for our community of faith. Each of our services offers an opportunity to gather together for fellowship, share joys and concerns, hear the Word proclaimed, celebrate the Eucharist (Communion), experience the unity of our faith, and feel God's presence.
While some of our practices still reflect Covid concerns, the people of God who are the Church of the Holy Apostles gather together to raise our voices in worship each Sunday morning:
...how do I know what to do?
Whether you're new to the Episcopal church or simply new to this congregation, there are a few things we'd like you to know to help your worship experience be the best it can be.
We use a 'through-written' bulletin for most services. This means that everything you need for worship -- prayers, hymns, scripture, responses -- is contained in the bulletin. This way you don't have to worry about the 'book juggling' which can be a bit confusing if you are unaccustomed to going back and forth between our liturgy and hymn books. The bulletins also contain 'directions' telling you when we usually stand, sit, or kneel. The presider (the priest conducting the service) will give any directions specific to a particular service.
An Episcopal worship service is a 'physical' service in that we pray and worship in a variety of postures. People sometimes joke about our 'holy calisthenics.' The most important thing to remember is that you do not have to do what everyone else is doing for your worship to be efficacious. If you have difficulty standing or kneeling, it is perfectly acceptable to sit. If your own personal piety compels you to kneel for prayer rather than stand, kneel -- the people standing around you will not mind. We vary our postures to enhance our worship, not to detract from it, and you should worship in a manner that best enriches your experience.
We celebrate Holy Eucharist (Communion) every Sunday. Everyone (as in - everyone) is welcome to come to the altar rail, either for communion or for a blessing.
An usher will invite you to come forward up the center aisle. People gather on all three sides of the altar rise. If we all don't fit around the altar, we wait in the center aisle until there is room.
At the altar rise, you may stand or kneel as you prefer. The priest will come around to you and offer you bread, saying "The Body of Christ" or similar words. The bread is gluten free.
a. An appropriate response, as you take the bread, is "Amen," although, again, if you traditionally accept the bread with different words, do not hesitate to use them.
b. You may eat the bread at this time, or, if you prefer to dip your bread in the cup of wine (this is called 'intinction'), hold it in your hand until you are offered the cup. You may also follow the older practice of offering your bread to the priest to dip in the wine and place on your tongue.
c. If you do not want to take the bread, fold your arms across your chest. (This is our sign for 'no thank you.') If you would like a blessing, simply tell the priest.
d. Our teaching is that any baptized Christian - regardless of age - may take Communion. If you have an infant or young child with you, the priest will ask if you would prefer them to have Communion or a blessing.
Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic wine are generally available. Simply tell the priest which you prefer. Alcoholic wine is red -- non-alcoholic wine is white.
a. After you have been given the bread, the priest or an assistant will offer you the cup of wine. Our tradition is to celebrate communion from a common cup. The priest will say "The Blood of Christ" or similar words. Again, an appropriate response is "Amen."
b. If you wish to 'intinct' -- to dip your bread into the cup -- hold your bread firmly and dip only the edge of the bread into the wine, avoiding dipping your fingers into the wine. Then place the wine-soaked bread into your mouth.
c. If you have eaten your bread and wish to drink from the cup, guide it to your lips and take a small sip.
d. If you do not want to take the wine, fold your arms across your chest, as above.
When you have had both the bread and the wine, you may return to your seat, using the side aisles. There is no need to wait for the entire group to finish.
If you have questions about any part of the service, please feel free to ask. Every worshiping community has their own way of doing things, and we want you to feel comfortable worshiping with us!
And... what do you call a female priest? Really, whatever is comfortable for you, while being respectful. Our current priest is the Reverend Martha Gillette. Many of us call her Mother Martha. Others call her Mother Gillette, Pastor Martha, Reverend Martha, or just plain Martha. She responds to each of those names!