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Welcome, Newcomers

What to expect when joining us for worship at Saint Peter's

You'll Be Welcome

We extend a cordial welcome to you to worship with us, and offer this document as a brief introduction to the Episcopal Church and its ways.

 

You Will Be Comfortable

When you visit an Episcopal Church, you will be our respected and welcomed guest. You will not be singled out in an embarrassing way, nor asked to stand before the congregation nor to come forward. You will worship God with us.

 

Coming and Going

If there are ushers they will greet you and give you a service bulletin. If you desire, they will answer your questions about the service and direct you to rest rooms or the nursery. Following the service the rector greets the people as they leave.

 

The Place of Worship

As you enter, you will notice an atmosphere of worship and reverence. Episcopal churches are built in many architectural styles; but whether the church be small or large, elaborate or plain, your eye is carried to the altar, or holy table, and to the cross. So our thoughts are taken at once to Christ and to God whose house the church is. On or near the altar there are candles to remind us that Christ is the "Light of the World." Often there are flowers, to beautify God's house and to recall the resurrection of Jesus. On one side at the front of the church, there is a lectern or stand, for the proclamation of the Word. On the other side is a pulpit for the preaching the sermon.

Texts for our worship are found in the Book of Common Prayer, and you will find a guide to page numbers in your bulletin. In addition to the prayer book and service bulletin you will need the Hymnal , the blue book in the pew roack. The hymns are listed in the bulletin. 

You may wonder when to stand or kneel. Practices vary — even among individual Episcopalians. The general rule is to stand to sing — hymns (found in the Hymnal in the pews) and other sung parts of the service. We stand, too, to say our affirmation of faith, the Creed; and for the reading of the Gospel in the Holy Eucharist and the Prayers of the People. Psalms are sung or said sitting. We sit during readings from the Old Testament and New Testament Letters, the sermon, and the choir anthems. We stand or kneel for prayer to show our gratefulness to God for accepting us as children or as an act of humility before God.

 

The Regular Services

The principal service at Saint Peter's is the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion). We have four Sunday services, each with a distinct style. The 8 AM Sunday service is simple and said without music with a sermon. Our 9 AM Holy Eucharist is a service designed for families with young children. It is an abbreviated Holy Eucharist, with an interactive children's sermon. The children are encouraged to assist in this service as able. Our 10 AM Holy Eucharist is a Choral Eucharist with the Choir of Saint Peter's and, on occasion, the Choir of Boys and Girls. Sunday School meets at 10 AM with the children joining their parents for Holy Communion.

While some parts of the services are always the same, others change. At the Holy Eucharist, for example, two or three Bible selections are read. These change each Sunday. So do the Psalms. Certain of the prayers also change, in order to provide variety. You will find the services of the Episcopal Church beautiful in their ordered dignity — both God-centered, and yet mindful of the nature and needs of human beings.

 

Before and After Services

It is the custom upon entering church to say a prayer of personal preparation for worship. In many churches it is also the custom to bow to the altar on entering and leaving church as an act of reverence for Christ. Many Episcopalians do not talk in church before a service but use this time for personal meditation and devotions. At the end of the service some persons kneel for a private prayer before leaving. Others sometimes sit to listen to the organ postlude.

Should you wish to know more about Saint Peter's Episcopal Church or how one becomes an Episcopalian, the Rev. Robert Corin Morris will gladly answer questions and suggest the way to membership.

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© 2015
Saint Peter's Episcopal Church
271 Roseland Avenue
Essex Fells, NJ 07021
Phone: 973.226.6500
Fax: 973.226.5477