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
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.