Visiting All Saints? What to Expect
“All Saints Episcopal Church is a diverse family welcoming all into a journey of growing in Christ.”
All are welcome!
Many people are concerned, when visiting their first Episcopal Church, that they won’t know what to do. Don’t worry. Once you get to know us you’ll see that Episcopalians don’t often agree on anything – including the “right” way to do things. But the following should help you to feel more comfortable.
The Episcopal Church worships in a traditional and liturgical manner; traditional in the sense that our order of service dates back to earliest days of the Christian church and its’ customs; liturgical in the sense that we regularly follow service forms, prayers and texts that do not change much from week to week. The Book of Common Prayer provides a fixed framework, but not a rigid one.
It is the custom upon entering church to kneel in one’s pew for prayer. You may also notice that many will bow to the altar on entering or leaving the church as an act of reverence. Most Episcopalians do not talk in church before a service but use this time for personal meditation and as a consideration to others.
Our worship follows the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The pages for each part of the service are frequently mentioned by the Rector (our Priest or Pastor) and are also listed in the parish (church) bulletin. (The exceptions are those readings found in the insert of the bulletin: Collect, lessons, Psalm, and Gospel.)
8:00 AM Service – Holy Eucharist – Rite I – Begins on page 323 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Rite I is a traditional & historical service. This service has no music, uses the more traditional Elizabethan English and historically modeled after the church’s first Book of Common Prayer written in 1549.
10:15 AM Service – Holy Eucharist – Rite II – Begins on page 355 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Rite II is a more contemporary service. The service has music, uses contemporary English and is generally less formal.
All Saint’s services alternate between the Chapel of St. Agnes (1st & 3rd Sundays) and the Chapel of St. Cyprian (2nd & 4th Sundays).
FELLOWSHIP AFTER THE 10:15 AM SERVICE
After the 10:15 we have coffee and an informal gathering in parish hall of the respective church. Please do give us the opportunity to know you better and join us for this time of fellowship.
THE HOLY EUCHARIST (HOLY COMMUNION)
The Holy Eucharist, also known as The Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or Mass, is the primary Service of Worship in the Episcopal Church. In the Episcopal Church any baptized person is invited to come to the Lord’s Table to receive the consecrated bread (called the Host) and wine – the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As the service of Holy Eucharist nears the end, the usher will invite the people, row by row, to proceed to the altar. To receive, you may either kneel or stand at the altar rail.
To receive the Host, typically, the right hand is place on top of the left, palms up, to receive the bread. You may then raise it to your mouth. Those who prefer may have the Host place directly on their tongue.
The wine chalice follows, and we suggest you help guide the chalice to your lips and sip. If you prefer not to drink from the Common Cup, you may hold the Host (bread) and then dip it in the chalice before consuming. This is called Intinction. After receiving the Sacraments, please wait till the person next to you is finished before returning to your seat. Note: Some people prefer not to take the wine – a matter of personal choice.
If you do not wish to take Communion, you may still come forward to receive a Blessing (Children often receive Blessings at the Communion rail). Simply proceed to the Communion rail with the others, and when the Priest arrives with the Host, simply cross your arms across your chest (hands to each shoulder) with you head slightly down. The celebrant will then give you the Priestly blessing.
If you are disabled, or for any reason unable to come forward, please inform the usher, and the Sacrament will be brought to you in your pew.
TO KNEEL OR NOT TO KNEEL – that is your choice.
The traditional norm in the Episcopal Church has been: stand for praise, sit for listening or instruction, kneel for prayer. Some of those traditions are changing, particularly in the more contemporary service.
Following the order of service in the Book of Common Prayer, you will see instructions to the congregation (written in italics) as the service progresses. For example, you might see “The people kneel or stand”; whatever word appears first, in this case “kneel”, is the norm for this service, but standing is also acceptable.
There’s a lot more kneeling in the Rite I service than in the Rite II service.
At all services you’ll see kneelers, sitters & standers, and all at the same time.
You may feel more comfortable by just doing what you see others doing. A good way to get the hang of things is to sit towards the back of church and observe what is going on in front of you.
By all means, do not do anything that is uncomfortable for you. If kneeling is painful or uncomfortable, don’t kneel. If you have difficulty standing, don’t stand. Discomfort interferes with prayer and worship. Do what is comfortable.
There is no one, right way to do anything. So relax, enjoy, and just “Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness.”