What to Expect in Episcopal Worship
We’ll Welcome You!
When you visit St. Peter’s for services, ushers will greet you as a respected and valued guest. The service bulletin gives you a service outline with Prayer Book and Hymnal page numbers. The Lord’s Table at communion time is open all who seek a closer relationship with God in Christ.
A Worship Space to Inspire Prayer
The Altar is central in Episcopal Churches, drawing our thoughts toward the encounter with God that can happen in worship. Flickering candles symbolize Christ as the “Light of the World.” Flowers reflect the beauty of God’s creation. The pulpit and lectern are used to proclaim God’s Word. Behind the Altar, a large ornamental screen symbolizes creation (the hand of God in the small blue window), redemption (the cross) and the work of the Spirit (the dove and the apostles), creating communities of compassion, justice and mutual support.
Entering and Leaving
Beauty, order and dignity are hallmarks of “liturgical” worship, which is both God-centered and yet mindful of the nature and needs of human beings. The Book of Common Prayer provides a treasure-trove of prayers both traditional and contemporary. Most worshipers bow to the altar with its large cross upon entering and leaving their pew as an act of reverence for Christ. Most worshipers kneel to say a prayer of personal preparation. You can follow the service in the red Book of Common Prayer, and the blue Hymnal found in the pew racks.
We ordinarily stand to sing, sit to listen, and stand or kneel for prayer. The Spirit can speak to open ears and hearts as the Scriptures are read and we hear them applied to our lives in the Sermon. We remember Christ and are nourished by his living presence in Holy Communion—open to all who seek to draw near to God. Blessing and Dismissal send us out to serve God in the world. At the end of the service, some persons kneel for a final private prayer, while others may sit to listen to the organ postlude. We continue our nourishment in the Coffee Hour that follows, where you can meet and greet parishioners who will tell you more about the parish and its mission in the community.
Learning More About the Church
Should you wish to know more about St. Peter’s Church or how to become an Episcopalian, we will gladly answer questions and suggest the way to membership. Just speak to the Rector, or call or email the office for an appointment. Confirmation classes for both early teens and adults are held periodically.