Welcome to Sunday
You will see people sit and stand throughout our service. In general, we stand to sing, sit to listen, and kneel, as we are able, to pray. In Episcopal worship, we involve our whole being - body, mind, and spirit.
On most Sundays, we celebrate Holy Eucharist, also called Holy Communion. The belief of The Episcopal Church is that all baptized people may receive communion. During communion, ushers will guide people to the front of the church to receive at the altar rail. If you are unable to go to the altar rail and would like communion, please let an usher know and we will bring it to you. If you don't wish to receive communion, no big deal. You can remain in your seat or come forward and receive a blessing from our priest– just cross your arms over your chest as a sign you'd like a blessing.
When receiving communion, just cup your hands in front of you and the priest will place bread in your hand. We also offer gluten free wafers on request, just ask the priest. After receiving the bread, a Eucharistic Minister will come with a cup of wine, and it is real wine. If you choose, you may dip (or intinct) a small portion of the bread into the wine rather than taking a sip from the common cup.
First things first, welcome! We are delighted you are here with us. We suspect you may have some questions- everyone you'll meet at St. Stephen's was a newcomer at one time or another, and we've all had questions (probably the very same ones). We want you to be comfortable so you can worship God and enjoy your visit with us. Here is a guide to some of what you might expect if you attend a worship service at St. Stephen's.
It is good to arrive a few minutes before the service begins so you can get yourself settled. There will probably be ushers or greeters who will give you a bulletin which will guide you through the service. You can find a copy of our most recent bulletin HERE. If you need help, don't be afraid to ask those around you. We love guests here at St. Stephen's. And remember, when you're worshipping God, you can't get it wrong.
In addition to the service bulletin, you will find various books in the rack in front of you or in the pew. You will see red copies of the Book of Common Prayer, sometimes called the BCP or Prayerbook. The words used in our worship service (the liturgy) are taken from this book. You will also see a blue book called The Hymnal 1982 and a green book called Wonder, Love, Praise. These books contain the majority of hymns we sing during worship.
You will notice that some people kneel and pray before the service begins. It's an Episcopal thing and allows us to say hello to God and to prepare our hearts for worship. If you are not sure what to pray, we recommend a personalized version of the Collect for Purity: "Almighty God, to you my heart is open, my desires known, and from you no secrets of mine are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that I may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name, through Christ our Lord. Amen."