Your First Visit: expect friendly people and no judging
Our service starts at 10:00am on Sundays. Come as you are, there is no dress code. We sing hymns, read from Scripture, share family updates, welcome newcomers, and partake in Holy Communion.
The Episcopal service combines many aspects of more traditional rituals such as those of the Roman Catholic Church with a more relaxed, open governance similar to those found in non-denominational evangelical churches. Many feel this lets us show reverence without being too restrictive or formal.
Our services follow an order spelled out in the Book of Common Prayer, a prescriptive guide to our services. We use the Book of Common Prayer to make sure we’re covering all the bases in our prayers.
When you arrive, an usher will greet you and hand you a program. If you follow along in the program, you will see an order for how the service will unfold. In the program, you’ll see references to pages in the “BCP” (the red Book of Common Prayer) as well as hymns called out in the blue Hymnal. Use your program to guide you.
Families are welcome!
Children are very welcome in our Sunday School and in the Sanctuary during Sunday service. The Sunday School takes place during the 10:00am Sunday Service. The congregation is a mix of long-time members and “newbies” who are delighted to see children in church.
“The Peace”: what is it and why is everyone hugging each other?
St. Elizabeth is a little different than more conservative Episcopal parishes in that, when we “exchange the Peace” (greet one another and wish them the Peace of the Lord), most folks will get up out of their seats to say hello to everyone. For some who have been raised in more formal settings, this can be a surprise and may seem much more “friendly” than normal. Don’t sweat it: say hello and know that you are welcome!
Episcopal “Aerobics”: do what feels comfortable
First-time visitors from other denominations can easily be confused by an Episcopal service: am I supposed to kneel? Sit down? Stand up? Cross myself? Bow when the cross goes by? Genuflect before approaching the altar?
There are reasons for all the ritual. But our general rule is to do what feels comfortable to you. No one will judge you if you don’t know the ritual or the rules, or if you sit while others are standing or kneeling, or vice versa. We’re just happy to have you here and if you’re curious, we can explain the meaning behind all the “ups and downs.”
Joining St. Elizabeth
After getting to know us, if you’d like to become a member, we’d love to have you! Simply let Father John know and he will give you the details about joining the congregation officially, becoming baptised in the Episcopal Church, or transferring membership from another parish.
About the Episcopal Church
From Wikipedia.org: “The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States. It is the Province of the Anglican Communion in the United States. The Episcopal Church describes itself as being “Protestant, Yet Catholic”. In 2009, the Episcopal Church had a baptized membership of 2,175,616 both inside and outside the U.S. In the United States, it had a baptized membership of 2,006,343, making it the nation’s fifteenth largest denomination.
“The Episcopal Church ordains women to the priesthood as well as the diaconate and the episcopate. The current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first female primate in the Anglican Communion.”