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What to Expect on Sunday!

What Does Sunday Morning Look Like?

(For information about worship in The Episcopal Church generally, please scroll down.)

Anyone is welcome to worship with us on Sunday morning. Since it can be helpful to know what to expect before you get here, we provide the following:

7:30 a.m. in the Chapel (located on the west side of N. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, just north of Grand Avenue around the corner from the main church). Holy Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion, Mass, or the Lord’s Supper) is celebrated each Sunday morning according to Rite I in The Book of Common Prayer (BCP- see “Ritual”, below). The language of this rite harks back to our origins in 16th-century Tudor English,but the scripture readings are in contemporary language. There is a sermon but no music at this service, which lasts around 40 minutes.

9:00 a.m. in the Church (the main worship space facing Grand Avenue, accessible through the parking lot entrance or the red doors). This celebration of Holy Eucharist, according to Rite II in the BCP, features scripture readings, prayers, congregational singing, occasional choir anthems, and a sermon. The language of Rite II is contemporary; the service lasts around an hour. A customary, or guide to liturgical practices for this service, has been published. Read it here.

And afterward? The choir rehearses, children gather for Christian formation in the Atrium (a special place designed and decorated to help them learn experientially) and refreshments are served in Memorial Hall, in the basement under the parish house. On occasion, formation opportunities for adults are offered as well.

A note about children in worship: We understand that children, like adults, experience the love and grace of God in many ways. One of these is worship. Christian community transcends the kinds of barriers that we often erect in other areas of our lives, including segregation by age. We understand that teaching about our liturgy (that is, public worship), though important and helpful, is no substitute for experiencing it firsthand together with all the people of God. Even (and perhaps especially) the youngest children are attracted to the movement, color, music, and mystery of our liturgy. For these reasons, children and youth are a welcome and integral part of our liturgical life. If you accompany children to church, we encourage you to help them follow the service and participate as age and ability allow. We also encourage you to sit up front, so that they can more easily watch and engage with what’s going on. When children learn at an early age to participate actively in church, they are more likely to remain involved as they become older.

At Christ Church you will not see a special “Children’s Sunday” or “Youth Sunday”. Rather, from the time they can ably and comfortably assume the responsibilities for our various worship ministries, young people who wish to do so may participate in these activities, taking their turn along with adults in the parish in carrying out the duties that help make worship happen.

How do I dress for church? Wear what makes you comfortable. You'll see us in everything from suits and dresses to "business casual" to jeans and t-shirts.

 

About Worship in The Episcopal Church

Origins: Worship in the Episcopal Church has its roots in the earliest Christian communities; it is both comprehensive and traditional. Through the centuries our language of worship has changed and expanded, but the structure remains much the same: we seek to offer our praise and thanks to God, to lift up to God our prayers of intercession and thanksgiving, to hear what God may be saying to us through scripture and proclamation, and to celebrate Christ’s presence through the Holy Spirit in the celebration of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. Our primary worship source in the Episcopal Church is The Book of Common Prayer – “common” not because it is ordinary, but because it was created to be accessible and used by all.

Participation in Worship: We refer to our worship as liturgy, from two Greek words meaning “the people's public work”. Everyone present participates, and all are welcome. We begin by showing up! Those who would like to take a leadership role in the liturgy may serve as lectors (readers of scripture lessons), servers and acolytes (those who carry items in procession, light candles, help at the altar/table, etc.), and chalice administrators (helping to distribute communion and leading the prayers of the people). Ushers and greeters help welcome worshippers. Those who like to sing may wish to join the choir. While some specific portions of the liturgy are reserved to the clergy, there can be no worship without a congregation and the participation of the people.

Ritual: Our worship services follow a specific pattern that originated in the early Church (as mentioned above), thus some elements are the same from week to week or season to season. But variety and richness abound! There is tremendous breadth in the choices we have in worship, from language reminiscent of the original book compiled in 1549 during the reign of England’s King Edward VI, to prayers and worship offered in contemporary language and images. Our hymnody (the songs we sing in church) is similarly diverse in musical style, language, and imagery.

Theology: Our theology (what we believe about God) is formed by our prayer. In fact a phrase you may hear in the Episcopal Church is lex orandi, lex credendi – “the law of prayer is the law of belief”. In other words, we understand who God is, we grow in relationship with Jesus Christ, and we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit by praying and worshipping together. We do not ask for adherence to a doctrinal statement or confession; we do embrace the Church’s basic statement of corporate faith as found in the Nicene Creed, which has guided Christian faith for nearly 17 centuries. We bring our faith to our worship, but we also bring questions, doubts, grief, and celebration.

We invite you to join us!