What to Expect
Walking into a strange place with people you do not know can be very scary, this guide will hopefully ease some of your concerns and help you know what to expect on your visit to St. Peter's. Click on a link below:
IN A NUTSHELL
(just the highlights)
You’ll be warmly greeted when you enter St. Peter’s and you’ll see that some folks are in their Sunday Best and others are in jeans and flip flops. If you’re new to Episcopal worship, we’ll give you some pointers and help you find a seat.
Worship starts out with the Liturgy of the Word which means scripture, prayers and a sermon. Then the second half is Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper. You’re welcome to participate in all of this. Music is diverse lively and usually played on the organ at the 10 am service.
We will sit, stand, and kneel at various times but do what helps you worship; there’s no wrong way to worship here. Children are SO welcome in worship so expect some kid noises and wiggles. If you’d like to check out our nursery for your little one, children under 4 are welcome there.
After church, we’ll meet you in the welcoming area to answer any questions. If you’d like to give us some contact info, we’ll follow up with you but won’t stalk you – promise!
ALL THE NUTS AND BOLTS
(for those who love details)
When you arrive at St. Peter’s, finding a parking spot is easy. Handicapped spots are available along the circle drive.
When you enter the church, there will be folks opening the door for you and you will see our friendly greeters.
Some people come in their Sunday Best to St. Peter’s and others wear jeans and flip-flops. At Christmas and Easter, folks generally dress up but we’re pretty much a “come as you are” sort of place.
We’ll likely ask you if you’re familiar with Episcopal worship so that we can give you some pointers if this is new for you. The Episcopal Church is a liturgical church so we use a prayer book for worship which is based on scripture and ancient texts of the early Christian church. The high point of the worship is Holy Communion, or the Lord’ Supper, as opposed to the sermon. Sermons are only about 10 minutes long.
If you have young children, there is a Children’s Nook in the “narthex,” or welcoming area/lobby, with quiet activities and a sensory basket full of tactile objects for children. Children are SO very welcome in worship at St. Peter’s, so expect some kid noises and wiggles.
If you have small children, we have a nursery for children up to age 4. One of our hosts can walk you over to where our nursery is located. Our nursery is staffed with loving and trained individuals who are consistently there so your child can get to know them. However, ALL children are welcome in worship at St. Peter’s, so if you’re not comfortable with your child going to the nursery, that is totally fine.
You’ll receive an information card to complete which asks for some basic contact info. Don’t worry – we promise not to stalk you! If you’d rather not share any information, that is okay, too. The host who gives you the card will meet up with you after worship to collect the card and check in with you.
The greeter will give you a “worship booklet” or bulletin. The worship bulletin will tell you what’s going to happen during the service. Although we have a QR reader (so bring your tablet!) to get the bulletin and Facebook Live our service (on our priest's page), we’re pretty old school during worship so there aren’t any projection screens. Expect diverse music from ancient Latin chants and familiar old hymns to African spirituals and everything in between. The music changes with the seasons of the church year.
A host will help you find a seat and help you during worship if you’re new to the Episcopal Church. We pray with words and with our posture. Directions in the worship booklet will suggest that you stand, sit or kneel but these postures are only helpful if you are able. God welcomes your prayers no matter what your posture. We promise to help you so you can worship fully.
The first part of the service is scripture readings, prayers and the sermon. Then we hear about ways we can offer our lives to God through service. Then, the second part of the service begins with the altar being prepared for Holy Communion which is also called Holy Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper. It is the remembrance of the meal of bread and wine that Jesus shared with his disciples. Since the altar is God’s table and not ours, all are welcome to come forward when the usher tells you it is your turn. If it is not your custom to receive Communion, simply cross your arms across your chest at the altar and the priest will pray a blessing for you. You don’t need to be a member of St. Peter’s to partake in this sacrament.
You may receive the wine by drinking from the chalice (cup) or you may intinct, that is, carefully dip your bread into the wine. The gold chalice contains alcoholic wine. The crystal chalice contains non-alcoholic wine. Please take care that your bread and not your fingers touch the wine. Parents, you may need to assist your children. Our bread contains wheat; soy-dairy-wheat free wafers are available at all services; please let the clergy know if you need a wafer.
After our final prayer, we sing our last hymn or song and we are “dismissed” into the world, or sent, to do God’s work. Our priest is there as you leave the sanctuary and likes to say hello to everyone. Feel free to stay and clap for our organist at the conclusion of her playing.
After the service, your greeter will meet you back in the narthex (welcome area/lobby) to answer any questions you may have. After the 10am service, there is also a table with snacks and you are always welcome to stay and visit. It gets a little loud and animated after the 10am service but don’t worry – we’re here to help.
Our promise to you: whether you’re a cradle Episcopalian or new to the Christian faith, we promise to welcome you as if Christ just walked in our door. We welcome all people without exception.