At the heart of all Episcopal worship is the Book of Common Prayer, and within it the principal weekly service is the Holy Eucharist—also known as Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper or Mass.
For each Christian season, the Book of Common Prayer lays out the form that the service should take, and provides the text for most of the prayers. A calendar of readings from the Scriptures, called the "Lectionary," lays out which biblical passages should be read each day. Typical services will mix readings, prayers, hymns and a sermon. In every case, while a priest leads the service, the congregation participates extensively—singing hymns and speaking or singing prayers, the creed, responses and psalms.
Exactly what one does when—should you be kneeling, sitting or standing? Should you sing or speak the responses? When do you say Amen? —can be a bit of a puzzle to a newcomer (and in some details even when an existing Episcopalian visits a different church), but it should not be intimidating. In any event, because the essential form of the service remains the same from one Sunday to the next, you soon get used to it—and after that you will begin to experience what Episcopalians find so satisfying: the mental space that the familiar rhythm opens up to commune more profoundly with God.
The Book of Common Prayer provides a helpful framework. Our church begins with a procession of priests, acolytes and choir. We infuse our service with our own traditions giving it its unique character. We lift up our voices to the Lord. We actively participate and also have contemplative moments of prayerful silence. St. John's Episcopal Church respects the traditions of the past while shaping a new course for the future.
We look forward to welcoming you into our church family and hope you find the service spirit filled and uplifting.