WHAT TO EXPECT
WORSHIP AT THE EPISCOPAL PARISH OF ST. MARK & ST. PAUL
ON THE MOUNTAIN
Wherever you came from to get here,
whatever your ethnicity and first language,
whatever your age, whoever you love,
whatever you liked to be called,
we invite you to be part of what
the Holy Spirit is doing in this church.
Whether you have a favorite pew
or today is your very first time,
we rejoice to see your face.
We invite you to sing with us,
even if you don’t know the tune.
We invite you to pray with us,
adding your praise and petitions.
We invite you to say “We believe…”
and know that we have questions, too.
We invite you to come to the altar
to receive communion if you’re baptized
or a blessing if not -- just cross your arms.
We welcome you as a child of God.
Instructions for social-distanced Eucharist (when possible) during the pandemic:
All baptized Christians are welcome to receive Communion. Be sure to maintain 6 feet of distance. Keep your mask on and extend your arms fully to receive the wafer bread dropped into your cupped hands by the celebrant. Gluten-free wafers are available; simply ask the priest. As you pass the table of chalices, you are then invited to pick up one per household. After returning to your seat, shift your mask, consume the Sacrament, and re-mask right after. Please return the chalice to one of the tables provided following the service.
The Episcopal Church invites all baptized Christians to receive communion. Ushers invite people to come forward by row. Please stand in the center aisle until there is a place at the altar rail. Those who wish to receive Eucharist kneel or stand at the altar rail and hold out their hands as the celebrant approaches. (Please ask for a gluten-free wafer is needed.) The bread is eaten immediately. This is followed, if desired, by a small sip of wine from the chalice. Please do not practice intinction (dipping the bread in the wine), as this has been shown to be less sanitary. Some people take only the bread or only the wine for various reasons; the Episcopal Church holds that those who receive either the bread or the wine have received the body and blood of Christ. Those who do not wish to receive the bread and wine, or have not been baptized, may kneel or stand at the altar rail and cross their arms to receive a blessing. Others may choose to remain seated and not participate. If you would like to receive but cannot approach the altar, please inform the usher, and a minister will bring the elements to you.
In consideration of COVID-19 restrictions, we are currently holding our 11:00 a.m. service outdoors whenever weather permits. In the case of rain, the service is held in Kennerly Hall. The 8:30 a.m. service is held in the church and is open to those who have had the full round of vaccinations plus two weeks.
If you are the new to St. Mark & St. Paul, we would love to hear from you. This can be a challenging time to move to a new town or join a new faith community, since we do not all see each other at services. Please let us know you're here, and we will help you begin to make connections.
Worship at St. Mark & St. Paul follows the Episcopal Church liturgy found in the Book of Common Prayer. We enter in reverent silence (and some may kneel to pray) as we prepare our hearts to worship. The service normally begins with a procession: someone carries a cross, others bring torches, and ministers follow. Singing may be accompanied by piano, organ, other instruments.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, you will see less of a procession right now, and singing will be limited according to the setting and current health advisories. Masks will be born by all, and temperatures are checked upon arrival. Those who have symptoms of Covid-19 should access the online options. Please contact the church for prayer and other support.
Liturgical worship encourages participation and response: Standing, sitting, kneeling (optional), verbal responses, praying The Lord's Prayer and other written prayers together, singing hymns, giving, making the sign of the cross, and (when Communion is celebrated) receiving bread and wine.
Those who are new to this kind of worship need not try to keep up or worry about "doing it wrong." Episcopalians have individual ways of worshiping, and no one is grading you. Enjoy the liturgy and participate as you desire and are able.
Guests are welcomed during the announcements; we will not call you out unexpectedly or ask you to publicly introduce yourself. During the Passing of the Peace, we will greet one another with "Peace of the Lord" or similar words. Normally these greetings would include a handshake, or perhaps a hug or kiss between close friends and family. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to maintain physical distance with anyone not in our own household. Rather than hugs and handshakes, you will see folks waving, making a peace sign, or offering air hugs.
The service usually ends with a recessional. The crucifer, torchbearers, and ministers walk back down the aisle, and the deacon dismisses the service. Some folks like to remain seated until the musician(s) finish playing. Though we are quiet and introspective before the service, we are very social afterward. This is a wonderful time to meet people and check in with old friends.
For those interested, there are many opportunities to help lead worship. Please speak to the rector if you would like to serve in this way. The most important role is to be a praying, responsive member of the congregation.