The Episcopal Church
What to Expect
Each Episcopal Church is a bit different. Still in most Episcopal parishes you will find an open fellowship, service to others, opportunities to learn and grow in faith. We see this as living in right relationship with God, our selves, others and Creation. At St Stephen’s we call this Living the Good News.
At the heart how we practice our way of being Christian Episcopal is the Book of Common Prayer(BCP). In it are services for Sunday and for week days. Services for various stages and ages. Prayers for our self, others, the world and creation. In short, The BCP shapes our praying and as such shapes are particular way of being Christian.
Liturgy and Ritual
Episcopalians worship in many different styles, ranging from very formal, ancient rites with lots of singing and incense to informal services with contemporary music. Worship in the Episcopal Church is said to be “liturgical,” meaning that the congregation prays from texts that don’t change greatly from week to week. This sameness gives the service a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar to the worshipers.
For the first-time visitor, liturgy may be exhilarating…or confusing. Services may involve standing, sitting, kneeling, sung or spoken responses, and other participatory elements that may provide a challenge for the first-time visitor. However, liturgical worship can be compared with a dance: once you learn the steps, you come to appreciate the rhythm, and it becomes satisfying to dance, again and again, as the music changes.
Who May Receive Communion?
We are an open communion. No matter your age or denomination – you are always welcome to “receive communion” in the Episcopal church. Not because we take the Eucharist lightly, but because we believe that God’s welcoming love invites our gracious thanks, and that we are more fully living the good news when we gather together at the table.
Even if you do not wish to receive communion, you are invited to come forward during Communion to receive a blessing.