There are some words that it might be helpful for you to have defined as you contemplate a call to worship with us at The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist.
The first is worship. Worship literally means ascribing worth to someone or something. In Christian worship the congregation joins together to express its common agreement about the worthiness of God whom we know in Jesus Christ and through the operation of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
The vehicle by which we do this is the liturgy. Liturgy is the “work of the people.” This means that everyone gathered has a significant part to play – people of all ages, choirs, lay ministers and clergy alike. Together we sing hymns, we pray in unison or add our agreement to other prayers by saying the “Amen” at the conclusion of the prayers, we extend our hands to receive Christ’s presence in the Holy Communion. If we wish, we may make the sign of the cross, or bow at the holy Name of Jesus. There is something for everyone to do but nothing anyone must do. Generally, in Episcopal worship, the people stand to pray and sing praises. We sit for instruction and we kneel for Confession of Sin and, often, to receive Holy Communion.
A third important word describes the action of the service called the Holy Eucharist. In its original Greek form the word Eucharist means “thanks giving.” While we all do receive grace and spiritual sustenance for doing the work of God in Christ in our world, the primary reason we go to church is to give thanks to God for his abundant love and grace in our lives. Francis of Assisi said it well: “It is in giving that we receive.”
Usually, at St. John’s, the Eucharist is celebrated by the congregation at 10:30 a.m. and we have an "ante-communion" service in the parking lot at 8:30 a.m. The 8:30 a.m. service allows everyone to stay in their car while the service is transmitted by radio. It is a quiet and simple service. The 10:30 a.m. service is inside the Church. During the Eucharist we invite all to come forward to receive the wafer and the choice to additionally drink from the common cup. We require everyone to wear a facemask when inside the church building.
For those who are still uncomfortable worshipping in a public setting, our 10:30 a.m. service is livestreamed on YouTube and can be watched live, or at any time after the service:
Following the 10:30 service, we have a simple coffee hour with coffee, juice, and prepackaged treats.