OK, you've found out where we are, and when the worship times are. Maybe you want to check St. John's out and see if you will like it here. But first, you've got some questions. That's good!
If you are coming to St. John's for the first time, we are delighted that you are here. Everybody you see here was a newcomer at one time, and we've all had questions – maybe the same ones. So don't hesitate to ask a question, and check out these answers below.
If you need help, ask anyone here, and we will be happy to assist you. We want you to be comfortable so you can enjoy your visit, and we hope you will come back. So… make yourself comfortable. When you are worshiping God, you can’t get it wrong, and regardless of what anybody else is doing, don’t feel you have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable during the service.
Where can I park?
There is a parking lot behind the church and overflow parking beside the Parish Hall. A small gravel road connects them for convenience (look for it near the picnic area behind the church).
What do I wear?
Wear what you feel comfortable in. You will see people wearing everything from blue jeans to a suit. No dress code here.
Is there something for children during the service?
Children of all ages are welcome at all services. By virtue of their Baptism, children are part of the Body of Christ and welcome at St. John's. A table with activity bags containing coloring books, toys and crayons are available by in the children's area near the main entrance.
During the school year (September-May), Sunday School is available during the 10:00 AM service. Ask an usher to let our trained, Safe Church Volunteers know you'd like to your children to participate. The children will return to the church at the Peace to participate in Holy Communion with their families. Older children who wish to be more involved with the service are eligible to learn how to serve in processionals, at the altar during the service. Children may also like to help our friendly ushers give out bulletins and help people find their seats.
What about Baptism?
If you are new to the Episcopal Church and have never been baptized, baptism is your first step towards joining the Christian faith. You are invited to meet with the priest to prepare for the sacrament of Baptism. If you have been baptized, but have never been confirmed or received as an Episcopalian or Anglican, you are invited to a course of study that covers the following areas: Church history, the Bible, spirituality, ministry, and theology, all from an Anglican perspective. Following your studies you will be eligible to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church. If you are already an Episcopalian with membership elsewhere, you can always request that your membership be transferred to St. John’s.
Are you accessible to people with disabilities?
Yes, our facility is accessible. If you have any special needs, talk to the priest or other member of the congregation, and we will try to accommodate you. All are welcome here.
What should I expect at a service and afterward?
For full information please see our page that talks about this. Briefly, you can expect prayers that are said in unison by the congregation (they are found in the bulletin or the Book of Common Prayer), a reading from the Old and New Testament, a sermon with that helps us connect our lives to the scriptures, beautiful hymns, and welcoming people. Afterward, we invite you to join us in sharing refreshments and friendly conversation at the coffee hour.
Is it necessary to kneel during certain prayers, and to stand during hymns?
Episcopalians are comfortable with a wide variety of physical expressions of devotion and adoration during worship. You may see people bowing, making the sign of the cross, kneeling or standing. You are free to participate in ways that you are comfortable. If you are not comfortable or able to kneel at the times indicated in the bulletin, please stand. If you are not able to stand, please remain seated.
Why do some people touch themselves on the forehead and shoulders?
This is called making the sign of the cross. Christians have been doing this since the earliest home churches. For an informative and entertaining five minute explanation of the practice through the centuries you can watch, "Father Matthew Presents: The Sign of the Cross." Father Matthew is assisted by his friend Tyrannosaurus Regina.
This looks very much like a Roman Catholic Church. Is it?
Actually Episcopalians are both Catholic and Protestant. Historically, Episcopalians (also called Anglicans) have tried to steer a middle-course between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, acknowledging that each tradition has much to offer. In most Episcopal Churches the service looks similar to Roman Catholic service but there are quite a few differences in certain practices and beliefs.
We may be best known for the comprehensiveness of our denomination, which encourages and treasures a variety of viewpoints. Famous Anglicans include Absolom Jones, Desmond Tutu, Steven Charleston, Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, CS Lewis, Jane Austen, Madeline L’Engle, Robin Williams, and our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry (who presided over the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markel).
Do you accept gay people, divorced people, or people who aren't sure about this whole "Christianity" thing?
Yes. We do. When we say, "All are Welcome!," we absolutely mean it in the fullest sense.
How can I join the church?
Participating through regular attendance and giving is all that is needed to become an informal member. Formal membership involves making a commitment to the parish and to the Episcopal Church as a whole. If you are interested in formal membership, please speak with the parish priest.
Is it okay to take communion if I am not a member of the church?
How does the communion process work?
Also called "Eucharist," Holy Communion in the Episcopal church, is served every Sunday. All worshipers at St. John's are invited and encouraged to participate in communion. If you want to observe and pray instead, that's fine too!
How do I receive Communion?
When the usher gets to your pew, simply follow the person in front of you. When you are at the altar rail you have the choice of kneeling or standing to receive communion. To receive, put one hand, palm up, in your other hand and the priest will place a piece of bread in your hand, saying, "The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven." After responding, "amen," raise your hands to your mouth and eat the bread.
Next comes the wine. We use real wine, not grape juice, and (during non-pandemic years) a shared cup or "chalice." Until all are vaccinated, we are using separate cups. As the chalice bearer gives you the wine, he or she will say, "the Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation." NOTE: Receiving the bread alone is considered full communion, so if you do not want the wine simply fold your arms over your chest as the chalice bearer approaches you.
Children, through their baptism, are full members of the Body of Christ and are invited to receive communion immediately following their baptism. If you bring a child to the altar rail with you for the communion service, but do not wish him or her to take communion, have your child cross his or her arms across his or her chest. The priest will say a blessing for them. (This is true for adults too.)