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. Our pastor will give a brief children's sermon before the main sermon when children are present (and sometimes when they are not!).
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. They will show you where the room is so that you know where your children are at all times. The children will return to the church to be with you just before communion is served.
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.
Will you be asking me for money?
As our guest, you are not expected to contribute. But if you would like to contribute to the mission and ministry of the church, we certainly won't stop you! Here's how it works: An offering is taken in the middle of the service. The ushers pass plates along the rows.
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?
No, but the Episcopal Church, like the Lutheran Church, evolved from the Roman Catholic Church. The service is similar, but there are differences in certain practices and beliefs.
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?
Just keep coming! We consider all who attend services to be part of the beloved community. If you choose to formally join the Christian faith, or if you are interested in learning more about the Episcopal wing of Christianity, just talk to our 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! ** During COVID the priest and servers will bring the bread and wine to each row.
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" to signify your acceptance, 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.
During years when we are able to share the cup, when the chalice bearer comes to you, please help guide the cup to your lips. 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 still 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.)