It can be a little intimidating walking into a new church for the first time. Or maybe it’s just been a long time since you’ve attended services and a lot has changed. With us, you will find that the songs are sing-able, the sermons are informative, and you don’t need to come in a suit. The people are friendly and the coffee hour following the service is a lot of fun and usually has delicious treats!
Our regular service is held every Sunday morning at 10:00 am. In case of weather cancellations, please watch our FB page for updates!
To help prepare you for your visit with us.
What do Episcopalians Believe?
What Episcopalians believe can be considered quite diverse. The official standard of worship and belief is defined in the Book of Common Prayer, the red book found in the pews. The Book of Common Prayer: (BCP) is the primary prayer book used throughout the Anglican Communion (Churches following the Anglican tradition). Rich with language and heritage, the BCP is something that unifies Anglicans around the world.
The Creeds: The ecumenical creeds, both Nicene (BCP page 358) and Apostles’ (BCP page 120), are used by the Episcopal Church in its worship day by day and week by week. They are the ancient and universal statements of the Christian faith
What to expect
First and foremost, remember this: You will always be welcome. St. Luke’s is often called the friendliest church around by our visitors. We all are very glad that you are worshiping with us, and want to make every effort to make it a positive experience for you. The person sitting next to you (unless they, too, are a visitor!) would be honored to assist you with the worship service and answer your questions. We have many new members, so reach out and say hello. Our greeters will help get visitor materials for you if you wish, and our ushers will give you today’s bulletin, which outlines the order of the service.
This Place of Worship and Fellowship
Within St. Luke’s you will notice an atmosphere of both traditional worship and casual homeliness in our growing church. Our center of worship (sanctuary) is simple yet lofty, rich and uplifting. It may remind you of the simple rural churches of old, where close-knit communities came to love God and care about each other. Exactly as it’s still done today at St. Luke’s!
In the sanctuary of all Episcopal churches, your eye is always drawn to the altar, or holy table, and to the cross. This is so that our thoughts are taken at once to Christ, and to God, whose house the church is. On or near the altar there are candles to remind us that Christ is the “Light of the World” (John 8:2). On most Sundays there are flowers to beautify God’s house, help us recall the resurrection of Jesus, and express love in memoriam or thanksgiving.
As you look toward the altar, you will notice a set of pews on either side, near the organ, where our choir sits to assist in the leading of our worship. You will also notice on the right of the altar a lectern/pulpit, where lay people read bible lessons. The sermon is usually preached from the aisle near the front pews.
As in any home, our kitchen/social hall downstairs is the center of many community meals and fellowship. Youth education and other rooms upstairs are other places in our spiritual home where lots of learning, serving and sharing occurs.
Before the Service
Before the service it is our custom upon entering the church to kneel or sit in the pew for a prayer of personal preparation for worship. If the service has already started, we simply join in.
The Act of Worship
Episcopal services are congregational, meaning a gathering of people for worship together. In the pews you will find the red Book of Common Prayer (BCP). This enables the congregation to participate fully in every service. The blue Hymnal 1982 is where you will find the hymns sung during the worship service. Hymns with an (S) before the number are found at the beginning of the hymnal. Sometimes readings are printed inside the bulletin as well, and sometimes we use the green “Songs of Praise” hymnal.
When to stand or kneel is a common question and practices vary even among individual Episcopalians. Our short answer is to do what feels comfortable! In general, we stand when we sing—hymns and other service music. We stand, too, to say our affirmation of faith, the Creeds and for the reading of the Gospel and during Holy Eucharist, when noted in the BCP. We sit during the readings from the Old & New Testaments, Psalms, the sermon, and the choir anthem. We stand or kneel as the Holy Spirit leads, for prayer in order to show gratefulness to God for accepting us as children or as an act of humility before God.
The Service Itself
Some parts of the service are always the same and others can change. We usually use Rite II, but sometimes use Rite I on occasion. Some of the prayers also change in order to provide variety and to suit the season. Page numbers in the BCP for various parts of the service are printed in your bulletin in the order of service so you can follow along.
The “four piece shuffle” between the bulletin, the red BCP and blue Hymnal and green “Songs of Praise” hymnal, is a common challenge for newcomers! Please don’t hesitate to ask your neighbor for assistance. You will find the service at St. Luke’s to be beautiful, God-centered, and yet mindful of the needs of visitors and new members.
Should You Partake of Communion?
No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, all Baptized Christians, whatever your denomination, are invited to receive Holy Communion at our altar. Welcome Home!
Please join us for Coffee Hour!
Following the service, you are invited to join us for “Coffee Hour” as we call it, downstairs in our social hall. St. Luke’s almost specializes in feeding the body as well as the soul! Reverend Jim will be available there to talk with you if you desire, and you can meet some of the wonderful people enjoying St. Luke’s.
What Clergy Wear
To add to the beauty and festivities of the services, and to signify their special ministries, the clergy and other ministers wear vestments.
One familiar vestment is the alb, a white tunic with sleeves that covers the body from neck to ankles. Over it, ordained ministers wear a stole, a narrow band of colored fabric. At the Eucharist, a bishop or priest frequently wears a chasuble (a circular garment that envelops the body) over the alb and stole.
Stoles and chasubles, as well as altar coverings, are usually made of rich fabrics. Their color changes with the seasons and holy days of the church year. The most frequently used colors are white, red, purple and green.
You Will Not Be Embarrassed
When you visit us at St. Luke’s, you will be our respected and welcomed guest. You will not be singled out in an embarrassing way.