How We Worship

Worship is central is to our common life at St. Andrew's. Worship in the Episcopal Church is 'liturgical,' meaning that the whole congregation participates in the service with specific responses and follows service forms and prays from texts that don't change greatly from week to week during a season of the year. We use worship forms that Christians have used for hundreds of years with some unique Episcopal features, but is still meaningful to contemporary Christians. Our liturgical texts primarily come from The Book of Common Prayer and other authorized liturgical resources.

Many Christians, including Episcopalians, believe that movement and gesture are part of worshipping God. Therefore, some of us will stand, sit, kneel and cross ourselves at various points throughout the liturgy worship. You are welcome to participate in these actions, but please know that we encourage you to do whatever is comfortable for you.

For the first-time guest, the liturgy may be exhilarating ... or confusing. Stand. Sit. Kneel. Stand. Sit (or is it kneel?) Participatory elements may provide a challenge for the first-time guest. Don't worry. 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. To help parishioners and newcomers alike navigate worship, we use a worship guide containing the specific prayers, readings and hymn numbers specific to each Sunday/occasion. Our hymns mainly come from The Hymnal 1982 (blue book) and Wonder, Love and Praise (green book).

We're formal and informal. Most folks dress casually yet our ministers wear vestments and we have processions, candles and ritual actions. There is a sense of tradition, yet blended with warmth, relevance and openness.

During the year, we take a deeper look at different understandings and experiences of God that we learn in scripture. Through the seasons of the church year (Advent, Christmas, Season after the Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Season after Pentecost), we focus our attention on different aspects of the Christian faith and life. The practice of keeping the church year dates back to the Fifth Century.

Sermons are relevant to contemporary issues and struggles. Though they engage our minds, a dose of humor or a down-to-earth example helps make ancient scripture as organized by the Revised Common Lectionary fresh for today.

As was the practice of the early Christians, we celebrate Holy Communion at most of our liturgies. Holy Communion is also known as the Holy Eucharist, the Mass and the Lord's Supper.

The best way to learn how we worship is to experience it!

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