SUNDAY AT EMMANUEL – We Love a parade
Our Sunday morning services are at 8:00 am and 10:00 am. At that time we gather for the Holy Eucharist. The 8:00 am is a simple service led by a priest and lay reader. The 10:00 am service is our Family Eucharist and includes music. Both services have a “Coffee Hour” fellowship time afterwards.
Our Sunday morning services are called “the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist.” Like many celebrations we begin with a parade, a procession. Our 10:00 am service begins with a procession of worship leaders – acolytes, choir, lay readers and priest – up the center aisle during the singing of the first hymn/song. The first part of the service has the opening prayers and readings from the Bible, which prepare and instruct us for worship and for living our lives. For the reading of the Gospel we move to the center of where people are gathered. The Gospels, books in the Bible about Jesus and his message to us, are read in the midst of the people to remind us that Jesus’ words are for each of us. The sermon/talk after the readings is to teach us about these readings and what they mean for our lives. We take up an offering, which the ushers bring to the altar to present to God. At that same time, others bring bread and wine forward to be used at the communion. We invite all who have been baptized as Christians to share with us in communion, in receiving the bread and wine.
Finally, at the end of the service, we are sent out to live the rest of our lives, perhaps with a little more courage and desire to be good people, to be God’s people. The service ends with the last hymn, while the worship leaders process out, and the candles on the altar are extinguished.
Where’s the action?
The altar is the central focal point in an Episcopal church. The first half of the Holy Eucharist is referred to as the Liturgy of the Word and takes place mostly at the lectern and the pulpit, and the second half, the Liturgy of the Table, takes place at the altar. (This part of the service begins with the offertory, when the bread and wine are brought up to the altar.)
What are we doing? Sit, stand and occasionally kneel...
The general “rule” in the Episcopal Church is you stand for praise, sit for instruction and kneel or stand to pray. Generally, we sit for the readings and sermon, and stand for the hymns, and the Gospel readings. For the prayers and the Eucharistic celebration at the altar, we stand or sit. We hope you will do what makes you feel comfortable.
By the book
In our worship, we use the Book of Common Prayer. It is a wonderful book containing all kinds of services as well as beautiful prayers for personal use. Our service bulletin is a guide with page numbers listed for the various parts of the service. You’ll notice that much of our service comes from the Bible – an Old Testament reading, New Testament reading, Gospel reading and the Psalm. Plus, two-thirds of the Prayer Book is taken directly from Scripture.
We use several different books and pamphlets for our music. Our traditional hymns are found in the blue Hymnal of the Episcopal Church. On the first Sunday of the month we have a “contemporary” Eucharist and use hymns and songs from the green Glory and Praise book.
Heads, shoulders, knees and…
You may notice that some people genuflect (kneel briefly on one knee) at certain points in the service, many bow (for example, when the cross passes in procession) and at other times make the sign of the cross (at the Absolution following the Confession, for example). These are personal expressions of devotion that some, but certainly not all, find meaningful in their worship. Do as the Spirit leads and don’t worry about what others may think. They probably won’t even notice.
We’re glad you’re here!
All are invited to receive the blessed bread and wine of the Eucharist. Even if you are not receiving communion, you may choose to come to the altar rail to receive a blessing. Other people likely will be remaining in their seat during communion, so if you choose not to come forward, you won’t be alone. And after the service, please join us downstairs for coffee and conversation.