If you are coming to visit us for the first time, it's good to know a few things ahead of time.
BEFORE YOU WALK IN THE DOOR
- Dress however you feel is appropriate. Some dress in their "Sunday best," while others opt for a Casual Friday (or Sunday) approach. Either way is fine.
- While we are a relatively diverse church, we welcome more diversity -- of race, class, age, sexuality, and perspectives. All are welcome in this house of worship.
- Parking is (usually) plentiful in the church parking lot. If not, street parking is readily available along Greenmount or 31st Street.
- Plan to arrive early, if you can. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to prepare oneself for worship.
AS YOU WALK IN THE DOOR
- A fount with holy water will be to your immediate right as you step through the door. Many of us dip a few fingers into it and make a sign of the cross to mark our passage from the outside world into a place of worship.
- An usher will usually be there to greet you and provide you with a service leaflet.
- A note about the service leaflet: it comes in two parts, one for the parts of the service that do not change within a given liturgical season (Advent, Lent, Ordinary Time, etc.), and the other for the parts specific to that week, such as which hymns we will sing and which readings from the Holy Bible we will hear, plus announcements for the congregation. You are encouraged to take the second part with you after the service. The first part we recycle throughout the liturgical season, so feel free to leave it in your pew when you leave.
- Feel free to sit in any pew.
DURING THE SERVICE
- Our services have a certain rhythm to them, divided into two parts. The first is the Liturgy of the Word, which ends with a sermon and the congregation standing to say the Nicene Creed. The second is the Liturgy of Holy Communion.
- Generally, as most Episcopal churches do, we stand to sing, sit to listen, and kneel to pray. If standing or kneeling are difficult or uncomfortable for you, then please remain sitting.
- You may see others around you before, during, and after the service making personal expressions of piety, such as making the sign of the cross, bowing the head, or genuflecting. Others, including longtime members, do not. If you have questions about any of these practices, feel free to ask after the service.
- All who are baptized in a Christian church are welcome to take Holy Communion.
AFTER THE SERVICE
- As is customary in the Anglican tradition, we wait until after the organist has concluded the Voluntary to gather our things and leave the pew.
- Please do join us for coffee hour after the service. We are a welcoming bunch and would love to have the opportunity to meet you and answer any questions you may have.
- Hours later, when you are reflecting on your experience at Saint John's, please know that for many first-timers, their first service can be a bit of a sensory overload. If you keep at it, though, it all becomes second nature fairly quickly, and then it becomes quite comforting to take part in.