Our worship tradition and style are in the Anglican/Episcopal tradition of the church and has its roots in both the Roman Catholic liturgy and the Protestant focus on scripture and preaching. Our worship services follow a definite pattern found in The Book of Common Prayer (1979). The clergy and the congregation participate fully in the service, following a "call and response" rhythm.
The first part of our service is referred to as The Liturgy of the Word, 'liturgy' meaning 'the work of the people,' (from the ancient Greek language). We open our service with a proclamation appropriate to the season, a song/hymn of praise and a prayer appropriate to the day. Then we read the selections from scripture appointed for the day - generally a reading from the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures), a Psalm (read or chanted by the choir), a reading from the New Testament scriptures and then a reading from one of the four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. A brief sermon follows the readings. Then we reaffirm our faith in the words of the Nicene Creed, adopted by the ancient church in 381 C.E. and only slightly modified since then, offer prayers for the church and the world, and say a general confession of sin that is followed by a pronouncement of absolution. Then we greet each other with an exchange of the Peace. Be prepared - at St. John's we have an extended and joyful welcome among visitors and members alike.
The second part of our service is referred to as The Liturgy of the Table. Every Sunday and most often in weekly services, we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the word 'eucharist' coming from the ancient Greek meaning 'thanksgiving.' The table (altar) is set with bread and wine, our 'Prayer of Great Thanksgiving' is said and the blessed elements are offered to the people. At St. John's, all persons (children and adults) are welcome at God's table. While we offer the sacrament in both kinds (bread and wine), receiving in only one kind is sufficient. If you wish to come forward to the altar rail and receive only a blessing, the gesture of you crossing your arms over your heart serves as the signal for the priest to offer that blessing.
When all have received communion, we say together a closing prayer, receive a general blessing, process out of the church and are dismissed to go out into the world to do the work 'we are given to do." Depending on the season and the type of service, music of various types and from different sources is used to enhance our worship. We use The Hymnal 1982 and Lift Every Voice and Sing II as our principal hymnbooks but frequently incorporate other styles and selections.
Before, during and at the conclusion of the service, you may notice different expressions of piety, such as bowing, genuflecting and/or making the sign of the cross. These are personal choices and not required. At any given service, we sit, stand or kneel - another sign of active participation by everyone. If you are our guest for the very first time, just come and observe and let our style and traditions wash over you. Only you can determine if it "feels right" and meets your spiritual needs. The clergy and other worship leaders are always glad to answer questions and explain "why we're doing what we're doing." So... come and see!
For the time being, we are conducting our Sunday Worship on Facebook Live.
Please visit our Facebook page for more information:
Tuesday and Thursday Mornings at 10:00
On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, a group of parishioners gather to say Morning Prayer, Rite II at 10:00 via Zoom. Please contact us on how to get connected with this powerful moment. They pray for the concerns of the parish and the community.
Compline - A Night Prayer Service
Thursdays at 7pm
The offering of prayer late in the evening, by laity, religious orders or clergy, often called Compline, has sometimes been described as the ‘goodnight prayer of the Church’. It rounds off the day and prepares us for a quite night. As the psalmist wrote:
I lie down in peace and take rest my rest for it is in God alone that I dwell unafraid.
Night Prayer derives its content from the wisdom of the centuries in Scripture and above all in the psalms, but also from contemporary Christian experience of God. It celebrates the awareness that each of us who tries to pray is a part of the human whole. So we are taken over the threshold from daytime, not in a mood of self-centered spirituality, but as representatives of humanity, acknowledging our creaturehood before God. This service is conducted on Zoom. Please contact us for more information.