About our Worship
The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican worship tradition centered on the Book of Common Prayer. From the first edition in 1549 through subsequent revisions down to the 1979 edition in the Episcopal Church, our worship has been shaped by prayers and rituals dating from the first centuries of Christian worship up to new additions from recent decades. Over 80 million Episcopalians and Anglicans in 165 countries use some variation of this prayer book, and we are bound together in deep affection by our common heritage and common worship, adapted to speak to and represent each local community.
Our worship is a bridge bringing together the various Catholic and Protestant traditions. A Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christian would find our rituals familiar. A Protestant would hear the deep influence of the Reformation in the words we say. An Evangelical would find great comfort that our texts and rituals are shaped by the Scriptures themselves. A seeker would find that the liturgy gives structure and guides us through our encounter with God so that one can participate simply by being present, watching, and listening.
The Holy Eucharist, also known as Communion, Mass, or the Lord's Supper, is the central act of Christian worship on Sundays and other Feast Days through the year. The word "Eucharist" comes from the Greek word for "thanksgiving" and is the Biblical description of early Christian prayer. We affirm this in the liturgy when the Celebrant summons us to "give thanks to the Lord our God," and we reply "it is right to give God thanks and praise."
What Happens during Worship
Each celebration of the Eucharist includes three readings, generally from the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures), New Testament (Christian Scriptures), Gospels (accounts of Jesus' life and ministry), and a Psalm. A 10-15 minute sermon helps explain the Scriptures and connect them with our daily lives and growth in faith. We offer prayers for our own needs and those of others, and celebrate communion.
At 8:00, the service includes 2 hymns and lasts about 50-55 minutes. Worshippers are friendly and welcome people of any age, though the service itself is quieter.
At 10:00, the service includes 4 hymns and, during the program year, additional music can be offered from St. Peter's Choir, Peter's Rock (our house band), and our Handbell Choir. The service lasts about 60 - 75 minutes depending on attendance, music, whether or not there are any special observances.
While families tend to choose the 10:00 service, people of all ages are welcome at both service, and children and youth participate as acolytes, lectors, and in other ways.
For younger children, we offer Wiggle 'n Worship during the lessons and sermon at the 10:00 service. During this time, children hear a lesson told at their level, pray, and sing child-friendly songs. They join us again for Communion. Children are always welcome in church!
Whether you receive Communion or prefer not to, all people of any age, faith, or tradition are welcome at the Altar during Communion. Whatever choice you make will be respected and you will not stand out regardless of choice.
All baptized Christians of any age from any denomination or tradition are welcome to receive communion during worship. Communion is offered in the form of consecrated bread broken into individual wafers and consecrated wine taken from a shared chalice distributed by communion ministers. Worshippers may receive in one or both kinds as they prefer, and by sipping from the chalice or dipping the wafer into the chalice as they prefer.
Those who prefer to not receive communion because they are not baptized, or their own tradition requests that they refrain, are welcome to come to the Altar during Communion for a blessing. Simply fold your arms across your chest to indicate your desire for a blessing.