About Worship at St. Michael's

We are a committed and welcoming parish in the Anglican Episcopal tradition.  We are an active, worshipping and praying community, learning to live out our Christian faith. Everyone is welcome to join us for worship. The Bible is the center of our understanding of the Christian faith. Jesus is the head of our church.

As you enter the nave for worship you may notice the baptismal font and many dipping their fingers into the consecrated water to bless themselves (make the sign of the cross) as they enter. Once we have taken our seats we usually kneel for private prayer before the start of the service.  You may notice the sign of the cross being made at various times throughout the service, also bowing and genuflection.  For example, we bow when the cross of Christ or the Holy Gospel passes by us and when we pass the altar.  These are traditional ways we honor God; our Savior, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Spirit whom we worship as one God.

If you have never worshipped in an Episcopal church before, we use three books — the Holy Bible (scripture), the Hymnal and the Book of Common Prayer.  The Sunday bulletin includes the scriptures for the day and will guide you through the service with helpful page references to the other two books. If you find this confusing, ask or watch your neighbor or feel free just to listen. You will soon appreciate how the prayers, music, readings and activities at the altar aid us in our approach to worshipping God.

The Hymnal

As you sit in the church pew, the blue book in the shelf in front of you is our hymnal. The hymns to be sung are listed in the bulletin. The service music comes first in the hymnal and is listed in the bulletin with an "S" number. We like to sometimes sing contemporary praise songs.  The lyrics for these songs are projected on screens for everyone to follow.

The Book of Common Prayer

The red book in the shelf is our prayer book, the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).  It is the treasure of the Episcopal Church containing all of the church's services together with additional prayers and devotions for private use.  You will see the abbreviation BCP in the bulletin with a page number reference.  Many of the prayers and responses are projected on the screens as well.

The Holy Eucharist

The Eucharist, also called Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, is the principal service in our church. "Eucharist" is from a Greek word meaning "thanksgiving".  It is divided into two parts: The Word of God and the Holy Communion.

The Word of the Lord

During this first part you will hear prayers, readings from the Bible, a Psalm and a sermon. We will also reaffirm our faith by joining in the Creed and confessing our sins.  We will sing hymns and other songs corresponding to the season of the Christian year or the theme of the day. The Word of God concludes with the exchange of Peace at which time we greet those around us. We then offer to God our monetary gifts as tangible symbols of our life and labor.

The Holy Communion

The Great Thanksgiving follows with the consecration of the bread (host) and wine by the priest and the congregation receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Christianity has celebrated this rite since the Last Supper on the night before Jesus' crucifixion.  We eat the broken bread and share the one cup as a sign of unity in faith and taking our place in the one Body of Christ, the fellowship of all believers.

All Christian churches acknowledge baptism as initiating a person into full citizenship in God's kingdom. Therefore, after baptism a child is welcome to receive the Sacrament at the Lord's table. Confirmation is the 'adult commitment' to Christ and is for those who have been baptized as children and who now are ready to make an informed decision about how they choose to exercise their ministry in the service of Jesus.

That being said, the altar is the Lord's, not ours. All are invited to come to the altar rail to receive Holy Communion. You may receive the host, the body of Christ, into your open right palm held up with your left.  When the cup of wine (chalice) is presented you are invited to take hold of the foot of the cup and help guide it.  Alternatively, you may receive the wine by intinction (dipping the host into it) or let the cup pass without partaking by crossing your hands against your chest or simply leave the altar rail after receiving the host.  Smaller children are usually assisted by the chalice bearers who will take the host, dip it and place it in the child's mouth.

Two people on either side of the altar rail are available every Sunday to anoint and pray for anyone needing healing or wanting to give special thanks to God.

Conclusion and Dismissal

After a prayer of thanksgiving, the Blessing and final hymn, the Eucharist concludes with a dismissal and the response, "Thanks be to God!"  Except during Lent and Advent a joyous "Alleluia!  Alleluia!" is added.

After the Service

We gather for coffee and other refreshments in Duncanson Hall following the service.  In this way we linger in the afterglow of having worshipped and celebrated together.  If you are visiting please join us!

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, September 20:
Sunday, September 24:
The Sixteenth Sunday of Pentecost     Lectionary   Serving Schedule   Read more
Sunday, October 1:
Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, our Patron and Protector     Read more
Sunday, October 1:
Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, our Patron and Protector     Read more
Wednesday, October 4:
Sunday, October 8:
18th Sunday of Pentecost, Blessing of the Animals, and Bake Sale     Read more
Sunday, October 8:
Eighteenth Sunday of Pentecost, Blessing of the Animals and Bake Sale     Read more
Sunday, October 15:
Nineteenth Sunday of Pentecost     Lectionary   Serving Schedule   Read more
Sunday, October 15:
Nineteenth Sunday of Pentecost     Lectionary   Serving Schedule   Read more
Wednesday, October 18:
Sunday, October 22:
Twentieth Sunday of Pentecost     Lectionary   Serving Schedule   Read more
Sunday, October 22:
Twentieth Sunday of Pentecost     Lectionary   Serving Schedule   Read more
Sunday, October 29:
Twenty-first Sunday of Pentecost     Lectionary   Serving Schedule   Read more