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What Should You Expect When You Attend Transfiguration?

Sunday is traditionally when Episcopalians gather for worship. The principal weekly worship service is the Holy Eucharist, also known as: the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or Mass. In most Episcopal churches, worship is accompanied by the singing of hymns, and in some churches, much of the service  is sung.

Worship Styles

Episcopalians worship in many different styles, ranging from very formal, ancient, and multi-sensory rites with lots of singing, music, fancy clothes (called vestments), and incense, to informal services with contemporary music. Yet all worship in the Episcopal Church is based in the Book of Common Prayer, which gives worship a familiar feel, no matter where you go.

Liturgy and Ritual

Worship in the Episcopal Church is said to be “liturgical,” meaning that the congregation follows service forms and prays from texts that don’t change greatly from week to week during a season of the year. This sameness from week to week gives worship a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar to the worshipers.

For the first-time visitor, liturgy may be exhilarating… or confusing.  Services may involve standing, sitting, kneeling, sung or spoken responses, and other participatory elements that may provide a challenge for the first-time visitor. However, liturgical worship can be compared with a dance: once you learn the steps, you come to appreciate the rhythm, and it becomes satisfying to dance, again and again, as the music changes.

In spite of the diversity of worship styles in the Episcopal Church, Holy Eucharist always has the same components and the same shape.

The Liturgy of the Word

We begin by praising God through song and prayer, and then listen to as many as four readings from the Bible. Usually one from the Old Testament, a Psalm, something from the Epistles, and (always) a reading from the Gospels. The psalm is usually sung or recited by the congregation.

Next, a sermon interpreting the readings appointed for the day is preached.

The congregation then recites the Nicene Creed, written in the Fourth Century and the Church’s statement of what we believe ever since.

Next, the congregation prays together—for the Church, the World, and those in need. We pray for the sick, thank God for all the good things in our lives, and finally, we pray for the dead. The presider (e.g. priest, bishop, lay minister) concludes with a prayer that gathers the petitions into a communal offering of intercession.

The congregation formally confesses their sins before God and one another. This is a corporate statement of what we have done and what we have left undone, followed by a pronouncement of absolution.  In pronouncing absolution, the presider assures the congregation that God is always ready to forgive our sins.

The congregation then greets one another with a sign of “peace.”

The Liturgy of the Table

Next, the priest stands at the table, which has been set with a cup of wine and a plate of bread or wafers, raises his or her hands, and greets the congregation again, saying “The Lord be With You.”  Now begins the Eucharistic Prayer, in which the presider tells the story of our faith, from the beginning of Creation, through the choosing of Israel to be God’s people, through our continual turning away from God, and God’s calling us to return. Finally, the presider tells the story of the coming of Jesus Christ, and about the night before his death, on which he instituted the Eucharistic meal (communion) as a continual remembrance of him.

The presider blesses the bread and wine, and the congregation recites the Lord’s Prayer. Finally, the presider breaks the bread and offers it to the congregation, as the “gifts of God for the People of God.”

The congregation then shares the consecrated bread and the wine. Sometimes the people all come forward to receive the bread and wine; sometimes they pass the elements around in other ways.

All Are Welcome

All baptized Christians—no matter age or denomination—are welcome to “receive communion.” Episcopalians invite all baptized people to receive, not because we take the Eucharist lightly, but because we take our baptism so seriously.

Visitors who are not baptized Christians are welcome to come forward during the Communion to receive a blessing from the presider.

At the end of the Eucharist, the congregation prays once more in thanksgiving, and then is dismissed to continue the life of service to God and to the World.

Our Beliefs

We believe in One God who creates all things, redeems us from sin and death and renews us as the Children of God. As Episcopalians we promise to follow Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We believe the mission of our church is restoration of all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.

The cornerstones of our faith are Scripture, Tradition and Reason.

Scripture: Scripture is the word of God contained in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The 39 books of the Old Testament contain the story of God's love from the time of Creation to the birth of his son, Jesus Christ. The books contain God's laws as He gave them to the Hebrew people.The New Testament contains Christ's teachings, the accounts of his life as told by his followers and the beginning of his Church. It is written in 27 books.

Tradition: We are not Christians in isolation but are part of a living faith that spans 2000 years. Tradition is the embodiment of our experiences as Christians throughout the centuries.The heart of our tradition is expressed through the Bible, the Creeds (statements of faith, written in the first centuries of the Church's existence), the Sacraments of the Lord's Supper and Baptism and the ordained ministry passed on by Christ to his Church.

Reason: Each one of us, with God's help, make a decision about how we use tradition and Scripture in our lives. A personal relationship with God allows us to realize and celebrate our lives to the fullest. The gift of reason, as a complement to Scripture and tradition, leads us to seek answers to our own questions and to grow spiritually. Being active in a community of faith strengthens us to carry our faith into the world. Weaving Scripture, tradition and reason together, we strengthen our faith and grow as children of God.

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Sunday Services & Bible Study

Sunday Services

8:00am   Holy Eucharist Rite I

10:00am Holy Eucharist Rite II

Education

9:15 am  Sundays, Adult Education
9:45 am Sundays, Youth Education
               during the school year
10:00am Wednesdays Bible Study

Wednesday Service

9:30am  Holy Eucharist

First Wednesday Service

9:30am Holy Eucharist Rite II

Bible Verse of the Day

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