What can I expect on my first visit to St. Bede’s?
An usher will give you a service bulletin when you walk in the church. Please sit wherever you like. The 8:00 a.m. service, which uses traditional language, is a quieter, contemplative form of worship without music; the 10:15 a.m. service, which uses contemporary language, includes music from the pipe organ and sometimes other instruments as well as the choir (September through June). We use the blue hymnals and the green Wonder, Love and Praise for singing. Generally, we stand to sing, kneel or stand to pray and confess our sins, and sit to listen to the sermon and the readings from the Bible.
The Episcopal Church is a liturgical church, which means that our worship follows a set pattern, we use the same words from week to week, and we celebrate particular events in the life of Jesus Christ at certain times throughout the year. The Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox churches are also liturgical. The pattern of a typical service at St. Bede’s looks like this:
- Four readings from the Bible
- Sermon that reflects on the Bible readings and applies them to our lives today
- Creed that expresses the historic Christian faith
- Prayers for the world and our own concerns
- A confession of our sins and the assurance that God forgives us
- Sharing of the peace in which we greet each other with a handshake
- Dismissal that sends us out into the world to do God’s work
Liturgical worship can seem confusing at first. It is meant to be rich enough that its depths cannot be plumbed the first time we experience it, or even the thousandth; God continually reveals God’s self to us in fresh ways through liturgy. If you feel lost, simply breathe and let the congregation’s prayers carry you.
After church, we gather in the parish hall for coffee hour. Please come over to Lehman Hall so that we can get to know you over coffee, goodies, and casual conversation.
What is Communion? Can I take Communion?
Communion — also called the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, or the Mass — is a symbolic meal of bread and wine. In the Eucharist, Christians follow Jesus’ command at his last supper with his friends: “Do this in remembrance of me.” We believe that Jesus is present in the bread and wine, and we meet him each time we gather around the altar. St. Bede’s, like most Episcopal churches, celebrates communion every Sunday.
Whoever you are, wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith, you are welcome to receive the bread and wine of communion. If you desire to receive the bread, extend your hands toward the priest. You may either dip your bread in the wine (called “intinction”) or drink directly from the chalice. When the cup of wine is presented, hold it gently at the bottom and help guide the chalice toward your lips. Grape juice is available for those who do not wish to consume alcohol. If you wish to receive a blessing instead of communion, cross your arms across your chest. Children may receive with parental consent; we encourage children to receive as soon as they are baptized.