At St. John’s, as in other Episcopal, Lutheran, or Roman Catholic churches, the worship is “book based” – meaning many of the prayers said from week to week are found in a book – in our case, The Book of Common Prayer (1979). While using a book for worship might be a foreign concept to some, the Episcopal Church understands itself to have inherited a rich liturgical legacy. Many of the prayers we say have been hallowed by the faithful through centuries of use. This gives us a very special connection with our forefathers in faith – a connection we are proud to honor. In order to facilitate easier participation in worship for those less familiar with this type of tradition, St. John’s provides a full-text bulletin at all Sunday services.

Before the service, some people spend time in prayer, or light a votive candle. The bank of votive candles is found in the front of the church under the pulpit. (The lighting of a votive candle symbolizes the act of saying a prayer for someone.) Others reconnect with friends. Shortly before services where there will be music, an organ or choral prelude enables the assembled community to prepare a bit better for worship. After the service, there is generally an organ postlude, and a receiving line at the back of the church where worshipers greet one another and the clergy. Following the main service on Sunday, there is usually a fellowship time known as “Coffee Hour,” which takes place in the parish hall, which is the building down Lamb Street, next to the elementary school playground.

In the Episcopal Church, parishes are often regarded as “Low,” “Broad,” or “High.” These designations generally refer to the amount of ceremonial employed during worship services. While St. John’s is the lone “High Church” parish in the diocese, outward and visible signs of the faith (kneeling, making the sign of the cross, bowing, genuflecting, etc.) are at the complete discretion of the individual worshiper.

Our members are friendly, and interested in meeting and getting to know new people. The Peace is always exchanged, and visitors can expect many people to welcome them during this time. During the service, visitors will not be singled out, asked to stand, or identify themselves as a visitor. We are happy to welcome everyone, but respect an individual’s choice to be as engaged as he or she feels comfortable. We do specifically invite visitors to sign the guest book in the back of the church, to fill out a visitor’s card (these are hanging in every pew) and drop it in the collection plate, and to introduce themselves to the clergy after the service.