We know it can be difficult to walk into something new. We hope the answers to the following questions will help you feel most comfortable during your visit to St. James.
What service should I attend?
Try any of them to see what is best for you. The 8 am service is very small, much shorter, and more quiet. More traditional language (“thee’ and “thou”) is used during this service and there is no music. The 10:30 am worship is much larger and includes abundant music.
What is worship like?
Upon entering the church, guests are provided a printed bulletin describing the order of service. At St. James, we worship in a variety of ways. You will see some people sitting or kneeling in their pew, and others standing; some making the sign of the cross, and some not. At the conclusion of the service, some stay for silent prayer or to listen to the closing organ voluntary. Afterward, everyone is invited to join together in the Parish Hall for refreshments and fellowship.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code at St. James. Some folks wear coat and tie, while others wear shorts and sandals. Wear whatever is comfortable for you.
What pattern of worship is followed?
We use The Book of Common Prayer (red book) and The Episcopal Hymnal (blue book) at the 10:30 am service. We pray, listen to lessons, hear a sermon, sing together, and celebrate Communion. Guests are encouraged to do whatever seems comfortable for them and to try different things from week to week.
Will I have to stand up and say my name?
No, but do introduce yourself to those sitting near you. You will find them to be very friendly. During The Peace, which follows The Prayers of the People, you will likely be greeted by many new friends. The Peace is a liturgical exchange of greeting through word and gesture – a visible sign of reconciliation, love, and renewed relationships. A simple handshake and the spoken words “Peace be With You”, or “Peace and Faith” are appropriate.
Should I bring my Bible?
You certainly may, but the lessons for the day are printed in the bulletin. The preacher will not ask you to open up to a particular passage, which leads some to ask if Episcopalians believe in the Bible. We certainly do, but during Sunday worship our primary text is the Book of Common Prayer (red book), which you will find in your pew.
What about the plate offering?
As a newcomer, please just let the offering plate go by and be our guest. Once you settle in you will likely be inspired to joyfully express your gratitude to God and support the ongoing work of the church how ever you decide. To make regular contributions and receive a tax statement, just ask to fill out a pledge card.
Should I receive Holy Communion?
This is entirely up to you, but please know that ALL are welcome. Also, know that we trust that the bread and wine are the Body and Blood of Christ. If you feel called to receive Christ in this way, simply come forward with everyone else, kneel or stand at the altar rail, and you will be offered the bread and the wine. And, yes, it is real wine. If you prefer not to receive it, just cross your arms over your chest and the minister will just say the words to you. We are also very pleased to bring communion to your where you are seated at your request. More questions? Call our priest.
What if my children are noisy?
St. James welcomes ALL God’s children, including the youngest ones. If your children are particularly active during church services, we recommend sitting near one of the side doors. This makes it convenient for you to take them outside to occasionally “let off steam”, if that is helpful. We also provide “activity boxes” during both services, a supervised Children’s Chapel program for ages 4-9 during the first part of the 10:30 am service, and a nursery for children under age 5 during the 10:30 am service. That being said, take comfort in knowing that noisy children actually worry their parents more than other parishioners. We should all be making a joyful noise.