Episcopalians are defined foremost by our worship, which is based on the most ancient rites of the Christian Church. We are guided by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the prayerbook tradition of Anglicanism. The primary act of worship in the church is the Holy Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion, the Mass, the Divine Liturgy, and the Great Thanksgiving). The form and function of the Holy Eucharist is the basis for many other acts of worship in the church, including baptism, marriage, and burial.
Visit us on a Sunday morning and you will find one of two basic forms of the Holy Eucharist, known as Rite I or Rite II. Ministers and people pray together both silently and aloud, and together give thanks for our creation, redemption, and sustaining by God. In doing so, there is kneeling, standing, sitting, and interacting with each other.
Rite I is based on a very old tradition and form of language, adapting rites that date back some five hundred years. The language is intentionally archaic, making use of words like "thou," "thee," and "thy," especially in reference to God. There is a particular emphasis on penitential reconciliation, though the theology of Rite I fits well within the Anglican tradition.
Rite II emerged from the liturgical reforms of the late 20th century when church scholars rediscoverd some of the most ancient rites of the early Christian church. They also responded to social change in the modern church. Prayers A and B are the most frequently used prayers, fitting a traditional form but using modern language. Prayer C is an alternative form noted for its references to space and (implied) evolution. Prayer D is a prayer developed in conversation with other denominations and the Roman Catholic Church.
We also make use of alternative prayers available from other churches in the Anglican Communion, as well as supplements to the prayerbook from a series called Enriching Our Worship.
We use the Bible extensively in all our services. Prayers are often either direct quotes or adaptations of passages of Holy Scripture. We also use two lectionaries (scripture reading sequences): a 2-year cycle for the Daily Office, and a 3-year cycle called the Revised Common Lectionary for Sunday worship. These lectionaries cover most of the Bible, and ensure preaching and reflection covers more than just our favorite verses and stories.
YOU ARE INVITED AND WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE FULLY IN ALL ASPECTS OF OUR WORSHIP.