Visiting St. James When You Are New to Church
The Episcopal Church believes that God loves you, without exception. Its legacy of inclusion includes the ordination of people regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The Church promotes peace, justice, and equity as essential parts of a Jesus-centered life.
The Episcopal Church is built upon the belief that, as God’s children, we are free to make our own choices and use human reason. Our history of open inquiry and diverse viewpoints is one of our strengths. So, when you visit us, we promise that:
You will be treated with respect
We will not single you out or embarrass you
We will not tell you what to think or what to believe
You will not be pressured to give money
The Episcopal Church is considered to be a "liturgical church" which means that every service follows a standardized and predictable order of events.
As a brief outline of our worship service, you can expect:
Musical prelude for prayer and quiet reflection
Opening prayer and hymn of praise (we love to sing!)
The Lessons, where we read sections of the Bible (Old Testament, Psalms, and New Testament) out loud
A reading from the Gospel, which tells the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection
Sermon from the priest
A statement of our beliefs according to the Nicene Creed
Prayers of the People, where we pray for members of our congregation, the nation, and the world
Confession of Sin, read as a group, to acknowledge that we all fall short of what God would want us to do
The Peace where we greet one another
Holy Communion (Eucharist) where the priest blesses the bread and wine as Christ’s body and blood. All are welcome to participate in Communion if they wish.
Closing hymn followed by a blessing to go forth in peace to love and serve the Lord
You can follow the service in the red Book of Common Prayer or a seasonal worship booklet. The hymns usually come from the blue Hymnal 1982 book, though we sometimes use service music from other sources. People will stand or kneel at various points in the service. Don't worry about doing “the wrong thing.” Participate as much or as little as you feel comfortable. And know that any of your neighbors in the pews would be happy to assist you in navigating the service!
Check our main page for current information about Sunday worship and other activities throughout the week.
Feel free to contact our Rector, Evan Fischer, to let us know that you will be visiting.
Parts of this description are adapted from St. Dunstan’s Church (Madison, Wisconsin)