What to Expect at a Sunday Service

Sometimes people call the church and ask if they are welcome to come to church on Sunday. The answer is always yes! You are always welcome!

When you visit St. John’s for the first time, you will be given a leaflet containing an order of service. The order will refer to pages of the Prayer Book (the red book in your pew rack) for you to consult to participate in the liturgy.

The service will include prayers by the clergy and members of the congregation, readings from scripture, a sermon, prayers for the church and for the world, a confession of our failures in our relationships with God and our fellow human beings (it’s a general statement—don’t worry, we won’t single you out for your individual failings!), a reassurance by the clergy of God’s forgiveness, the passing of the peace (handshakes and hugs) between members of the congregation, an offering of gifts for the mission of the church, the blessing and receiving of Holy Communion, a blessing over the congregation, and a dismissal. At the 10 a.m. service, there will be music throughout the liturgy, and all are invited to join in the singing of congregational hymns.

Anyone who is baptized may receive Communion. We believe that by receiving the body and blood of Christ, one is expressing the desire to be joined to the Body of Christ. Therefore, we commend the ancient practice of initiation into this Body by Holy Baptism.

At Communion, you have a choice of drinking from the chalice of wine or receiving by intinction—the bread dipped into the wine. Please consult the service leaflet for further details. You may also request to receive a gluten-free wafer if you are gluten-intolerant.

Upon receiving the bread and the wine, the server will say something (usually, “The Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven” and “The Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation”) and the recipient responds with “Amen.”

If you choose not to receive Communion, you may either remain in your seat or you may come forward, place your arms across your chest, and receive a blessing.

Visitors often wonder if children are invited to receive Communion. The answer is most definitely yes! Anyone who is baptized may receive Communion, from the moment of baptism onward.

If you still have questions, please feel free to ask, anytime!