For those new to us, there are often a myriad of questions about Christianity, the Episcopal Church and worship here at St. John’s. Some frequently asked questions are below. As other questions arise from your exploration of our congregation and our Anglican tradition please let us know so that we can help you find ways to explore our historical roots as well as the basic tenets of our Christian faith.
Do I have to be Episcopalian to participate in the life of St. John’s?
No, we are a Christian community that welcomes all God’s children.
What if I do not know what to do in worship?
Our services are guided by The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. Found in every pew, this resource, and the accompanying Sunday bulletin, will help you understand and participate in our worship. Our clergy provide directions during worship, and the person in the pew near you will also be glad to help you. Our clergy also will be glad to address your larger questions and can provide resources to support your own explorations.
What is the Holy Eucharist (U-ka-rist)?
This is the term used by the early Church for the Lord’s Supper, and is the Greek word for “thanksgiving.” Our heartfelt thanks to God for our life in Jesus the Christ is the wellspring of our Sunday worship. By celebrating the Holy Eucharist each Sunday, we are also proclaiming the historic faith of the Church that celebrates the fullness of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Do you use real bread and wine?
During communion we distribute wafers or hosts, and wine. They are symbols of the bread and wine our Lord used with his disciples to talk about our life in Him, and His life in us: “we are one body in one Lord.”
Do I have to take communion?
No. While many find a deep grace and joy in this shared Biblical Sacrament, you can make your own decision about this. Again, if you have questions, please approach one of the clergy of St. John’s. Also, if gluten is an issue, let us know and we can easily provide an alternative host.
If I am not baptized, may I still participate in your worship services and receive communion?
Yes, we welcome all God’s children to our worship and to receive the Sacrament. If you find that you desire to continue receiving communion, we invite you to explore with our clergy how one becomes baptized in our tradition.
Do I officially have to join your congregation and the Episcopal Church?
No. You are always welcome to participate with us whenever you can for any and every part of our parish life. Most do find a deepening understanding and faith that comes with personal commitment and regular participation. Also, a person is expected to be a baptized Christian and an active “member” of St. John’s in order to serve on the Vestry (our Board of Trustees) and to lead worship as a lector/chalicist and anointing prayers.
What is a “Rector?”
The term “rector” refers to a priest who is officially in charge of an Episcopal parish. Rectors are called by the congregation and the Bishop of that diocese to serve in this important pastoral relationship.
Do I have to give money at a church service or at other times?
No. Giving back for Christians comes from a deep conviction that all that we are, and all that we have, is finally a gift from God. Sharing our resources is an act of thanksgiving that springs from a grateful heart that naturally wants to support an essential part of our own identity, the ministry and witness of our faith community.
Am I expected to share my time and natural gifts and skills with the Church?
Yes, because we believe that by doing so you will find what Christians have always found: through sharing yourself and your talents, you will find the community you are seeking as well as the same joy we find in being the hands and feet of Jesus, our risen Lord.