FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


Where do I find the words and the music for Sunday Worship?
Though most of the prayers and music are found in the service bulletin, you will find three books in the rack in front of you, or in the pew that are primary sources for our worship.
  • The Book of Common Prayer (red)
  • The Hymnal 1982 (blue)
  • Lift Every Voice and Sing (The African American Hymnal)

The red Book of Common Prayer contains all the services normally used in the Episcopal Church. Our Sunday service is the Holy Eucharist. At the 8 o’clock service we use Rite One, which begins on page 323. At the 10 o’clock service we use Rite Two, which begins on page 355.

The hymns sung during the service are from either the “blue” hymnal, Lift Every Voice and Sing or inserts found the worship bulletin. The hymn numbers are listed in the bulletin you were given by the greeter and on the hymn board on the sides of the church. Hymn numbers from Lift Every Voice and Sing are listed as LEVAS followed by the number. All other hymns, if not inserted into the program should be from the Hymnal 1982. Service music listed with an “S” before the number can be found in the front of the Hymnal 1982.

The first half of the service of Holy Eucharist, called “The Word of God” or “Liturgy of the Word”, contains readings from the Bible, a sermon, and prayers. The second part of the service is “The Holy Communion” or “Liturgy of the Eucharist” in which thanksgiving is offered and bread and wine is consecrated (blessed) and shared.

I don’t know when to sit, stand or kneel.
At Saint John’s, we respect a variety of worship practices and customs. During the service some people may make the sign of the cross or bow at various points, while others do not. You should do what is comfortable for you. There are, however, a number of practices that are common the Saint John’s:

  • Generally, people stand to sing the hymns, while the Gospel is read and for the post-communion prayer, blessing and dismissal.
  • During the Liturgy of the Eucharist most people will remain standing, while some elect to kneel. Both practices are valid. You will even see that our elderly or infirm parishioners may elect to sit.
  • Many people stand and move around to exchange the Peace with those who are nearby, shaking hands and greeting each other in whatever way is comfortable for them.
I am a Baptized Christian, but am not Episcopalian. May I Receive Communion?
Absolutely, Jesus is the host for the sacred meal and welcomes all of God’s children. Stand to either side as directed by our ushers, filing from left to right. Raise your crossed hands, palms up, to receive the communion bread. You may eat the bread right away, and then take a sip from the chalice (cup) when it is brought to you, or you may hold onto your bread and dip it in the wine. If for any reason you don’t want to receive either the bread or the wine, you may come to the line around the altar for a blessing. Cross you hands on your chest to let the ministers know that you don’t want to receive either the bread or the wine and the priest will offer you a blessing.

What if I haven’t been baptized?
All God’s children are welcome at the table.  However, if you have not been baptized and you feel so called to this holy welcome into God’s family, we are here to companion you on the journey.
I have been divorced and have remarried. May I receive Communion?
Yes. The Episcopal Church recognizes that some marriages die. The Church mourns with you, but welcomes you to receive Communion as part of your healing and growth.
How old do my children have to be to receive Communion?
You make that decision as a parent. Some parents want their children to receive Holy Eucharist as soon as they are able to come to the altar rail and receive. Other parents prefer to wait until their children are in the upper levels of grade school. The Rector will be pleased to help you think and pray this through.
I have noticed all the children come to the altar. Why?
Those who do not receive communion come to the altar for a blessing. All God’s children are welcome to the altar, even if they may not yet be ready to receive Holy Communion.
What is the difference between the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches? The services seem very similar.
They are similar. Some parts, in fact, are identical. We, however, are part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, formed in England in the 16th century. We have some doctrinal differences with the Church of Rome. We recognize the Pope as the Bishop of Rome, but we do not place ourselves under his authority.
Then is the Episcopal Church Protestant or Catholic?
It is both catholic and protestant. Since we are not in communion with the Church of Rome, it considers us protestant. Our doctrines and our practices are mostly what they were before the Protestant Reformation, so we are also catholic. Think of the Episcopal Church as a “bridge church”; standing between these two great traditions and practicing what we truly believe is the best of both.
How do I become an Episcopalian?
The process varies depending upon your situation. If you have already been baptized, the Episcopal Church warmly recognizes that sacrament as valid. You do not have to be re-baptized. If you have already been confirmed, we also recognize that sacrament. If you have already been baptized and confirmed you may be “received” into this branch of Christ’s Church by the Bishop of Western Massachusetts at a ceremony usually held in June. If you have not been baptized or confirmed, the Rector will make arrangements for these two events. As soon as you have been baptized, you may begin receiving communion. When the Bishop visits, you will be confirmed. From that moment on, you are an Episcopalian.
 How do I become a member of Saint John’s Parish?
You have already made the first step by joining us for Sunday Worship! You are already a member of our community. However, your connection can be deepened through regular participation in worship and involvement in parish ministries. Depending upon your situation, you may wish to be fully connected through Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist or Full Reception into the Episcopal Church at some point down the line. For now, just know you are welcome!
How may I financially contribute to Saint John’s Parish?
Financial stewardship is one of the ways we support the vital work of ministry in our parish. All parishioners are essential partners in the financial support of our parish mission. We rely on the regular financial support of our parishioners. Everyone in the parish is asked to prayerfully consider offering back to God some portion of what God has given them. To have your offerings recorded, you may, at any time, request envelopes from the pledge record keeper.

Services

Saturday 5:00pm
Holy Eucharist (Come as You Are)

Sunday 10:00am
Holy Eucharist (Community Eucharist)

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