All baptized Christians, no matter age or denomination, are welcome to receive communion at Saint Stephen's. We as Episcopalians invite all baptized people to receive Communion. We extend this invitation not because we take the Eucharist lightly, but because we take our baptism so seriously. Come join us.
What is an Episcopalian?
A person who belongs to the Episcopal Church is called an “Episcopalian.” The word “Episcopal” means a church governed by bishops. We call our local churches “parishes,” which are governed by an elected “vestry” of ordinary people who help lead the church and make important day-to-day decisions. The pastor of an Episcopal church is usually called a “priest.” In the Episcopal Church, priests are allowed to marry and women may also serve as priests.
No. All people are welcome regardless of background. Many of our members come to us from other faith traditions or Christian communities, or without a faith background of any kind. In the Episcopal Church, you can find a community of people united by their faith in God and eagerness to serve others.
The Episcopal Church worships in the “liturgical style,” which means all Episcopal churches follow a relatively common order of service. Being with a community of believers inspires us, nurtures us, encourages us, and comforts us. Scripture and the Eucharist (Holy Communion) are the foundations of our worship. The service follows an order found in our worship book called the Book of Common Prayer; however, a service leaflet is distributed every Sunday to help you follow along. Our Sunday services throughout the year usually include an opening procession, singing, Bible readings, prayers for ourselves and others, time for meditation, a sermon, and Communion (Holy Eucharist) where we share bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus Christ and the Last Supper.
We use two central texts during our services, which are supplied in the pews:
1. The Book of Common Prayer (contains calendar of Church year, order of Bible readings, orders of services, and some of the most beautiful prayers ever written)
2. The Hymnal
Don’t worry. You won’t be embarrassed or singled out. At St. Stephen's, as with most Episcopal churches, we provide a “service bulletin” during each Sunday service. It guides you through the service and provides basic instructions for participation. Once you’ve been to a few services, it will seem like second nature to you. The Book of Common Prayer can also serve as a guide to our Sunday worship service (sometimes called our “liturgy”), as well as a wide range of other services for everything from baptism to funerals.
Often the officiant of the service will offer direction to stand, sit or kneel. Most newcomers just follow what others are doing.
Absolutely not. In the Episcopal Church, we know that every journey toward God is unique and highly personal. You won’t be forced to think a certain way or “get in line” with everyone else. In fact, you’re welcome to bring your questions, doubts, hopes and dreams with you. There’s a good reason why the Episcopal tradition is sometimes called “the thinking person’s church.” You’ll be encouraged to think for yourself and seek guidance from God through prayer, worship, meditation, reading and any other method that works for you. Each one of us is precious to God and we all find God in different ways.
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, No Music
The service lasts about 45 minutes and includes readings from Holy Scripture, a sermon by the Rector, and the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.
Cloral Eucharist, Rite II
The service includes music with traditional hymns and lasts about an hour. The service includes readings from Holy Scripture, a sermon by the Rector, and the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. There is always a gathering for coffee, tea and snacks after church.
On the 1st Sunday of the month the Order of St. Luke offers individual healing prayer.