Here is the welcome statement you will find printed at the beginning of our church bulletin each Sunday:
If there are things about our worship that seem difficult and don’t make sense, be patient with the unfamiliarity. Consider that you are entering into a conversation with God and the faithful, which began centuries before we were here and will continue after we are gone. Just join in as you are. All who seek God are welcome to the Lord’s Table (at the altar rail up front) to receive the Bread and Wine. Even if you do not seek God, you are still welcome because God seeks you. Come and hold in your mouth and taste on your lips the love that we cannot comprehend.
We know it can seem daunting to visit a church for the first time, not unlike visiting a foreign country where you are uncertain about the customs and traditions. We hope this brief introduction will make your first visit at St. Francis’ more comfortable.
Two Sunday Morning Services, Church School, and Childcare
Our 8am service is the smaller of our two Sunday services, and it is done without music. The 10am service, our main service, is a Choral Eucharist with the St. Francis’ Choir (during the academic year), or with music by small ensembles (during the summer months). The congregation joins in the hymns and canticles at the 10am liturgy, and you will find us to be good singers!
Church School (for children) takes place during the first half of the 10am Eucharist; the children then join their families in church after the offering to participate in the remainder of the service. Ask an usher to direct you to the Church School classrooms. We also offer childcare during the 10am service as an aid to parents who wish to use it, but parents are welcome to bring their children to church for the entire service.
A Liturgical Church
St. Francis’ is a liturgical church, which means we follow fixed orders of service, known as liturgies, which are found in the Book of Common Prayer-the red book in the pews. The Holy Communion or Eucharist, which means thanksgiving, is the primary focus of our Sunday worship. The Revised Common Lectionary provides the schedule of Bible Lessons and Psalms to be read on specified days throughout the Church Year.
The Service Leaflet, The Book of Common Prayer, & The Hymnal 1982
Our weekly service leaflet provides an outline of the service with page references to the Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal 1982 to enable you to follow the order of service. The Bible readings for the day are available in printed form from the ushers. You will find a friendly community at St. Francis’. If you need help finding your place in the service, just ask anyone seated around you. They will be happy to help you!
The Sign of the Cross
Many people at St. Francis’ follow the ancient custom of making the sign of the cross at various points in the service, in remembrance of their Baptism.
Standing and Kneeling
At St. Francis’ we stand to sing, we stand or kneel for prayer, and we stand or kneel to receive Holy Communion, but you are welcome to follow your own practice when it comes to standing, kneeling — or simply remaining seated.
Sharing the Peace
Following the sermon and the Prayers of the People, you are welcome to share God’s Peace by shaking hands with those around you and saying Jesus’ words, “Peace be with you.”
On most Sundays there is the opportunity to request prayers for birthdays, for anniversaries, and for travelers. There is also opportunity for a private prayer for healing (for yourself or on behalf of someone else) at the side altar with a priest during the distribution of Holy Communion.
All who seek God are welcome to receive Holy Communion at God’s table, but you are also just as welcome to choose not to do so and remain in the pew during the distribution of communion. Children are equally welcome to receive Communion; the priest will ask you if you want your children to receive the Bread and/or Wine, or to simply receive a blessing when you bring them to the altar.
If you do not wish to receive Communion from the common cup, you may receive the Bread alone or you may ask the priest to dip the bread into the wine.
Following the service, please join us for coffee hour in the Parish Hall (after the 10am service) or in the kitchen (after the 8am service).
We look forward to seeing you and encourage you to visit us soon.