Let’s start with what to wear. While there is no dress code to worship God, people generally spruce up a bit to demonstrate that this is a special time. We encourage you to be comfortable, whether Sunday best or summer shorts and sneakers. The church is God's house. We show our respect by our reverence there and by our love for one another.
Except for our midweek services in the Chapel, you will find a Bulletin or service sheet to guide you through the service. You are welcome to sit where you are most comfortable. While some folks believe they have an assigned seat, they will welcome you and make room for you. In the pews you will find two books. The red Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is used throughout the Episcopal Church. It contains all the different forms of worship that we do as Christians along life's journey and through the weekly and yearly cycles. The second book is the blue Hymnal 1982, which is divided into two sections. The first is music for the parts of the service that may be sung and are listed with "S" before the number; the second section is the hymns, organized by themes. Even if you are not a great singer or are unfamiliar with the prayers, it is good to join your voice with others. You become a part of the assembly, a part of the whole as the Holy Spirit unites us.
You may wonder when to stand or kneel. We give you hints in the Bulletin so that you can participate. The general rule is to stand for the Gospel during the Holy Eucharist service, to say our affirmation of faith, the Creed, and to sing and to sit during readings from the Old or New Testament Letters, the sermon, and choir anthems. We stand or kneel for prayer to show our gratitude and humility before God.
At celebrations of the Eucharist, all baptized Christians are welcome to make a Holy Communion. If you are not baptized and you want to participate, speak with a member of the clergy staff and we can guide you to the right practice. Walk up the center aisle to the altar rail and kneel or stand. A minister will place a wafer or piece of bread into your cupped hands saying words such as, "The body of Christ, the bread of heaven." Another minister will bring the cup of wine with the words, "The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation." You may either drink from the cup or you may dip the bread into the wine. If you do not wish to receive communion, you may still come to the altar for a blessing. Simply cross your hands over your chest, and the minister will know that you would like to be blessed. Our usual practice is for all the baptized to receive, no matter how young. After receiving communion, leave the altar rail by the side aisles and return to your pew. Many people kneel in silent prayer after receiving the Eucharist. You can also join in singing the hymn that's listed in the Bulletin.
At the beginning of the service we have announcements about opportunities for ministry; some events happen right after worship, and you are welcome to participate. You might choose to sit and listen to the organ postlude, but most people make their way to the exits and on to the next part of their day, either at the church or leaving our grounds. We hope that you will return to join us again.
HOW ARE THE SUNDAY SERVICES DIFFERENT?
The 8 AM service is a Rite I Eucharist (Communion) without music (most traditional service).
The 9 AM service is a Rite II Eucharist with music.
- Nursery care for infants and toddlers
- Godly Play classes for 3-year-olds through 3rd graders
- Children older than 8 years old attend church with their families
The 11 AM service alternates between Eucharist and said or sung Morning Prayer.
- Child care for infants through 5-year-olds
WHAT IS HOLY EUCHARIST?
You might know it as the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, or Mass. It is the sacrament commanded by Jesus Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection. The symbols in the Eucharist are bread and wine.
WHAT DO I WEAR TO SUNDAY SERVICES?
We care more that you come than what you wear. You will find people in suits and those much more casual. Children tend to wear school clothes.
WHO IS ALLOWED TO TAKE COMMUNION?
At Christ Church we welcome all to communion, including children. We teach that baptism and communion are connected rituals, so children may start receiving as soon as they are baptized. If you don't want your child to receive, it is as easy as shaking your head or having your child cross her arms over her chest for a blessing.
HOW DO I TAKE COMMUNION?
Think follow the leader. When the people in the pew in front of you go, you should stand and follow. If you are able to kneel at the rail, that is the tradition, but you may stand as well. Hold your hands together and the priest will put the wafer or morsel of bread in your hand. You may eat the bread or wait and dip it into the wine when the server brings it to you. Both are completely acceptable.
WHAT IF I AM NOT READY TO TAKE COMMUNION?
You may remain in your pew or come to the rail for a blessing. To receive a blessing, simply cross your arms over your chest.
DOES THE WINE CONTAIN ALCOHOL?
Yes, but you don't have to partake. Take the wafer and cross your arms over your chest when the wine is served, and the server will skip you.
DOES THE WAFER CONTAIN GLUTEN?
Yes, but the priest will have a gluten-free wafer with him or her, so just ask for one.
IS THERE A SUGGESTED AMOUNT TO PUT IN THE OFFERING?
As a visitor, please make a free will gift. If you become a regular worshipper, we ask that you prayerfully consider an annual pledge that supports the work that we do and demonstrates the value the church provides to you.
WHERE IS THE ROOM TO TAKE CRYING BABIES OR CHILDREN?
We don’t have one. Children are welcome at all services. Our nursery is staffed by professionals and is in the lower level of the Parish Center (behind the Church). It is available during the 9 and 11 AM services during the academic year and at the 10 AM service during the summer.
IS THERE SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH?
- Sunday School for children and youth is held between services at 10 AM, lasting approximately 45 minutes.
- Children's Ministries for 3-year-olds through 3rd graders is held during the 9 AM service, with Enrichment opportunities at 10 AM.
- All classes are held in the Parish Center or Annex. Please ask an usher to direct you.
WHAT DO I CALL THE CLERGY?
Generally adults call members of the clergy by their first name and children use Reverend.
HOW DO PEOPLE JOIN ONE OF THE CHOIRS?
Please contact the Director of Music if you are interested in sharing your time and talent. Click here to visit our Choirs page.
HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT CHRIST CHURCH?
Please fill out a welcome card in the pew, complete this contact form, or introduce yourself to a clergy person at a service to set up a meeting.
HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH?
The clergy will be glad to help you learn more, and there are leaflets at the entrance to the church that may answer some of your questions. Throughout the year, we offer "Life at Christ Church" classes for those who would like to learn more about the Church and for those who want to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church.