What to Expect
at St. Timothy's Worship Services
Whether you have spent your entire life in an Episcopal pew or have never stepped foot in any church, you are free and encouraged to worship with us or simply to listen to our liturgy. At various times in a service, people may stand, sit, or kneel – all of this has a meaning, but never feel as though you have to do anything. We are overjoyed that you chose to join us. There is no need to do anything else except whatever makes you feel most comfortable. You are welcome, simply and purely. There are no caveats.
But first, you should know...
Prayer Books and Hymnals are in the pew racks.
The prayer books (The Book of Common Prayer) have a red cover with a gold cross on the front. The hymnal has a blue cover. In the hymnal, you will find service music towards the front of the book marked with a number preceded by an “S-.” The hymns are towards the back of the book and are marked by a number only.
Children are especially welcome in our midst.
If you have small children, we have crayons and coloring material at the table at the rear of the sanctuary which you are free to pick up before a service.
Communion is not exclusive to Episcopalians.
The altar in the sanctuary is not the table of Saint Timothy’s or of the Episcopal Church – it is the Lord’s Table, and we invite all baptized Christians to receive Communion. You are welcome to stand or kneel at the rail, and you may receive the wine either by drinking from the chalice or by intinction. If you do not wish to receive communion, you are free to come to rail to receive a blessing from the priest. Simply cross your arms over your shoulders so the priest knows to bless you.
What should I expect when I come on Sunday?
The description below does not take into account the changes in our on-site worship during the COVID pandemic. Primarily you will notice that our choir no longer processes/recesses with the ministers, and that Communion is no longer received at the high altar in order to preserve adequate distancing. However, the welcoming nature of our service and the real presence of God with us is unchanged!
When you arrive at St. Timothy's on Sunday, you'll be greeted at the door and given a service bulletin. This is the "Table of Contents" to our worship and helps you to navigate the prayers, scripture and songs. A few minutes prior to the service, our musicians will set a prayerful mood with a prelude on the pipe organ or piano, or a choral introit sung by the choir. Just before 10am, the tower bell will ring and our historic pipe organ will boldly begin to sound our gathering song. As we sing, our choir and ministers will process up the aisle to take their places in the sanctuary. After the hymn, the priest begins to lead us in prayer.
THE WORD OF GOD
We then hear several passages from Holy Scripture, typically a lesson from the Old Testament, a lesson from the New Testament, a lesson from one of the Gospels, and a canticle or psalm. After the lessons, a 10-15 minute message (called a Homily or Sermon) is given by the Priest or another minister.
PROCLAIMING OUR FAITH AND PRAYING TOGETHER
After the Homily or Sermon, we proclaim together our faith in the form of one of the ancient creeds of the church. We then pray for various concerns in the Church, the community and the world. There is a time for everyone to offer their personal prayers as well. We then take a moment to reflect silently on the times we have fallen short in life, offer a prayer of confession, receive absolution from our sins by a Priest and greet one another with signs of peace (often a handshake or a hug).
A FEW MINUTES FOR THE COMMUNITY
After the peace, everyone takes their seats. Some community announcements are usually shared. Sometimes we'll offer special prayers or blessings here, such as blessing prayer blankets made by the community to take to people in the hospital. Then an offering is received and the altar prepared for the Holy Eucharist.
RECEIVING CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST
After a hymn or choral anthem the Priest leads a Eucharistic Prayer which recalls the sacrifices of Christ for us, our relationship with Christ, one another, and all who came before us, and asks God to be present with us through Christ and the Holy Spirit. The community then comes to the high altar to receive a small wafer of bread and/or a sip of wine as a hymn or choral anthem is sung.
At the conclusion of Holy Communion, we pray together one last time, receive a blessing from the Priest, and a hymn is sung as the choir and ministers process out of the church. As we leave, a Deacon or Priest reminds us of our mission to return to the world and share the love and good news of Christ with all.
We then gather in Bennett Hall for some social and fellowship time, complete with coffee, snacks and more!