What is it like to visit St. Michael's?
First and foremost, we are happy to welcome ANYONE into our church. You (and your family, including children of any age) are always welcome to church for the ENTIRE Holy Eucharist. Crying babies, squirmy toddlers, folks from different cultures and religions, and people with disabilities are ALL always welcome in our worship.
You can simply come and enjoy the service, anytime. There is never a need to participate. For instance, you can simply:
- Listen to beautiful hymns sung by our amazing choir.
- Ponder the Bible readings and the sermon.
- Absorb the silence and reverence of our prayers.
- Just enjoy watching people in the midst of religious devotion.
There is no "required" or "right" way to be present at our church:
- ALL people, of any race, ethnicity, religion, background, culture, class, sexuality, or gender expression are fully welcome to all of our events.
- Formal dress is not required.
- Children are always welcome in worship, but childcare is also available most Sundays, should YOU wish to use it. This is a service to give parents space and time to have their own worship. It is NOT intended to keep babies away from worship.
- You do not need to "be a Christian" to attend.
- The directions in the bulletin are invitations, not commands. You may sit, stand, and/or kneel as you feel called.
Again, all are welcome.
A Detailed Walkthrough of a Typical Visit
When you come to visit St. Michael's for the first time, you will be welcomed at the door by an usher. He or she will give you a bulletin and welcome you to sit wherever you'd like. The bulletin itself contains all of the directions for the service, including readings, prayers, responses, and directions on when to sit, stand, or kneel as able. Hymn numbers are provided in the bulletin, and the hymns can be found in the Blue Hymnal 1982 (note that the first songs in the hymnal are service music, marked with an "S;" the hymns follow and are simply numbered, without the "S"). Participate as you are comfortable. In the middle of the service, we "pass the Peace," and most people shake hands. Familiar people may hug each other. Again, participate as you are comfortable. More details on Communion follow below. Following the service, there is a coffee hour with refreshments, snacks, and often lunch foods available for all. People will socialize here, and they will welcome you to our parish.
The Holy Eucharist (also called the Mass, the Divine Mysteries, Holy Communion, and The Lord’s Supper) is the chief act of worship in the Episcopal Church. We believe that in the consecration of the bread and wine, Jesus comes to be sacramentally present. What is outward and visible remains bread and wine, but what we receive is truly the Body and Blood of Christ.
- ALL baptized Christians - of any age and from any tradition - are welcome to receive Communion at the altar rail, either kneeling or standing. Please extend your hands to receive the wafer, or open your mouth and extend your tongue slightly to indicate you'd like the wafer placed on your tongue. You may eat the Bread and drink the Wine from the chalice, or you may intinct (dip) the Bread into the Wine. You may also eat the Bread and decline the Wine. If you are gluten intolerant and have not informed an usher, you may decline the Bread and drink the Wine. The sacrament is completed by receiving either Element. Wait until others along the rail have received, and depart together.
- ALL people are welcome to come forward for a blessing. Please indicate your desire for a blessing by crossing your arms across your chest when the priest comes to you.
- If you are not able to come to the altar rail, please raise your hand or inform an usher, and Communion (or a blessing) will be brought to you.
- If you feel called to Communion, but are not yet baptized, please speak to Father Dave after the service. We would be overjoyed to offer you the first, prior sacrament - the sacrament of Baptism - in the near future.
- For gluten intolerant communicants: we do not consecrate gluten-free wafers each week, due to lack of demand in our congregation. If you have a need for a gluten-free wafer, please speak to Fr. Dave or an usher ten minutes before the service and we will be happy to accommodate you.
The "Flavor" of Worship at St. Michael's
Those familiar with church may wonder what worship at St. Michael's "feels" like. There is only one answer: come and see for yourself!
But here are some characteristics that may help to describe our worship:
Our worship strives to be both imminent and transcendent.
Our worship, with God's grace, is imminent. It addresses the real "here and now" of our lives.
- We believe real faith needs a relevant message: Fr. Dave and our guest preachers craft sermons to speak to the current events in the news, bringing the eternal message of the Gospel - that faith, hope, and love triumph over all - to bear on the issues we face at work, school, and in our communities.
- We share our prayer life in "real time": we pray together in worship, rooted in silence (God's first language) and also welcoming the words that the Spirit gently lays upon our hearts.
- We do not end after the Eucharist: our Coffee Hour after the service is our 21st century Agape Meal. Here we feast of God's Presence in fellowship, in laughter, and in sharing hospitality with all who come.
Our worship, with God's grace, is also transcendent. It lifts us out of our daily lives for a taste of divine comfort and awakening.
- We are sacramentally-focused: the Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist centers our shared worship life. We offer a full ministry celebrating the Sacraments of the Church, sharing God's blessings with all people, across the fullness of our lives: Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, Reconciliation, Unction (special blessings for the ill and those preparing to die). We also try to practice sacramental (small 's') presence, carrying Christ's compassion and listening companionship into our shared lives.
- We love music and liturgy: our outstanding choir provides an atmosphere of contemplative yet warm holiness to our liturgy. The liturgy communicates - though symbolic actions - the deep Mysteries of our faith.
- We are traditional, but not rigid: we find sustenance in millennia-old traditions, but we try to avoid being "up tight." Really. We could not have written this bullet point, were it not so. We strive to be rooted in Christ through our rituals, but we also value authenticity: being real people.