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What to expect on Sunday
Sundays at St. Mary's might feel a little different. Most of the members of our congregation grew up in other churches, particularly the Baptist, Pentecostal, Disciples of Christ, or Methodist traditions which are strong in our Appalachian region. Our worship is based on ancient patterns of prayer, and they might feel unfamiliar at first. This page might help set you at ease when you visit us.
Sunday is traditionally when Episcopalians gather for worship. The principal weekly worship service is the Holy Eucharist, also known as: the Lord’s Supper, the Divine Liturgy, Holy Communion, or Mass. Eucharist is simply the Greek word for 'thanksgiving'. The 11:00 service lasts about an hour. Learn more about the structure of the Eucharist. We have a shorter, simpler service at 9am called Morning Prayer, or Mattins ("MAT-ins") that involves prayers, psalms, and readings. It is about 20 min
Episcopalians worship in many different styles, ranging from very formal, ancient, and multi-sensory rites with lots of singing, music, fancy clothes (called vestments), and incense, to informal services with contemporary music. Yet all worship in the Episcopal Church is based in the Book of Common Prayer, which gives worship a familiar feel, no matter where you go.
Liturgy and Ritual
Worship in the Episcopal Church is said to be liturgical, meaning that the structure of our worship and the prayers that we pray don’t change greatly from week to week. This sameness from week to week gives worship a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar to the worshipers. Our worship also follows patterns that have been used in Christian worship for centuries, and in countless places, so our worship anchors us to an ancient faith.
The first time you join us, this liturgy may be exhilarating, but it might be confusing. We sit and stand and kneel, we sing and say responses, we sing music that you may not recognize. It can take a little while to "settle in" to the rhythms and patterns of our worship, so give yourself permission to simply be with us.
If you have any questions at all, please contact Father Chris and ask him!
Some really blunt questions