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Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers!)
Why don’t people talk in the pews before the service begins?
When we first enter the Church, we pray and prepare to worship the Lord and hear what he has to say to us. After this we normally keep silent so as not to disturb the prayers of those around us.
How do I know when to kneel or stand?
A general rule is to kneel or stand when praying, stand to praise and sit to learn. You may remain standing or seated as you wish.
Do I have to make the sign of the cross, bow or genuflect?
No, but feel free to do so if you wish. These expressions of worship are used by many Episcopalians, but not all. We take pride in the freedom of expression encouraged by the Episcopal Church. There are many instances in the service when parishioners feel the sign of the cross is appropriate.
What is a typical Sunday service at Redemption Episcopal Church?
The form of a typical service goes back to the beginnings of Christian worship. The first part, The Liturgy of the Word, consists of hymns, psalms, Bible readings, a sermon and prayers. The second part is the Holy Eucharist (Communion), which has at its heart a reenactment of the Last Supper of Jesus with His disciples.
What are the books in the pew racks?
There are four books in our pew racks. The red one is the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) in which the words of the service are found. The blue one is the standard Hymnal 1982 with traditional music. A New Revised Standard Version of the Bible can also be found and often you will find two additional hymnals there: a red and black hymnal called Lift Every Voice and Sing II and a newer paperback hymnal called Wonder, Love and Praise.
Why do Episcopalians pray out of a book?
It is an ancient and historical practice. Use of the Book of Common Prayer ensures full participation of the congregations in the act of worship.
What is the peace?
This is one of the oldest liturgical rites in Christian tradition. It is an opportunity to greet friends and visitors by shaking hands or embracing. We often use the words “Peace be with you” so that we will know Jesus Christ is here among us. This is how Jesus greeted his disciples.
May I receive Holy Communion?
All baptized persons are welcome to receive Holy Communion. If you desire to be baptized, please speak to Father Emmanuel. Those not receiving Holy Communion may kneel at the altar rail with their arms crossed over their chest to receive a blessing or remain seated in their pew. Those receiving Holy Communion would appreciate your praying for them during this time.
All children, after they are baptized, are also welcome to receive Holy Communion. It is up to the parents to decide when they wish their children to begin receiving Holy Communion. The clergy are happy to provide instruction and guidance in the parents’ decision on this matter.
If I choose to receive Holy Communion, what should I do?
Go to the altar rail with the other people in your pew and kneel along with them. You may stand if you prefer. You will first receive the consecrated bread from the priest. Hold out both hands to receive it. You may then place it in your mouth or hold it to be dipped in the consecrated wine.
The Eucharistic minister will offer you consecrated wine to dip your bread (intinction) or you may take the cup to sip the wine. You choose the method you prefer. If you want to dip your bread, hold it out so the Eucharistic minister can see it. Dip the bread into the wine when offered the chalice, and then consume the bread. If you wish to sip, steady the base of the cup with one hand and help the Eucharistic minister guide it to your lips.
Do I have to take the wine?
No. If you want to receive only the Bread, cross your arms over your chest when the cup comes to you and the Eucharistic minister will not give wine to you. We believe that you have received the full Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, if you receive the Bread alone.
Why do the children come in for just part of the 10 a.m. service (from September to May)?
The children are in Sunday School for the first part of the service, which is the Liturgy of the Word. During this time, adults hear Scripture and the sermon while the children hear or read Bible stories. The children then join the congregation for Holy Communion. We want the children to know they are members of the Body of Christ.
The children of our parish are most precious to us. If your child makes noise during the service, please know we understand how natural that is. Infants and very young children are welcome both in the congregation and in our nursery. The nursery is not always staffed, but open for parents at any time.