Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Newcomers' introduction


The Episcopal Church welcomes you, and we look forward to greeting you here at St. John's!

Parking: On street parking is available, as well as in our lot at the rear of the Church. You enter the parking lot on 9th Street.

Nursery care: Available every Sunday morning during worship and Christian formation.

Handicapped accessibility: The complete first floor of our facility (including the church, fellowhip hall, and restroom) are handicap accessible.  The ramp access for the church is on the right side of the red doors. The ramp to the fellowship hall is on the 10th Street side of the building. There are no indoor steps on the first floor of the facility.

Dress: Some people in the congregation wear business attire to Sunday Service (meaning men wear suit and tie and women wear dresses). Others wear “business casual” (no tie for men, slacks for women) and our young people wear more casual clothing.

Worship Service

When you walk through the red doors of St. John's you will be welcomed by an usher and offered a worship booklet. Feel free to sit in any pews facing the altar. (The pews perpendicular to these that face each other in the front of the church are used by our choir.)

The booklet you received will assist you in participating in our worship, including all the prayers, scripture, announcements and music. We sing songs found in either the Hymnal 1982 (the blue books found in the pew racks) or Wonder, Love, and Praise (the green books found in the pews).

Generally, we use Rite II (with more modern language), except during Lent and Advent, when we use Rite I (with more traditional language). If the worship booklet says “stand or kneel,” feel free to do what you feel most comfortable doing. You will see people within the congregation doing either. Episcopalians generally sit to learn, kneel to pray, and stand to praise.

Generally there are two scripture passages (The Lessons) from the Bible read aloud by members of the congregation, separated by a responsive reading from Psalms (the congregation is seated).  Following the second Lesson, people stand and sing a gradual hymn. The priest then reads The Gospel from the center aisle.

The Peace:  All stand while God’s Peace is offered  by the Celebrant, then the Rector and people greet each other with the word “Peace”, shaking hands, and often offering words of welcome to each other.

After this, a collection is taken and the offertory presented at the altar.

Holy Communion:  Anyone who has been baptized in the Christian tradition, whether in the Episcopal Church or elsewhere, is welcome to receive communion at St. John's. Whether baptized or not, all are invited to come to the communion rail for a blessing by the priest.

An usher stands in the aisle and to indicate when it is time for the people in that pew to go to the altar.  The communion line forms along the right side of the aisle (facing the altar) and proceeds to the altar railing, kneeling, from left to right.

When the priest comes by with the bread, hold out your crossed open hands and the bread will be placed there. You may consume the bread then or wait until the assistant comes by with the wine.  Our shared tradition is to receive from the common cup.  When the assistant reaches you, grasp the foot of the cup lightly and assist in bringing it to your lips.  If you prefer, you may also dip the bread lightly into the wine, and then consume eat the bread and wine together. If you wish to receive only the bread or a blessing, simply cross your arms over your chest.  Please remain kneeling at the rail, until all have received communion and the assistant says “AMEN”.   Leave the railing and file down the right side of the aisle back to your pew.   
If you have difficulty walking up the steps to the altar rail for communion, ask an usher to have communion brought to you in the pew.

End of Service:  After the last hymn and the dismissal, please sign our guest book located under the stained glass window at the church entrance. Please tell the usher that you are a visitor to our church.  We hope you will come back to worship with us again soon!

Christian Formation: Christian education or Sunday school is offered most Sundays from mid-September through the end of May.  The usher can direct you or to the appropriate location.