Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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What to Expect During Service

Here’s an overview of the service (everything’s in the bulletin):

  • Prelude: a musical prelude brings our ordinary lives into the holiness of God while folks take their seats.
  • Procession: standing, we prepare our hearts and minds for worship and join in singing a processional hymn.  
  • Acclamation: standing, the congregation is greeted with an opening acclamation by the presider and invited to respond.
  • Praise song: standing, all join in singing vigorously a song of praise.
  • Prayer for the day: the presider prays the prayer for the day
  • Lesson: a member of the parish reads a lesson from scripture.
  • Gospel Song: all join in singing the song before the gospel.
  • Gospel: the presider reads the gospel as a sign that the presence of Christ is in the Word.
  • Sermon: the Priest presents a 10-12 minute message relative to our current lives interpreting the appointed scripture.
  • Nicene Creed: standing, we read aloud this ancient statement of faith.
  • Prayers of the People: we offer prayers for the universal church, all in authority, the welfare of the world, concerns of the community, all who suffer and the departed.  
  • Confession: standing, together we confess our sins against God and our neighbor, seeking forgiveness and receiving absolution.  
  • The Peace: we pass “The Peace,” greeting one another in the name of the Lord with all our differences and similarities, wishing all “peace be with you.” Folks are welcome to leave their seats to greet and/or embrace others.
  • Return from Sunday School: children rejoin their families.  
  • Announcements: we receive news of upcoming events, activities, and other ways to be involved in the life of Epiphany.
  • Offertory:  while the table is set for The Lord’s Supper, we make our offerings to God. Bread and wine are brought forward. Our financial gifts for the spreading of God’s kingdom as the church are collected. Often, children bring to the altar canned goods and other food items that have been deposited throughout the week in a basket in the rear of the church (these items are then distributed on Tuesday nights at the local Food Pantry).
  • Presentation of gifts: standing, we sing songs of offering and presentation over the gifts of bread, wine and financial resources.  
  • Prayer of Thanksgiving: the Priest offers these prayers over the bread and wine including the words of institution as spoken by Jesus. The priest then takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks the bread and gives it to God’s people to be fed and nourished to go out into the world as the hands and feet of Jesus. Finally, together, we pray the words Jesus taught us, The Lord’s Prayer.  
  • Communion (partaking of bread and wine):  open to all, regardless of age or denomination. Ushers will assist you in coming forward with arms outstretched to receive. You may receive bread and wine or bread only, or you may cross your arms over your chest to receive a blessing. Notify the bread distributor as you approach should you wish gluten-free wafers.
  • Songs at the Table: sitting, we sing these during communion as a sign of our thanks for the mystery of this holy meal given to us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  
  • Prayer of Thanksgiving: fed and nourished through the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine, we say our prayer of thanksgiving and sending, boldly prepared to go out into the world.  
  • Final Blessing: remembering in the bread and wine Christ before us, Christ with us and Christ ahead of us, we’re called to serve through a final blessing.
  • Closing Hymn: standing, all sing out joyfully our song of dismissal while the choir and worship leaders recess.
  • Dismissal: we are dismissed with a reminder that we are to go out into the world as the hands and feet of Christ
  • Response: all respond with a vigorous, “thanks be to God.”
  • Postlude: all are invited to depart, greet one another, and share in a celebration of fellowship.  The Priest will be at the door to shake your hand and speak with you if you wish prior to leaving the worship space.