Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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What to Expect

When you arrive at St. John’s on a Sunday morning, an usher will welcome you.  You will be given a service bulletin to guide you through the worship service, and you will be invited to choose a seat in the church. ( You may also ask for a booklet with the service printed inside.)

Our principal service is the Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion, celebrated on Sunday mornings at 8 am and 10 am  The 8 am service uses traditional language. It is a quiet service with no music.  The 10 am service uses modern language and includes music.  Services last about one hour.

How We Worship

During worship, we use the Book of Common Prayer.  The page numbers are marked in the service bulletin.  At points during the service, the congregation may stand, sit, or kneel.  If you are not familiar with what to do, simply follow the example of your neighbors in the pews.  Sometimes, people will do different things.  Please feel free to do what makes you most comfortable.  Our bulletins indicate when it is customary for people to stand.

We sing hymns from several songbooks, including the Hymnal 1982, Wonder Love & Praise, and Lift Every Voice and Sing. The hymns are numbered, and they are listed in the service bulletin and on the hymn board on the right at the front of the church.

About halfway through the service, the congregation will exchange the Peace, where we greet one another in the name of the Lord.  After that the rector will make some announcements as will other members of the congregation.

The Communion

After the announcements, we celebrate Holy Eucharist, also known as Communion.  Our table is not an Episcopal table, but the Lord's Table, and so we welcome all baptized Christians who seek to nourish and deepen their relationship with Jesus.  At the appropriate time in the service, the ushers will invite the congregation to come up to receive Communion at the altar rail.  Hold out your hands, your right palm over your left palm, to receive the bread.  Reach out and guide the chalice to your lips to take a sip of the Wine.  If you prefer, you may dip the bread in the wine and consume them together. If you are not baptized, you may come forward to receive a blessing.  If you just want to remain in the pew that is fine too.

After the service is over, we hope that you will come join us for hospitality (after the 10 am service), so that we can welcome you personally.  And if you have any questions--about anything!--please ask us.  We love to talk about our faith, our Church, and Jesus Christ.

What Changes from Week to Week

While some parts of our service are always the same, others change.  During the service, four passages from the Bible are read – an Old Testament lesson, a psalm, a New Testament lesson and a passage from one of the Gospels.  These are printed on the back of your service bulletin.  You will not need to bring your Bible with you to church. These readings change each Sunday as do the hymns.

Certain of the prayers also change, including the collects (short prayers at the beginning of the service) and the intercessory prayers (usually led by a different person each week).  We have a prayer notebook in the back of the church where you can enter your particular prayer concerns and they will be read during the prayers.  The Eucharistic Prayer (the one said around Communion) also changes.