We are so glad you are here! Whether you are attending your first-ever Episcopal service or you “know the ropes,” every church is a little different. Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions. And if you still have more questions, just ask!
What do I do when I first arrive?
At St. Paul’s, we understand that some people like to be greeted warmly, and others would prefer to slip in and out quietly. We honor both groups. We have ushers at every service who will greet you and hand you a bulletin, and we have members of our Greeters team who are available to greet you after the service. Both our ushers and greeters will be at the back of the church ready to answer questions, lead you to our coffee hour, or assist you in any way you need.
Is there Communion at every service? Can I participate?
Holy Communion is a part of nearly all services. However, St. Paul’s sometimes holds other services without Communion, like during our Holy Week Good Friday Service. Everyone is invited to come to the table. All baptized Christians (of any age or denomination) are welcome to receive Communion. And everyone is welcome to receive a blessing. To receive a blessing, simply cross your arms over your chest and our priest will bless you with the sign of the cross on your forehead. You may also do this if you wish to receive either the bread or the wine but not the other (Communion of one kind is Communion in full).
Is real wine used during Communion?
Yes. St. Paul’s uses consecrated wine in remembrance of Christ’s instructions during the Last Supper. Some of our members choose to receive only the bread and not the cup for this reason. Know that Communion received in one kind (bread or wine) is Communion received in full.
What is Worship like at St. Paul’s?
Our worship services follow the Episcopal liturgy found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and music from the 1982 Hymnal. Sunday worship includes Bible readings from the and prayers appointed for the day. From time to time, materials from other sources are included. The order of worship is led by a priest, who is assisted by members of our congregation serving as Vergers, Acolytes, Lay Readers, Lay Eucharistic Ministers, Choir members, and (behind the scenes) the Altar Guild. The service opens with the Liturgy of the Word, where we listen to stories from the Bible, hear how they apply to our lives in the sermon, and raise our prayers of petition, thanksgiving confession, and adoration to God. The service concludes with our Liturgy of the Table where we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, gathering together at the altar to be filled with the Spirit and sent back out into the world.
What if I don't know how to participate in an Episcopal service?
Don’t worry. We’ve all been new at one time or another, and we would never single anyone out. We provide a service bulletin each Sunday, which guides you through the service and provides basic instructions for participation. You can choose how much or how little to participate – no one will question you for staying seated when other people rise. Once you’ve been to a few services, you will begin to get the rhythm.
Are children welcome, and is there childcare available?
Children (and grandchildren) are welcome and encouraged to participate in our church services. One of the greatest joys of worshiping together on Sunday mornings is hearing all our voices raised in joyful song, from the choir's anthem of praise to a child's squeal of delight.
Children’s Chapel is offered during our 11:00 AM service (from September through May) for Kindergarten through 5th grade, with children rejoining the service before Communion during the Peace.
Nursery is available for our children 6 weeks to 5 years of age, during the program year (September through May) beginning at 9:30 AM, and throughout the year during our 11:00 AM service. Our nursery is located between our offices and parish hall (just follow the joyful noise of children and music).
Where do I park?
Street parking is available on 2nd Street and Church Street. Handicap parking can be found in front of the red church doors on 2nd Street and in front of the office doors on Church Street.
What should I wear?
Many people love the Episcopal church because it offers a wide, varied array of beliefs and ideas… the same goes for the attire at our church services. Everyone wears their “Sunday best,” whether it be jeans and tennies, shorts and a tee, a suit and tie, or dress and heels. We welcome and encourage you to come as you feel comfortable!
Is the church accessible to disabled people?
St. Paul's strives to make space and room for all. We have handicap parking outside the church and office doors, as well as available ramps to assist with wheelchairs and walkers coming in and out of our sanctuary space. Please notify one of our ushers, and they will be happy to assist you. Also, our clergy and Lay Eucharistic ministers will be more than happy to administer Communion to you at your seat; simply let an usher know when they come to your seat for Communion.
How can I meet other church members?
One of our favorite activities at St. Paul’s is enjoying one another's company, especially when it involves food. We hope you will join us for Coffee Hour following our 11:00 AM service every Sunday, and following our 8:00 AM service every 3rd Sunday of the month.
We also have various social gatherings throughout the year, like our Oktoberfest, Souper Bowl, and more, as well as special interest groups like our Brotherhood of St. Andrew, Episcopal Church Women, and Connections (for youngish adults).
How are decisions made at St. Paul's?
St. Paul’s is an Episcopal Church. The word “Episcopal” means a church governed by bishops. We call our local churches “parishes,” which are governed by an elected “vestry” of ordinary people who help lead the church and make important day-to-day decisions. A "rector" is the priest who is in charge of the spiritual care of the parish. The rector makes decisions about other staff members hired to manage the parish's programs. Meet our leadership.
Can Episcopal priests marry and have children?
Yes, our rector, the Rev. Kate Byrd, is married with three children.
Can women serve as Episcopal priests or in church leadership?
Yes, our rector, the Rev. Kate Byrd, is a woman. And people of all genders and gender orientations can serve as vestry members, priests, deacons, bishops, and many other positions in the Episcopal Church today.
Who is welcome at St. Paul’s?
Everyone! We believe that God loves you – no exceptions. We celebrate the uniqueness of all people as God’s beloved creations. We welcome and celebrate all, regardless of color, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, social or economic class, or nationality because of Christ’s calling to treat others as we desire to be treated. We are committed to creating a community built on mutual respect, hospitality, and warmth where no one is a stranger and all may flourish.