After the announcements, the communion begins. In the Episcopal Church, the fellowship is the center of the worship service. At the start of the Eucharist is the offertory, during this parishioners pass a plate to collect offerings. Any amount of donation amount is appreciated, as is contributing nothing at all. Many parishioners make contributions through a debit card or by devoting time to sustaining the church, and thus put nothing in the offertory plate on Sundays. At St. Paul’s during the offerings as well as contributions to our Pantry are carried to the Altar Table at the front of the chapel as acolytes and clergy set the table for communion (sacrament, Lord’s Supper).
The priest then says an extended prayer including dialogue between the assembly and the priest. Preparation for receiving communion includes singing and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer by the congregation. The congregation generally stands during the entirety of the Eucharistic Prayer. Following the Lord’s Prayer, the priest breaks the bread and invites the group to “dine at the Lord's table” where all are welcome.
At St. Paul’s all are welcome to receive communion, including children. The fellowship consists of bread (wafers) and wine. The communion is complete in either the bread or wine and thus the wine is not required. Gluten-free wafers are available, just let the priest know when you go to receive communion. If you do not wish to receive communion that is fine, you can remain in your seat or come forward for fellowship with your arms across your, and the priest will offer you a blessing.
If you do wish to receive communion, wait until an usher approaches your row of pews and indicates it is now your turn to approach the altar. At St. Paul’s you can either step up to the platform kneel to receive communion or there is an option to take communion at the baptistry just the right of the steps. To take communion cup your hands and the priest will place a wafer and offer a blessing. You are welcome to eat the wafer then or wait for the wine. A Eucharistic minister will then put a cup of wine in front of you, you may drink from the cup or lightly dip your wafer in the wine. Following communion return to your seat and enjoy the music.
At the end of the communion, the congregation stands and sings a concluding hymn as the procession exits the chapel. At the final moment, the priest releases the congregation to ‘Go forth and love and serve Lord.” The congregation generally says a join “Hallelujah.”
Following the 10:30 service everyone is welcome to meet in the Parish Hall and enjoy the coffee hour. Coffee hour is one of the best places to meet the St. Paul’s community and enjoy a light refreshment before heading home.
If you have any other questions or if there is anything else we can do to make your visit enjoyable please feel free to contact us.