Upon Visiting an Episcopal Church in the Diocese of San Diego
Expect an inclusive, loving welcome regardless of your age, gender, orientation, ethnicity or socio-economic status. Come join us, won’t you?
At the heart of all Episcopal worship is the Book of Common Prayer, and within it the principal weekly service is the Holy Eucharist—also known as Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper or Mass.
A calendar of readings from the Scriptures, called the Lectionary, gives the Biblical passages for each day. While a priest leads the service, the congregation participates extensively—singing hymns and speaking or singing prayers, the creed (statements of our beliefs), responses and psalms (sacred poems).
During the service, should you be kneeling, sitting or standing? Should you sing or speak the responses? When do you say “Amen?” These can be puzzling for newcomers and for Episcopalians visiting a different church, but please don’t be intimidated. Because the essential form of the service remains the same from one Sunday to the next, you soon get used to it, and after that you will begin to experience what Episcopalians find so satisfying: the mental space that the familiar rhythm opens up to commune more profoundly with God.
The Book of Common Prayer provides a fixed framework, but not a rigid one. One church may begin with an elaborate procession of priest(s), acolytes and choir, while another begins with the priest standing on the steps in front of the altar. Episcopalians infuse their services with their own traditions from around the world and give each of them a unique character. They lift up their voices to the Lord in many languages from Spanish and English, to Tagalog and Portuguese, and in a multitude of rhythms from jazz to those of traditional choirs.
We hope to see you in church soon.