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What to Expect
We are a friendly church offing a warm welcome to all who join us in person or virtually. We are following the Episcopal Dioseses of Chicago guidelines regarding masking, singing and communion.
SUNDAY SERVICE WALKTHROUGH
Worship is the most important thing we do together as a church. The structure of our Liturgy dates to pre-Christian practices in the synagogues. We often use the words given to us within The Book of Common Prayer, but there are other forms of worship that have also been authorized for use by the Episcopal Church, so we are a community that is ancient yet progressive!
Opening Acclamation: Begins our worship
The Collect for Purity: The prayer said by the Celebrant which names some attribute of God or something God has done, asks for something specific and then closes with praise to God.
The Gloria or in Penitential times, the Kyrie. The Gloria "Gloria in excelsis Deo" is Latin for "Glory to God in the highest" and is a Christian hymn known also as the Greater Doxology. The hymn begins with the words that the angels said when the birth of Christ was announced to shepherds, as recorded in Luke 2:14. The Kyrie, is a prayer coming out of many of our ancient Psalms, "Kyrie, eleison," meaning "Lord, have mercy.”
The Collect of the Day: The collect is written to go along with both the season of the church year and the readings for the day. It summarizes the attributes of God as revealed in the scripture for the day.
Four Scripture readings: Following the pattern of Jewish synagogue worship, readings follow a set pattern for what will be read when. Our pattern is to read a portion of the Old Testament, followed by a portion of a Psalm and then a reading from a New Testament epistle, or letter. We stand for the Gospel reading to show the particular importance we place on Jesus’ words and actions.
The Sermon: Having someone comment on the scripture readings goes back to the earliest days of Christianity and to the Jewish Synagogue worship which preceded it. Preaching was rare during the Middle Ages, but was put back into a place of honor in the reformation of the Church in the 1500s. Since 1549, a sermon has been required at every Eucharist service.
The Creed: Originally the entire service was viewed as our confession of faith. But, since the Sixth Century, the church has recited the Nicene Creed at the Eucharist. The word creed comes from the Latin credo for "I believe." Sometimes we vary between the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed.
The Prayers of Intercession: We pray for ourselves and particularly on behalf of others. The prayer book offers different forms for these prayers, but the Prayers of the People always contain these six elements: The Universal Church, its members, and its mission; The Nation and all in authority; The welfare of the world; The concerns of the local community; Those who suffer and those in any trouble; and The departed (with commemoration of a saint when appropriate).
The Confession of Sin: We ask God’s forgiveness for things done and things left undone. For those particularly in need of unburdening themselves of past wrongs, private confession is offered during the week.
The Absolution: The priest, in giving absolution, assures us that all who make sincere confession are forgiven by God.
The Peace: Jesus told us that before we come to God’s altar we must first go and be reconciled; then come and offer our gifts. Before we come to the table to receive the gifts God has to offer we must first make peace with others. This is a space within our liturgy where we do just that. We make peace with all our sisters and brothers and offer this peace from God to all freely. In the early centuries of the Christian Church the Christians would greet each other with "the kiss of peace." Today we shake hands or hug. The customary words we use to greet one another are "Peace," God’s peace," and "Peace be with you.”
Offertory: Holy Communion begins with the offertory. Here we give back to God from the gifts God has given us. That is what is meant by the offertory sentence, "All things come of thee O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee."
The Great Thanksgiving: Our offering is the first of four actions in the Eucharist.
- Just as scripture tells us that Jesus took, blessed, broke and gave the bread and wine, the first of our four actions is for the priest to take the bread and wine. When we gather together we remember Jesus. Through repeating the words and actions of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, we ourselves join the story and make it our own.
- This real presence is not the result of a magical incantation on the part of the priest. The gathered community of faith remembering Jesus’ last meal with his disciples and calling on the Holy Spirit to transform the gifts of bread and wine into spiritual food and drink. It is God’s action that makes the Eucharist.
- The Lord’s Prayer follows in traditional language. This is the ancient connection between our daily bread and the spiritual food we receive in the Eucharist. In the Lord’s Prayer we ask for daily bread meaning the things we need to get through each day. However, the bread also symbolizes God’s presence, which is something that is also essential to our getting through the day.
- The Celebrant breaks the consecrated bread in remembrance that Christ gave himself for us.
Ways to receive communion:
- Communion is taken by first receiving the bread by placing your right hand over your left and extending it to the priest.
- At this time the common cup is not being used for congregational safety.
- Anyone who does not wish to receive communion may come forward for a blessing. If you do wish to come forward for a blessing, please cross your arms over your chest in an "X" to signify your intention.
Post Communion Prayer: We partake in the Eucharist and are spiritually nourished, but it is not for our benefit alone. We offer a prayer up to God realizing that Communion enables us to return to the world with renewed vigor for proclaiming the Gospel in our words and in our lives. In the Eucharist, Christ’s presence both nourishes us and challenges us.
Commission Eucharistic Visitors: Some of our communion is set aside each week to take to the sick and shut-ins. We send forth our Eucharistic Ministers to do this task on behalf of the church.
The Benediction: The Priestly Benediction is one of the most ancient texts of the Torah/Old Testament and is probably one of humanity's oldest prayer texts in continual use. The blessings the Priest offers are indeed powerful but they are not magical. On our own, we do not have the power to cause that which we yearn for nor do we have the power to compel God by the force of our invocation. Like our other prayers, blessings are aspirational; we express in word and gesture our deepest yearnings. A blessing is an expression of hope.
The Dismissal: As the celebration ends, we are charged to "Go in Peace to love and serve the Lord." The Eucharist is therefore not an exclusive gathering that separates us from the world, but a challenge to reach out beyond our own church to the world around us.