We extend you a warm and unconditional invitation to worship with us. Style of dress is your choice. When you visit us, you will be our respected guest. We will not single you out in an embarrassing way; you may worship God in solitude or engage us with conversation or questions.
Bring the Kids
Your entire family is welcome at Nativity. Our own children don’t always sit still or remain quiet, so we don’t expect yours to be perfect, either. We offer an education program for all ages.
The Place of Worship
As you enter, you will sense an atmosphere of worship and reverence. Your eyes are carried to the altar, the stations of the cross, and the angel triptych. Most Episcopalians do not talk in the worship space before a service, but use the time for prayer, personal meditation or listening to the music. In order to focus on the service, we ask that you turn off audible ringers on cellphones before entering the worship building.
Entering the Church
Greeters welcome all who enter and can answer questions about the service. On your first visit, we invite you to sign our guest book or complete a visitor card in the pew, but that’s up to you.
Ushers provide you with a service leaflet. Except for hymns, it has everything you need:
- The full text of the service from the Book of Common Prayer,
- Page numbers in the Hymnal.
Look for the blue book in the pews.
Service music to accompany the Holy Eucharist is in the front of the Hymnal; these pages have an “S” prefix. Hymns are in the remainder of the book.
- Readings from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and
- Announcements, so you know what is happening at Nativity for the week.
The Order of Worship
We worship God by celebrating the Holy Eucharist, a Greek word meaning Thanksgiving. In the Eucharist, we give thanks for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. It is also known as Holy Communion, for in it we commune with God and also with each other as the Body of Christ.
First, God’s mighty acts in history are recalled through scripture and applied to our lives in a sermon. Then, by repeating the words and actions of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, we ourselves join the story and make it our own. In a mystery, bread and wine become the outward signs of inward grace received.
All Christians, including children and non-Episcopalians, are welcome to receive communion at God’s altar. Ushers will guide you to the altar rail. Clergy or lay ministers will offer you the bread and wine consecrated as the body and blood of Jesus. You may receive the wine from a common cup, or you may “intinct” by dipping the bread in the chalice. If you wish to receive a blessing instead, simply cross your hands over your heart as a signal for the priest.
Episcopalians do move around! We stand, we kneel, we sit. We stand when singing, hearing the Gospel, and affirming our faith by reciting the Creed. We stand or kneel for prayer to show our humility and gratefulness to God for accepting us as children. We sit during other readings from the Bible, the sermon, and choir anthems. If standing or kneeling is difficult for you, feel free to sit. Wheelchairs are easily accommodated. If you cannot read regular-size print, we can obtain large-print materials for you.
Clergy and the lay persons leading the service often follow customs such as making the sign of the cross and bowing to the altar to show their love and respect for God. Whether you follow these customs is entirely up to you.
After the Service
Our services last about an hour. Afterwards, some people remain seated to listen to the organist’s postlude, others chat with old friends and newcomers, and clergy greet the people as they leave. You are invited to Corlett Hall for refreshments and fellowship.