Worship at Grace, and throughout the Episcopal Church, follows catholic tradition in its emphasis on the sacraments, especially Eucharist and Baptism. Eucharist means “thanksgiving,” and it combines readings from the Bible, a sermon, creedal declarations of belief, confession and prayers (the Liturgy of the Word) with the Holy Communion. Grace celebrates Holy Eucharist at every Sunday morning service throughout the year, and on other festive occasions such as Christmas Day. All who desire to receive Christ’s sacramental presence are warmly invited to receive communion at Grace, though no one is pressured to do so.
Most services use a pre-set and printed order that makes it easy for everyone to follow along and participate.
Grace’s services respect the dignity and tradition that inform Christian worship of all varieties, but also encourage informality and warmth. Ordained clergy generally, though not always, lead worship. Lay leaders participate extensively in the Eucharist, because the Episcopal Church subscribes to the Reformation doctrine that the church is a “kingdom of priests.” Please find below more detailed descriptions of special lay ministries in the Eucharist.
Eucharistic Ministries at Second Sunday Service (10:00 or 10:30)
At Grace Church the Holy Eucharist is celebrated every Sunday. The communion ministers are responsible for the distribution of the communion wine, preparing the altar for communion, removing and cleaning the vessels after the service. The preparing of the altar, removing and cleaning the vessels is typically part of the duties of the altar guild in other churches. There are two communion ministers for each service. One of the communion ministers must arrive about fifteen to twenty minutes before the service to prepare the altar. The second communion minister usually is responsible for cleaning up, also about a fifteen or twenty minute job. Training is provided for those who are interested. We prepare a schedule every six months and the rotation is about every 6 weeks.
The Servers (acolytes) group at Grace comprises both adults and youth. We hope to have a group of young people to take over this ministry, but at this time the younger group is apprenticing as junior servers. A server should arrive in time to be robed, light the candles, process in with the clergy carrying the cross at the beginning of the service, and assist during the service. Training is also provided for those who are interested. A schedule is prepared every six months and the rotation is about every 6–8 weeks.
Lay readers perform the duty of reading the scripture lessons of the Sunday from the lectionary. Many Sundays we have part of the Gospel read in another language by someone who is fluent in a particular language. The readings are mailed out to the lay readers a week before their scheduled time to read, so that they may practice if they wish. No special training is needed but certainly some guidance could be given to help in a smooth and meaningful reading of the lessons. Since many people enjoy reading, even with a rotation list, most people don’t come up more than two to four times a year. If one would like to read more often, one can substitute for another reader.
Sunday Evening Eucharist
This is an informal, Prayer Book service on Sunday evenings at 5 pm (Labor Day to Memorial Day) or 6 pm (Memorial Day to Labor Day), with Assistant to the Rector the Rev. Sarah Motley as principal celebrant and preacher. All are welcome, but the service is designed with these groups especially in mind:
- People wanting to check out Grace Church specifically
- Those who’ve been away from church in general and want to dip a toe back in the water, so to speak.
Also, we want to provide a Sunday afternoon alternative for members and friends who have to miss Sunday morning services due to travel or other commitments.
The service generally lasts about 45 minutes, and features a participatory sermon.
This service, offered at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesdays, runs a half-hour or less, to accommodate busy lunchtime worshipers. The homily focuses on a person or event from the history of the church, drawing insight and inspiration from the past to illuminate and strengthen us for today’s challenges. A regular group of 5–10 persons participates in this Eucharist, and drop-ins and visitors are always welcome.