Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Newcomers' introduction


The Episcopal Church welcomes you, and we look forward to greeting you here at St. John's!

Parking: We have a church parking lot accessible from 9th Street betweeen Main and Lee Streets. On-street parking also is available along Main, 10th, and 9th Streets, which adjoin the church. 

Nursery care: We hope to resume making nursery care available during worship and Christian formation when pandemic protocols allow.

Handicapped accessibility: The complete first floor of our facility (including the church, fellowhip hall, and restroom) is fully accessible.  Ramp access for the church is on the right side of the red doors at the church entrance off of Main Street. The ramp to St. John's Hall (our fellowship hall) is on the 10th Street side of the building. There are no indoor steps on the first floor of the facility, and there is ready inside access between the church and parish hall.

Dress: Some people in the congregation wear business attire to Sunday Service (meaning men wear coat and tie and women wear dresses or other business attire). Others wear “business casual” (no tie for men; slacks for women) and our young people wear more casual clothing.

Worship Service

When you walk through the red doors of St. John's you will be welcomed by an usher and offered a worship booklet. Feel free to sit in any pews facing the altar. (The pews perpendicular to these that face each other in the front of the church are used by our choir and lay ministers.)

The booklet you receive will assist you in participating in our worship, including all of the prayers, scripture readings, announcements and music. We sing songs found in either the Hymnal 1982 (the blue books found in the pew racks), Lift Every Voice and Sing II (the red boois in the pew racks), or Wonder, Love, and Praise (the green books found in the pews).

We generally use Rite II (with more modern language), except during Lent and Advent, when we might use Rite I (with more traditional language). If the worship booklet says “stand or kneel,” feel free to do what you feel most comfortable doing. You will see people within the congregation doing either. Episcopalians generally sit to learn, kneel to pray, and stand to praise, to the extent that they are able. If standing or kneeling is difficult for you, please feel free to sit throughout the service.

If the service is a Holy Eucharist service, generally there are two scripture passages (The Lessons) from the Bible read aloud by members of the congregation, separated by a responsive reading from Psalms (the congregation is seated for all three readings).  Following the second Lesson, people stand and sing a gradual hymn, which introduces the Gospel lesson. The priest then reads The Gospel from the center aisle or from the lectern/pulpit. If the service is a Morning Prayer service, the service generally includes two scripture passages and a responsive reading from the Psalms.  

The Peace:  All stand while the Celebrant offers God’s Peace to the congregation; then all greet each other with offerings of “Peace."

After this, a collection of financial gifts is taken while the congregation sings an offertory hymn, followied by a presentaiton of the collection at the altar while all sing the Doxology.

Holy Communion:  Anyone who has been baptized in the Christian tradition, whether in the Episcopal Church or elsewhere, is welcome to receive communion at St. John's. Whether baptized or not, all are invited to come  forward for a  blessing by the priest.

An usher stands in the aisle and will indicate when it is time to proceed forward to the altar table or communion raii. The communion line forms along the right side of the aisle (facing the altar) and proceeds to the communion table (or, when pandemic protocols permit, to the altar railing, kneeling or standing, from left to right)

Currently, communion is served from a side table, with the wafers spaced out on a silver plate and the wine is available in individual chalices. You may self-administer the bread or hold out your crossed open hands so that the priest may place the wafer in your hands. You may then pick up an individual chalice and after consuiming the wine place the empty chalice in the glass bowl provided. You may then return to your seat. If you wish to receive communion from your seat, ask the usher to have it brought to you where you are seated.

Once pandemic protocols permit us to gather at the raill, the priest will come by with the bread as you kneel or stand at the communion rail. When the priest comes by with the bread, hold out your crossed open hands and the bread will be placed in your hand. You may consume the bread then or wait until the assistant comes by with the wine. Our shared tradition is to receive from the common cup.  When the assistant reaches you, grasp the foot of the cup lightly and assist in bringing it to your lips.  If you prefer, you may also dip the bread lightly into the wine, and then consume eat the bread and wine together. If you wish to receive only the bread or a blessing, simply cross your arms over your chest.  Please remain at the rail until all have received communion and the assistant says “AMEN”.  Leave the railing and file down the right side of the aisle back to your pew. If you have difficulty walking up the steps to the altar rail for communion, ask an usher to have communion brought to you in the pew.

Communion in bread only is considered full communion if you prefer not to receive the wine. We offer gluten-free wafers for those who need them; let the priest know if you need communion in that form. A separate chalice will be made avaiable to those who need the gluten-free option and wish to receive the wine.

End of Service:  After the last hymn and the dismissal, please sign our guest book located under the stained glass window at the church entrance. Please tell the usher that you are a visitor to our church. We hope that you will stay for our social time (coffee hour) after the service so that we can get to know you. We also hope that you will come back to worship with us again soon!

Christian Formation: Christian education or Sunday school is offered most Sundays from mid-September through the end of May, subject to parishioner interest.  The usher can direct you or to the appropriate location.