Worship & Music Style at St. Paul's
Worship at St. Paul's is fairly typical of many Episcopal Churches. The Book of Common Prayer (1979) guides our worship. With the exception of a few Sundays per year we celebrate the Holy Eucharist (or Communion) at both of our morning services. Our worship is quite structured and the repetitiveness of our services, with many of the prayers and responses being said week-in and week-out, may not appeal to those who are seeking a great deal of variety and spontaneity in worship. Others find comfort and a sense of dignity in the formality of our liturgy and the constancy of our worship. The variations are subtle, but important, mostly arising out of our observance of the church year, with its Holy Days and seasons. We are a highly literate and educated bunch and you will notice that many are paying close attention to the readings, prayers, music and sermons. We also have a sense of humor and an appreciation of our own quirks. We like to think of our worship as "formal, but not stuffy." Our music consists of traditional hymns accompanied by our wonderful pipe organ and the choral music is most broadly defined as "classical." Those looking for "contemporary" worship, with varied instruments, a great deal of improvisation, hand clapping (or dancing of any kind!), a long expository sermon and a folksy informality -- you will be hard pressed to find these at St. Paul's. For those looking to explore the liturgy and music of the Episcopal and Anglican tradition, or even wondering what those might be about, keep reading!
Sunday, 8:00 a.m.
Our Sunday morning begins with a service at 8:00 a.m. and is the service of Holy Eucharist, Rite I (traditional language). There is no music at this service, which consists of readings, prayers, a sermon and communion. The service last about 45 minutes and is attended by approximately 15-20 individuals. All are welcome.
Sunday, 10:00 a.m.
Our second service is at 10:00 a.m. and is most often Holy Eucharist, Rite II (contemporary language), but on occasion we use the form for Morning Prayer, Rite I (traditional language). You can read more about Morning Prayer and find out when Morning Prayer will be used here. Music is a prominent part of the service with hymns and anthems led by one of our choirs. There are three books that we regularly use, the Book of Common Prayer (red book, with cross on front) contains the words and form of the worship, the Hymnal 1982 (blue book) contains most of the hymns we sing and the hymnal Lift Every Voice and Sing, II (red and black book) contains some alternate hymns for one or two hymns during the service. When you add in our weekly leaflet (or bulletin) you will quickly learn that we are quite adept at juggling a lot of printed materials. We also stand, kneel and sit all as if someone were standing in the front with cue cards -- and it can be disconcerting to figure out when to do what during "Episcopal calisthenics." All of this can be confusing and there is no shame is asking your neighbor, quite directly, "where are we? and what do we do now?"
Our 10 o'clock service lasts approximately an hour and 10 minutes and is attended, on average, by 110 people. In addition to "Morning Prayer" Sundays, there are other special Sundays throughout the year, and approximately every six weeks there is a service that is specifically designed for children and families, with a children's sermon and the youth choirs leading the singing. Following the service "Fellowship Hour," with coffee and other refreshments, is held in the Parish Hall to which all are invited.
Thursday, 7:00 a.m.
On Thursday mornings at 7:00 a.m. we gather in the chancel (choir pews) for a service of Holy Eucharist. This simple, spoken communion service lasts 30 minutes and includes a short reading from a book called Lesser Feasts and Fasts commemorating a person or, less often, an event from the history of the church that was notable and exemplary. The 3-5 "regulars" then gather in the church kitchen to share a cup of coffee and conversation. We always warmly welcome guests or those considering making it a part of their week. The Thursday morning service takes a break in August and is cancelled on occasion based on the Rector's schedule. While this is infrequent, such cancellations will be listed on the front page of our Web site.
During the months of July and August (and including the Sunday before Labor Day), we go to one service at 10:00 a.m. This service is similar to the 10:00 a.m. service described above. While there are hymns during this service, the choirs do not lead the music during the summer months. On occasion special music is provided.