|Walk through a
Below you will find a typical Episcopal worship service. The service itself is on the left, with comments about the service on the right.
This service is known as communion, for in it we commune with God and also with each other as the Body of Christ. It is also known as Eucharist, which is the Greek word meaning "Thanksgiving." In the Eucharist, we give thanks for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.
The Eucharist is a service that sets aside time as we know it. The Eucharist brings both the past and the future to present reality as we remember Jesus life, death and resurrection and await his coming again. The service is like a drama that we all enter. The first act of the drama is "The Liturgy of the Word." This first half of the service is based on Jewish worship, which preceded Christianity. Gods mighty acts in history are recalled through scripture and applied to our lives in the sermon. The second act of the drama will be "The Liturgy of the Table."
The liturgy is not something that the clergy do and the congregation watches. This can be seen in the word "Liturgy" itself. Liturgy is a Greek word that comes from the root words for "people" and "work," so the Liturgy is "the work of the people." The liturgy is something that we all do together.
The service begins with an opening hymn, the procession and the opening acclamation. The opening hymn is a time for all the voices of the congregation to join as one to prepare to begin the work of the people together, so that by the time of the opening words of the service, we may respond as one gathered community. Please note that all baptized Christians may come forward to recieve bread and wine in our communion service. You do not have to be an Episcopalian to take part fully.
|The Holy Eucharist Rite Two
The Word of God
A hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung.
Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever.
|The prayer said by the celebrant at the bottom of this page is known as the collect for purity. A collect is a particular form of prayer, which names some attribute of God or something God has done, asks for something specific and then closes with praise to God.||The Celebrant may
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our
hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may
perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
|The service continues now throughout every season of the year but Lent with a Song of Praise. This song of praise is often The Goria, which is at right. This song centers the service on the God we are gathered to praise in our worship.||When
appointed, the following hymn or some other song of praise is sung or said, all standing
Glory to God in the highest,
|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.||The Collect of the Day
Celebrant says to the people
People And also with you.
Celebrant Let us pray.
The Celebrant says the Collect.
|Reading and commenting on scripture goes back to the earliest services of Christianity. Following the pattern of Jewish synagogue worship, readings follow a set pattern for what will be read when. This is known as a lectionary. The Christian communities began to add letters of Paul and others to their service. It was these readings that became in time our New Testament. 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.||The Lessons
people sit. One or two Lessons, as appointed, are read,
A Reading (Lesson) from ____________ .
A citation giving chapter and verse may be added.
After each Reading, the Reader may say
People Thanks be to God.
or the Reader may say Here ends the Reading (Epistle).
Silence may follow.
|We stand for the Gospel reading to show the particular importance we place on Jesus words and actions.||A Psalm, hymn, or anthem may
follow each Reading.
Then, all standing, the Deacon or a Priest reads the Gospel, first saying
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
People Glory to you, Lord Christ.
After the Gospel, the Reader says
The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.
|Having someone comment on the scriptures read 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 Sermon|
|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."||The Nicene
We believe in one God,
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
|Now 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:
Prayer is offered with intercession for
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
The departed (with commemoration of a saint when appropriate)
|The Prayers of the People|
|The Prayers of the People are followed by the confession of sin. We ask Gods forgiveness for things done and things left undone. Private confession is not required in our church. However, for those particularly in need of unburdening themselves of past wrongs, private confession is offered. It can be an especially comforting way to turn away from past wrongs and set out on a new path. But most of the time we only need this time of prayer together as a community to recall our sins and to ask for Gods forgiveness.||Confession
The Deacon or Celebrant says
Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Silence may be kept.
Minister and People
|The priest in giving absolution assures us that all who make sincere confession are forgiven by God.||The Bishop when
present, or the Priest, stands and says
Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins
through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen.
|In the early centuries of the Christian Church, unbelievers could not stay for the rest of the service. Visitors would be asked to leave at this point as only the baptized persons who took part in it could see the Eucharist. After the visitors left, the Christians would greet each other with "the kiss of peace." Today we shake hands or hug. There are no set words to use in greeting each other, but "Peace," Gods peace," and "Peace be with you" are all commonly used.||The Peace
All stand. The Celebrant says to the people
People And also with you.
Then the Ministers and People may greet one another in the
|Now we come to the second act in our two-act drama of Sunday worship with the Liturgy of the Table. It is based on Jewish Fellowship meals, particularly the Passover observance. But this second half of the service is not communion in and of itself. It is the whole service, both acts of the drama, that make up the Eucharist.||The Holy Communion|
|This second act 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
During the Offertory, a hymn may be sung.
Representatives of the congregation bring the peoples offerings of bread and wine, and money or other gifts, to the deacon or celebrant. The people stand while the offerings are presented and placed on the Altar.
|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. So this 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. We dont just watch the drama or listen to it unfold, but we enter into the story as we too take the bread and wine and eat and drink. While the bread and wine remain the bread and wine, they are not unchanged. The significance of the bread and wine for those partaking of them changes radically. Though they remain ordinary bread and wine, the elements of communion become the outward signs of inward grace. That grace, or gift from God is Jesus real presence in the Eucharist through the power of the Holy Spirit. The real presence of Christ is a full statement of our belief in God as a Trinity of persons.||The Great Thanksgiving
The people remain standing. The Celebrant, whether bishop or priest, faces them and sings or says
The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Then, facing the Holy Table, the Celebrant proceeds
Here a Proper Preface is sung or said on all Sundays, and on
Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and
Celebrant and People
The people stand or kneel.
Then the Celebrant continues
At the following words concerning the bread, the Celebrant is to hold it or lay a hand upon it; and at the words concerning the cup, to hold or place a hand upon the cup and any other vessel containing wine to be consecrated.
On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our
|This real presence is not the result of a magical incantation on the part of the priest. No set of words makes Eucharist happen. It is the whole action taken together that effects the Eucharist: 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 Gods action that makes the Eucharist.||After supper he took the cup of
wine; and when he had given
thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you:
This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you
and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink
it, do this for the remembrance of me."
Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Celebrant and People
Christ has died.
The Celebrant continues
We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in
All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ. By him, and
And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
|The Lords Prayer follows in
either traditional language. There is a version with more contemporary language, but we
use the version that many folks learned as children.
The link between our daily bread and the spiritual food we receive in the Eucharist is an ancient connection. In the Lords Prayer we ask for daily bread meaning the things we need to get through each day. But as a part of that, the bread also symbolizes Gods presence, which is something that is also essential to our getting through the day.
|People and Celebrant
Father, who art in heaven,
|Communion is taken by first
receiving the bread by placing your right hand over your left and extending it to the
priest. You may then either eat the bread at once and then partake of the wine, guiding
the chalice to your lips, or you may hold the bread to dip it in the wine. Dipping the
bread in the wine and consuming them together is called intinction. Anyone who has not
been baptized, or who does not wish to receive communion, may either wait in your seat, or
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.
Some of our communion is set aside each week to take to the sick and shut-ins. If you or someone you know would like to have communion brought to them, you can ask the priest to make arrangements. When you cant come to church, the church can come to you.
|The Breaking of the Bread
The Celebrant breaks the consecrated Bread.
A period of silence is kept.
Then may be sung or said
Facing the people, the Celebrant says the following Invitation
The ministers receive the Sacrament in both kinds, and then immediately deliver it to the people.
The Bread and the Cup are given to the communicants with these words
During the ministration of Communion, hymns, psalms, or anthems may be sung.
|We partake in the Eucharist and are spiritually nourished, but it is not for our benefit alone. 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, Christs presence both nourishes us and challenges us.||After Communion, the Celebrant
Let us pray.
Celebrant and People
|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.||The Bishop when present, or
the Priest, may bless the people.
The Deacon, or the Celebrant, dismisses them with these words
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
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