Visiting and Worshiping with us
Can I just show up on a Sunday?
Yes. Both of our services have a weekly bulletin that contains everything you'll see, do and say during the entire service. The ushers will give you one when you come in, so you don't have to "study up" beforehand.
What can I expect during Sunday worship?
You can read more about typical Sunday worship here.
How often do you celebrate communion?
As often as is possible and appropriate. We end up celebrating communion most Sundays.
Who is eligible to receive the Eucharist?
All baptized Christians are invited to receive the Eucharist, regardless of denominational affiliation, marital status (or history), gender identity or sexual orientation. Anyone who feels that they cannot are invited to come forward during communion to receive a blessing (commonly indicated by crossing your arms over your chest when you reach the priest).
I'm vegan/gluten-sensitive/abstain from alcohol. Can I take communion?
Our communion bread is vegan and (during the 10:30 service) gluten-free. Gluten-free wafers are available at our 8:30 service.
The Episcopal norm is to celebrate communion with wine, but one does not need to partake to receive the fullness of communion. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we entirely stopped distributing wine during communion.
I'm divorced and/or remarried. Is that a problem?
Everyone is allowed to participate fully in the life of the church, regardless of marital status or marital history. A divorced and/or remarried person is welcome to receive communion. A divorced person can remarry in the Episcopal church with approval from their bishop, but we also recognize any marriage that's recognized by civil authorities.
I'm LGBTQ. Is that a problem?
We are an orthodox and inclusive church. Everyone is allowed to participate fully in the life of the church, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. This includes receiving the Eucharist, taking a leadership role, getting ordained, and getting married.
Common practices and beliefs
How do you view the Bible?
The short answer is the Bible "contains all things necessary for salvation."
We view the Bible is the sole source of Christian revelation, however in properly interpreting it one ought to also consider centuries of Christian tradition and prayerfully expressed human reason. In Anglican theology, this is called the "three-legged stool" of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. All three need to work together in harmony to justify or explain a particular doctrine or practice. This approach differs from some other Protestant traditions, but it's one way that we try to bring together our Protestant and Catholic heritage.
How many Sacraments do you have?
The Episcopal Church recognizes Baptism and the Eucharist as the two sacraments given by Christ, but it also recognizes other common milestones in our spiritual lives by which God can work His grace (such as marriage). Some individuals refer to these milestones additional "sacraments." While they are free to do so, the Church doesn't take a stance either way.
Do you believe in transubstantiation?
The Episcopal Church affirms the doctrine of the Real Presence: consecrated elements become the body and blood of Christ, and we are united with Christ by receiving the elements. The Episcopal Church takes no stance on precisely how this might occur, leaving room for a variety of beliefs.
Belief in the Real Presence isn't required to receive the Eucharist, though the general expectation is that consecrated elements be regarded and received with reverence.
Are people required to attend confession?
Anyone is welcome to make an appointment with their priest for confession, and some people probably should. However, no one is required.
Do you have Apostolic Succession?
We affirm the importance of Apostolic Succession, which the Episcopal Church has historically maintained through its association with the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church and more recently through our association with Old Catholic churches (Union of Utrecht).
Who is allowed to lead in the church?
Leadership is a gift from God. Clergy and lay-people cooperate, participate, and lead at all levels in our church, regardless of gender, marital status, gender identity or sexual orientation. Authority in the Episcopal church is held by a mix of ordained and lay people, with interlocking checks-and-balances.
Who runs St. John's?
St. John's is ultimately led by an elected committee of laypeople called "vestry," though our priest is generally in charge of spiritual matters. The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio provides pastoral oversight. Ordained and laypeople at the diocesan level also ensure that suitable bylaws and appropriate norms for worship are followed.
Are your priests married?
Some are. Some aren't. A person's marital status or marital history does not automatically disqualify them from ordination.
What's the Anglican Communion?
The Anglican Communion is a worldwide association of autonomous churches whose traditions and practice originated in Great Britain. The Archbishop of Canterbury serves ostensibly as head of the Communion, but each church operates independently. The Episcopal Church represents the American branch of the Anglican Communion.
How are you different from Anglican churches?
An "Anglican church" is one that worships in the Anglican tradition, so Episcopal churches are "Anglican" churches. However, we don't own Anglicanism, and there are non-Episcopal churches in the US that also worship in the Anglican tradition and can be called "Anglican churches." Despite similarities in teaching, naming, or worship, these churches may have norms or teachings that conflict with those of the Episcopal church.
How do you feel about the Pope?
While we respect both the position and person of the Pope, he doesn't have any authority over Episcopal churches. The Episcopal church is led by our Presiding Bishop, an ordained person elected to a single nine-year term.
How do you feel about other denominations?
The Episcopal church does not own Christianity, nor does it have a monopoly on truth. All Christians should belong to churches where they can best express their personal piety and grow in the likeness of Christ. We should also overcome differences and work across denominational lines as a sign of our ultimate unity in Christ.
In this spirit, St. John's periodically worships with neighboring churches. More generally, the Episcopal church is in full communion with several other denominations, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church in America (Northern and Southern Provinces), and several Old Catholic churches (Union of Utrecht). We also have a pending full communion agreement with the United Methodist Church.