What is a Sunday Like?

St. John's is a part of the Episcopal Church, which represents the American branch of the Anglican Communion. We are part of a Christian tradition originating from Great Britain that [we believe] draws upon the best of what our Catholic and Protestant heritage has to offer.

Corporate Episcopal worship is structured according to the Book of Common Prayer. We do have special services for certain times of the year, but most Sundays you'll see one of two types of services:

Morning Prayer

Morning Prayer draws upon monastic traditions of worship and consists of the readings from Scripture recommended by the Revised Common Lectionary. Hymns will also be sung, as are passages from Scripture that lend themselves to song. Several prayers will be said together (some also sung). One of those leading the service will deliver a homily (sermon) with some reflection on the day's readings.

Holy Eucharist

Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper and commanded his disciples to do likewise in remembrance of Him. The service starts with a streamlined version of Morning Prayer (Scripture, hymns, sermon, prayer). The remainder of the service mixes prayers of thanksgiving with a retelling of salvation history, from our creation and turning away from God to Jesus's intervention into the world and sacrifice on the Cross. Bread and wine are consecrated, and all Christians are invited to come to the altar and partake (see here for more information).


Episcopal worship will feel familiar to those with experience in another western liturgical tradition (such as Roman Catholicism).

Those accustomed to Evangelical and/or Reformed traditions of worship will notice more differences:

  • Scripture readings usually include four passages, one each from the Old Testament, Psalms, the New Testament, and the Gospels.

  • A large portion of the service is devoted to corporate prayer. Most of the prayers are prepared in advance (from the Book of Common Prayer), rather than extemporaneous.

  • Two to four hymns are usually sung during an entire service, though portions of the liturgy are frequently sung.

  • Sermons at St. John's usually run between 10-15 minutes long.

  • Communion is celebrated as often as is possible (ideally, every Sunday).

  • Episcopal churches follow a liturgical calendar, which gives Biblical themes to different periods of the year, especially from December (Advent) to May (Pentecost).