When you enter the church …
The first thing you will see when you walk in is this: We consider you family when you arrive and we believe that you will feel right at home here. The words over our doors say it all. Who is welcome here? YOU ARE. Once you walk into our church you will notice a few things right away. First, there is no “dress code”; come as you are and dress in a way that is comfortable for you.
Second, you will notice the incredible diversity of the congregation; there are 19 different nationalities represented here. We celebrate that.
Third, you will notice the number of young families with young children. The average age of our congregation is about 45 years of age. What does that mean? Lots of young people. Our children leave the church for a special time of worship that we call “Sunday School”.
Fourth, you will notice that we do a lot of kneeling, standing, and sitting during the service. If you are unfamiliar with a “liturgical church”, then you have nothing to fear; our worship bulletin is very easy to follow and will tell you everything that you need to know. If you have questions then just ask the person next to you and they will be glad to help you out. We celebrate Holy Communion every Sunday. If you are baptized christian, we encourage you to come forward to receive communion; your denominational affiliation does not matter — refer to the section on “Taking Communion”.
Hospitality: Our gift to you.
When you come for your first Sunday visit, you will be met with our congregation’s gift of fellowship and hospitality. You will receive much more than a “handshake and a hello” when you come – you will be welcomed fully as if you have been here for years. You will meet some amazing people from all walks of life who will open their arms and their church to everyone who comes through our doors. People who visit our church tell us that they notice this right away. If you are looking for a place to connect, St. Catherine’s is your home away from home. When we say that there are no “strangers” here, we mean it.
Please join us for refreshments at the end of each service.
The Service …
Sunday morning worship services begin at 8 a.m. and 10:30 am. Ushers will greet you at the doors and provide you with a bulletin to follow throughout the service. You can sit anywhere that you feel comfortable. If the church is crowded, the Ushers will help you find a seat. If you arrive after the service has begun, an Usher will be happy to assist you to a seat. Each service lasts about one hour.
The Beginning of the Service
The service begins with a hymn. Usually there will be a procession consisting of acolytes (children or adults who assist the clergy) the choir, lay ministers, and the clergy. All stand for the entrance hymn. The priest begins with a greeting that the congregation responds to and says a prayer called the Collect for Purity. The priest then says a special prayer for the day called a collect.
The Bible Readings and Sermon
A reading from the Old Testament follows. A Psalm usually follows the Old Testament reading. This is typically read responsively between a reader and the congregation. The New Testament reading then follows. A hymn is sung before the Gospel reading. Often there is a procession to the center of the church where the Gospel is read, consisting of acolytes and the priest who will read the Gospel. A sermon on the readings follows.
The Creed, Prayers, and Confession
After the sermon, the congregation stands and says a statement of faith called the Nicene Creed. Then, prayers are offered for the Church, the nation, the welfare of the world, the concerns of the community, those in need, and the departed. The congregation then says a general confession of sin while kneeling. After the confession, members stand and greet each other in the Name of the Lord – The Peace. Shaking hands with those around you and wishing them God’s peace is appropriate.
Communion is usually served from the altar rail. Those receiving may either stand or kneel at the rail. The celebrant gives everyone a wafer or piece of bread, the Body of Christ and the wine, the Blood of Christ.
After receiving communion, the communicants return to their pews. Most use this time for prayer. The choir may also sing hymns or anthems during the communion.
After all have received communion, the celebrant and congregation say a prayer of thanksgiving. This is said either standing or kneeling. The priest blesses the people, and a recessional hymn is sung, all standing, during which the acolytes, choir, lay ministers and clergy go to the back of the church. The service ends with a dismissal, such as “Let us go forth in the name of Christ”, to which the congregation replies, “Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia!”.
We extend a very warm welcome to you, and we would appreciate if you would fill out one of our welcome cards (found in the pew rack). Please place this card in the offering plate, or hand to one of the Ushers, and we will be in touch with you in a few days.