St. Matthews Episcopal Church Restoring people to unity with God and each other in Christ...

When you come to St. Matthew’s, you will enter into a compact worship area that should help you feel comfortable and relaxed.

Although there is room for 100 worshipers, services are usually attended by 40-65 people who know each other well and want you to feel like you belong.

Beautiful music from the organ announces the start of the service, using a liturgy that has been in use for hundreds of years. You can count on someone sitting near you to guide you should you be unfamiliar with the service order. We use two books - the hymnal and the Book of Common Prayer often referred to as the BCP. Large print versions of both and the daily readings are available.

Celebration of the Holy Eucharist is a basic cornerstone of the Episcopal Church and we encourage all baptized Christians to receive Holy Communion.

This is part of who we are and why we come. There is an easy flow to the service that lasts for about an hour and is followed by coffee and snacks. If you stick around, you will get to know almost everyone and hopefully leave with a strong feeling of welcome and a desire to return soon.

The Service...

In spite of the diversity of worship styles in the Episcopal Church, the Holy Eucharist, sometimes called The Lord's Supper or the Mass always has the same components and the same shape. It is commonly known as the part of the service where we receive communion.

We begin by praising God through song and prayer, and then listen to as many as four readings from the Bible: usually one from the Old Testament, a Psalm, something from the Epistles, and (always) a reading from the Gospels. The psalm is usually sung or recited by the congregation.

Next, a sermon interpreting the readings appointed for the day is preached.

The congregation then recites an affirmation of faith. At some services we recite the words the Nicene Creed, an ancient affirmation of faith written in the Fourth Century and the church's statement of belief ever since. At other services we express the same truths in more contemporary language.

Next, the congregation prays together—for the Church, the World, and those in need. We pray for the sick, thank God for all the good things in our lives, and finally, we pray for the dead. The presider (e.g. priest, bishop, lay minister) concludes with a prayer that gathers the petitions into a communal offering.

Then as a congregation we acknowledge our sins before God and one another. This is a corporate confession of what we have done and what we have left undone, followed by an assurance of forgiveness spoken by the presider. With these words, the presider assures the congregation that God is always ready to forgive us.

The congregation then greets one another with a sign of peace.

Next, the priest stands at the table, which has been set with a cup of wine and a plate of bread or wafers, raises his or her hands, and greets the congregation again, saying “The Lord be With You.” Now begins the Eucharistic Prayer, in which the presider tells the story of our faith, from the beginning of Creation, through the choosing of Israel to be God’s people, through our continual turning away from God, and God’s calling us to return. Finally, the presider tells the story of the coming of Jesus Christ, and about the night before his death, on which he instituted the Eucharistic meal (communion) as a continual remembrance of him.

The presider blesses the bread and wine, and the congregation recites the Lord’s Prayer. Finally, the presider breaks the bread and offers it to the congregation, as the “gifts of God for the People of God.”

At the end of the Eucharist, the congregation prays once more in thanksgiving, and then is sent out to be God's hands and feet in the world. The service lasts about an hour and is followed by coffee and snacks. We encourage all visitors to stay and meet our people and to make sure to sign our guest register so that we can get in touch with you. NEVER hesitate to ask questions.