What to Expect / FAQ
We want you to feel comfortable coming to St. Paul’s for the first time! Whether you are attending your first ever Episcopal service or you “know the ropes,” every church is a little different. Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions. And if you still have more questions, just ask! We’re a friendly bunch and were all first-timers once.
What do I do when I first arrive?
At St. Paul’s, we understand that some people like to be greeted warmly, and others would prefer to quietly participate without much fuss and slip out without talking to anyone. We honor both groups. We have ushers at every service who will greet you and hand you a bulletin, and we have members of our Welcome team who are available to greet you after service. If you would like to talk to someone, anyone with the bright red name tag is a great person to say hello to, but all of our members know that greeting strangers and friends in the name of Christ is one part of their Christian duty of hospitality.
Is there communion at every service? Can I participate?
Holy Communion is a part of nearly all services; however, St. Paul’s sometimes holds other services without Communion, such as evensong or morning or evening prayer. The Lord’s table is open to all. If you do not wish to partake of the bread and wine you may come forward during Communion to receive a blessing. You would cross your arms across your chest if you are not taking Communion. You may also do this if you wish to receive either the bread or the wine but not the other.
Is real wine used at Communion?
Yes. St. Paul’s uses consecrated wine in remembrance of Christ’s instructions during the Last Supper. Some of our members choose to receive only the bread and not the cup for this reason. Know that Communion is participated in fully in one or both elements.
What is an Episcopal service like?
A priest is the officiant at Sunday services, assisted by other members of the clergy and adult and youth altar ministers. These include: Acolytes, Altar Guild, Choir, Eucharistic Visitors, Eucharistic Ministers, and Lectors who read Scripture and Prayers.
What if I don't know what to do during the service?
Don’t worry. You won’t be embarrassed or singled out. We provide a service bulletin during each Sunday service. It guides you through the service and provides basic instructions for participation. You can choose how much or how little you participate, no one will question you for staying seated when other people rise. Once you’ve been to a few services, it will seem like second nature to you.
Are children welcome and is there childcare available?
Children (and grandchildren) are always welcomed to participate in church services. On Sunday mornings, Godly Play is offered during the 10:30 service, which is for children from age 4 through 5th grade, with children rejoining the main service for Communion. On Sundays during the program year, during our Christian formation hour from 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. there are classes available for every age and stage of development, from children through adult. Our nursery is open during the Christian formation hour and during the 10:30 a.m. service. The nursery is on the second floor of the preschool building, and children from birth through age 3 are welcome there.
Other special events for children occur throughout the year, such as vacation Bible school, our Christmas pageant among others.
Where do I park?
What should I wear?
St. Paul’s offers a peaceful, relaxed worship environment. Some of our folks dress up in their “Sunday best,” but you are always welcome to come as you are. Wear what is comfortable.
Is the church accessible to disabled people?
The church, chapel, and office building are accessible for wheelchair users by the ramps both on 4th street and behind the parish hall. Check our parking page to see information about how to access our buildings.
In the church, there are designated areas in the seating area for wheelchairs, and wheelchair users have access to the main altar space by using the ramp that is behind the altar. The pulpit is not wheelchair accessible, but we set up a portable lectern and microphone for use by our lectors and preachers who cannot climb stairs.
The chapel is accessible on the right side by a ramp. There is no designated wheelchair seating, but there is an area in the back with half-sized pews so wheelchair uses can comfortably park.
Staff offices are on the third floor of the office building, which is up one flight of stairs. We have several accessible meeting areas on the second floor of various sizes.
How can I meet other church members?
Every Sunday after our services you are welcome to linger outside. Most Sundays, weather permitting, we will serve Lemonade on the Lawn, and parishioners and visitors will linger and mingle over a snack.
How are decisions made at St. Paul's?
St. Paul’s is an Episcopal Church. The word “Episcopal” means a church governed by bishops. We call our local churches “parishes,” which are governed by an elected “vestry” of ordinary people who help lead the church and make important day-to-day decisions. A "rector" is the priest who is in charge of the spiritual care of the parish. The rector makes decisions about other staff members hired to manage the parish's programs.
Can Episcopal priests marry and have children?
Yes. Our rector is married and has two children.
Can women serve as priests in the Episcopal Church?
Yes. People of all genders can serve as priests, deacons, bishops and many other positions in the Episcopal Church today.
Are LGBTQ+ people welcome?
Yes. We believe that God loves you - no exceptions. We celebrate the uniqueness of all people as God’s beloved creations. We welcome and celebrate all, regardless of color, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, social or economic class, and nationality, because of Christ’s calling to treat others as we desire to be treated. We are committed to creating a community built on mutual respect, hospitality, and warmth, where no one is a stranger, and all may flourish.