Worship is a central part of our life as a Christian community. Through praise, prayer, scripture, music, and the Eucharist, we give thanks for all that God has given us – then we go forth into the world strengthened and renewed in our commitment.
The Book of Common Prayer is the foundation for worship in the Episcopal Church. At any Episcopal congregation in the United States, you’ll find the common elements of gathering, listening and responding to scripture, and the fellowship of the Eucharistic Table. These elements together are referred to as the liturgy.
Our worship follows the order of liturgy that is common to all Episcopal worship. Within this structure there are boundless opportunities for variety and style.Our worship also changes with each season of the church year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, also known as Ordinary Time. In each of these seasons, we celebrate the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from a different perspective, reflected in the scripture, music, and responses.
The Episcopal Church follows a three-year lectionary cycle (the Revised Common Lectionary), which provides scripture readings for each Sunday and feast day. We complete each yearly cycle on the last day of the church year, The Feast of Christ the King. The new church year begins with the first Sunday in Advent, which occurs 4 Sundays before Christmas. These three-year cycles are designated A, B, and C, and each emphasizes a particular gospel text.
Scripture selections in worship include an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, a reading from an Epistle such as Romans, and a Gospel reading. Themes from these readings are woven throughout the liturgy, and influence the hymns chosen, sermon and prayers.