The Newcomers Committee at Calvary Episcopal Church welcomes visitors, newcomers, and long-time parishioners to our church through our Greeters, the friendly people standing near the doors.
We ask that newcomers and visitors to Calvary sign the Visitor Cards in the back of the pews and place them in the offering plate or hand them to an usher or greeter. This information allows us to get to know you and include you in our church activities.
Calvary Episcopal Church is eager to share its many services, programs, and activities with you, so please join us as you can. We encourage you to ask our greeters any questions you may have.
The Episcopal Church Welcomes You
You'll see this sign at virtually every Episcopal Church in the nation. And it's true—we really do enjoy seeing visitors, newcomers, and seekers at our doors and in our pews, and we like to do our best to make you feel welcome whether you're "church shopping" or just dropping by for a visit.
We understand that things can seem a bit awkward when you visit a church for the first time, especially if that church is of a different denomination. You may feel a little like an outsider at a family gathering—a little shy, a little overwhelmed, a little worried that you will commit some kind of major faux pas. We hope that this "Visitor's Guide" will put you at ease as you consider worshipping with us.
If you're not accustomed to liturgical worship, our services may seem a bit complicated at first. Please don't worry about "not getting it right." The important thing is that you are here. Many of us were newcomers once upon a time...and even cradle Episcopalians have been known to "miss a beat" on occasion. Savor the richness and beauty of worship in this place, and don't worry too much about the details.
We try to make things easier on visitors. The following should assist you during your visit.
- Greeters: You'll find a greeter at the main entrance to the church on Sundays at the beginning of the 11:00 a.m. service. Their primary job is to say "hey!" They will also be happy to tell you how to find a bulletin, the nursery, the bathroom, or whatever else you may require.
- Ushers: When you enter the church, an usher will offer you a bulletin, which is a program of the service. Ushers also direct people up to the altar rail during the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) and can help you discreetly if you're not sure which way to go.
- The Bulletin: We print the outline of the service in the bulletin. Hymns are sung from the blue hymnal, and other parts of the service are found in the red prayer book. Page numbers needed for the use of both books are printed in the bulletin.
- The Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion): Almost all services at Calvary include the Holy Eucharist. All baptized Christians are invited to participate in sharing the bread and wine, should they desire to do so. The custom is to kneel (or stand) at the altar rail with outstretched hands crossed (the back of one hand is placed in the palm of the other hand). The priest will place the wafer in the palm of the hand on top. You may say, “Amen,” upon receiving the wafer. At this point, there are two options. You may either (1) eat the wafer and drink from the common cup carried by the chalice bearer, or (2) hold your wafer until the chalice bearer arrives in order to dip part of the wafer into the wine and then consume both elements together. This practice is known as intinction. You may again say, “Amen,” upon receipt of the wine. If you do not desire wine in any form, simply cross your arms across your chest (hands on opposite shoulders) and the chalice bearer will move on to the next person.
- An Outline of the Faith (the Catechism): A question and answer outline of the faith or catechism may be found beginning on page 845 of the prayer book (http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/catechism.pdf). This is a great way to learn more about the teachings of the Church. The catechism will probably not answer all your questions, but we think it’s a great place to start.