We're actually in the center of a long line of Christian thought that believes one of the main thrusts of Jesus' message is acceptance, openness and inclusion. We see God's overriding attribute - love - made flesh and blood in Jesus Christ.
And Jesus is the host of the party who's first word is always, 'welcome.'
Chris Yaw, Jesus was an Episcopalian (and you can be one too!)
If you are unfamiliar with the ritual customs of the Episcopal Church, simply relax with the liturgy and let the rest of the congregation carry you in worship. You are welcome to participate as little or as much as you are comfortable. Our participation involves our whole selves: our minds, our spirits, and our bodies as we stand, sit, kneel, and walk forward for communion. In general, we sit to listen, kneel to pray, and stand to sing and hear the gospel proclaimed. You will notice, though, that as some people are unable to kneel, they will stand or sit instead for prayer.
Usually, our service is one of Holy Eucharist, Rite II in the Book of Common Prayer or from the authorized supplement Enriching Our Worship. The service takes place in two parts. The service of the Word is first and includes the readings, the sermon, the Nicene Creed, Prayers of the People and the Prayer of Confession and Absolution. Following the Absolution, we share the Peace of Christ. Here at Grace, we pause for a few announcements and the blessing of birthdays and anniversaries.
The Communion begins with the Offertory when the gifts of bread, wine, and our financial commitments are brought to the altar. On occasion, we also have additional gifts that are dedicated, such as prayer shawls, school supplies or other special collections for our mission partners. The Eucharistic Prayer then begins. When the distribution of communion starts, people come forward by rows in the center aisle, guided by the Vestry Coordinator to the altar rail. You may either kneel or stand, and the altar server will come to you. The elements are bread and wine. Gluten free wafers are also available. We receive the wine from a common cup. If you want only the bread, please indicate that to the server. If you do not wish to receive either element, you may cross your right arm over your left arm across your chest and the priest will give you a blessing instead. After, you return to your pew by the outside aisle. If you wish to know more about our sacraments? Look here.
The service comes to its conclusion with the sending out of Eucharistic Ministers to those who are home bound and then is followed by the Post-Communion Prayer, blessing, and retiring procession. And yet, there is no conclusion. We are sent out, fed and strengthened, to continue our service in the world. For more information on our worship, check here.
After the Mass
Most Sundays, a social hour follows in our Parish Hall adjacent to the church. We share light refreshments and conversation. The Greeter will check in with you to introduce you to others and to the rector if you wish or to walk with you to the fully accessible Parish House that is connected to the church building. We do understand if you are not ready to do so.
Little ones are always welcome! We love to worship together. Activity bags are available from a greeter. Want to know about our children's and youth programs? Look here.
what do I wear?
You are likely to see a few hats and ties. Or some shorts and sandals. Most are in the middle with casual, comfortable clothes. We are air conditioned in summer, so be prepared with a shawl or sweater if you tend to be cold. Bottom line: come as you are.
where do I park?
Like other historic churches in Galena, parking is always a challenge. Our parking lot in front of the Parish House has designated spaces for those with limited mobility. There are a number of street spots on Prospect Street in front of and to the south of the church.
what's next? how do I participate?
Worship, education, outreach, and fellowship activities are open to all people. You may complete the information card with your contact information to receive the weekly e-newsletter and calendar of events. Or sign up on the "subscribe" button on the home page.
If you are interested in membership, click here where you can download a booklet explaining the different ways of being part of Grace Church. But remember, membership in the Episcopal Church simply begins with baptism, and baptism by water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in other denominations is recognized. To learn more about participating in any of our ministries, go here.