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#1 of 5 Old 08-24-2010, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I am feeling a pull towards the Episcopal church, but really have no idea what to expect. I grew up as vaguely Methodist (we didn't regularly attend church at all), and I attended a Catholic school from 1st grade thru 6th grade, but otherwise I've been out of church for years. I've never sat down and read through the Bible, so although certain parts are very familiar to me, I'm unfamiliar with most of it. Is there a good website that would give me basic information about the church...like Episcopalian 101?

Mainly, I'm just really nervous and self-conscious about attending the church in our town...do I just show up one Sunday, or would it be better to talk to someone at the church first? DS would possibly be with me (he's 2), so I didn't know if whoever is in charge of the nursery needed to know he may be there. What should I expect from the service? I've looked on the church website, and it says they offer an early traditional service (Rite I) and a mid-morning contemporary service (Rite II). What do I do during Communion? If I decide I'd like to join the church, how do I go about doing so? If I joined a Sunday school class, would I look like a complete idiot because I'm not familiar with the Bible? And, last question!... In general, how active are churches in supporting charities and volunteer-work in the community?

TIA for responses!

Mama to DS (5)

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#2 of 5 Old 08-24-2010, 02:11 PM
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Have you ever been to a Catholic service? They are pretty similar.

I would go to the later service, they have music and it's generally the service most younger families attend. In my experience the earlier service in usually attended by more of the older people in the church and is definitely more of the quiet and contemplative service... something difficult to do with a toddler in hand.

Depending on the church, you may be encouraged to keep your LO with you during the service. Some churches don't provide the nursery year round... and others have no nursery at all. It varies from church to church. I'd call ahead of time to see how it works.

All baptized Christians are welcome at communion. If you haven't been baptized you may go forward and simply cross your arms over your chest and receive a blessing. It's completely up to you. I've even been to a couple of churches where everyone is welcome to receive communion, regardless if you've been baptized or not, though it's not something the Episcopal Church okays.

You definitely will not look like an idiot for your limited knowledge of the Bible. In my experience, most Episcopalians know very little about actual scripture. So don't feel intimidated!! For us, the Episcopal Church was a good place for us to start our Christian journey. It was like we sort of eased into Christianity nice and slow. There is never any pressure or expectation placed on your spiritual journey.

As far as charity work, it's one of the reasons we left the Church. There is a lot of money that filters through the Episcopal Church/Diocese, and it came to a point where we were no longer comfortable giving money to it. When we looked at the numbers and compared them to other churches we were greatly disappointed. Again, this may vary greatly between churches and dioceses. I'd call the church and ask to meet with the Rector if you'd like to. They'll be able to answer all of your questions and more.
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#3 of 5 Old 08-24-2010, 02:12 PM
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I myself have only been attending the Episcopalian church for a year, so I'm sure there will be more helpful people able to answer. However, I can identify as I was in your place not long ago! Also raised Methodist, attended private Christian school.

I say to just call the church. I was just talking with our Canon this morning because I had some new questions. Just ring the office number and someone should be happy to help you. That's what they're there for! Ask about the nursery situation, which service would be best to attend, etc. Each church is different, so it's good to find out what they do specifically. At my church, there is a service that's more for families and one that isn't on Sunday mornings. But anyone can come to either and children are always welcome during service, even though there is a nursery and Sunday School.

As for what to do - don't feel nervous. My parents are Catholic and I attend mass with them sometimes. I find the Catholic church much more rigid about the rituals. I love that the Episcopalian church has those rituals and the tone is still very reverent, but it's completely ok if you don't do everything exactly like everyone else. In fact, when I look around, many of us are doing it differently. Maybe we all read different Episcopalian 101 sites!

Have you been baptized? The church recognizes any baptism. No need to redo. If you have, you can take communion. Just follow everyone else up in line, kneel at the alter, put your right hand, palm up, over your left hand, and receive the bread. You can eat it right away or dip it into the wine. I eat mine and then when the wine comes, hold onto the challis and help the Priest guide the cup to your mouth. I say amen after the blessing, cross myself, wait until the person beside me has drank from the cup, and then walk back to my seat. If you don't want to take communion, you can just stay seated in your pew or go up, kneel, cross your arms over your chest, and receive a blessing. That's always nice. I take my dd up with me and she receives a blessing.

Just relax, take time to pray and do your best to follow along. By and large, it's a very welcoming and friendly church. Give it a shot if it feels right to you. As for the community outreach, I know of NO other church in my city that does more than the Episcopalian church. Very outreach, charity oriented. Service oriented, not to proselytize.

Good luck! I hope you love it like I do.

Sarah - mama to the love of my life, Aurelia Josephine, b. June 11, 2010

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#4 of 5 Old 08-25-2010, 01:51 PM
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I've been a member of the Episcopal Church for 10+ years now, and coincidentally, I also work for the Episcopal Church, too! I agree with FarmerFemme and mija y mijo - you both have posted some excellent advice.

I just want to add that if you're looking for some websites to explore, you can check these out:

Hope this information is helpful - please do let us know if you have any other questions or you want to share your experiences!

Benjamin's Mom, 11/13/07joy.gif
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#5 of 5 Old 08-25-2010, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all! I think I'm going to dive on in and attend a service this Sunday...I'll let you know how it goes. :-)

Mama to DS (5)

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