Episcopal worship

I learned Episcopal worship the traditional way at All Saints’ in Palo Alto: juggling the worship folder, the prayer book, and the hymnal. That’s what we did at St. Stephen’s in-the-field as well.

Things were different during my ten-year sojourn in the Lutheran church. The liturgy and hymns were together in one book, so juggling was not an issue.

At St. John the Divine in Morgan Hill the entire service was printed in the worship folder: the hymns, the creed, the Prayers of the People, the confession, the Eucharist prayer, everything. That makes things simpler and avoids the need to do any juggling. It also makes things easier for people new to Episcopal liturgical worship. Not that we had many of those. Most newcomers knew exactly what Episcopal worship was like. (One Sunday a well-dressed older woman whom I hadn’t seen before very primly pulled out both the prayer book and the hymnal in preparation for worship, not realizing that she wouldn’t need either.)

BCPandHymnalHere in Hemet at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd we use the hymnal and the prayer book. We also use the supplemental hymnal Renew! with some regularity. So there is plenty of juggling.

I like that. I prefer it. I love holding the Book of Common Prayer in my hands. It gives me a feeling of connection with the Episcopal tradition and other Episcopal worshippers.

Then there is something else. In the St. John’s worship folder the Nicene creed and the confession are all scrunched together in block paragraphs. In the prayer book they are spread out in verse form, so I get a feel for their rhythm and cadence.

For me, it is Episcopal worship as it is meant to be.

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