What to Expect When You Visit
Visiting any church for the first time can be intimidating, so we want you to feel completely comfortable when you visit. Below are some questions that visitors frequently ask. We look forward to meeting you.
When are services?
Sunday worship is at 7:30 am and 10 am in the main sanctuary, and at 6:00 pm in the chapel. The 7:30 am service lasts for 60 minutes and includes hymns from the Episcopal Hymnal. The 10 am service lasts for 75 minutes and features a blend of music from the Hymnal and our Contemporary Songbook. Additional musical offerings at 10 am are led by the Good Shepherd Choir, MorningSong (our acoustic music team), our men’s singing group, The Black Sheep, our women’s trio Trinity, and the Good Shepherd Bell Choir. The 6:00 pm service features songs from our Contemporary Songbook, led by EveningSong, our Sunday evening acoustic music team.
What should I wear?
You will find that people at Good Shepherd wear what they feel comfortable with. Many dress casually. Others choose something more traditional. You’ll fit in no matter how you dress.
How do I follow along with the service?
As you enter the church sanctuary, one of our Sunday greeters will hand you a worship bulletin, which lists various parts of the service, as well as the hymns/songs. The entire worship service is printed in the worship bulletin. Hymn numbers are also posted on the hymn boards located on either side of the altar. At the 7:30 service we mostly sing from the blue Episcopal Hymnal. At the 10 am service we sing from both the Hymnal and our green, spiral-bound Contemporary Songbook. Both of these books are in the pew racks.
Stand, Sit or Kneel?
Throughout the service, we will both stand and kneel to assist in the physical act of worship. If you’re new to the Episcopal Church, as health allows, the general guidelines are:
Stand for singing, affirming the Creed, reading the Gospel, and during certain prayers.
Sit during readings from the Old Testament or New Testament letters, the sermon, and the music anthems.
Kneel during certain prayers (e.g. prayer of confession) or as an act of humility before God.
How should I receive the bread and wine during Communion?
At Good Shepherd, we receive communion standing in front of the altar. Receive the communion bread from the priest or deacon in your open right palm. You may choose to receive the wine directly from the chalice by gently guiding it to your lips as the chalice-bearer presents it to you, or you maydip the bread into the small cup held by one of the chalice-bearers. If it is physically difficult for you to come to the altar for communion, please indicate this to one of the ushers, and a priest or deacon will bring communion to where you are seated. Children are welcome to receive communion at their parents’ discretion. If your child does not receive, he/she may come to the altar to receive a blessing by having them cross their arms over their chest to signal to the priest or the deacon that they wish to receive a blessing.
Where do my children go?
Children are welcome at all of our services. Sunday School for children age 3 – Middle School, begins downstairs in our Sunday School area at 9:45 am (15 minutes prior to the start of the 10 am service). Following the completion of Sunday School, children come upstairs and join their parents in the sanctuary before the “Peace.” There is a large collection of children’s books, as well as coloring books and crayons in the baskets underneath the Visitors Information Table. Parents may also choose to sit in the hallway of the church for the remainder of the service. A glass partition at the back of the church and a hallway speaker allow children and parents to follow the service going on in the sanctuary. The church nursery for children up to age 3 is open from 9:45 am until the conclusion of the 10 am service at 11:15 am. There is no nursery during the 7:30 am or the 6:00 pm service.
Am I expected to contribute money when the Sunday offering is taken?
If you are visiting with us, we don’t expect you to put money in the offering plate when it is passed. If you consider Good Shepherd to be your church home, we’d love for you to prayerfully consider giving to the church. You can give by check or cash during the service. If you wonder why many people don't put anything in the offering plate that's because, increasingly, parishioners contribute monthly by mail or by direct-deposit.
Is it OK to take communion even if I’m not an Episcopalian?
All baptized persons –whether Episcopalian or not – are welcome to come forward at the time of communion and receive the bread and the wine. If you have not yet been baptized, you are welcome to come forward to receive a blessing instead of communion. Simply cross your arms over your chest to signal to the priest or the deacon that you wish to receive a blessing. Gluten-free wafers are available at all services; simply signal to the priest or deacon that you prefer a gluten-free wafer when you come forward.
What if I would like to attend regularly or become a member?
The Parish Administrator will be happy to provide you with a nametag (nametags hang on the board in the hallway across from the chapel). Just fill out one of the cards in the little wooden box on the Visitors Information Table. If you’d like to become a member of the parish, fill out the blue 5”X 7” card on the Visitors Table and slip it under the Parish Administrator’s door in the hallway to the right of the main entrance.