What will I find at St. Elizabeth's?
At Saint Elizabeth Church you will find a fellowship of faithful Christians committed to passionate worship of God, dedicated discipleship under Jesus, and powerful mission in the community. Incidentally, this fellowship also loves to share meals and have fun!
All children and babies are always welcome in all our worship services. In addition, Our Nursery is available for all children infant to three years old during the 10:30 am worship service. The nursery is located right next to the worship space. The caregivers are trained and experienced.
How will I know what to do?
Don’t worry – we are here to help you enjoy the experience. You will be greeted by low-key, friendly people who want to make the morning easy and comfortable for you. You’ll get a “bulletin” (program) that helps guide you through the service, and our pastor makes things easy. Folks at Saint Elizabeth come from all kinds of backgrounds, and nobody here is in the business of watching or judging newcomers. “Church etiquette” questions like bowing or kneeling are not a big deal at Saint Elizabeth. Do what feels comfortable, and relax in the loving presence of God.
What is the Book of Common Prayer?
The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is the Episcopal guidebook to worship, both on Sundays and during the week. The BCP is available at all seats, but we print our whole service, including Bible readings, songs, and prayers, in the weekly handout. It's the same material, but it takes a while to get familiar with the books. The handout is annotated to help explain what's going on, and people sitting around you will be happy to help.
The Book of Common Prayer contains the Church Calendar, Morning & Evening Prayer, Daily Devotions, the Collects (themed prayers for each Sunday and Holy Days of the year), and Holy Communion. It also contains the order of service for special occasions such as Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, and Funerals. The first version published in 1549 following the establishment of the Church of England. The current version has been in use since 1979.
What are the Sermons like?
Our sermons address issues that concern people in this community in everyday life –marriage, kids, elder care, illness, faith, doubt, hope. All of our sermons are based on the Bible and draw on the experience of the people of God over time.
What is the Nicene Creed?
The Nicene Creed is an ancient statement of faith (first used in the year 325). It expresses the collective beliefs of the Christian community about the nature of God and the Church. We recite the Nicene Creed together as a fellowship of faith at Sunday worship.
What is “Exchanging the Peace?"
Before Communion we share God’s Peace. People around you will extend their hand to shake yours and say something like, "the Peace of the Lord,” or “Peace be with you." You can respond, "And also with you."
What is Holy Eucharist?
Holy Eucharist is also known as Communion or the Lord’s Supper. We celebrate the Holy Eucharist most Sundays. In this part of the worship service, we give thanks to God, recount God’s blessings through the ages, and participate through remembrance in the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples. We ask the Holy Spirit to make the bread and wine holy for us, and we share them with the understanding that Christ is present in them in a real way.
As a visitor, can I participate in the Holy Eucharist/Communion?
Of course! The table belongs to the Lord, not to any denomination or congregation. All Christians are welcome to receive communion. Just hold your palms up so the priest may place the bread in your hand. You may consume the bread and wait for the chalice (cup of wine) to come to you.
If you desire to drink from the chalice, grasp it at the base and guide it to your lips.
If you prefer not to receive communion, simply cross your arms over your chest and the priest will ask God’s blessing on you.
A Brief History of the Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church has its origins in the Church of England (also known as the Anglican Church) during the time of the early American colonies. The church stresses its continuity with the early universal Western church and maintains apostolic succession. This means the Bishops as the successors of previous bishops, going back to the early days of Christianity, have spiritual and ecclesiastical power by an unbroken chain of ordinations stemming from the first Apostles.
The Church of England broke off from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534, due to the excommunication of King Henry VIII. It kept aspects of both its Catholic heritage and took on some aspects of the 16th century Protestant Reformation, which eventually led to the Church of England’s formation of the Book of Common Prayer, first published in 1549, which laid out the Church’s structure of worship.
The first parish in America was founded in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Like the population in general, the American Revolution divided the colonial members of the church into those loyal to England and those seeking independence. About three-quarters of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Anglican laymen, including many of our Founding Fathers such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and James Madison.
The Church of England was unable to consecrate an American bishop, largely because existing laws required an oath of loyalty to the King of England, which the first American bishop was obviously not willing to make. However, the Bishops in Scotland were willing and did consecrate the first American bishop, Samuel Seabury, in 1784. This allowed for continuity of apostolic succession in the American church. In 1787, other American bishops were consecrated in England, once they removed the legal obstacles. Following the American Revolution, the American church broke off from the Church of England and became known as the Episcopal Church in 1789.