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Spiritual Community in the Episcopal/Anglican Tradition
St. Nicholas Church is an Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church USA is part of a world wide communion (kind of like an extended family) of churches which were born out of the Church of England. The English word Episcopal come from the Greek word Episcopos, which literally means “bishops,” because in Anglican/Episcopal churches the bishop in each diocese (a local/regional grouping of congregations) is a symbol of their unity. Our other source of unity is common worship: we find that in common worship we experience the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit which empowers us to be a community of great diversity.
Sunday is the primary day we gather for worship and our primary service is called the Holy Eucharist (Eucharist comes from a Greek word which means “giving thanks.” It is known in other denominations as: the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or Mass).
Like any Anglican/Episcopal service, it has two main parts:
the Liturgy (or Service) of the Word
the Liturgy of the Sacrament.
Our worship style is somewhat traditional in form, yet informal in spirit, and child and family friendly. As one worshiper put it, “We take God seriously, and ourselves with a grain of salt.”
Our clergy dress in traditional vestments (ceremonial clothing): a white alb (robe) and a stole in the color of whatever season of the church year we are currently celebrating (e.g., purple or Advent and Lent, white for Christmas, Easter and special holy days, green for Pentecost and Epiphany, and Red for Holy Week).
We try to be very user friendly in our worship. While our worship is based on the Book of Common Prayer, we keep most of what anyone would need for a service in a worship booklet. Generally speaking, we stand when we sing or pray and sit when we listen to the reading of the Scripture, the sermon, or announcements. And our clergy are pretty good about giving instruction when needed.
The congregation, on the other hand, dresses quite casually. Most of our people wear the equivalent of work casual most of the time (some even wear shorts in the summer). But if you want to dress a bit more formally, that’s O.K., too (we want you to feel comfortable).
We are a congregation which really enjoys music: vocal and instrumental, choral and congregational, traditional and modern, it’s all good. The choir, the congregation, and the clergy all like to sing. Some of the liturgy is even set to music.