Our worship services
Sunday 8:00 a.m.
It is cool and perhaps still a little bit dark as you make your way to Church. The doors are open and the lights on, candles lit, a dozen or so parishioners sitting quietly. The service begins in silence, and there are lots of silences at various times in the liturgy. A brief homily, a congregation which makes strong responses, and a traditional holy communion which brings the liturgy to a close after about 40 minutes.
Sunday 11:00 a.m.
Light streams through long, clear windows, the gleam of polished brass and simple woodwork based upon the work of Frank Lloyd Wright set the stage for a liturgy which begins with a grand entrance hymn, brightly colored vestments, the rich smell of incense and the ethereal paen of solemn chant. A sermon which is often funny and drawn from experience relates the gospel to the lives people live, and the choir may sing a piece of renaissance polyphony, a motet from English tradition, or a spiritual. The language of the liturgy is contemporary and inclusive, and the prayers lay the concerns of the people before God.
Monday and Friday at 6:15 p.m.
It has been an awful day and you are exhausted, physically, emotionally, spiritually. You drag yourself to the corner of 11th and Waverly for an end-of-the-day liturgy. The lights are on and a little booklet at the back of the church tells you how to follow the service -- although sometimes you like to just sit there and let the liturgy wash over you with its rounded phrases, its poetry, its powerful imagery. You hear the story of a saint, an anecdote from medieval history, an incident from the life of a 20th century African martyr. There is time for silent prayer and for you to whisper the names of those you love who need your support. You receive holy communion, greet the people who know you or might like to get to know you and you slip out into the evening, which now looks better than it did a half hour before.
Wednesday at 6:15 p.m.
Your heart is heavy as you remember someone you love who is facing serious illness and to pray for her -- and for your self, too -- you come to the healing liturgy on Wednesdays. A short meditation focuses your thoughts on some aspect of healing, and the ancient liturgy of anointing with oil is in the midst of the liturgy before the congregation greets each other in the Peace. Holy communion concludes the liturgy.
Read about "The Healing Liturgy"
Monday through Fridays at 8:00 a.m.
It is a bright morning and on the way to work, you think you would like to have something in your day that will give your work some perspective and set you off for the challenges of the day. You decide to drop in at St. John's where a small group of people read morning prayer every morning. In work clothes, jeans, gym clothes and sometimes even a religious habit, a small group read morning prayer, the church's ancient monastic office -- or service of prayer-- consisting of short readings, prayers for the day and the season, and prayers for those in need. In just fifteen minutes, your day has been given to God and it will come back to you sanctified and filled with his purposes.
There are certain major holy days, called red-letter days, for which an evening service is offered even if they do not occur on Mondays, Wednesday or Fridays. On some occasions, these will be festal liturgies with music and will take place at 6:30 p.m. On other occasions they will be simple said services which begin at 6:15 p.m.
Cycles of Prayer
Each Episcopal parish is part of a wider church. We pray for the other churches in our part of New York City, we pray for other parishes around the Diocese of New York (which is half of the City, and six counties beyond the city), and we pray for the Anglican Communion around the world. These prayers are offered every day at either Morning Prayer or at the Eucharist.