Thanks for your interest in the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.
A few things, right off the bat:
1. What do I need to know to worship at Good Shepherd? You need to know that we are a friendly congregation. We really like each other and want everyone who visits to feel at home right away. That said, we’ll give you your space, too. During worship there are responses, there’s a lot of standing and sitting and some people kneel. But you don’t have to do any of that. Most of the service is either written out in the service leaflet (the Bulletin) or page numbers of where to turn in which book (we have two: The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal, 1982). Just ask someone around you, they’ll be happy to help you out.
2. What do I wear? We really encourage clothes, besides that, it is up to you. Some people wear jeans, others wear khakis, some wear suits. It varies. Wear what is comfortable. There’s no dress code.
3. Do I have to take communion? Of course not, but you are certainly invited to do so. The only requirement for receiving communion is a desire to do so. How do I take communion? At our weekday and 8 am services, the bread is a small wafer which will be placed in your hand. After the bread, a common cup of wine will be administered. You do not have to take the wine (just cross your arms across your chest, this will indicate you do not wish to receive the cup). At our 10:30 am service on Sundays the bread is a homemade loaf, you’ll receive a piece of the loaf which will be torn off and then given to you. The wine is the same at all services.
4. What about the exchange of the Peace? The Peace at the Church of the Good Shepherd can go one for awhile. We hope this doesn’t make you uncomfortable–it’s just that we really like each other a lot. The Rector (she’s the priest, the pastor, the minister) will seek you out, bypassing the regular attendees to greet you. Don;t feel you need to join the fray of the Peace if you don’t want too. A few people, besides the Rector, will make sure to greet you in the name of our Lord, after that you may sit down if you wish!
5. What about the offering plate? The offering (or collection) plate will be passed (after the Peace and announcements). No one cares if you put anything in or not. If you begin to attend regularly most people will begin to give some money, for this community is self supporting through the efforts of our members–past and current. We don;t receive any funds from the diocese or the national church–as a matter of fact it is the individual parishes which support the diocese and the greater church. But please, don’t worry about how much or how often. If you decide to become a member you can sit down with the Rector and discuss the giving of time, talent and treasure.
6. I just want to leave after church, I don’t really want to talk to anyone. Of course, that is fine, although we’d like you to stay awhile. We want you to get to know us and we want to get to know you…but take your time and do what feels comfortable.
7. I have other questions…….what should I do? Feel free to drop the Rector an email email@example.com or call her at 833-1151. No question is too small, too silly or too sacrilegious.
Thanks for looking around our website, please pay us a visit in person, send us an email or give us a call, we’d love to hear from you.