What to Expect

Ushers or Greeters will give you a Sunday bulletin which includes our service so you can participate. You can also follow along on the media screens. We call our service “Eucharist” which is simply an ancient Greek term for Giving Thanks. Our liturgy is corporate which means that everyone has an essential part in worship – singing, praying, and sharing the peace of God. We usually stand to sing (the best posture for singing) and either stand or kneel for prayer and reverence for the Lord. (If either kneeling or standing is uncomfortable, feel free to sit).

Music is one of the best ways to encounter the living God. You may encounter both traditional hymns and contemporary Christian praise music. Feel free to join in, whatever your voice.

The first part of the Service, called the Ministry of the Word, is very Protestant. Three readings from Scripture and a Psalm are shared and commented upon in a sermon. It is a time of reflection, a time of prayer, and a time of general confession for our failings.

After the Confession and the absolution, the Peace is exchanged.  Liturgically, it’s a time when Christians greet one another with a hand-shake or a hug to symbolize our harmony before receiving Holy Communion. At St. John’s, the exchange of the Peace is exuberant as people embrace with heart-felt affection. If a friendly hug isn’t your style, simply extend your hand to offer a handshake or fold your hands and bow. (Forgive us if our Peace is too enthusiastic! We truly believe that we are passing a symbolic and spiritual message of peace through Jesus Christ).

A time of family business then follows. The priest will bless those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and call the children up to share about Sunday School. Children of visitors are welcome to join. Often announcements of upcoming activities are given.

The second part of the Service, called Holy Communion, is very Catholic. We believe that Christ is “truly present” through the Sacrament of Bread and Wine to all who receive him through faith. What does “truly present” mean? We simply take Jesus at his word as he says in Mark 14, “this is my body…this is my blood.” While we don’t speculate on how Christ is present in the Sacrament, we experience his presence and rejoice as we take him into our hearts and souls.

All are welcome to receive Holy Communion at God’s Table. Please follow your neighbors to the Altar rail and hold out both hands, right over the left, to receive the Bread. If the Chalice is offered, gently touch the base to guide it to your lips. Both Bread and Wine may be offered, but you may choose to receive only the Bread. It you wish to receive a blessing but not Communion, come to the Altar rail and simply fold your arms over your chest when the wafer and the wine are offered. The priest or deacon will say an appropriate blessing.

Children may receive a blessing or the bread and wine if they are ready to do so in the eyes of their parents. Prayers are available at the altar in the rear of the church during Communion for whatever needs you bring. Members of the prayer team will pray quietly and confidentially for you. We have witnessed the power of prayer repeatedly at St. John’s.

After Communion, our Praise Musicians often lead the singing of contemporary songs. This is a time for personal worship and people often encounter the Spirit of God in profound ways.

After the Service, please introduce yourself to the priest. Then join us for coffee and goodies. If you are new, check out the Welcome Table in the lobby. There you can pick up information and sign a card with your address so that the priest can write you a note of personal welcome.

Our Rector, Fr. Cliff Haggenjos, and our Deacon, Rev. Marcia Hansen, love to meet with newcomers. If you have need of clergy in an emergency situation, the rector may be reached through the office at 916-786-6911.

St. John’s is an extremely active parish, with many events, social activities, and ministries, which make it very easy for newcomers to connect with the parish family. Our events and ministries are open to all. Check them out in the bulletin and newsletter.



  December 2022  
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