Trinity’s Regular Sunday Services
At our 8:00am service, we celebrated quite simply, without music, and using Elizabethan-style language. Many folks appreciate the quiet nature of this liturgy, and the fact that it is generally the shorter of the two Sunday morning services.
At our 10:00am service, we celebrate using language that is in a more contemporary style and enjoy the offerings of our talented choir.
From time to time, for special occasions in the life of the parish, the worship schedule is changed. Changes are posted on the front page of the website under the heading "Service Times."
At both services you will find that the basic structure of the liturgy is fairly constant, though the details change according to the season. For example, each week two or three Bible selections are read, but the selections change each Sunday following a schedule of readings shared among most mainline Protestant churches. The particular words of certain of the prayers also change, but their place in the service does not. You will find the services of the Episcopal Church beautiful in their ordered dignity. The services are God-centered and yet mindful of the nature and needs of human beings.
Wednesday Noon Eucharist
Most Wednesdays of the year a simple service of Holy Eucharist is celebrated in the historic church.
What to Expect When Worshiping at Trinity
You Are Welcome
First and foremost, you will be welcome. We want you to worship with us, and offer this page as a brief introduction to Trinity and to worship in the Episcopal Church.
You Will Be Respected
When you visit Trinity, you are our respected and welcome guest. You will not be singled out in an embarrassing way, nor asked to stand before the congregation nor to come forward. You will worship God with us. If you would like to know more about Trinity, feel free to fill out the card in the pew and give it to an usher or a member of the clergy.
The Church Building
Trinity was built in 1726 and clearly reflects the needs of the people at that time. It is a truly unique and wonderful place, soaked with nearly 300 years of prayers. As you enter Trinity today, you will notice an atmosphere that might be best described as joyful reverence. You can’t miss the large, three-tiered pulpit in the center of the lower level. Beyond that, your eye may be carried to the altar, or holy table, and to the cross. On the altar there are candles to remind us that Christ is the "Light of the World'' (John 8:12). Near the altar there may be flowers, to beautify God's house and to recall the resurrection of Jesus. So, as we enter, our thoughts are taken at once to both the word of God, the Scriptures, proclaimed from the pulpit, and to the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood offered at the altar. We know, without a doubt, that we are in the house of the Lord.
Episcopal church services are congregational. In the pews you will find the Book of Common Prayer. This enables the congregation to share fully in every service. In the Book of Common Prayer, the large print is the actual service. The smaller print gives directions to ministers and people for conduct of the service. At Trinity’s services the priest usually announces page numbers and alerts folks to upcoming book-juggling moments. We are a congregation that likes to sing, so you’ll also find a Hymnal in your pew. And, as a tradition that gives the Scriptures primary importance, we also have Bibles in most pews.
Should I stand, sit, or kneel?
You may wonder when to stand or kneel. The priest often tells the congregation when it is time to sit or stand, and the bulletin also contains instructions. The general rule is to stand to sing, if you are able. We stand, too, to hear the Gospel, to say our affirmation of faith (called the Creed), for our corporate prayers, and for our confession and to receive absolution. We sit during readings from the Old Testament or New Testament Letters, the sermon, and the choir anthems. We stand or kneel for prayer to show our gratefulness to God for accepting us as children or as an act of humility before God.
During the service you will be invited to take part in the Holy Communion, the taking of bread and wine to commemorate the Last Supper. You can either kneel or stand at the rail and hold out your hands to receive bread from the priest. It is easiest on the communion ministers (those distributing the bread) if you lay your hands out flat, with one hand on top of the other and, if you are kneeling, lift them up towards the minister. You will then be offered a cup of wine. You may either take a sip directly from the cup, or you may dip your bread into the wine in the cup and then consume the bread. If you are unable to get to the rail or altar, the bread and wine will be brought to you at your seat.
If you would like to receive a blessing instead of the bread and wine, indicate this by crossing your arms over your chest. Some parents prefer that children receive a blessing instead of taking communion. We will honor your choice, but want to remind you that anyone who has been baptized is eligible to receive Communion—no matter how young or old!
What Clergy Wear
To add to the beauty and festivity of the services, and to signify their special ministries, the clergy, the choir and other ministers customarily wear vestments, or special clothing. These vestments, as well as altar coverings, are usually made of rich fabrics. Their color changes with the seasons and holy days of the Church Year. The most frequently used colors are white, red, violet, and green.
The Church Year
The Episcopal Church observes the traditional Christian calendar. The year begins with the season of Advent, during which we prepare for Christmas. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30. Christmas itself lasts twelve days, after which we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany (January 6). Lent, the forty days of preparation for Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Holy Week and Easter. The Easter Season lasts fifty days, concluding on the feast of Pentecost, which is followed by the wonderful long season after Pentecost and leads us, once again, back to where we started in Advent.
Before and After Church
Folks come to church from a variety of backgrounds, and with a variety of customs. This is a strength, not a problem! For some people, the custom upon entering church is to kneel in the pew for a prayer of personal preparation for worship. Some folks bow to the altar on entering and leaving the church as an act of reverence for Christ. Some continue the joyous conversations started on the church steps into the sanctuary, others fall silent as they take their seats. At Trinity we welcome you however you arrive, and only ask that you are aware of those around you who are also preparing for worship. We are a family, and we just try to figure out how to make it work.
At the end of the service some persons kneel for a private prayer before leaving. Others sometimes sit to listen to the organ postlude. Others turn to the task of gathering up the toys and other items the children have scattered around the pew. Again—there is no rule except to show love and respect for your brothers and sisters. However, there is one thing that everyone is invited and encouraged to do after the 10:00am service church—join us for coffee hour across the driveway in the Hawes Room of Honyman Hall. Along with coffee and fruit juices, there are snacks for young and old alike. Trinity’s coffee hours are wonderful times of fellowship and all are welcome!