· It can be a little intimidating walking into a church for the first time. Or maybe its just been a long time and a lot has changed. This pamphlet may shed some light on aspects of the Episcopal Church.
· Our priest, officially called the Rector, leads the church.
· As you enter, you will notice an atmosphere of worship and reverence. Your eye is immediately carried to the altar, or holy table, and to the cross. So, our thoughts are taken at once to Christ and to God.
· Please do not be embarrassed to ask your neighbor in the pew for help. You will find the services beautiful in their ordered dignity; God-centered, and yet mindful of the nature and needs of newcomers.
· St. Paul’s is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan, led by a bishop, and of the Anglican Communion of Churches, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
· There is an advisory board for the minister and it is called the vestry. Members of the vestry are elected by the congregation to direct the activities of the church in coordination with the Rector.
· Altar Guild members serve the church by preparing the altar for Sunday services and other occasional services.
· An outreach committee serves the local community and the greater world by donating money and goods to those in need.
· Other commissions of the parish in which members participate include education, building, fellowship, stewardship, and worship.
· An ecumenical food kitchen serving lunch and dinner on Tuesdays is hosted by members of the church and members of other churches along with community volunteers.
· Coffee and fellowship is offered every Sunday following the service. Please join us!
· When you visit us, you will be our respected and welcome guest. You will not be singled out in an embarrassing way. You may be asked to let us know that you are a visitor, but the option to respond is yours.
· The Episcopal Church is a liturgical denomination, meaning that we follow a written service of a set sequence that unites us with both the historical and the worldwide church. The first part of the worship service is devoted to the reading of the Scripture, the homily (sermon) and prayers. The second part of the service is the Holy Eucharist, which is the celebration of the mystery of Christ’s presence in and among us. It goes by several names: Holy Communion, the Eucharist (which literally means “thanksgiving”), the Lord’s Supper, the Mass. But whatever the formal name, this is the family meal for Christians and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. All persons baptized in the Christian faith are encouraged to receive communion.
· Our hymns are usually found in the blue hymnal in each pew. The service music is printed in the hymnal and in the service booklet. A choir of the church often sings during the service. Whether spoken or sung, the words of the liturgy are meant to be meditated upon.
· Members of the congregation may assist in reading scripture and serving communion. Acolytes carry the candles and crucifix to the altar and serve the priest during the service.
The Episcopal Church has other worship services in addition to the Sunday morning Eucharist. Some of these are held on special Christian days but many others are for everyday use. The red Book of Common Prayer (the primary prayer book used throughout the Anglican communion), found in each pew, contains service liturgies for Morning and Evening Prayer, a Daily Prayer service for individuals or families, and special services for baptism, confirmation, marriage, death, and ordination of clergy. This book also contains Psalms, a special section of prayers, daily and Sunday scripture readings, historical documents about the Episcopal Church, charts for finding Holy Days and a catechism of study of beliefs of the Church.
OUR HISTORIAL BUILDING
· The church building was originally the Congregational Church and was located across the street. When the Congregationalists decided to build a new church, the small group of Episcopalians purchased the building. It was moved across the street to its present location at 305 Clay Street by rolling the building on large logs. At least one of the logs can be seen in the cellar of the church. The building was established as the home of an Episcopal Church in 1879. The history of the building is detailed on an historical marker at the corner of the property and on St. Paul’s website, www.stpauls-greenville.org.
· The Parish hall was donated by the Gibbs family in 1905. There is a plaque in the Parish Hall recognizing this gift. It is used by the parish for church functions and also by other community groups.
· Many of the art pieces inside the building have been made and/or donated by church members throughout the years.