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Worship at St. Paul’s is joyful and spiritual. We have a consistent congregation of 50 worshippers all year round. On holidays, those numbers swell to over 100 people. Our usual worship practice calls for Holy Eucharist at 8:15am and 10:30am during the months of September through May. In the summer months of June through August, we offer a single service at 9:30am. Our services aim to follow Jesus’ instruction to ‘do this in remembrance of me’.
In 2004, we dedicated our Meditation Garden. We hold outdoor services in the garden on occasion from May through October, weather permitting. In keeping with the natural setting, we use pottery vessels, a wooden cross, and natural flower arrangements on a stone altar when outdoors.
Our style of worship is reverently relaxed, reflecting the variety of church backgrounds from which our congregants come. We tend to be open and flexible about liturgical styles, and use texts such as the New Zealand Prayer Book and Enriching Our Worship in addition to the traditional Book of Common Prayer. We also use inclusive language in some of our prayers and worship.
As is tradition, our Rector provides the sermon during our services and helps parishioners to understand God in the scriptures and to see God in our everyday lives. On occasion, the congregation has the chance to hear from both lay preachers and guest celebrants. Several members of the church have been regular guest preachers, including a faculty member in the Department of Theology at Boston College, a Presbyterian minister, seminarians, and lay people.
St. Paul’s also has active groups of ushers, Lectors, LEMs, and Acolytes. We usually have two lay readers for the lessons, and both a LEM and an Acolyte to assist the priest at the altar.
Our method of exchanging Peace enhances our spirit of community. Many members of the close-knit congregation move into the aisle, going from pew to pew and exchanging hugs as well as handshakes. Members of the choir also take this opportunity to come down and greet the congregants personally and joyfully.
The Peace is followed by announcements, of which there are usually many. Members of the congregation talk about upcoming projects and events ranging from sponsoring someone in the Walk for Hunger to inviting new knitters into the Knitting Ministry.
Central to our Sunday service is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. St. Paul’s provides an open table, where all are welcome to be nourished by the spiritual Food. Most parishioners received Communion at the altar but some, who are unable to walk to the altar, receive Communion in their seats.
Once the service is concluded, parishioners stay seated for the postlude. This provides an opportunity to reflect upon the service and to enjoy the music.
Holy Days and Special Occasions
As a close-knit, enthusiastic church community, St. Paul’s enjoys the liturgical opportunities presented by holy days and other special occasions.