Note from the Vestry — In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are adapting our practices to best care for our community’s physical and spiritual wellbeing. Visit our COVID-19 Updates page for information about participating in services online and by telephone.
We begin every Sunday service with the declaration that “from wherever you come, with whatever you bring, you are welcome here with us.” You are welcome to join in as much or as little feels comfortable for you. Here’s what you can expect:
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 we use inclusive language in our prayers and worship. We have adapted dozens of hymns (and some Beatles songs!) to welcome God in all genders and all people.
Worship at St. Paul’s is joyful and spiritual. We have a consistent congregation of 50 worshippers all year round. On holidays, we celebrate alongside an extended community of over 100 people. Our musical repertoire includes a wide variety of hymns, spirituals, chants, and popular songs. We most often worship in our sanctuary, though on Easter morning and summer Sundays you may well find us worshipping outdoors in our Meditation garden.
Our sermons help parishioners to understand God in the scriptures and to see God in our everyday lives. Once a month, the congregation has the chance to hear sermons from lay people in our community. Several members of the church are regular guest preachers, including a faculty member in the Department of Theology at Boston College, seminarians, and lay people. We have also welcomed rabbinical students from Hebrew College and leaders from the Newton Centre Minyan.
In the middle of the service, our joyful 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. “Peace be with you,” is our general greeting at this time. 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 practicing morning meditation to attending community Peace Meals in parishioners’ homes.
Central to our Sunday service is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist — the meal Jesus taught us to prepare in remembrance of him. 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; we who are unable to walk to the altar receive Communion in our seats. Anyone and everyone is welcome come forward and receive a blessing (signal this by crossing your arms across your chest).
Once the service is concluded, parishioners stay seated for the musical postlude. This provides an opportunity to reflect upon the service and to enjoy the music. Afterwards we gather for coffee hour, where we hope to get to know you more.
(Adapted from Iona Abbey Worship Book, p.75)
We believe in God
whose love is the source of all life
and the desire of our lives,
whose love was given a human face
in Jesus of Nazareth,
whose love was crucified by the evil
that awaits to enslave us all
and whose love, defeating even death,
is our glorious promise of freedom.
Therefore, though we are sometimes fearful
and full of doubt, we put our trust in God;
and in the name of Jesus Christ,
we commit ourselves, in the service of others,
to seek justice and to live in peace,
to care for the Earth and to share the commonwealth of God’s goodness,
to live in the freedom of forgiveness
and the power of the spirit of love,
and in the company of the faithful,
we will be the church: a community of flawed and forgiving disciples
for the glory of God alone.