If this is your first time visiting Calvary Church, or for that matter, any Episcopal Church, we welcome you. You may want to check out the national Episcopal Church’s Seekers Center to learn more about worship in the Episcopal Church. We offer this brief description of what you may expect on your first visit to Calvary.
On Sunday mornings, parking is free behind the church in a parking lot adjacent to the church's east entrance, in the Central lot at the corner of Second Street and Jefferson, as well as on the city's streets.
If you park in the east parking lot, you will enter the church through doors located under a green awning and follow signs to the Nave on the second floor, where our services are held. This is also the handicapped accessible entrance.
If you park across Second Street in the Best Park lot, you will enter the church through the red Narthex doors at the back of the Nave.
Greeters, clearly identified by red ribbons, will be located at both entrances to help you with any questions you may have about the service or directions.
As you enter the Nave, you will notice an atmosphere of serenity and reverence. Most Episcopalians try not to talk to one another in church before a service, but instead to use this time for personal meditation and devotions. You may notice that some worshippers bow to the altar on entering and leaving the church as an act of reverence for Christ.
Children are welcome at all Calvary worship services. We have noticed that young children are most likely to follow the actions of the service if they sit up front where they can see.
The seating at Calvary is not reserved and there is always room for visitors. An usher will give you a printed worship bulletin that will list page numbers in the blue hymnal and the red prayer book. The scripture readings are printed in the bulletin, along with additional service music and psalms.
On the left side at the front of the church there is a pulpit, where the sermon is preached. On the right side there is a lectern, the place where the Scriptures are read. Next to the lectern is the baptismal font, placed at the front of the church as a reminder that baptism is the entry point into the life of the church for all Christians.
We stand for the Gospel, sit to hear the other lessons, sermon, and announcements, and stand to sing, and kneel or stand to pray. Members of the congregation will be glad to help you follow along in the prayer book, and you may stand, sit, and kneel with the congregation, as you feel comfortable.
Any Christian who has been baptized is welcome to participate in receiving Holy Communion, regardless of age. Visitors who are not baptized Christians are invited to the altar rail to receive a blessing.
At the end of the service some persons kneel for private prayer before leaving. Others sit to listen to the organ postlude.
Following the service, the clergy greet worshipers as they leave. The doorways adjacent to the organ (at the front) and through the Bride’s Walk (at the rear), lead to the Parish House (where education classes, coffee, and the exit to the back parking lot are found). The Narthex doors at the rear of the Nave open onto Second Street.
You will notice that the clergy and lay people serving at the altar wear special garments to signify their different ministries. The congregation's dress is quite diverse with people dressed in everything from blue jeans to business suits.
Most clergy, eucharistic ministers, and acolytes will wear a long, white vestment called an alb. Over it, ordained ministers wear a stole, a narrow band of colored fabric. Deacons wear the stole crossed over one shoulder, priests over both shoulders. Choir vestments usually consist of an under-gown called a cassock (usually black) and a white, gathered over-gown called a cotta.
At the Holy Eucharist a priest frequently wears a chasuble (a circular garment that envelopes the body) over the alb and stole. Stoles and chasubles, as well as altar coverings, are usually made of rich fabrics. Their color changes with the seasons and holy days of the Church Year.
When you visit Calvary Episcopal Church, you will be our respected and welcome guest. You will neither be singled out in an embarrassing way, asked to stand before the congregation, nor to come forward. We do ask that, along with all the other worshippers, you wear a nametag so that everyone may learn one another’s names. We are a pretty informal place. Adults address our clergy by their first names. Children may use mother or father in addressing them, i.e., Father Paul or Mother Eyleen.
The congregation of Calvary warmly welcomes you. We look forward to greeting you personally and hope that this brief introduction will help you feel at ease when you visit.