Our two Communion services follow the same basic structure:
- We begin by praising God through song and prayer, and then listen to several readings from the Bible.
- Next, a sermon interpreting or applying the scripture readings is given by one of our priests, and sometimes by a guest speaker. You can listen to past sermons online.
- The congregation then recites a creed, or statement of faith. The congregation prays together—for the Church, the World, and those in need. We thank God for all the good things in our lives, we pray for the sick and for all those who have requested our prayers. The congregation then greets one another.
- Communion (or, the Eucharist, which means thanksgiving): Next, the altar party of priests and lay persons stands at the altar, which has been set with a cup of wine and a plate of bread or wafers. The priest raises his or her hands, and greets the congregation again by saying “The Lord be With You.” Now begins the Eucharistic Prayer, in which we hear the story of our faith, from the beginning of Creation, through the choosing of Israel to be God’s people, through our continual turning away from God, and God’s calling us to return. Finally, we remember together the story of Jesus Christ and how on the night before his death he instituted the Eucharistic meal (communion) as a continual remembrance of him. We ask God’s blessing on the bread and wine, and together recite the Lord’s Prayer. Finally, the priest breaks the bread and offers it to the congregation, as the “gifts of God for the People of God.” The congregation then shares the consecrated bread and the wine in thankfulness for God’s love and Christ’s presence in our midst through this community’s feast of praise and thanksgiving. At St. James’, all are welcome. We welcome everyone to our communion table. If you come from a tradition where you do not take wine, you are welcome to come forward for the bread. If you do not wish to take communion but would like a blessing, come forward and cross your hands over your heart, and you will receive a blessing. If you choose to stay in your seat, that’s o.k. too! We are not fans of either guilt-trips or pressure.
- At the end of the Eucharist, the congregation prays once more in thanksgiving, and then is dismissed to continue their life of service to God and to the World.
After the service, we gather in the parish hall for refreshments and fellowship.