Worship

Outdoor Worship_history, about church

Worship is a response of praise and thanksgiving to the God who created us, knows us, blesses us, and wants our lives to be whole and holy. We respond by giving our love and offering thanks to God, drawing from hymns, biblical texts, prayers and celebrating Holy Eucharist.

In the Episcopal Church it is said that "praying shapes believing." Worship is central to the life of our church. Our shared worship is designed using the rich resources in The Book of Common Prayer, which is also a treasure trove for personal prayer, study and spirituality.

Worship in the Episcopal Church is “liturgical,”

meaning we follow a set pattern of prayer and worship that doesn’t change greatly from week to week. Over weeks and months and years, this familiar rhythm of prayer does indeed shape our believing and our work in the world in Jesus’ name. 

Our services are streamed on YouTube
"The Scriptures encourage us to ponder the works and teachings of God and Jesus with His people. The beauty of the Scriptures is that it teaches and reaches people wherever they may be, whenever they are read or heard. The same words read 3 years apart can reach the same person in entirely different ways."

- Bart M.

Welcoming Smiles

Liturgy also means the “work of the people.”

It is shared work and you will find yourself actively taking part in our worship service - standing to pray or sing, sitting to listen, and offering spoken responses to the priest. At first it might be confusing, so don’t hesitate to ask someone sitting next to you for help! And as you get more comfortable with the rhythm of liturgy, we pray you will find a comfort and familiarity that enables you to grow in love and worship of God.

We celebrate Holy Eucharist

We celebrate Holy Eucharist (also known as the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion) every Sunday. At St. Peter’s in the Woods, we invite folks to receive holy communion with these words from the Iona Community:

“Come to this altar, you who have much faith and you who would like to have more; you who have been here often, and you who have not been here for a long time; you who have tried to follow Jesus, and you who have failed. Come, it is Christ who invites us to meet him, here.”

Sacraments and Special Services

Baptism

Our Book of Common Prayer defines baptism as “full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in baptism is indissoluble.” We baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Through baptism, God adopts us into God’s family and makes us members of Christ’s body, the church. In Baptism, we join with Christ in his death by renouncing all that keeps us from God, and we join in his resurrection by being born to a new life in Christ. The Baptismal Covenant describes both the promises and responsibilities of this new way of life.

The Episcopal Church baptizes infants, children, and adults. Parents and Godparents make solemn vows on behalf of a child at baptism, and with the congregation, reaffirm their own baptismal vows, promising to raise the child in the Christian faith. Baptized children of all ages are welcome to receive communion. If you would prefer for your child to receive a blessing instead, please let the priest know when you come up for communion.

Older children and adults who wish to be baptized are sponsored by at least one baptized person who promises to support them by prayer and example.

A meeting with the clergy is required before scheduling a baptism, and some preparation is required, in order that persons receiving the sacrament understand the promises made by God and by the one to be baptized.

If you have been baptized in another tradition but wish to join the Episcopal Church, or if you are in a place in your life where you wish to reaffirm your baptism, we welcome a conversation with you. Learn more here

For more information, contact The Rev.Susan Hartzell

Confirmation

Confirmation is the rite in which we make a mature and public affirmation of our commitment to Jesus Christ. At confirmation, we receive continued strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and laying on of hands by a bishop. Confirmation is a wonderful rite of initiation in which the Bishop ‘confirms’ the good work the Holy Spirit has begun in you. Please know that confirmation is not required for joining St. Peter’s in the Woods or for receiving Holy Communion. 

Youth ages 13 and older and adults interested in exploring confirmation are invited to contact the Assistant Rector, Rev. Guimond Pierre Louis, to learn more.

Weddings

Christian marriage is a covenant between two persons who make vows of love and fidelity to one another in the presence of God, their families, and friends who will help them uphold those vows. The joy and love of a married couple both comes from God’s love and points to it, and the Episcopal wedding service reflects that truth. Several sessions of pre-marital counseling are required by the Episcopal Church prior to a wedding.

In the Episcopal Church, marriage is a sacrament and an expression of Christian community. And so, generally, it is understood that persons wishing to be married by our clergy are active, committed parishioners either here or in their own community of faith, or that they intend to worship with us regularly and become active members of St. Peter’s in the Woods. Please contact the office, or speak to our clergy to explore if a wedding at St. Peter’s in the Woods is right for you.

Funerals

The death of a loved one is difficult. The clergy at St. Peter’s in the Woods is honored to meet and pray with you and help you plan a funeral or memorial service during your time of loss. In the Episcopal Church, the burial service reassures us that God’s love is stronger than death. At its core, it is an Easter service, grounded in our belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and faith that our loved one has “entered into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of all the saints.” (BCP 470)

We encourage you to consider making your own, advanced funeral arrangements. This is a thoughtful way to help your family and friends honor your life. We can keep your completed funeral planning document on file at the church.

The death of a member of the church should be reported as soon as possible, and arrangements for the funeral should be made in consultation with the Rector. 

This funeral planning sheet will help you begin thinking through the burial rite service.