Whether you are checking out The Episcopal Church for the first time or are a lifelong Episcopalian, whether you are comfortable in your spiritual life or have many questions,
all are welcome in the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Diocese in Northwestern Pennsylvania is a place of hope, healing, and acceptance. We are made up of 33 congregations, each with its own personality and style of worship, but connected by a set of common values: our relationship with Jesus Christ, service to others, welcoming every expression of family, and living and worshipping in Christian community.
We believe that a relationship with Jesus Christ can transform your life and that God can be a force of healing and positive change through you.
What to expect in one of our churches
As you enter the church, you will likely notice an atmosphere of serenity and reverence. Most Episcopalians try not to talk to one another in church before a service, but instead use this time for personal meditation and devotions. Children are welcome and encouraged to worship with their families.
The service is from The Book of Common Prayer, our guide to worship and devotion. Our current Prayer Book, revised in 1979, was originally compiled by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cramner, in 1549. The Book of Common Prayer is a collection of ancient and modern prayers and worship services for occasions when the community gathers and for individual use as well. It allows everyone to participate, reminding us that each person is an important part of the worship experience, whether the service is a celebration or a solemn occasion. It is a guidebook for daily Christian living.
We customarily stand for the Gospel reading; sit to hear the other lessons, sermon, and announcements; stand to sing; and kneel or stand to pray. Members of the congregation will be glad to help you follow along, and you may stand, sit, and kneel with the congregation, as you feel comfortable.
Communion will most likely be a part of a Sunday service. Communion is a reenactment of the Last Supper. The words of Jesus, “this is my body” and “this is my blood,” are spoken over bread and wine (the elements of Communion), which are then shared by the worshipers often in the form of a wafer and Chalice filled with wine. Any Christian who has been baptized is welcome to participate in receiving Holy Communion regardless of age. Visitors who are not baptized Christians are warmly invited to receive a blessing. Children are welcome to receive communion at their parents’ discretion. If you would like for your child to learn more about the sacrament before receiving, please talk with the priest at the congregation.
To receive communion, come forward as the ushers direct you and take the next available place. Receive the communion bread/wafer from the priest in your open right palm. You may choose to receive the wine directly from the chalice by gently guiding it to your lips as the Chalice Bearer presents it to you, or you may “intinct,” or dip, the bread into the wine. If you choose not to receive the wine, simply cross your arms across your chest after you have received the bread. You may then return to your pew following those around you. If it is physically difficult for you to come forward, please indicate this to an usher and a priest will bring communion to you where you are seated.
If you or your child would like to receive a blessing from a priest, come forward just as you would to receive communion and cross your arms across your chest, and/or instruct your child to do the same.
Get to know the people of the Diocese of Northwestern PA at our companion website, WeFoundHope.org.
Through videos of our church members sharing stories about their faith journeys and relationships with God and their church community, we hope to show examples of God's grace, love, and abundance at work.
If you would like to learn more about the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, please complete the form below or feel free to call us at 814.456.4203.