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Newcomers | Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit
Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit - Newcomers

What to Expect at the Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit

Sometimes unknown factors can make church feel intimidating or uncomfortable. If you found your way to this web page, we hope you will feel more comfortable and warmly welcomed, knowing a bit more about us and what to expect. Our hope is that you will join us in worship very soon.

A Place of Worship

As you enter, you will notice an atmosphere of prayerful worship and reverence. Your vision is drawn to the altar, or holy table, and to the cross. Your thoughts are taken at once to Christ and to God, whose house the church is. 

  • On the altar there are candles, to remind us that Christ is the Light of the world, according to John 8:12.

  • Often there are flowers or greenery, to beautify God’s house and to recall the resurrection of Jesus.

  • On opposite sides of the altar there are two wooden stands; the Lectern, where the Scriptures are read for the proclamation of the Word, and the Pulpit, where the sermon is preached.

  • At the side of the church, the votive stand and side altar reflect a rich Anglican heritage, where you may light a candle to offer prayer or thanksgiving to God, knowing that God always hears us.

  • At the rear of the church is the Baptismal Font, which contains some water that has been blessed. You may want to dip your finger into the font and anoint yourself with a blessing as you leave.

Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit - Parishoners

An Act of Worship

In Anglican churches, the congregation actively participates in worship.

  • Upon entering, you will receive a service bulletin that enables you to share fully in the service.

  • In the pews you will find the Holy Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Book of Common Praise.

  • It is customary upon entering church to kneel in one’s pew for a prayer of personal preparation for worship, personal meditation, and devotion.

  • It is also the custom to bow to the altar on entering and leaving the church as an act of reverence for Christ.


You may wonder when to stand or kneel. Practices vary, even among individual Anglicans. Nothing is required.

  • The general rule is: stand to sing, sit to hear and kneel to pray.

  • We stand for hymns and other congregational songs as part of the service.

  • We stand, too, to say our affirmation of faith, the Creed; and for the reading of the Gospel in the Holy Eucharist.

  • We sit during readings from the Psalms, Old Testament and New Testament Letters.

  • We also sit to hear and contemplate the sermon, and for choir anthems.

  • We kneel for confession of sin, for prayers during the service, to show our gratefulness to God for accepting us as his children and as an act of humility before Him.

Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit - Liturgy


leitourgia is a Greek composite word originally meaning ‘a public duty’, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen. Later it came to be understood as the customary public ritual, or pattern of worship, performed by a religious group on a regular basis, especially a Christian congregation or denomination.

  • There is something very special about worshiping God through a liturgy that connects the lives and voices of Christians from ages past, going back thousands of years.

  • We can even look back to ancient Jewish customs of worship through scripture readings, prayers, psalms, instrumental music, and teaching.

  • Liturgies throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion give shape and form to all the services at the Church of the Holy Spirit. Our current liturgical use is from The Book of Common Prayer (2019), updated periodically from the first Anglican prayer book of 1659.

  • While some parts of the services are always the same, others change.

    • We observe the seasons of the church calendar, including Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.​ Each season has its own color, seen in the altar hangings and vestments.

    • The Bible readings vary each week, according to a Lectionary, in 3-year cycles.

    • The weekly “Collect” or prayer of the collected worshipers, is an annual cycle.

The Order of Service

You will find the services of the Anglican Church beautiful in their ordered dignity, God-centered, and yet mindful of the nature and needs of human beings.


The principal service is the Holy Eucharist (also called Holy Communion, The Lord’s Supper, or The Mass).

  • The first part of the liturgy consists of prayers, readings of Holy Scripture, and a sermon or homily, followed by an affirmation of faith (the Creed), the prayers of the people, confession of sin, absolution, and the exchange of peace.

  • The second part of the liturgy begins with the offerings of the congregation, then proceeds with the Eucharistic prayer, consecration of the elements (bread and wine), Communion, the post-communion prayer, blessing, and dismissal.

  • ​At the end of the service some people kneel for a private prayer before leaving. 

  • Following the service, the priest greets the people as they leave.

The Peace

The Peace is an ancient liturgical practice; an exchange or greeting through word or gesture.

  • It is a sign of reconciliation, love, and renewed relationships in the Christian community.

  • The priest says “The peace of the Lord be with you.” The response of the peoples, “And with your spirit.”

  • We greet one another in the name of the Lord with a hand shake or embrace, or simply by eye contact and a verbal exchange of the word “peace”.

  • When we pass the peace to each other, and when the celebrant greets the congregation with the sursum corda “lift up your hearts”, and the congregation joyfully responds together “we lift them up to the Lord!” we are worshiping the same way Christians have worshiped since the days of the Early Church.

  • When you visit, you will be our respected and welcome guest. 

Receiving Communion

At the Holy Eucharist, all baptized Christians, regardless of denomination, are welcome to partake.

  • The usher will direct you to come forward to the altar rail, where you may stand or kneel.

  • Receive the bread (wafer) by making a cradle with your hands, with both palms up.

  • The priest will place the bread into your open hands, saying “The body of Christ”. You may eat.

  • The chalice bearer will assist the chalice to your lips saying “The blood of Christ” You may drink a small sip.

  • Alternatively, if you do not wish to drink of the common cup, simply refrain from eating the wafer of bread and give it to the chalice bearer, who will dip it in the wine, and place it in your mouth.

  • If you wish to receive the bread only, you may leave the altar rail after consuming the wafer. Christ is present in both the bread and wine.

  • If you wish to come forward, but do not wish to partake of the Holy Eucharist, cross your arms in front of you with one hand on each shoulder and the priest will give you a blessing.

  • If you are unable to come forward, the priest and chalice bearer will bring the bread and wine to you.

  • ​Once you have communed, return to your seat. You are invited to kneel and pray, join in worship with the communion hymns, or sit silently.

What Clergy and Lay Persons Wear

To add to the beauty and festivity of the services, and to signify their special ministries, the clergy and other ministers customarily wear vestments.

  • At the Holy Eucharist the priest frequently wears a chasuble (oval garment with an opening for the head) over the alb (full length white robe with sleeves) and stole (narrow band of colored fabric).

  • ​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. The most frequently used colors are white, red, violet, and green.

  • ​Other ministers, such as acolytes and chalice bearers, typically wear a cassock (black robe) and surplice (shorter white tunic) and a cross.


Children, even noisy ones, are welcome to worship.

  • We are family-friendly and understand that children are not always quiet or sleeping.

  • A nursery is available for children; infants through age 4.

  • Older children may participate in the service with their families.

  • We have KidKits in our Narthex for children to use in the services.

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