1. How Do I Follow the Service?
When you arrive, an usher will give you a bulletin that tells which pages in the Book of Common Prayer and the hymnal to use. Many parishes print the entire order of service in the bulletin itself.
2. Are my Kids Welcome? Is There a Cry Room?
Kids are always welcome. While most buildings lack a specified cry room, there are usually places where you can take your kids if they get fidgety where you can still hear the service. Nursery and children’s chapel are generally available.
3. What Should I Do Before the Service?
It’s appropriate to spend the pre-service time in quiet prayer or reflection.
4. How Do I Remember When to Stand, Sit, or Kneel?
Here’s the typical rule of thumb: stand during hymns, the Gospel reading, the Creed, the Peace, and the first part of the Eucharistic prayer; sit during the readings, sermon, and offertory; and kneel for prayer. During the Eucharistic prayer, it’s acceptable to either stand or kneel.
5. Do I Have to Do Everything the Other Worshipers Do?
No, but it is considered rude to not stand during the Gospel reading unless physically unable to. If unable to kneel, sitting is perfectly fine.
6. Am I Required to Put Something in the Offering Plate?
It’s not required, and no one will be offended. Whatever amount you feel like contributing is fine.
7. How Do I Receive Communion?
Usually, you’ll go forward to the altar rail. Stand or kneel at the rail, where you’ll receive the bread first. If receiving from the common cup, you can consume the bread first. When the chalice bearer comes to you, either take a small sip from the chalice, or dip the bread into the chalice, then consume. You can also have the chalice bearer dip the bread and place it in your mouth.
8. What Should I Do If I’m Not Receiving?
It’s okay if you choose not to receive for whatever reason. However, it’s a good idea to avoid leaving prior to the communion part of the service, as this can be somewhat rude. If not receiving, you can simply stay in your seat. You can also go forward, but cross your arms over your chest to indicate you’re not receiving. The priest will give you a blessing instead. If you cross your arms again when the chalice bearer comes by, they’ll go on to the next person.
9. What If I’m Disabled and Can’t Go Forward?
Let an usher know, and they can have someone bring the sacrament to you in your seat.
10. And After the Service?
You’ll have a chance to greet the clergy as you’re leaving. If there’s a coffee hour, you’re invited, of course!