Newcomer FAQ

  • How does the Episcopal Church meet me on my spiritual journey?

    In the Episcopal Church we believe in a God that is loving, liberating, and life-giving. The spiritual journey is lifelong, and as a church community we pray for and encourage one another as we joyfully follow Jesus Christ.Wherever you are on your journey, there is a place for you here. We believe that God loves you- no exceptions. Saint John’s, and The Episcopal Church more broadly, is a space where you can bring your questions, doubts, and curiosity about God.

    What does it mean when we say we are an “inclusive community”?

    Saint John’s Cathedral is a house of prayer for all people and the Episcopal Church in Colorado. Jesus welcomed and healed people from diverse crowds, and we aim to exemplify Jesus’ hospitality to all. Our congregation is made up of individuals and families from all different walks of life: persons of any race, sexuality, gender identity and expression, age, and/or nationality, those from any faith background, and those across the political spectrum are welcomed here. We believe all persons are made in God’s image and are called beloved. LGBTQI+ people serve on staff, in lay leadership, and in a variety of ministries.

    What can I expect at an Episcopal service?

    This is a time to connect with God and community. The flow of the service is designed to invite us to reflect, pray, be together, and be renewed for the work of our lives.

    Our tradition is liturgical – we use elements like vestments, incense, and holy water during each of the services. These items serve to engage all of our senses during worship. We love a script. The leaflet provides all the information you need for the service. Bolded words are said by the entire congregation. The words in red will tell you when to sit, stand, kneel, or bow. You may see additional movements, such as people crossing themselves, or bowing at the cross, altar, or Gospel book. These are signs of one’s own faith. They may help some people feel connected with, or show reverence to, God.

    If you are new to the Episcopal Church, please relax and don’t worry too much about doing the “right thing.” It is most important for you to feel comfortable and enjoy the service.

  • What is available for children?

    Children are always welcome to remain with you in church; they participate in the 10:30 am service each Sunday and are an important part of our community. We have busy bags at the doors which consist of a toy, coloring material, and various engagement activities. Children are also welcome to attend Children’s Chapel during the first part of the 10:30 am service; more information on this offering is here (sjcathedral.org/children-sunday-morning). Child care is provided at our morning services; please check with an usher or staff for directions to the nursery or Godly Play room.

    What if I, my child, or my aging parent has some difficulty focusing or sitting still during the service?

    We know that challenges with focus and restlessness are not age specific. Please feel comfortable to walk, stretch, or color during any of the services regardless of age.

    What do I do at communion?

    Communion is the time of the service when people come forward to receive the bread and wine. You may come forward when your row is invited by an usher, hold out your hands as you approach the clergy, and the clergyperson will place a wafer in your palm. Gluten-free wafers may also be requested from one of the clergy.

    There are a few ways to take communion: You may eat the wafer and then drink from the common cup (or chalice), or you can wait and have the chalice bearer dip the wafer in the wine (this is called intinction). You are also welcome to just receive the wafer without the wine. If you do not wish to receive communion, you may come forward for a blessing; when you approach the clergy, place your arms across your chest like an X with palms on your shoulders and the clergy will say a blessing for you. Children are invited to also receive communion or a blessing.

  • What is the difference between the three Sunday services?

    Both of the morning services follow the Book of Common Prayer. The 8 am service is mostly spoken and follows the Rite I liturgy, which uses traditional language, so you’ll hear a lot of “thee,” “thy,” and “thou.”

    The 10:30 am service follows the Rite II liturgy, which is in contemporary language. This service is a Choral Eucharist, so the choir will sing much of the music. Children and families are invited to sit closer to the altar at this service to get a closer view of the Eucharist.

    Our 5 pm service is called the Wilderness. This unique service is meant to connect the ancient and modern aspects of our faith. Incense is regularly used; there is time for private, contemplative prayer throughout the church space and with prayer stations; and the liturgy is composed from resources outside the Book of Common Prayer. The Wilderness musicians cultivate a soundscape specific to the service, providing a contemplative atmosphere. If you’re looking for a different kind of worship experience, The Wilderness might be for you.

    What should I wear to a service?

    You’ll see people with diverse styles at Saint John’s. We hope that you will come in appropriate, comfortable clothes. Many people enjoy a Colorado casual style – nice jeans, a shirt, and a warm layer for chilly mornings – and Broncos gear is welcome.

  • Who is leading the service?

    Saint John’s clergy serve on a rotating basis as the preacher and presider. You will also see lay volunteers serving as acolytes and vergers (assistants throughout the service), readers, and ushers. We rely on amazing volunteers to support the worship service.

    What happens next?

    We hope that your time at Saint John’s is meaningful! If you would like to continue your spiritual and community growth, please fill out a welcome card. You are welcome to join us for Coffee Hour immediately following each service; just ask any staff member or volunteer to point you in the direction! Your presence is important and we are glad to have you here.

    About Saint John’s: Visit our website to learn more about our staff, programs, volunteer opportunities, and sacraments. Please sign up to receive our weekly newsletter, the Voice.

    Visit the National Episcopal Church website to learn more about the Episcopal tradition.