FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for newcomers

The people of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church welcome you! We hope you will visit us soon.

We look forward to greeting you personally, and hope that the answers to these frequently asked questions will help you feel at ease when you visit and give you a better idea of what to expect.

What is the Episcopal Church like and what do Episcopalians believe ?

The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion of Churches throughout the world. The Anglican tradition is a rich and diverse one, dating back almost 500 years. The web site of the Episcopal Church in the USA provides a wealth of information about beliefs and practices. Click here to go to their website. We encourage you to explore some of the many Episcopal web sites to learn more about the Episcopal Church.

For families with children

Families with young children are welcome to worship together during our Eucharist. Or the children may participate in children’s liturgies offered at the same time as the Eucharist. The ushers have special activity bags for children who stay with their families during the Eucharist.

We have a nursery and sitters available for small children during our 10am service and during our Education Hour following the 10am service. The nursery is located on the lower level. We also have Children’s Worship Services.

What should I wear to a church service?

Generally those who attend Episcopalian services wear their “Sunday best.” Some men wear suits and ties; others wear nice jeans and a shirt. Generally what you’d wear to work or the office would be suitable. Our 5 p.m. service is more informal. Jeans and t-shirt are fine.

How long do Sunday worship services last?

Our worship services last approximately an hour. The 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. services may be a bit shorter than one hour. The 10 a.m. service with choir is usually over by 11:10 or so.

What accommodations does St. Matthew’s have for visitors with hearing or vision problems?

St. Matthew’s provides assistive listening devices and large-print service bulletins that are available to anyone who requests them. Please ask one of our greeters or at the main desk in our Narthex (lobby) who can get them for you. If you attend services regularly and would like a digital copy of our service bulletin to read on your tablet device, please contact the office at 895-3485 or email our Parish Secretary during the week prior to your visit.

Is the church accessible to people with wheelchairs and walkers?

St. Matthew’s facilities are fully accessible to people who use wheelchairs and walkers. An elevator provides access to our main and lower levels. In addition there are locations for wheelchair seating thoughout our sanctuary. One of our ushers can guide you to an accessible seating location before the service.

How am I expected to participate in the service?

You are encouraged to take part in any way that is comfortable for you. The best way to learn about our worship practices is to look through a copy of The Book of Common Prayer, which can be found in the pews of this and every Episcopal Church. When you come to Sunday services, an usher will give you a worship bulletin that will provide the words of our liturgy and give you the numbers of hymns in the hymnal (the maroon book in the pews). We hope you will feel welcome and that you belong; we hope you do not feel pressured in any way. Take your time, ask questions, and participate more fully when you are ready.

To get a better idea of our 10am service’s music and prayers, listen to any of our services by clicking here.

What kind of sermons will I hear?
At each of our Sunday services there is a sermon, preached by our rector or associate rector. Sometimes there are guest preachers. Sermons usually last 10-15 minutes. To get a better idea of the sermons you’ll hear at St. Matthew’s, visit our page Listen to Sermons and Services or browse our video site for sermons.

May I take communion?

All of us who seek God and are drawn to God through Christ are welcome at God’s table. During the service, please remain seated until guided by the ushers to the communion rail. Return to your seat after communion by the side aisles. If for any reason you do not desire to receive communion, you may come to the altar rail and cross your arms over your chest. The priest will give you a blessing.

If you need gluten-free bread, please ask the priest giving out bread at the communion rail.

Are children welcome in the worship service?

Yes! Children are welcome at all our worship services. We also offer special children’s services during part of our 10 o’clock service. Click here to learn more about these services.

How can I learn more about St. Matthew’s?

One of the best ways to find out more about St. Matthew’s is to attend one of our Sunday services and pick up a Welcome Packet at the desk. We offer a Welcome Class for visitors and newcomers throughout the year after our 10 a.m. Sunday service. The class is designed to give you an overview of the life of our parish. You can learn more about these classes from your Welcome Packet. Another good way to learn about how we worship and what we do is to wander around this website.

What does it take to become a member?

If you have been attending St. Matthew’s for a while, have been participating in worship, education opportunities, and other activities, and have decided you would like to become a member, please contact us. If you are not baptized, simply contact us to learn more about the process leading to baptism.

Do I need to be re-baptized if I have already been baptized in another church?

Once you have been baptized with water, in the name of the Trinity, you have been received into the family of Christ (not into a particular denomination) and that act need not be repeated. This is true even if you were an infant when you were baptized. If you wish to make a public, adult affirmation of your faith, you may choose to be confirmed.

How do I transfer if I am a member of another Episcopal Church?

You may request that St. Matthew’s write your current parish and request a transfer of your letter of membership. Contact our office.

What do I do if I want to have my child baptized?

Baptism is the sacramental welcoming of a person into the Church, the Body of Christ, so it is essential that at least one of a child’s parents be active in the life and ministry of this or some other parish. For further information about baptism, contact The Rev. Kelly Kirby.

How do I get on the mailing list for the newsletter?

Click here to sign up for our weekly eSpirit with news about upcoming events, services and educational opportunities. You do not have to attend St. Matthew’s to receive our eSpirit.

How can I find out about volunteer opportunities?

Check our website. You’ll find many opportunities to get involved.

How should I address the clergy?

In our tradition, ministers are all the people of the church: lay people, bishops, priests, and deacons. We are an informal place, so feel free to skip the “father/mother.” You may address our Rector, the Rev. Kelly Kirby, as “Kelly”, and our Associate Rector, the Rev. Benjamin Hart, as “Benjamin.”

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