Frequently Asked Questions
Is the church open during the week?
Unfortunately, at this time, the church is only open when worship services are held:
Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 9:00 AM,
Wednesdays from 5:45 PM to 7 PM, and
Sundays from 7:30 AM to 1 PM, and from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.
Where is worship and how do I find my way around?
Worship takes place in the main church. Bathrooms are in the basement of St. Christopher’s House, the large building on the western side of the cluster. Coffee hour after the 11 AM worship is in the fellowship hall of the St. Christopher’s House. A map of the church can be found here.
What do people wear to church?
Some people dress up and others come in from jogging, and most dress somewhere in-between. People at Holy Trinity don’t pay a lot of attention to what others are wearing. We are just glad you worship with us.
Where did the Episcopal Church come from?
The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, derived from the Church of England and sharing with it traditions of faith and order as set forth in its Book of Common Prayer. Before the American Revolution, we were known as the Church of England in America. After the Revolution, we became the Episcopal Church – a self-governing faith community affiliated with the worldwide Anglican tradition. The word “Anglican” means in the tradition of the Church of England. Today, more than 80 million people around the world are part of the Anglican faith tradition: every continent except Antarctica has Anglican churches today. For example, if you travel to Australia or Argentina, you’ll find Anglican churches that worship in the same style as the Episcopal Church in America.
Does the Episcopal Church report to the Pope?
No. The head of the worldwide Anglican tradition is the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. He or she serves as the spiritual head of the Anglican Church. Unlike the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, the Archbishop serves only as a leader and guide, and does not make rules or laws for the Church to follow. The Episcopal Church is the term we use for that branch of the Anglican union located in the United States.
Are women allowed to serve as priests in the Episcopal Church?
Yes. Women serve as priests, deacons, bishops, and in many other positions in the Episcopal Church today.
Are Episcopal priests allowed to marry and have children?
Yes. Absolutely. It’s a personal decision on their part.
Does the Episcopal Church allow gay and lesbian persons to participate?
Yes. All of God’s children are welcome to participate in the Episcopal Church and answer God’s call to service in a wide variety of roles and missions. Gay and lesbian persons are warmly welcomed, involved in the life of the parish, and may serve in all levels of lay and ordained leadership in the Church.
Does the Episcopal Church perform same-sex marriages?
Yes. The Episcopal Church codified theological support for same-sex marriage by two decisions at the General Convention in 2015. The first formally approved gender-neutral and same-sex marriage ceremonies, while the second changed the current marriage “canons” to allow clergy to officiate same-sex marriages using either a marriage rite from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer or a “trial” liturgy. The newer marriage rite is used for most LGBT services and many heterosexuals, as well. It may be found HERE.
I grew up Roman Catholic. How is the Episcopal Church different?
Our service or Mass itself is actually very similar. We celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday (and Wednesdays), and everyone is welcome to receive, from youngest to oldest. The Episcopal Church does not offer a rite of “First Communion” because we believe it is a blessing for children to remember being included in every aspect of church for their whole lives — we all understand communion in different ways as we learn and grow, but Jesus is always present for us in the sacrament.
I’m planning on visiting Holy Trinity. May I take communion in your church?
While the teaching of the Episcopal Church welcomes all baptized Christians to receive Holy Communion, we leave each person’s choice up to his or her conscience. You may also request a blessing at the altar rail instead of receiving communion. Your own denomination may have some restrictions on where you may or may not commune however, and while we might disagree with their theology, we certainly respect your decision and your practice.
I’m allergic to wheat. What do I do at Communion?
Please signal to an usher or a minister at the altar and a gluten free Communion Host will be given to you.
I don’t drink alcohol. What do I do at Communion?
Receive the Body of Christ (the bread) and when the Blood of Christ (the chalice of wine) is offered, simply cross your arms over your chest and the minister will not offer you the chalice.
I am unable to walk to the Altar Rail to receive communion. Can I still receive communion?
Of course, simply tell the usher or someone near you who is going to the Altar to have the priest bring the bread and the wine to you.
I have already been baptized in another church. If I become an Episcopalian, do I need to be re-baptized?
No. “We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” Once you have been baptized with water, in the name of the Trinity, you have been received by adoption into the family of Christ (not into a particular denomination) and that need not…in fact, should not…be repeated. This is true even if you were a tiny baby when you were baptized. If you wish to make a public, adult, affirmation of faith, you may choose to be confirmed, if appropriate. You also always have the option of publicly reaffirming your baptismal vows, even after confirmation, if you so choose, but this is a highly personal matter, and not in any way required.
How do I join the Episcopal Church?
If you have not been baptized, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism would be the sacramental way of making you a member of this church and the Episcopal Church. If you are coming from a church in the Apostolic Succession (i.e., Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox), and have already been confirmed, you would be “received” by the bishop of your diocese, in a ceremony that normally takes place during the bishop’s visit to your church or at a special service at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. If you are coming from a different tradition, confirmation is available, though is not mandatory for full church membership, but we would ask for a record of your baptism, or simply ask you for the date of your baptism so that we might make a record of it. Note that confirmation or reception is NOT necessary before you can take communion, or participate in the life of the church.
When do I stand, sit, or kneel during worship?
Specific instructions are in the rubrics (directions) of the Book of Common Prayer, and we reproduce these in our worship leaflets. In general, we stand when we sing, praise, or read the Gospel, we sit during all other Bible readings and during the Sermon. Many choose to kneel during pray. During the blessing of the bread and wine at communion (The Eucharistic Prayer), either standing or kneeling is fine. You should sit, stand, or kneel as you are able and as the Spirit leads you.
Do I have to pay anything to go to church?
There is no “fee” to attend church, but an Offertory or Offering is received for the mission and work of the church. This passing of the plate combined with our annual pledges help keep Holy Trinity functioning and alive. This money goes towards maintaining the building, paying our rector and staff, and stocking administrative and liturgical supplies. Most ongoing members of Trinity are Pledging members, supporting Trinity with their time and talent as well as their treasure. Pledge packets can be found in the back of the church and one may also make a donation or pledge online.
Will the clergy or anyone else in authority tell me how to think, how to act, or how to vote?
Absolutely not. In the Episcopal Church, we know that every journey toward God is unique and highly personal. You won’t be forced to think a certain way or “get in line” with everyone else. In fact, you’re welcome to bring your questions, doubts, hopes and dreams with you. There’s a good reason why the Episcopal tradition is sometimes called “the thinking person’s church.” You’ll be encouraged to think for yourself and seek guidance from God through prayer, worship, meditation, reading and any other method that works for you. Each one of us is precious to God and we all find God in different ways.
What are the three levels of governance in the Episcopal Church?
The three levels of governance are the parish, the diocese, and the General Convention.
Who is responsible for the work of the church at the parish level?
The parishioners are responsible for work at the parish, through the leadership of their rector and their elected vestry.
What is a vestry?
A vestry is a group of church leaders, composed of wardens, a clerk, and members elected by the parishioners at the annual parish meeting, as governed by its canons and by laws.
What is a diocese?
A diocese is a geographical grouping of congregations under the supervision of a diocesan bishop.
What do bishops do?
In addition to providing vision and leadership for their dioceses, bishops are charged with the apostolic work of leading, supervising, and uniting the church. The Book of Common Prayer notes that a bishop is “to act in Christ's name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the church; and to ordain others to continue Christ's ministry” (BCP, p. 855). Episcopal services led specifically by bishops include the ordination and consecration of bishops, ordination of priests, ordination of deacons, celebration of a new ministry, and the consecration of a church or chapel. Bishops also preside at services of confirmation, reception, and reaffirmation. Bishops bless altars and fonts, and the blessing of chalices, patens, and church bells is also traditionally reserved for bishops.
What is the General Convention?
The General Convention is the highest governing body of the Episcopal Church. It meets every three years and is composed of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. The House of Bishops meets concurrently with the House of Deputies during General Convention, and also holds interim meetings between conventions. The House of Deputies consists of clergy and lay representatives in equal numbers. The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies meet and act separately, and both must concur in identical language to adopt legislation. The General Convention alone has authority to amend the Book of Common Prayer, to amend the church's constitution and canons, and to determine the program and budget of the General Convention, including the missionary, educational, and social programs it authorizes.