What to Expect on a Sunday Morning

Expect to be welcomed, cared for and responded to. We hope you will be comforted and inspired by our worship together and will enjoy meeting members during worship and in the parish hall after the 10:00 a.m. service.

Getting Here / Parking
St. John’s Episcopal Church is located at 610 Young Street, Melbourne, Florida 32935, just 3 blocks south and 2 blocks east of the intersection of Rte. 1 and 518. (Click here for an interactive map). Look for our “Visitor Parking” signs immediately at the front of the main parking lot entrance directly across the street from the church. If those spots are already taken, park anywhere on that side of the street, including on the grass, using any one of the three entrances. Or, drive west past the parish hall and park anywhere on the grass. To enter: walk up the ramp or climb the few stairs to the double red doors; greeters there will be pleased to show you in and help you find your way.   Click here for a map of the campus.

There are two public restrooms easily accessible from both the walkway between the church and the parish hall, and from inside the parish hall. In the women’s restroom, there is a baby-changing table.

Sunday School, Nursery Care
Sunday school — or “King’s Kids” as we call it — is under the supervision of Deacon Elizabeth Murray; the children meet in Nick House (just east of the church building) at 9 a.m., the same time as the same time as the Adult Christian Education program in the Parish Hall. Children in first through fifth grade should go to Nick House at 9 and will join their parents for worship at 10 a.m., during the regular school year. In the summer, there is no 9 a.m. class and they join in the service at 10 a.m.  Newborns up to starting kindergarten go to Nursery or Children’s Chapel, which are in adjacent rooms off the courtyard.  An usher can guide you.  Nursery care is available for infants. Middle school and older are expected to join in the worship service.

The Church Building – As You Enter
As you enter the church building you will be greeted by an usher who will try to answer any questions you might have. They will also provide you with a service bulletin.

On each of the side of the aisle as you enter, you will see a small bowl mounted on the pole; it is filled with Holy Water. This is to remind us of our Baptism, forgiveness of sin, and membership in the Body of Jesus Christ. You are invited to touch the water. If you wish, you may dip your fingers in the water and make the sign of the cross by touching your forehead, chest, and shoulders.

Find a seat, anywhere. Some like to be close so they can see the “action.” Some like to be in the back to get a larger view, or just to be near the exit. Some like to be in the middle and surrounded by people. No matter where you sit for whatever reason, you already are in a holy space.

As you enter a bench (pew), you may wish to pause and bow slightly to reverence the cross. It is a way to help us focus on and literally orient ourselves to Jesus Christ as we prepare for worship. Before worship begins you may notice people praying, looking around at decorations, reading the bulletin, browsing the announcement page, reading a prayer book, hymnal or Bible, simply meditating, or listening to the choir. Please do what best suits you as you get ready for the worship service.

Worship Services:
Our worship services emphasize re-connecting with the presence of God in Jesus Christ. In worship we amplify this presence through prayer, singing, listening, silence, art, fellowship, alms-giving, Scripture, Bread and Wine.

St. John’s provides two service formats, both include Holy Communion:
The traditional-language worship service (known as Rite I) begins at 7:45 a.m. It is a rich, contemplative service, usually without music. The family service, using more contemporary language and music (known as Rite II) begins at 10 a.m., with a hymn and the procession of the cross, clergy and other worship leaders. Very often prior to that procession, we sit and sing ‘gathering’ hymns and songs.

Rite I
Joseph Gelineau, (1920-2008) was a French Catholic Jesuit priest and composer, mainly of modern Christian liturgical music. He is quoted as having once said that good liturgy creates a space in which people can pray. Steeped in the works of the sixteenth century prayer book, Rite I creates such a holy space. The timeless language of the early years of the Anglican Church combines with the gentle beauty of St. John’s to create a wonderful transcendent ambiance on early Sunday mornings.

Rite II
“This place sounds like church!” is often the reaction of newcomers who discover the Rite II service at St. John’s. Using uplifting and inspiring words and music, the congregation is taken through reflection on scriptures, an engaging sermon and a time for prayer and refocus. Rite II is a way to experience worship through all the senses, and with all the joy and energy of everyone from our newborns to our most senior members.

Posture and Gestures
During the service, traditionally we stand to sing, sit to listen and kneel to pray. While there is some variation and blending of these distinctions, the service bulletin and priest will be clear with directions. At any time, you are welcome to simply sit or stand, as your comfort and physical needs may require. Our service is highly interactive with congregational responses, prayers, etc. and we invite you to participate in the service as you feel comfortable. You will notice that in the bulletin the people’s responses are printed in boldface italic type. There is no one right way to do anything. Be comfortable. Try something new. Let others do what they need to do as you do what you need to do.

Receiving the Bread and Wine of Holy Communion
The bread and wine are the most powerful signs the church has to express the presence and work of God in the world and our lives. A special meal between friends, an everyday activity, food prepared with crushing and fermenting, Body and Blood – all add to our understanding of God’s presence. If you wish to receive the body of Christ please come to the Altar rail when the ushers indicate that it is time for your row to go forward, and hold out your hand to take the wafer of bread. You may eat the bread immediately, or you may wait and receive it with the wine. If you wish to receive the wine from the chalice please assist the chalice to your lips for a sip of wine, or you may leave the wafer in your hand and the Eucharistic Minister will dip it in the wine for you. If you wish to receive the bread only, please know it is the historic position of the Church that receiving either the bread or wine is complete communion; when the chalice bearer approaches you, decline it by crossing your arms over your chest.  If you do not wish to take the bread and wine, you are invited to come to the Altar rail and receive a blessing. Indicate this by folding your arms over your chest and placing your hands near your shoulders.

After the Service
The service from beginning to end usually takes one hour at 7:45 a.m., one hour 20 minutes at 10 a.m. Following the 10 a.m. service, we invite you to greet the clergy at the door and then join us in the Parish Hall for “Coffee Hour.” It is a time to enjoy some complimentary refreshments, introduce yourself to others, ask questions, and meet people. If you have any particular needs you would like to have someone pray for, there will be a prayer team at the altar rail immediately following the 10 a.m. service.

Do I need to give money?
No, it’s free.

Giving to the church is a result of a person’s response to God’s presence in their life. No one is required to put money in the plate. Giving is an act of thanksgiving. It is a way of honoring the role of livelihood and work in our lives as an offering of service to God. It is not an obligation or requirement, and we do not expect you to contribute to the operations of St. John’s.

However, we are not shy to presume upon your generosity and ask you to make a contribution to our community outreach charity by enclosing funds in a lavender envelop found in the pew rack; ALL of these funds are transmitted outside the parish!

If I wanted to support St. John’s, how would I do so?
You may place a check or currency in the plate at any service. At the time of the offertory, you will see people placing envelops in the plate. Members who make an annual commitment (called a pledge) to St. John’s receive a package of those envelops for their weekly use. Pledges are part of our response to all that God is doing for us. Your annual pledge makes it possible for the church to plan its programs for the year. Giving is anonymous, that is, the other members of the church will not know who gives how much. Our financial administrator keeps this information confidential. To make a pledge and receive weekly pledge envelopes please contact the office at: 321-254-3365.