St. Paul's Episcopal Church

A place to belong, whoever you are, just as you are

FAQs

I’m planning on visiting St. Paul’s. May I take receive communion (the consecrated bread and wine) in your church?

Please know that ALL are welcome to receive communion at St. Paul’s. Please let us know if you require a gluten-free wafer. If you wish to receive, but prefer not to drink wine, you are welcome to bow your head or touch your wafer to the outside of the chalice.

You may also request a blessing at the altar rail instead of receiving the wafer or wine. This can be signaled to the priest by crossing your arms over your chest.

I am disabled and am unable to walk to the Altar to receive communion. Can I still receive communion?

Of course! Please feel free to tell the usher or someone near you who is going to the Altar to have the priest & Eucharistic Minister bring the bread and the wine to you.

I grew up Roman Catholic. How is the Episcopal Church different?

Our Service of Holy Eucharist is actually very similar in style to a Roman Catholic Mass. Like the Roman Catholic Church, we offer Communion every Sunday, although 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.

Is the Episcopal Church Protestant or Catholic? Or Protestant and Catholic?

Both, Neither, Either! Anglicanism is often referred to as a “bridge tradition.” We stand squarely in the Reformed tradition, we consider ourselves as directly descended from the Early Church as do the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches. In Greek, the word “Catholic” means “universal.” “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi,” which in Latin means, “the rule of prayer is the rule of belief.” We find our unity in common prayer, not conformity to a certain set of doctrines. We articulate our faith in the historic Nicene Creed each Sunday, but there are many ways to understand the Christian faith as it is presented in that text.

What is the governing body of St. Paul’s? 

St. Paul’s governing body is called the vestry, a term whose origins date back to the traditions of the Church of England. St. Paul’s vestry members are elected at our Annual Meeting each January. Click HERE for our vestry and staff photo directory.

The parish staff at St. Paul’s is comprised of a full-time Rector (the Priest in charge of the parish) and Curate (a clergy member who is continuing his formation as Priest by serving an “internship” in this parish), a part-time Associate Priest, a Deacon (an ordained, non-stipendiary minister who is assigned by the Bishop and works primarily outside of the parish in the community), a Parish Administrator (a full-time staff member responsible for the day-to-day and business-related functions of the parish) a Sexton (a full-time staff member charged with the care of the building and grounds and maintenance of the parish calendar, including use of the building by outside groups), a part-time Director of Music Ministries and a Communications Coordinator.  You can find our vestry and staff photo directory here.

Can I read or watch some of your sermons? 

Yes and yes. The majority of sermons preached at St. Paul’s are posted here.

also

ConcordTV, our local non-profit community television station, broadcasts our 10:00 am Sunday service and publishes video of it on their website. The live schedule is as follows:

  • Mondays 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm
  • Wednesday 11:00 am
  • Thursday 4:30 pm
  • Saturday 9:30 am
  • Sunday 11:30 am

How can I learn more about Episcopal worship practices?

The best way to learn more about our worship practices is to look at of our service bulletins (see an example HERE) and a copy of the Book of Common Prayer. The Book of Common Prayer can be found in the pews at St. Paul’s during the service, can be borrowed from the St. Paul’s library, or purchased through the parish office.

St. Paul’s typically follows The Holy Eucharist: Rite Two found on page 355.

During Lent and Advent, the 8:00 am service follows The Holy Eucharist: Rite One found on page 323.

Why does everyone get out of his or her pew and walk around during The Peace?

When the priest says, “The peace of the Lord be with you” and everyone gets up to greet each other, we are doing so because it is the time in the liturgy after the confession of sin when we celebrate that we are reconciled to God and each other with Christ. You don’t need to be a social butterfly to participate – no conversation required, we simply shake hands and say “Peace be with you” to the folks in our surrounding area.

It’s fine to let others come to you or hold back until you feel more comfortable. Please cross your arms and nod or offer your elbow for an elbow bump if you are ill or you simply would prefer not to touch hands.

How do I join the Episcopal Church? Do I need to be confirmed?

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 the Diocese of New Hampshire, in a ceremony that normally takes place during the bishop’s bi-annual visitation to St. Paul’s.  If you are coming from a different tradition, confirmation would be appropriate. You are most welcome to speak to a clergy member if you are interested. Note that confirmation or reception is NOT necessary before you can take communion, or participate in the life of the church.

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.

When do I stand, sit, or kneel during worship?

Specific traditional requests are noted in our service bulletins, but in general: We stand when we sing, praise, or read the Gospel, we sit during all other Bible readings and during the Sermon. We kneel to pray. During the blessing of the bread and wine at communion (The Eucharistic Prayer), either standing or kneeling is fine. If you are not sure, just follow the example of the people around you.  If you are unable to stand or kneel for long periods of time, please feel free to remain seated. You won’t be the only one and no one will mind, we promise!

Do I have to pay anything to go to church?

There is no “fee” to attend church, although an Offertory is taken as part of the service.  This passing of the plate combined with our annual pledges are what keep St. Paul’s  functioning and alive.  This money goes towards maintaining the building, paying our clergy and staff, and stocking administrative and liturgical supplies. Most ongoing members of St. Paul’s are “pledging members”, supporting St. Paul’s with their time and talent as well as their treasure. For more information about becoming a pledging member, please contact the office or speak with a member of the clergy.

Is there anything in the Episcopal service which may embarrass me?

You will never be singled out or asked to come forward or speak up for any reason at an Episcopal Service. If we are doing our job to be a welcoming community, people should introduce themselves to you and invite you to coffee after worship. We hope that this honest warm welcome will make you feel part of the community.

What safeguards are in place to prevent abuse in your church community? 

In the words of our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. A Robert Hirschfeld,

We often forget that the Church has an amplifying, magnifying, and intensifying effect on word, gesture, and touch.  Human interactions that take place in a church building or in the context of a church activity have an increased capacity to heal and inspire, or to  harm and confuse.

With this in mind, the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire requires all clergy and lay ministers (Sunday school teachers, vestry members, food pantry workers, etc.) to be Safe Church trained every three years. Safe Church training is comprised of both online and in-person modules which educate participants on issues such as professional and respectful conduct when interacting with members of the parish, as well as signs to identify child and elder abuse. Please contact our parish administrator if you need to complete or renew your Safe Church training.

What about baptisms, weddings, funerals? 

No matter where you are on life’s journey, St. Paul’s is here to support you.  While we are always here for the daily joys and concerns of life, we also mark the important milestones in the church community on a regular basis. Please click HERE for more details regarding baptism, weddings & funerals at St. Paul’s.

Can I make a donation online with a credit card? 

You sure can. Many people today rely on a credit card to pay all their bills and track their spending. (Not to mention the free miles/points/cash back you can earn!) If you are one of those folks who would find donating to St. Paul’s via your credit card convenient, then we have some good news for you! St. Paul’s has partnered with Tithe.ly, a reputable mobile platform designed to help churches meet their fundraising goals. Donating via Tithe.ly is as simple as sending a text from your smartphone:

1) Text the word “give” to (603)786-7126
2) You will receive a text back from Tithe.ly immediately with a link.
3) Click on the link and make your donation via the credit card of your choice.
(Note: You don’t even need to enter your 16 digit credit card number – your phone’s camera can scan the card and read the numbers for you!)
We tested the process in the parish office, and it took under 2 minutes start to finish. Tithe.ly allows you to give a one- time donation for a specific ministry OR pay your monthly pledge via automatic payments.

Paper check donations made out to “St. Paul’s Episcopal Church” are gladly accepted as well. They can be mailed to the address below. You can also set up a monthly EFT (automatic funds transfer) to St. Paul’s from your checking account. Thank you for considering donating to the upkeep of St. Paul’s Church and the work our outreach center performs ministries accomplish in the Concord community.

I’d love to come to church, but my kids have a hard time sitting still.

There is plenty of room for kids to wiggle and they are welcome to attend worship with you. Alternatively, Sunday School programs and Nursery are scheduled during the 10:00 am service so the kids can learn at their own level before joining us for Communion. If your child is screaming at the top of their lungs, it might be a good idea to take a walk down the back stairs to Ordway Hall for a minute or two, but rest assured that the little squeals and toys getting dropped are noises we can handle. St. Paul’s offers professionally staffed nursery care for ages five and under beginning at 9:30 am on Sunday so that parents may attend the service. For children ages 6-12, Sunday School begins at 9:45 am. More details on Sunday School can be found here on our Ministries page in the “Children & Youth” section.

Coffee Hour after the service is a fun time open to all, especially children – we have a special play corner for children, with coloring, books and toys.

What is the significance of the Episcopal Seal (The Shield)?

shield_round

This symbol, which you will see at virtually every Episcopal Church and web site, is the official logo of ECUSA, and depicts our history.  It is red, white and blue…the colors of both the U.S. and England.  The red Cross of St. George on a white field is symbolic of the Church of England.  The blue field in the upper left corner is the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A.  It features a Cross of St. Andrew, in recognition of the fact that the first American bishop was consecrated in Scotland.  This cross is made up of nine crosslets, which represent the nine dioceses that met in Philadelphia in 1789 to form the Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A.

Does the Episcopal Church ordain women to the clergy?  

Yes. The Episcopal Church has ordained women to all orders of ministry (Deacon, Priest & Bishop) since 1976.

Does the Episcopal Church support and ordain members of the LGBTQ community? 

Yes. God’s call and the rite of marriage is open to all.

– Some of these FAQs were adapted from the website of Trinity Episcopal Parish of Stoughton, MA.