Welcome to the Visitor's Guide to St. Michael's. The purpose of this page is to give you enough information about the Sunday service at St. Michael's so that you will be comfortable in your visit. Of course, as with any church, the visitor's only job is to show up at the door. It is up to the members to guide you about and ensure you experience what the parish has to offer. Still, because we come together as Church in the Eucharist, (praying, proclaiming, responding, etc... together) some resist visiting Anglican services for fear they "won't know what to do." This page is for you. Finally, please call, or even make an appointment with the priest outside of Sunday services, with any questions you have about the parish.
The main Sunday service offered at St. Michael's is known as a Missal Service. That is, a Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion, Mass or Lord's Supper) done as ordered by an approved missal (service book or liturgical book). This service in substance dates back to the time of the Apostles and in form has been much the same for the last fourteen hundred years. It is, therefore, not a service unique to St. Michael's. Catholics, Orthodox Methodists and Lutherans will recognize most of the service as it is from a familiar root. All that is done in the service becomes a rich tapestry of worship, practiced over millennia, in which the people of God join the heavenly host in reaching out to His divine presence.
You Enter the church through the doors on the west. When you come in through the wooden doors, you will be in the narthex (a foyer area). The next set of interior doors will lead you into the nave (the central part of the church with pews).
To your right you will see a set of stairs leading to the undercroft. If you follow the stairs, you will be entering the parish hall. Here you will find bathrooms, nursery (currently being upgraded), coffee, etc...
Upon entering the church, you may decide which part to visit first. You will find the church side to be quiet, always offering time for prayer and meditation, while the parish hall side has the joyful din of conversation.
As you go to the pews you will be offered a bulletin from one of the ushers. The bulletin gives a description of the service for that day. It will also contain much of the scriptures used in that day's service as well as hymns, notices and prayer requests. If you're not familiar with the service, the booklet you want is in the pews: The Order for the Celebration of the Holy Mass. Here every "sit" "stand" "kneel" "sing" or "say" is clearly marked and the entire service follows without having to flip about. Many, if not most, life long Anglicans still use these booklets in the Holy Eucharist as an aid to focusing their hearts and minds. Follow the guidelines offered in the bulletin when the time for communion arrives.
Not completely confident about the service? Give one of these a try:
* Do what we've all done at least once: Sit toward the back and watch! Sitting through a service is not irreverent or bothersome to those around you. Your interest in God is our joy.
* Come to a Wednesday Service. At this small service things are more relaxed and there is an open discussion afterwards where your questions can be addressed while fresh on your mind.
* Make an appointment with the priest to see the church. Here you may get a feel for things while getting your questions answered in a more private setting.
St. Michael's Anglican Church
1489 Old Bethel Church Road
Winchester, VA 22603
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