Worship at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Worship is central to St. Peter’s life as a Christian community. Through worship, we experience our highest joy and deepest communion with one another. Worship brings us into conscious relationship with a gracious and loving God, unites us in the Spirit with the Church throughout the world, and with our brothers and sisters who have gone before us.
St. Peter’s worship life embraces a range of traditional and contemporary worship styles. Our liturgies are rooted in ancient Jewish and Christian forms of prayer, incorporated into a Book of Common Prayer (BCP) that includes formats for different worship occasions, prayers, and psalms, a catechism, and historical documents. A separate hymnal contains music.
Weekly Worship Services
Weekly worship services offer scripture readings and prayers, according to the Revised Common Lectionary, a cycle of readings shared across Catholic, Orthodox, and many Protestant denominations and which fit the rhythm of the seasons in the Christian Calendar.
8:00 am Holy Eucharist – Quiet and simple holy communion with no music
10:30am Choral Holy Eucharist – Holy Communion with music led by St. Peter’s Choir and and complemented with additional musical offerings.
The sanctuary and chapel at St. Peter’s are open every day. Monday through Saturday, the space is open from 11:00am to 2:00pm for quiet prayer, meditation, and reflection. Occasionally, burial or wedding services may be scheduled during this time, so check the schedule at the entranceway or call ahead to ensure silence.
Wednesday, 7:00am – Contemplative Eucharist in the Chapel, usually followed by a shared breakfast. This service of readings, silence, and simple chant opens with several minutes of gently tolling bells and concludes with a celebration of Holy Eucharist.
Thursday Healing Service at 12:00 noon – this service of Holy Communion is gentle, relaxed, reverent. Anointing for healing follows the Eucharist.
and other special festival and community worship services throughout the year!
What to Expect on Sunday Morning
Worship at St. Peter’s is liturgical. Liturgy translates literally as “work done in public.” In church that public work is public prayer. In the Anglican/Episcopalian Tradition we put the liturgies we pray together most often in a book called The Book of Common Prayer. There are other books of liturgy as well, like the Book of Occasional Service (which, unsurprisingly, you only need occasionally), and Enriching Our Worship, a collection of liturgies with more gender-inclusive language. At St. Peter’s, we also make use of liturgies from other churches within the Anglican Communion (from England, Scotland, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.).
To be a liturgical Christian is to know you walk a particularly well-worn path. The words and gestures used in church have been passed down through the ages. The psalms, ancient Jewish songs, are the earliest prayer book we have, dating from the 5th century BCE. Most liturgy makes use of the psalms. We pray words together that have been prayed for thousands of years. We stand with the saints who have gone before us. In some ways liturgical Christianity is a bit like a “Life-hacks” article on Buzzfeed. The Book of Common Prayer is a compilation of “prayer-hacks” or “worship-hacks.” Over the years people have figured out what words and motions help people to connect with God. When we open to the page of a particular liturgy, we pray in a particular historical rhythm. At St. Peter’s, we seek to adapt the ancient liturgy for our contemporary times. When we hold the tension well, liturgy comes alive. The ancient speaks to the present, and the wisdom of the ages helps us to sense our connection to God. Liturgy is an invitation to participate in a different world, a different sense of time.
Our Presiding Bishop talks about how liturgy can connect us to the “Jesus Movement.”
This video cannot be embedded so to watch it, please click here: https://youtu.be/rcipDDJoiIs
Life Passage Worship Services
St. Peter’s also helps worshippers mark major life passages with services of baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial, as well as through services marking less familiar occasions such as reconciliation with God (confession), commissioning for a special task, healing from illness, thanksgiving after the birth or adoption of a child, house blessings, and vigils and prayers at the time of death. Please speak with the Rector to schedule any of these services. For more information about any of the following services, call the church office to speak with the Rector or complete and submit the following form.
Baptism is about belonging. The service of Holy Baptism is a happy occasion in the life of the church. Those who want to join the Christian community and claim an identity as a beloved child of God are welcomed in a ritual that takes place when the church gathers for worship. There are special times throughout the year when candidates are baptized.
- The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (Sunday after January 6), recalls when Jesus himself was baptized in the river Jordan and anointed by the Holy Spirit.
- The Easter Vigil (evening before Easter Day) recalls Christ’s death and resurrection—God breaking the bonds of death that hold us from the fullness of life in God’s grace.
- The feast of Pentecost (50 days after Easter) recalls the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- The biennial visitation of the Bishop (usually early September) recalls our unity in Christ, carried through the centuries by those chosen as apostles.
- The Sunday after All Saints’ (November 1) recalls the whole community of believers, sanctified by God through Holy Baptism.
When older children or adults desire baptism, preparation is necessary and is usually offered pastorally with the Rector. When infants are presented by their parents and godparents, the clergy lead the preparation with the adults gathered in the days before the ceremony. For more information about baptism, please fill out the following contact form.
We believe in committed lifelong partnerships of promise for couples, whether of the opposite or the same sex. Christians are called into community and into relationships that express the love of God in a lifelong bond of mutual support and fidelity. When a couple desires the blessing of their promised and faithful covenant, the rector will work with them to prepare both for the lifelong union they intend and for the ceremony where that union is celebrated and blessed.
At St. Peter’s we see the preparation and celebration as an opportunity for the couple to come closer to God and grow in faith. We ask for a six-month preparation period in order to complete the necessary counseling and planning. The first step in making a request for a wedding at St. Peter’s is to fill out the following contact form.
When a loved one dies, we seek the comfort of the community of faith. St. Peter’s offers the support of many pastoral ministries. Foremost in the family’s mind is the planning of a service to remember the loved one departed. The parish clergy work closely with the family to create a service of worship that honors the departed and communicates the faith of the Church—that in Christ Jesus, not even death has the power to separate us from the love of God.
While you are still in your health, plan for the hard choices that come with death.
- Take time to think through your ethics around death and dying.
- Create a medical directive to state your wishes in the event you are not capable of making your own decisions. Consult with your health care provider for assistance.
- Make a will. It is the duty of all Christians to be good stewards of the manifold blessings of God. Arrange for the disposal of the material goods you have received in your lifetime, not neglecting, if you are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses.
- Consider making a planned gift from your estate to benefit St. Peter’s.
- Make an outline of your wishes for your burial. Do you have favorite hymns or passages of scripture that you would choose? Do you wish to be cremated? Parishioners of St. Peter’s can submit notes regarding their final wishes to be kept on file in the parish office. Parishioners also may choose to be buried in our Columbarium. When you make these choices, you help your family through a difficult time.
The Book of Common Prayer notes that the liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. Our worship finds all its meaning in the resurrection. This does not make our grief unchristian. The love we have brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. The liturgy commends the departed to God’s eternal care and comforts the living with the consolation of God’s loving presence now.
For a copy of our “Funeral Customary,” please use the following contact form.
Opportunities to Participate in Worship Music
and the Visual Arts at St. Peter’s
Traditionally, Episcopal and Anglican Churches embrace the power of music and art to transcend human limitations, including those of language, and bring us into harmony with holiness. Although St. Peter’s is a small congregation, we are deeply committed to expressing our praise of, thanksgiving for, and need of God through music and art – always remembering that it is God and not our glorification that we seek in sacred song.
Music is incorporated into our shared communal life through:
- Congregational hymn singing
- The chanting of responses throughout sung services
- The chanting of the psalms by the choir and congregation
- Choral meditations at communion by the choir
- Instrumental music as part of worship services
- First Friday evening singing lesson offered without cost to the greater community
- Second Sunday afternoon community hymn singing
- A community choral program for children, youth, and families (being formed in 2017)
Sing in the Choir or Play an Instrument
St. Peter’s Choir rehearses the first and third Saturday of the month from 10:00-11:00 a.m. and at 9:15 a.m. every Sunday to prepare the music for services. All voices are welcome; those without prior experience are encouraged to join the group and find their voice, with the help of Barbara Jean O’Brien, Minister of Music, and other choir members.
Instrumental Musicians: Throughout the year, instrumental music is incorporated into festival and special services. Some instrumentalists are members of the congregation; others are are come from the greater community of active musicians in the Mid-coast.
The Sanctuary Gallery of the Spirit
St. Peter’s has dedicated space in the sanctuary where parishioners and local artists are invited to share creative work reflecting spiritual life. This space has become one of the best loved and most moving associations with our Eucharistic celebrations at St. Peter’s. The gallery accommodates paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, crafts, or poetry.
With the guidance of the coordinator, participants are responsible for the display, removal, and liability for their work during agreed upon dates. Work should be framed and hung from the molding with hooks provided to avoid damaging the walls. Sculpture and some crafts may be set on the long table beneath the wall space. Most important is a framed statement of how the work nourishes, informs, inspires, comforts or deepens the contributor’s spirituality.
Interested participants are asked to contact the church: 594-8191.
Other opportunities to Participate
Lay Worship Ministers
Through Baptism, the Episcopal Church the “priesthood of all believers” and encourages the active participation of lay people (non-ordained) in all aspects of worship, specifically:
- Altar and Flower Guild
- Readers (of Scripture and leading prayers)
- Lay Preachers
- Coffee Fellowship
These opportunities are open to everyone. Newcomers are particularly encouraged to visit with the Rector to learn how you can participate. Some of these ministries require training.