Our principal weekly worship service is Holy Communion, also known as the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper. We begin by praising God through song and prayer, and then listen to as many as four readings from the Bible – usually one from the Old Testament, a Psalm, something from the Epistles, and (always) a reading from the Gospels. The priest then stands at the table, which has been set with a cup of wine and a plate of bread or wafers, raises his or her hands, and greets the congregation again, saying “The Lord be With You.”
The priest asks God’s blessing on the bread and wine, and the congregation recites the Lord’s Prayer. Finally, the priest breaks the bread and offers it to the congregation, as the “gifts of God for the People of God.” The congregation then shares the consecrated bread and the wine. Sometimes the people all come forward to receive the bread and wine; sometimes they pass them around in other ways.
All baptized Christians—no matter age or denomination—are welcome to “receive communion.” Episcopalians invite all baptized people to receive, not because we take the Eucharist lightly, but because we take our baptism so seriously. Visitors who are not baptized Christians are welcome to come forward during the Communion to receive a blessing from the priest. At the end of the Eucharist, the congregation prays once more in thanksgiving, and then is dismissed to continue a life of service to God and to the World.