Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church
New Providence, New Jersey
What to Expect at Worship
Upon your arrival, you’ll be struck by the comfortable feeling of our beautiful grounds and buildings. Ours is not a traditional church building: rather it is built around an old country estate house.
You will be greeted by one of our ushers, who will direct you into the sanctuary (the space where the service takes place), and give you the program that will lead you through the service. Hymnals containing the songs and The Book of Common Prayer are available at each pew. Large print Books of Common Prayer are available upon request from an usher.
Most of us dress in neat casual wear. You may save your suits and dresses for the office if you prefer. You’ll also notice that the sanctuary is modest and homey. Ours is not a stuffy church with highly polished wood pews. We are much more familiar and relaxed.
Children are welcome to join you in the pew for the service. We have “kits” available with coloring books, crayons and so forth to keep children occupied. The ushers can help you find them. During the school year, we offer a staffed nursery for children up to age 2. The room is available year round as a comfort room. Also during the school year, for the first part of the service children ages 3-11 (to 5th grade) step out to participate in our Sunday School, which is organized by our gifted Director of Religious Education, Joyce Kern. Our older youth leave the service following the Eucharist to participate in the Film School Youth Christian Formation Program.
About half way through the service, the children rejoin us in the sanctuary.
The Sunday service itself is a traditional Episcopalian celebration, falling into two parts—a Service of the Word (prayer and praise and hearing of scripture), and a celebration of the Eucharist-- our usual word for what may be called Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
At St. Andrew’s, we are neither “high church” nor “low church.” Rather we believe we have struck a nice balance between the two, offering a comfortable yet reverent tone in which each member has the opportunity to experience God’s presence and the friendship of those around us. Our people are warm, inviting, and friendly. Many of us consider St. Andrew’s to be the center of our lives, and have found our very best friends here.
Episcopalian services are known for their excellent music, and our church continues this tradition. We sing a mix of traditional and modern hymns that complete our service in a most beautiful way. If you love to sing, our choir welcomes new voices or you can participate from the pews!
The Episcopal Church believes that each and every baptized Christian may participate in the feast of our Lord. No matter where you were baptized, you are welcome to take part in the Eucharist with us. At a certain point, ushers direct us by pews toward the altar at the front of the church. If you do not wish to participate, you may simply remain seated in your pew.
You’ll see that people are standing or kneeling at a low “railing” that surrounds the altar, and you may take a place wherever there is room. The priest will come and speak words of blessing to you as he lays the bread wafer in your palm. A small child with you may also receive the bread, or if not, the priest will place his hand upon your child’s head with a blessing. A Eucharistic minister will then approach you with a chalice (goblet) of wine. You may dip your wafer into the wine and then place the moistened wafer in your mouth. Or if you have already eaten your wafer, you may take a sip of wine — or you may just cross your arms if you choose to pass on the wine. Then you may return to your pew for the concluding prayer and songs and blessing.