Newcomer Information

What can I expect on my first visit to St. Bede’s?

An usher will give you a service bulletin when you walk in the church. Please sit wherever you like. The 8:00am service, which uses traditional language, is a quieter, contemplative form of worship without music; the 10:15am service, which uses contemporary language, includes music from the pipe organ and sometimes other instruments as well as the choir (September through June). We use the blue hymnals and the green Wonder, Love and Praise for singing. Generally, we stand to sing, kneel or stand to pray and confess our sins, and sit to listen to the sermon and the readings from the Bible.

The Episcopal Church is a liturgical church, which means that our worship follows a set pattern, we use the same words from week to week, and we celebrate particular events in the life of Jesus Christ at certain times throughout the year. The Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox churches are also liturgical. The pattern of a typical service at St. Bede’s looks like this:


Four readings from the Bible

Sermon that reflects on the Bible readings and applies them to our lives today

Creed that expresses the historic Christian faith

Prayers for the world and our own concerns

A confession of our sins and the assurance that God forgives us

Sharing of the peace in which we greet each other with a handshake



Dismissal that sends us out into the world to do God’s work

Liturgical worship can seem confusing at first. It is meant to be rich enough that its depths cannot be plumbed the first time we experience it, or even the thousandth; God continually reveals God’s self to us in fresh ways through liturgy. If you feel lost, simply breathe and let the congregation’s prayers carry you.

After church, we gather in the parish hall for coffee hour. Please come over to Lehman Hall so that we can get to know you over coffee, goodies, and casual conversation.

What is Communion? Can I take Communion?

Communion––also called the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, or the Mass––is a symbolic meal of bread and wine. In the Eucharist, Christians follow Jesus’ command at his last supper with his friends: “Do this in remembrance of me.” We believe that Jesus is present in the bread and wine, and we meet him each time we gather around the altar. St. Bede’s, like most Episcopal churches, celebrates communion every Sunday.

The Episcopal Church takes an open, welcoming stance in regard to Eucharist: all those who are baptized, no matter how young they are or what church they were baptized in, may receive the bread and wine of communion. If you desire to receive the bread, extend your hands toward the priest. You may either dip your bread in the wine (called “intinction”) or drink directly from the chalice. When the cup of wine is presented, hold it gently at the bottom and help guide the chalice toward your lips. If you wish to receive a blessing instead of communion, cross your arms across your chest. Children may receive with parental consent; we encourage children to receive as soon as they are baptized.

What about my children?

Children are always welcome in our worship services. Wiggles, shrieks, and occasional pew gymnastics are okay! We have a paid nursery staff that cares for children ages 3 and younger, available starting at 10:00am. Sunday school for children ages 3-12 begins at 10:15am and runs through the first half of the service; children join their parents for communion. Your child will be welcome in Sunday school whenever they start in the year. They will fit in at any point in the cycle of lessons.

What do you call the priests?

At St. Bede’s we call our priests by their first names. Our rector prefers “Reverend Gia” if you wish to use a title for her.

What do I wear?

Khaki is popular. Jeans, dresses, sport shirts, shorts, an occasional hat, and suits and ties are all visible attire at St. Bede’s. Children are all over the map in their clothing preferences and are always welcome in whatever they wear.

Is the church accessible for wheelchairs? What do you offer for the hard of hearing?

We have a ramp and all of our buildings are on one level. The restrooms in Lehman Hall are ADA-accessible. Devices for hearing amplification are available as you enter the church on the table behind the last pew.

Whom do I contact if I am interested in baptism or a wedding?

Talk with our rector, the Rev. Gia Hayes-Martin, at (650) 854-6555. Baptism is held during a regular worship service, usually at All Saints’ Sunday in November, the Baptism of Our Lord in January, Easter in March/April, and Pentecost in May/June. Other dates for baptism can be arranged. Weddings generally require six months’ advance notice.

How do I find out more about St. Bede’s?

Feel free to contact our parish administrator, Carol Shedlock, at (650) 854-6555. If you would like to talk to a priest, call our rector, the Rev. Gia Hayes-Martin, at (650) 854-6555.