What to Expect

Is this your first time with us?

We have two services on Sundays. The 8:00 a.m. is a quiet, contemplative setting without music which uses the traditional language of the Rite I service from the Book of Common Prayer. The 10:15 a.m. service uses contemporary language from the Rite II service in our prayer book, and features music typically sung to organ or piano and accompanied by our choir.

The nursery, Godly Play, and Sunday school are held during the 10:15 service, which more information can be found on our page dedicated to our Ministries.

After both services we have a brief time for community gathering and fellowship in the parish hall across the Courtyard from the Sanctuary building. Episcopalians like to call this time “Coffee Hour,” which we do too. Between the services, we also gather for our adult education program called SoulWork. Specifics on topics at SoulWork and any changes to this schedule can be found in our weekly announcements, either emailed in the eNews or distributed at Sunday services.

We strive to be a welcoming, friendly, and inclusive community where all are welcome, no matter who you are or where you are on your spiritual journey.

When you enter the church, you will be greeted by one of our ushers who can help you with our COVID-safety protocols, give you a Prayer Guide (a.k.a. our bulletin), and help direct you with any questions you have. 

We publish the full service in our Prayer Guides each week to make participation in the service easier for everyone, especially those who are unfamiliar with worship in the Episcopal Church. At our 10:15 service, you will also use a blue hymnals and occasionally a green song book from the rack in front of your seat when singing some of our music not published in full in the bulletin. We primarily use the Book of Common Prayer for the shape of our worship services, supplemented by portions from Enriching our Worship and other resources from churches in the Anglican Communion.

Worship in an Episcopal Church can make newcomers anxious with the different points to stand, sit, kneel, and make other gestures. Two pieces of advice for you: First, don’t sweat it — we’ve all been there and had to figure out for ourselves what to do and when. These things should add to the experience of worshipping God and not detract from it. Let that be your guide. Second, it can help to pick a person around you and do what they do. In doing so you may find that even we don’t all do the same thing, and the best thing you can do is to see what works for you.

The Episcopal Church was was originally part of the Church of England, formed as a separate denomination after the Revolutionary War. Because of this, we’ve inherited the via media, middle way, of the Church of England. Historically it middle way between Catholicism and English Puritanism, and today between many of the other expressions of faith in the Christian tradition. This allows our churches to have a breadth of individual expression while we all use the same Book of Common Prayer to guide our worship. 

Our Prayer Book describes Holy Communion as “the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day (BCP p. 13). We celebrate Holy Communion each Sunday, and you are welcome to the Lord’s table to join us in the breaking of the bread. Following the via media described above (“Episcopal Church”), it is possible to believe in the Real Presence or the symbolic presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

To accommodate the particular needs of our parishioners, we have gluten-free and alcohol-free options available. We are not sharing the common cup at this time, but we will do so again when it is considered safe to do so.

We believe that the sacraments of the church should be available to all desiring to experience God’s grace in their lives through these acts. According to the Book of Common Prayer,

Baptism is our initiation into Christ’s Body, the Church.
Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which two people enter into a life-long union.
Christian Burial is our prayer for those who have died, that they will grow in God’s love until they see him as he is.

If you are interested in any of these sacraments, contact us in the parish office for more information. 

The Venerable Bede was a monk and a scholar, who is remembered to this day for his writings, especially The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Because of our parish’s location, and especially its proximity to Stanford University, many of our parishioners have connections to the University. Bede was a logical choice to be our patron saint when our parish was founded in the early 1960’s.