Your First Visit

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Your First Visit

Everyone here at St. Bart's has been a newcomer at some point! You might have questions when planning to visit a church for the first time, and we hope the following information is helpful:

Find Us: 16275 Pomerado Road Road in Poway, CA with reserved visitor parking.

Worship Schedule: We celebrate three services with Eucharist (Holy Communion) each week. Additional special services and worship are scheduled throughout the church year.

Sunday Services:

  • 8 a.m. Eucharist, Rite II - traditional service with hymns
  • 10:15 a.m. Eucharist, Rite II - traditional/comtemporary service with choir and Sunday School

Saturday: 5 p.m. Eucharist, Rite I - traditional service with hymns

Tuesday: 5 p.m. Centering Prayer, held in Education Building, room 3A

Wednesday: 9:45 a.m. Morning Prayer for Healing

A greeter will welcome you outside the church and can help with questions and directions to Sunday School and the Nursery. Please let us know you are visiting and we hope that you'll sign the guest book and wear a name tag so we can welcome you by name.

You will get a service program from the usher as you enter the church, and you're invited to sit wherever is most comfortable in the church. Children 2 years-5th grade meet in Sunday School at 10 a.m. and join their families in church for Eucharist. Middle school and high school youth meet at 9 a.m. in the Youth Room for community and reflect on faith and scripture together. Youth and families can attend either the 8 a.m. or 10:15 a.m. service together. Nursery care is available each Sunday 8:45-11:30 a.m. 

Joining in Worship: From the website of The Episcopal Church USA

Sunday is traditionally when Episcopalians gather for worship. The principal weekly worship service is the Holy Eucharist, also known as the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, or Mass. In most Episcopal churches worship is accompanied by the singing of hymns.

Worship Styles
Episcopalians worship in different styles, ranging from very formal rites with lots of singing, music, fancy clothes (called vestments), and even incense, to informal services with contemporary music and worship style. Yet all worship in the Episcopal Church is based in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which gives worship a familiar feel, no matter where you go.

Liturgy and Ritual
Worship in the Episcopal Church is said to be "liturgical," meaning that the congregation follows service forms and prays from texts that don’t change much from week to week during a season of the year. This sameness gives worship a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar to the worshipers.

For the first-time visitor, liturgy may be exhilarating--or confusing. Services may involve standing, sitting, kneeling, sung or spoken responses, and other participatory elements that can present a challenge for the first-time visitor. Don't worry about doing something "wrong". You can just follow the lead of those around you or ask for assistance. Liturgical worship can be compared with a dance. Once you learn the steps, the dance becomes satisfying to do again and again.

The Holy Eucharist
Even with the diversity of worship styles in the Episcopal Church, Holy Eucharist always has the same components and the same shape:

The Liturgy of the Word
We begin by praising God through song and prayer, and then listen to multiple readings from the Bible; typically one reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm, something from the Epistles, and always a reading from the Gospels. The psalm is usually sung or recited by the congregation.

Next, a sermon interpreting the readings appointed for the day is preached by clergy or lay leader.

The congregation then recites the Nicene Creed, which was written in the fourth century and has been the Church’s statement of what we believe ever since that time.

Next, the congregation prays the Prayers of the People together for the Church, the World, and those in need. We pray for the sick, thank God for all the good things in our lives, and finally, we pray for the dead. The presider (priest, bishop, lay minister) concludes with a prayer that gathers these petitions into a communal offering of intercession.

In certain seasons of the church year, and in many parishes at every service, the congregation formally confesses their sins before God and one another. This is a corporate statement of what we have done and what we have left undone, followed by a pronouncement of absolution. In pronouncing absolution, the presider assures the congregation that God is always ready to forgive our sins.

The congregation then greets one another with a sign of peace. At St. Bart's, we say "the peace of the Lord be with you" to those around us while shaking hands or hugging.

The Liturgy of the Table
Next, the presider (priest leading the Eucharist celebration) 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." Now begins the Eucharistic Prayer in which the presider tells the story of our faith from the beginning of Creation through the choosing of Israel to be God's people with our continual turning away from God and God’s calling us to return. Finally, the presider tells the story of the coming of Jesus Christ and about the night before his death on which he instituted the Eucharistic meal (communion) is a continual remembrance of him.

The priest blesses the bread and wine and the congregation says the Lord’s Prayer together. Finally, the presider 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. The people all come forward to the altar rail to receive the bread and wine (Eucharist or Holy Communion) or a blessing.

All Are Welcome
St. Bartholomew's welcomes everyone of any age to the communion rail. You can receive communion or a blessing. At the end of the Eucharist, the congregation prays once more in thanksgiving and then we are dismissed to continue the life of service to God and to the world.

Every part of the service is found in the service program, in the red prayer book (BCP), the blue Hymnal, or the Renew songbook. You can sit, stand, or kneel during the service as you prefer. An usher will come to your pew to indicate it's time to go to the altar rail to receive communion.

Coffee Hour: We hope you will join us for coffee and donuts on the patio just outside the church following each service and take some time to talk with the the "St. Bartians."

If you would like to receive more information please contact our parish office.

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your journey, you are welcome at St. Bart's Church.