What Does Sunday Morning Look Like?
(For information about our music program, or about worship in The Episcopal Church generally, please scroll down.)
Anyone is welcome at either of our Sunday morning services. Since it can be helpful to know what to expect before you get here, we provide the following:
8:30 a.m. - "Grace Space" is a service that began last year. It is shorter than our later service (usually no more than 30 minutes) and was created to help meet the needs of young families, those who prefer an earlier worship time, and those with a busy Sunday morning. Prayer, scripture, song, and a simple communion celebration are combined to provide a place to engage even the youngest among us in worshipping God and understanding God’s love as made manifest in Jesus Christ. This service follows the basic format of The Book of Common Prayer (see “Origins”, below), adjusted to allow for flexibility and brevity.
9:00 a.m. (1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th Sundays)- The Forum meets (usually) in the multipurpose room of the education building. Bible studies, theological discussions, and current news viewed through the lens of faith are frequent topics. Adults and youth (high school age) are welcome.
9:00 a.m. (2nd Sundays) - Our free, Community Breakfast is served in the undercroft (basement). The menu changes each month but is sure to include your favorites! All are invited; our neighbors often join us for this meal, whether or not St. Giles is their religious community.
10:15 a.m. - Choral Eucharist is celebrated according to The Book of Common Prayer and features scripture readings, prayers, congregational singing, choir anthems, sermon, and a sung communion celebration. It tends to be more formal in nature, except for….
Second Sundays @ 10:15 – On the second Sunday of each month, our worship is more relaxed. The choir sits with the congregation, the gospel is told as a story, and the sermon is “conversational” (members of the congregation determine the direction of the sermon and help unpack the meaning of the gospel passage; all are invited to participate as they choose. Think of a large group Bible study!) We often “experiment” by introducing new hymns and liturgical practices at this service.
A note about children in worship: At St. Giles we understand that children, like adults, experience the love and grace of God in many ways. One of these is worship. In addition, we believe that Christian community transcends the kinds of barriers that we often erect in other areas of our lives, including segregation by age. Finally, we understand that teaching about our liturgy, though that is important and helpful, is no substitute for experiencing it firsthand together with all the people of God. Even (and perhaps especially) the youngest children in our midst are attracted to the movement, color, music, and mystery of that liturgy. For these reasons, children and youth are a welcome and integral part of our liturgical life. If you accompany children to church, we encourage you to help them follow the service and participate as age and ability allow. We also encourage you to sit up front, so that they can more easily watch and engage with what’s going on. When children learn at an early age to participate actively in church, they are more likely to remain involved as they become older.
At St. Giles, you will not see a special “Children’s Sunday” or “Youth Sunday”. Rather, from the time they can ably and comfortably assume the responsibilities for our various worship ministries, young people who wish to do so may participate in these activities, taking their turn along with adults in the parish in carrying out the duties that help make worship happen.
Music at St. Giles
From ancient plainsong to Taize chant, from the richest hymnody of the Anglican and Protestant traditions to Shaker tunes, spirituals, songs from other cultures, and 21st century church music, we sing it all! Several times throughout the year our choir is featured in special services, such as Lessons and Carols in December and Choral Evensong, usually held in late winter or early spring.
Anthem Schedule - Easter Season to Pentecost
April 23 (Easter II) - Rise up, my love, my fair one (H. Willan)
solo: But thou didst not leave his soul in hell, from "Messiah" (Handel)
April 30 (Easter III) - O sacrum convivium (P. Mathews)
May 7 (Easter IV) - Psalm 23 (H. Zimmermann)
May 14 (Easter V) - O taste and see (R. Vaughan Williams)
solo: The Call, from "Five Mystical Songs" (R. Vaughan Williams)
May 21 (Easter VI) - If ye love me (P. Wilby)
solo: If God be for us, from "Messiah" (G.F. Handel)
May 28 (Easter VII) - Christ is ascended (German carol, arr. P. Hallock)
June 4 (Pentecost) - Grieve not the Holy Spirit (T.T. Noble)
Sanctus, from "Mass" (J. MacMillan)
Hellmuth Wolff Organ
For information about our wonderful Hellmuth Wolff organ, click here.
Courtesy of Pipe Organs of Chicago Volume One authored by Stephen Schnurr and Dennis Northway, copyright 2005
About Worship in The Episcopal Church
Origins: Worship in the Episcopal Church has its roots in the earliest Christian communities; it is both comprehensive and traditional. Through the centuries our language of worship has changed and expanded, but the structure remains much the same: we seek to offer our praise and thanks to God, to lift up to God our prayers of intercession and thanksgiving, to hear what God may be saying to us through scripture and proclamation, and to celebrate Christ’s presence through the Holy Spirit in the celebration of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. Our primary worship source in the Episcopal Church is The Book of Common Prayer – “common” not because it is ordinary, but because it was created to be accessible and used by all.
Participation in Worship: We refer to our worship as liturgy, from two Greek words meaning “the people's public work”. Everyone present participates, and all are welcome. We begin by showing up! Those who would like to take a leadership role in the liturgy may serve as lectors (readers of scripture lessons), intercessors (prayer leaders), acolytes (those who carry items in procession, light candles, help at the altar/table, etc.), and chalice administrators (helping to distribute communion). Ushers and greeters help welcome worshippers. Those who like to sing may join the choir (see more on “Music at St. Giles”, above). While some specific portions of the liturgy are reserved to the clergy, there can be no worship without a congregation and the participation of the people.
Ritual: Our worship services follow a specific pattern that originated in the early Church (as mentioned above), thus some elements are the same from week to week or season to season. But variety and richness abound! There is tremendous breadth in the choices we have in worship, from language reminiscent of the original book compiled in 1549 during the reign of England’s King Edward VI, to prayers and worship offered in contemporary language and images. Our hymnody (the songs we sing in church) is similarly diverse in musical style, language, and imagery.
Theology: Our theology (what we believe about God) is formed by our prayer. In fact a phrase you may hear in the Episcopal Church is lex orandi, lex credendi – “the law of prayer is the law of belief”. In other words, we understand who God is, we grow in relationship with Jesus Christ, and we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit by praying and worshipping together. We do not ask for adherence to a doctrinal statement or confession; we do embrace the Church’s basic statement of corporate faith as found in the Nicene Creed, which has guided Christian faith for nearly 17 centuries. We bring our faith to our worship, but we also bring questions, doubts, grief, and celebration.