What to Find?

The beauty of Orthodox worship must be experienced to be understood. The Divine Liturgy expresses the entire Christian faith in a continuous song of praise and prayer addressed to God. It is focused on God, not on us. There is nothing just for amusement or entertainment. Since much of the service is the same every week, worshippers know it and can participate personally, either by singing along or just by prayerful attention.

The entire service (except for the sermon) is sung, mostly to Syriac chants and melodies. No organ or other instruments are used. The words are all from Scripture or ancient Christian texts. All our services are in the English language.

PARTICIPATING IN THE SERVICES

Body Worship - Orthodox worship with their bodies as well as with words. You will see that people at times bow, make the sign of the Cross, etc. If you are not Orthodox, of course no one expects you to do these things - just sit or stand and listen, and participate to the degree that you wish.

Communion is understood by Orthodox as a sign of membership in the Church and an act of commitment to the Church, so it is not given to non-Orthodox. In fact, Orthodox should not receive unless they have recently been to Confession and have eaten and drunk nothing since the night before.

Standing (and kneeling) are the Biblical postures for prayer and Orthodox traditionally stand at Sunday services. But for most people this takes some "getting in shape", so feel free to sit as much as you wish. We have enough seats for those who wish to sit. We don't normally kneel on Sundays, as Sunday is the Day of Resurrection and kneeling is considered penitential; we kneel a good bit at weekday services during Lent.

Children - we don't have a nursery during the services because we believe it is appropriate and beneficial for children to be in the services as much as possible. It may take a few visits, but young children can learn to settle down, and it's surprising how much even toddlers absorb. It's no problem if they move about quietly - we have a number of children ourselves and are used to some movement - but please be considerate and take them out briefly if they become very noisy, especially during the sermon.

Visitors Welcome - Orthodox try not to talk during the services, so it may be that no one will greet you until the service is over. After Sunday services we have fellowship; you're invited to join us there so we can get to know each other.