Welcome to Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church!
We would like to extend our warmest
welcome to you, and provide you with some basic
information about our worship service, so that you will
feel at home here.
Worship in the Episcopal Church is called “liturgical,”
meaning that the congregation follows certain service
forms and prayers from a standardized source. In the
Episcopal Church, this standardized source is called the
Book of Common Prayer, and it has a rich history deeply
steeped in English Christianity. This liturgical
continuity from week to week gives our worship
experience a rhythm that becomes both comforting and
familiar to worshipers.
In the pews you will find a copy of the Book of Common
Prayer, and using this Prayer Book will help you and the
congregation to share fully in every service. The large
print in the Prayer Book is the actual service, and the
smaller print gives directions to ministers and people
for the order of the service. You will also find a
Hymnal in the pews, and the hymns used for the service
are posted on the wall to the left of the Altar at the
front of the church.
The Liturgy of the Word
We usually begin by praising God through song and
prayer, and then listen to readings, or Lessons, from
the Holy Scriptures. Typically we will have one from the
Hebrew Scriptures, a Psalm (which is usually sung or
said by the congregation), something from the Epistles,
and a reading from the Gospels.
Next, a homily (or short sermon) is preached on the
appointed readings. This homily is not so much the
minister preaching at the congregation, but rather a
breaking open of the Scriptures, so that the readings
may be more meaningful and spiritually nourishing to the
Then the congregation recites together the Nicene Creed.
This ancient creed was written in the Fourth Century,
and it has been the Church’s statement of what we
believe ever since that time.
Following the Creed, the congregation prays together for
the Church, the World, and those in need. The presiding
minister then concludes with a prayer that “collects”
the petitions of the congregation into a shared offering
of praise and intercession.
The congregation then usually (depending on the
liturgical season) confesses their sins before God and
in community with one another. This confession is a
communal statement of what we have done and what we have
left undone. The minister (usually called the presider
or celebrant) then pronounces absolution, in which he or
she assures the congregation that God is always ready
and willing to forgive our sins and shortcomings.
Next, the congregation greets one another with a sign of
peace. This is usually done with a friendly handshake,
and a statement of God’s peace. For instance, one might
say, “Peace be with you,” and the other may respond,
“And also with you.”
Liturgy of the Table
Next, the minister stands at the table, which has been
set with a cup of wine and a plate of bread, and begins
the Eucharistic Prayer. In this prayer, the minister
tells the story of our faith. Then, the minister tells
the story of the coming of Christ, and about the night
before his death, on which he instituted the Eucharistic
meal that we are now in the process of celebrating (Holy
The minister blesses the bread and wine, and the
congregation prays the Lord’s Prayer together. After
this, the minister breaks the bread and offers it to the
The ushers will then invite the congregation to come
forward, row by row, to share the consecrated bread and
the wine. All baptized Christians are welcome to receive
communion, regardless of age or denomination. Visitors
who are not baptized Christians are welcome to come
forward during the Communion to receive a blessing from
the minister. To indicate that you would like to receive
a blessing, simply cross your arms over your chest.
At the end of our celebration of Holy Communion, the
congregation prays together in thanksgiving, and then
goes out into the world to continue the life of prayer
and service to God and the world. After the service, we
usually gather for coffee, fellowships, and Christian
education. We would love to have you join us!
Remember, when you visit our church, you will be our
welcome and respected guest. You will not be “singled
out” in an embarrassing way, or asked to stand before
the congregation, make a confession of faith, or
describe your faith history in front of others.
Should you wish to know more about the Episcopal Church,
a priest, deacon, or lay minister will be happy to
answer your questions.
Again, on behalf of our entire congregation
The Rev. Greg Hoover
the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are
blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I
was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and
you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick
and you took care of me, I was in prison and
you visited me'” (Matthew 25:34-36).