Worship and Liturgy
‘Timeless yet contemporary’
St John’s is a place of contrasts. Inside you will find that the walls are covered with solemn memorials, many of which hint of a grand bygone age. This creates an ‘establishment’ feel. And yet if you look more closely at the notice boards, the leaflets on display, the businesses below the church or the murals outside the church, you will discover a 21st Century community with a real commitment to matters of justice and peace, and an openness to people of all faiths and none.
Our regular worship expresses this contrast too. On the one hand, quite formal, with a glorious choral tradition, using ancient as well as modern liturgies; on the other hand, it is fiercely contemporary in the preaching and the prayers. As we see it, our faith is ‘timeless yet contemporary’. We hope our worship expresses this sense of belonging to a community of faith which existed before us and will continue after us.
Words, music, prayers, sacrament – and coffee
Just like anything else in the church, worship is about making real the Summary of the Law: Love God, love neighbour. In worship we are invited to use our senses; through the revelation in Holy Scripture, the beauty of the building, the harmony of our music, the lighting of candles, the times of silence, the exchange of the peace with others, and the interaction with our neighbours. In other words, worship involves all that we are.
Liturgy done well encourages participation by both lay and ordained people. At St John’s the services are led by clergy and lay ministers such as the choir, servers, readers, intercessors, and greeters. Hospitality after the services is provided by a number of volunteers. We are always recruiting new members to any of these ministries.
Holy Eucharist (aka “The Lord’s Supper” or “Holy Communion”) is a timeless act of intimate union, linking us to other members of the universal Church past, present, and yet to come. It equally connects us to God, as we are drawn into the birth, life, teaching, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ and claim for ourselves God’s liberating, sin-forgiving, evil-destroying, death-conquering, justice-creating, peace-proclaiming, creation-affirming and life-giving power and love. In bread and wine, Christ gives himself (body and blood) as food for our journey into God’s eternity, as nourishment for the ministry to which God calls us, and as a sacrifice to renew God’s grace and salvation in us: “My flesh is food indeed, and my body is drink indeed,” (John 6:55). Having said this, Holy Eucharist remains a mystery, never fully comprehend in this life, celebrated by and for the baptised members of the Body of Christ. You do not need to be Episcopalian to receive communion. Come, “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Alternatively, you are invited to come to the rail to receive a blessing. Gluten-free communion wafers are available; please let us know.
Visitors to our services are encouraged to participate as fully as possible. Directions to postures are mere recommendation. Please feel free to do whatever aids you in the worship of our triune God.