Welcome to St. Barnabas Episcopal Church!
Visiting a church for the first time can be an awkward or even an intimidating experience. This might be especially so you’re coming from a different denomination or if you haven’t attended a church service in a while or maybe ever. It is our hope that this introduction will help you to feel more comfortable as you consider worshipping with us.
What to expect when attending a service for the first time:
We are located on Forsythe Road near the Patapsco River, on the border of Carroll and Howard Counties. Our parking lot is located directly in front of the church. If you are disabled, there is a drop off parking space next to the front entrance.
You can enter directly into the Church worship area (Sanctuary) via the front door (which is handicap accessible). You will be welcomed by a Greeter/Usher either right outside of the front doors or immediately inside (depending on the weather). He or she will give you a service bulletin. Please let the Greeter or Usher know if you are new. They will be very glad to help you find a seat and answer any questions.
If you’re new to the Episcopal Church, you’ll find that our liturgical worship style is very participatory. “Liturgical” means that we use the same service and prays from texts that don’t change very much from week to week, which and gives the worship service a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar. We use a service bulletin and the “Book of Common Prayer” as our guides for worship and the hymnal for singing. Both books are located in the pew rack. In order to make the service less confusing for our visitors, most (if not all) prayers will be located directly in the bulletin.
Stand, Sit or Kneel?
Throughout the service, we stand, sit and kneel to assist in the physical act of worship. The service bulletin will note when to stand or kneel. If you’re new to the Episcopal Church, just follow the folks around you. Practices vary, but at St. Barnabas we:
Stand for singing, affirming the Creed, the reading of the Gospel and during certain prayers.
Sit during the reading from the Old Testament and the Psalm, the sermon and the choir anthem.
Occasionally we will kneel during certain prayers or as an act of humility before God – but this is mainly during special services or Lent.
If you can’t kneel or choose not to, don’t be concerned, you’ll have company and no one will give it a thought. Just enjoy the beauty of worship at St. Barnabas and don’t worry too much about the details; the flow of it will become very familiar and welcome after several visits.
We celebrate Holy Communion (Eucharist) at every service. All baptized Christians, regardless of denomination or age, are invited to receive Communion (eating the bread and drinking the wine) with the congregation. To receive Communion, follow the other parishioners in your pew to the altar rail at the front of the Sanctuary (the Usher will stand beside your pew when it is time to take your place in line. You may kneel or stand to receive Communion. The priest will give you the Communion wafer. You may consume the wafer then or wait to dip it in the wine (intinct). At St. Barnabas we have two chalice bearers – one with a cup that you may drink from or one with a cup that you can use to dip your wafer. If you choose to drink from the chalice, the chalice bearer will lower the cup so you can raise it to your lips. You are encouraged to hold the bottom of the chalice and help the bearer guide it to your lips. If you choose to intinct, the chalice bearer will hold a napkin between you and the cup to catch any drips. If you do not wish to receive the wine, cross your arms on your chest. If you do not wish to take Communion in either form, but would like to receive a blessing from a priest at the altar rail, please cross your arms over your chest.
After the Service
Communion will be followed by a prayer, a blessing and a hymn. Following the hymn, we leave the sanctuary from the same door we entered where our rector will be greeting everyone.
Also, sign our Guest Book so that we can follow-up with you during the week or fill out our visitor information request located on the back of the bulletin. You can place the sheet in the offering basket, or hand it to any usher or service participant.
Most of us gather over coffee, juice and a snack for conversation after the service in our Parish House facilities immediately next door to the church. Get to know everyone and we hope that you will join us. We look forward to this opportunity to offer you our hospitality, answer your questions and just chat.
Addressing our Clergy
There are three main types of Episcopal clergy: bishop, priest and deacon. Bishops are addressed as “Bishop”; priests are addressed as “Father” or “Mother” by their first name; deacons are addressed as “Deacon” or by their first name, if preferred.