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Carlisle, Pa 17013  (717) 243-4220


Holy Eucharist
The Eucharist, or service of Holy Communion, is the primary liturgical worship of the Episcopal Church. It is normally offered or “celebrated” at all Sunday services, and usually at Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals, as well. The term “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” The community gathers to hear the Word of God in Scripture and to receive the presence of Christ, in bread and wine, as Holy Communion. A priest, or a bishop if present, always officiates, assisted by other clergy and lay persons. All Baptized Christians who are present are invited to receive communion. Communion is offered to all in both bread and wine, although some people abstain from the wine. The Episcopal Church believes in the “Real Presence of Christ” in the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist. The Eucharist and other services of the Episcopal Church can be found in the Book of Common Prayer (the red book in our pews).

Holy Eucharist, Sunday at 8:00
The traditional “Rite I” Eucharist is celebrated each Sunday morning at 8:00 in the church. This is a more formal service, using the older “thee and thou” Elizabethan language. There is a sermon, and we sing a hymn the end of the service. The service normally lasts about 50 minutes, and it occasionally includes Holy Baptism.

Holy Eucharist, Sunday at 10:15; service for families (9:30 in the summer)
The principal Sunday morning liturgy takes place at 10:15 and is almost always a celebration of Holy Eucharist, Rite II, which uses more contemporary language). This is a full musical service, with hymns and a choir, accompanied by the organ or piano. A sermon is preached and an offering is taken. The service lasts about 70 minutes.   

Children's Chapel, Sunday at 10:15 (9:30 in the summer)
upstairs in the Lloyd Center. This informal worship for little ones includes song, prayer, reflection on the Bible story, and preparation to join the congregation in the Church.  The children are brought down to the church, arriving for a brief Children’s Reflection together in the front of the church, just before the Passing of the Peace.  They will then join their families in the pews for the remainder of the liturgy. Check church calendar (click here) for special days (such as Christmas and Easter).

Holy Eucharist, Wednesday 7:00 a.m.
This 30 minute, informal liturgy is celebrated with the congregation seated in the choir stalls in the Chancel.

Holy Eucharist and Healing, Wednesday 12:10 p.m.
This liturgy includes a Litany of Healing, after which those who wish may come forward to receive the Laying on of Hands by the priest, with prayers of healing for themselves, or for another. This service lasts about 30 minutes and takes place in the Chancel. 

Morning Prayer, Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m.
Morning Prayer is read in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd on weekdays at 9:00. Lay persons read the psalms, lessons from Scripture and prayers for this service. The clergy lead intercessions for those on our Parish Prayer List. The service lasts about 20 minutes. Anyone desiring prayers may add the name of persons who are sick, in need of guidance, or who have died to the Parish Prayer List at the entrance to the church, and we will pray for those people at Morning Prayer each day. Individuals may also light votive or prayer candles in the Chapel and say private prayers there anytime.

Occasional Liturgies
(Ordered as they occur during the church year)

Evensong is one of the treasured liturgical traditions of the Anglican Church. We normally schedule Evensong on four late Sunday afternoons during the year. It is sung in the classic Anglican style by our Choir of Men and Youth. There is normally no sermon, and the service lasts 35 minutes.

The late evening service of Compline is scheduled occasionally, but is typically read by groups who are concluding their evening at the church. This informal service lasts about 5 minutes.

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is one of the most beloved traditions of the Anglican Church. At St. John’s, Lessons and Carols are presented in the style of King’s College, Cambridge, England on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (the Sunday before Christmas) in place of the 10:15 Eucharist. A series of nine traditional readings from the Old and New Testament are read in the King James Version of the Bible, interspersed with carols of the season and anthems by our choirs. The service lasts about 70 minutes.

Festival Solemn Eucharist
On the most important holy days of the year (Christmas, Epiphany, Maundy Thursday, Easter, Pentecost, Michaelmas, All Saints, and some special occasions), we often celebrate a Festival Solemn Eucharist. This service includes some extra music, and we burn incense as a symbol of high solemnity and prayer. Some of the liturgy is also sung or chanted.

 The Great Litany
The Great Litany in the Book of Common Prayer was the first worship translated into English at the time of the Anglican Reformation. It consists of an extended series of petitions for all “sorts and conditions”. As a penitential service, it is said or sung kneeling. At St. John’s, we normally read the Great Litany at noon on Good Friday, marking the hour of the Crucifixion.

Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross are read in the nave of the church at 6:00 p.m. every Friday evening in Lent. This 30 minute liturgy marks the Passion of our Lord, including his death and burial, in 14 stations, with Scripture and prayer at each station. Various parish groups take turns hosting and reading Stations. This is an informal service, and when hymns are sung, they are sung without accompaniment.

The Liturgy of Palm Sunday
Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday, begins on Palm Sunday also known as “The Sunday of the Passion”. Palms are blessed and distributed to all at the conclusion of the Eucharist. Readers and the entire congregation read one of the accounts of the Passion of our Lord as the Gospel. This is a solemn observance and the liturgy lasts a bit longer than usual.

The Maundy Thursday Eucharist
Maundy Thursday or “mandate/commandment” Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Christ. It also includes the rite of Foot Washing as the priests of the parish ceremonially pour water on the feet of designated parishioners who represent the congregation. After receiving Holy Communion, the reserved Sacrament is taken in solemn procession to the Chapel of the Good Shepherd where the all night Watch or prayer vigil takes place.

The Watch
The Watch begins at the conclusion of the evening Maundy Thursday Eucharist and continues all night and into Good Friday until 3:00pm, the traditional hour that Christ died on the cross. The Watch commemorates the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested, and as he asked his disciples, “Can you not Watch with me one hour?” Parishioners volunteer to keep the Watch in the Chapel in one hour segments so that the continuous vigil of silent prayer is maintained. The Reserved Sacrament, the sacramental Presence of Christ, is on the “Altar of Repose” during the Watch and the Chapel is bathed in candlelight and decorated with flowers and greens.

The Liturgy of Good Friday
During the three hours that Jesus hung on the cross on Good Friday, from noon until 3, we gather in the church for the Great Litany, Stations of the Cross, preaching the Passion, and at 2:00, for the Liturgy of Good Friday. This most solemn liturgy including the congregational reading of the Passion of Christ, according to St. John, the solemn Collects of prayers, and the adoration of the Cross. The celebrant carries a large, wooden cross into the church. The service includes hymns of the Passion and concludes with Communion, in one “kind” only (the bread), which is distributed from the Reserve Sacrament which has been kept in the Chapel during the Watch. The Liturgy of Good Friday is timed to take exactly one hour and end at 3:00.

Choral Tenebrae
Good Friday at St. John’s concludes with Choral Tenebrae in the evening. Our choir chants this monastic liturgy as the candles of Tenebrae (“shadows”) are progressively extinguished and the church is shrouded in deepening darkness. There is no preaching at the service. The service lasts about 40 minutes.

The Great Vigil of Easter
The Great Vigil, often referred to as the “Easter Vigil” is the crowning liturgy of the church year. At St. John’s, we honor the Great Vigil with all the worship resources of the parish, including full choirs. The Vigil begins at sundown, at 7:30. The church has been richly decorated for the “Queen of Seasons” and is in dim candlelight. As the lights are all extinguished, the front doors of the church are opened and a “New Fire” is kindled at the church door by the Rector. From the fire, the new Paschal or Easter Candle is lighted and carried into the dark church. The light from the Paschal Candle is passed throughout the church with everyone holding hand candles, bathing the church in the new light of the Resurrection. The Vigil consists of a series of four Old Testament Lessons, each followed by a Taize song, accompanied by guitar. Then the Sacrament of Holy Baptism is celebrated, usually including infant, teen, and adult candidates. Children who will receive their First Holy Communion at this liturgy also share in the service with their families. At the conclusion of Baptism, the celebrant proclaims the Resurrection, “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!!” and Easter begins: the lights are turned on, the organ plays for the first time as we sing the Gloria, and individuals ring hand bells they have brought for the occasion. It is the most joyful moment of the church year. The first Festival Eucharist of Easter is then celebrated. At the conclusion of the Great Vigil, the congregation moves to the Parish Hall where they share the traditional “Agape” or ‘Love’ Reception, enjoying Easter breads, eggs, desserts, and treats. The Great Vigil is a long, formal liturgy, lasting about 90 minutes.

On the 40th day of the Easter season, always a Thursday, the Church observes the Ascension of our Lord. As related in both the Gospel according to Luke and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, the risen Christ ascended into heaven in sight of the apostles. Although the Prayer Book includes Ascension Day as one of the Primary Feast Days of the year, in practice few people attend church on this day. But we normally have an evening quiet Eucharist and occasionally St. John’s has joined other congregations for a more ambitious celebration. On the Sunday after the Ascension, we also continue this theme with hymns for the Ascension.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is administered by the bishop, normally at his annual parish visitation in the Spring. Confirmation and Inquirers’ classes prepare both teens and adults not previously Confirmed, or those new to the Episcopal Church for Confirmation. Confirmands select sponsors to encourage and mentor them.