Sunday morning liturgy is central to life at All Saints. Our diverse and far-flung congregation is drawn together to worship God and to draw strength for our ministries from the Word, the Eucharist, and each other. A recent, returning visitor proclaimed that she and her children felt “hugged by the morning”. This may not be everyone’s experience, but it is our hope.
A Sunday morning experience
Our beautiful and uplifting service draws upon lay participation in everything from planning to completion. The All Saints Worship Committee includes clergy and laity and works with the heads of all the groups involved to ensure there will be sufficient resources to fulfill plans and sustain the high level of esthetics everyone expects of worship at All Saints. There also are occasional Youth Sundays when the lay functions are performed by young people in the parish.
Many people are drawn to All Saints because they find their worship experience is deepened by our musical traditions. Our congregation usually gives full-throated support to the hymn-singing! The organists and choir offer a great array of music drawn from traditional sources, but the choral offerings and hymns also include music from other cultures in our diverse community, including Latino or African traditions. This music can have us dancing up the aisle to these rhythms, although we usually are a calm and reverent bunch, especially on the more formal occasions when the verger swings the thurible.
The congregation is present in every style of attire, from jeans to the magnificent regalia of the African community. Rather than pews, the church has chair rows that allows us to rearrange the space as needed. In the center near the Baptismal font is a rug circle with a small table and quiet activities for our young ones to engage in during the service. There is the occasional joyous shout from this area!
Without pandemic restrictions, the church is a busy place on Sunday mornings. A small group meets at 7:45 for a Rite 1 service without choir. At 9:00 choir rehearsal is in the nave or the choir room and adult forums are held in the Guild Room or Library. Altar Guild prepares the Table. Acolytes and Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMS) robe. Many people gather in the nave before the 10:00 am service for the organ prelude or choral introit. The procession to the opening hymn includes all the liturgical leaders for the day. After the Psalm, children and youth leave to participate in Church School programs by age group. They return before the Offertory and are present for the entire Eucharist.
Clergy members read the gospel. Lectors read the lessons and lead the Prayers of the People. Anthems are sung by the choir during both the Offertory and Communion. The congregation processes forward for Communion, standing or kneeling at either railing. During Communion, our healing team offers laying on of hands at stations on either side of the nave. Throughout all this, the ushers have been helpful attendants and guides. After the Dismissal, many remain for a much-applauded (literally) organ Postlude.
In summer 2021 we have returned to in-person worship at 10:00 am only and are gradually restoring choral participation. During the pandemic closure, all parts of the liturgy were present in online services. Through extraordinary technical skills and heroic editing efforts of volunteers and staff, organ and choral music was included. These services can be revisited on You Tube and the All Saints website. Online services continue, but they are simpler now that in-person services have returned. We have discovered the uses of technology in worship, so we hope sustain an on-line presence, probably by livestreaming the services.
Coffee Hour follows the 10:00 am service. During this time representatives from various ministries may be raising funds or acquainting people with ways to get involved
(See “Cultivating Community”).
Choral Evensong and Compline services occur during some seasons such as Advent, Epiphany, Lent and Eastertide.
Occasionally a labyrinth is set up to accompany some of those events. During the pandemic, All Saints offered meditations and services such as Compline online using the Book of Common Prayer or the New Zealand Prayer Book.
Ministries in support of worship
Many groups help support worship services. New members are welcome year round. (See also “Music at All Saints” )
Members provide friendly greetings, hand out service leaflets, help with seating, and provide direction around the church during the services.
Children and adults robe and process, carrying the cross, torches, and banners, and they assist the liturgical ministers as needed. Acolytes of all ages are given the training they need. They learn that everyone has something to offer in the worship of God.
Members’ duties include preparing the altar for the Sunday Eucharist, mid-week chapel services, summer courtyard services, weddings, funerals and other special services. They also care of the vessels, linens, and clergy vestments. Seasonal tasks include changing liturgical colors and altar decorations.
Members receive training as a group.
Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs)
LEMS assist the clergy in the administration of Holy Communion. Members are required to have been confirmed and receive appropriate training.
Lectors are lay persons who read scripture passages, lead the congregation in prayers, and share announcements. Service as a Lector is open to all.