During the Service
What should I wear?
People wear a variety of clothing styles at St. Andrew’s services. Anything from jeans to suits and ties blend right in. Wear what works for you. We’re glad to have you with us!
Where should I sit?
Please sit in whatever part of the church you feel most comfortable. There’s no reserved seating here! If you arrive late and things seem a bit crowded, the ushers handing out bulletins at the door will be happy to help you find a seat.
What are those two books everybody is using?
Although we currently provide most of the service text in the bulletin, you will see people often using the red and blue books. The blue book is the hymnal, where you will find all music sung at the service. The numbers in the service bulletin indicate where to find each piece. Numbers that start with an “S” are “service music” and are found at the front of the hymnal, while numbers without a letter start further back. Occasionally we may use a hymn from outside the hymnal, and the bulletin will indicate where to find it, usually on a separate piece of paper inserted in the bulletin.
The red book is the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which contains the order of service and all the prayers spoken together.
What’s with all the getting up and down?
Our service does involve a fair amount of movement. Traditionally, members of the congregation stand to sing or recite, kneel to pray, and sit to listen. Feel free to participate as you are able. It is certainly acceptable to remain sitting (or standing) if you have trouble getting up and down.
What is your worship format?
Like almost all churches in the Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican/Episcopal tradition, our worship each Sunday follows a liturgical worship format. The first part of the service is the “liturgy of the word,” which includes readings from the Old Testament and New Testament, usually followed by a short sermon, prayers for the church and for the world, confession, and sharing of the peace. In the second part of the service, the “liturgy of the table,” we hear the story of the Last Supper and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine. Communion is offered every Sunday at St. Andrew’s.
The 8:00 Sunday service does not include music, while the 10:00 service includes our choir and hymns accompanied by the organ.
I’m not familiar with a lot of the actions that the congregation is doing during worship. What am I supposed to do?
Episcopalians are comfortable with a wide variety of physical expressions of devotion and adoration during worship. You may see people bowing, making the sign of the cross, kneeling and standing throughout the service. You are free to participate in ways that you are comfortable. If you are not comfortable or able to kneel at the times indicated in the bulletin, please stand. If you are not able to stand, please remain seated.
Who can take Eucharist (Communion)?
All baptized Christians and those who desire a deeper relationship with Christ are invited to receive Holy Communion. You may receive both the bread and the wine or just one of them.
What if I’m not comfortable taking one of the elements or taking Eucharist (Communion)
The Eucharist may be received by taking both or just one of the elements. If you cannot or do not want to take one of the elements, simply cross your arms over your chest in an “X” shape. If you do not want to take Eucharist at all you may still come forward and receive a blessing from the priest. Simply cross your arms as the priest approaches you. You may also remain in your seat during Eucharist.
Do you offer gluten-free bread?
We can, when asked.
What are the people doing who are lined up along the side aisle during Eucharist?
St. Andrew’s has a Healing ministry. During the 10 a.m. Sunday services, one of our healing (touch) practitioners is available in the alcove at the side of the Nave to pray with anyone wishing healing for him/herself or for loved ones. We also offer healing to all directly following the 10 a.m. service on the first Sunday on each month. We ask that quiet is kept during this time.
If I’m new, will I have to stand up and be recognized?
No. We are always delighted to have visitors with us, and you will be invited to identify yourself by signing our guest register or completing a visitor’s card. This allows us to contact you by e-mail or phone (if you wish) to extend our welcome and provide information.
What if I’m Bringing Kids?
Are children welcome in church?
Definitely! Children of all ages are welcome to attend the full service if they (and you) wish. Unlike many churches, we do not have a “cry room,” but we understand that small children sometimes “make a joyful noise unto the Lord” (and sometimes noises not so joyful). Often parents sit towards the back of the church so that they can take their children outside if needed, but some of us have found that our children are more interested and engaged if we sit right up front so they can see. Wherever you choose, we love having children present and encourage them to participate in the service as they are able.
Feel free to borrow an activity bag from the back corner of the church to help keep your little one entertained during the service.
Is there a nursery for infants and very young children?
For infants and children 4 and under, we have a nursery where they are welcome to stay for all or part of the service. It is staffed at all times by two trained church members.
Is there an alternate service for young children?
Children ages 4-10 may choose to attend Children’s Chapel. This takes place upstairs in the chapel during the first part of the service. Two church members lead the children in prayer and song, share the Gospel reading for the day, and tell a story from the Bible. During the Passing of the Peace before Communion, children process in to rejoin their parents in “big church.”
Is there Sunday School?
Yes! Sunday School for children ages 4 through high school takes place during our 10 a.m. service. Check with the church office to find out where your child’s classroom is located.
Before and After the Service
Where are you located?
We are in the heart of the Pine Hills section of the City of Albany, New York, on the corner of Madison Ave and North Main Ave. Click here for a map.
Where can I park?
St. Andrew’s is a downtown church with a very small parking lot. However, there is a lot of parking available nearby and it is usually easy to find a spot within a block or two of the church. Handicapped spots are available in front of the church on Madison Ave and in our side parking lot.
Hey, is that coffee I see?
It sure is! Between services and after the 10:00 service, coffee and snacks are served in Carmichael Hall. Please join us. We’d love to meet you!
What if I have more questions that are not answered above?
If you have other questions, feel free to call the church office or just ask somebody at church. Members of our “Ushers and Greeters Team” may identify themselves at the end of the service, but nearly anyone can help or refer you to someone who can!
I don’t understand a lot of the terms. Can you give me some definitions?
Acolyte: A youth or adult who assists the priest during the service. Some of the acolyte’s duties are to carry the candles, hand the elements to the priest or deacon and ring the bell during Eucharist.
Book of Common Prayer (BCP): The red book in the pew rack which contains the order for many of the services that may be used. It also includes Psalms, prayers, an outline of the faith, and the historical documents of the Church.
Chalice Bearer: This person serves the wine to the members of the congregation during Eucharist.
Collect: Prayer appointed for each Sunday and Holy Day in the Church year.
Crucifer: An adult or youth who carries the cross during the service.
Deacon: An order of ordained ministry with a special focus on bringing the needs of the world to the Church. The deacon assists with the preparation of Eucharist, reading the Gospel, or delivering the sermon.
Elements: The bread and wine used during Eucharist.
Eucharist: From the Greek word meaning “thanksgiving.” Also known as Communion.
Narthex: The area at the front entrance of the church used for gathering immediately outside the worship space.
Nave: The place in the church where the congregation sits during worship.
Parish: The members of a congregation and the building where they gather.
Priest: An order of ordained ministry and spiritual leader of the church; during worship presides at the Eucharist, blesses the elements and the people, preaches, and proclaims God’s blessing.
Rite: The form of the text used in worship services, including what is said and what is done.
Sanctuary: The place in the worship space where the altar is located.