What to expect when you visit St. Helena's
When you first arrive, you can park in the lot next to the church. The entrance to the church is through the curved ramp nearest to New Lenox Road. The church is fully accessible. If you are visiting on Sunday morning, you will be greeted at the back and given a service sheet and a hymnal. These two will have everything you need for the service.
Before the service begins, our organist usually plays a prelude. Most people take this time to center themselves and prepare for the service. Some people may take the time to quietly say hello to each other.
The service begins with a hymn. Feel free to sing or not! Some of us read music and some don't. Some are better singers than others. Join in however you want.
On Sunday morning, our service is the Holy Eucharist, sometimes called Holy Communion or the Mass. The first part of the service centers us on praising God. We say a few prayers and usually sing a song of praise.
The second part of the service focuses on reading and reflecting on Holy Scripture. We usually have three readings: one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one from the Gospel. Following the readings, the minister will usually preach a brief sermon (no more than about 10 minutes). On the first Sunday of the month, we have an open Bible Study in place of the sermon. Following the sermon, we pray together. Finally, we exchange the peace with each other. Here at St. Helena's, this time of fellowship is important so we take our time to greet everyone!
The third and final part of the service is the Holy Communion. While singing another hymn, the table is prepared and many people offer financial gifts to help support the parish. The celebrant blesses the bread and wine. At this point, the congregation is invited to come forward for Holy Communion. Here at St. Helena's, most people receive communion in one of three ways.
Some people cross their hands and the bread is given to them. Then they take a sip from the cup.
Others receive the bread on their hands and dip the bread into the cup.
Still others only receive the bread.
If you have mobility issues, we will bring communion to you in the pews.
After communion, we sing another hymn, say a few concluding prayers, and conclude with one last hymn. Following the service, the organist usually plays a postlude as people have a chance to catch up and head over to the Parish Hall for coffee.
After the service, everyone is invited back to the Parish Hall for Coffee Hour. We usually have regular, decaf, and tea. Parishioners bring coffee cakes and nibbles. On the first Sunday of the month, we have a larger potluck coffee hour.
This is an important part of our life together. This is when we take our experience of Jesus in worship and begin to use that experience to build our Christian family.