When does church begin and what do I wear?
Our Sunday service begins at 10 am. Wardrobe is comfortable. It ranges from Bermuda shorts and sandals to dresses and suits and ties. Your presence is more important than your clothing style. A person “looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1stSamuel 16:7b).

I live a distance away, how do I get there?
We’re in Lyndhurst, an eastern suburb of Cleveland. From the north, take 271 South, get off at the Cedar exit. Turn left onto Brainard and right on Cedar. The church is past Richmond Road and on the right side of the road. From the south, take 271 North and get off at Cedar. The exit ramp curves around until traffic merges with westbound traffic on Cedar. Cross Richmond and look for us on the right. Elsewhere on the website there is a map.

I live in the neighborhood. Where are you again?
If you are familiar with Beachwood Place or Legacy Village, you can find us. Both shopping centers are at Richmond and Cedar. We’re further west, between Richmond and Green. A new synagogue is just to the east of our driveway.

Where may I park?
We have ample space. There are handicapped spaces east of the main doors and guest spaces near a grassy island.

Is the building accessible for handicapped people?
The sidewalk leading to the door is ramped. Most of the building is on the ground level. Only the Sunday School rooms and nursery are downstairs. There is an elevator to the lower level if needed.

What happens when I come in the building?
When you enter the building our greeters will welcome you in the lobby. The worship area is through the two sets of double doors on the right, just past the coatrooms. People will be standing at the doorway, passing out a bulletin with information about the day’s service. There are three sets of pews (seats). Sit wherever you like.

What if my children need a restroom?
There are restrooms to the left as you enter the building. To find the other restrooms, proceed down the hall that is straight ahead. Then look toward the left in the Great Room, near the water fountain. See the diagram below on this page.

What is the church service like?
The service is described in the bulletin. The Episcopal Church follows the liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer, meaning there are prayers, songs, and Bible readings that follow a certain order. The first part of the service is the Liturgy of the Word (Bible readings) and also includes the pastor’s sermon. The second half is the Eucharist and related prayers. We recall Jesus eating His final Passover meal with the disciples. Around the altar, we gather to eat bread and wine because he told us to remember Him this way. This ritual helps us to feel closer to God but also closer to each other.

On some occasions, particularly if the pastor is on vacation, we may do a different service called Morning Prayer. It is traditional from the Book of Common Prayer as well; however, it does not include communion. Both services honor God and His Holy Word.

The music ranges from classic hymns to modern praise music. A variety of musical instruments are used effectively. Warning: We like to have fun. We may clap to the music sometimes!

Here’s another warning: the seating arrangement “in the round” inspires a friendly feeling because we can see each other during church. Because of that, sometimes there is more interaction between the pastor and congregation than one might expect. We even joke and laugh. We take God seriously, but we enjoy each others company like a healthy family. You will notice that people sit, stand, or kneel at different times. This might be new to you, but over time we hope it will become familiar and comforting.

What happens next?
After the service is over, you can shake hands with the pastor in the lobby and meet some of the rest of us. Soon we move to the Great Room in Naumann Hall for coffee, snacks, and conversation. Join us!

Next?
Come back and visit us again next week! If you’d like to know more, talk to the pastor or any member. There are green cards in the pews. You can write down your contact information or email good.shepherd.episcopal@gmail.com Subject line MORE INFO . We would mail you a greeting card or call to ask if you have any questions. If you’d like to join, we’d love to have you and would welcome the opportunity to get to know you better.

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What is the Episcopal Church? The Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. is a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is an international association of churches in full communion with the Church of England. Each national or regional church in the Anglican Communion has full autonomy. The Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. officially separated from the Church of England after the Revolutionary War.

Is your church Protestant or Catholic? The Episcopal Church represents a “middle way” between Protestantism and Catholicism. Anglicans participated in the necessary reforms of the Church in the 16th century. However, we attempt to follow the ancient, apostolic Church’s organizational pattern, with local or national congregations organized under the rule of their own bishops. You will find very “high church” Episcopal parishes (our word for churches) and very “low church”. Most fall somewhere in the middle.

What does the Episcopal Church believe? Like Christians everywhere, we believe in Jesus Christ, as expressed in theApostles’ and Nicene Creeds. We believe in the Holy Scriptures, understood through reason and tradition. We believe that the Sacraments, including Baptism and Holy Communion, are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace. These beliefs are held in common by Episcopalians, but the Church also values intellectual freedom and individual conscience in matters of faith.

What is the role of women in the Episcopal Church? Women participate fully in all areas of the Church, including leadership. Our current Presiding Bishop is Katharine Jefferts Schori, a woman. The Episcopal Church began ordaining women in 1976.

How diverse is the Episcopal Church? Episcopalians come from every race and culture. The worldwide Anglican Communion is composed of about 85 million people, worshipping in 165 countries around the world. There are Anglicans on every continent.

Why is there so much ritual in your worship services? Our rituals allow us to express outwardly our inner faith and commitment to Christ. It involves our bodies and all our senses in an act of devotion and gratitude to God, and unites us in our worship with other Christians around the world.

What is the Book of Common Prayer? The Book of Common Prayer, our guide to worship, is a collection of ancient and modern prayers for public worship and private devotions. It was produced in 1548 to allow the people of England to participate in worship services in their own language, rather than Latin. It is also a treasured literary masterpiece. Each Church (including the Episcopal Church) of the Anglican  Communion uses its own adaption of the Prayer Book. 

Is the Archbishop of Canterbury an Anglican Pope? No, he is not. We do not have a Pope. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is composed of more than forty different churches (including the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.). However, none of these churches has authority over the others.

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Birth control? We believe that contraception and birth control are matters of individual conscience.

Is your church politically liberal or conservative? The Episcopal Church does not endorse political candidates or parties, and our members hold diverse political beliefs. We believe God has called us, first and foremost, to be followers of Christ.

Should I make the sign of the cross in church? You might notice that many Episcopalians make the sign of the cross with their right hand on their forehead and chest. This is done as a bodily reminder to ourselves of Jesus’s love for us and sacrifice on the cross. However, it’s completely optional. If it’s meaningful to you, do it, but again, it’s optional.

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How do I receive Communion? The people come forward to the altar, and you will be given bread and wine. You can drink the wine from the common cup, or you may dip the bread into the wine (called intinction). If you do not wish to receive bread and wine, you may cross your arms over your chest to receive a blessing.

Is it unsanitary to drink from a common cup? Studies have been conducted on this, and experts agree that you are probably no more likely to catch a contagious virus from taking Communion, than from shaking hands. Our wine is fortified, which means it has a higher alcohol content, and alcohol kills most germs. We are not aware of any documented cases of disease outbreaks from taking Holy Communion. If you are concerned about this, you can simply eat the bread and not drink the wine.

How do I address your clergy? The best way to know how to address an Episcopal clergy member is simply to ask him or her. Some prefer to be called “Father” or “Mother.”

Where can I find more information on the beliefs and practices of the Episcopal Church? Most of this information comes from The Episcopal Church  You can find much more on their site. Image courtesy of The Episcopal Church.

Where can I find articles and discussion of currents events in the Episcopal Church? The Episcopal News Service

Of course, the best way to find out what we’re like is to visit us. We’d love to meet you!