The Holy Eucharist (also known as Mass, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper or Divine Liturgy in different traditions) is the principal form of worship in the Episcopal Church. The service (or liturgy) follows a set pattern that is similar to those found in other liturgical churches, especially the Roman Catholic and Lutheran traditions.
Holy Eucharist, in which bread and wine symbolize the body and blood of Christ, is one of two Sacraments of the church that are meant for everyone. Holy Baptism, which occurs within this rite from time to time, is the other. There are also five sacramental liturgies that may be celebrated as appropriate: Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Ordination, Reconciliation of a Penitent and Prayers for the Sick or Dying. The Holy Eucharist is celebrated by a priest, usually assisted by a deacon and Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs).
On Sundays at St. Peter’s, we celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 8 AM and 10 AM from the Sunday after Labor Day to mid-June, and at 8 AM and 9:30 AM during the summer. At the early service we use the Rite I liturgy, with traditional Elizabethan language based on historic forms of the Book of Common Prayer. At the later service we use Rite II, written in contemporary English, accompanied by organ and hymns. On occasion we use liturgies from supplements such as Enriching Our Worship.
Our hymns come from three books containing music from roughly 1500 years of Christian worship: the Hymnal 1982, Lift Every Voice and Sing II and Wonder, Love and Praise. Because our tradition has its roots in England and many of our members are of British or Irish background, we also use a good deal of English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh folk settings in our music, as well as historic Celtic prayers and blessings.
We also celebrate Holy Eucharist on Wednesday afternoon at 12:10 P.M., except during the summer. This is a spoken service with no music and usually celebrates a lesser feast (saint’s day). The rites vary and sometimes alternative liturgies are used. Worshipers can enter from the main door or the ramp door on Hale Street.