Liturgy & Tradition
As Episcopalians, the Holy Scriptures inform our beliefs and worship. In our worship, we use the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, along with the Book of Common Prayer. Every Sunday the Lectionary, which is organized on a three-year cycle, provides a lesson from the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Psalms, and the Gospel. These readings also serve as the basis of inspiration for the sermon.
While we believe the Bible is our most sacred text, we acknowledge that it is a document written by people thousands of years ago. Because of this, it is full of contradictions and inconsistencies, especially for modern life. However, in it we find spiritual inspiration, historical grounding for our faith, the teachings of Jesus and of the Hebrew prophets before him, and guidance for our own life of prayer and service.
We are proud to be part of the ancient tradition of Christianity and members of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Our principal celebration, the Eucharist or Holy Communion, is modeled on Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples and the communal meals of the earliest Christian communities.
The Episcopal Church arranges its worship around six seasons:
Advent is a four-week season that begins the Church calendar on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.It is a time of preparation for and anticipation of the birth of Jesus.
Christmas begins on December 25 and lasts for 12 days.
Epiphany occurs on January 6 or the Sunday closest to it. It celebrates the revealing of Jesus’ birth to the outside world through the arrival of the wise men coming from the East, following the star and arriving in Bethlehem.
Lent occurs during the six weeks before Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday. It is a time to focus on the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Lent is a time for prayer and spiritual renewal. The Lenten season emphasizes our need to self-reflect through additional prayer, fasting or giving something up, and taking something on.
Holy Week is the last week before Easter. The Sunday of this week is Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. The Thursday is Maundy Thursday, commemorating Jesus’s Last Supper with his disciples and the institution of the Eucharist (communion). The Friday is Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Holy Saturday is the final day of Holy Week, the final day of the traditional 40 day Lenten Fast.
Easter immediately follows Lent and the Season of Easter (Eastertide) lasts 50 days. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and includes, 40 days after Easter, Christ’s ascension to His Father on the 6th Thursday of Easter Season.
Pentecost begins on the 50th and final day of the Easter Season. Pentecost is the longest season of the Church Year and continues until Advent. During Pentecost, we remember the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, thereby giving birth to the Church.
We also feature special blessing services throughout the year, such as The Feast of St. Francis in October, when animals are blessed, and our annual Bike Blessing in June.
We welcome your inquiry concerning funeral services at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The information below presents our policies and procedures for a funeral in The Episcopal Church tradition. You are encouraged to read it carefully, and if you have questions or are interested in arranging a funeral at St. Thomas, please call the parish office at (252)923-9141.
We welcome your inquiry concerning marriage at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
The information below presents our policies and procedures for a wedding in The Episcopal Church tradition. You are encouraged to read it carefully, and if you have questions or are interested in celebrating your wedding at St. Thomas, you are invited to call the parish …