Everyone is welcome at the Church of the Holy Family, whether you are a long-time churchgoer looking for a church home in your new town, or someone who is curious, but doesn’t know the first thing about church. Here are a few things you may be wondering about before you come to Holy Family for the first time:
Q. What is the Episcopal Church and what do you believe?
A. We are a Christian denomination that is part of the “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion, which is made up of more than 80 million followers of Christ in 160 countries. The Episcopal Church in the USA has a wonderful website that explains who we are and what we believe in great detail. The website of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina is a good resource to learn about the denomination’s mission and ministry here locally.
Q. Is there a place to park?
A. Yes! We have ample, free parking in our lots off of Hayes Road, which runs in front of the church, and Brandon Road, which runs beside the church. The Hayes Road lot is on the far lefthand side as you face the front of the church, and the Brandon Road lot is immediately behind the church. There is also street parking on Hayes Road, Brandon Road, and Flemington Road, which is behind the church.
Q. How should I dress?
A. Come as you are! No fancy suits or dresses are required.
Q. How do I participate in the service? And do I have to?
A. When you enter the church, one of our ushers will hand you a bulletin that will lead you through our worship service and reference page numbers in our Book of Common Prayer (BCP) and Hymnal – both of which are located in each pew. We encourage you to follow along and participate (or not) as the spirit leads you. Even the most seasoned Episcopalians rely on the instruction of those leading the service and details in the bulletins; of course, we hope you will ask questions if you need assistance.
Q. May I receive communion?
A. The heart of our worship as Episcopalians is the Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion. We experience the Real Presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in this ancient sharing of bread and wine. All baptized Christians of every age and all denominations are invited to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. Those of other religious traditions or of none are invited to come forward to receive God’s blessing.
Q. Can I bring my children?
A. Please do! Children are an essential and vibrant part of our church community. There are many ways for children to participate in Sundays at Holy Family. You can always bring them to the service with you. If you are worried about squirminess, please don’t be! Children are important to the life of the congregation, wiggles and all. We are also here to help harness those wiggles: the ushers can direct you to baskets of activities for the littlest ones, and to some beautifully made follow-along Prayer Books, designed to help older children understand and participate in the service. You can also encourage kids to stand and to kneel, to help find pages in the Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal, to ask questions, and, of course, to lift their voices in praise. Children under 4 and under are welcome to come to the nursery, which is open from 7:45-11:00. Children 4-6 are also invited to attend Liturgy Explorers . . . On the first and third Sundays of the month during the school year, children are also invited to join in the Children’s Liturgy, a time of singing, storytelling, and prayer designed specifically for children. They return in time to join their families for Communion.
Q. How can I learn more about what your church has to offer?
A. Taking the first step is easy! Look in the Announcements section of the bulletin to see what’s going on this week and in the near future. We encourage you also to take a Newcomer Card as they are handed round, fill it in, and return it either to an usher or to one of the clergy. We will look forward to getting in touch to welcome you and to answer your questions. We will also be glad to add you to our parish listserv, which you can indicate on the Newcomer Card. Through the listserv you will receive a weekly update of what’s going on at Holy Family. We will also be happy to send you a copy of Family Affairs, Holy Family’s monthly newsletter.
Q. How can I get involved in church activities?
A. Holy Family is active in the local and international community, and there are ways to be involved ranging from easy, one-time events to ongoing commitments. A few examples are bringing items for the Interfaith Council’s food pantry, setting up for Fellowship Time, joining in a Habitat build, making a trip to our partner school in Molas, Haiti, assisting during worship, praying for parishioners, helping with children’s ministries and much more! Contact our Parish Administrator, Julie Hege, for more information.
Q. How can I get on your email list?
A. Follow this link to subscribe to our listserv.
Q. How can I learn more about becoming a member?
A. Our Membership FAQs will give you an overview of the process, but taking the first step is easy! Just fill out a Newcomer Card at the church or be in touch with a member of the staff.