Welcome to the Episcopal Church. You’re not alone. We’re here for you.
These may seem like platitudes, but the process of finding a place to worship can be nerve-wracking. First, it’s difficult even to come to the realization that you want a more spiritual life, especially if no one else you know is interested or involved in a church. Then you have to listen to where your heart is leading you. It’s hard enough figuring out why you want to worship, but then you have to figure out how you want to worship, too. And then there’s the matter of what to believe, in addition to deciding whether kneeling and special gestures and special prayers are important to the way you worship. After that, you have to explore who you want to worship with. And not just checking congregations out by demographics and age groups and ethnic groups and sexual orientations and all of that, but whether you feel welcome.
What Are You Looking For?
Exploring a new faith tradition, perhaps different from the one you may remember from childhood, can be a daunting yet exciting process. Many churches offer lots of ways to be spiritual, and to worship God, and to know Christ, and to feel the Spirit working in your life. Which one calls to you?
The Episcopal Church can offer many different experiences – it’s something we call the “broad” church. Some individual parishes are more low-key and simple in their style of worship, and some offer a more elaborate liturgy, especially for major holidays or “feasts” of the Church, like Easter and Pentecost. Some parishes are very modern in their outlook, some are more traditional, and many are somewhere in between. Quite often, the architecture of the church is a good clue to the way worship is conducted inside, but not always. This makes entering an Episcopal church for the first time a bit of an adventure.
“Will the people be friendly or will they ignore me? Will they focus on their own families and acquaintances? Will there be music or not? Will I be uncomfortable? Will it be familiar or strange? Will I be interested, or bored? Will I want to come back, or head straight out the door?” These are all questions you might well find yourself asking.
Who Are We?
Holy Innocents Episcopal Church is a small mission parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, which is part of the larger The Episcopal Church in the USA, which maintains a website for people seeking to know more about worship, belief, and spiritual growth from the Episcopalian point of view. In turn the national Episcopal Church is a part of the greater Anglican Communion, as an offshoot of the Church of England. St Columba Episcopal Church is a small parish in the same way.
Both churches were founded at around the same time in the late Fifties, early Sixties, but the buildings are quite different and the communities developed and changed in different ways. Worship styles vary, but Father Ted Durst manages to offer a simple service at St Columba, then a somewhat more elaborate liturgy at Holy Innocents. Currently St Columba’s service is at 9am, and Holy Innocents’ is at 1030am. This allows Fr. Ted to preside at both services, spending a little time with everyone after the first service, before nipping over to Holy Innocents for the second service. Fortunately, the two communities are physically not that far apart. During the school year, there occasionally can be 3 services when there is a Family Mass, which can make Sundays interesting, to say the least.
What Are We About?
We’re currently seekers, too. We’re seeking to know how we might be more a part of and of service to our communities of Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, and Hanover Park. We support the Schaumburg Food Pantry (our upcoming Classic Car Show is partly in benefit of that charity), and we’re looking for other ways that we can contribute our time and talents and support, and to help our villages and the larger world. We’ll be working on more long-range planning for the future so that we may all grow as individuals and as a parish. There are also “fun” activities planned or in discussion for the rest of the summer – besides the Car Show July 10, there’s the big St Columba Flea Market on August 27th, and the third Synergy Brass Quintet concert on August 28th.
Why Do We Do This?
However, the “central act of our worship,” the reason we come together each week, takes place at the altar when Fr. Ted blesses the Bread and Wine and gives it to the people. This shared meal puts us in touch with Christ and enables to take Him into ourselves – this is what being “in communion” means. And then when we are dismissed at the end of the service, we are sent out into the world “in peace.”
There’s a lot of history behind the Episcopal Church, and it continues to be “in the news” even now, with large questions being asked and (it is to be hoped) answered. Fortunately, the “broadness” of experience, worship, and outlook in the Episcopal Church means that you will find a welcome within it no matter what. We’re here for you, and that’s not just a marketing ploy.
Check the service times, find your way, find a welcome “home.” We look forward to worshiping with you.