Every Sunday morning at Saint John's, the Body of Christ moves into action for a full day of prayers, teaching, and sacraments. As Paul writes, "In Christ, we who are many are one body." Parishioners, clergy, and staff fill roles to make the buildings into sacred spaces and celebrate our common life. Our recent work of spiritual renewal reminds us that church is the people rather than the place, and should be actively moving, as a body moves. There are many gifts and many members, but one body. Below you'll find many of the ways the people of Saint John's move in the life of Christ each Sunday.

8 am Eucharist

  1. 8am Eucharist: The first service of the day begins at 8am with music.
  2. Altar Guild Transition: After the 8am service concludes, the Altar Guild prepares the table for the next Eucharist. They set out the necessary vessels for bread and wine, clean and swap the cloths used with the wine, and change the altar hangings, if necessary for a special occasion.
  3. Sunday School begins: Many parishioners arrive at the start of Sunday School at 9:15am. Children are ushered to their wing over Parish Hall, Teens move up to the Youth Room in the Parish Life Center (PLC), and Adults find their way to the Bride's Room, Conference Room, or Library for their classes. Most of the setup for these classes, including chairs and teaching supplies, have been set aside on the previous Thursday or Friday by the sextons.
  4. Chancel Choir Warms Up: The choir room begins to sound at 9:30am as the choirmaster plays through the hymns of the day.

10 am Eucharist

  1. Ushers and Greeters Take Their Positions: The team assigned for the day (about 10 people) place the service bulletins at the church doors and entrances and set up to welcome the congregants and pass out bulletins.
  2. Acolytes & Clergy Robe: Over a dozen parishioners participate as robed acolytes, chalice bearers, and vergers during the 10:30am service. At 10:15am, they move to the vesting (robing) rooms next to the clergy and gather their "appointments" (crosses, torches, banners, and Gospel book). Then all members of the procession meet in the Parish Hall to organize and pray before the service.
  3. 10:30am Eucharist: We begin with prelude music or the opening hymn, and the full host of choir, acolytes, and clergy process down the main aisle. 
  4. Children's Chapel: Just before the priest steps up into the pulpit to deliver the sermon, children robed as Jr. Acolytes take a small cross and banner down the center aisle and other children who wish to process to Children's Chapel follow them and adult leaders. They move back up to the room over the Parish Hall for a special liturgy with music, teaching, and scripture led by the Children's Ministry Director, clergy, volunteer parents, the choirmaster, and another musician from the choir. They all return to the nave during the Peace.
  5. Prayers for Healing: During the sacramental celebration of Communion, one of the clergy moves into the Lady Chapel to pray with those who ask for healing, for themselves or others. They are anointed with holy oil in the sacrament of Unction and return to their seats.

5:30 pm Eucharist

  1. Evening Eucharist: One clergy and a chalice bearer return to the church in the early evening to robe and make final arrangements for the 5:30pm Eucharist. The side door for the Holy Spirit Chapel is opened for parishioners. There is no accompanying music, and we use the chapel, rather than the High Altar.
  2. Final Clean-Up: The clergy for the late service and sometimes a volunteer return the altar vessels to the working sacristy and the vestments (robes) to their places.

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Saint John’s Episcopal Church
3245 Central Avenue | Memphis, Tennessee 38111
Phone (901) 323-8597 | Fax (901) 327-9032