One of the most important obligations that we have as worshippers attending the Divine Liturgy, is to maintain proper decorum so that all of the members of the congregation may pray sincerely, peacefully and meaningfully. It is with this fact in mind that we set forth the following suggestions:
A. Upon entering the church, at all times, but especially during Services, an individual should remember that he or she is in the House of God. Reverence and good manners are required so as not to disturb those who are already engaged in prayer and worship but, even more importantly, as an expression of sincere faith and awareness of the presence of the Lord.
B. No irrelevant conversations should take place either in the Narthex or in any other part of the Church.
There are various parts of the Liturgy during which no one should be moving about. Wherever a person happens to be at these moments, he or she should stop and stand reverently, until the proper time to proceed to the pew. These parts of the Liturgy are:
1. During the Procession of the Priest and the Altar Boys with the Holy Gospel.
2. During the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel.
3. During the sermonette to the children.
4. During the Cherubic Hymn and the procession of the Priest and the Altar Boys with the Holy Gifts.
5. During the recitation of the Creed (in which the whole congregation should participate).
6. During the Lord’s Prayer (in which the whole congregation should participate).
7. During the prayers of Consecration for the Holy Gifts (Take, eat, this is My Body...)
8. During Holy Communion. Everyone should read the prayers before and after Communion from the red liturgy book.
9. During the Dismissal Prayers.
10. During any special Services (Memorial Services, Processions, Special Prayers, etc.)
One basic rule to follow is that, whenever the Priest is outside of the Altar either with the censer or giving a blessing, everyone should stand wherever they are.
According to actual Church Service procedures, each and every member of the congregation is required to be seated in the pews at the beginning of the Service. That means we should be in the church by 9:30 a.m. It is only by leniency that anyone is allowed to enter the Church once the Services have begun. Thus, we ask that you do not take undue advantage of this leniency. Entering the Church late, unless there is a valid reason, is very disruptive to the congregation and scandalizing to others who pray with us.
Please remember also that the Parish Council members are required to maintain order during Church Services. We appreciate your cooperation and thank you for following their direction.
Other things to consider when coming to Church include:
· We believe ourselves to be in our Lord’s presence in worship. Therefore, appropriate and respectful clothing should be worn at all times. We do this not to impress each other but to show our Lord that we offer our best to Him, for He deserves only the best we have.
By the age of seven, children should be fasting before coming to Church. This applies to all adults as well. Those on medication should, however, take whatever they need to take. The purpose of the whole Divine Liturgy is to receive Holy Communion. It is a personal invitation given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. To say “no” to Him is not polite, respectful or necessary.
· If, however, you have entered the Church after the Gospel reading, you should not receive Holy Communion. It is His Word that prepares us for Communion. Parents should make an extra special effort to get their children to church on time to model good behavior.
· As one approaches for Holy Communion, it is strongly recommended that you open your mouth wide and allow Fr. Chris to tip the Communion Spoon into your mouth. This makes it much easier for him and reduces the chance of spillage.
· The Divine Liturgy is a time for worshipping God. Please raise your voices in song and prayer as you offer your own thanks to Him.