What to Expect

A Message from the Rector

“Emmanuel” means God-with-us.” This is the astounding Good News that God has visited humanity as one of us, that Jesus is the human face of God among us. God drew near to us in the flesh so that we may be drawn to God. Jesus himself is the message we proclaim, for he has shown us that God loves everyone unconditionally and forever. Jesus in his earthly sojourn welcomed everyone, condemned no one, and invited all into a living relationship with God.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church is a faith community that seeks to follow Jesus faithfully in thanksgiving for all that God has done and continues to do for all humankind, in joyful acceptance of God’s radical welcome to us.


And therefore, we extend our welcome to you as well. We welcome visitors and sojourners passing through this beautiful part of the Shenandoah Valley; we welcome all who are new to this parish or community; we welcome our brothers and sisters from other churches; we welcome all who are seeking to find God or to be found by God, or to have a deeper knowledge of God. We welcome all who have come not knowing why and all who know they need a safe place where they can faith, hope, and love.


The vision of Emmanuel Episcopal Church is to become ever more welcoming of all people as an inclusive community that follows the example of Jesus’ radical hospitality. We sense that God is helping us grow more fully as persons and as a Christian community through worship, fellowship, education and service to others in Christ’s name.

And we invite you to grow in grace with us.

I would be honored to answer your questions about our parish or to talk to you about your own spiritual journey. We hope that you will find here a spiritual home that embraces and nurtures you so that together we may discover the riches of God’s love and be empowered to share that love with others. We may not have all the answers, but by God’s grace we endeavor to embody the name of our church.

Father Daniel D. Robayo


A Typical Service at Emmanuel Episcopal Church


It's good to arrive a few minutes before the service so you can get yourself settled. There will be greeters at the entrance of the nave who will be handing out bulletins which will guide you through the service.

Once you've chosen a seat you will notice two books in front of you, one is blue and the other is smaller and red.

The smaller red book is called the Book of Common Prayer which has various portions of the serivce in it. Your bulletin will give you page numbers of where to find these sections.

The blue book is called the "The Hymnal 1982" which has all of the hymns and service songs that you will be singing through out the service. In your bulletin each song you will sing will have a number associated to it. For the hymns they will be a three-digit number for service songs, those that have numbers that are prepended by "S-" will be found in the front of your hymnal book.

A few minutes before the service there will be soem music called the Prelude that will either be played by our organist, guest musician or our children's choir, the Choristers. It is meant to help us gather ourselves and prepare for the service.

At the start of the service there will be a song that everyone sings together while standing. This starts the procession of liturgical ministers, acolytes, and in some parts of the year the choir, and is led by the cross.

Once the song is over the presider (the priest leading the service) and the assembly (everyone else) say the Opening Acclamation which is a formal way of greeting one another. Then there will be a short piece of music praising God or asking for God's mercy (Music like this which is a service song, or a song that's part of the service, can be found in the front of the Hymnal preceded by "S-").

The presider will then say a prayer called a collect which is a means to collect us and our thoughts together as teh concluding piece of our gathering.

The Liturgy of the Word (Readings, sermon, statements of faith, prayer of the community)

At this time the older children are led out of the nave by one of the acolytes carrying the cross so that they can attend Sunday school.

The rest of the congregation then sit down to hear the readings for the week. Typically there will be one reading from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament); a psalm which is either read or sung; a reading from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) and then a reading from the Gospels. These readings are a part of a set "lectionary" which assigns readings for every Sunday on a three year cycle. The first two readings will be ready be members of the congregation while standing up at one of the pulpits. The third reading the presider will walk down into the midst of the congregation to read from the Gospel book while everyone else is standing.

Following the Gospel a sermon is preached by either the priest, the Deacon or a guest presider which is meant to take what was heard in the readings and engage those learnings with our current lives.

After the sermon the congregation stands and says the Nicene Creed which is an ancient statement of faith used by most Christian churches which binds us together with Christians of all generations.

The Prayers of the People are then prayed which are a series of petitions led by a member of the congregation with response by the rest of the congregation at the end of each petition. These petitions include prayers for the Church, the world, the nation, those who are sick and those who have died. The presider will then conclude these prayers with a collect, once again "collecting" our prayers.

After the Prayers of the People the Confession is spoken while kneeling to show a sign of our penitence. This is an opportunity to confess together the ways we have not loved God or others.

At the conclusion of the Confession, the presider says the absolution, which are words reminding us that God forgives our sins.

The presider then bids "The Peace" which allows the congregation to interact with one another, bidding each other peace. What is this doing is ritually enacting our need to be in the right relationship with one another before we go to communion. This is done by saying "Peace be with you" to one another. You can shake hands or embrace those around you and you may even see others leaving their seats to bid peace to more people of the congregation.

The Peace is then followed by announcements which is an informal part of the service which allows the presider to inform the congregation of news and announcements within the church and community.

This is usually the time those who sent to Sunday school return to the nave.

The Liturgy of the Table

At this time of the service there's the offertory which is a collection of money is taken while a song is either played or sung while the collection is being taken. It's fine for you to put whatever amount of money in or to put in nothing at all (You may wonder why so many people don't put anything in. There are many reasons, of course, but one big one is that some may be contributing to the church in other ways).

Once collected the offering collected as well as the bread and wine used during communion are taken to the Altar table and the liturgical ministers bless the offering and then set the Table for Communion.

The presider then prays an extended prayer, which the congregation kneels for, that starts with a dialogue betwen the presider and the congregation called teh Sursum Corda (literally "lift up your hearts"). The presider then praises God for God's action in our lives. This then concludes with the Sanctus, "Holy, Holy, Holy", which is a response normally sung by the entire congregation. The prayer then continues with a retelling of the story of the Last Supper and the presider asking the Holy Spirit to come into the bread and wine and into us.

Once the Eucharistic Prayer is finished everyone prays the Lord's Prayer. Once finished the presider breaks a piece of the bread and pours the wine. Once this is done the congregation is invited up to partake in Communion while a song is sung.

The ushers will start at the pews closes to the Altar Table and invite the people sitting at those pews first, and then, one by one, invite each pew up to receive Communion.

As you go up to receive Communion you will have two options in receiving it. The first is to go up to the Altar to receive it while kneeling in front of the presider. The other option is to go along the side where there will be two lay peopel who will give Communion while standing. Either way is fine.

As you go up to receive Communion if you don't wish to receive Communion for whatever reason you can either remain seated or come forward and cross your arms over your chest (the official policy of the Episcopal Church is that all baptized people may receive communion), otherwise you all need to hold your hands out and a piece of bread will be placed into them. At this point you can either eat the bread and then take a sip of the wine from the chalice or you can dip your break into the chalice to get some wine. There two chalices of wine that are used during Communion, one to be used at the Altar and one to be used along the side. If you are in need of gluten free bread you can make your way to the Altar where the presider will have gluten free break available upon request.

Once you've received Communtion you can return to your seat.

After Communion (giving thanks, being sent forth)

Once Communion has finished the congregation will say a prayer while kneeling. The presider then asks God to bless us and then another song is sung by everyone which at this point the liturgical ministers, acolytes, and choir may process out. At the very end the congregation is dismissed by the presider and sent out into the world.

At this point you may leave. At the entrance of the nave the liturgical ministers will be standing and greeting people as they leave.

After the service there is a social gathering that takes place that offers coffee, tea, food, and allows the congregation time to socialize and also allows visitors to the church to speak with the congregation and ministers.

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