Today we attended St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in downtown Excelsior Springs. St. Luke’s is BEAUTIFUL. Located next to The Elms with a gorgeous courtyard attached to it. According to the churches website, the building is 77 years old this year!
I absolutely LOVED this church! The congregation was very small, I think there were 20 people there, counting us. Most of them were older than us, though when we were leaving the priest told us they do have younger members they just weren’t there today.
The service was similar to the service we attended at the Greek Orthodox church.
With a program outline of the service as well as books for responding during the service. Only this time, everything was in English 🙂 We stood, sat & at one point kneeled just like at GO.
Perhaps my favorite part was the singing of hymns. I love hymns! They even sang one I didn’t need the book for! (Woot!)
(photo stolen from their FB page 🙂 )
The service was very different from those I attended growing up in the AG church. So I am going to touch on the various parts that stood out to me. For the “Confession of Sin” part, the congregation kneeled while the vicar (priest/pastor) led everyone in a prayer asking God to forgive them of their sins. Everyone there knew this prayer by heart. Scot & I, just kneeled & went with it. This is followed by a time called “The Peace” where everyone goes around & shakes each others hands saying “Peace be with you” or “God’s Peace”. In a congregation this small, you literally shake everyone’s hand.
They also had a moment in the middle where the priest asked for any announcements. A couple of older women in the service spoke up. One mentioning various people & the status of their health-I am assuming they are members of the church. Another woman spoke about her daughter who was diagnosed with breast cancer but is miraculously healing.
For the sermon, the vicar came down off the platform & sat on a stool towards the front of the room. His voice was warm & comforting. You could tell that he just exuded love. He spoke about Paul and how he had a gift for speaking describing it as, “Paul could tell you to go to hell & make you enjoy the trip!”
One thing I found comical was this priest, in full robe, going through all these ceremonial moments throughout the service, sitting on a stool to preach with an iPad on his lap. You may have heard the Episcopalian church referred to as “Catholic light”, perhaps nothing protrays that more than that image.
Similar to the Greek Orthodox service, the entire service leads up to the taking of communion. Unlike GO, however, everyone was invited to partake, (despite what the bulletin says). When it was time to take communion the congregation lined up & went to the platform to kneel & take communion one at a time. The service lasted about an hour and ten minutes. It went by very quickly.
In doing some research before attending, one thing that really stood out to me was how welcoming the church is across the board. Every website, every piece of information I read mentioned that LGBTQ people are welcome in their services. Also, in Episcopal faith, women can be ministers and are viewed as equals to men.
Overall, the people were welcoming, & I would definitely love to go back!