FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Frequently Asked Questions About St. Augustine’s

 

Where is St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church?

St. Augustine’s is at 2515 Marshall Avenue, Newport News, Virginia at the corner of Marshall Avenue and 25th Street.

 

What time are the worship services?  

The worship services are Sunday, 8:00a.m. and 11:00a.m.  We celebrate Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) at both services.

 

Will parking be an issue?  

We have a parking lot at the rear of the church that can be entered from 25th Street and from 26th Street.  Also parking is available on neighborhood streets.

 

What should I wear?  

That is entirely up to you! There is certainly no dress code at St. Augustine’s.  Some wear “Sunday best” and others are quite casual. The most important thing is that you be comfortable and that we worship together as a parish family.

 

Are there regular children’s programs?

During the school year a multi-aged Sunday School program is offered on the second and third Sunday for the 10:00am service.  The first Sunday is designated Family Worship Sunday where we encourage families to participate in worship together.  On the last Sundays in the month many of our youth participate as Praise Dancers or in the youth choirs and sing at either Carver Presbyterian or here at St. Augustine’s.  All are welcome!

 

How do I join St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church?

Becoming a member of St. Augustine’s is a choice that you can make over time, and we hope you will find it an easy step to make!  We recommend that you speak with the pastor to let it be known your desire to become a member. Your questions will be answered and we will welcome you.  St. Augustine’s has no formal membership application, but choosing to join a church is something we all do with care and prayer.  To be considered a member of St. Augustine’s we ask that you make three commitments. First, we hope you will choose to worship with the St. Augustine’s community regularly.  It is in worship that we truly come together and share the traditions and formative gifts of our faith.  Second, we ask that you pledge some of your time and energy to a parish ministry of your choice. By contributing in whatever way you are drawn to, you will come to know St. Augustine’s.  And you will receive so much in return for your efforts!  And third, we ask that you make a financial contribution to God’s good work here. St. Augustine’s ministries are funded entirely by its members, so members’ regular gifts in the offering plate or through an annual pledge are essential to the life of the parish.

 

What does the banner of St. Augustine’s Church symbolize?  

It has a flaming heart pierced by a pair of arrows superimposed on the continent of Africa. The banner’s design is based upon the symbol of an early church father, Augustine of the ancient city of Hippo, in northern Africa.  This region has been identified as a province in North Africa, which is in present day Algeria.  Augustine’s symbol, a flaming heart, pierced by arrows, represents the restlessness in the human heart that longs for God. The flaming heart symbolizes Saint Augustine’s love of God and humanity, while it is alive and restless with a desire to know God’s divine love.  The arrows piercing the heart represent God’s love piercing our hearts.  Such an image reminds us that because we are made in the image of God we must be in relationship with God.  We share the common call on our lives to be continually formed into God’s perfect image of love – the same call that pierced Saint Augustine’s heart causing him to seek God in all things.  The map of the continent of Africa, reminds us of its importance in the history of our faith. 

 

About the Episcopal Church

 

What is the Episcopal Church?

The Episcopal Church, of which St. Augustine’s is a member parish, is the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion–which grew out of the Church of England. With an estimated 80 million members worldwide, Anglicanism is the third largest Christian denomination. The Episcopal Church is organized into geographic dioceses and St. Augustine’s is in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

 

What does “Episcopal” mean?

“Episcopos” is the Greek word for “bishop.” Thus “Episcopal” means, “led by bishops.” The Episcopal Church maintains the three-fold order of ministry as handed down by the Apostles – deacons, priests and bishops. This is called the apostolic succession. The Bishop of Southern Virginia is elected by the convention of the diocese and consecrated by the national Presiding Bishop. The Bishop of Southern Virginia has installed the Rector of St. Augustine’s.

 

I am from another faith tradition will I be comfortable at St. Augustine’s? 

The answer is “Yes you will!”  Many members of St. Augustine’s have found their way here from other religious denominations. We are a church born in the Reformation, but the order of worship and the liturgy will be familiar to Roman Catholics and Lutherans.  We warmly welcome visitors and our service bulletin is “user-friendly.”  The two main books used in our service are the (red) Book of Common Prayer and the (blue) Hymnal.  An additional hymnal is often used, Lift Every Voice And Sing and it is indicated on the service bulletin, as LEVAS.  Also, we are a friendly bunch and the people sitting near you will be a friendly guide.

 

What do Episcopalians believe?

The Anglican/Episcopal tradition looks for religious truth in scripture, tradition and reason, so our experience in the struggles and joys of life deeply shape our faith, and has done so for centuries. We know that God is not through speaking and revealing yet. This question of belief is further answered by our Statement of Faith, commonly called the Catechism. This is found in every copy of the Book of Common Prayer (pgs 845-862).

 

What is the Book of Common Prayer?

The Book of Common Prayer is the main resource we use for planning our worship.  It has been adapted over the course of hundreds of years of use to support local congregations in worship that is both authentic to their current time and place and deeply rooted in ancient Christian traditions.  In the Episcopal tradition, the Book of Common Prayer is used in all congregations making our worship feel familiar regardless of the setting, clergy, or local traditions.  If you’d like to explore the Book of Common Prayer further to get a sense of its flavor, you can find its full text at bcponline.org.

 

How do Episcopalians worship?

Through beautiful word and prayer and song and sacraments in a regular order of worship that seeks a greater connection to God and God’s people. The Episcopal Church is a sacramental denomination, which means that we seek to experience and express outward and visible signs of God’s inward and spiritual Grace. Worship is our limited human response to the unlimited God, so in worship we seek to better know and stand near God.

I’m planning on visiting St. Augustine’s. May I take the Eucharist? At St. Augustine’s we offer an “Open Table,” and all of God’s people are invited to the Lord’s Supper.  It is God’s hospitality and our choice to be part of it.  If it is not your custom to accept bread and wine at an Episcopal Church you may come forward during Communion and receive a blessing from the clergy.  If you are not familiar with how to receive Communion, hold the wafer in your hand when it is given and the challis bearer will dip it into the cup for you.

 

At what age may a child take the Eucharist?

A Baptized child may take the Eucharist (Holy Communion) at any age.

 

About Baptism

 

I would like to get my child baptized. An adult in my family would like to be baptized. How should I go about doing this?

It is important to understand that baptism is not just a ceremony – it is a sacrament, a spiritual commitment on behalf of the parents and the congregation of St. Augustine’s, before God, to care for and raise a child as a Christian.  It is not something to be entered into lightly, and is definitely not something we do every Sunday or are prepared to do on short notice.  If you wish to have your child baptized at St. Augustine’s, the first step is to contact the clergy.  You will be informed of the full details of the process.  For adults wishing to be baptized, please contact the clergy and the process and details will be explained.  For Christians, baptism is our entry as members into the Body of Christ, the Church.

 

I would like a private baptism. Can I arrange this?

The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Southern Virginia does not offer private baptism. We believe that baptism marks the entrance of a new member into the Christian community, so the community must be a part of this joyous and sacred occasion. We traditionally only offer baptism during one of our scheduled services.  If you desire to be baptized, but are physically unable to make it to St. Augustine’s due to reasons such as a serious illness, we will almost certainly still be able to help you.  Please contact the clergy for more information.

 

I was baptized in another Christian denomination. Do I need to be “re-baptized?”

For the vast majority of people, the simple answer is no.  The Episcopal Church, along with the Roman Catholic Church and most other “mainline” churches, recognizes any baptism done with the water in the name of the Trinity, “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. However, if you are unsure, you should contact our clergy for information.

 

About Confirmation

 

I am interested in being confirmed.  Can I arrange this?

Confirmation classes will be held for adults who interested in joining St. Augustine’s and all inquirers are welcome.  Teens baptized at an early age may wish to make a public affirmation of faith and after being prepared, make a pledge to recommit to the Baptismal Covenant made for them as infants.  Confirmation is a mature adult commitment to the teachings of the faith and all are welcome to consider it.

 

 

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