The Holy Eucharist:
The Liturgy of the Word
In spite of the diversity of worship styles in the Episcopal Church, Holy Eucharist always has the same components and the same shape.
We begin with the praise of God through singing and prayers, and then listen to as many as four readings from the Bible. Usually, they are one from the Old Testament, a psalm, and one from the Epistles, but there is always a reading from one of the Gospels.
There is usually then a sermon or meditation on the readings given by the priest. The congregation then recites the Nicene Creed, which was written in the Fourth Century and has been the Church's statement of what we believe ever since.
Next, the congregation prays together-for the Church, for the World, and for those in need. We pray for the sick, we thank God for all the good things of our lives, and finally, we pray for the dead. Then the congregation may confess its sin before God and before one another. This is a corporate statement of what we have done and what we have left undone, and the priest "pronounces absolution." In so doing, the priest assures the congregation that God is always ready to forgive our sins.
Finally, the congregation greets one another and wishes them "peace" by shaking hands or a simple "peace be with you."