What to expect

What to Expect at a Service

We have both in person and online services.

In-person services

At All Saints’ we enjoy welcoming visitors and newcomers: whether you’re just passing through or looking for a church home, we are honored by your presence. Everyone who desires to draw near to Christ is welcome to receive Communion at All Saints’.

We understand that it can be a bold thing to walk into a new church. We have folks who will greet you at the door and offer you a bulletin. Most everything you need to know is in the bulletin. The service starts with a prelude played on our lovely pipe organ offering the opportunity to get settled, centre one’s self and pray. The 10am Eucharist suits a musical parish that loves to sing! We sing hymns and service music, enhanced by our adult choir and, occasionally, by our children’s choir and instrumentalists from among our congregation. We will have traditional classical based music as well as pieces that are more based in a folk repertoire, occassionally accompanied on guitar.

The service will alternate with some things said by the priest who is up front dressed in colorful vestments. There is an “echo”, a response read by the congregation together which is printed in bold. Some of the music will be in the hymnal, and some will be in the bulletin. There will be places where we stand, such as for the reading of the Gospel and hymns, and places where we sit, such as the readings before the Gospel and for much of the eucharist (communion, the part where where we partake in the bread and the wine). If you sit behind some folks you can take your clue from when they stand or sit. 🙂

This style of service is called “liturgical”. The structure goes back to the earliest days of the Christian community with two primary “acts”: the first is around readings from the Bible and a homily (like a “sermon” but shorter 🙂 ) and the second culminates in Eucharist, or Holy Communion.

During communion we go forward and take a place at the communion rail where you may stand or kneel. (Most folks here kneel, but it is whatever you are most comfortable with). You hold our your hand and the priest puts the bread in your palm, you consume it and say “Amen”. Normally we would serve the chalice where you would take a sip of wine, but have not yet returned to that practice because of Covid protocols.

Online services

Like all Episcopal churches, our worship is liturgical, meaning we follow the ancient ritual patterns of the early church, as they have come down to us in the Anglican tradition. Our clergy vest in traditional vestments, our choir in cassock and surplice, and there is a solemnity and order to our service, but we wear our formality lightly. We’ve worked hard to incorporate this tradition into our online services, filmed inside our beautiful church in downtown Palo Alto. 

Join us every Sunday for our online services, streamed live with the chance to leave comments here on our Facebook page, and archived on our YouTube channel. After services, we gather on Zoom to chat for coffee hour.