Visiting Our Parish
Are non-Orthodox visitors welcome?
Yes, absolutely. We are a community made up of both cradle-born Orthodox Christians and those who have converted to the faith. We are very welcoming to newcomers, inquirers, relatives and friends, and visitors. Anyone who wishes to discover ancient Coptic Orthodox Christianity is encouraged to ask questions. Father Kyrillos will be happy to answer questions about what we do and why. You may also click to find more information about the history of Christianity and of Coptic Orthodoxy, and information about our Pope.
Perhaps the best way to initiate a visit is to contact us directly. If you would like to attend a service, you may certainly do so. Visitors will find there are many new things to experience in a Coptic Orthodox Church service. Feel free to go at your own pace, ask any questions you want, and know you are most welcome to "come and see."
We have priest, deacon, and congregation recitations projected on screens during the Evening Raising of Incense service (Vespers) on Saturday nights, and during the Divine Liturgy on Wednesday and Sunday mornings. You may follow the service text on screen, or, if you prefer, simply close your eyes and immerse yourself in the Church's beautiful worship of God.
Following the Sunday Divine Liturgy, you are invited to join us for an "agape meal", which is a good time to get to know our parish members and meet our priest.
Is there a dress code?
The general guideline for men and women is to dress appropriately, modestly and respectfully, as before the living God. We ask that you not wear shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops, low-cut or strapless dresses (unless covered by a sweater), etc.
Is childcare provided?
Each parent is responsible for his or her own child(ren). We encourage children to be present in Church for the services, as we believe this participation to be part of a child's spiritual development. If your baby or child needs a break, you may take him or her out of the nave until he or she is ready to return. In the meantime, you may follow along with the service on a projection screen.
Is Sunday School available?
We provide Sunday School in small groups for children in grades pre-K through twelve. Sunday School begins after the agape meal and lasts for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, we have a spiritual lesson for adults as well.
Standing or sitting?
The traditional posture for prayer and worship in the Orthodox Church is to stand, as before the King of the universe! In many churches in Egypt, there are no pews in the churches, but rather chairs or benches on the side walls, reserved for the elderly and infirm. In America, we build our churches with pews or chairs, so you may sit. However, it is appropriate to stand during the Gospel reading, the Anaphora through the Institutional Narrative, the distribution of Holy Communion, when the priest gives a blessing, and at the Dismissal.
Can non-Orthodox receive the Holy Eucharist?
The Holy Eucharist in the Orthodox Christian faith is not a mere symbol or memorial reenactment of the Mystical Supper. Rather, it is truly the Body and the Blood of Christ. For this reason, in order for one to partake of Holy Communion one must be a member the Orthodox Church in good standing and be properly prepared to receive the Holy Body and the Precious Blood of our Savior. As a general rule, proper preparation means keeping the fasts of the Church, recent confession (within one month), being at peace with others, and arriving to Divine Services on time. Anyone, however, is welcome to join us in receiving the Eulogia (blessed bread), at the end of the Divine Liturgy.
What are Orthodox worship hymns like?
Between 65-75% of the traditional Coptic Liturgy involves congregational singing. Coptic Christians do not use musical instruments with the exception of the cymbals and triangle, which are used simply to keep musical time. A choir of deacons leads the congregation in harmonious chant. Our hymns are solemn, prayerful and intended to lead the faithful to worship the living God.