What to Expect on Sunday
Visiting a church for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you've never been to an Episcopal church before! We are a relatively small parish, so the first thing you can expect is for someone to recognize a new face in the congregation and introduce themselves. Ushers, greeters, and oftentimes those in your pew will be happy to guide you throughout the service as needed.
Our church is located at the top of a hill. Walk among saints through our historic churchyard to reach one of the two entrances, or catch a ride on the golf cart shuttle service, which is available every Sunday, rain, shine, or snow.
Our liturgy incorporates both Protestant and Catholic practices, so chances are that you will be familiar with at least some of the service. Everything is laid out for you in the bulletin, from scriptures, to hymns, right down to when to sit, stand, and kneel. While accessible, our worship is also otherworldly. It invites us into ancient practices of grace which might be unfamiliar to modern sensibilities. We must learn these postures and prayers to be shaped into God’s person. Our liturgy is a portal to the Kingdom of God.
The bulletin also contains our parish prayer list, occasional announcements and schedules, contact information for clergy and church staff, and a list of ministries and groups. The bulletin is available online by Friday evening each week, and services are live-streamed to our Facebook page.
Frequently Asked Questions
You are always welcome to reach out to the Parish Administrator with specific questions.
Are children welcome?
Children and babies are always welcome in worship! We know that God gave them a mouth to praise Him, as well as to cry, laugh, and make other noises. This doesn't bother us one bit. That said, nursery care with qualified staff is available for children ages zero to four from 8:30am to 12:00pm. The nursery is located in the Education Wing (#6 on the map at the bottom of this page).
How does Communion work?
Communion is offered every Sunday and at special services, with very occasional exceptions. Any baptized Christian, including children, is encouraged to receive the sacrament of Communion in the Episcopal Church. If you prefer not to receive, you may come forward for a blessing from the priest with your arms crossed over your chest. Gluten-free wafers are always available and can be requested from the priest when you approach the altar to receive.
What accommodations are available for people with disabilities?
In addition to the golf cart shuttle service described above, hearing assistance devices are available for those who are hearing impaired. The church is also equipped with a ramp.
How can I/my child be baptized?
To begin the process of Baptism, please reach out to the Parish Administrator. St. John in the Wilderness follows the Book of Common Prayer recommendations for reserving Baptisms for the Easter Vigil, the Day of Pentecost, All Saints' Sunday, the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany), and any occasion at which the bishop is present.
It is the policy of St. John in the Wilderness that infants may be baptized only if their immediate caretakers are making the request and are members of the congregation. Parents who would like their child baptized should join the church first and begin sharing in life at St. John before seeking baptism for their child or children.
How can I become a member?
Becoming a member of St. John is easy! We would be honored to have you. Click here to learn more about the process.
How can I become an Episcopalian?
While any baptized person can join St. John, deciding to officially become Episcopalian takes further time and discernment. After joining St. John, sign-up for the newcomers class which is typically offered once each year. This will help you get to know much better the Episcopal/Anglican way of following Jesus. At least every two years, our bishop will visit to offer us much joy, encouragement, and the blessings of his or her ministry. At this service, non-Episcopalians can be Confirmed or Received by the laying on of hands by our bishop. If you are new but have already been baptized or confirmed by one of our Full-Communion partner denominations, then you can officially become Episcopalian when you join St. John.
It is important to note that while any baptized person can become a member of St. John and bear a majority of rights and privileges, individuals are required to be Confirmed or Received from another Christian tradition in order to serve in certain leadership roles, such as on the Vestry. Those interested in being Confirmed or Received should reach out to the Rector to begin the process.
Can I get married at St. John?
Because of the number of requests we receive to hold weddings at our historic church, it became necessary to make it a policy that only members of St. John and their immediate family will be married here. If you are not a member and are looking for a venue to be married in, we would offer you instead a church in which to live out your marriage. Christian marriage is meant to be lived out in Christian community. All marriages that do happen at St. John include pre-marital counseling and are subject to ordinances of the Book of Common Prayer and our Diocesean requirements.
How can I learn more about St. John's history?
Tours of the church and churchyard are given monthly on the third Saturday at 11:00am. Click here to learn more and sign up!
Saint John in the Wilderness: 1836-" is an account of the church's history published in 1995 by Louise Howe Bailey, a longtime Flat Rock resident with deep family ties to St. John. Members are given a copy when they join the church. Additional copies may be purchased from the Parish Office for $10.
St. John's library is located in the Parish House (#4 on the map at the bottom of this page) and contains further reading on the history of our parish and the surrounding area.