a vibrant and affirmative congregation and ministry
New Bedford, Massachusetts

What to expect at services

What you can expect at Grace is to be welcomed. As you come up the walk, the doors will be open with a smiling face just on the other side. Feel free to explore the church, admire the stained glass windows, and introduce yourself. We want to allow you to take things at your own pace.

Feel free to flip through the bulletin. It has announcements and information about current happenings at Grace, as well as the order of service and page numbers from the red Book of Common Prayer and our two hymnals.

Regardless of which service you attend, it will begin with a call to worship. We will hear readings from the Bible, and there will be a sermon connecting those scriptures to our life today. After the sermon, we pray for ourselves and for the world. Then, a financial offering for the sustaining of our ministry will be collected in gratitude to God’s many gifts, though those new to Grace are not expected to participate. However, if there is something in your life you are grateful for and you wish to make an offering, that would be most welcome as well.

We then celebrate and partake together of the Eucharist (also called the Lord’s Table, or Holy Communion, or Mass). We believe that this is God’s table and not ours and all are welcome to receive the bread and wine. We then say a final thanksgiving and are sent into the world strengthened to love and serve God and God’s people.

Whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome at Grace!


Worship Schedule

  • Saturday – 5:00 pm Holy Eucharist Rite II (chapel)
  • Sunday – 8:00 am Holy Eucharist Rite I (chapel)
  • Sunday – 10:00 am Holy Eucharist Rite II (main church)
  • Wednesday – 10:00 am Holy Eucharist Rite II Eucharist and healing service (chapel)

During the winter, if the New Bedford school system calls off school due to inclement weather, the Wednesday 10am service is automatically cancelled.


Services

The Book of Common Prayer, which is used for the order of all liturgical services, has a great variety of optional formats. Within The Episcopal Church many forms from the very formal and traditional to the very contemporary are possible, and parishes have choices as to their style of worship, where everything is allowed from solemn high Mass to the simplest of prayer services. Grace has chosen a middle course and has from time to time embraced many forms of liturgies.

In All Saints’ Chapel, adjacent to the main church, on Saturdays at 5:00 pm, there is a Rite II Eucharist which is a less formal and more intimate service without music, and in contemporary language. The Prayers of the People and Eucharistic Prayer vary with the seasons. A healing service precedes the Eucharist on the first weekend of each month.

On Sundays at 8:00 am, there is a Rite I Eucharist with one hymn, for those who prefer the more traditional language. This service is also held in All Saints’ Chapel.

In the main church on Sundays at 10:00 am, a formal Rite II Eucharist with full procession, choir, Acolytes and Lay Ministers, takes place. The Prayers of the People and Eucharistic Prayer vary with the seasons. During the sermon, children have their own homily in the chapel, rejoining the congregation for the Eucharist.

On the third Sunday of the month, the 10am service is entirely devoted to children, with a special sermon, Prayers of the People using petitions which they choose, and a special Eucharistic Prayer. Youth occupy most of the lay positions at the altar, and the Youth Choir sings. The children surround the altar during the consecration. In general, children are actively included in worship as much as possible.

In summer, the Sunday services combine into a single service at 9:00 am in the main church, alternating between Rite I and Rite II. There is no choir or formal church school sessions during the summer.

There is a Rite II Eucharist followed by a healing service in the chapel most Wednesdays at 10:00 am (though this may occasionally be a Morning Prayer service). In winter, this service is cancelled if the New Bedford public schools are closed due to inclement weather.

Over the course of the year, there are many special Sunday and Holiday services in the main church: Blessing of the Animals, Children’s Sabbath, Acolyte Sunday, All Saints, Children’s Christmas Pageant and Hanging of the Greens, Christmas Eve Festival Eucharist and Midnight Mass, Lent and Holy Week services, Easter, Pentecost, etc., which are celebrated with additional elements of joy, solemnity, or pomp as befits these special occasions.