[Matthew 7:7-8]

Frequently Ask Questions

Here we respond to a few questions you might have. Have more? We want to hear from you. Call us with your questions! Our phone number is 361-729-2649. If you happen to call us when we are not in the office, please leave your question on the answering machine and give us a way to contact you. If you would prefer you may e-mail your questions to us at stpeterbythesea@att.net.

General Information

To make an appointment with the rector, call or e-mail the church office.  The phone in the church office has an answering service.  You can leave a message on the phone at anytime.

Church office number: 361-729-2649
E-mail address: stpeterbythesea@att.net

The Ministry Center has two parking areas. One is to the north in front of the main entrance. This parking area contains the handicap parking. A larger parking area is to the west of the Ministry Center between the Ministry Center and the U.S. Post Office. There is also a drop-off area with a portico covering for inclement weather. The portico is on the west end of the Ministry Center, which is the side closest to the U.S. Post Office. The only reserved spaces are those designated handicap parking. If you do not require handicap access, please do not use the handicap spaces.

What one wears to a worship service is largely personal preference.  Many people wear business casual clothing.  Some people wear working attire when they come directly from work.  Other people prefer to dress more formally. You will see a wide range of dress in services.  The church is air-conditioned so you may wish to bring a light sweater if you chill easily.

Church Terms

BCP stands for Book of Common Prayer.  The Book of Common Prayer is the official book of worship of the Episcopal Church. The BCP provides liturgical forms, prayers, and instructions so that all members and orders of the Episcopal Church may appropriately share in common worship. Anglican liturgical piety has been rooted in the Prayer Book tradition since the publication of the first English Prayer Book in 1549. The first American BCP was ratified by the first General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1789. It was based on the Proposed Book of 1786, and the 1662 English Book of Common Prayer, as well as the Scottish eucharistic rite of 1764. The BCP is ratified by General Convention, with alterations or additions requiring the approval of two successive General Conventions. The General Convention may also authorize services for trial use. The process of Prayer Book revision led to publication of editions of the BCP for the Episcopal Church in 1789, 1892, 1928, and 1979. The BCP notes that "The Holy Eucharist, the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord's Day and other major Feasts, and Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, as set forth in this Book, are the regular services appointed for public worship in this Church" (p. 13).

The BCP includes the calendar of the church year, and it provides forms for the Daily Office, the Great Litany, the Collects, Proper Liturgies for Special Days, Holy Baptism, the Holy Eucharist, Pastoral Offices, and Episcopal Services. In addition to many forms for corporate worship, the BCP also provides forms for Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families (pp. 136-140). The BCP includes both contemporary language (Rite 2) and traditional language (Rite 1) versions of the forms for Morning and Evening Prayer, the Collects, the Eucharist, and the Burial of the Dead. The BCP also includes the Psalter, or Psalms of David; Prayers and Thanksgivings; An Outline of the Faith, or Catechism; Historical Documents of the Church (including the Articles of Religion); Tables for Finding the Date of Easter and other Holy Days; and lectionaries for the Holy Eucharist and the Daily Office.

The rector is the priest in charge of a parish. Typically, a rector is the priest in charge of a self-supporting parish, and a vicar is the priest in charge of a supported mission. The rector is the ecclesiastical authority of the parish. The term is derived from the Latin for "rule." The rector has authority and responsibility for worship and the spiritual jurisdiction of the parish, subject to the rubrics of the BCP, the constitution and canons of the church, and the pastoral direction of the bishop. The rector is responsible for selection of all assistant clergy, and they serve at the discretion of the rector. The church and parish buildings and furnishings are under the rector's control. The rector or a member of the vestry designated by the rector presides at all vestry meetings.

Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which the candidates "express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop" (BCP, p. 860).

Catechism is the outline for instruction in the Christian faith presented in a question and answer format. The Catechism appears in the BCP as "An Outline of the Faith" (pp. 845-862).
The narthex is an entry space, foyer, or anteroom of a church between the outside door and the nave. The term is from the Greek for a "small case." Historically, the narthex was an enclosed vestibule or porch of a basilica.
The nave is the place in the church building for the congregation. It is between the sanctuary and the narthex or entry of the church building. The term may be derived from the Latin navis, "ship," which was an early symbol of the church.
The sanctuary is the holy place, usually the worship space of a church. Sanctuary may mean the area around the altar, especially in liturgical churches. It may be separated from the rest of the church by an altar rail.

Bishops also preside at services of Confirmation, Reception, or Reaffirmation. Bishops bless altars and fonts, and the blessing of chalices and patens and church bells are traditionally reserved for the bishop.

In the Episcopal Church, diocesan and suffragan bishops are elected by Diocesan Convention. Bishops-elect are ordained and consecrated after consents have been received from a majority of the diocesan standing committees and from a majority of the bishops exercising jurisdiction in the Episcopal Church. If the episcopal election takes place within three months before General Convention, the consent of the House of Deputies is required instead of a majority of the standing committees. Three bishops are required to participate in the ordination and consecration of a bishop.

Diocesan bishops may be succeeded by bishops-coadjutor upon resignation of diocesan jurisdiction. Diocesan bishops may also be assisted by suffragan and assistant bishops, who have no right of succession upon the resignation of the diocesan bishop. See Apostolic Succession.

Remember if the answers above do not address your questions or you would like more explanation, please call us or e-mail us.  We look forward to hearing from your.

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