Our Spiritual Journey
Worshiping at St Gabriel Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church celebrates progressive values in a traditional worship environment. We host a communion during each and every service to celebrate the life and death of Jesus Christ. All visitors are welcome to join us in this Holy Eucharist. Come as you are and welcome the love of Jesus into your life.
On Sunday mornings we begin the day reading Morning Prayer as found in the Book of Common Prayer. Prayer starts at 7:30, and people arrive throughout the service. Following Morning Prayer is our first Eucharist of the day. At 8:00, we host a traditional spoken service. This service tends to be more contemplative, and does not include music.
At 10:00, we gather for our main service, which includes music. Church School is held during the first part of the service. Children join their families in time to share Communion. The music at St. Gabriel is extraordinary. Our Choir Director is classically trained and also sings jazz. She is well connected in the music community around Portland and often invites her musical friends to share their gifts. Our Organist is an amazing musician who often pens his own pieces to share on Sundays. Our choir sings all but one Sunday a month.
Three to four times a year, Church School is cancelled and our kids join the congregation for a “Family Service”, with the sermon being more “kid friendly”.
Birthdays and special occasions are celebrated during both services and coffee hour follows after the final blessing at each.
On Wednesday mornings we hold a Healing Eucharist at 9:30. The average attendance for this service varies from 5-15 people. Holy Unction (laying on of hands and anointing with oil) is offered to any who wish special prayer.
Our community is made up of all kinds of folks and all are welcome – the best way to get to know us, is to worship with us…stop by, there will be a smile and a cup of coffee waiting for you!
“…with God nothing shall be impossible!”
-The Archangel Gabriel
The Meaning of Holy Week
Holy week is filled with odd-sounding words and unusual observances, like “Maundy” Thursday, “Altar of Repose”, and “Good” Friday (what could be good about the day Jesus was crucified?). Holy week is important because during this time we reenact the events of the week before Jesus’ resurrection.
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ triumphal but at the same time humble entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey with onlookers placing palm branches on the ground before him. At St. Gabriel’s 10:00am service we reenact this procession into Jerusalem by meeting outside the church where Palm branches are blessed and we hear a Gospel account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. We then sing “All Glory Laud and Honor” while we process with the palm branches into the church. Later during the service we read a gospel account of Jesus’ Passion (his capture, sufferings, and death). Members of the congregation read the roles of the principal figures in the Passion drama.
Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles. “Maundy” comes from the Latin “mandatum,” meaning “commandment.” At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” During the Maundy Thursday service, the priests wash the feet of the members of the congregation, reenacting Jesus’ washing of his disciples feet as an act of humility and servitude.
At the end of the Maundy Thursday service, the altar is stripped bare, and the Communion bread is taken into the library, which has been prepared to be an “Altar of Repose.” Here members of the congregation take turns keeping watch with Jesus overnight, as his disciples were unable to do at the Garden of Gethsemane, where he said to them “Could you not watch with me one hour?”
The name “Good Friday” comes from the sense of “good” as “holy.” On this day the church remembers the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Our services are solemn. At St. Gabriel at noon we reflect on the seven last words of Christ in a service of meditation and music. We process through the Stations of the Cross starting at 2:30, and the Good Friday Rite is performed at 7:30pm.
Holy Saturday commemorates the time that Jesus was in the tomb. Confessions are traditionally heard on this day and can be scheduled with Mother LouAnn.
After sunset on Saturday St Gabriel celebrates the Great Vigil of Easter as the first official service of Easter Sunday. During this service the new fire of Easter is struck outside the church, and the Paschal Candle is lit from it. This candle is used to light the candles held by members of the congregation, symbolically spreading the Light of Christ throughout the world. Finally with a mighty “Alleluia!” the candles of the altar are lit form the Paschal Candle and we join in a joyous, musical celebration of the first Eucharist of Easter. Then on Easter morning we celebrate the Easter Eucharist twice more.
We invite you to join us in the week of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and his Passion and Crucifixion, for in reenacting these events from long ago we bring them once more into the present, and make them a powerful part of our lives in Christ.