What should I expect on my first visit?
Sunday Services begin at 10:30 am. When you arrive and walk through the front doors of the sanctuary, you will be greeted by parish trustees who will hand you a bulletin, which includes the Bible Reading for that Sunday, and information about special prayers being offered that day, and upcoming events.
You’ll be asked to enter the sanctuary from one of the side doors, and once you do you can sit anywhere, you like. If you arrive early, on a day that isn’t a feast day, you will find that there will be plenty of open seating. Our services fill up over time because they take from one and a half to two hours.
Following the Divine Liturgy, there is always a fellowship reception in our hall. You are welcome and encouraged to attend. This is a great time to meet the Parish Priest and other parishioners and learn more about the parish.
What about the service?
St. John is an Armenian Apostolic Church, which celebrates the Divine Liturgy, the Sacrament of the Eucharist, according to the ancient Armenian Rite. The service is conducted in Classical Armenian language. If you don’t know or understand the liturgy, there are books in our pews that are in English to help guide you along. There is a screen on the right front side of the church that tells you what page we are on, and a light that will help to know when people usually standup or sit-down.
Our website has plenty of resources to help you learn about the ancient and beautiful Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church. You can review our walkthrough or watch our instructional videos. From time to time we also host classes to help you learn even more.
Attire is typically respectful, but not strictly formal. People often wear dresses and suits, but others dress more casually. Dress as you would in the workplace, but otherwise, you needn’t be worried about your appearance.
Is there a sermon or homily?
The sermon or spiritual message is usually offered in both Armenian and English at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. It can last approximately 10 to 20 minutes. The messages address the Gospel, days feast days, contemporary issues, or life challenges. At St. John we strive to offer a relevant and applicable message each week. You can listen to our podcast of previous messages as well other topics.
Is anything expected of me?
For some, it can feel intimidating to step foot in a new church, with new people. It can feel even more intimidating to worship in a church when you aren’t confident in the customs and practices of that tradition. This is natural, but we try to do everything possible to help introduce you to our community and faith. In our church pews, we have pamphlets that help familiarize you with customs in the church.
You do not need to speak Armenian to be an active member of our church. Many of our members don’t speak Armenian. However, if you do speak Armenian, you are also very welcome, and you’ll find many people with whom you can connect.
Can we bring young children to the church service?
It can nerve-racking for parents of young children to attend church because they feel as though their children will be a disturbance. St. John encourages you to bring your children and introduce them to the spiritual grandeur of the church from a young age. It is acceptable to bring a small snack for these children and even small books or quiet activities to keep them engaged during this time. Avoid things like toys or apps that require sound.
However, most babies and toddlers will reach a point where they will get anxious, and you will feel as though they are causing a disturbance to your fellow worshipers. Thankfully, St. John has an easily accessible nursery, which you can bring them too, to play and interact with other kids their age. When you feel they are ready you can bring them back to the sanctuary. When they are old enough, they can enroll in our Sunday School program, which is a great way to install Christian knowledge and values in children.
Is there parking?
St. John is blessed with abundant parking. On most Sundays parking is not an issue, and if our parking lot is full, there are plenty of free parking spots available on the street.
Is your church handicap accessible?
The sanctuary and parish complex are wheelchair accessible. Also, our parish bathrooms have been recently fully renovated to be ADA compliant.
Do you have diaper changing stations?
Yes, we have several diaper changing stations located in bathrooms through our facility to accommodate your family.