St. Margaret’s is located in Palm Desert, California, a resort and retirement community. Our membership reflects the diversity of the larger Coachella Valley, including the relatively large seasonal population and members who have moved to the area after having been well established in another community and another congregation. What constitutes “normal church” varies substantially from one member to the next, and facile categories such as “high church” and “low church”, “traditional” and “contemporary”, “conservative” and “progressive”, “formal” and “casual” are difficult to apply in meaningful ways.
In the face of that diversity, St. Margaret’s strives to offer worship that is coherent but not plodding, edifying but not polemical, beautiful but not precious, and holy but not inaccessible. We are blessed with a large congregation and generous physical and financial resources. We have the capacity and the responsibility to respond faithfully to a variety of approaches to worship. Not every worship offering will be of value to every member.
The following customs apply generally, but may be adapted seasonally.
For worship in the Chancel (excluding the 5 p.m. Saturday Eucharist), normally three principle worship ministers are seated on the predella, and all other ministers are seated on the front pews of the transepts. The Celebrant is seated in the center, with the Preacher seated to the Celebrant’s right when facing the People, and the Deacon seated to the Celebrant’s left when facing the people. When entering the predella, the three stop together at the center entrance, pause briefly, and reverence at the Celebrant’s lead. The Deacon then leads the three around the lectern and behind the altar. At the retiring procession, the Deacon and Preacher exit together, followed by the Celebrant. When one person serves in two or three of the roles and a vacancy is created, other ministers may be selected to complete the set of three visually.
Sundays at 8 a.m. we offer Holy Eucharist, Rite One in the Chancel. The congregation has an order of service, referencing pages in the Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal 1982. An organist plays a prelude and postlude, a sequence hymn before the Gospel reading, and music at the Offertory and during Communion. There is no choir. The Celebrant, Preacher, Deacon, and Eucharistic Ministers enter from the Vesting Sacristy. Copes and dalmatics are not worn, and normal vesting guidelines apply.
The Collect for Purity (1979 BCP p. 324) is used.
The Psalm and Readings (including the Gospel) are read from the lectern.
A period of silence follows the Sermon.
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