Today I thought I’d venture into the city and check out St. Paul’s Seattle. Of all of the churches I’ve checked out online, this church has the most impressive online presence. Their style of worship is described as “Anglo-Catholic,” something I’ve only heard of but never experienced.
I attended the 11:15 Holy Eucharist. About 10 minutes before service started, a small group of parishioners gathered at a shrine to the Virgin Mary on the side of the nave and prayed a devotional to the Holy Mother. It was lovely. This is not common in most Episcopal churches…I assume this is part of the Anglo-Catholic tradition.
The service was mostly sung or chanted, included a lot of incense, and plenty of engagement from the congregation. I found the worship more engaging than most of the liturgies I’ve been a part of. It was very nice! Lots of incense, bowing, and acknowledgement of the prayers in chanting and song. I really enjoyed it. The music was also beautiful, with the sound of the choir echoing throughout the nave (they were seated in the choir loft above the main floor of the church).
Overall, I very much appreciated the richness of the liturgy. I wish more Episcopal churches embraced the chanting and song that St. Paul’s does. One thing that left me wanting more was the friendliness of the congregation. Sadly, not one person welcomed me or invited me to coffee hour. Of course, I was sitting in the back of the church though, so I made it a bit difficult to engage with. I won’t hold this against them, and do plan on attending again sometime in the future. I have yet to find a church that engages so many of my senses during worship as this church. It was truly a beautiful experience!