Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be a member of The Episcopal Church?

As Episcopalians, we are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Episcopal Church has members in the United States, as well as in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands. We strive to love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every person. The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and traces its heritage to the beginnings of Christianity. Our liturgy retains ancient structure and traditions and is celebrated in many languages. Both men and women, including those who are married, are eligible for ordination as deacons, priests and bishops. We believe in amendment of life, the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting. Lay people exercise a vital role in the governance and ministry of our church. Holy Communion may be received by all baptized Christians, not only members of the Episcopal Church. We uphold the Bible and worship with the Book of Common Prayer. We affirm that committed relationships are lifelong and monogamous. Episcopalians also recognize that there is grace after divorce and do not deny the sacraments to those who have been divorced. We affirm that issues such as birth control are matters of personal informed conscience. We celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, always putting the work of love before uniformity of opinion. All are welcome to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church. (www.episcopalchurch.org)

What should I expect on my first visit to Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church?

Upon entering the building you will be greeted by a member of our Welcome Ministry. They will get you a nametag along with a special gift. If you have any initial questions, this is the person to ask. Next, an usher will give you the day’s bulletin which contains the order of service, Bible lessons for the day, information on the music you will hear today, announcements and a list of who will be participating the in the day’s service. You will then move into the nave of the church and pick your seat. There are no assigned seats at Holy Cross Faith Memorial so please feel free to pick the spot that you will be most comfortable. When the worship service begins simply follow along in the bulletin. There are three main books that are used during the service: The red Book of Common Prayer; the blue Hymnal 1982 and the red Hymnal Lift Every Voice and Sing II. The order of service comes from The Book of Common Prayer and page numbers are listed in your bulletin. Hymn numbers along with information on which hymnal is being used for the day are also listed in the bulletins. If you come to the 10:30 service you are also invited to stay for a time of fellowship and refreshments.

When do I stand, sit, or kneel?

As you read along in The Book of Common Prayer you will notice rubrics or directions written in italics that will guide you. But if you are not sure, just follow along with what your neighbor is doing. If you are not able to stand or kneel for long periods of time, no problem.  Feel free to remain seated.

What is this Book of Common Prayer and why aren’t we using the Bible?

The Book of Common Prayer is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity. We, who are many and diverse, come together in Christ through our worship, our common prayer. (episcopalchurch.org) It also contains the order of service for our worship. There are scripture readings assigned each week and they are printed in your bulletin for your convenience but you are also welcome to use your Bible to follow along.

Do you baptize babies?

Each candidate for baptism is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons. Sponsors of infants, commonly known as godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates.

I am planning on visiting Holy Cross Faith Memorial. May I take communion?

All baptized Christians, regardless of denomination, are welcome to take communion at Holy Cross Faith Memorial.

I am not able to walk to the Altar. How can I receive communion?

Just let one of our ushers know that you would like to receive communion in your seat and one of our clergy will come to you.

How can I become a member of Holy Cross Faith Memorial?

Just speak with a member of our clergy or call the church office at 843-237-3459. If you are already on the rolls at another church, you may contact them and ask that they send a letter of transfer to us at PO Box 990, Pawleys Island, SC 29585.

Do I have to pledge to be a member of Holy Cross Faith Memorial?

The answer depends on what you mean by the phrase “be a member”. It can mean different things to different people:

  • “to be a Christian” in a publicly recognized way,
  • “to belong to the Episcopal Church” in a general sense,
  • “to join” a local congregation, or even
  • in a legal sense, to obtain the rights and privileges of a communicant (a contributing and voting member).

To be a member of Christianity, you must be baptized. To belong to the Episcopal Church, you need either to be baptized in an Episcopal Church or baptized in another church and either received or transferred into an Episcopal Church. Financial pledging, along with regular church attendance and Confirmation, is required to be a “communicant in good standing.” With this comes the privilege and right to vote at annual meetings and special sessions, such as Vestry elections and other major church decisions. Also, only communicants in good standing may serve on the vestry.

Do I need to be confirmed when I become a member of The Episcopal Church?

If you have already been confirmed in another church you would be “received” by the bishop of our diocese. If you have not ever been confirmed then it would be appropriate for you to discuss confirmation with our Rector.