What to Expect
A typical week brings hundreds of people to Christ Church for ministries, fellowship, education, community programs and other activities specific to each age and stage of life. Our church is a welcoming place, and we look forward to saying hello, showing you around, and making sure your experience makes you want to return often!
What should I wear?
You are invited to wear whatever feels comfortable. As we have a wide variety of service styles, you will see a wide variety of attire at our services, classes and events. Many parishioners are comfortable in resort wear (we are a beach community) but some prefer more formal dress. In the summer months many choose sun-dresses and shorts. The main sanctuary leans towards a more formal style – but, remember, formal in a beach community is not the same as formal elsewhere.
Where do I park?
Ponte Vedra Beach Campus
Our two-level parking garage is accessed from the San Juan Drive entrance. There is convenient parking marked for those with mobility issues, before entering the garage as well as on both levels of the garage. At Ponte Vedra we also have a surface parking lot that can be accessed from the rear of the parking garage or from our Golfview Drive entrance. There are easy walkways from the parking areas and directional signage to help you orient yourself.
Serenata Beach Campus
Serenata Beach campus parking is provided in the Serenata Beach Club parking areas which are not gated and easily accessed from A1A (South Ponte Vedra Boulevard.) After parking, enter the front doors of the Club and take the elevator to the second floor where the service is held.
What do I do with my kids during church?
Children are welcome to attend all our services. On our Ponte Vedra campus, our nursery welcomes newborns up to Kindergarten-aged children on Sundays from 8:45 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 5:15 p.m. until 8:45 p.m. Staff are trained and there is high staff to child ratio. Our nursery director would be happy to discuss your child’s needs and answer any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Where should I sit in church?
You may sit anywhere. If you need special seating for any reason please inform our ushers when you arrive (these are the folks giving out bulletins). If you have special needs, for example you need communion brought to you, you have children who need changing facilities, access to bathroom close-by or gluten allergies the ushers can help you.
What if I am not an Episcopalian?
Many who visit Christ Church come from other faith traditions, and all are welcome and encouraged to participate. In most of our worship spaces you will be given a service in the bulletin as you come in. The Book of Common Prayer, Hymnal and Parish Songbook are easily available in the pews and seats. The first two of these are the large red books – it can be difficult to tell them apart when you first attend, so please take the time you need to find your way through the service. We encourage you to join in when you feel comfortable, but we invite you to be a part of worship with your presence while you learn how we do things. The contemporary service uses screens to display the words and information you need to participate. The Newcomer’s Class is offered several times each year and is designed to answer any questions you have about the Episcopalian faith, as well as Christ Church. This is not required but we hope you will take advantage of this series to get started.
How long is the service?
Typically, Sunday worship takes about an hour. Weekdays about 30 minutes. See below for a more detailed guide:
Ponte Vedra Campus
7:45 Main Sanctuary 50 minutes
9:00 Main Sanctuary 60 minutes
9:00 Contemporary 60 minutes
9:00 Chapel 40 minutes
11:15 Main Sanctuary 60 minutes
11:15 Contemporary 60 minutes
5:30 45 minutes
Except for special services (like Ash Wednesday or Good Friday) weekday services are about 30 minutes,
Is there Sunday school?
Yes. On Sundays we have Christian Formation (education) offerings from 10:15 -11 a.m. on our Ponte Vedra campus. There are classes for children, youth and adults and there is the Clergy Forum which discusses the Bible passages from that day. We encourage newcomers to begin with our Newcomers Class, an orientation to the Christ Church community and the wider Episcopal Church. You are always welcome to attend any of our formation classes.
Adults and children with special needs
Everyone is welcome. If you yourself have, or if you have children who have, some sort of special need you may have additional questions. Food restrictions, hearing, mobility, sight and ESE are all covered below. Please let us know if you have a need we have not covered.
Gluten. Our Eucharistic Services all have a Gluten free option. When you come to the rail, simply tell the priest you need gluten free bread. Gluten free bread is available at all Sunday Services.
For those with extreme sensitivity, gluten free wafers are individually wrapped to prevent contamination. At 9 a.m. and 11.15 a.m. in the main sanctuary we have a separate chalice. We are happy to expand this to any service, we just have not had demand.
Alcohol: Our wine contains alcohol. If, for any reason, you would rather not receive the wine, please just cross your arms across your chest. Usually the chalice-bearer will stop and say “The Blood of Christ” but will know to then move on. Receiving communion in one kind (just bread or just wine) has long been understood to be just as good as taking both.
Wheelchairs: All our venues, except for the Chapel, have space for wheelchairs (including electric chairs). There are three elevators to the upper level. If you are attending formation in the 200 Rooms you will need to use a different elevator than if you are accessing the worship space as there are steps on that level. Please ask if you are confused (our campus is big, we know it takes a while to learn your way around)
Other mobility issues: We do have a wheelchair in the Main Sanctuary if you cannot get in from your car. If you are with someone please send them in to ask an usher. If you are on your own, please call ahead so that we can look out for you. We will always bring communion to you, please let the ushers know.
We have a Hearing Loop system installed in the main sanctuary. Instructions are posted in the narthex (lobby). We do have signing at some of our services. Most weeks one of the 11:15 services has an interpreter. Those who currently use this service decide whether they will attend Church or the Contemporary Service. If you want to insure you can use this service, please call ahead.
We have large print bulletins and prayer books available. Please ask the Ushers. Ushers will also be happy to help you to your seat and assist you in getting to communion.
ESE (Exceptional Student Education) participants:
We understand children have a wide range of needs. You are welcome at any service but as a parent of an ESE child you will want to know and understand what things will actually be like and how well your family will be received. Different services offer different levels of stimulation and environment and (in all honesty, and we wish we had an easy way to fix this) different levels of patience from other participants. Clergy and other staff can help guide you and we have many families who navigate various paths in life, and who are more than willing to reach out to you. We are very interested in increasing our ability to enable everyone to worship through inclusion in our current services or through offering additional opportunities for worship. Please email or call clergy if you are interested in talking about this.