The Episcopal Cathedral of the Epiphany
Anglican Communion
 

The Union Church of Santo Domingo
Interdenominational
 


First Time Visitors

If you’re wondering what to expect when you come to Epiphany/Union Church, we’ve tried to address here some of the things you might want or need to know. We want you to be as comfortable as possible. If you have any other questions, please contact us.

How to get here

The Church is located at Avenida Independencia 253, near the intersection with Calle Danae. Landmarks include the hotel Casona Dorada next door, and the huge lighting emporium, Lámparas Quezada (alias MQ Lámparas) across the street.

Avenida Independencia is a major street that is near and runs parallel to the Malecón (alias Avenida George Washington), the main drag along the Caribbean. It is a one-way street that goes east, toward Parque Independencia in the Zona Colonial.

Coming from most parts of Santo Domingo, whether driving or taking public transportation, the easiest way is to get to Avenida Independencia and then head east. There are many buses and taxis on this route. Coming from the eastern side of the city, or from East Santo Domingo, the easiest way is to find Parque Independencia and then walk several blocks west. We are in walking distance of many hotels on the Malecón and in the Zona Colonial.

For a map click here.

Where to park

There is parking on the church grounds. If it is full, people attending church on Sunday mornings can also use the parking spaces at Lámparas Quezada across the street. Just tell the guard that you’re going to services at Epiphany/Union.

What do people wear?

Some people dress up, and some come in very casual clothes. Most dress somewhere in between, and no one is fussy about what anyone wears.

Leaflets and books

At the door you will be greeted by an usher with a service leaflet that guides you through the liturgy and tells you which hymns we will sing. On Union Church Sundays you will also be given a single red book containing both the liturgy and the hymns. On Episcopal Sundays there will be two books, The Book of Common Prayer (red) containing the liturgy and The Hymnal 1982 (blue) containing the hymns. (On the difference between Union Church and Episcopal Sundays, see the Worship page.) When we occasionally have a bi-lingual service you will be given a red booklet that contains the liturgy in both English and Spanish, along with an English hymnal or a Spanish hymnal, whichever you prefer.



Greeters give worshipers the books and leaflets
they will need for the service

Where to sit

The greeters may invite you to sit up front because it is difficult to maintain a spirit of unity and participation if people are scattered all over the church, particularly when the congregation is small. But if this makes you uncomfortable, you are welcome to sit anywhere you choose. You need not be afraid of trespassing on anyone else’s pew. Some of us have our favorite seats, but no one is possessive enough to be upset if someone inadvertently sits there.

What about children?

Children of all ages are welcome in church and, if parents wish, they may stay for the entire service. If children grow restless, it is quite all right for parents to get up and take them outside until they are ready to return.

There is usually Sunday School for children between the ages of 3 and 12. They come to the first part of the service and leave for their class just before the beginning of the sermon.


Before the sermon begins Father Michael
dismisses children to their Sunday school class

Sunday school class with teacher Daysi Perez

Where are the bathrooms?

Bathrooms are located in the parish hall, the building behind the church that is closest to the rear of our grounds. As you walk out of the church, turn right at the door and then right again at the driveway, and head straight on back to the parish hall. You enter the porch through a small metal gate, and then go through the front door (which is usually left open on Sunday mornings) into the main room. Bathrooms are to the far left.

How to participate

The service leaflet tells you the order of service, the page numbers on which you can find each item in the liturgy, and the number of each hymn. The presiding minister will also announce the hymns and many of the page numbers, particularly when there has been a break in the service and the people need to know where to find their place again. 

The service books and the ministers will give directions about when to stand, sit, and kneel. You will notice that people sometimes do their own thing. For example, many will kneel for the confession but some will stand. You are free to adopt whatever posture you feel comfortable with.

Can I go to communion?

In the English service we celebrate the Eucharist and have communion every other Sunday (see the Worship page). Holy Communion is the family meal of Christians. All baptized persons, of whatever denomination, are welcome to receive communion with us. If you wish to take part, the greeters will indicate when to come forward.

Children are also welcome to receive if they have been baptized, as there is no fixed age for first communion in the Episcopal Church. If children are not used to taking communion previously, it is probably best that they not do so when visiting for the first time. In that case parents can take turns, one keeping the children in the pew while the other comes forward. Or you can bring the children forward, and the minister will greet them with a blessing rather than give them the bread and wine.

There are various ways of receiving communion. For the bread, you may extend one or both of your hands and the minister will place a small wafer on your palm. (You may also see some people stick out their tongues so that the minister can put the bread directly into their mouths.) Most people eat the bread right away and then proceed to the wine.

In the English service there are two options with regard to the wine, individual small cups (to your left) or a large common cup (to your right). If you prefer the small individual cup, you can take it from the tray, drink the wine, and return it empty to the tray.   If you prefer the common cup, the minister will assist you in drinking a sip from it. You can take hold of the cup and help him or her guide it to your mouth. After receiving the wine, you return to your seat.
 
  Rather than drink the wine, some people prefer to have their bread dipped into it. If you take your wafer to the minister with the common cup, you can dip it yourself and then eat it. Or you can let the let the minister dip it and put it directly into your mouth.

Introduction of visitors

At the time of the announcements, near the end of the service, the presiding minister will do the introductions. He or she will ask if any first-time visitors are present and invite you to introduce yourself. Please stand and tell your name and where you come from—but if this makes you uncomfortable, feel free not to respond. 

 
A first-time visitor introduces herself
and tells where she is from

 

After the service

On Union Church Sundays the dismissal includes forming a circle for the closing prayer. Every Sunday after the dismissal the ministers will be standing at the door to greet the people on their way out. This is another opportunity for you to introduce yourself. If you would like to know more about the church, or if you are interested in visiting again, the minister may ask—or you may volunteer—information about how to get in touch with you. If you didn’t sign the guest book on the way in, please sign it on the way out.

When the weather is nice, we have coffee outside in the garden. When it rains, we have coffee inside in the parish hall. Just follow the crowd. The coffee hour gives you an opportunity to meet some member of the church and to ask whatever questions you may have from your experience of the service.