Frequently Asked Questions
We have tried to answer a few common questions below and throughout the site. If you have a question that has not been answered, please email the pastor.
How do I get to St. Willibrord's?
We are conveniently located near the corner of Waverly and 8th Street, not far from downtown Holland and with easy access from US-31.
When should I arrive?
On Saturdays, the roughly 45-minute Vespers (evening prayers) service begins at 5:00 pm. On Sunday mornings we have two services: Matins (morning prayers) begins at 8:45 am and Divine Liturgy (the main service) begins at 10:00 am.
You can arrive right on time, or a few minutes early if you would like to settle in beforehand. (If you happen to be late, please enter quietly.)
How should I dress?
Wearing your "Sunday best" is the norm: business or nice business-casual dress. Modesty is the best policy (no shorts, low-cut tops, or short skirts, please).
Men (except for clergy) do not wear hats; women may wear hats or headscarves if desired.
What happens when I get to church?
As our church is small, we do not presently have a separate narthex, so please finish any conversations outside and enter quietly. There is a coat rack by the door, and you can pick up a bulletin or service handout from the small table. You are welcome to sign our guest book.
If you want to follow along in a Service Book, they are available in the book rack by the entrance. If you need help finding your place, feel free to ask someone.
You are then welcome to come inside and find a place. It is traditional to stand most of the time in Orthodox worship, but we also have seating for those who need it.
What is your worship like?
Our way of worship is different from what you may be used to; more tactile and interactive, in the way that the earliest Christians worshipped. You do not have to participate more than you are comfortable with, and no one will mind if you simply observe. When you visit, if you see or hear something you do not understand, please ask questions!
It may be worth noting that we burn incense in our services, as Christians have done from ancient times in worship, and the Jews before them. Most people appreciate the symbolism and enjoy the scent of our incense, but for some people it takes some getting used to.
You may also like to read 12 Things I Wish I'd Known: First Visit to an Orthodox Church by Frederica Mathews-Green.
Do you offer childcare or children's worship?
We have a lot of young children at St. Willibrord's. In the Orthodox Church, parents are encouraged to let their children participate fully in worship. We do not segregate the members of the Church by age; from infancy, Orthodox children attend the services, receive the sacraments, and are treated as full members of the Church—as the Lord said, "Let the little children come to Me."
We only ask parents to keep watch over their children, to make sure they are indeed participating in worship. The church is a sacred place and worship is a holy time, so while everyone should be comfortable and feel "at home" in church, it is not the place for casual activities.
If children need to burn off some energy (as they often do), parents are welcome to take them out of the service for a few minutes. We have a library/cry room, and during good weather taking children outdoors is fine too.
Sunday School is also offered during coffee hour after the Divine Liturgy on Sundays. Visitors are welcome.
Should I just leave after the service?
After the end of the Divine Liturgy each Sunday, it is our custom to say a series of thanksgiving prayers. This may seem like the time to leave, but please don't. We would like to meet you!
We have coffee hour after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings (lunch on the first Sunday of each month). Please join us for this time of fellowship. There is, of course, no cost.
Can I meet with the priest?
Yes, he would love to meet with you. The best time to introduce yourself is during the fellowship hour after a service. He can answer questions about anything you heard or saw. If you would like, he can also set up a meeting for a convenient time and place to answer more of your questions.