I almost decided I was too tired to go, but I managed to wake myself up enough to get ready.
I got home not terribly long ago. The services didn't end until just a little after 1 PM (I got there at 10AM, which wasn't even the beginning...), since the Prostration prayers took place immediately after the Liturgy ended.
Anyway, I thought I would give some thoughts/comments/observations/questions:
1) I came in during the part of the service saying prayers for "Papa Abba Tawadros." Shortly after that the the Epistle was read. How late was I and what part of the service was that? I got there almost exactly at 10AM, so I was surprised that I seemed so late.
2) I noticed there are much fewer petitions to the Trinity in saying things like "Glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" etc. like in the Byzantine tradition, so people signed themselves a lot less.
3) The Coptic kiss of peace was neat and much better than the kiss of peace I've seen at Catholic churches, although it did catch me off guard.
4) Shoes were only taken off by people going up to take communion, so my intense socks preparation was all in vain.
5) The chanting was familiar to the Arabic Byzantine chanting I've heard at times, but at other times it took getting used to.
6) Cymbals are about the coolest thing ever.
7) The powerpoints are actually kind of convenient (when the altar servers can keep track of where the service is currently at
) compared to a book, since I don't have to keep looking down the whole time to read it.
8 ) When people went up to receive communion I noticed that the the deacon's doors/curtains were opened up, and men went in the left side and women went in the right side. First they received the bread (men first, then women) then they received the wine (men first again). I couldn't actually see them partaking though since it was blocked by the iconostasis. Is it normal for Copts to receive back there and not in the nave?
9) The priest rarely faced the people unless he completely left the altar, even when he blessed with the cross he seemed to turn half-way at most.
10) Also there were numerous times when it would be said "Our Father..." and then it seemed everyone would pray the rest silently. I think that was just during the Prostration prayers service, but I also saw it happen when Abouna was giving a blessing.
11) And that had to have been the fastest recitation of the Creed I've heard, until the last verse which was chanted.
12) Oh, and the part about Mary and the Mercy Seat/Tabernacle references was nice.
I can't think of anything else at the moment, but apart from aching after all that standing it was a pretty nice experience. A lot more familiar than I thought it would be, and the people themselves were very friendly - almost as soon as the service ended I had someone asking to take down my contact info for updates and stuff.