How We Worship
Worship is a fundamental part of St. Mark’s identity as a community of faith. As part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, we worship using a Book of Common Prayer [BCP], the first of which was published in England in 1549 and that has since been revised and adapted to meet the needs of people worshipping in different times and places. The BCP used in the Episcopal Church was last revised in 1979, although newly authorized alternative forms and texts are offered to ensure that liturgy (“the work of the people”) remains a vital and dynamic part of our corporate Christian life. In weaving together the ancient rhythms of worship with forms that embrace present day realities and needs, we hope to engage in worship that is both traditional and transformative.
You will find the order of worship and hymns for each service in the program given to you by an usher. Our normal order of worship on Sundays is the Holy Eucharist (from Greek meaning “thanksgiving”). There are other services in the BCP that can be offered daily (“The Daily Offices”), along with forms for other rites and sacraments.
Every person who is searching for God and joins with us in worship is welcome to share in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. You are invited to come forward to receive communion at the altar rail kneeling or standing, or you may ask an usher for the bread and wine to be brought to your seat. You may also come forward and cross your arms across your chest to ask for a blessing.
We try to use real things in our worship: real bread, real wine, real candles, real music, real flowers. Even real people—who occasionally make mistakes! As you enter into worship with us, please don’t worry about following the liturgy perfectly. We know our worship may seem a bit complicated at first – we’ve all felt that way. But we’ve found this way of worship to be rich and full; it doesn’t “get old” in a few weeks, but deepens over time and is well worth the effort!
We move a lot in our worship, sitting and standing and kneeling. Because the Christian faith is incarnational – celebrating the good news of God taking on the fullness of human life in Christ - we believe Christian worship should be incarnational as well, using our whole bodies and all of our senses. Using our bodies in worship involves us more fully in what we’re doing. Watch what others are doing and feel free to go along as you are comfortable. For some general guidelines, check the italicized instructions (rubrics) in the program.
At St. Mark’s we love to socialize, but we also like to begin our worship in a reverential way. So when we enter the church before worship we tend to sit quietly, praying our special concerns or just enjoying the meditative music. This doesn’t mean we’re unfriendly, it simply means we do our primary socializing in other contexts and places in the building.
We joyfully welcome children of all ages to fully participate in our worship. Some children can better join in if they have something to do as they listen, and so we provide bags filled with soft toys, papers themed to the Sunday readings for drawing and coloring, and crayons at the rear of the church. Feel free to bring these with you to your pew. Children are full of wiggles, and sometimes it helps if you sit near the front so they can see what is going on. Feel free to leave if your child needs a break but be certain to come back.
Please join us in the Parish Hall for fellowship after the service. We want to get to know you!