What To Expect When You Visit
There is an old joke about the Episcopal Church and Evangelism, that our approach is to put a fish tank next to the ocean and wait to see what jumps in. Well, there might be some truth to that! In good ways – it is not important to us what you wear, whether you know the Anglican names for all the furniture, or if you lived in Virginia 50 years or 2 weeks. Come as you are.
So, don't be afraid to come to church – we won't chase you down the block with pamphlets and pledge cards.
But we will welcome you into our church home, help you find your way through the liturgy, ply you with coffee and treats, send you a newsletter, give you a call or text if you like, and remember your name the next time you come, or when we see you out and about in the neighborhood. We’d like to say hello and get to know you!
So – go ahead – jump on in! The water is fine!
What to expect when you visit: a genuine welcome into a friendly and hospitable community.
The funny thing about St. Mark’s is that our front door faces the Boulevard – it is very grand and very pretty. But, our back door faces the big parking lot – so guess which door most folks use – right, the back door. No matter which door you choose (and there is an elevator if you prefer) it is just a few steps into the church. Greeters are at each door and they will give you a hand in welcome, and a service bulletin which is your getting-started road map through the service.
We are a liturgical church, and have as our main service road map The Book of Common Prayer. It is red. The Hymnal is blue. Just like the church seasons, we color-code things to make them more easily recognizable. We also have a green hymnal and it has some really wonderful songs in it from all over the Anglican Communion.
So now you are here. Sit anywhere – we don't have assigned seating (either officially or unofficially). The service has two main parts, the Service of the Word and the Eucharist. We begin with processional hymn and the choir, clergy, and other ministers enter. If you have a child that wants to join in our Children’s Worship, they may join the parade. We'll bring them back for Eucharist (Communion).
The Service of the Word has scripture readings, a psalm, the sermon, the creed, and prayers. Then we exchange the peace which is sort of a seventh-inning stretch between the two main parts of the service. We greet each other with handshakes and hugs, and after everyone sits down again – an invitation to all to receive communion is extended.
The Eucharist is our communion prayer. We like to sing it. The bread and wine are consecrated and offered to the people. Everyone and anyone present is welcome to share in communion. If you don't want the bread or wine, come and receive a blessing.
We end with a prayer sending us out “to do the work God has given us to do.” We sing the last song. Then it is time for refreshments and fellowship downstairs in the Parish Hall.
Children and Church
“We know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family – with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy – are not simply tolerated, you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.”
We welcome children in the church. We need children in the church.