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What Can You Expect at St. Mary's?

All are welcome at St. Mary's! Maybe you are an Episcopalian, a Christian, a Seeker, Whatever! Wherever you are on your spiritual journey (and we're all somewhere) you are welcome! You can expect to be welcomed and given a bulletin (or program). The bulletin contains the numbers for the hymns (if you are attending a service with music) and they can be found in a hymnal in the rack in front of you. Otherwise, everything you need to follow along is in your bulletin. Where indicated, you may stand or kneel as able.

Our liturgy is based on ancient and modern customs. It's very easy to follow. The service is in two parts: 1) the Liturgy of the Word and 2) Holy Communion (Eucharist). For the liturgy of the Word, readings are read from the Bible. Then the priest (pastor, reverend, rector) offers a homily (sermon). We recite the Nicene Creed, the creed of our faith together, offer the Prayers of the People (there's a time to add your own, if you like), and exchange the Peace. This is when we greet each other and share and express God's peace to each other.

Then the priest offers a few short announcements, and we continue with the giving of the offerings of our lives. They are blessed and we go on to the Eucharistic Prayer. We follow different versions of the Eucharistic Prayer. The prayer we are using will be in your program.

You are welcome to receive Communion. We do not want to exclude anyone. We bless and offer wine and grape juice and wheat and gluten free wafers.

We end with a prayer and a blessing and then we are sent forth into the world, strengthened by our worship with each other and with God's presence among us.

But, before you go, you are invited to come to our Coffee Hour, right after church! You will be welcomed there too!  

A church is a Household of God. Welcome to our House! Make it your own!

What Do We Believe?

We are Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, who is revealed to us in the Bible. Karl Barth, theologian, said his basic theology is: "Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so." Yes!

We believe in that wonderful and sacred mystery, the Trinity: God our Creator, Christ our Redeemer and the Holy Spirit our Comforter and Friend. We believe that God loves us unconditionally and that means unconditionally! This also means that our sins are forgiven - every single one! So our lives can be changed. We also believe in eternal life. We don't know what it's going to be like, but it's going to happen! You can find our specific creed of faith, the Nicene Creed on p. 358 of The Book of Common Prayer, our book of worship. The BCP can be found online at www.bcponline.org.

Prayer is our response to God, by thought and deeds, with or without words. `There are basically four types of prayer: thank you, please, oops and wow!

We believe in the two great sacraments given by Christ in the gospels: Baptism and the Eucharist. Other sacramental rites have evolved in the Church: Confirmation, Ordination, Blessed Matrimony, Reconciliation, and Unction. A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace.

Jesus' great commandment to us is to 1) Love God with all our hearts, souls and minds and to 2) Love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. This may be a lot, but we believe that Jesus helps us.

We live our core beliefs through:

+ Participating in corporate worship (No, worshipping alone is not the same as worshipping together!)

+ Reaching out to our brothers and sisters in our surrounding community to offer assistance and support. You can read how we do this in our site section labeled Outreach.

+ Sharing the story of our relationship with God with others.

+ Seeking a greater understanding of God with study and prayer.

+ Giving of our time, talents, and treasure to God's work.

 
Who Are We?

Episcopalians are everywhere, but some of us believe that we are a well kept secret, too well kept! We can be found in the US, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Haiti, Honduras, Micronensia, Perto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands.  We are part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Episcopal means we are in relationship with a bishop. That gives you an idea of our governance. It may seem to you that we are very similar to Roman Catholics. However, there are significant differences. We do not have an overall head of our church with the power of a Pope. We are Anglo Catholics, because we are part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Our Anglican heritage goes back to the Early Church, the very beginnings of Christianity. Our American history began with the Anglican Church in England.

We are all ministers in our Church: lay persons, priests, deacons and bishops. Each of us has great importance in the running of our individual parishes. We vote for members of the Vestry, a body that meets monthly and governs the operations of our church. Through the efforts of our Vestry, we choose our priest. Our Bishop appoints our deacon. Our priest is our pastor, who proclaims the Gospel, administers the sacraments, and blesses and declares pardon in God's name. Our priest also shares oversight of the church with our Bishop.

Our Parish Mission Statement
We are a spiritual, Christ-centered parish, united in worship revealing the love of God by sharing our gifts among ourselves and with others.