Ministries of Service
We are not asked merely to call ourselves Christians; we are asked to be Christians through our deeds. ~St. Ignatius of Antioch
We offer service opportunities inside the walls of the church building and out.
Our hands-on outreach ministries include:
- Family Promise
- Weekend Food for Kids
- Food Bank
- Care Center Ministry
- Little Free Library—located on the corner of First and Jefferson, we stock this library with all sorts of books. Take one, bring one. Enjoy!
We also offer "checkbook" outreach for those who prefer that method
We companion one another through tough times and joys alike. Most of the support is given informally but our Tender Loving Care "pray-ers" and "do-ers" step up with all sorts of assistance for those who need it.
We also serve in liturgical ministries, ministers who function specifically during worship and those who offer support before and after.
Worship (Liturgical and Hospitality Ministries)
In the Episcopal Church, those who are ordained (Priests and Deacons) and those who are not (Lay People) all have opportunities to serve during worship, the heart of what St. Mark's is and does.
If serving as one of the leaders of worship interests you, we encourage you to be involved. Lay members of St. Mark's serve as
- those who welcome folks to worship and distribute leaflets (Greeters)
- those who read portions of the service (Lectors read Scripture and Intercessors lead the Prayers of the People)
- those who set up the altar before and clean up after worship (Sacristans)
- those who help at the altar during worship (Acolytes)
- those who preach occasionally (Licensed Preachers)
- those who help distribute Holy Communion (Licensed Eucharistic Ministers)
- those who take Holy Communion to shut-ins (Licensed Eucharistic Visitors)
- those who bake bread for Holy Eucharist (Communion bread bakers)
A description of each of these ministries follows, including a contact person. For more general questions please contact our Rector, The Rev. Robin Biffle.
Communion Bread bakers use a monastic recipe to bake bread for Holy Eucharist. Each baker in the rotation makes about one batch of small, round loaves every 12 - 18 months. About once a year our children gather in this ministry and make bread for us to use. We bakers share a common bond knowing that as we come to receive the bread of Eucharist that it was our own prayers, our own love, our own hands that formed the loaf used for this holy purpose.
Sacristans serve in a ministry of anticipation and reverence. Each week, we ready the sanctuary (the part of the worship space immediately around the altar) with flowers and greens, fresh candles, and clean linens, to welcome God’s people into a sacred time and place. We set the Eucharistic vessels in their places before worship. We are a vital part of St. Mark's welcome team, and specialize in improvisation, spotting needs and lending a hand, ear or shoulder during Sunday services, and other special services. We serve in pairs and are scheduled about every six weeks. Children may serve in this ministry.
Eucharistic Ministers are trained to assist the priest during each service, including offering the chalice (the vessel containing wine) during Holy Communion. We help lead the prayers during the Service of the Word at the beginning of Holy Eucharist. We are each scheduled to serve every month or six weeks.
Eucharistic Visitors represent the Eucharistic community by taking consecrated bread and wine to those who are shut-in, immediately after worship. We embody the presence of the church as community, serving in pairs, and bringing the gifts of Christ to some of those in nursing care, rehab centers, or in their own homes, but unable to attend worship. We offer a brief service of worship, tailored to the needs of the recipient and offer the bread and wine just consecrated by the community at St. Mark's. We are scheduled to serve every other month or so. We gather three times a year for a morning of prayer, training, and formation.
Lectors and Intercessors
Lectors and Intercessors offer our time and talent to prepare and read scriptural lessons and lead the Prayers of the People on Sunday mornings and during special services throughout the year. We help make visible the People's presence to the liturgy.
On Sunday mornings and at some special services, our Greeters offer St. Mark's welcome to guests, newcomers, and regular worshipers. We distribute service leaflets and help orient first-timers. We also serve as oblation bearers, bringing the bread and wine and monetary gifts to the altar at the offertory. We serve in pairs and are scheduled every month or six weeks.
Acolytes lead the procession (choir and ministers) into and out of worship on most Sundays, carrying our processional cross (the only liturgical item to survive the fire in 1935). We also carry the torch at the proclamation of the Gospel, and assist the Priest at the altar as she sets the table in preparation for the Holy Communion. Persons aged 10 and older may serve in this ministry. We are scheduled every month or six weeks.
Worship Leaders are trained lay persons, licensed by the Bishop, who may volunteer to Officiate at Morning Prayer when it's offered on Sundays (about four times a year), or at any of the Daily Offices (Morning Prayer, Mid-day Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline) as they are offered throughout the week. We meet annually for prayer, and for a morning's training/refresher and formation. We don't serve on a regular rotation, but rather volunteer our service when needed and when convenient for us.
Licensed Lay Preachers are formed in a mentored course of study approved by the Bishop and offered by the Diocese's Commission on Ministry. In a congregation with only one priest, Lay Preachers preach from time to time. St. Mark's currently is blessed with two Lay Preachers.