How to Begin
There are many ways to begin to explore a connection with St. Mary's Church.
Speak with our Rector or anyone at a worship service. St. Mary's is a very welcoming community and we would love to talk to you about what we have found here. Also, St. Mary’s has many ways for you to dip your toes in the waters of commitment and participation. Offer to assist at a worship service. (We'll train you - don't worry about knowing what to do!) Come to a potluck dinner. Sign up to help with Sunday morning Coffee Hour.
We offer a variety of Christian learning and formation experiences. Find one that interests you and come.
The best way to start is to attend a worship service. We have two worship services every weekend, and we think one of them will speak to you.
What to expect when you come to church
What Happens in Church?
Each worship service involves singing hymns and other spirit-filled songs, prayers and readings from the Bible, a sermon, passing the peace to each other and a special ceremony, called the Holy Eucharist.
What is Holy Eucharist?
This is a ceremony derived from the supper which Jesus held with his followers on the night before his arrest and execution. Christians believe that this ceremony creates a special sort of contact with God, which helps to strengthen us as Christians.
The Holy Eucharist involves the giving out of bread and wine which has been consecrated, or made holy, with special prayers. Normally the members of the congregation walk up to the front of the church and receive the bread from the priest in cupped hands. The chalice, the ceremonial goblet containing the wine, is offered by a lay chalice bearer.
(There are gluten-free wafers available, and sipping from the cup is not required. You may also just receive a blessing, if you prefer.)
Can anyone take part in this ceremony?
At St. Mary’s Church we welcome all baptized Christians to God’s table.
Is there always a sermon?
We’re fully aware that sermons have a reputation for inducing sleep. This doesn’t happen at St. Mary's. Our Rector and Christian Formation leader are very good speakers, adept at making Christianity relevant to everyday life. In fact, our sermons are of such quality that we put them on our website, in case you missed the service.
And what about money?
Yes, we admit it. There will normally be a collection. We need to meet running costs, pay salaries, and support the many ministries and outreach efforts that are an important part of St. Mary's. No one will pay attention to how much you’re dropping in the collection plate, and you don’t have to make a contribution at all. If you see any value in what we’re doing, you’ll probably want to help if you can.
What are my next steps?
Newcomers are always welcome at any Episcopal church, and most especially at St. Mary’s. There are no membership fees and you don’t have to fill in any forms. But please make yourself known to our ministers, and fill out a Welcome Card - so we can come to know you and welcome you even more fully into our community.
Whoever you are or wherever you've been, we invite you to join us for weekend worship and fellowship that we may seek and serve Christ together.
These questions and answers were adapted from a webpage from St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Coconut Grove, FL.
Photo credit: Murry Edwards, 2017.