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Ministries at St. Mary's Episcopal Church

 
Ministries That Support Our Worship
The parishioners of St. Mary recognize that it is the laity who is first called to be ministers of the church.  There are many ways in which the laity support and augment worship services.  These opportunities enhance the spiritual growth and commitment of the individuals who serve as well as the congregation at large.

Altar Guild
St. Mary’s Altar Guild prepares the altar for services each Sunday and for special sacramental services conducted throughout the Church Year.  In addition to selecting and laying out vestments for each service, the Altar Guild carefully and lovingly maintain the silver, brass and fair linens used to enhance the worship experience.  While much of their work is done behind the scenes, members of the guild participate in the Lenten observance of reverently stripping the altar as part of Holy Week observances, and joyfully adorn the altar as part of Easter worship. 

Choir and Music
The Adult Choir is a dedicated group of singers for whom music is an integral and important part of worship.  Their voices create an ambience that provides the congregation with an emotional connection to the meaning and tenure of the worship service.  The choir, accompanied by organ and other instrumentalists, are an integral part of the Sunday 10 o’clock service and other special services held at St. Mary.

Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) and Lay Eucharistic Visitors (LEVs)
The LEMs assist the clergy during the Liturgy and distribution of Holy Communion.  LEMs also lead the congregation in the Prayers of the People.  The LEVs are the people of St. Mary’s who take communion from the church to those who are sick or shut-in.  This devotional ministry connects all members of the congregation, and places into action the words of prayer “…for those who are present, and for those who are absent…that we all may be one.”

Acolytes
Lead the Procession, carrying the cross before the clergy and placing the cross at the altar.  Acolytes serve at the altar at all services and also participate in special services as incense bearers or when holding candles to illuminate the Holy Scripture as the Gospel is read.

Lectors
Both adults and youths of the parish read the lessons from the Lectionary during Sunday and other special services.  Lectors study their Scripture reading in order to give voice to God’s message in a way that engages the congregation and aids it in its comprehension of the messages being presented.

Ushers
These parishioners enhance worship by greeting both friend and newcomers, helping everyone to feel at home at St. Mary’s.  The ushers assist those who need help with seating; they count those attending the service, collect the offering of the congregation, and assure an orderly flow during the sharing of Communion.  They also discretely alert the priest to those who cannot come forward to Communion, so that those persons may receive the Sacrament at their seat.


Ministries That Support Our Parish
The vitality of St. Mary’s parish life depends upon the time and talent contributed by its members.  Ministries to the parish cover a spectrum of activities, and parishioners are free to support these ministries as they are called to respond.  Many have found that, to paraphrase Luke 6:38 … in giving it will be given to you.

Radical Hospitality
This is a ministry for parishioners who have a gift of welcoming and supporting those who come to St. Mary’s.  It doesn’t matter whether the person is a first time visitor or a thirty year member of the parish - - Radical Hospitality members put into action the words spoken at the invitation to Communion; Come.  It is Christ who invites you to meet him here. 

Prayer Ring
Members of the Prayer Ring communicate with each other and with parishioners who have special requests for prayer.  This ministry prays for those with urgent or long-term needs. 

Stephen’s Ministry
These are members of the laity specially trained as pastoral caregivers.  Stephen Ministers are available to meet with parishioners experiencing difficult times.  Situations where Stephen’s Ministers provide support range from death or divorce, illness, a recent change in life circumstances, or other stressful events.  These ministers are trained to be compassionate and prayerful listeners, conduits to other counseling services and keep all aspects of their ministry in strictest confidence. 

Prayer Shawl Ministry
This ministry supports those in need of comfort, as well as those expressing joy and celebration.  The knitting of a shawl begins with an intentional prayer for the recipient, and meditative prayer continues as the shawl is completed.  The ministry concludes with the blessing of the shawl at one of the Sunday services and presentation to the person for whom the shawl was made.

Holy Casserolers
This ministry provides a meal for those of the congregation who are temporarily experiencing difficulty in putting a meal together.  This may be at a time when a family member is sick or hospitalized, upon the death of a spouse, or upon some other occasion when a prepared meal or two is needed.

Martha’s Guild
This ministry derives its strength from the biblical story of how Martha served Jesus.  In quiet reverence, Martha’s Guild lovingly serves others, preparing meals for festive occasions, receptions, and for condolence gatherings after funeral services.  They seek to serve others before they themselves are served.

Kitchen Angels
These people set-up and clean-up for each Sunday’s congregational gathering in the parish hall (Fitch Hall) where coffee and goodies are made available after each service.  Kitchen Angels also ensure that kitchen supplies are available, and consumables are replenished, as required. 

Communications
The Communications Ministry Development Team works on a variety of projects including publication of The Bells of St. Mary, our monthly newsletter, coordinating email distribution of special events, and maintaining the St. Mary's and Red Shirt Project web sites. 

Ministries That Support Our Youth and Adult Education
Please see Christian Formation for details of these ministries.



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‘Here I am, Lord, send me.’

1Samuel 3:5b

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