To discuss any of the following topics with a priest at St. Mark's, please contact them as shown on the Worship Page.
Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church. In the water of Baptism we are buried with Christ in his death. By the water of Baptism we share in Christ’s resurrection. Through the water of Baptism we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.
At St. Mark’s, Holy Baptism is offered at a service of Holy Eucharist (communion) on a Sunday or other feast day. Holy Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Sunday service, on the Day of Pentecost (the seventh Sunday after Easter), on All Saints’ Day (November 1) or the Sunday after All Saints’ Day, and on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (early January).
Each candidate for Holy Baptism is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons. Sponsors of adults and older children (who can speak for themselves) present their candidates and thereby signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their own Christian life. Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates. It is fitting that parents be included among the godparents of their own children.
Before the day of Baptism, the candidates, and the parents and godparents if the candidate is an infant, meet with the clergy and are instructed in the meaning of Baptism, in their duties to help the new Christians grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in their responsibilities as Christians.
We invite you to worship at St. Mark’s so that you may feel confident that this is the faith community which would support you as you take the vows of Baptism, either for yourself or on behalf of your child, and as you (or your child) grow into the full stature of Christ.
Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant in the presence of God. The bond of marriage was established by God at creation. This union in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort they will give each other in good times and bad; and for the procreation of children (if it may be) and their nurture in the knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. This union is created by their free mutual consent, is entered into within the community of faith, and is life-long in intention. Therefore, marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.
St. Mark’s considers it an important ministry to assist those who are interested in preparing for Holy Matrimony and celebrating their wedding in this spirit. When the Church presides over the ceremony it serves as the witness to the vows and, through the priest, bestows the blessing of God upon the union. The Church prays for the couple that they may have grace to fulfill their vows of fidelity and to create a Christian home and family.
In the Episcopal Church, it is required that at least one of the parties be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; that the priest have at least thirty days’ notice of the intention to marry; that the couple receive instruction about the nature of marriage before the wedding; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage takes place and the canons of the Church.
If one or both of the parties has had a previous marriage dissolved by annulment or divorce, application must be made to the Bishop, through the priest, for permission to be married in the Episcopal Church. This permission must be requested by the priest in writing at least thirty days before the proposed wedding date. The priest cannot give formal consent to officiate at the wedding until the Bishop’s permission is received. The priest determines who is to be the officiant at the service.
If the couple has a preference for a particular date and time for the wedding or rehearsal, the priest should be consulted as soon as possible regarding the availability of the church and priest. At St. Mark’s, weddings are not held in Lent, the penitential season that extends from Ash Wednesday until Easter Eve, or on Sundays. The wedding date and time will be confirmed only after the couple has consulted in person with the priest. Public or formal announcement of the marriage date is to be made only after this consultation at the initial session of marriage instruction. Marriage instruction usually consists of at least four sessions, with the couple and priest meeting for at least an hour each time. These sessions are arranged by appointment, and are usually separated by several weeks.
We invite you to worship at St. Mark’s so that you may feel confident that this is the faith community in which you wish to take your vows of Holy Matrimony and which will support you in your married life in Christ. St. Mark’s is not a wedding chapel for those who simply want “a church to be married in.” It is expected that both parties, if they have not been regularly attending St. Mark’s, will begin to do so during the period of instruction and will intend to make commitment to a Christian community part of their married life.
St. Mark’s believes that anyone who desires a Christian burial should be extended one, regardless of whether that person was a parishioner of St. Mark’s. St. Mark’s encourages all persons to make a will, and to discuss with a priest their wishes for their funeral, including readings and music selections, which can be kept on file in the church office as a gift to their loved ones who survive them.
When a person is near death, the priest should be notified, in order that the ministry of the Church may be provided. The death of a loved one should be reported as soon as possible to, and arrangements for the funeral should be made in consultation with, the priest. At the meeting with the priest, or his designee, the time and place of the funeral, the form of the service, and the choice of music and readings can all be discussed.
In the Episcopal Church, the burial service is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we also shall be raised. The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend, Lazarus. So while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.