I noticed that St. Mark’s is part of the Episcopal Church. What does that mean?
The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a living tradition that formed in the 16th century Reformation. The term “Episcopal” derives from “episcopos,” meaning “bishop,” and basically means that it is a church with bishops. St. Mark’s participates as one of the 177 parishes and missions in the diocese of Connecticut.
Is the Episcopal Church Catholic or Protestant?
The English reformers and their successors tended to avoid falling into either category, preferring instead to straddle what would eventually be coined as “the middle way” - a path that sought to retain the best elements of Catholic and Protestant traditions. As you get to know the Episcopal Church, you will notice elements of both branches of Christendom in our worship, theology and policy.
On a more practical note, what is a Sunday service like at St. Mark’s?
Our services follow the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer, a beautiful book containing some of the finest prose in the English language. If you’re familiar with the Roman Catholic liturgy, or the liturgy of any mainline Protestant Church (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist), our liturgy will be somewhat familiar to you. If you are not familiar with liturgical services - or even church services in general - you’ll be fine; it wasn’t that long ago that one of our own priests stumbled in on her first liturgical church service.
If I am not a member of St. Mark’s, or even of the broader Episcopal Church, can I take communion?
St. Mark’s invites all baptized Christians to gather around the altar for communion. Whether saint or sinner, Jesus loves us and seeks our sacramental participation with Him and each other. Of course, you are welcome to contact our clergy for more guidance.
I have heard that children take communion in the Episcopal Church, too; is this true?
Children do take communion in our church, and we hope they will never remember living without it. Just as we don’t withhold regular food until children understand nutrition, we meet them in their developmental space and teach them along the way to maturity.
I want to get to know more about the Episcopal Church; are there classes I can take?
Yes. We offer a newcomer class on a regular basis where we cover some of the basics of the Episcopal Church: worship, history, and theology. We also discuss ways to participate at St. Mark’s and live a Christian faith in the world. The course is both substantive and relaxed, and provides a great way to get to know fellow newcomers and the priests at St. Mark’s. If you’re interested in attending, please contact the church office (203.966.4515).
What do I need to do if I want to become an official member of St. Mark’s?
You are welcome to remain a guest for as long as you wish, but we hope you will also consider becoming a member. For detailed questions about baptism, reception or confirmation, contact our clergy. To strengthen our common ministry and as a thanksgiving for God’s generous blessing in our lives, we ask all members to be generous with their time, talent and treasure for God’s work.
What if I have never been baptized?
If you have never been baptized and think you might be interested, please don’t hesitate to call one of our priests; we would love to sit down and talk with you. We baptize adults and children as part of our public worship on special days like Easter Eve, Pentecost and All Saints.
I am not sure about membership but I would like to be on your mailing list. Can I do that?
Of course. Just contact Thea McGee in the parish office at 203.966.4515 with your email address (for electronic delivery) or your mailing address.
I’m currently a member of another Episcopal Church and would like to switch my membership to St. Mark’s. What should I do?
If you have records of your baptism and confirmation at another church, you can call and ask them to transfer your records over to us. If you wish, we can do it for you. Simply email Thea McGee in the Parish office or call her at 203.966.4515 with the name of your former church and she will make sure your records are transferred to St. Mark’s.
Do you have activities for children at St. Mark’s?
Lots of them – Check out Children & Youth
What does it mean to be an Episcopal Church?
Episcopalians gather in communities, most of which are called parishes. A geographic grouping of communities is called a diocese, each of which is led by a bishop – episcopus in Latin – which gives us our name. In the American Episcopal Church there are more than 100 dioceses. The Presiding Bishop, as the name implies, oversees the entire Episcopal Church. The present Presiding Bishop is the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori. The Diocesan Bishop of Connecticut is The Rt. Rev. Ian Douglasv who oversees canonically assigned responsibilities in the diocese. The organization and governing principles of the Church are patterned on the principles of representative government, separation of authority, and balance of power that guided the formation of American civil government at the time the Episcopal Church was first founded. The Episcopal Church in the United States is a part of the Anglican Church throughout the world, called the Anglican Communion. Every ten years representatives of the Anglican Communion meet at a conference in Lambeth, England.
What do Episcopalians believe?
Episcopalians believe in a Trinitarian God, which means a God of creation, redemption, and constant presence and love. This belief is stated in forms called Creeds that are said together at worship services. We believe that the church is Christ living and visible in the world. But we are also human. In fact, belonging to a church is an exercise in patience, forbearance, and love. Yet we try to remember why we gather together. At every baptism, the congregation is asked again to renew its own baptismal covenant. "Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers?" a priest asks every time one of us is welcomed into the fold. We believe that we are called to continue practices that date back to Jesus, in celebrations of our rational capacity to do what is good. For more information on belief, see the Catechism of the Episcopal Church.