Can I take communion if I’m not an Episcopalian?
Yes. All who seek a deeper relationship with Christ are invited to receive Holy Communion. If you prefer to receive a blessing, please come forward and cross your hands over your chest. Episcopalians place their open right hand over their left palm in a “cross” before receiving bread in their right palm. You may either swallow the bread then and soon after take a sip from the cup of wine, or wait and dip your bread in the cup instead.
How do I know what to do during a service?
First, you will be warmly welcomed as you enter the Church. The bulletin you will be given will include all the texts needed for worship. We use The Book of Common Prayer and other approved resources for our worship Services on Sundays at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. You will find that we typically stand to sing, for the Gospel reading and when we say The Nicene Creed. There are other times in the Service where people may choose to stand, sit or kneel. We make accommodations for those with needs allowing for flexibility throughout worship. For us, there are ‘no’ wrong moves at worship.
What makes Episcopalians different from other Christians?
The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican community and traces its heritage to the beginnings of Christianity. Our liturgy retains ancient structure and traditions and is celebrated in many languages. Both men and women, including those who are married, are eligible for ordination as deacons, priests and bishops.
Our faith is based on scripture, reason, and tradition. We exist to proclaim the good news of Christ!
How can I explore Christianity and the Episcopal Church further?
Two good resources for exploration are the Bible and the Episcopal Church’s The Book of Common Prayer; both of these are available for review in our pews and in our library. There is also additional literature available in the brochure racks in our entrance hallways. If you are considering joining St. Mark’s, please sign up to receive our On Lion newsletter, and you will know when we are holding newcomer or confirmation classes. Our clergy are also available by appointment to discuss your faith journey with you at your convenience.
What is St. Mark’s position on diversity? Is everyone welcome?
We are proud of the inclusive nature of St. Mark’s community, as well as that of the greater Episcopal Church. We welcome everyone, as evidenced by the tagline we use in our advertisements, programs and other communications: Connecting Spirits. Engaging Minds. Welcoming All. We draw members from the city, suburbs and rural areas, and there is a variety in individual members’ economic conditions. Parishioners of color and gay members hold leadership positions in our church and participate fully in the life of St. Mark’s.
The sanctuary is so beautiful; can I be married at St. Mark’s?
St. Mark’s is indeed a grand and lovely Gothic Revival church which dates back to 1848. We are delighted to permit marriages here of those who are members of church or another Episcopal parish, or who are children of church members. We also permit weddings from the greater community. Please call the Parish Office to request the Marriage Guidelines materials and availability at 616.456.1684.
How can I join St. Mark’s?
If you worship as often as you can, receive Eucharist at least three times a year and make a financial commitment to St. Mark’s, then you can consider yourself to be a member of the Parish. If you wish to go beyond that and officially become a member of the Episcopal church, please see one of our priests for a discussion. You can begin by completing the form found in each pew or at the Welcome Desk that requests your contact information which will enable us to put your information into our database.
If you have not been baptized, we offer baptism five times a year, and confirmation, reception and affirmation of faith take place several times a year. A series of newcomer sessions known as The Inquirers’ Class are also offered once or twice a year. Any time of the year, our priests would be pleased to work with you in your faith journey.
If you are transferring your membership from another Episcopal church, then you may contact our Office Coordinator for assistance in that process. Members of our church are asked to participate in stewardship by making an annual pledge of financial support for our programs and services. If you have any questions, please contact the Office Coordinator at 616.456.1684. We would be most happy to hear from you!
What does St. Mark’s offer to families with children?
Nursery care is offered every Sunday from 9:30am-12:30pm for children 0-2.
For children from preschool through middle school, Children’s Formation takes place during the Sunday 10:30am worship service. The children experience and interact with the stories of God and God’s people, and learn the language of our Christian faith. We currently offer programming for preschool through middle school. For more information, visit Christian Formation – Children and contact Jane Stidolph.
Grand Rapids Episcopal Youth: G.R.E.Y. is a joint youth program between St. Mark’s and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Churches for 6th-12th grade youth, which also welcomes youth from other Episcopal churches in the Greater Grand Rapids area. For more information, visit Christian Formation – G.R.E.Y. and contact Jeff Brown.
What does St. Mark’s offer single or young people?
There are lots of single members — of all ages — at St. Mark’s. One of the best ways to get involved is to join one of our Ministries, or to attend one of our Adult Formation classes.
How can I make a contribution to St. Mark’s?
You can donate directly online if you wish. Often individuals or families want to make a financial contribution to St. Mark’s (separate from annual stewardship pledges) in memory of someone important to them. Our administrator or rector can review the various opportunities for giving with you, including funds related to our endowment, music and outreach programs, or for unrestricted opportunities.