Table of Contents
- Welcome Home!
- Calendar for this month
- Description & Schedule of Services
- Directions to St. Mark's
- Contact Us
- Mission & Vision Statements
- Officers and Vestry
- Meet the Rector
- Parish Ministries
- Other Church Organizations
- Favorite Links
- Calendars by year
- Photo Galleries
- Our search for a Rector
Each of these ministry areas is guided by a committee, led by one or more Vestry members. Volunteers are always welcome!
The Christian Education Ministry is in charge of the Sunday School.
The Outreach Ministry helps carry Christ's love into the world.
The Music Ministry is much more than the choir singing!
The Hospitality & Parish Life Ministry has grown in recent years.
The Lay Ministers assist the Rector in the celebration of the Eucharist.
The Pastoral Care Ministry assists the Rector to meet the individual needs of the parishioners.
The Spiritual Growth Ministry helps people grow in their knowledge and love of Christ.
Stewardship Ministry is Christianity in practice.
The Newcomers Ministry identifies, welcomes, and enriches the experiences of newcomers.
The Memorial Garden Ministry maintains the Memorial Garden.
The Buildings and Grounds Ministry oversees the church property.
The Finance Ministry is responsible for monthly and annual reports.
The St. Mark's Toddler Playgroup is supported partially as part of our Outreach Ministry to the community and partially by grants. The Toddler Playgroup has no religious agenda. There is so much to say about St. Mark's Toddler Playgroup that it needs its own Web Site! Please visit WWW.St-Marks-Toddler-Playgroup.Org for the full story.
Our hopes in this time of transition
A Newcomers Ministry, a group focusing on Spiritual Growth Ministry, and a Stephen Ministry group have been active in the past. Many parishioners still participate in these Ministries informally: Welcoming newcomers, planning retreats and quiet days, and reaching out pastorally. In this time of transition, we are looking at ways that some Ministries can be more formalized so that we can be sure that everyone feels welcomed, cared for, and given opportunities to grow spiritually.
Christian Education Ministry
Our mission is to teach our children and youth what it means to be a Christian, to share our Episcopal tradition, to nurture their spirituality, and to include them in the community of this parish.
For young people, at St. Mark's we have a thriving Christian education program using a curriculum called "Godly Play". Godly Play is a Montessori-inspired approach to telling Bible stories using three-dimensional materials. Children are invited to wonder and respond to the Bible stories in a non-judgmental environment. The goal of Godly Play is to help children use religious language to know God.
We have two Godly Play classrooms, each with a full set of story-telling materials; we have ten certified Godly Play storytellers. We provide classes for more than 36 children, ranging in age from 3 to 16.
In the past three years, we have had ten teenaged Parish members confirmed using the "Confirm, not Conform" program.
Please contact Mike Meyer or Connie Readett for more information.
St. Mark's is an outreach church, taking the light of Christ into the world in a variety of ways.
Parishioners participate in two local walkathons. The goal of both Walks is to fight hunger, and one also fights racism. St. Mark's has been in charge of the fall CROP Walk for many years and is part of the Good Friday Hunger Walk chaired by the Congregational Church.
We are a Covenant Church with Bread for the World; we sponsor an Offering of Letters every spring, which involves writing letters to our senators and representatives about hunger-related issues.
For 30 years, St. Mark's has hosted a community Thanksgiving dinner; we serve over 100 meals in the Undercroft, and our volunteer drivers deliver 150 more.
St. Mark's has had a covenant with a Social Worker from the Connecticut Department of Children & Families (DCF) for several years; we call it the Covenant to Care. From our partner Social Worker we receive the names of families in our area who are in need at Christmas, and we buy food for their Christmas Dinners and presents for the family members. (The parishioners' names and the recipients' names are kept confidential.)
Parish members supply a dinner once a month at WARM (Westerly Area Rest and Meals), a homeless shelter in Westerly, Rhode Island (WWW.WARMcenter.Org has details).
In addition to working closely with United Action and Bread for the World, both of which work for social justice, every Sunday the Outreach Ministry coordinates the collection of food for three regional food pantries.
We support MASH (Mystic Area Shelter and Hospitality), a local temporary shelter for the homeless (WWW.MashShelter.Org has details).
The Old Hat Singers sing music of the 1930's and 40's at four nursing homes in the Mystic area every month.
Every Sunday Eucharistic Visitors bring communion to people who are homebound or in healthcare facilities. Pastoral visits are made to the sick, lonely, and hospitalized.
We have a partnership relationship with St. Luc's Church and School in Haiti. The parish supports the School by paying teachers' salaries each month. We have fund raisers all year long with suppers, games, and talent shows; Parish members also make an additional pledge in support of Haiti. Parishioners have also traveled to Haiti, giving moral support and practical assistance, working side-by-side with Haitian people.
Music is an important element of worship at St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
The music program at St. Marks includes three choral groups: Adult, Youth, and Children's Choirs. Organ, choir, and instrumental music are provided for Sunday 10 AM services and on special occasions. The choirs participate each year in the Mystic Area Choir Festival.
Parish and guest musicians perform on Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday, and other special occasions, making particularly certain the music is appropriate for each service and event. There is also an inter-generational Handbell Choir and an instrumental ensemble that perform seasonally.
We have a cantor program which is comprised mainly of adult and youth choir members. Each Sunday a different Cantor leads the congregation in the singing of the Gradual Psalm. We are in the sixth year of using the Portland Psalter.
In the summer months we have an informal choir, with people encouraged to show up for rehearsal on Sunday morning and then sing at the 10 AM service. Our goal is to continue to increase participation in the music program.
David Tubbs, Organist and Director of Music, has Master of Divinity and Master of Music Degrees. David has more than forty-seven years of experience as an Organist and Choir Director, with twenty-seven years at St. Mark's.
Hospitality & Parish Life Ministry
The name "Hospitality & Parish Life " covers much more than you might expect. There is quite an assortment of activities supported under this general heading, and some overlap with other Ministries as well.
The Hospitality Ministry provides light refreshments following the Sunday worship services at 8 and 10 AM. Parishioners and guests enjoy the social interaction as well as the presentations at the Adult Forum, which follows the early service. (To learn more about the Adult Forum, please visit the Adult Forum Page.) Hospitality volunteers are needed to help by baking cookies, brownies, etc., or by being the hosts for Coffee Hour. This is a great way to meet our fellow parishioners! Part of being a friendly face and a welcoming voice at Adult Forum and Coffee Hour falls under Newcomers Ministry, too, as we show by personal example God's love for all.
The Parish Life portion of the Hospitality & Parish Life Ministry is under the direction of the Rector. The Parish Life Committee is made up of a significant number of people (mostly women) who organize and support Parish events such as the Lionheart Award Dinner, funeral receptions, and farewell receptions.
Receptions are almost always held in the Undercroft, with linen tablecloths, fine decorations such as floral centerpieces, and color schemes that the reception honorees (or their families) have requested. Parish Life Committee members also prepare and donate the food for these receptions.
The Hospitality & Parish Life Ministry welcomes everyone to join us in this important work.
Lay Ministers & Eucharistic Visitors
Lay members of the Parish selected by the Rector and licensed by the Diocese assist the Rector (or other celebrant) on Sundays and at other times when requested. Eucharistic Ministers serve at the altar and administer the chalice at services.
Eucharistic Visitors take consecrated bread to parishioners who are confined to their homes or place of rehabilitation and conduct a communion service.
Pastoral Care Ministry
In order to supplement the Rector's pastoral responsibilities, members of the Pastoral Care Ministry help to meet individual needs of parishioners.
Pastoral Care Ministers, along with other parishioners, visit those who are shut in, and supply transportation for medical appointments, shopping, and Church activities. Several parish members comprise a prayer chain; they pray daily for those in need of solace and comfort. The Pastoral Care Ministry occasionally sponsors a luncheon for retired persons for renewed fellowship with long-time Parish members and to become better acquainted with new members.
Spiritual Growth Ministry
- The Spiritual Growth Ministry presently supports two activities:
- "Theology Sandwiched In" meets on the third Tuesday each month to discuss a pertinent book, while participants enjoy a bag lunch together;
- The Spiritual Growth Ministry sponsors at least one retreat and a quiet morning each year.
The Spiritual Growth Ministry welcomes everyone to join any or all of these activities.
Learning about stewardship begins in childhood and never ends.
Stewardship is Christianity in practice. Stewardship is about making choices, as individuals and as a community. It is more than giving money to the Church. It requires a consideration of how our choices affect us and others; of how we can be good caretakers, and how we can best serve God.
Stewardship is the giving of one's time, talent, and treasure that has been entrusted to each of us by God. The primary duty of the members of the Stewardship Ministry at St. Mark's is to oversee the Parish's financial stewardship program. Stewardship Ministry members interpret the mission and ministry of the Church in ways that challenge parishioners to respond generously.
The Stewardship Ministry's efforts are centered on the annual stewardship campaign. For the past five years, St. Mark's has used an every member canvass approach, including household visits to all parishioners who were willing to receive visitors. This requires the dedicated efforts of many parishioners. Beyond the annual campaign, the Stewardship Ministry is responsible for year-round stewardship education and communication to the Parish.
The primary purpose of the Newcomers Ministry is to identify, welcome, and enrich the experiences of newcomers as they become acquainted with the worship services and Ministries of St. Mark's. The Newcomers Ministry organizes greeters for the two Sunday services at 8 and 10 AM.
Another major objective is to involve new families, particularly those with young children, in a variety of spiritually-themed social activities, such as Christmas and Mardi Gras parties.
Memorial Garden Ministry
The Memorial Garden, where parishioners may have their ashes interred, is immediately to the rear of the Church. The Memorial Garden is best reached from the back of the parking lot between the Church and the Funeral Home.
Ministry members maintain the Memorial Garden, keep records of interments, and ensure that the names of the people interred are listed on the memorial plaque located in the Garden.
Building and Grounds Ministry
The goal of the Building and Grounds Ministry is to be good stewards of our buildings and grounds.
The Building and Grounds Ministry is overseen by the Junior Warden and an Advisory Committee of interested parishioners. Members of the parish are called on to help maintain the grounds and buildings and to attend to minor repairs and projects.
A list of professional contractors is maintained, and they are used for more involved or major projects (such as re-roofing the church, as was done in early 2008).
The primary responsibility of the Finance Ministry is to ensure that the accounting of the Parish finances is accurate, including operating accounts, investment accounts, and endowments. The members of the Finance Ministry are typically the Treasurer, Senior Warden, a representative from the Vestry, and other volunteers.
The Finance Ministry is responsible for preparing the monthly Treasurer's Report for the Vestry, and for preparing the annual budget. An annual audit is performed on the Parish finances.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church
15 Pearl Street
Mystic, CT 06355 USA