The worship committee oversees practically every aspect of worship from the normal rituals of communion, baptism, special services and other needs of an active worshipping community. They meet regularly to assist with the planning, and provide feedback on all worship services at St. Mark’s. Meetings are usually held in the lounge 4-5 times a year at noon on a Sunday.
Each member of the committee represents a ministry involved with the worship service. They use information from past services as a guideline to review and update future services. Each member is asked to actively contribute to planning of worship services.
Feedback from the group provides a way to make changes so that the majority of parishioners feel welcome, comfortable and part of the St. Mark’s community. Services must follow the tradition of the Anglican Church, but be geared to the attending congregation. Special events within the church calendar are addressed accordingly.
The Prayers of the People form an integral part of our worship service. Each Sunday, select members of the congregation lead the community by offering prayers for the church, the world, those in need and by offering thanks to God for all that has been given to us. At our 9 o’clock service, parishioners are scheduled once per month. At our 10:30 service, parishioners are scheduled every 6 – 8 weeks.
The role of the communion assistant is to assist the minister in the distribution of the bread and wine during a eucharist service. The communion assistant is charged with one of the most important assignments of the liturgy – the distribution of the sacrament from God to the congregation. Scheduling of members of the congregation means that each person assists approximately once per month.
The Chancel Guild provides a much-needed service each week to ensure the priest has all the required items for the church service whether it is a Communion or Morning Prayer Service. Under the leadership of the rector, plus the leaders of the four weekly groups and the linen group, members of the congregation assist with the preparation and cleanup of the sanctuary. This “behind the scenes” work is very fulfilling. It makes a person feel proud and humble to know that they have helped to make our worship focal point clean and that they have setup the eucharist for all to share. The requirements for each service are similar: pouring of the wine into the cruets, counting of wafers into the bread boxes, pouring of the water in the cruets, placement of the flowers from the florist into vases for the Altar, dusting, cleaning of the brass, replacement of the weekly candle, placement of proper altar covers according to the calendar, placement of the Gospel Book and Missal Stand on the Altar, set up of the Credence Table and the correct assembly of the Chalice. The readings in the Ambo Bible are also set using the correct marked ribbon for the two readings and the Gospel reading. Each team is on duty once per month to setup on Saturday morning and cleanup after the Sunday service.
At St. Mark’s we have always encouraged active participation by lay people in our worship services. As a way of giving something back, members of the congregation make up our list of readers. These people study the weekly reading from scripture using the study guide prior to Sunday, and read the lessons during the service. There are a large number of volunteers involved in this ministry and each person reads about 4 – 5 times per year.
Our Servers’ Guild consists of young people that are dedicated to assisting with Sunday morning worship. They take turns leading the procession and participating in the preparation of communion. There are three possible roles a server can fill at the 10:30 a.m. service: The Crucifer carries the cross at the beginning and end of the service, i.e. during the processional and recessional hymns, and also when the gospel reading takes place in the centre aisle. He/she also receives the large offering-tray from the greeters when the collection is brought to the front of the church; The Altar Server assists the priest as he prepares for communion by handing him what is needed (i.e. wine, water, wafers), and also carries the Gospel book when the reading takes place in the centre aisle; The Candle Bearers carry the candles during the processional and recessional hymns, and when the gospel reading takes place.
The servers have raised money over the years to give back to the church. They sell poinsettias at Christmas and put on the pancake supper on Shrove Tuesday. Over the years they have purchased robes, crosses and other items for the church. They also assist with running the games at our church picnic and actively participate in our Vacation Bible School in August.
At St. Mark’s, we praise God through our prayers and songs. At our 10:30 service, we are led by our Worship Choir. On the third Sunday of the month, our Praise Choir leads us. The Chime Choir and Children’s Choir also play regularly.
- The Worship Choir sings most Sundays, and rehearsals are on Thursdays from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. from September to June. We sing a variety of musical styles, from Gospel to Traditional to Contemporary arrangements. We aim to sing in at least three if not four parts.
- The Praise Choir sings more contemporary musical choices on the third Sunday of the month at the 10:30 service. We rehearse after coffee hour the week beforehand and at 10:00 a.m. on the actual Sunday. Instrumentalists are most welcome, but you do not need to be able to read music to join.
- The Children’s Choir is for boys and girls ages 4 – 12 and they absolutely love singing on Sunday mornings. They use instruments, and sing to the piano or CDs. Practices run from mid-September to the end of April on Thursdays from 4.15 – 5:00 p.m. Parents are welcome to observe the safe and happy environment as the children learn to praise God through song.
- You don’t have to be a musician to participate in the Chime Choir either– just able to count to six. The scores are colour-coded and easy for anyone to understand. Thirty minute rehearsals start mid-September and run until May on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. and the chime choir performs several time per year.
Greeters are volunteers who welcome and assist at church services throughout the year. Currently there are over 60 members of the congregation who greet at the door, distribute bulletins and books, assist anyone in need or ill during the service, assist with the hearing assistance devices, take collection and count and record the number of parishioners in attendance.
There are 2 scheduled groups of greeters, plus a sign up for volunteers for extra services at Christmas, Easter, Confirmation or any other additional services. The regular 9:00 a.m. greeters work in pairs, while there are 7 teams of 5-6 greeters scheduled at the 10:30 services which means that greeters are ‘on duty’ approximately 4 – 5 times per year. Some greeters distribute bulletins at the back of the church. If there are additional greeters, they welcome parishioners at other entrances of the church.
The purpose of a greeter is to make every person feel welcome at a service and offer assistance to both newcomers and regular church attendees. There is usually a general information meeting for all greeters annually to review safety procedures and duties. Presently there are 2 sets of people who coordinate this meeting and the two groups of schedules.
Audio Visual Team
The use of audio and video technology has become an essential part of our church services so that members of the congregation are able to fully participate in the worship experience. Each Sunday, volunteers monitor the audio equipment and use the computer to display the words to the worship service. There are different groups of people for each of our Sunday services and are either scheduled or sign up based on their availability. Training is provided for all interested parishioners.
During the presentation of the gifts, many things occur simultaneously: the presentation of the gifts, the preparation of the altar, the collection and the offertory hymn. This marks the beginning of the second part of our eucharist service. At the beginning of the offertory hymn, members of the congregation process along the aisle with the bread and the wine symbolizing a gift of ourselves to be transformed into the body and blood of Christ. Individuals and families are invited to participate in this important ministry during our services of holy eucharist. Each person or family acts as a presenter approximately two times in any given year.
Lay Readers are licensed laypersons who have been trained and are authorized by the bishop to lead certain services of worship or lead certain parts of the service. The training follows a period of testing and preparation that introduces the concept of theological reflection as well as the nature of ministry. We currently have two licensed readers at St. Mark’s Church.
Seniors’ Communion and Luncheon
Four times per year, St. Mark’s offers a Wednesday midday communion service and luncheon for seniors, many of whom are not able to attend on Sunday mornings. Parishioners offer to pick up those who cannot get to the church and others prepare a meal and cleanup afterwards.
Our bulletins provide a way for our congregation to follow our Sunday worship services and to highlight activities within the church. Each Friday, volunteers duplicate, fold and staple the weekly bulletins and place them at the back of the church for distribution by the greeters. The task only takes a few minutes and members can be scheduled based on their availability.
Messy Church is a time of creative stories, songs, worship and eating a meal together. It was created for those who, for whatever reason, can not make a regular Sunday service. It provides an opportunity for people of all ages to worship together, to feel they belong in church, to help them have fun and be creative together and to introduce Jesus through hospitality, friendship, stories and worship. Messy Church is on the second Friday once a month from 5 until 7 from September until June. Help is always appreciated for: set up and take down; organizing setup of crafts; preparing and serving a meal for 60 to 70 people; clean up of kitchen; greeting visitors, etc.
See our Messy Church Webpage for more information.