Worship at St.Marks is “liturgical” – which means services include recognizable elements most congregants are familiar with.
If you’re a newcomer this can seem confusing, but don’t worry. Everything you need to know is projected on to a screen. The only thing you need to know is if it says “page number” it will be found in the front of our worship book and if it says “hymn number” it will be in the back of our worship book. Better yet introduce yourself to someone who seems to have “insider” knowledge and let them help you.
And you don’t have to say the responses or sing the hymns or stand for the prayers or do anything you don’t want to. We’ll just be happy you’re joining us!
How to respond, “share the peace” and more
Here’s a quick rundown on some ways the congregation participates in worship:
- Greeting – the formal greeting in our church is “the Lord be with you.” The response is “and also with you.” .
- Call to Worship – used some Sundays and printed on the screen, and read responsively.
- Alleluia – after the weekly readings, the congregation stands to sing Alleluia (except during Lent, when we forsake the joyful Alleluia). You’ll find the page number for the music in your red worship book or projected on the screen.
- Sharing the Peace – after the sermon, the pastor invites the congregation to “Share the Peace of Christ.” You do this by shaking hands or any other sign of acknowledgement with those around you. You can say “peace be with you” or something similar.
- Creed – at some services the congregation as recognition of our fore-mothers and fathers in the faith speaks the Nicene Creed, Apostles’ Creed or a more contemporary affirmation of faith. They are printed in the worship book or on the screen for easy access. Please note you do not have to hold and profess any particular belief. At St. Mark’s we are more about exploring the questions of life and faith then providing firm or easy answers.
- Prayers of Intercession – these are prayers offered on behalf of other people. There are a number of responses, including “Thy mercy is great” and “Hear our prayer.” The response for the day will be listed on the screen.
- The Lord’s Prayer – we use two traditional versions of this prayer, one traditional and the other updated. The bulletin will denote which we are using by printing the first line as either “Our Father who art in heaven,” or “Our Father in heaven.” We also sometimes use a contemporary paraphrase or translation, on these Sundays it will be projected on the screen in its entirety.
- Dismissal: the formal dismissal is “go in peace to love and serve the Lord,” the response to which is “thanks be to God.” And we as a joy filled congregation often add a shouted “Hallelujah!”
Communion – all are welcome
Everyone is welcome at Christ’s table in our church, whether you’re Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or nothing at all.
Gluten Free bread is available, just whisper “gluten free” to the pastor when you come forward.
You may choose to take wine from individual cups (pick one up as you walk towards the alter and bring it with you to the rail) or from the shared cup. The individual cups are pre-poured with either red wine or white grape juice.
Children and communion
Children are also welcome to receive the Lord’s supper. It is also an acceptable practice for children to come forward and receive a blessing in lieu of the bread and wine if this is what they or their parents prefer.
If you weren’t able to be with us on Sunday morning you can still listen to the sermon online.
They can be accessed from Pastor Seth’s blog: veganpastor.ca/sermons/
Please feel free to wear whatever is most comfortable for you.
You will see others dressed in everything from formal suit-and-tie (although not many we are pretty casual) to denim.
As in most churches, it is our custom to share blessings by making an offering at each service.
The church has a funny relationship with money. Unlike other philanthropic causes and not-for-profit charities, as much as we would like to, we do not give special recognition when people give. There is no list of donors on the back of our worship guides. We do not have big presentations with a “larger than life” cheque presentation when someone gives an unexpected amount.
We as the church recognize that any amount no matter the size is more than a donation. Your offering is not a tip for a good sermon, nor are you paying for services rendered. Your stewardship, bringing your tithes and offerings to the community in which you worship, is an act of faith, a spiritual practice that comes right out of scripture.
You needn’t feel obligated to do so, but if you do, please know your gift will be used to further the work of the Church, both in Kingston and around the world. Thank you!