I wanted to tell you that it has been absolutely wonderful to be a part of your church. I was raised Pentecostal so you can imagine that I was not accepted for who i am. When I was 17 my youth pastor called me out of the service for a talk and explained to me that allowing me to continue to attend his church as an open homosexual was equivalent to allowing a person to sell drugs in his church. So, he asked me to either deny my sexuality or be asked to leave the church. Naturally, I said that I didn’t need his church anyway and left. Since then I have wandered around and never really felt safe and comfortable in a church. Even one’s that accepted homosexuals. So here we are, 20 years later and I finally feel safe and comfortable in a church. Thank you for being a part of that.
We are usually asked about:
“What is the service like?”
Episcopalians talk about being a part of the “middle way,” and our worship falls between the Catholic and Protestant traditions. Our Sunday Eucharist lasts about an hour. During it, there are readings from Scripture, a sermon, prayers, and holy communion. The structure of the service follows the Book of Common Prayer, which you can browse online here: www.bcponline.org
“When are the services?”
Sunday mornings 8am and 10am, and Wednesday nights at 6:15pm. Click here for more info.
“How do I join St. Mark’s?”
First, simply begin joining us for Sunday worship; this is the first important step in becoming a member at St. Mark’s. Secondly, we believe that it is through Baptism that we join the family of God. If you are not baptized, talk to one of our priests about joining St. Mark’s through Baptism. Finally, Confirmation is the last step for adults who wish to commit to the Christian faith and life in the Episcopal Church. Every year, we hold Confirmation classes prior to our bishop’s visit when he confirms those desiring it. Want to know more? Contact us.
“Do you offer anything for my kids?”
Sure! On Sunday mornings, we offer children’s chapel during the first half of the service. Wednesday evenings are Christian education for all ages. Find out more here.
“Who can receive communion at St. Mark’s?”
All who seek a deeper relationship with God are welcome. First-timer, old-timer, knee-hugger, tree-hugger, none-of-the-abovers. No exceptions.
There are several options for receiving Communion at the altar: kneeling or standing, when the priest comes with the wafer, hold out your hands to receive it and eat it. When the chalice (cup of wine) comes, use one hand to hold onto the bottom and guiding it, take a drink. You may also hold onto the wafer and instinct, or dip, it into the wine rather than taking a drink.
Should you not want or not be able to take either the bread or wine, then you may participate by only taking one element. We believe that God’s grace is fully present in either bread or the wine, or both together.
Gluten free wafers and chalice are available upon request for those with allergies.
“What should I wear?”
Most folks dress business casual, but you’ll find a spectrum of jeans to full suit and tie.
“You ordain women priests?”
Yep! Male and female God created us, male and female the Episcopal Church ordains us.
“What’s your stance on the LGBTQ+ community?
There are no exceptions to the welcome here at St. Mark’s. We’re open, affirming, and believe that all love is a gift from God.
“How are you different from the Roman Catholic Church?”
We are a different denomination that split off from the Roman Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation in 1549. We have bishops, but do not consider the Pope to be the leader of our church. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican Church (Church of England) in America (and beyond).
“How are you different from the Baptist Church (or any other conservative/evangelical/Protestant church)?”
Sunday morning worship is very different here than most Protestant churches, and would remind you of our Roman Catholic roots in the 1500’s. We believe in the Sacraments, especially Baptism and Eucharist, and believe that we find the living presence of Jesus Christ when we receive those sacraments.
“But what about all of those things I heard from (insert other church here)?”
Here in the south, it can be quite a leap to understand Christianity in a way that cares deeply for scripture, tradition, and reason like the Episcopal Church does. A majority of folks here come from ex-[insert other church] backgrounds and have found this way to be one of life, so know you’re not alone and that God is with you in your journey of faith. Here at St. Mark’s, your questions are welcome. You are welcome.
Didn’t find the answer?
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Why St. Mark’s?
My wife and I were looking for a place where we could teach our children that loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself were the same love, and no place has done better than that than St. Mark’s.
Never before have I been with a group of people so ready to “do”. During hardships in my life I’ve heard many times “I’ll pray for you”, but here not only will someone pray for you, but then they will join in to help.
I have been at St. Mark’s for 50+years. I grew up in a small Southern Baptist Church where Hell, Fire, and Brimstone was the order of service, I stayed afraid that the devil would reach through the cracks in the ground and pull me into hell. I didn’t want my children to be subjected to that. I had friends with children at St. Marks and they invited me. I love my church. I love the fact that all are welcome.
I came to St. Mark’s for the donuts and stayed for the fact that this is a church that can make even my atheist friends feel welcome enough to visit and volunteer. This is not a hypothetical situation. My atheist friend has volunteered at the soup kitchen, and enjoyed it. When they preach that Jesus said to love thy neighbor, they preach it from a place of experience. Also, the clergy has a way of putting things into a perspective that both reaches and interests me. For instance, there have been sermons that have tied in Firefly, Avatar, and Night Rider, just this year. It’s as if they’re reminding us that even in a time like this the bible can be as relevant as ever.
A friend from college brought me here to sing in the choir. I absolutely fell in love with the open-minded and accepting people and the traditional style of worship. I do not believe there is another church in the area that can offer what St. Mark’s has. I love this place!
My introduction to St. Mark’s came in late 1981, mostly as an accommodation to my mother after I moved back to Jonesboro. I became actively involved due to the open arms of The Rev. Patrick Murray and leaders of the parish community at that time. They all showed me the rewards from the many avenues of all-inclusive service St. Mark’s offers to my personal family, our church family, the diocesan family and to the community at large. I always have been surprised (maybe “frustrated” is a better word) that more people don’t know the Episcopal story.
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