WORSHIP – WHAT TO EXPECT
First and foremost, you should know that you are welcome at St. Mary the Virgin. Whether you are visiting from out of town or are from the Baltimore area, we are pleased to have you visit with our faith community. If you are new to the Christian faith, or seeking a church home, we invite you to explore St. Mary the Virgin and find your story in God’s story.
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin is a growing faith community, offering a variety of fellowship, Christian education, worship and ministry opportunities for all. We are here to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to minister faithfully to God’s people and the community.
Episcopal worship involves sitting, standing and kneeling. Feel free to participate as much or as little as you are comfortable; feel free to ask questions of those around you. We are a warm, welcoming community and are committed to ensuring that you are comfortable at St. Mary the Virgin. In your pew, you will find the Common Book of Prayer, the Hymnal 1982 and Lift Every Voice, which are used during the service. Upon entering the sanctuary, you will receive a service bulletin for the day and a visitor’s card to complete. You may turn your visitor’s card in to any of our ushers or place it in the offering plate. The entire service can be found in your service bulletin and the Common Book of Prayer. There are readings, hymns and prayers during the service. We begin with an opening hymn followed by the Collect for the Day and prayer; there are two readings, a psalm and the reading of the Gospel from one of the four books of the Gospel. During the Gospel reading, we stand out of reverence to Jesus Christ.
The sermon follows the reading of the Gospel. We listen intently to receive the message from the Lord. The congregation then recites the Nicene Creed which is found in the Common Book of Prayer. Next, we pray together for the Church, the World and those in need. We pray for the sick, offer prayers of thanksgiving for all the wonderful things in our lives and finally we pray for the dead. Fr. Mercer concludes with a prayer that gathers all the petitions into a communal offering of intercession. We then confess our sins before God in a communal statement of what we have done and what we have left undone, followed by a pronouncement of absolution by our Priest.
We then greet one another with a sign of “peace.”
The center of our service is Holy Communion or the Eucharist. Our priest stands at the table which has been set with bread or wafers and wine, raises his hands and greets the congregation. Next the Eucharistic prayer begins; which includes the story of our faith, from the beginning of Creation, through the choosing of Israel to be God’s people, to our continual turning away from God, and God’s calling us to return. Finally, our priest tells the story of the coming of Jesus Christ and about the night before his death, the night he instituted the Eucharistic meal as a continuous remembrance of him. The bread and the wine are blessed and we sing the Lord’s Prayer and the priest breaks the bread and wine and offers them to the congregation. The congregation then shares the bread and wine. All baptized Christians, no matter what age, are welcomed to receive communion. Visitors who are not baptized Christians, are welcome to come forth during Communion to receive a blessing from the priest. Simply cross your arms across your chest to indicate you wish a blessing. At the end of the Eucharistic, the congregation prays once more and then we are dismissed.
Sunday Worship and Christian Formation
9:00 Adult Bible Study
10:00 Solemn Sung Mass
10:00 Sunday School