Newcomers and visitors are always welcome at St. Mark’s Capitol Hill. Whether passing through on a visit to DC, seeking a new faith community or returning after years away, you are welcome. Singles, couples, and families are welcome. Whatever your faith tradition has (or has not) been, whatever you believe and whatever you doubt, you are welcome at St. Mark’s. This is a place for seekers and skeptics; young, old, and in-between. Differently abled and differently gifted. There is room for all, and all are welcome.
Most people begin by attending one of our Sunday worship services, but there is no right or wrong way to approach St. Mark’s. You may find it helpful to spend some time on this website, looking through and seeing what catches your eye; piques your interest. You may want to get on the weekly e-Gospel mailing list or request a call from the Rector. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!
What to Expect
Visit Sunday at St. Mark’s for more detail on the following…
While there is a lot of tradition in our worship services and liturgy, there is also some uniqueness and originality – some moments of informality – that may take some people by surprise. Our Nave – the sanctuary – is set up in the round. You will likely hear a call to gather ’round the “dusty rose octagon” for the Eucharist (communion). This is the platform that holds the altar in the middle of the space. Everyone is invited to the table, for we consider it God’s table, not ours. That means that no one is left out.
We enjoy music and we sing a lot – both traditional and more contemporary tunes. Sometimes we are taught a new melody during the service, or launched into a cannon round at the direction of Jeff Kempskie, Director of Music (and organist/choir director). We are fortunate to have a wonderful choir with talented soloists and musicians, a handbell choir, and two youth choirs (younger and teen).
We love and celebrate children at St. Mark’s. Children are welcome in all services (nursery care also available, as is Sunday School). An optional “quiet activity rug” is available with some toys, books, and coloring supplies, on one side of the Nave. Shortly after the start of the 9 a.m. service, children 3 – 9 years old are invited to gather for Children’s Chapel, a special worship time just for them. They are returned to the Nave before the Eucharist so that families can celebrate (take communion) together.
Those who may be looking for a worship experience with a little less family spontaneity may find that the 11:15 service better fits the bill. While children are again welcome to attend with their parents/adults, this service generally is a little lower-key, fewer young families in attendance and therefore less likely to include “surprises.”
Sermon Seminar has been a St. Mark’s tradition for over 30 years. Immediately following the 9:00 service – which includes no sermon – there is a short break for people to help themselves to coffee in Baxter Hall, and bring it back to the Nave for Sermon Seminar. After a few minutes of announcements by parishioners, the sermon is delivered and then it is open mike time for anyone who wishes to share a reflection or response to the theme of the sermon. The sermon (without “seminar”) is delivered during the worship service at 11:15 and at 5:00.
A coffee hour – hosted by volunteers who sign-up – follows Sermon Seminar in Baxter Hall, with coffee, tea, snacks, and juices for all ages. Often, there are additional activities taking place around the edges of Baxter Hall, so it is a lively place to gather and get acquainted. Activities (like sandwich-making for Grate Patrol) offer various ways to get involved, from your very first visit if you like!
The 5:00 worship service is entitled, Contemplative Worship, but some have hinted that it may not be all that “contemplative” as it tends to attract families with toddlers (pre-Sunday School-age). Learn more about Children’s Chapel at the 5:00 service. The spirit is alive and well at 5:00 and this service has proved to be a wonderful point of connection for many newcomers to St. Mark’s, as well as long-time parishioners who just prefer the later time of day. This group holds their own after-service reception with food and beverages contributed by attendees.
More information is available about volunteering at St. Mark’s, as well as a wide variety of groups in which to participate. Interested in outreach? Check out our Service and Justice activities which include local and international outreach projects.