Worship in the Round
At St. Mark’s, we worship in the round. It is one of the defining aspects of our community. In the 1950’s, a major transformation was made by replacing pews with moveable chairs. We continue to re-arrange chairs to this day. Our central altar is one step up from the floor; this communicates our belief and hope that God is with us, among us, in us. We don’t all profess to “know” God – for some of us, faith is as natural as breathing air; for others of our community, we have reasonable doubts. We revere the disciple, Thomas, who made his doubts known, who asked questions others may have wondered about, and who made himself vulnerable to Jesus.
What is “Open Communion”?
“Wherever you are on your faith journey, wherever you have come from and wherever you are going to, whatever you believe, whatever you do not believe, all are welcome to partake of the Lord's meal. This is God’s meal, not ours.”
At St. Mark's, we welcome everyone to celebrate Eucharist with us. We believe in the inherent value of all travelers in this life journey; "open communion" reminds the parishioners and visitors that all are invited to the Lord's table. Surrounding a central altar, all participants, regardless of whether or not they have been baptized, join together shoulder to shoulder to share the gifts of bread and wine.
One of the innovative aspects of our worship is our “Sermon Seminar,” which takes place at 10 am, immediately following 9 am Holy Eucharist (which omits the sermon). At Sermon Seminar, anyone from the congregation can offer feedback and comment on the sermon after it is preached. Through Sermon Seminar, we as a community tell our individual and collective stories, puzzle over what we heard, and even challenge it. It is one of the ways in which we strive to listen to each other as we study the meaning of the Biblical stories and try to apply them to our lives.
Please contact the Co-Directors of Worship with any questions or request for information.
Jessie Babcock and Valeri Byrd