This team of staff and lay people serve the church by supporting and promoting the use of sound liturgical principles and practices. The commission ensures that these principles and practices are consistent with the Canons, Rubrics, By-Laws and Regulations of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Further, the commission requires that the principles and practices are appropriate for the building space set aside for the classical worship at St. Mary’s.
Membership on the commission represents key organizations of St. Mary’s including the Clergy, Altar Guild, Lay Leaders, Lectors, Music Ministry, Prayer Ministry and a Scheduling Coordinator for each of the worship services. If you are interested in any of these ministries, see page 14 of this booklet for the director of that particular ministry.
Altar Guild is a fulfilling and rewarding ministry for those seeking to serve the Lord “behind the scenes.” In our commitment to serve the Lord, the Altar Guild selects the proper clergy vestments and prepares the altar before and after each service. We have 4 teams with approximately 3-4 people on each team, allowing for each team to be on duty once a month. We welcome new members who feel a calling to this holy ministry.
Acolytes assist the clergy during all liturgies conducted in the Church. Acolytes light the candles and assist at the offertory and Holy Communion. We cross-train and license those parishioners who are willing to participate. Lay Leaders also provide ongoing training for this devoted group of individuals. If you are interested in becoming part of this important ministry, please call the Lay Leader in charge of the service you usually attend. Contact information is listed under Worship Commission, Lay Leaders, on page 14 of the Life and Ministries 2014 booklet.
Eucharistic Ministers administer the elements during celebrations of the Eucharist and must be licensed by the Bishop. They are cross-trained by Lay Leaders to help with other parts of the worship service
Lay Leaders are also known as masters of ceremonies. They are licensed as Lay Readers and serve the parish priest in organizing, teaching and leading the sanctuary servers at all services. Their ministry is to make sure the services proceed without complications and errors. Lay Leaders assist in providing an atmosphere of reverence and holiness, free from distractions in the sanctuary for the priest and the congregation.
Lay Readers are licensed by the Bishop and trained in all phases of liturgical service by the Lay Leader. They may conduct Morning Prayer, Noon Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline in place of a priest. They may also lead these services at the local assisted-living facilities.
Lectors proclaim the lessons and lead the Prayers of the People during Holy Eucharist. Lectors do not have to be licensed yet they receive on-going training to maintain a high standard of excellence. Lectors are also trained by Lay Leaders to serve as torchbearers and crucifers.
Taizé Committee Members advise and participate in regular services. Lay people lead, read scripture, sing and set up for these services. Those who are drawn to the special quiet atmosphere of Taizé-style worship are invited to join in planning and presentation.
Ushers and Greeters are needed for the Saturday night service, Sunday services, weddings, funerals and other special events throughout the year. The Hospitality Ministry is a great way to meet other members of the congregation. You may work seasonally or year-round to suit your own schedule and can participate at the service that you prefer. You will work with an experienced mentor until you feel comfortable in your role.
Greeters are the first to welcome people to St. Mary’s. Greeters ask visitors to sign the visitors’ book, give them a temporary nametag and answer any questions a visitor may have. Greeters ask if anyone without a nametag if they would like one ordered. For a newcomer, the answer to “Where is the restroom?” is vital information! Greeters assist the ushers during the worship service. Afterwards, they make sure that visitors receive a loaf of fresh baked bread, a St. Mary’s brochure, and are thanked for coming and invited to come back. Greeters personally invite and escort visitors to Coffee Hour in the Parish Life Center where they are introduced to other members of the congregation.
Ushers are the second wave of hospitality. They open the doors to the nave and hand out the bulletins. Ushers make sure each person has a place to sit and escort latecomers to their seats. They count the people in the congregation so that the appropriate amount of wine and wafers is available during communion. Ushers and greeters collect the offering and assist the steady flow of worshipers to the communion rail. After the service, the ushers tidy up the church pews. Ushers are also responsible for calling 911 should there ever be an emergency. They know the location of medical supplies, the telephone and fire extinguishers.
Music Ministry - The Choir of St. Mary’s is made up of approximately 30 members from Southwest Florida and attracts some of the area’s finest singers. The group sings at the weekly 10 am Choral Liturgy (Fall thru Spring) as well as special services such as the Advent Service of Lessons and Carols, Choral Matins, Choral Evensong and Solemn Choral Eucharist. Professional cantors provide musical leadership for other services. Rehearsals are held Wednesday evenings, September through May, beginning at 7 pm. A minimal ability to read music is required.
The Choir upholds the rich tradition of Anglican choral music, with the choral library containing some of the finest repertoire of Anglican choral music including settings of Evening Services and Choral Masses. It is Music Ministry’s mission to uphold the highest standards of excellence in the musical arts and to offer its beauty to the parish and greater community. If you feel a calling to this ministry, please contact Brian Aranowski, Director of Music.