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Volunteer & Service Opportunities

 

Acolyte Guild

 

The Book of Common Prayer states "At all celebrations of the Liturgy, it is fitting that the principal celebrant...be assisted by other priests, and by deacons and lay persons". When serving, the acolytes are assisting the celebrant in the worship of God. It is an important ministry and should be approached with dignity, humility and care. Acolytes assist the priest and they lead the congregation in all services of the church. Acolytes are assigned to the Sunday masses and other services as required. Acolytes are needed for most weddings and funerals and usually volunteers are sought for these occasions. The Acolyte Guild is open to males and females from the fifth grade and higher. Adults are also welcomed and encouraged to be acolytes. Training is arranged at a mutually convenient time, in either groups or on a one to one basis. Please contact the Rector or Scott Yorkus if you are interested.

 

The Adult Choir

 

The Adult Choir is made up of approximately 15 members singing in four parts (SATB). The choir vests, processes and sings at the 9:00 service from September through June. During the summer, choir members informally lead the congregation, although the choir does not rehearse. Special musical preparations occur for Christmas, and Easter services, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Thanksgiving. On occasions, the choir has sung at other services including funerals, weddings and Choral Evensong. Some choir members have also performed instrumentally using trumpets, flute, violin and tympani. The parish has a paid, part-time Choirmaster and Organist who with the Rector, oversees the music liturgy and presentations. Lee Milhous is our Choirmaster and Organist. Any person who is interested in joining the choir should contact Lee Milhous. Choir rehearsal is every Wednesday evening from 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

 

Bells

 

Forty two feet above the crossing of the church, seen by very few but heard by many, hang one of the real treasures of the parish -- the Bells of St. Mary's. We have a ring of eight bells, cast at the Whitechapel Foundry in London in 1865, and first rung for Easter 1866. The bells in the key of D, range in weight from the treble at 703 pounds, to the tenor at 2,468 pounds and have a combined weight of about 10,000 pounds. The bells cost $10,000 and would now have a replacement value of $325.000. The bells may be rung in either of two ways. The bells can hang stationary, mouth down, and be struck by side chiming hammers. This arrangement allows one person to play hymn tunes. The other way of ringing them is to make them swing full 360 degree circle so that their central clapper strikes the bell once on each side of the swing. This type of ringing is called change ringing and comes from a long tradition in England. Change ringing requires one person per bell. Hymn tunes are not played. The bells sound in a "changing cascade of sound" as the bells weave their sound in and out -- much like line or square dancing -- by changing the order in which they are rung. Change ringing is heard from thousands of towers in England. St. Mary's is one of only 38 towers in all of North America where this ancient art is practiced. Anyone interested in more information on the bells should contact Robert Bacon (Master of the Chimes) for chiming or hymn playing. Bob is assisted in this ministry by assistant Gareth Haynes. Our change ringing group is currently inactive, but if you have questions please contact Robert Mead or the Parish Office. For more general information on change ringing click here.

 

The Chancel Guild

 

The Chancel Guild consists of devoted members who serve by the invitation and under the direction of Susan Harnischfeger, Chancel Guild Directress. Teams are assigned on a monthly basis and are responsible for all services. Their responsibilities include the care of the sacred decorations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and other special occasions.

 

Church School

 

St. Mary's Church School operates most Sunday mornings from September through the beginning of June and serves our youth through the 12th grade. Classes begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. All classrooms are located on the second floor of St. Mary's Guild House, which is located right next door to New St. Mary's Church. Other events such as Youth Sundays are held throughout the year. The Nursery operates most Sundays year round from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and serves infants through age five. It is located on the first floor of the Guild House adjacent to the large meeting room; and, is staffed by a paid caregiver. Our Mission is to have our children… • Gain a knowledge of the love of God • Gain a knowledge of God's Word • Learn to love God • Learn to serve God Our Vision St. Mary’s Church School will help children… • Learn the foundational stories of the Bible In an age appropriate way In a memorable way • Prepare them for and encourage their active participation in worship. • Become lifelong disciples and prepare for adult membership in the Church. • Prepare children to make a mature commitment to Christ at their Confirmation. • Have fun inter-relating with other Christian children. St. Mary’s Church School Parents will help their children by… • Keeping the Baptismal covenant that their children will be brought up within the Church, know Christ and be able to follow him. • Worshiping together as a family. • Talking about faith in the home and in daily living. • Being active participants in the Church School ministry. St. Mary’s Parish will support our Church School and be supported by it by • Welcoming children and families in worship. • Providing the necessary time, talent and resources to support the Church School.

 

Flower Deliverers

 

Throughout the Church Year (except during Advent and Lent), volunteers take the flowers from the altar and deliver them to shut-ins and those parishioners who can't attend church due to illness or injury. Please see the Rector if you are interested in participating in this ministry.

 

Greeters

 

The Greeter’s job is to welcome persons attending the services, make visitors feel welcome and answer questions. This responsibility is rotated each week among parish volunteers at the Sunday 9:00 a.m. Choral Eucharist service. Please contact Harry McFarland if interested in participating in this ministry.

 

Lay Readers/Lectors/Chalice Bearers

 

Lay readers vest, read the lessons, and help lead the congregation in prayer at the two Sunday Services. The lay readers also read Sunday Evening Prayer throughout the year, and daily Evening Prayer during Advent and Lent. St. Mary’s values, highly, the skills, vision and leadership of our lay members called to service as lectors, lay readers and chalice bearers. Lectors, on a monthly rotation schedule, read the first lesson of scripture at the 9:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday. Lay readers read lessons and prayers of intercession each Saturday and Sunday and at special masses, lead evening prayer on Sunday and weekdays in Advent and Lent, direct the congregation to the altar for communion and some serve as acolytes and chalice bearers as well. Chalice bearers assist the Rector at the altar by delivering the wine during communion. Parishioners are selected and trained to read appointed lessons and begin serving as lectors before advancing to lay reader and chalice bearer. Currently, there are 6 lectors and 10 lay readers, with 8 of the lay readers serving as chalice bearers. Remember, the work of the church benefits from every conceivable effort. You are invited to join this lay ministry as an expression of your stewardship of time, energy and talent. Parishioners interested in participating in this lay ministry may contact Gerald Gares, Sr. or the Rector

 

Ushers

 

The usher’s job is to welcome persons attending the services, hand out service bulletins, make visitors feel welcome and answer questions, take up the offering and count the number of attendees at the service. This responsibility is rotated each month among parish volunteers. Two persons serve each month at the Sunday 9:00 a.m. Choral Eucharist while one person is the designated usher at the 7:30 a.m. Low Mass. Additional ushers are asked to serve at special services like Christmas and Easter. If interested in participating in this ministry, please contact the Parish Office.

 

Ladle of Love

 

Mission - To serve the community from St. Mary’s kitchen with compassion and caring and to promote the gospel teachings by our example to those who participate in our Outreach Supper. A soup kitchen ministry for the community, held on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This ministry was started in 2003, and currently provides approximately 160 meals every Wednesday. The program is self-sustaining and is run by volunteers from St. Mary’s parish. We have four teams that take turns cooking and serving the meals. The Ladle of Love is supported through an annual fundraiser, Walk Against Hunger in Philadelphia, (sponsored by the Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger), and through generous donations from individuals and organizations throughout the year. Volunteers are welcome! Please contact Pauline and Don Wood if interested in participating in this ministry.