Our Programs


“The heart of our church’s mission is outreach, most of which is conducted at the grass-roots level”
                                                ...Bishop Peter James Lee

St. Mary’s participation in programs and activities that support and assist others is one of the most satisfying programs undertaken by the congregation.  Between the budget passed by the Vestry and the budget of the ECW, St. Mary’s  earmarked nearly $50,000 for charitable contributions last year for local, diocesan and international projects.  We also administer a $7,500  “People-in-need” grant from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund.  See the ECW page on this web site for details of their outreach.  On behalf of the congregation, the Vestry  gave to the following activities last year:

  • Church Resource Services
  • World Vision (matched funds raised by Youth Group)
  • NHS After-Prom Party
  • Episcopal Relief – Diocesan Outreach Programs
  • Kairos of Virginia –  prison ministry
  • Northumberland Ministerial Association
  • Northumberland Elementary School – reading programs
  • Northern Neck Health Clinic
  • Bishop’s Fund – bus for Dominican Republic mission

In addition, our $1,500 donation to El Hogar mission in Honduras perhaps best illustrates the effect of our Outreach effort.  Our donation provides full sponsorship (housing, food, health care and education for  Pablo Noel Cruz Delgado, a young man in Honduras who is otherwise without means. El Hogar operates schools – elementary level followed by technical or agricultural training – for young men who are abandoned, orphaned or from hopelessly destitute circumstances. Further fundraising for a mission trip to meet and work with Pablo is planned for later this year.

A new effort for an overseas mission from St. Mary’s is currently being planned for later this year.


“… just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
                                                     …..…Matthew 23:40

Kairos –  “God’s Time”  –  is a program for continuous ministry to residents of Virginia’s prisons, primarily consisting of weekend courses, semiannual retreats and monthly visits by both members of the clergy and lay persons.  St. Mary’s supports Kairos through prayer, donations and cookies. (Click for more information on Cookies  )  Notices of upcoming Kairos events are found in our Newsletter.  Contact Rennie Harrison for additional details of this worthwhile program.

Friday Night
Lectures and Discussions

St. Mary’s has been proud to present periodic programs of interest to our community as well as our congregation.  In 2000-01 we hosted a lecture series called “We Live In A Special Place.”  That series highlighted our local fishing industry and what will be necessary for it to continue to be the central focus of our community.  Speakers were local experts on their subjects, many from our congregation. Among the subjects covered in this well-received series were Charter Boats,  Poundnet Fishing,  Snapper Rigs,  Spotter Planes, Nets, Boat Building and Maintenance, Crabbing and Shellfish, and the Fish Factory.

In 2002 we presented a series of discussions concerning the 9/11 Attacks.  Led by local leaders and experts on topics related to 9/11, these discussions provided members and many in the local community with relavent background and operational information about this event and subsequent actions.  

Blessing of the Fleet


The commercial fishing season opens each Spring on the first Monday in May.   The Sunday before the season opens, (May 4th in 2003)  St. Mary’s hosts a “Blessing of the Fleet” at 5 PM at Omega Protein, our local menhaden fish factory.   This service, which dates back 32 years, is attended by about 400 people, who come by boat and by land.  We involve our local clergy and in recent years have asked our neighbor church, Tibitha Church of God, to provide the music.   In scripture and in song, we thank God for his abundant provision through the sea, and we ask God’s blessing on the year ahead for commercial and recreational fishing and boating.  We always lay a memorial wreath on the waters of Cockrell’s Creek in memory of those lost at sea, and we hear an inspiring sermon from a guest preacher.  This service is a memorable piece of our Chesapeake Bay heritage.

Remembering Those Who Serve Us

In recent years,  special services have been held at St. Mary’s in appreciation of the work within our community as well as organizations that provide vital services throughout the year.  These services have honored our Emergency Services (Rescue Squad, Volunteer Fire Department and Smith Point Sea Rescue),  Educators in the Northumberland County Schools, a “Celebration of the Vocations of the Sea” and the Pastors of Northumberland County.

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School:  Every year in the last full week in July, St. Mary’s teams up with our sister congregation, St. Stephen’s, and our Reedville neighbor, Bethany United Methodist Church, to host Vacation Bible School. Our typical attendance is 70 to 90 children, and our team of volunteers is almost as large a number, including our youth group.  It is always a time of special blessing for everyone involved.

Young Adults

This group meets periodically throughout the year on an informal basis for an exchange of fun and fellowship.  Contact Joe Murphy for details.

Angel Tree Project

One of the joys of Christmas at St. Mary’s is the opportunity to participate in this ministry.  Names of 40 local children – whose parents are incarcerated – are taken from the Angel Tree by parishioners who then purchase clothing and a fun gift for delivery to each child.

Shrine Mont

Every autumn St. Mary’s and St. Stephen’s parishioners gather in this fine old resort in the Orkney Springs foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains for a weekend retreat  –  a time of fellowship and spiritual renewal, combined with good fun.  This year the retreat is scheduled for September 26-28th.    Click on this link to learn more about Shrine Mont  (Then click your browser’s BACK button to return here.)

Sunday Morning Bible Discussion
This Group meets at 10:00 before worship.    Led by our clergy, we do approximately a chapter a week, and emphasize discussion.  Everyone’s thoughts are valued as we delve into the Word of God.  Join us any time.  No homework is necessary.

Silent Auction
 St. Mary’s traditionally hosts a biannual fund-raising international dinner and silent auction.    Past dinners have been gourmet feasts of Oriental, French, German, Polynesian, Mexican, Greek and Italian food. The merchants in our area, and our own members, have provided crafts, services, artwork and other treasures for the silent auction.  Watch for announcements of the next dinner.

 Lenten Series and Soup Supper

Held on Wednesday evenings during Lent.   Each program is followed by soup supper in the Parish House, prepared by St. Mary’s volunteer chefs.  Please check our Calendar (under ABOUT US) and the Newsletter for details about this year’s series.

Tea Time Book Group
The Tea Time Book Group meets periodically to discuss a book of interest to our members.  Watch for announcements of the next series.