Our Worship

Sunday 10  AM Sunday School
Adult Bible Discussion Group
Nursery Open
Sunday 11  AM Holy Eucharist
Nursery Open
Coffee Following the Service

     Worship is the most important thing we do at St. Mary’s.  We celebrate the Holy Eucharist (communion service) every Sunday, using the liturgy of the Episcopal Church set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.  Each worship service includes praise, readings from scripture, a psalm, a sermon, a recitation of our beliefs in the Nicene Creed, prayers, a confession of sin and absolution, and Holy Communion.  In our prayers, the people are invited to add their own prayers and thanksgivings.  Our clergy is very much committed to worship that is an expression of praise and a celebration of all that God has done.  And our clergy preach the Bible as the revealed Word of God, using the texts from the appointed lectionary for the day.

       Many members of the congregation take part in preparing and leading Sunday worship, including our Acolytes (ages 7 and up), lay readers and leaders of the prayers, lay eucharistic ministers, ushers, greeters, the Altar Guild, who prepares the altar for worship, and the choir. Our choir sings every Sunday, and usually presents a special anthem at the offertory.  Our choir director and  organist, Carina Bly, is a gifted musician and was professionally trained on the organ in Germany.  We also have a piano in the nave for use with hymns better suited to piano, such as those from the African American Hymnal, Lift Every Voice and Sing.

    We have an excellent nursery, staffed by Mary Gibbs and volunteers, who give loving care to our young children.  We hope that children will attend worship with their parents.  Our nursery opens at 10 AM so that adults who come to the Bible Discussion Group may bring their children who are too young for Sunday School.

    Sunday School an indispensable part of our Sunday Morning activity, both for adults and children.  We have three classes for children, using a Bible based curriculum.  Our Adult class is a Bible Discussion Group, that concentrates on a book of the Bible in a format that encourages everyone to participate and express their ideas.  Reading the next Sunday’s text is requested but not required.  Newcomers can comfortably join the discussion group at any point.

    We have a coffee hour following each worship service to greet our guests and renew acquaintances.

  Our Special Worship Events During the Year

THE CHRISTMAS PAGEANT –  On the Fourth Sunday of Advent each year, the children’s Sunday School presents a play which tells the story of the birth of Christ.  Sometimes a traditional Christmas Pageant, sometimes a different type of play, these events always are a favorite prelude to Christmas for the people of our community.

CHRISTMAS EVE FESTIVAL WORSHIP –  Our Christmas worship is a Chritmas Eve Festival service at 11:00 PM, preceded by a musical offering by our choir.  St. Mary’s, decorated for the season, and lit from outside our lovely stained glass windows, is as beautiful place as you will ever see to celebrate Christmas Eve.

THE GREAT VIGIL OF EASTER  Each year on the Eve of Easter Day, we celebrate the Great Vigil of Easter.  This ancient liturgy, filled with wonderful music and scripture that explores the vast expanse of God’s saving works, is uplifting and deeply moving.

THE BLESSING OF THE FLEET –  The commercial fishing season opens each Spring on the first Monday in May.   The Sunday before the season opens, St. Mary’s hosts a “Blessing of the Fleet” at 5:00 PM at Omega Protein, our local menhaden fish factory.  They have built a stage overlooking Cockrell’s Creek just for this event.  This service, which dates back 31 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.

THANKSGIVING DAY –  We join together with our sister congregation of St. Stephen’s to celebrate Thanksgiving every year at a 10 AM service at St. Stephen’s.  Our choirs join together to make an impressive offering of song in that historic church in Heathsville.

UNIQUE WORSHIP –  We also have a special worship service once a year honoring some part of our local heritage, or some group of people who make a special contibution to our community.  Past 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 our county.