Wherever you are on your own spiritual journey, St. Mark’s in-the-Bowery welcomes you to celebrate with us here in the Bowery! When you enter St. Mark’s on a Sunday morning, you enter a worship service in the round. We gather around a circular altar in the center of a soaring, open space and share both emerging and traditional styles of music. We’re excited to see you this Sunday!
Things to know about sunday at st. mark’s
Children are very welcome at St. Mark’s in-the-Bowery! We are a young, diverse and growing congregation. Infants-in-arms are also welcome! Don’t worry if your child cries—we understand that babies are sometimes moved by the spirit too.
Families start worship together, in the sanctuary. Those with very young children may prefer to sit on the risers against the walls, where art supplies are provided to keep little hands busy. During the opening hymn, children are called to Sunday school in the Parish Hall. They rejoin the congregation at the Peace.
Sunday school at St. Mark's is a multi-generational offering for children ages 2-15. Using the UK-based curriculum Diddy Disciples and its seven principles of movement, repetition, our voices, spirituality, church, learning, and our emotions, the children are invited each week to explore their faith through storytelling and worship.
Our Episcopal tradition recognizes sacraments as “outward and visible signs of inward and visible grace.” Holy Baptism and the Eucharist (also known as “Holy Communion”) are the two great sacraments given by Christ to his church.
This sacrament goes by several names: Holy Communion, the Eucharist (which literally means “thanksgiving” in Greek), the Lord’s Supper, the Mass. Whatever we call it, this is the family meal for Christians—a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. Before we take communion together, we should “examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people.” This is why we say prayers of confession before we celebrate the Eucharist.
Because St. Mark’s is a church in-the-round, we celebrate the Eucharist differently than most other Episcopal churches. We gather around a circular altar and give communion to one another, saying “the body of Christ, the bread of heaven” and “the blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.” Instructions are always included in the weekly bulletin, and if you feel lost, just follow your neighbor and the instructions of the acolytes!
Baptism is the spiritual sacrament that marks you as a Christian. In baptism, God adopts us, making us members of the church and inheritors of the Kingdom of God. We are made sharers in the new life of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins. Baptism is the foundation for all future church participation and ministry, so if you have not been baptised—consider it and contact us!
At St. Mark’s, we baptise both adults and infants; when an infant is baptised, sponsors (godparents) speak on behalf of the candidate, who is too young to speak for themself. In the baptismal rite, the members of the congregation promise to support the candidates in their life in Christ. They join with the candidates by renewing the baptismal covenant. We then perform baptism by affusion (that is, we pour water rather than fully immersing). Candidates are baptized “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” and then marked on the forehead with the sign of the cross.
Other spiritual markers
Although the Episcopal church only recognizes two sacraments, there are other spiritual markers in our journey of faith that can serve as means of grace, and which you may encounter at St. Mark’s. These include:
Confirmation: the adult affirmation of our baptismal vows
Reconciliation of a Penitent: private confession
Matrimony: Christian marriage
Orders: ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, or episcopacy
Unction: anointing those who are sick or dying with holy oil
St. Mark’s worship is inspired by an eclectic array of musical styles: gospel, Taizé, classical, jazz, blues, and other genres. Music director Jeannine Otis regularly invites guest musicians from all music backgrounds and from around the world. Some highlights of the musical year include Good Friday Blues—a musical passion play performed by members of the community each year—and our occasional old time/bluegrass mass. St. Mark’s also hosts and supports many music events, including a Sunday music series.
If you like to sing, come join us! All you need to do is show up one hour before Sunday service—that is, at 9:30 a.m.—with your voice and your willingness to take part. Although we are not a professional choir, we have wonderful voices, and we’d love you to add yours!