God is incredibly generous. All that we have and all that we are is a gift from God. Jesus expressed that generosity in the way he lived and died. As Christians, we give our time, talent, and money joyfully in response to God’s generosity and to help more people come to know more fully the presence of God and Christ in their lives. Here are just some of the opportunities to practice generosity of time and talent. If you don’t find something that matches your gifts, speak to a member of the clergy or contact the church office to find out what other opportunities exist.

Money-1024x376Comprised of the Sr. Warden, Treasurer, and other members of the Vestry and parish at-large, the finance committee serves as a “council of advice” to the Vestry on all fiscal matters. The committee meets regularly and as needed to create better financial transparency and effective budget/resource management.

While the Rector is the head of staff and principally responsible for all personnel matters, the finance committee also serves as a personnel committee in relation to matters of wage and benefits and advises the Rector and Vestry in the budgeting of such matters.

The stewardship and outreach committee is tasked with helping St. Mary’s live into the call to be faithful caretakers of all that God has given us. This includes two distinct areas traditionally referred to as “stewardship” and “outreach.”

offering-plate-300x199Stewardship

In the area of stewardship, the committee works to help the people of St. Mary’s recognize that stewardship is not a one-off, nor is it an optional extra for Christians, but an essential element of an intentional spiritual life. This is accomplished through organizing and planning several events throughout the year including, but not limited to:

• An annual financial pledge campaign.
• An annual ministry fair.
• Regular weekly/monthly communications about stewardship.

The committee works intentionally to help everyone recognize that stewardship is not simply about money; but it includes money because it speaks to us about offering the whole of life to God. Furthermore, the committee is committed to teaching that stewardship is not about what we should do but about the joy of what we want to do to express our love of God, His word and His church.

wantpeace-215x300Outreach

Many within St. Mary’s view charitable giving as a sacred covenant we enter into with our local and global community. Many of our members are active in local charitable organizations as volunteers or paid staff. The committee makes specific recommendations to the Vestry and/or the congregation about opportunities for outreach through financial or material donations to local, service-based, non-profit organizations. In addition, in cooperation with our parish deacon, the committee liaises with local organizations to insure that there are opportunities for hands-on participation with worthy peace and justice causes.

010611085517clipart_board_meetingIn the Episcopal Church authority is shared between ordained and non-ordained people. The Vestry serves as the principal leadership body that works in cooperation with the Rector to insure that the church’s material and operational needs are being adequately met and that both physical and fiscal resources are being properly cared for. Members of the Vestry serve for a three year term and ⅓ of the vestry is elected annually in January. Vestry meetings are open to the membership of the parish and persons interested in serving on the Vestry are encouraged to seek nomination in late December or early January.

chaliceThe altar guild provides all the “behind the scenes” support for worship services. Everything from laundering and pressing linens to polishing silver and filling candles with fuel fall under the scope of the Altar Guild.

In addition the altar guild makes sure that there are flowers for services and insures their proper distribution/disposal after services. This includes special floral displays at Christmas and Easter, as well as coordinating with florists for funerals.

pitaThe bread which we eat every Sunday in the context of our Eucharist is not store bought, but lovingly prepared by members of our congregation. The altar guild insures that this ministry is carried out and provides recipes and instruction for those who bake bread for our worship.

If you are interested in participating in the Altar Guild, contact Bettye Craft.

10259917_834836479862373_7223846953309108934_nThe word “acolyte” means a follower or attendant, however most people recognize acolytes as altar boys and girls or altar servers. St. Mary’s offers a rich tradition of acolyte ministry to youth starting at age 9 and up. Acolytes enhance our worship and provide a special level of participation for our youth.

Acolytes at St. Mary’s light candles, ring the sanctus bells, and assist at the altar. They carry candles, the processional cross, and on special occasions the incense vessel (“thurible”). Acolytes serve in teams under the direction of a Sr. Acolyte, who is a youth with several years of experience. To learn more about the acolyte ministry contact the church office or speak to a member of the clergy.

IMG_0017St. Mary’s Contemporary Song Team is the group of singers that leads contemporary music at the 10:00 AM Sunday Eucharist in addition to special liturgies at different times during the year. This includes contemporary Christian pop music as well as songs from the hymnals “Gather Comprehensive,” “Wonder, Love, and Praise,” “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” as well as music from the Taize Community in France. Rehearsals for this group are on Wednesday evenings at 5:00.

For information on any musical offerings at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, click here to contact Fred McIlroy, Director of Music by email.

lectionaryReaders, Prayer Leaders

Readers read the lessons at Sunday services as well as leading the congregation in the Prayers of the People. They, through their ministry, help to bring alive the Word of God and articulate the intercessions of the community gathered.

chalice1-221x300Communion Ministers

Communion Ministers (also called “Eucharistic Ministers”) assist the clergy in the distribution of Holy Communion by either administering the chalice and, in the absence of 2 ordained people, joining one of our clergy in distributing bread.

Readers, Prayer Leaders, and Communion Ministers are regularly scheduled at both the 8:00 and the 10:00 am Sunday services. Communion Ministers must be baptized members of the congregation.

All 3 roles require training in order to serve. If you have any questions or would like to participate in any of these ministries call the church office or speak to a member of the clergy.

1606856_834837136528974_1484462809051809984_nSt. Mary’s Tradition Choir is a semi-professional mixed choir that sings for the 10:00 AM Sunday Eucharist during the academic year as well as at special liturgies and holidays. The choir also journeys to Seattle to sing Evensong at the Cathedral of St. Mark at least once per year. The choir’s repertoire spans everything from The Renaissance to our present day. The Choir is made up of volunteer members as well as four paid Choral Scholars. The Choral Scholars are music students at local universities. No prior experience is necessary to join as a volunteer choir member. Rehearsals take place on Thursdays at 7:15 PM.

For information on any musical offerings at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, click here to contact Fred McIlroy, Director of Music by email.

helpinghand-150x150Ushers

Ushers, along with our greeters, are our first line of hospitality to both visitors and members alike. Ushers hand out bulletins, take an accurate count of attendance, help seat persons needing assistance, collect the offering, and assist in people coming forward for Holy Communion.

Greeters

Greeters have as a primary ministry to make sure that every person who comes to worship on Sunday is greeted warmly and made to feel that we are genuinely grateful and happy for everyone who comes to church. Greeters also try to insure that visitors and newcomers have the resources necessary to integrate into the life of St. Mary’s.