Worship and music

 

Come As You Are

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You are invited to come as you are to our services, and we strive to make all comfortable through acts of hospitality and care.  All Christians, as God’s people, are called to Christ’s ministry; and are also called to participate in the public worship service, or liturgy, that takes place every Sunday. (The word liturgy means: public and working practices). This same liturgy is also God’s ministry or service to God’s people.  It is a reciprocal service – we both give and receive.

Worshipping with your Child:  Children are always welcome to worship at St. Andrew’s at any service.  Some children may find it difficult at first to adjust to the amount of sitting still that is required during the service.  We are fortunate that in our Box pews, there is room to move around and busy themselves with coloring activities. At the back of the church, there are weekly coloring sheets based on the Bible lesson of the day and of course crayons.  Encourage your child to watch the youth acolytes, ushers and readers.  Teach him/her the Lord’s Prayer and talk about the take-home lesson sheet.  Sunday school and Fellowship gatherings help our children and youth understand more about church and feel a part of their faith community.

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The four basic parts of our Sunday liturgy are Gathering, Word, Sacrament and Dismissal. The Gathering usually begins with the congregation singing a hymn or lifting their voices in acclamation.  It reminds us of God’s gathering of God’s people in Jesus Christ, symbolized in the calling of his disciples. The liturgy then moves to the Word, or the reading of Holy Scripture. In a typical service, four passages are read from chapters of the Holy Bible.  These readings follow the Revised Common Lectionary which is arranged on a three-year cycle.

In the next part of the liturgy, called Sacrament, we share the bread and wine in the “Communion” or “Eucharist.” (Means thanksgiving).  Before this happens, the story is once again retold in the prayer, which reminds us about God’s work in the creation.  This “core” of our liturgical service helps us to remember our own history and theology as a people. But, more crucially, it prepares us for the moment when Christ becomes present for us, in a mysterious and yet tangible way.

The Dismissal is more than just a convenient way to get the congregation up from their pews and out the door.  During the Dismissal we ask God to “send us out to do the work you have given us to do.” We leave with a mission of public service and a call to serve God by serving others. To this we say, “Thanks be to God.”

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Baptism and Confirmation

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Holy Baptism

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Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the church.  The bond that God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble.  Holy Baptism is appropriately administered within the Eucharist as the chief service on a Sunday or other feast.

Each candidate for Holy Baptism is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons.  Sponsors of adults and older children present their candidates and thereby signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their Christian life.  Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names and also take vows on behalf of their candidates.

It is fitting that parents be included among the godparents of their own children.  Parents and godparents are to be instructed in the meaning of Baptism, in their duties to help the new Christians grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in their responsibilities as members of the church.  If you are interested in being baptized, or having your child baptized at St. Andrew’s, please simply contact the Parish Office or the Rector.

Confirmation

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Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which a candidate “expresses a mature commitment to Christ, and receives strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.” 

Those who were baptized at an early age, or baptized as adults without laying on of hands by a bishop, make a mature public affirmation of their faith, recommit themselves to the responsibilities of their baptism, and receive laying on of hands by a bishop. Adults baptized with the laying on of hands by a bishop are considered to be confirmed.

The Episcopal Church’s theology of Confirmation continues to evolve along with its understanding of baptism.  Confirmation is no longer seen as the completion of Christian initiation, nor is Confirmation a prerequisite for receiving communion.  Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body, the church.  Accordingly, Confirmation has been increasingly understood in terms of a mature, public reaffirmation of the Christian faith and the baptismal promises. 

A candidate for Confirmation should be old enough to insure that he/she is making a mature and independent affirmation of his/her faith. No matter what age you are, Inquirer’s Classes are required to prepare you to receive the sacrament of Confirmation.

If you are interested in being Confirmed, please contact the Parish Office or the Rector.

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Marriage

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At St. Andrew’s we understand Holy Matrimony to be a physical and spiritual union, entered into which the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind and will, and with intent that it be life-long. All weddings are according to the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church and in accordance with the canons of the Church and guidelines of the Diocesan Bishop.

Typically, preparation for weddings takes from 4-6 months, allowing time for scheduling and planning as well as for required pre-marital counseling for couples with the Rector. All active members and those exploring membership may contact the Rector regarding marital preparation. And with the permission of the Diocesan Bishop, divorced persons who wish to marry again can do so, providing it has been at least a year since the divorce decree was issues.

The Church is not available for weddings during Lent (the six weeks before Easter) and Holy Week and during the four weeks before Christmas (Advent).  Should you be interested in planning a wedding, please contact the Rector.

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Funerals

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The death of a loved one is always difficult and the clergy and staff of St. Andrew’s are available to meet and pray with you, and to assist in the planning of a funeral service.  It is an honor for us to accompany you during this time, and to offer a place of hospitality and welcome.  Usually services are restricted to current or retired members of the parish.

Funeral and memorial services are based on the order of service in The Book of Common Prayer, which says:  “The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy.  It finds all meaning in the resurrection.  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too, shall be raised.”  The liturgy is characterized by joy and the reality that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  It also seeks to bring comfort to the bereaved expected when someone we love, or struggle to love, dies.

We encourage you to keep the clergy and staff informed should you have a loved one is grave condition. To inquire about scheduling a funeral or memorial service, please contact the Parish Office.

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The Lectionary

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The Episcopal Church uses the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) to order the lessons and liturgy details prescribed for any given day of worship but most specifically for primary and regular Sunday worship services.  The three-year Lectionary cycle for Holy Eucharist includes Years A, B and C. And the Daily Office Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer Offices is based on a two-year cycle, 1 and 2. The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV) is the translation used for the lesson citations.

The RCL provides more information about the details of services such as particular prayers, liturgical colors that are suggested, forms for the Prayers of the People, Confession of Sin placement as well as the opening verse recommendations for the Holy Communion.  And too, the scheduled readings for the orders of Morning and Evening Prayer are displayed. The Lectionary also shows the name of a Saint on the day he/she is commemorated in the church year.

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Music Ministry


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St. Andrew’s is blessed to have gifted musicians great and small.  Led by our Director of the Music Ministry, Amy Foster, we have a vibrant choir singing at the 10:30 service.  Their voices to piano and organ lift the spiritual power of the service during the program year. To further enhance the music, several members offer their musical gifts by playing their instruments during the service.  We are committed to empowering our music program and supporting our musicians in the Sunday service and in special musical productions.

St. Andrew’s Adult Choir and Instrument Accompaniment          DSCN2356

Our Adult Choir is led by Amy Foster. The beautiful choral offerings that enhance our 10:30 worship service are a source of pride. We enjoy musical offerings in a variety of traditions and styles, from Gregorian chant to gospel. Under the skillful hand of our Minister of Music, we often have special music provided by vocal soloists, small ensembles, and instrumentalists. Parishioners of all ages often accompany the Sunday worship on their instruments and it is not uncommon to have a string quartet or trio accompany our hymns or provide offertory or post-communion reflections. Amy is always looking for new choir members and musicians to join the choir; if you are interested give her a call or talk to her following the 10:30 service.

Youth Ensemble

Newly called, we have a Girl’s Youth Choir studying with Lyn Schramm who awed the congregation with their inaugural performance during a 10:30 service.  The young girls work on their parts to offer to the congregation anthems and even biblically-based musical production.

Strings Ensemble           IMG_0002

Our Minister of Music, Lyn Schramm delights in cello performance and has called several others who have performance desire to play their string instruments.  There are informal Sunday afternoon concerts for us to attend.

Sanford Concert Series   IMG_0003%20(1)            SOT%204

Established in 1999 by D
irector of the Sanford Concert Series, and Retired Minister of Music, Lyn Schramm, The Sanford Concert Series was the dream of St. Mary’s county resident, Col. Henry Sanford, a member of the American Guild of Organists, who bequeathed his Rodgers organ to St. Andrew’s in the hopes that it would enhance and increase the music opportunities in the Southern Maryland area, and serve as a magnet for local and professional musical talent.

The dream is now a reality, as musical talent ranging from jazz and blues to choral classical is performed in the acoustically superb St. Andrew’s founded in 1767. The Series provides people in St. Mary’s County and neighboring areas the opportunity for informal yet intimate appreciation of music and the performing arts. Concerts are offered in December, with Christmas Concert a great highlight, and in winter and spring
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Getting Involved

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We invite you to become involved in our community. It takes a large family to organize and lead Sunday morning services. If you are interested in volunteering for any of the ministries that make Sunday morning vibrant and inspiring, simply contact the Rector, the Parish Office or a member of the Vestry.

Children and Youth are a priority and welcome at every worship service.  They are welcome to participate as ushers, acolytes, lay readers, musicians in our worship services.  Our Senior High students are invited to preach on a Sunday before or after their graduation.

Acolytes are such an important part of the participation by children and youth.  Kids from Third grade, if they are interested and able, may be trained for the position of acolyte.  Then they are assigned to a team and usually serve once monthly. 

Altar Guild members are responsible for preparing the altar, sanctuary, vestments and flowers for all services.  It is a sacred duty to accept, but very rewarding. Each member serves on a team and serves on a rotation.

Chalice Bearers and Lectors serve in the chancel reading assigned lessons and prayers, and during communion serve the Chalice to those receiving Holy Communion.  One is not required to serve in both positions.  The position of Lector is open to our children and youth.

Choir members rehearse Sunday mornings and sing at the 10:30 service during the program year with the summer off.  The Choir offers an anthem and leads the congregation in both organ and piano hymns largely improving the vibrancy of the service.

Ushers provide the hospitality at the point of entrance into the church, the welcome of visitors, the collection of offerings, the direction during communion and clean-up after the service.  This position is also open to our children and youth who frequently service with their families.

Lay Eucharistic Visitors are commissioned to take Holy Communion from the church service to those members who are home bound and in need of pastoral care.  The visitors deliver the most recent meditations, sermons and prayer resources to the members at home or in the hospital.

Counter Ministry Members who are interested in taking care of the service collections are teamed up with another member and usually are assigned to “counting” once a month.  The counters record the offerings in the parish recordkeeping system in the parish office.

Fellowship After each service on Sunday, there is a fellowship hour at which drinks and snacks, and occasionally brunch buffets are served.  The congregation of all ages gathers to enjoy the company of one another.  Members are assigned to a particular Sunday and are responsible for the set-up and clean-up when finished.                                         

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