Sunday, May 4, 2014

St Mark's Episcopal Church, Erie, PA, 4 May 2014

Some people take "Prepare the way..." seriously. As I approached St Mark's on my initial visit, an usher opened the door for me and said, "Hello, Shelley." Uh. Thanks, Craig? It's pretty welcoming to say the least when "everyone" calls you by name even tho you don't really know or remember them from elsewhere. Perhaps something to keep in mind if you know someone is going to visit your church. 

St Mark's sits up on a small hill. It's a stunning building from the outside. Inside the double doors there is a small entrance area with a hallway on the left which leads to the parish hall.

The church itself had lots of candles and flowers this morning and was quite impressive. The light altar area and contrasting darker wood drew my attention forward immediately.

The liturgy was traditional Rite II.

The organ is no longer used unfortunately. The pianist is excellent. The only music I knew was the last hymn which was from Hymnal 82. Everything including that hymn was in the bulletin except an Alleluia which was easy enough. The choir didn't vest but came from the congregation when it was time to sing. The pianist conducted while the accompaniment was played digitally. No complaints about the choir.

The lady in front of me wore this so I had an exceptionally fun view.

I can't really judge how friendly the people at St Mark's ordinarily are. The people from Holy Spirit who now go there were especially welcoming. They met me before their parish was closed.

The Peace was short but not hurried. The priest greeted those on the center aisle which gave us time to greet those around us. Announcements were at the end. I don't believe there was a postlude tho I was engaged in conversation and didn't notice. 

The priest invited me to coffee hour and others made sure I went, got coffee and had someone with whom to sit. They gave me a welcome bag with a plastic cup, a pen, a small notepad, a booklet and some information about the parish. That is a first. I know of only one other parish that does that.

Would I attend St Mark's? Probably not for a couple of reasons, the primary one being that it is a bit over an hour away in snowy Erie. How do I put this gently? This is not music I want to sing every week. I prefer the traditional hymns. But I won't criticize them for singing what means the most to them. They seem to be a lively parish with serious interest in community service for which I give them much credit.