A Guide to St. Mary’s
Welcome to Saint Mary’s. It is great that you are interested in our church and we offer you this page to help you become better acquainted with us. Regardless of your background or church experience, we invite you, with your family and friends, to join us for worship or other community events as together we journey in our life with God.
The Anglican church is part of a world-wide community called the Anglican Communion. Our style of worship has its roots in the Catholic tradition. You do not have to be an Anglican to attend our services. In fact, we welcome those who are simply curious, looking for a new church, or considering questions about life and God for the first time. Our services are outlined in a program that you receive at the beginning and our priests and leaders direct us throughout our services so it is easy for everyone to follow along.
Sunday at 8:00 a.m., a quiet gathering without music for Holy Communion, using the traditional language of the Prayer Book.
Sunday at 10:30 a.m., the “main” service, with organ music and hymns sung with the choir. This service alternates between traditional and contemporary language, and is a service of Holy Communion. A few Sundays a year we we celebrate traditional Morning Prayer. Children join us for the beginning of each service before proceeding to Sunday School and rejoin their families in the church for the Eucharist (Communion); for our younger members we have a quiet play area at the back of the sanctuary for them to use with their parents. Details and readings for this service may be found on the Notices page of this web site.
Coffee Hour is an engaging time for community and meeting. It takes place following the 10:30 service in Wrixon Hall. The rotating staff of volunteers prepare coffee and tea for the adults, punch or juice for the children, and frequently “goodies” for all. On Loonie Muffin Sundays, home-made muffins are sold for $1 each, with the proceeds going towards the FaithWorks campaign.
On the first Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m., a quiet gathering in the chapel for Holy Communion using contemporary language, and without music. For a small cost, you are then invited to join us for a hearty cooked lunch.
In addition to the weekly schedule noted above, we also observe major feasts and Holy Days, the schedules for which are noted in the service bulletins, the quarterly newsletter, The Message, and the Notices page of this web site. During the year, we offer opportunities for commitment and renewal:
- The sacrament of Holy Baptism, several times a year, on designated feast days. We conduct baptism in the presence of the full congregation, usually on Sundays at the 10:30 service. We baptize both infants and adults who wish to belong to the Church.
- The Rite of Confirmation, which the Bishop conducts during one of his visits. In the presence of the Bishop, young and older adults affirm their Baptismal vows, stating those vows for themselves, and become adults in the Faith.
We encourage you to address inquiries about Baptism, Confirmation and Reception to the Associate Priest well in advance of the desired time. Some education and preparation of the individuals is necessary before these rites, as each of them is a significant transition and not to be entered upon lightly.
We also provide the services of:
- Holy Matrimony, and
- Christian Burial
We strongly suggest that those wishing to be married contact the Incumbent at least six months in advance of the desired date. This is necessary to allow for the required pre-marriage counselling and to ensure the availability of the church.
Funerals obviously cannot be scheduled; the Incumbent and Curate are always available on short notice as needed. However, it is critical for the family to discuss the details prior to making other arrangements as there are guidelines to be followed in all Anglican churches. We can help you to minimize the stress at such a difficult time; before a loved one dies, we can provide counselling and plans that you might have ready long before the sad event. And, you may choose to do this for yourself; not only will this spare your survivors some grief, it will ensure that your own wishes will be known and respected.
Saint Mary’s provides many opportunities for individuals who wish to learn, grow in faith, and serve the needs of others. All are invited to serve; we make no distinctions based on gender or age. We encourage you to consider participating in one or more of these programs; contact the Incumbent, Associate Priest or the appropriate leader.
The Choir provides training for those who enjoy singing, who in turn share their gifts and talents in worship. The choir leads the congregation in music at every 10:30 a.m. service and on special services and Holy Days. Rehearsals are held on Thursday evenings. Soloists, both voice and instrumental, perform at special services throughout the year.
The Altar Guild prepares and maintains all the altar linens, hangings and vessels before each service, on Sundays and during the week, including for funerals and weddings.
Sub-deacons assist the priest during the services on Sunday.
Lectors, or readers, are trained and commissioned to read the Old and New Testament readings during worship services.
Intercessors lead us in the Prayers of the People during worship services.
Lay Eucharistic Ministers are trained lay members who assist the priest and deacon during Holy Eucharist. Some of these people also bring consecrated Holy Eucharist to those shut-in at home and in hospital or nursing homes. This helps to maintain the parish relationship for those so confined.
Servers are people, both young and old, trained to assist the priest and deacon during the service and to lead the processions into and out of the church.
Sidespeople provide information and service bulletins to those entering the church. They receive the offerings of the congregation and guide the flow of the congregation to the altar rail during the Eucharist.
Greeters provide welcome, information and directions for visitors and newcomers to the church.
The Worship Committee is composed of representatives from the sidespeople, choir, altar guild, lectors and servers. There are also “members at large” – members with an interest in helping in the planning and development of services of worship.
We offer, most Sundays, Sunday school classes which are geared for children aged 4 – 12. If comfortable, children are welcome to attend these classes and will be instructed to follow the teacher appointed for that day at the beginning of the service. Children are also welcome to stay in church with their parents if that is more comfortable for them. Children are also encouaraged to be a part of our worship through special presentations, liturgical dance, reading and serving.
Quiet Play Area
There is a quiet play area at the back of the main sanctuary. Parents and caregivers are invited to use this space with their children during the service.
The parish clergy are always available for short-term private personal and family counselling. You may make arrangements by speaking with the Incumbent or the Associate Priest.
The Message is the parish’s quarterly newsletter, where we publish a calendar of up-coming events, news from the various groups within the parish and thoughts from the Incumbent. If you express interest in becoming a member of Saint Mary’s, your name will be added to the mailing list, and also be passed on to the mailing list of The Anglican, the monthly diocesan newspaper and The Journal, the national Anglican newspaper.
A Short History
An Anglican presence in Richmond Hill dates back to the middle of the 19th century when a church was built just east of Yonge Street. When it was destroyed by fire, John Robert Arnold, the son of a United Empire Loyalist, gave a corner of his property for a new church, requesting that he and his descendants be buried in a family plot near to it. The yellow brick church was opened October 8th, 1872. Now called the chapel, old Saint Mary’s stands stately on the hill.
As Richmond Hill grew, Saint Mary’s expanded. Additional lands were obtained by gift, bequest and purchase. A crypt was excavated during the winter of 1928-29. An addition was added to the Vestry in 1945. Then in 1956, the parish hall was built and named “Wrixon Hall” as a memorial to the long and faithful ministry of the Rev. W. F. Wrixon.
Growth continued, and under the direction of the Rev. James F. O’Neil a new church was started on October 26th, 1964. With great thanksgiving this building was consecrated on April 10th, 1968. When we look at Saint Mary’s Church, we see part of our heritage and are reminded of the men and women of past years; we think of their labours, their caring, the education they provided, their mission in life, and the worship they shared together.
Our buildings are well used, by the church and by the community, by the young and the not so young, by support groups, recreational groups and educational groups, by those who can contribute to the upkeep and by those who cannot. Many evenings the parking lot is full.
Minor formatting changes, December 15, 2011, jm
Major Revision November 29, 2011, rw
Minor revisions December 21, 2007
Minor change February 2, 2002
Minor update June 13, 1999