Ministry to Youth - An Every Age Approach

Ministry to Youth: An Every Age Approach to Ministry 

A Seminar for the Entire Parish

May 12, 2012 (9 am - 3 pm)

I am convinced that the first step for us, as we seek to build up our ministry to children and young adults (which is a priority for us at St. Marks) - is that we must first be clear about what we believe "Children's and Youth Ministry" is.  


  • What is the point?/What are we hoping to accomplish? 
  • Who should be involved?
  • What is the role of the family and of the church?  


Why do such a high percentage of young adults who grow up in Christian homes and are involved in their local church, leave the church when they graduate high school, not returning until their mid to late 30's (if at all)?

On May 12th, we will welcome 2 speakers/teachers to help us begin to think through these questions and more (The Reverend Brian Foos, Headmaster of St. Andrew's Academy, Lake Almanor, Ca) and The Reverend John Boonzaaijer (Rector of the Chapel of the Cross, Dallas, and Headmaster of The St. Timothy School).

You need not have children at home to attend - the body of Christ is an inter-generational family and all of you are invited to play a role in the instruction, care and formation of the children and young adults of our parish.   If you are interested in "the next generation" of Christian disciples - please consider joining us.

Our day will begin at 9 am with Holy Communion and end at 3 pm with Evening Prayer.  A more detailed agenda will be available in coming weeks.  Lunch will be provided and onsite childcare is available (please let us know ahead of time if you would like to make use of the childcare).

 RSVP by May 5th to Fr. Patterson ( or 215-884-7660).


Our Bishop's Easter Letter

Click here to read Bishop Hick's 2012 Easter Letter.


The Easter Vigil


The Easter Vigil is one of the Church’s most ancient and well known vigil services (records indicate that it was celebrated in Jerusalem in the 2nd century and soon spread to the rest of the Church). It is a service of watching and waiting – Christ has died but He has not yet Risen.  The service is full of prayer, Scripture reading, song and quiet reflection.  The structure of the service is much the same as when it was first celebrated in Jerusalem.  You will notice 4 main parts of the Vigil:


  • The Service of Light: The Kindling of New Fire & the Blessing and Solemn Procession of the Pascal Candle,
  • The Service of Prophecies (Lessons): We read a number of Old Testament lessons which foreshadow the salvation which God was to accomplish through Christ
  • The Service of Baptism – traditionally this is the time at which those who have been preparing for Baptism are baptized and thus received into the Church
  • The Service of Holy Communion – after Christ is proclaimed as Risen we draw near to receive the sacrament of His body and blood.


The Service of Light.  The vigil begins within the darkened church (with just barely enough light to read) and then moves outside where the Priest kindles and blesses New Fire. From this the Pascal Candle is lit and then solemnly processed into the church.  The church remains darkened until the joyous proclamation “Christ is risen!” at which time the celebration of Easter has begun.

“The Service of Light focuses the entire Vigil on Christ, the Light of the world (symbolized by the paschal candle), who overcame the darkness of sin and death by his resurrection.  The first song of the Vigil, the Exsultet, links our paschal feast with the first Passover and with God’s deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea.  The song introduces the theme of God’s saving acts in history, a theme that runs through the Service of Readings.”

The Service of Prophecies.  There are as many as 12 Prophecies read, with prayers.  Many churches read between 3 and 7 prophecies (we will read 5).  All of the readings are taken from the Old Testament and they “highlight the many ways in which God was gracious to deliver the people of Israel – all of which is a foreshadowing of the glorious deliverance (salvation) which God mercifully accomplished through the sending the Son to take on flesh and then offer Himself as the perfect atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.”

The Service of Baptism.  When there are no baptisms, the gathered church identifies baptism as: “one of God’s great acts of deliverance that has been applied to each individual Christian, connects baptism with Christ’s resurrection, and gives believers an opportunity to publicly confess the faith into which they have been baptized.”

The Service of Holy Communion.  We linger a little longer in the darkness, meditating and praying the Litany until the proclamation: “Alleluia! Christ is risen,” which marks the dramatic transition from darkness to light.  This is reflected in the pace of the service and in the music.  The tone for the rest of the service is one of solemn joy.”

Please bring bells or other clanging noisemakers for use when we together make the "holy noise."

Our Vigil service begins at 10 am (and will probably end at about mid-night).


Holy Saturday/Easter Eve

From J. H. Blunt's commentary on the Book of Common Prayer (1884):

The day between Good Friday and Easter Day commemorates the Descent of our Blessed Lord's soul into hell, and the rest of His body in the grave.  In the Gospel we are told that this Sabbath-day was "an high day" in the Jewish ritual.  It was the day when all were to be present before the Lord [Exodus 23:17], and when the sheaf of the first fruits was to be offered.  [Lev. 23 10, 11.]  In the Christian Church it at once acquired the name of the "Great Sabbath," being so called in the Epistle of the Church of Smyrna respecting the martyrdom of St. Polycarp.

There has ever been something of festive gladness in the celebration of Easter Eve, which sets it apart from Lent, notwithstanding the fast still continues.  To the disciples it was a day of mourning after an absent Lord; but the Church of the Resurrection sees already the triumph of that Lord over Satan and Death.  In the promise of the prophetic words, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction" [Hos. 13:14], she sees afar off the dawn of the Resurrection, and already the words sound in her ears, "Your sorrow shall be turned into joy."  A celebration of the Holy Communion took place on this day, as on Maundy Thursday, at the time of Vespers; and in the place of the Introit was sung Gloria in Excelsis Deo, with its response, Et in terra pax hominibus, while the bells of the church were ringing in the joys of Easter.  At Milan, "Ad Missam in ecclesia majore," the announcement of our Lord's Resurrection was thrice made in the words, "Christus Dominus resurrexit," when the response thrice followed, "Deo gratias." 


New Pipe Organ Update

Progress continues on the installation of our new Pipe Organ.

Visit our Facebook page to view pictures.

Click here to read about the project.