Worship is the reason we exists. As a community of believers we follow the directives of the Bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida, the Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Central Florida. We conduct worship services on Sunday, mid-week and at other times as directed and necessary. Sunday services are at 8:00am, Holy Eucharist Rite I, without music, and 10:00 am, Holy Eucharist Rite II with music. Weekday worship is on Wednesday and is in the form of a Healing Prayer Service at 12:15 p.m. Holy Eucharist, healing prayer with Holy Unction. Worship Leader, The Reverend Christopher E. Brathwaite, Rector.
Music and Worship Team:
The Worship Team Mission is to assist the Rector in matters dealing with weekly services and special worship events. Music is under the direct supervision of Merrill Davis, Choir Master and Organist. The team plans, as needed, with the two Sunday services including the involvement of children in the worship experience. Please contact Team Leader: Sheldon Sumner.
Altar Guild Team:
This vital ministry makes ready the sanctuary for worship before every service including special events, such as weddings, funerals, and installation of new clergy. The correct liturgical colors, the proper dressings for the altar, altar books, and the proper instruments are essential aspects of the work of this team. Please contact Team Leader, Janet Larence.
The team of ushers makes every effort to assure each person walking through the doors at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church is welcome in a friendly and graceful manner. If necessary, each person is guided to a seat of his or her choosing and presented with the proper information in order to follow the worship service. Each member of the team is aware that Jesus is the head of the church and as such due reverence to all aspect of the worship is revered with the highest form of decorum. At the end of the service the ushers offer their encouragement and commend each person for their good sense in worshipping at St. Mark’s. Please contact: Team Leader. Johnny Comparato along with Helen Iehl, Darnley Davis and Harry Crane.
Daughters of the Kings:
In the Episcopal Church we find different ways to serve God and our fellowman. Daughters of the King is an order for women who are communicants of the Episcopal Church, Churches in communion with it, or Churches in the historic episcopate but not in communion with it. Members undertake a Rule of Life, incorporating the Rule of Prayer and the Rule of Service. By reaffirmation of the promises made at Baptism and Confirmation, a Daughter pledges herself to a life-long program of prayer, service and evangelism, dedicated to the spread of Christ’s Kingdom and the strengthening of the spiritual life of her parish. Contact Dorothy DeGennero
Sunday school for all ages:
Sunday school is divided into five distinct groups:
Adults, Middle and High school, third to fifth graders, first and second graders, and non-readers (Nursery)
We offer to children the opportunity to learn about Jesus and His church. We teach biblical stories and the meaning of the seasons of the church. We explain why we worship the way we do and give them opportunity to participate in worship with projects and presentations they develop for their own understanding and the betterment of the whole congregation. Team Leaders: Sonia Moore
This group of young people is at a crossroad between teenagers and young adults. Our responsibility to them is to raise them in a Christian and spiritual environment by creating a safe place where they can express themselves and grow in love and fellowship with their peers. We offer teaching series, games, outings and other activity that are attractive to young people. Liturgical dancing, drama, and volunteering in community activities are all part of the youth experience here at St. Mark’s. Team Leader: Sonia Moore.
Middle and High school children are trained lectors and they read the Epistle at the family service each week. This idea has gained much momentum since these young people are obviously enjoying the opportunity to be the best reader.
The reading coach is Genevieve Brathwaite.
Baptism and Confirmation Classes:
Baptism and Confirmation are sacraments of the church: The rite in which we join the family of Jesus at baptism, and later express a mature commitment to Christ at confirmation. At baptism, one is sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever. At Confirmation, candidates receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a Bishop. These classes are held as determine by the rector but preferably on Saturday morning from 10-11:30 a.m. However, candidates, or parents seeking baptism for children must attend worship on Sunday mornings. Team Leader: The Reverend Christopher Brathwaite
Episcopal Church Women (morning)
The main mission of the ECW is to support St. Mark’s outreach to the community and other areas. Our main project is the Fall Country Fair, which has become a mainstay for St. Mark’s and workers in Haines City. They all look forward to the pre-ordered box lunches and continue to be regular customers, year after year. We sponsor the United Thank Offering, The W.A.Y Center and children in Haiti. Please call Team Leader: Maxine Smith
Haines City Christian Youth Steel Band. (A Para ministry of St. Mark’s)
The ministry teaches children of all ages to play the tropical sounds of the steel drum in a Christian setting. Registration is necessary and involves permission from parents or guardian. Please contact The Rev. Christopher Brathwaite for information on signing up for practice.
St. Mark’s Thrift Shop (Team Leader, Dorothy, DeGennaro)
St. Mark’s Episcopal Thrift Shop is a vital part of the service to the wider community in Haines City. The operation headed by Dorothy DeGennaro offers clothing, household items, children’s clothing and toys for little or nothing. Since the store was started just a couple years ago, Dorothy and her team have developed many repeat customers. Please come and see the Team Leader and her colleagues who volunteer for Jesus in this ministry.
Eating together is the highest form of human civilization and as such, the kitchen at St. Mark’s is as vital as any other aspect of ministry. We cook, we say our prayers, we eat, we clean up, and we invite others to join in. Pancake breakfast is served on the first Sunday of every month during spring, fall, and winter. Team Leaders are, Carol Edmund, Rick Larence, Gene Straub and Helen Iehl.
Vision and Growth
The Vision Team:
The vision team supports one another as they meet and share information that will be beneficial in sustaining the growth St. Mark’s is experiencing. How the growth impact or fail to impact the spiritual life of the community is a concern to the team.
The team will look for opportunities to advance the work of the church through strategic initiatives which help to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and grow the family of worshippers at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Team Leaders:
Doug and Michele Jump
New Building Team:
Evangelism & Mission Team:
Evangelism is the ministry of introducing God in-the-world, to God’s world and we rejoice in using everyday language—stories and events to do so. Evangelism hinges on three main props: Obedience, Gratitude and Compassion. Obedience to God and His word, Gratitude for what he has done for us, and Compassion for those who does not know him the way we do. We will be a presence and a witness to the message of Jesus Christ as we engage fellow parishioners in telling their stories and sharing with one another the joys and challenges of their life. Please join in the conversation. Please contact, Team Leaders, Carolyn Anderson and The Rev. Christopher Brathwaite
Small Groups & Home Groups:
The Disciples of Jesus started out as a small group and then they developed into a home group. Today, it is the Church Universal, but God is calling us back to basics; to develop our spirituality and transform lives. Every Christian needs a spiritual family where one can ask questions, pray for one another, and share fellowship and friendship. The small group can be your intimate spiritual family. The model we will use is from the book of Acts. “They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts2:42). We encourage you to join us. Please contact, Team Leader.
Frank and Jean Derbyshire
Outreach Food Pantry:
The main project undertaken by the outreach team is the Food Pantry. This is a once-a-week distribution of food to the poor and needy. The food is donated by the congregation to the glory of God for his blessing to both those who give and those who receive. You can participate in this ministry by bringing items of non-perishable food to the church on Sunday or Wednesday.
Please contact Team Leader, Don Roy.
Lay Eucharistic Visitors:
The Catechism of the Episcopal Church declares that the mission of the church is to restore all people to the unity with God and with each other in Christ. The church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love. The church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members. The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his church: to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church. Team Leaders: Father Christopher Brathwaite and Deacon Margaret Hayes.
Ministry on the Aging:
Ministry on the aging is the physical part of the Pastoral Care to the elderly. The services include but are not limited to normal day to day activities. The service provides assistance to those who are not physically able to do certain out of the house activities. ie. Shopping, picking up medication, and attend worship services at Church. Team Leaders, Courtland Witcher, Evia Loye Stateler, Dottie Patterson, and Judy Thompson.
Special Events Team:This is a unique group of people that create and sponsor events that help to unify the congregation. These events include but are not limited to luncheons, dinners, BBQ,s and up-scale activities like, “Hats On to the Ladies” Red and White Valentine’s Day Ball, and the Rector’s Mother’s day Luncheon. Team Leaders are Bertram and Norma Branford; Genevieve B
August 1, 2011
Things are changing at the little church with the red door. If you are gone for the summer,
you may notice some changes having to do with the altar, organ, and choir. The pictures below
show how the front of the church was rearranged to make for a safer place of worship.
Altar has been moved to the front, choir seating to the rear. Father Chris now faces the congregation at
the smaller altar in the front of the church during communion.
The organ is now in the back of the church.
Another view showing the communion rail.
Altar looking to the back of the church.
"Our Historic Church"
3 October 2010
NEW ROOF, NEW CROSS, NEW PRIEST, NEW START
Isaiah would be excited over the new things our Lord is doing at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, built in 1892, and noted in the historic registries as the oldest church in Haines City.
Years after the chain of hurricanes damaged many of the roof-slates, finally a contractor was willing to tackle the very steep pitch of the roof on the Carpenter Gothic-style church building. Within days of Senior Warden Sheldon Sumner’s signing that contract, lightning in an afternoon rainstorm struck the old lichen-covered cross standing over the east narthex.
With the need for a new cross obvious and timely, Sumner decided to give it in thanks to God for His gift of two wonderful parents, Sheldon Sr. and Ruth Banta Sumner of Tampa. Now when people approach the highest point in Haines City, they see it marked by a sparkling bronze cross atop “the little white church with the red doors.”
More exciting than those new things however, is the calling of a new priest-in-charge. Last Spring the former rector Father Hugh McGlashon was retired yet a third time, on this occasion to the honorific position of “Rector Emeritus.” The Search Committee got to work over the summer, creating a Parish Profile and receiving Personal Profiles for the parish priest-in-charge position with the helpful guidance of Canon Ernie Bennett.
The Committee’s work was not made easier in having four truly excellent prospects from which to choose. After much prayerful consideration, the Reverend Christopher Brathwaite was called by the Vestry and Bishop Howe expressed his approval. Father Chris (as he prefers to be called) preached his first sermon under the contract on September 19th, a message that was received with joyous applause. Sheldon cheerfully observed that not many people get a new priest on their birthday.
Father Chris is a life-long Episcopalian and a native of Barbados. He stood for ordination after retiring from his insurance business in the Virgin Islands. He has been involved in numerous professional organizations and community agencies (United Way, Rotary and Boy Scouts to name but a few) in the Caribbean and in Central Florida. In the US Virgin Islands Diocese he served in several lay leadership positions including advisor to the Bishop for Cultural and Community Involvement. He has recently been involved in the development of an Anti-Racism program here in our Diocese.
His wife Genevieve has been involved in social work such as Catholic Social Services in the Virgin Islands. She is rich in business, social work and educational experience. Several parishioners have already involved her in revitalizing programs for youth at St. Mark’s. Her soprano voice is most welcome in the choir.
The Senior Warden says the Vestry is happy to note that the nave is nearly at capacity at 10:00am on Sunday and the "snow birds" are not even here for the winter.
Father Chris says that he comes to St. Mark’s “to love the people, to listen to the people, to encourage the people, and to proclaim the word of the Lord.” When he pronounces the benediction on Sunday, the air fairly sings with heartfelt “Alleluia, alleluia.”