A Model of Ministry for St George’s
At St George’s Church here in Schenectady we are trying hard to identify in our everyday life and faith the essence of ministry for all our baptized members. The Anglican Consultative Council back in 1995 spoke of the ministry of the whole body of Christ as rooted in the “one ministry of Jesus Christ in which all Christians participate by virtue of their baptism.” The document goes on to explain: “This ministry of the baptized is the fundamental ministry of the Church, with the function of ordained ministry being to serve, equip and enable this ministry to take place. If the ministry of the baptized is to be Christian where they live, then it follows that this is chiefly not sanctuary or churchly ministry, but rather a matter of being a Christian parent, employee, employer, unemployed person, (voter, neighbor, friend) with integrity. We need to help people to find out how to exercise these world-focused ministries. The pattern for us all remains Jesus Christ who had a world-focused ministry. … the ministry of the whole body come(s) first (not that baptismal ministry is derived from ordained ministry).”
“The purpose of ministry:
- To promote the unity of the whole church (One);
- To foster its sanctification (Holy);
- To keep the Church focused on its universal mission (Catholic)
- And to ensure that it remains apostolic, that is, sent with the same message as the apostles. “
The ministry of acolytes is essential to worship here at Saint George’s. It includes not only servers, torchbearers, and lighters of candles but also crucifers, thurifers, bell ringers, and icon and banner-bearers. Acolytes assist the priest or in some places the deacon in the ministering at the altar. They also get an up close look at our liturgy each Sunday! This ministry is especially appropriate for older children but is by no means limited to the young. Men and women, girls and boys, of all ages have served as acolytes here at Saint George’s.
The ministry of lector concerns the public reading of Holy Scripture in the context of public worship. A rota is created with different people assigned for our various services
The Altar guild does the important behind the scenes work that makes our weekly worship possible. Members of the Altar Guild wash and care for the various items involved in worship. This involves “doing the dishes” after the celebration of Mass, washing, folding, and ironing our linens, keeping our sacristy neat and organized, etc.
Related to the Altar Guild, the job of Sacristan includes setting up for worship on Sunday by laying out vestments, changing the altar hangings, refilling and replenishing candles, etc. This is a practical and behind the scenes service that is absolutely essential.
Grounds & Gardens
Saint George’s is blessed with a beautiful property situated in Schenectady’s historic Stockade District. While we utilize contractors for the regular maintenance of our facilities, we do rely on our dedicated volunteers to keep our gardens looking their best. Members of our garden ministry gather regularly to do weeding, planting, mulching, and other related activities. Occasionally we can also use volunteers for a “spring cleaning” of our facilities or other odds & ends around our buildings.
Here at Saint George’s we aspire to grow in our knowledge and appreciation of the Holy Scriptures, the liturgy, and the faith of the Church. We also want to continue to learn how to apply our faith in the various aspects of our daily life. To that end we are a parish of ongoing Christian Education for both old and young.
Theology on Tap
Usually held on the last Thursday of each month, and hosted at the Van Dyck Restaurant and Lounge (https://www.vandycklounge.com/the-van-dyck-lounge/), this is a casual and open ended discussion of various topics related to theology and the Christian life. Participants are invited to order food, the beverage of their choice, and to participate in a fun and lively conversation.
Fr. Matt leads a Bible study and discussion each Sunday at 9am before our 10am Mass in the Shaw Lounge located in the Great Hall. This usually consists of a week by week reading and discussion of various biblical texts.
Theology Breakfast Club
Father Matt leads a discussion of a variety of theological books over breakfast in the Great Hall on a Saturday Morning beginning at 9:30 am. The dates and texts are announced ahead of time in our weekly bulletin.
Lenten Series – Visitations
Each year on Sunday evenings in Lent Saint George’s hosts a Lenten series program. We typically begin with a pot luck supper in the Great Hall which is followed by a program or discussion of some kind that varies from year to year sometimes involving guest speakers.
Assisted Living Ministry
Celebrating the liturgy at Saint George’s transcends the boundaries of our building. Each month volunteers from Saint George’s, along with Fr. Matt our rector and Dr. Taylor our Director of Music Ministry, visit three different assisted living homes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. We host a celebration of Holy Eucharist for the residents there as well as providing some friendly pastoral care. We have also, from time to time, been invited to do a Hymn Sing or Carol sing during the holidays.
“All on the Same Page” Book Club
“All on the Same Page” is all about building fellowship through the joy of reading. Saint George’s Parishioners take turns choosing a book for the group to read—usually a novel but also the occasional memoir, biography, or other non-fiction work—and on a date set in advance and announced in our weekly bulletin, gather after Sunday worship to share their thoughts about what they have read.
Hospitality & Fellowship
Following Mass on Sunday mornings, Saint George’s parishioners gather for coffee and/or other light refreshments in our Great Hall. This is an important but casual time of fun and fellowship where people can get to know each other a bit. A sign-up sheet is provided a few times a year for people to sign-up to be in charge of bringing some light refreshments for that week (the church provides the coffee).
Occasionally we will host a pot-luck supper ,luncheon, or reception. These often fall on special days such as our Fall launch, our Annual Parish Meeting, Christmas Eve, Saint George’s Day, or a special fundraiser. We depend on volunteers to help set up, clean up, and otherwise provide hospitality during these events. Many hands make light work!
Periodically, Saint George’s will organize various ways for our members to reach out to the community with acts of charity and service. These include things like ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, preparing meals for the Damien, collecting food for SICIM or City Mission, or distributing lunches for Schenectady County’s Free Lunch program.
While Father Matt is our priest here at Saint George’s, caring for one another is something we all do together. Volunteers here at Saint George’s make visits to our shut-ins, make phone and hospital visits to those in need, send cards, or even bring meals.
Shapenote (Sacred Harp) Singing
We are enthusiastic about music here at Saint George’s. Along with our liturgical music, we also offer the opportunity for fun and fellowship. See News/Events for schedule. Sacred Harp is traditional, a cappella, community harmony singing. All our events are free of charge and open to newcomers, all ages, all voices, and all levels of musical (in)experience. Loaner books and explanations are available at the singings. (http://www.albanysacredharp.org)
Music Ministry at St. George’s Church
Brian J Taylor, D.S.M., A.A.G.O. – Director of Music Ministry
Jeffrey H. Wengrovius – Assistant Organist
Mrs. Joan Pearson – Assistant Organist