A Centering Prayer is a simple approach to the ancient practice of Christian contemplation. In describing the method, Fr. Thomas Keating says,
Centering Prayer elicits a commitment to the goal of inner transformation. It suggests a practical method of entering our “inner room” by deliberately letting go of external concerns symbolized by closing our eyes and consenting to the presence and action of God within. Next, a [self-chosen] sacred word is introduced silently as a way to maintain our intention to consent to God’s presence and action within…This interior process was interpreted by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the fourth century to mean letting go of all personal agendas, expectations, and desires for divine consolation, psychological breakthroughs, and self-reflection of any kind. The only initiative we take during the period of Centering Prayer is to maintain our intention of consenting to the presence and action of God within.
From Open Mind, Open Heart, Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O.
No prior church affiliation is necessary to join the Centering Prayer Group, just a willingness to be open to its possibilities.
Offered once a month following the 10:30 am Sunday Eucharist. A five-minute presentation on an aspect of the liturgy is followed by discussion lasting about twenty minutes. Feel free to join us as you are able. There’s usually a photocopied handout. There are no materials to purchase. Watch for the next date in The Cat’s Meow
Lectio Divina (not currently offered)
Lectio Divina is a simple way to pray the scriptures. Ancient in origin, Lectio is practiced silently in a series of steps by which we gain insight into scripture and its meaning for us. A way to cultivate friendship with Christ, Lectio is an excellent complement to Centering Prayer. We meet Mondays at 10:30 am in the mezzanine. Lasts about 45 minutes.
Cinema St Mark Quarterly series of classic movies followed by discussion. For current showings see ourFacebook page or the calendar below. Contact Father Randy Murray email@example.com or the Church Office 905-885-4071.
Tuesday, Tea, and Theology (check with Dr Gray for Covid restrictions in 2020)
Tuesday, Tea, and Theology is the name of St Mark’s Book Club. Yes, we do meet on Tuesdays (once a month from 3:00 to 4:30 pm and there is tea!). The Theology part is in the choice of books we read, using “theology” in a broad sense: our books cover a wide range of titles we expect to be of interest to people like us within a church community. Our meetings are lively, invigorating, often hilarious. We have only one rule: everyone is listened to, and respected. We have animated conversations, not arguments. Contact Patrick Gray firstname.lastname@example.org 905-885-6648.
The Labyrinth of Chartres at St. Mark’s
The labyrinth is located on the church grounds to the east of the parish hall. Take the walkway to the south past the French doors and patio and you will find it in the form of a circle cut into the grass with its entrance close to the hall building. The Christian adaptation of the labyrinth focuses on the resurrection of Jesus as the centre of the pilgrimage which is also the pilgrim’s redemption. In modern times, the walk can be an individual meditation or a group liturgy with music and dance
Currently the Chancel Guild is divided into 5 groups, with 2 members per group, and follows a monthly schedule. Preparation for the upcoming Sunday is completed on a Friday or Saturday, at a time chosen by the group on duty, and again prior to the mid-week service. Meetings are held approximately 2-3 times a year, usually before a major festival when additional planning and preparation is required. By long-standing custom, appointment as a Chancel Guild member is made by the Rector of the Parish, who will make the appointment with care and consideration of the work to be done. Should you have an interest in participating in the work of St. Mark’s Chancel Guild please speak with the Rector or the Chair of the Chancel Guild.
St. Mark’ Third Century (1822 – 2022)
A group of parishioners led by Canon Graham Cotter has formed and met to begin plans and projects centering around our bi-centennial in 2022. Various ideas have already been received but others are most welcome. Ideas encompass the church buildings but also St Mark’s legacy in the community. Discussions are on-going. Membership remains open to anyone in the parish.
Monthly Eucharist and Potluck (not currently offered)
One Wednesday a month at 5:00 pm, we gather informally in the chancel pews (choir areas) to celebrate a feast day of the Church with a sung Eucharist. There’s a variety of music with a short homily. We gather to enjoy one another’s company and strengthen our relationships. We follow up with a potluck supper contributed by those who attend. See the Cat’s Meow or our Calendar below for the next date.
Early Risers is a loose group of parishioners who usually attend 8:00 Said Eucharist on Sundays. They contribute to St Mark’s community life by catering for events such as visiting choirs, Parish lunches, funerals and other receptions. Funds raised are donated back to St Mark’s general operating funds or in 2017 used to support the purchase of new tables, chairs and tablecloths for the Parish Hall. All are welcome to participate in this group!
Wednesday Morning Quilters (on hold due to Covid restrictions in 2020)
St Mark’s Quilters are a long standing tradition at St Mark’s. We turn out beautiful hand stitched quilts for our annual Hollyberry Bazaar. We work from 9:00 to 12:00 year round. If you are interested in learning more about quilting or joining us, please come along on Wednesdays or contact the Church Office 905 885 4071.
New members are always welcome to come Scout with us! Youth may start any time in Beavers, Cubs, Scouts or Venturers any time of the year where space is available. 1st Port Hope Beavers meet Mondays from 6:15 to 7:15 pm; 1st Port Hope Cubs meet Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:00pm; and 1st Port Hope Scouts meet Thursdays from 7:00 to 9:00pm in the main Parish Hall..
Cantate Singers (Junior Choir, chiming rather than singing during Covid 19)
The Cantate Singers do more than singing on Sundays in the combined Choir at St Mark’s. The Cantate Singers are affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music and use their Voice for Life training. The Choir does visits to local nursing homes and contributes to church events such as by making cookies for Christmas at St Mark’s. Annual educational trips have included Montreal and Toronto. In the past, trips have included Worcester and Hereford Cathedrals in the UK, Quebec City and Washington DC.
The Committee functions as a point of reference for service and social justice proposals that come to the parish. The group is guided by social needs and concerns in the community and activities of the Social Justice Advocacy Committee of the Diocese. The Committee also operates to support and evaluate the annual outreach appeals that the Church undertakes throughout the year, with special projects during Lent and Christmas.
Benevolent Society Fund
It is an unfortunate reality that in every community there are those who need assistance in meeting their basic needs either on an occasional basis or often on a regular basis. Founded in 1862, the Fund is administered by the Ecumenical Ministerial Association of Port Hope. Assistance is given in the form of food vouchers in two kinds, one for adults and families and the other as an added amount for a family with an infant. These vouchers are honoured at Davis Independent Grocers, Metro, and Giant Tiger. St. Mark’s has an annual appeal to financially support the Benevolent Society.
St. Mark’s registers a team of walkers to participate in the Coldest Night of the Year every February to support the Green Wood Coalition, an organization that uses a community model of caring to walk alongside people who are hungry, homeless and hurting in Port Hope.
Mindful of Our Lord’s commandment, members of St Mark’s Church have a long history of involvement in Outreach projects, both collectively and as individuals. Our primary project is FaithWorks, the Annual Appeal of the Diocese of Toronto that raises funds for the delivery of direct, practical assistance to those in need or at risk. Year after year, St Mark’s is recognized as a lead parish in the campaign. Our parish retains 15% of undesignated contributions which are donated to local charities.
Every week we collect non-perishable food donations for Fare Share, the local food bank, in this basket in the narthex. A smaller basket, containing one or two of the items, representative of these, is presented at the altar at the 10.30 a.m. service each Sunday. We pray that we will continue to keep the basket filled. Information about Northumberland Fare Share can be found here.
Green Wood Coalition has been working with people who live in poverty in Port Hope since 2006, and St Mark’s has been active with their Dinner Program for several years. Green Wood is a community-based, grassroots organization with a Vision of Hope and a Mission to provide a shoulder to shoulder support to enable people to reach their potential. We invite you to read more about Green Wood Coalition here.
Social Justice Education Series
The Committee organizes an annual Social Justice Education Series in co-operation with the Northumberland East Adult Christian Education Committee. Past topics have included Defining Social Justice in the 21stCentury; Truth and Reconciliation; Welcoming the Stranger (our Syrian refugee experience) and upcoming in 2018, No Room at the Inn: Homelessness and Hope in Northumberland County.
St. Mark’s, St John’s and St. Paul’s Perrytown Anglican churches together with Port Hope United Church and New Hope United Church (formerly Welcome, Garden Hill and Canton). sponsored a Syrian family (mother, father and 3 sons) from 2015 to 2017 under the banner of “River of Hope”. They have made remarkable progress and now call Canada home. Following this success, St Mark’s continues to encourage support in the Anglican United Refuge Alliance (AURA). It is a mission that will always be close to St Mark’s hearts for the Christian work they do so effectively on a modest budget.