Frequently
asked questions

What do
Episcopalians
Believe?

As constituent members of the Anglican Communion in the United States, we are descendants of and partners with the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church, and are part of the third largest group of Christians in the world. We believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved the world. We also have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being. In our church, women and men serve as bishops, priests, and deacons. We also believe leadership is a gift from God, and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of sexual identity or orientation. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels. Finally, we believe in the fundamental human dignity of all people and that God loves you – no exceptions.

Learn more about Episcopal beliefs on topics such as the Holy Bible, Baptism, Communion, the Sacraments, and many others by clicking here.


I’m Lost in the
Jargon, Please Help

If you are new to the Episcopal tradition there may be several terms that sound unfamiliar to you. Whether you want to know what the term “liturgy” means (format for worship) or you are not sure what words like Eucharist, acolyte, laity, bishop, priest, deacon, or verger mean we there is an easy resource for you to find what you are looking for. Check out a comprehensive glossary of terms here.


What is attending
church like?

Sunday is traditionally when Episcopalians gather for worship although services are held throughout the week at St. Mark's. The principal weekly worship service is the Holy Eucharist, also known as: the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or Mass.

At St. Mark's, worship is usually accompanied by the singing of hymns, and during choir season, one of our cathedral choirs (children or adults). Music varies from week to week including different styles that set the tone for a holy experience. At different times during the year soloists may also perform through vocal expression or a variety of instruments.

In addition to music, the Liturgy (form of worship) consists of prayers and scripture reading from the Old Testament, The Gospels, and from one of the Epistles in the New Testament. Members of the congregation participate in all aspects of the service, from reading, to singing in the choir, or even performing in the actual service as acolytes, vergers, Eucharistic ministers, or ushers.

The service also includes a homily, or sermon from the Priest designated for that day. The Reverend Canon Tyler Doherty is the current priest in charge at St. Mark's but we also have a number of retired clergy that participate and preach on Sundays.


Do you need to
Dress a certain
way?

It’s up to you. Some come dressed in their “Sunday best” while others prefer more casual attire such as jeans and a nice shirt. The same goes for children. We invite you and your family to dress in whatever way you feel is comfortable and appropriate.


All baptized Christians are welcome to take Communion in the Episcopal Church. When it is time for you to go forward to the altar rail, an usher will direct your row. Proceed to the altar rail, and take the next available spot. Our custom is to kneel, but standing is fine if that is more comfortable. Place your open hand in front of you or rest it on the rail and receive the wafer (gluten-free wafers are available - just ask for one.) You may immediately eat the wafer or wait and dip it in the wine. To sip the wine from the chalice, guide it to your lips with your hand on the base of the chalice. Receiving just the bread or wine alone is considered full communion. When you are done, you can return to your seat. If you are unable to come to the rail, please let an usher know, and we will bring Communion to you.

All baptized children are welcome to receive communion. You or your child are also welcome to a blessing if you would prefer that instead of taking the bread and wine. Simply come to the rail or altar, kneel if you like, and cross your arms over your chest. This will indicate you are receiving a blessing in lieu of Communion.

Should I take COmmunion?


Even life-long Episcopalians will ask, “When is it okay to move about the sanctuary if I need to leave?” The general rule is that if you can wait until the sequence hymn before the Gospel reading or during the Passing of the Peace, those are the best times. We understand, especially if you have children with you, this may not always be possible. Quietly entering or exiting the sanctuary can also be done when everyone is singing or standing. It’s best to avoid entering or leaving the worship area during prayer so as not to disrupt others.

Moving about
During Services?


Nursery is available from 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. on Sunday for children under 4. Children older than 4 are invited to participate in Godly Play—our children’s formation program.

Learn more about Godly Play.

Are there ChildCare Services available?


 

Will I be asked to introduce myself or do anything uncomfortable?

No, you will not. At the passing of the peace, people around you will greet you and may offer a handshake or a hug. They may introduce themselves then or after the service. You need not do anything that would make you uncomfortable.

I see people crossing themselves. Do I have to?
What does it mean?

Crossing oneself, or making the sign of the cross, is optional. There are many customs in the Episcopal Church that fall into the category of “all may, some should, none must.” This is one of them. We worship with our mind, body and spirit. Involving our body in worship may include making the sign of the cross, kneeling or standing for prayer, standing to sing, and genuflecting or bowing when leaving the pew for Communion. People who choose to make the sign of the cross generally do so when giving or receiving a blessing, at the absolution (forgiveness of sins), and at mention of the Trinity and the resurrection. Participate how you feel comfortable.

HOw do I address the
clergy at St. Mark’s?

Most people call our priests by their first name, but some prefer to call them by the title Father or Mother + their first name. You may also call a Deacon by the title Deacon + their first name. Use what you feel most comfortable with. “The Reverend” is more commonly used as a title when referring to clergy in the third person or in formal writing.

 

What does
Episcopal Mean?

“Episcopos” is the Greek word for bishop. “Episcopal” means governed by bishops. The Episcopal Church in America traces its roots through the Church of England and the Catholic Church and thus continues the Apostolic tradition of being led by bishops.

What is the anglican communion?

The Episcopal Church was established in America shortly after the American Revolution. Before that time, we were the Church of England. When the American colonies won their independence, most of America’s Anglican clergy refused to swear allegiance to the British monarch as was required by the Church of England. As a result, the Episcopal Church was formed. After a few years the Episcopal Church remained in relationship with the Church of England, the Anglican Communion came into existence. Today, the Anglican Communion has more than 80 million members in 44 regional and national member churches in more than 160 countries.

The archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion and is considered “first among equals” within the Anglican Communion. The archbishop does not have the same authority within the Anglican Communion that the pope has in the Roman Catholic Church.

How do I make an Appointment with a clergy member?

Anyone is welcome to make an appointment to visit with a clergy member. You can call the Cathedral office at 801. 322.3400 or email info@stmarksutah.org.

 

What is The
Book of Common Prayer?

The Book of Common Prayer (the BCP or the prayer book) is a rich resource for corporate (worship together) and private devotion. The BCP provides orders of corporate and individual worship and prayer for clergy and the laity (the people) grounded in Holy Scripture and faithful to the early church, two comprehensive schedules of readings from the Bible (the RCL and the Daily Office), the Psalter (the entire book of Psalms in a translation that pre-dates the King James Version), many other beautiful and meaningful prayers, and the Outline of the Faith, which answers many questions about what we believe.

ARE LGBT COMMUNITIES
REALLY WELCOME?

Absolutely. LGBT people participate as equals in all aspects of the community, including deacon, priest, and bishop. St. Mark’s is an inclusive and affirming community of Christians from all walks of life. All are fully welcome. We are a community that reflects the diversity of God’s creation and God’s love. Non-Christians also find a welcome here. Several members have spouses of other faiths who attend periodically.

What do you believe
about divorce?

We affirm that committed relationships are lifelong and monogamous. Episcopalians also recognize that some relationships are unhealthy and must end. We believe there is grace after divorce, and we do not deny the sacraments to those who have been divorced.

 

Does the Episcopal Church
have confession?

Yes. The Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent is offered by any Episcopal priest. We do not, however, have confessionals, and we don’t require private confession. Except during Easter season, most public worship services include a corporate prayer of confession followed by an absolution.

Does the Episcopal Church baptize infants?

Yes. Infants are baptized because we believe the grace given at baptism is for everyone and should not be reserved until one can make a profession of faith. It is NOT a declaration that unbaptized infants are going to hell. On the contrary, baptism is a sacrament that confers membership in the Body of Christ and offers a child the opportunity to live and grow in the midst of the Christian community of the church. Parents, godparents, and the witnessing community take on the solemn responsibility for the child’s religious training and commit to raising the child in the Christian faith. Baptism is just the beginning. At each baptism, each of us renews our own baptismal covenant. When baptized children reach an age of maturity they may participate in a mature, public reaffirmation of the Christian faith and the baptismal promises through the rite of confirmation. However, they are fully initiated at baptism and confirmation is not a requirement to take communion.

What are
the Sacraments?

The two sacraments of the Gospel are Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist (Communion or the Lord’s Supper). Five more sacramental rites are confirmation, ordination, marriage, the reconciliation of a penitent (confession), and the anointing or laying on of hands of the sick.

 

Can Anyone Get
married at St. Mark’s?

Generally, weddings and funerals at the Cathedral are reserved for parish members. Please contact our church admin at info@stmarksutah.org if you have questions.

I have already been baptized
Do I have to be baptized again?

The Episcopal Church recognizes all baptisms done with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We do not re-baptize. If you are unsure whether you have been baptized, we will do a conditional baptism, saying, “If you are not already baptized, then I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

How do I join
St. Mark’s Parish?

All are welcome to attend the Cathedral to discern if St. Mark’s is the right place for your next church home. We encourage you to participate as much as you feel comfortable. See service times. If you are interested in being baptized or confirmed please contact the Cathedral office and arrange for a time of preparation with Fr. Tyler. Confirmation classes are offered each year in January. Confirmations take place during the Bishop annual visitation on the Cathedral Patronal Feast Day--April 29th. Call the Cathedral office to sign-up 801. 322.3400.

 

Sit, stand, kneel, How will I know what to do?

In general, we stand to sing, praise, and hear the Gospel; we sit during all other readings of scripture and for the sermon; and we may kneel for prayer and to receive Communion. Some stand and some kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer. If you are unsure what to do, follow the example of those around you. If standing or kneeling for periods of time is difficult for you, feel free to remain seated.

ARe you guys Catholic?
Sure looks Catholic.

The Episcopal Church describes itself as "Protestant, yet Catholic.” The Episcopal Church claims apostolic succession, tracing its bishops back to the apostles via holy orders. Often you will hear the Episcopal Church described as via media (Latin for “middle way”) or the middle way between the two extremes of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. The Episcopal Church has retained much of the traditional catholic practice but without submission to papal authority. We have a uniformity of worship, but considerable latitude for individual conscience. Via media is often misunderstood in a negative way to mean compromise or unwillingness to take a firm position. However, for Aristotle and those Anglicans who have used it, the term refers to the "golden mean" which is recognized as a more adequate expression of truth between the weaknesses of extreme positions.

Who is Michael Curry
& What is A PResiding Bishop?

"Being a Christian is not essentially about joining a church or being a nice person, but about following in the footsteps of Jesus, taking his teachings seriously, letting his Spirit take the lead in our lives, and in so doing helping to change the world from our nightmare into God’s dream.” ― Michael Curry

The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry is the Presiding Bishop and Primate (Chief Arch Bishop) of the Episcopal Church. He is the Chief Pastor and serves as President and Chief Executive Officer, and as Chair of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. He is not the Pope of our church, but an elected leader among equals.

Presiding Bishop Curry was installed as the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church on November 1, 2015. He was elected to a nine-year term and confirmed at the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City, UT, on June 27, 2015.

 

LEarn more at one of the
following links from Episcopal.org