Ministry Residents at Saint Mark's

Ministry Residents at Saint Mark’s are young adults, usually just out of college, who want to give a year of service to the church, in a context of prayer and active ministry, in an intentional community, that allows for focused discernment about how God is calling them to live their lives.

Ministry Residents live in the Rectory, and contribute to and support the daily round of prayer and worship in the parish. They take leadership in outreach ministries and in ministries with families and children and young adults.

Sharing is at the heart of the Ministry Residents program.  Ministry Residents share a common home, common prayer, common worship, common meals, common services common purpose, and, we pray, common joy.

Saint Mark’s is looking for two or three young people who have attained a certain measure of maturity and who will bring energy, enthusiasm, and imagination to the community to serve as Ministry Residents for 2019- 2020.  Those who bring a particular interest in outreach ministry to those in need, and/or in ministry to and with children and families will be particularly well suited to the positions.

This program partners with Servant Year, a program for service and discernment sponsored by the Diocese of Pennsylvania and affiliated with the Episcopal Service Corps

Applicants can direct questions to Father Sean Mullen.

A Rule of Common Life

for Members of Servant Year

O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant and the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds. (Psalm 116:14)

A community is a communion of sharers.  Not every aspect of our lives is shared here, but for a time we commit to sharing a great deal.  Mutual respect is our watchword, guided by the Golden Rule to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Servant Year members form a community within the community of either Saint Mark’s or St. James School, which is larger and more dispersed.  Your place within the community is important, and you represent both communities in a public way.

In choosing to live together this way we commit, with God’s help, to live by a Rule of Common Life, shaped by these expectations:

A Common Home

For eleven months, you will call home a building that is closely linked to others.  It is home to others who live there, and in some ways a home for the people who work, learn, pray and have fellowship in its broader community.  Within this home there are spaces you can consider your own while you are here, and spaces we will share, and spaces that others consider their own.  We commit to respect appropriate boundaries, doing our best to share what we can when necessary, and understanding that knowing when not to cross boundaries is a gift we can sometimes give to one another.  A home is a safe place, by definition, and we commit to safeguard one another’s safety in every reasonable way, primarily by taking responsibility for ourselves and our own actions.

As residents of a parish’s Rectory or school’s Community House, we understand that our relationship to the parish/school is defined in part by the fact that we live here, and that parishioners, students and families may reasonably have expectations about the behavior of those who live here.  Sometimes those expectations will be reasonable; sometimes they may be unreasonable. At all times we commit to do our best to represent the community faithfully and well, understanding that such a commitment means that we are not always free to do as we please. We trust that giving up that small freedom opens pathways to a greater freedom given to us by living our lives more for others than ourselves.

There may be times when others need to claim precedence for the use of a public space.  It’s the nature of sharing that we sometimes have to decide whose need or expectation will be considered first.  There will also be many times when the needs and expectations of the Servant Year members will have to come first.  We’ll do our best at all times to share with an attitude of mutual respect.

Common Prayer

Community life at Saint Mark’s and St. James School is shaped by a daily round of prayer.  Each community has its own regular pattern for this prayer and in your individual communities, you agree to be present and participate in the set pattern of prayer.  Although we will not all always be able to be in the same place at the same time, we commit to sharing in this pattern of prayer, and participating in it as best we can as leaders, servers, and participants.

Both communities use the Angelus, which is a practice of prayer that is signaled by the ringing of a bell in a particular pattern that corresponds to prayers. The Angelus bell is rung at both Saint Mark’s and St. James School.  

Because we know our work commitments will sometimes prevent us from praying together in the same place, we commit to praying together at the same time, no matter where we are, by reciting the Angelus, silently or aloud, as part of the community, seven days a week.  The prayers of the Angelus, are themselves a reflection on the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ and the hope of resurrection with him; these prayers remind us of the personal and immediate ministry of Jesus in the world and through his creation, and call us to the hope of glory: two points of meditation that are never out of place in our daily lives.  It takes barely a minute to recite the prayers, which are easily memorized; an alarm or app on our phones can provide a ready reminder. During Eastertide we replace the Angelus with the prayers of the Regina Coeli.

Common Worship

The worship of God is fundamental to Christian practice, and a central charism of the community at Saint Mark’s and St. James School.  Worshiping God in the beauty of holiness is a daily aspect of our vocation as a community. Engaging in the worship of God contributes powerfully to our formation as the Body of Christ, and as Members within that Body.

Servant Year members are expected to be a part of the larger worshiping community of Saint Mark’s or St. James, and to consider their parish as their primary worshiping community, although they will very likely be worshiping in partner sites as well.  Your involvement in worship will reflect your community. On Sundays Servant Year Members are expected to serve or be present for any combination of the Sunday liturgies, as required.

Part of the aim of life in an intentional community is the incorporation of worship as a regular part of the pattern of life that need not be evaluated on a day-by-day basis, or by whether or not we particularly feel like it from one day to the next.  Daily worship simply is a part of your life in community, and while some days you may feel better about it than others, part of the point is to allow the worship of the community to carry you through the times when your own worship (and prayer) feel weak or inadequate to you.  Since we assume that the worship of God is going on all the time in the church – whether in this world or the next – we do our part to join the ongoing worship of God with integrity and beauty worthy of the One to whom our worship is offered.

Common Meals

In a eucharistically centered community, table fellowship is a natural extension of our eucharistic fellowship.  Shared meals provide important time for the development of bonds of affection and mutual service in a focused and joyful way.  Residents of a faith-centered community are naturally drawn to extend hospitality to one another and to others, regarding that hospitality as a basic Christian virtue.  Around the table we celebrate, we give thanks, we feed one another in many ways, and likewise we quench our thirst.

We should expect to share at least one meal a week together in a focused an intentional way, around the table with time for discussion and the enjoyment of one another’s company.  The members of the community are encouraged to adopt a more regular pattern of shared meals with one another. Responsibility for cooking for one another and for cleaning up will be shared.  It’s up to each to take this responsibility seriously. We commit to being attentive to those absent from us, extending our care, when possible, and holding one another to account for the commitment that we make to gather at the table regularly.

Common Service

Christian service begins with the recognition that we are called by our baptism to be servants of God.  Our identity as servants in this way is not demeaning or denigrating, rather, it locates our work in the service of God and the building up of his kingdom, in response to the echoing command of Jesus to his disciples to “go” and do something!  First, we are called to serve God.

Second, we are called to serve God’s people, especially those who are in need. Members of Servant Year have offered themselves for a year of intentional, considered service, modeled on Jesus’ assertion that he is among his disciples as one who serves (Lk. 22:27).  In many ways it is deeply counter-cultural in America to seek out opportunities to serve the other, and even when such opportunities are sought, often there is an expectation of some future benefit. But true service, like Christ bending to wash his disciples’ feet, seeks no reward.  We are committing to follow a different path than the prevalent paradigm of the marketplace, which views nearly everything as a transaction. Christian service at its best is an act of free giving, un-related to the transactional relationships by which we are surrounded.

We are joined together in our service to God by unity of purpose in serving God’s people and God’s church.  Members of this community also commit to joining together in occasions of common service to work together - in each other’s places of service, or in special projects  - which not only join forces, but also allow us to better appreciate each other’s gifts for ministry.

Common Joy

Joy is a gift from God, and a joyful community is blessed by God.  Living together and working in God’s service are not always easy, but we trust that our lives will be characterized by joy because so many of the hours of our days are devoted to God’s service.  We look for opportunities to enjoy ourselves in our work, in our leisure time, when we are near the rest of the community, and when we are far. We commit to allowing for or making time to enjoy ourselves and one another not only in our work together, but in times of recreation and fun.  We hope the joy of our community will be a light to place on a lampstand, so that others may see, not only our good works, but the joyful fruits of those works, and God’s name will be glorified.

Common Purpose

Our common purpose is to build up, and not to tear down.  We pray that in our community life, our prayer, prayer, our worship, and our work we will build up the church of God, help establish God’s kingdom, and build up one another as well.  We are wary of our own tendencies to tear down things, ideas, or people with whom or which we disagree, and who challenge or threaten us. Mutual up-building makes everyone stronger: the builder and the built.  We can afford to be generous with one another, and we commit to try to be so. The Psalmist says that “there is a river the streams whereof make glad the city of God;” our common purpose is to row together on that river, in the same direction, working together.  This does not mean that we can never explore other directions or areas; but it does mean that we commit to row together in same direction as a matter of habit and rule. In the context of this common purpose we intend to listen carefully and to look closely at ourselves, our context, and the church to try to discern more clearly how God is calling us in our lives, work, and ministry.  And we pray that with such a common purpose we may approach here in our own city, the precincts of the City of God. Amen!