Life Events & Pastoral Care
At St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, as well as within the Anglican/Episcopal Tradition, we endeavor to be present to and available for people throughout the human life cycle. Father Bill Doubleday would be delighted to speak with you about any of the pastoral resources and responses which we describe below:
Birth or Adoption
We are delighted to visit parents and babies in the hospital or at home. We have liturgical resources for celebrating a birth or an adoption – in the hospital, at home, or in church. Do not hesitate to call Father Doubleday, if he can be of assistance.
Becoming Baptized at St. Marks
Episcopalians have traditionally practiced infant Baptism, typically in a child’s first year. Certain Sundays of the year are the recommended times for Baptisms, but we try to work with the scheduling needs of families. Normally Baptisms occur as a part of the 10 am Holy Eucharist service on Sunday morning. If you would like to have a child baptized or you are an adult who wishes to be baptized, please speak to Father Doubleday to arrange for Baptismal preparation.
Receiving Communion at St. Marks
If you are already Baptized in any Christian tradition, you are welcome to receive Holy Communion at St. Mark’s and in the Episcopal Church at large. If you are the parents of children already Baptized, those children of any age are welcome to receive Holy Communion – we have several infants who do so regularly. If you are parents who prefer to have their children receive First Communion Instruction prior to their receiving Holy Communion, please speak to Father Doubleday.
Becoming Confirmed or Received at St. Marks
We offer opportunities to be Confirmed in or Received into the Episcopal Church by the Bishop, for those teenagers and adults who wish to make a mature and serious commitment to the faith. If you are interested in Confirmation or Reception, please speak to Father Doubleday. Generally a separate Inquirers’ Class is offered about once a year for both teenagers and adults.
Seeking Confession or Reconciliation
Individual Sacramental Confession is available in the Episcopal Church. The Book of Common Prayer includes a Service for the Reconciliation of a Penitent. Please speak to Father Doubleday if this might address a spiritual or personal need.
Getting Married at St. Marks
If you are interested in getting married at St. Mark’s Church, please call the Parish Office and schedule a meeting with Father Doubleday. It is very desirable to begin this process, whenever possible, nine or more months before the anticipated wedding date. At the time of your call, the Parish Secretary will send you further information about getting married at St. Mark’s, including application forms and fee schedules. Four sessions of pre-marital counseling are required before a marriage can take place, and if either party to the marriage previously has been divorced, Father Doubleday will need to apply to the Bishop of New York for permission to officiate at the Wedding. Click here for a slideshow of recent weddings at St. Marks
Pastoral Care for the Sick
Short, Long, and Chronic Illnesses can be a source of pain, spiritual distress, and personal disruption in the lives of families and individuals. Healing Prayers with the Laying on of Hands is offered at the end of every Sunday Eucharist in the Chapel. The Prayer Network of St. Mark’s prays regularly for those who are ill. Verann England coordinates that ministry. If you wish to be added to the Sunday Intercessory Prayer List, please call the Parish Office. Father Doubleday regularly visits Northern Westchester Hospital Center and other area hospitals, as well as shut-ins in their homes or in nursing homes. He is not able to visit you if you or someone you know does not notify him of your need. The Health Privacy Laws make it nearly impossible for clergy to go looking for sick parishioners!
When a Loved One is Dying or has Died
If someone is dying, Father Doubleday stands ready to visit the hospital or the home to offer spiritual support to the patient or his or her family. When someone has died, it is generally very helpful to speak to Father Doubleday before you begin making funeral arrangements. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church makes every effort to offer a respectful and sensitive funeral for any family that turns to us for help. That service may be at the church, at a funeral home, at the cemetery, or elsewhere. We believe that the ritual acknowledgement of a death is very important for the survivors.
Addressing Life Crises
If you have a serious personal crisis of any kind, Father Doubleday is ready to meet with you to offer spiritual and emotional support and to assist with problem solving. He does not do long-term counseling with parishioners, but he is a skilled crisis counselor, who is also able to assist with appropriate referrals to other qualified professionals or agencies when there is a need.
Seeking Spiritual Counsel
Father Doubleday would be glad to meet with you to hear about and discuss your prayer life, sense of vocation, or spiritual journey, and to offer counsel and support. He would be glad to point you towards spiritual directors, retreat centers, books, and electronic resources which might assist you in your journeys.