When it comes to reaching out, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Haines City is taking that extra step to calling people back to the Lord’s house.
St. Mark’s will hold its inaugural Homecoming Service at 10 a.m., Sunday, July 30, at the church: 102 N. Ninth St., Haines City. The vestry, rector, rector emeritus and members of the congregation – past, present and future – are invited to attend.
St. Mark’s rector, the Rev. Chris Brathwaite, announced that good music, a friendly sermon and great food will be served.
“During the construction of the new sanctuary, several (parishioners) left for various reasons,” Brathwaite said. St. Mark’s broke ground on its new sanctuary in October 2012 and dedicated it in October 2013. “Now we are calling them home.”
The St. Mark’s rector is hoping the Homecoming Service will bring people back to the premises that were transformed with the completion of the new building on pristine grounds. “Very often, people may leave a church on their own and wait with bated breath for an invitation to return,” Brathwaite said. “Let’s face it, everyone wants a place to call home. If St. Mark’s is home, then come home.”
The event will have a personal touch as the Rev. Hugh McGlashon, rector emeritus at St. Mark’s, will speak at the service. It will be a friendly call to come home and worship God in a familiar setting.
“No one can worship God in spirit and truth with a disturbed spirit,” Brathwaite said. “People often make ill-timed or hasty decisions because of misunderstandings or disagreement and walk away. But home is home.”
“The church is handed the ministry of reconciliation,” Brathwaite said. “And we believe and have seen the joy of those who have joined the congregation in worship. Those who have rejoined are overjoyed.”
The St. Mark’s rector said three simple words help to distill a murky situation: “I am sorry.”
“Those words help greatly to improve our spiritual walk,” Brathwaite said. “We are called together as Christian communities to please God and serve God’s people, and once we continue to embrace people in that way, they will experience the love and richness of worshipping Jesus at St. Mark’s.”