About Saint Mary's Episcopal Church
St. Mary’s, Park Ridge is a warm, inclusive church community of faith which belongs to the larger Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
We are a community which honors God with beautiful, joyful worship, which we call liturgy, and with service to others in God’s name. We place our faith and trust in the God who made and loves all people, and we seek to pattern our lives after the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Son, our Lord and Savior.
As Episcopalians, and as St. Mary’s Church, we seek to love, welcome, and include people of all ages, expressions, orientations, ethnicities, or backgrounds. All are invited to participate in our worship, fellowship, and works of service.
The roots of the Episcopal Church go all the way back to the traditions of the very first Christians. We have been shaped and influenced by both the catholic and reformed traditions of the church. We have a very deep and historic connection to the Church of England, as many of our most important traditions are rooted in the English Christian heritage. For that reason, Episcopalians belong to a family of churches often referred to as Anglicans.
Our worship life is centered around the sacraments (holy signs of God’s grace and love) of Baptism and Holy Eucharist (or Holy Communion, or the Mass as it’s called). Our worship follows ancient forms, uses long cherished prayer language, and is also relevant to current realities.
The word “Episcopal” is an old word which refers to Bishops. Bishops are church leaders called to oversee the work of the church and proclaim the good news of Jesus. Because Bishops not only have the important work of leadership in our church, but are also symbols of our unity, we have called ourselves the Episcopal Church.
As Episcopalians, we believe it is deeply important to be connected to one another beyond our local parish, and bishops help us to do that. In addition to bishops, other ordained persons, priests and deacons, also have important leadership roles in the church. Priests most commonly are responsible for caring for individual parishes and presiding over the spiritual life of the congregation. Priests who are responsible for individual parishes are often called Rectors. Our current Rector, or lead priest at St.Mary’s, is the Reverend Patrick J. Skutch. Deacons are ministers who help to connect the work of the church with the needs of the world. David Grauer and Laurie Michaels currently serve as our parish deacons.
Working in partnership with bishops, priests, and deacons, all Christians are called to share in the work and ministries of the church. Lay leaders, for instance, help the clergy discern a vision for the church by serving on church boards called Vestries. The chair and vice-chair of the church board are typically called Senior Warden and Junior Warden, respectively, dating back to their historical roles as caretakers of church properties. Christians of all gender expressions are called and invited to serve as ordained or lay leaders in the Episcopal Church.
To learn more, we invite you to visit the website for the Episcopal Church, which can be found at http://www.episcopalchurch.org