Tell Me About St.Andrews Church

Just as the Episcopal Church is one of many independent churches in the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church itself is comprised of parish churches that are part of a Diocese, headed by a bishop (indeed, the word “Episcopal” comes from the Greek word for bishop, or “overseer”). Parishes within a Diocese answer to their Diocese and follow its rules. St. Andrew’s is part of the Diocese of Massachusetts, one of two in the state.

Because the Episcopal Church came into existence about the time of the United States, it shares many similarities with the polity of the nation. For instance, parishes may send clergy and lay persons as representatives to vote on important matters each year at the Diocesan Convention. And on a national scale, the General Convention, which convenes every three years, is made up of clergy and lay delegates elected by churchgoers at their annual meetings. Hence, there is important lay involvement in the governance of the church at virtually every level. Indeed, the clergy (bishops, priests and deacons) most often begin their journeys in the pews as lay parishioners and are held up for ordination following an intensive and prayerful discernment process by their fellow parishioners, ultimately to be ordained by a bishop after rigorous study and examination.

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St Andrews episcopal church Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard As for your experience at St. Andrew’s Church, you’ll find what you might expect from a small parish with a strong tradition of worship, mission and ministry, on an island. The cornerstone of the church building was laid in 1899, after thirteen years of shipments of bricks to Edgartown harbor. The sense of the worship space is holy, simple, and beautiful. Two of the stained glass windows were produced by Tiffany Studios and were dedicated on Easter Day, 1927. Our tracker organ was built in the late 19th century in New York and moved to St. Andrew’s in 1913. The pulpit is crafted from the bow of a Swampscott dory, providing a fitting Island symbol representing the Gospel message that helps us weather the deep waters of life.

Adjoining the church is a Parish Hall, built in the 1940s, where we host our fellowship hours after worship and larger gatherings, and across the street, constructed in the traditional white clapboard style of the surrounding neighborhood homes of downtown Edgartown, is a Parish House, erected in 2001. We use the Parish House for our children, youth, and adult formation classes. There is a library, and located on the second floor is a three-bedroom apartment, complete with full kitchen, two baths, washer and dryer, and designed to accommodate guest speakers, seminarians, visitors, and bishops. Martha’s Vineyard Parrish House

Our worship is squarely within the broad traditions of the Episcopal Church. On Sundays in fall, winter, and spring we use the Rite I form of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer at the early (8:00 a.m.) service, without organ or music. We use the Rite II (more contemporary) form of Holy Communion according to the Prayer Book at the later (10:00 a.m.) service, with hymns and music accompanied by organ and choir. Our worship space can hold 120 comfortably and has been known to swell joyously on Easter Day to around 150.

During July and August, in order to accommodate all our guests and visitors, we hold three worship services, at 8:00 a.m., 9:15 a.m. (a more family-friendly service), and 10:30 a.m.