St Mark’s Church offers many Services to our visitors
All are welcome to take a full and active part in our worship and Church services throughout the Chaplaincy, even if you are not a member of the Church of England or an Anglican Church elsewhere in the world. The spiritual path that has led you here is one that we value. If you feel it is the right thing to do, then you are most welcome to receive Holy Communion in any of our Eucharistic services too.
There are also many ‘occasional’ services offered here (see below), as in any Anglican Church or Parish anywhere in the world. If you would like to discuss Baptism, Confirmation, Healing or other ministries of God’s Church, then please feel free to get in touch with the Chaplain or the Administrative Office.
We are not Baptised as ‘Church of England’, ‘Roman Catholic’, ‘Methodist’ etc. We are Baptised as Christians, (often why it is referred to by English-speakers as being ‘Christened’). The Rite of Baptism affords a spiritual opportunity and a means of God’s Grace that incorporates us into the living Body of Christ, his Church, and also into its mission throughout the world.
Normally, in the Anglican tradition, people are Baptised as infants, but the Sacrament can be received at any age. If an adult is being Baptised, it is usual for this to be done at the same time as being ‘Confirmed’ by the Bishop. This is because the individual is mature enough in faith to make the commitments personally that would have been made on their behalf by their godparents as an infant.
At St Mark’s Florence, we have regular Baptism Sundays but these are arranged in line with requests as far as possible. The Rite is performed as part of the main Sunday Sung High Mass, when the whole family of the Baptised is present to welcome a new brother or sister into Christ’s family. For more detail on the service and Baptism itself, please see the Church of England website, www.churchofengland.org/baptism
In the Anglican tradition – as all other Churches – there comes a point in life when we are mature enough in faith and understanding, to be able to make a commitment to Christ on our own behalf. Christianity is not the only religion to which you can ‘convert’, but it should be remembered that it is the only religion to which you must convert, (i.e., you are not ‘born’ a Christian, at least in an earthly sense, but choose to be). We choose to commit our lives to Christ, to follow Him and receive from Him. That Grace is celebrated through the service of Confirmation and this is normally conducted by a Bishop of the Church. These occasions are therefore limited and are normally only once a year – depending on the Bishop’s availability to join us and the number of candidates for Confirmation.
Confirmation is a big personal step in life. So much so, that traditionally, people often take a new or extra name as part of the ceremony.
Those who come from other Churches and who wish to be regular members of the Anglican Church, can also be ‘received’ by the Bishop into the Anglican Church’s fellowship during the Confirmation service. This is because we honour the commitment already made to Christ and recognise that this is simply a new chapter in their on-going life in Christ. Such people are also welcome to be confirmed if that is their wish.
All candidates are expected to attend a full activity one-day course (to help those who live at distance from our churches) that is designed to give a full and clear understanding of the faith to which we are called. Attendance at this day-course does not constitute an obligation to be Confirmed and it is open to all those who are enquiring about the Christian faith generally.
Please speak to the Chaplain or Administrative Office if you, or your children, are interested in Confirmation – the dates of courses and services of Confirmation are set each year according to the Bishop’s availability and demand. There are no age limits (young or old; the issue is maturity and the ability to make a decision for oneself) and if you are not Baptised, (or are unsure), that can be made a part of the Confirmation service as well.
Funerals and Memorial Services
‘In the midst of life, we are in death, O Lord’ as the Psalmist sings. Of course, there are times when we would really rather not come to Church, but our obligation to those we love and no longer see, also demands that we create space to grieve, to remember and most of all to give thanks and praise to God for those who have been so important to us in our lives.
Our Chaplaincy is here primarily to support and help you if you are in this situation.
As well as pastoral support, funeral services are arranged with the Chaplain that are designed to minister to those who are experiencing such a time of loss and these are entirely based on personal requirements. We aim to assist you in every way in these circumstances and can provide help with all the necessary arrangements. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.
We diligently pray for people facing bereavement and also remember loved ones by name at our annual All Souls’ Day Mass, (2nd November).
An expression of our being loved by God in Christ is that we share that love with all others and this is the ‘driving force’ behind the Church’s mission in the world.
Our Chaplaincy seeks to enable a caring and nurturing community in which we can all feel supported and have the opportunity to grow in Grace. Pastoral care is therefore not simply about ‘being in need’. It is about our on-going commitment to God, expressed in our love for others.
Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, (Mark 12:31). Of course, this means that we should be open to being cared for ourselves – and recognise our own needs – as much as those around us. The Chaplain has a weekly consultation time at 17:30hrs in St Mark’s on a Friday, and is also available at all times on 0039 328 180 4196, for more urgent need. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you – or someone you know – is in difficulty or needs spiritual guidance. We also offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) by arrangement.
There is also practical help, specifically for British Nationals, who find themselves in difficult circumstances, in the form of the British Relief Fund. The Chaplain is someone who can assess and recommend financial assistance.
All, and any such enquiries, will be treated in the very strictest of confidence.
St Mark’s Church here in Florence, Italy makes a lovely venue to be married in and take your vows. For further information regarding getting married in Florence, please see our wedding page. Thank you.