St. Mary's Episcopal church offers Tuesday service

September 04, 1994|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

Are you busy on Sundays? So are a growing number of Harford County residents.

With stores open, myriad recreational activities to consider and weekend work shifts, attending Sunday religious services can be a challenge.

The solution? Tuesday church.

"There are people who have a choice of going to church on a Sunday or losing their job," said the Rev. Bill Smith, rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church on Emmorton Road.

Since Lent, St. Mary's has offered a 30-minute weekday service to accommodate parishioners' weekend schedules. Every Tuesday, about 25 people gather to worship in the 147-year-old gray stone church.

About a dozen churches throughout the county offer Saturday services that fulfill Sunday obligations. St. Mary's may be one of the few that offers weekday services that can substitute for Sunday attendance.

According to the Bible, the Sabbath technically should be observed on a Saturday, the seventh day of the week. But Christians began gathering on Sundays to honor Jesus' resurrection.

"The admonition in the Ten Commandments is to remember the Sabbath and to keep it holy," Father Smith said. "Which is the worse sin? Not being able to keep the Sabbath or remembering it on a different day?"

The Tuesday service at St. Mary's starts at 7 p.m. and is about half as long as the Sunday worship because there is no music. Instead of a sermon, Father Smith delivers a five-minute homily.

Edgewood residents Robert and Sherry Cooke say the weekday service allows them to worship with their two children.

"I work weekends, and I'm not able to go church because of that," says Mrs. Cooke, a 32-year-old nurse. "On Tuesday nights, we can go to church as a family."

DTC Another worshiper attends the Tuesday service to avoid crowds, the rector says. The church has 417 members and usually has a full house for at least one service on Sundays.

During the summer, says Father Smith, boaters sometimes attend the alternative worship service so they can spend their weekends on water.

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