We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Rector: the Rev. Paul R. Abernathy

Congregation Size: about 600 members

Service Length: 90 minutes

Sample Worshipper Dress: lime-green turtleneck, blue sweatshirt, blue slacks

Upcoming Productions of Jesus Christ Superstar: 1

Congregational Fervor

In the middle of a recent service, the congregants read aloud a confession printed in their programs: “We have journeyed through the wilderness/of our self-centered lives—/while avoiding others stranded along the way./We rarely pause long enough/to help carry them along;/doing so might only slow us down!” Verger David Deutsch proudly pointed out that one of St. Mark’s own penned the words especially for the proceedings. “It’s a very homegrown service today,” he said. HHHHH

Food for the SOUL

During his sermon, seminarian Nathan Rugh worked hard to set the scene from the morning’s scripture reading (Mark 2:1-12), in which several men tear the roof from a house in order to deliver an ailing friend to Christ. Applauding the men’s vision and determination, Rugh thoroughly detailed the nature of their predicament: “These were not wood planks that could be pulled up; this was not thatch,” he said. “This was mud, and they had to smash through that ceiling.” HHHHH

Food for the BODY

Instead of the usual post-service coffee hour, St. Mark’s assigns worshippers to teams that take turns presenting “pub lunches.” A recent pub-lunch spread included chili, fresh cornbread, salad, and a glass of the congregation’s own specially brewed Winged Lion Lager. Although the meal is free for first-time visitors, regulars pay by purchasing punch cards; a typical meal works out to about $5. HHHHH

Overall Worship Power RATING

Abernathy makes it a point to announce that although St. Mark’s is an Episcopalian church, all attendees and guests are allowed to receive the Eucharist, regardless of creed or culture. Even those who practice temperance are well-accommodated—the program points out that a special glass goblet containing a “non-alcoholic alternative to wine” is available. HHHHH

—Aaron Leitko