FAQs

Q: What church groups are available?

We greatly enjoy fellowship here at St. Francis, as shown by the many different groups that flourish here.  From Savvy Seniors to Altar Guilds, we have something for everyone.  To learn more, please click here.

Q: Is childcare available during services?

Childcare for infants through age six is available in the cribbery at the 9:15 Sunday services. From the church, you’ll find your way to the cribbery via the breezeway connecting the Church to the building adjacent. From the breezeway doors, enter the building, go straight up the stairs and continue to the third door on your left. You must register your child with the Cribbery Director, Sarah Harich.

Q: May I receive communion?

Keeping faith with the ancient Christian rule that requires baptism before communion, we welcome all who are baptized (by water, in the name of the Trinity, regardless of denomination) to receive communion at Saint Francis. All baptized members of any age, including the youngest children, are welcome to receive the bread and wine of the sacrament. We leave the decision whether they will do so to the conscience of parents. Many choose to have their children attend our Communion Enrichment class prior to receiving their first communion. If you are worshipping with us, and you have not been baptized, and you desire to come forward and receive a blessing spoken upon you from the clergy at the communion rail, we encourage you to come to the altar at communion and indicate your intention by placing your hands across your chest.

Q: Where do I park?

Saint Francis owns two parking lots. The larger is located just off of River Road. The smaller is on the other side of our campus, next to Saint Francis Hall and accessed off of Counselman Road or Glenolden Street. Historically, local businesses have been gracious to permit Sunday morning overflow parking in their parking spaces as an act of largesse toward their real or potential customers at Saint Francis.

Q: Whom do I contact if I want to know more about the Episcopal faith, or want to become an Episcopalian?

Please feel welcome to contact our rector, Father Mark Michael at (301) 365-2055.  You may also stop by the parish office, located directly behind the church.  It is open from 9 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Friday.

Q: How do I find out about baptisms, weddings, and confirmation?

Please contact Tracy Holmes, our parish administrator, to find out about schedules for baptisms and confirmation. She can be reached at (301) 365-2055. Inquiries about weddings should be taken directly to our rector, Father Mark Michael.

Q: How do I get on your mailing list?

Saint Francis Church has an extensive mailing list of parishioners and friends who wish to receive our weekly newsletter, Sounds. Our newsletters are also available here.  To be placed on our mailing list please contact the parish administrator Tracy Holmes at (301) 365-2055 with your home and email addresses.

Q: How do I become a member of Saint Francis Church?

We welcome you as members, and honor a variety of ways to become a member, in the spirit that if you consider yourself a member so do we. All those baptized here at the church are members, in the conviction that baptism is full initiation in the church. If you have been a member at another Episcopal Church or a church of another denomination and wish to have your membership transferred here, contact parish administrator Tracy Holmes at (301) 365-2055.

You may wish to participate in the annual service of confirmation, a way to confirm the baptismal vows made on your behalf at your baptism, and a service at which you maybe identified with the Episcopal Church. If you have already been confirmed in another faith, you may still choose to be Received into the Episcopal faith.  Both groups attend classes together.  We will as always offer preparatory classes for those seeking confirmation or reception, both for adults and for ninth-graders. Contact Father Mark Michael to register your interest in taking the adult or high school confirmation class.

Q: What is a pledge and how do I make one?

Your pledge is your personal commitment to contribute a specific amount of money to Saint Francis Church to support our ministries, programs and operating costs for a given calendar year as an act of good stewardship of what the Lord has given you. Pledge cards are sent to parish families, and are located in our parish office. You can pay your pledge in whatever way is most comfortable for you.  

Pledge envelopes are available for you to make a weekly/monthly contribution. You may also make a lump sum payment at any time. For more information, contact Ann Baker at (202) 997-0504.

Q: Will I be expected to give money?

Some people assume Saint Francis must have at its disposal a large endowment and that we are a ‘rich church,’ but in fact the way we carry out our mission and pay our bills is through annual pledges made by our members. Our work wouldn’t happen without these commitments. Our annual budget, our plans for each year, are shaped by those pledges. We won’t badger you about money. But we also will be honest with you about our hopes, our vision, and our needs.

We encourage all members to support our efforts with their financial resources. We expect all members to ask the stewardship question: What am I doing with what the Lord has given to me? We invite people to think about what proportion of their money they wish to give to God, as an expression of gratitude. The biblical standard is a tithe (or tenth) of your means. There are also opportunities to make an offering during each service, and we are exploring a program of planned giving, by which members can offer gifts for the future of the church.

For more information, contact Anne Baker at (202) 997-0504.

Q: How can I get one of those Saint Francis name tags?

Please see Susan Dolan, who sits just inside the door of St. Francis Hall during the Adult Form beginning at 10:30 each Sunday (11:15 am in the summer, from Memorial Day through Labor Day).

While we respect the desire of some church shoppers to be anonymous, our greeting guarantee is this: If you wear a name tag at Saint Francis, you will be spoken to and warmly welcomed by our friendly parishioners. (We cannot guarantee that if you do not wear a name tag, you won’t be warmly welcomed anyway!) If you sign up for a name tag, it will almost certainly be ready for you by the next Sunday.

Q: Am I welcome to any service?

Yes. We practice a radical welcome at Saint Francis. Some of us might belong to a club. Church is certainly not one of them. The only people who attend Saint Francis are people who know their need of God. The only thing exclusive about us is that everyone at Saint Francis belongs to that category the Bible calls — with no concern at all for putting it ever so indelicately — ‘sinners.’

One needn’t be a member or an Episcopalian or a died-in-the-wool true believer to find oneself welcome here. You are invited to attend any of the services we offer. In addition to our Sunday services at 8:00, 9:15 and 11:30 am, we offer a Eucharist on Wednesday mornings at 10:00 am, a service followed by the Rector’s Bible Study to which you are also welcome. The Wednesday Eucharist is celebrated in the chapel. The Bible Study takes place in the Kincaid Library which looks out onto our Columbarium. Note that on our Summer Schedule — typically the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend through the Sunday of Labor Day weekend — we offer Sunday services of divine worship at 8 and 10 o’clock.


About the word ‘questions’, Frederick Buechner writes:

On her deathbed, Gertrude Stein is said to have asked, “What is the answer?” Then, after a long silence, “What is the question?” Don’t start looking in the Bible for the answers it gives. Start by listening for the questions it asks.

  We are much involved, all of us, with questions about things that matter a good deal today but will be forgotten by this time tomorrow—the immediate wheres and whens and hows that face us daily at home and at work—but at the same time we tend to lose track of the questions about things that matter always, life-and-death questions about meaning, purpose, and value. To lose track of such deep questions as these is to risk losing track of who we really are in our own depths and where we are really going.

  There is perhaps no stronger reason for reading the Bible than that somewhere along those India-paper pages there awaits each reader whoever he is the one question which, though for years he may have been pretending not to hear it, is the central question of his own life. Here are a few of them:

  • What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16.26)
  • Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4.9)
  • If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8.31)
  • What is truth? (John 18.38)
  • How can a man be born when he is old? (John 3.4)
  • What does a man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1.3)
  • Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? (Psalm 139.7)
  • Who is my neighbor? (Luke 10.29)
  • What shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 10.25)

When you hear the question that is your question, then you have already begun to hear much. Whether you accept the Bible’s answer or not, you have reached the point where at least you can begin to hear it too.”

—Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC