Diocese of Southeast Florida
Saint Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, Coral Springs
The Bishop and the Vestry of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church have begun a search for their next Rector.
Located in the heart of Coral Springs, the Episcopal Church of St. Mary Magdalene was founded in 1960. The first service in the present sanctuary was held on Easter Morning of 1975. The sanctuary was designed with much spiritual intentionality. The panes of clear glass behind the crucifix above the altar, the wooden reredos, and the large stone altar, dug from the ground of the property, were all designed to create a sacred space so that all who enter the sanctuary would experience a sense of closeness to God both through the liturgy and in nature. Since its foundation, the congregation has been a vibrant worshiping community, although it has experienced periods of turbulence, when attendance has waned only to grow again. Since its founding, St. Mary Magdalene has been served by eight rectors, and is now entering a critical pastoral transition. Currently, the congregation is being pastored by an Interim Rector, an Associate Rector, and the Deacon. Together with the Wardens and Vestry they are developing into an effective and collaborative leadership team.
The schedule of weekend services includes the Eucharist in English on Saturday evening, two on Sunday morning in English and a 12:30pm Eucharist in Spanish. The clergy typically participate in all the services and there is a team of two Vergers to assist. On Wednesday mornings the Eucharist is celebrated at 7:30 a.m. with a focus on healing prayer, and contemplative Evening Prayer at 7:00 p.m. is led by the laity.
Currently the congregation has 350 enrolled members and the average weekend attendance is two hundred and seventy-five (275). As the community demographics have changed, so have the demographics of the congregation, which is now a racially diverse family, embracing a delightful mixture of traditional, Hispanic and Caribbean cultures.
The Church in the Community
St. Mary Magdalene has become an integral part of both the Coral Springs and Pompano Beach communities. The Church was a sponsor for the local homeless outreach shelter – St Laurence Chapel – until it closed this year. At least 60% of the congregation had participated in some way in the ministry of the Chapel, and its closure was a great loss to the community. The children and youth attend local schools and some members are teachers in these schools or work in the local hospital. Consequently, the Church maintains a relationship with the schools, the local fire and police departments, and neighboring faith communities. The Church participates in various community events, including an annual ecumenical Thanksgiving service. The Church also operates a preschool as an important outreach to the community, as well as a music school offering individual and group lessons to young and old. The congregation was deeply impacted by the death of seventeen teenagers in the Parkland High School shooting incident in February of 2018. We were especially hurt and continue to mourn the loss of our former youth group leader, Carmen Schentrup. Our grief and deep sense of loss were further compounded by the sudden departure of our Rector in April of 2018.
Our Priorities and Immediate Tasks
Given these losses – the death of our youth group leader, the departure of our rector, and the closing of a major outreach ministry – the parish was in need of continued healing, stability, and spiritual growth. It also became clear that the parish was in need of more effective administration and a fresh vision for the future. With the arrival of an Interim Rector and the hiring of a new Parish Administrator the congregation feels that they are beginning to prepare for a bright future. A Search Committee to seek the next Rector of St. Mary Magdalene has been commissioned and is beginning its work. And a Strategic Plan committee has been formed and is working with an experienced consultant to chart a plan for the future.