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A closer look: One Hillsborough church

By SHANNON BREEN

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 12, 2001


St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Catholic Church

LOCATION: 103 W Henry Ave., Tampa, (813) 237-0878.

SERVICES AND PROGRAMS: Sunday services include a 9 a.m. morning prayer, 9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. confessions, 9:45 a.m. holy rosary and a 10:30 a.m. Mass. Daily services include 7 p.m. evening prayer and Mass. Wednesday services include 6:45 p.m. evening prayer, 7 p.m. Mass, and 7:45 p.m. potluck dinner and adult Christian education classes. Friday services include the daily schedule and 6:30 p.m. holy rosary. Saturday services include 8 a.m. morning prayer and Mass, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. seminary classes.

LEADERSHIP: The Rev. Mark Rowe, 32, said his first Mass at St. Mary the Virgin in November 1998. He was a deacon at St. Luke Anglican Catholic Church in La Verne, Calif. Rowe received his seminary degree Dec. 12, 1997, from Holyrood Seminary in Liberty, N.Y. Before entering the seminary, he worked as a probation officer with the gang unit in San Bernardino County, Calif., and was a sheriff's deputy with that county.

HISTORY: Four lay members of the Anglican church created a church in this area in 1986 when they bought a house and transformed it into a Gothic-style place of worship. The first Mass at St. Mary the Virgin was said in October 1987. Among the church's relics are a statue of the Virgin Mary on an altar built around the turn of the century and a sliver of the True Cross that was a gift from the Russian church.

RECENT SERMON TOPIC OR THEME: Rowe explains to his parishioners what God expects from them concerning tithing, time, talents, following the Ten Commandments and living life according to the gospel. "Living responsibly in an age of excuses."

MEMBERSHIP: 45. The sanctuary seats about 30 people comfortably. The 10:30 a.m. Sunday service is the largest with 30 members attending regularly.

OUTREACH TO THE COMMUNITY: St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church supports A Woman's Place Ministries and is affiliated with Russian Runners, a group of people who take food and supplies to an orphanage in Moscow. The church works with Metropolitan Ministries on making and delivering holiday baskets to people in need. They hope to provide life and job skills courses to assist mothers in becoming self-sufficient. The church also works with Alcoholics Anonymous to hold AA meetings at the parish.

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