About St. Mary the Virgin
Pocomoke City, Maryland
Compared with "the Ancient Churches of the Eastern Shore", the church of St. Mary the Virgin in Pocomoke City is a mere child. The residence of the area were originally part of the Coventry parish, one which was formed in response to the queen's order in 1692. But in the early 1840's the people of Newtown, which later became Pocomoke City, decided it was time to build their own church. The first service was on the Ninth Sunday after Trinity, July 20, 2845. The Reverend John Crosdale, D.D., was the first rector of the parish and served from 1854 to 1878 (according to Eastern Shore Churchman of September 1932) and his remains are buried in St. Mary's Churchyard.
Some say that are hymns are the "theology of the people." In like manner, it is also regaled that the windows of the church depict the "history of the saints", saints being an all-inclusive term. Certainly the two windows on either side of the narthex as one enters St. Mary's show this in a very descript manner. Beginning with the building of the church in 1845 and "the old Parish House" that same year, a history of the people of the parish, significant events, parish groups, and prominent events are depicted until 2002 when both windows were completed. Subtle images such as the combined Union and Confederate flags remind us that members of the parish supported both causes during the War between the States but also teach us that even to this date, in times of division, we can come together in the name of Christ. Other images include events from our long history that have carried down to present day such as bakes goods and craft sales, the long standing Epiphany pageant, the ladies guilds and the flowered cross created by the children each year.
Today the church building remains, having been rebuilt from a fire in the earlier part of the twentieth century. A remodeling of the altar area took place in 2018 and becomes part of our ongoing story of Christianity from its inception.
St. Mary's Church sits on a 3-acre campus which includes a modern 2-story parish hall with classrooms, an office suite, meeting rooms and a large kitchen to accommodate our many parish gatherings. The rectory is adjacent to the parish hall and is also a 2-story building with numerous rooms, And a fourth building, a former Synagogue adjacent to the property, was acquired in 2018. It is called "The Attic" and used as a thrift store. Monies raised from the sale of goods is for outreach ministry to our local community.
Nowadays St. Mary the Virgin Church is know for its sense of outreach and hospitality. The list is quite long of the folks, near and far, that are touched by the people of this parish. Our direction is focused and our future is secure for the followers of Jesus in this place called Pocomoke...as they move onward together into the twenty-first century and beyond.
Some information in this article is based on prior histories of the parish compiled by Bill Kerbin and for this we owe him thanks. The September 1932 edition of the Eastern Shore Churchman of the Diocese of Easton was also an important source.
Debbie Jo Denson
Deacon in Residence