Saint Mark's Episcopal Church Website

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lift Every Voice and Sing!

Saint Mark's School elementary students attend chapel twice a week. At each service, we sing at least two hymns, drawing from 3 hymnals. Multiply that times 40 weeks, and even within their first year, students are developing quite a repertoire of music! 

Several times each year, we have a hymn fest in chapel; each class picks a hymn and we sing the first verse. So what's popular with our students and teachers? Today's hymn fest selections included "On Eagle's Wings," "Here I Am, Lord," "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light," "Morning Has Broken," "Wade in the Water," "God Is So Good," "Now the Green Blade Riseth," "Seek Ye First," "Go Tell It on the Mountain," "Amazing Grace," and--fittingly--"Lift Every Voice and Sing." What would you choose?

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Partners in Ministry: School & Church

In the spirit of the National Day of Service requested by President Obama, students at Saint Mark's School collected new socks during the week of January 19th. Members of St. Mark's Church are taking the socks to the Cold Weather Shelter when they serve dinner on January 23rd, to distribute to guests who are in need of a new pair.

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A Special Day of Commitment and Renewal

Recently, Mo. Betsy and I had the privilege of teaching a series of Inquirer’s classes in preparation for Bishop Carranza’s visit on January 25th.  The classes were broadly intended for those preparing for either Baptism, Confirmation, or Reception.  The sacrament of Baptism and the related rites of Confirmation and Reception are the means by which individuals make and renew a commitment of faith lived out in the Body of Christ.  A diverse group of parishioners met on successive Sunday mornings to share a little bit of their faith journey while learning more about the baptismal life, the history and traditions of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, and the rich treasure of our Book of Common Prayer.  Some attended as parents of children to be baptized while others attended to learn more about the Christian community they have come to call ‘home’ after a long pilgrimage.  

One of the great pleasures of working with people as they come to more fully appropriate their faith is that it provides new and deeper insights into your own spiritual journey.  This is, for me, one of the real privileges of serving as priest.  Our faith is a corporate affair, a communal endeavor.  When we profess the articles of faith in the Nicene Creed, we start by saying, “We believe…”.  Certainly, each individual must make a choice to believe (and to make that choice actively again and again throughout life), but that choice is made and exercised most authentically in a community that can support and challenge us as we grow into the full stature of Christ.  Faith is a project, a life-long project.  We must work at being Christians, there is nothing automatic about it.  

While there is nothing automatic about being a Christian, eventually there does come an ease of effort from practicing the faith over the course of our lives.  As we worship joyfully, pray ceaselessly, give generously, learn and teach the faith purposefully, build relationships and community authentically, and share our gifts and talents earnestly we find that we become truly the people of God.  The great gift of ‘organized religion’ is the provision of a local community (we might use the term ‘parish’)  where we can confidently practice the Gospel way of life given to us by the Father in the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.  

Please join me in celebrating the new or renewed commitments of our fellow Saint Mark’s family members who are being Baptized and Received on Sunday, January 25th.  Allow their ‘special day’ to remind you of your own baptismal day, your own day of confirmation in faith, and be renewed by the overflowing gift of grace we all share when any one of us welcomes the Spirit of God home.


in Christ’s peace, Fr. Andrew

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

California Supreme Court Ruling

California Supreme Court rules in Episcopal Church property suit

On January 5, the California Supreme Court upheld a 2007 court decision that buildings and property do not belong to 3 dissident congregations but to the Diocese of Los Angeles and the general Episcopal Church. A majority of the members of these churches realigned themselves with the Anglican Province of Uganda after The Episcopal Church ordained an openly gay bishop. Bishop Bruno stated that he will seek "reconciliation with these congregations and will assure this diocese and the people of the Episcopal Church that we will continue mission and ministry in the areas these congregations serve." More information is available at www.ladiocese.org/resources/properties.html, and the court opinion is at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S155094.DOC .

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