Friday, July 29, 2011

New Staff: Our "Community Architect," Jessie Thompson

           In August, a new member will join the staff team at St. Peter’s. Jessie Thompson, our seminarian intern for the past year, will be taking on a part time paid position at St. Peter’s. Some of the best leadership advice I’ve heard says that when you find the right person you keep them. Once you have the right people together, THEN you worry about what you ought to be doing. (See the book “Good to Great” and the chapter about “getting the right people on the bus.”) When we have gathered the people that share a common calling, that calling emerges to the forefront naturally.

Jessie Thompson
            As Jessie’s internship was coming to a close this past spring, I heard from both the vestry and her discernment group about the desire to keep Jessie ministering right here. On top of that, there were many reports of her ministry touching lives through Coffee Connections on Sunday, the monthly Theology Pub, and from members whom she had invited into the St. Peter’s family. The Spirit was stirring.

            After several months of prayer and deliberation the Vestry put together a financial plan* that allows us to offer Jessie a part time job of “Community Architect.” She will be a builder of community and relationships. If you have met Jessie, you know this is already God’s call on her life. She draws people in and brings people together with life-giving passion and enthusiasm. We’ve had a taste of this in the past year and we like. We like it a lot, and we want more than just a taste!

            So in August, Jessie will commence her duties. What are those? Well, we know she will be creating and building community – what she does best. How Jessie will do that is something that will have to emerge naturally, organically, prayerfully, and Spirit-lead.

            Please welcome, Jessie. She is a great reminder that God gives us what we need to do what God has called us to do.         

In Christ,

Fr. James+

*The financial plan includes [1] recouping more of our operational costs from our facility users (i.e. lowering overhead costs), [2] relying on account surplus to temporarily fund the position, and [3] the discernment that God is inviting St. Peter’s to grow in its ministry, funding, membership, and faith. 

The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, Mother of our Lord

St. Mary with Jesus

     The Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of our Lord, is celebrated on August 15th (see p. 26 in your Book of Common Prayer. St. Peter's, will celebrate be celebrating this feast on Sunday, August 14th, 2011. 

     In the Anglican tradition, Sundays are always a feast of the Resurrection, a "little Easter", regardless of the liturgical season. And it has been the Anglican emphasis not to interrupt the Sunday celebration of the Resurrection by celebrating saints' feasts. The notable exception to this norm has been the celebration of a patron saint's feast day (for us the Feast of St. Peter & St. Paul, and the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter). To celebrate the feast of St. Mary the Virgin, pushes us a bit beyond our norm, but not by much. 

     The early Church celebrated St. Mary, not only the Mother of Jesus-God, but also the mother of the Church. She was the first to receive Christ as Messiah, the first Christian, and in her words and example we find the basic response of Christians to Christ ("Let it be with me according to your Word [, O God]", "Do whatever [Jesus] tells you," following Jesus to the Cross, etc.). It was the later medieval hierarchical emphasis and fear of God's wrath that made Mary the go-between/intermediary for us and Christ, which is an idea Protestants (and others) protest against.

     Because of her relationship to us and to Christ and because of Mary's testimony to the Gospel, it is fitting that the Church continue to celebrate her life and witness. (I am fond of pointing out that growing up I was encouraged to celebrate George Washington, our first president, more than St. Mary, our mother and the first Christian. And I think that ought not to be so!) It is also fitting that since we have a male patron saint, Peter, we should also demonstrate an equal emphasis on feminine holiness in our observances, if not for ourselves, then for our youth and little ones. And thus, I look forward to learning more and celebrating with you our spiritual mother and the Mother of our Lord, St. Mary, First Disciple, Mother of the Faith, and God-bearer. 

The Readings and Collect for the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin:

Some background on celebrating St. Mary in the Episcopal/Anglican tradition:
Wikipedia article - especially the section "Joint Anglican-Roman Catholic Document" 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

St Peter's Co-sponsors Benefit Concert for Japan

Inside St. Mark's Cathedral, host of the benefit concert.

                On July 17th, St. Peter’s co-sponsored a benefit concert for the Tohoku Diocese of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai  (NSKK is the Anglican Church in Japan) currently suffering in the wake of the devastating 2011 earthquakes and tsunamis. The concert was hosted and co-sponsored by St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle. Other sponsors included the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Tengu Sushi and Uwajimaya.
                To the event St. Peter’s contributed two pews of attendees, a few platters of apricot mochi, graphical design of the program cover and a generous gift of $1,000 designated from monies raised at the Big Take Out. In the end the concert was attended by over 200 people and raised around $5,000 for Japan relief which will be distributed by Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). For current information on NSKK and Japan relief click here.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Get All the News: Subscriptions to the Valor, Voice, ENS, and more

The Valor Newsletter: The monthly newsletter of St. Peter's Episcopal Parish in Seattle, WA. The Valor is published in electronic and paper formats. Contact the parish office at (206) 323-5250 to receive the Valor in paper form. For electronic form (email), simply subscribe here
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