Thursday, November 7, 2013

Giving Thanks: Turkeys with Litanies

This Thanksgiving, remember that your Book of Common Prayer contains a number of prayers and readings that offer spiritual depth and joy to your festivities. (If you don't have a Book of Common Prayer, please see Fr. James.)

Thanksgiving Collect (BCP p. 246):
Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the
fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those
who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of
your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and
the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Readings (BCP p. 1000): 

Morning:                                 Evening:
Psalm 147                               Psalm 145
Deuteronomy 26:1-11              Joel 2:21-27
John 6:26-35                           1 Thessalonians 5:12-24

Various Thanksgiving Litanies and Prayers
BCP pp. 836-841
A Litany of Thanksgiving, BCP pp. 836-837

Psalm 92:1-5a
It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
   to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
   and your faithfulness by night, 
to the music of the lute and the harp,
   to the melody of the lyre. 
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
   at the works of your hands I sing for joy. 
How great are your works, O Lord!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our Neighborhood: Jundkins Park Dump

Did you know that Judkin's Park, about seven blocks southeast of the parish buildings, used to be a dump back in the 1940's? See the archival pictures here .  Today the site is home to a new skate board park, the Mountain-to-Sound commuter bike trail, and tennis courts with I-90 tunneling almost below. You can see an updated list of its amenities here .

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Neighborhood Ministry Opportunity: Good Neighbor Advisory Committee seeks new member

Dear St. Peter's,

Here is an opportunity for us to maintain involvement in our community:

In 2012 DESC (Downtown Emergency Shelter Center) opened its Crisis Solution Center on 16th and Lane, just 2 blocks from St. Peter's Episcopal Parish. Martin Powell graciously served as our representative in the formation of the Good Neighbor Agreement between representatives of the Jackson Place neighborhood and the Crisis Solutions Center. And now the Advisory Board seeks new member(s).  

Jana, from King St. Cooperative Preschool, writes...  

"I have been representing King Street [Cooperative Preschool] for the past two years on the Good Neighbor Agreement and then Neighborhood Advisory Committee  for the Crisis Solutions Center on [16th] and Lane.  Because I am no longer a [preschool] Board member, and [my child] has finished preschool, I just attended my last meeting.  I told the committee that I would try to find an organizational representative to take my place.  I am wondering if St. Peter's would be interested in once again having a representative on this committee.  I think it is important community and service work, and the time commitment has become much more manageable.  The primary purpose of the committee is to facilitate communication and understanding between the neighborhood and the crisis center.  There are still a few members of the immediate neighborhood that remain very skeptical of the center and continue to oppose it.  The Neighborhood Advisory Committee serves a very important purpose in fostering healthy communication, accurate information and education regarding the services and clientele.  The committee currently meets every other month for about an hour and a half.  The next meeting will be the first Monday of October.  The committee can choose to decrease meeting frequency even further if determined that is appropriate. 

If there are any questions about the facility or the committee, I'm happy to ... chat about it...."

If you are interesting in serving St. Peter's and its neighborhood in this capacity, please contact the office at 206-323-5250

Article & videos: EAM@40 celebrates legacy of Asiamerican ministry

Asian Ministries

“We will not find the reign of God if we’re unwilling to migrate down the road and across the barriers that separate us from God-with-us in those we too often call alien, foreign, or other. Those others are also part of God’s body, and our own ultimate healing depends on discovering that they are part of us, we are part of them, and we are all part of the same whole.” - Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori at the 40th Episcopal Asiamerica Conference in San Francisco in June (2013).  

Read more and see videos here: Article & videos: EAM@40 celebrates legacy of Asiamerican ministry courtesy of the Episcopal News Service (ENS).

Friday, June 28, 2013

About our Bishop's Sabbatical...

Dear Ones,
I began working when I was 14 years old, at Meyer's BBQ out on the highway Service Road in Bryant, Arkansas.   I worked the window and loved having a job.   I am turning 50 years old this week and I have been blessed to work ever since.  I have to say I have enjoyed most of my jobs through the years.  There were many of them I knew I would not want to do forever, but I was always grateful in having them.  In all of that time, I have never had an extended time away to focus on things I do not otherwise have time to focus on.  I realize most people never get this opportunity and that is why I am so very humbled and grateful for this upcoming sabbatical.  I know the gift that it is.  

The word sabbatical comes from the Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabatikos, from Hebrew shabbat, i.e. Sabbath, literally a "ceasing."  There are references to the idea biblically, but of course we know them most in academia.  In the bible, the seventh year was often a sabbatical.   I am not taking a year, but I am taking four months.  My belief about sabbaticals is that they are not vacations, but instead a ceasing of normal activity, and a taking up of one you would not be able to do, were you to continue on with the normal activity.  

Some of you have heard what I intend to do with this time, but just in case you have not heard, I decided to share it with you now.   My main focus is to increase my facility in and with the Spanish language.   I intend to do that through an immersion experience in Costa Rica at the School of the World in Playa Jaco on the Pacific Coast. (   The School believes in working both sides of the brain and so my family and I will study the language in class in the mornings and then we are asked to take a more active new learning in the afternoons.  My choice is surfing.  Yes, you heard that right: catching a wave and hanging ten!  I have never done this and know it will work that side of my brain, and I am quite sure much, much more.   Please pray for me.  I also plan to engage in focused study of the First Nations tribes of the Pacific Northwest, both by reading literature, visiting local museum collections and historic sites and hopefully being guided by the people themselves.   I am thankful for the guidance of our Diocesan First Nations Committee,  and Diane Wells, our diocesan archivist, in helping me select important texts.

The direction for my sabbatical became clear while I was leading a retreat for young male clergy about a year ago in the Diocese of El Camino Real.  Two of these men were surfers and they talked about the great lessons inherent in trying to catch the right wave, the balance required, letting the wave do the work, and honoring the power of the ocean.  All of that sounded a lot like what all of us are going through right now in the church.  And so I am going to give it a try.  The First Nation peoples have always shared their Wisdom, but I find myself needing to be more intentional about learning, understanding, and honoring their teachings and their place in our church.   And so, I hope to give that some much deserved attention too.

When I return there will still be much time in the sabbatical and I intend to have a language coach here and to continue to devote my time to increasing my language skills.   I have found languages to be a real challenge but I intend to gently push myself and use the time wisely.

Here is a link to a video describing the sabbatical in a visual way!

The sabbatical begins on July 1st and ends on October 31st.   During that time my email account will be shut down.  Yes, that will be a challenge for me too!  Emails sent to it will receive an auto response which will state that the email will not be read now, or when I return.  If you must get an email to me, you will need to send it on or afterNovember 1st.  During that time, if you have an emergency, of course you should contact Canon Joan Anthony and/or Blaire Notrica, Executive Assistant for the Office of Bishop, or any other diocesan staff.  They are the finest people I have ever worked with.

Some have asked, "Who will be in charge while you are gone?"  Pieces of what I do will be covered by others, and the beautiful reality of our shared governance in the Episcopal Church, which is true when I am here as well as when I am gone, should be spotlighted even more.  The separation, I suspect, will teach us things about our mutual ministry we cannot even imagine in this time.

Of course, there will be time for rest, being with family, reading, breathing; all of which I am looking forward to very much.  At the same time, I will miss this work I do for you.  I love being Bishop, in this place, in this time, with all of you.  It has been a joy to get to know so many of you across this great Diocese over the last six years.  I love calling the Pacific Northwest my home and while I am looking forward to the sabbatical experience, I will miss the ministry we do together.  Actually, this sabbatical is part of that ministry.  If I learn from it something that will benefit us all in some way, then this will be a successful time.  

Traveling mercies to each and every one.


Contact Info
The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel
Bishop of Olympia
1551 10th Ave E
Seattle, Washington 98102
206-325-4631 FAX

Friday, June 7, 2013

2013 Baptisms at Pentecost

European icon of Pentecost -
When the Holy Spirit descended
upon the disciples (incl. St. Mary)
and the Church was born. 

On the Feast of Pentecost, the 19th of May, 2013, we celebrated four four new births into the Household of God; two adults and two infants. You can see pictures here. The newly Baptized included Yoko Kobori who was introduced to us by a friend and new member at St. Peter's, Tsuneko Nakatani. Greg Musick was introduced to us through Kathy Cox and our annual Multicultural Holiday Craft Fair. And the toddlers (unnamed for child web policy reasons) were introduced to us through their parents, Tony and Stacey (Asato) Edin and Annaka and Fr. James Thibodeaux.

An outdoor Baptism at Pentecost?! 
Baptism at St. Peter's Episcopal, Seattle

The Church is changing. And here I mean the capital 'C' Church, not just St. Peter's. You may notice that many parishes have become more open and inviting at the Communion Table, having discovered that it is God who invites us to Communion. As this has evolved so have new practices about Baptism.

Baptism has gone from a private event with very little preparation and using very little water to a very public event using LOTS of water and requiring much more formation and learning for the candidates. Baptismal Fonts have taken a prevalent place at the entrances to the worship space, indicating it is through Baptism we enter into God's Household and Covenant of Salvation. And the Book of Common Prayer now indicates that Baptisms should occur on Easter or any of the other 7 Principle Feasts (Can you name them? Hint: Pentecost is one!), emphasizing the importance and meanings of the Sacrament of Baptism. All these changes are a recovery of the Early Church's practice of Baptism.

Medieval style of Baptism -
private and infant focused
Beginning in the Medieval period and continuing till just recently, the Church assumed that most Baptisms were going to be infants and that the children would pick up the essentials of the Christian Faith as they grew up. (See the headings of the Catechism in your Book of Common Prayer for a list of faith essentials) We were mistaken. Decades later many of those children had left the Church and many of those who remained were confused or had little understanding of the faith beyond ethics (i.e. being good and doing the right thing). Spirituality, theology, liturgy, polity (structure and culture of a denomination), and major history have often been neglected. To counter that experience, the Church has been moving towards showing how Baptism is and always has been a major commitment (i.e. eternal covenant) requiring a deep shift (i.e. conversion) in one's thinking, being, and acting.

Ancient Baptismal Font in Rome -
public, large, adult and infant focused.
The Early Church practice emphasized
that Baptism marked public conversion to
a Christ-like life.
In very simple terms, it has been getting easier to come to the Altar for Communion, but becoming more challenging to enter into Baptism. And this reflects our belief that God always accepts us as we are, but is never content to let us remain as we are. God is a perfectionist. And because God loves us, God will settle for nothing less than perfection for us (Heaven) and in us (Divinity). Baptism is where God's promise begins.

For more about Witsunday, Pentecost, traditions, and meanings, see this article from "Full Homely Divinity"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

St. Peter's Events Calendar

Looking for St. Peter's Events Calendar?

Click this link:  

 (don't forget the 's' in 'events' !)

When you get there, don't forget to click the little "Google" button at the bottom right to add to your Google Calendars or iCalendar !

Friday, April 26, 2013

St. Peter's Bids Deacon Richard "Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord"

Deacon Richard (left of Bishop) at Fr. James' 2008 ordination 
You may not remember this, but back on May 18, 2008, when St. Peter's 3rd elected Rector was

being ordained a priest, a quiet deacon stood next to Bishop Nedi throughout the liturgy. That very same deacon became our very own deacon, Richard Buhrer, just a few years later.

During his time with us Deacon Richard has helped plan liturgies, composed our weekly Prayers of the People, made pastoral visits, preached, taxied the priest to diocesan events, conducted discernment meetings, taught coffee connections, advised the Altar Guild and a host of other things. And now our Deacon is headed of for a Sabbatical after which the Bishop will reassign him to another ministry as needed. It is natural to ask why. And I can say that aside from his own health concerns, there is no great catalyst for Deacon Richard's departure. It is just time. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens."

For years now, our Deacon has sent us out at the end of every service bidding us to "go in peace to love and serve the Lord." And now, on Sunday, May 12th, it is our turn to bid him the same. I hope you will join us after the service for an appreciative celebration of ministry with Deacon Richard and that you will hold him in your prayers as he follows Christ's call.

Fr. James+

Update: You can see pictures of the event here.

Checking the Compass: Outcomes of our 2013 Mutual Ministry Review

Hikers and backpackers and any would-be John Muir know that not only are a map and compass essential to one's wilderness kit, but just as essential is the act of checking them from time to time. In fact, looking at a compass and map and surveying the surrounding terrain before becoming lost helps keep the traveler from losing the way.

At first glance, the prospect may seem unnecessary or tedious. After all, if the way is known, why check a map?  But by stopping, orienting, and observing the surroundings the journey is truly made more sweet.

The map and compass discipline is very analogous to the Mutual Ministry Review process now in place in the Diocese of Olympia and many of its congregations. In February St. Peter's held its own Mutual Ministry Review facilitated by a diocesan consultant, The Rev. Marda Steedman-Sandborn. (Results are provided in a a link within the Valor). The questions were simple but designed to identify areas of strength and of challenge. The process allowed for more voices to be heard and validated. Among the results were
1) the sense that the congregation has the energy to undertake transformative change and
2) that while we can identify a number of strengths, we were unable to identify our collective passion.  

What is 'passion'? 
In English we might use passion to describe
(a) deeply emotional and unrestrained love,
(b) a thing or activity, such as a hobby, about which one might obsess and find joy in having or doing,
(c) or as referring to the sufferings of Christ for the sake of humanity, as in "the Passion of Christ."
In our case, we mean the word in all three senses. For whom do we have or could we have unrestrained love? What activity or cause would we, as a parish, find joy of the Spirit in taking up with single-minded focus? For whom and what are we called to bear the Cross in passion and compassion and in imitation of Christ?

After meeting with Rev. Marda once more on March 3rd, the Vestry discerned that answering these kinds of questions centered on our passion would be the most helpful next step for us in our congregational journey.

Next Steps
On April 20th, the vestry met for an all day retreat. At the retreat it was agreed that these kinds of questions cannot be answered by the leadership for the congregation. Our passion comes from our own experience of where God's Salvation meets the World's greatest need. And yet we need a framework from which we can do congregational discernment together.

Looking at the past congregational meetings, surveys, and choices, the missional theme of engaging the disenfranchised, especially women and children, appeared again and again. Thus, the leadership decided to discern by trial. We would like to engage in missional outreach to Mary's Place, a Seattle
non-profit that "offers programs and services ... where homeless women and their children can build community, enrich their days and find resources to restore their lives."

We will be talking and doing more in regards to discovering our passion and the ministry of Mary's Place in the days to come. Your voice and sense of the Spirit is needed. I hope you will join in St. Peter's discernment of God's call on us and God's gifts to us as parish family for the sake of a World that deeply needs Christ.

In love and service,

Fr. James+


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bricks for Haiti Campaign: A HUGE Success!

[From our Bishop, The Right Rev. Gregory H. Rickel]

Dear Ones,

Today, I am full of gratitude for your generosity and for your vision. When our diocese joined the effort to help rebuild Holy Trinity Cathedral in Haiti, I knew to expect great things. Our diocese has a long history of responding to the needs of others, both abroad and at home. Our dedicated parish lay leaders and clergy "walked the walk" in supporting recovery in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, fighting malaria in Africa through NetsforLife, and providing clean water through the Wine Into Water campaign. I knew that despite the daily demands of your lives and the economic challenges of our time, you would share generously of all your gifts in answering the call of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Today, I am pleased to say that the people of the Diocese of Olympia have exceeded all our hopes
and expectations! Working together, the members of more than 65 churches have contributed over $118,700 toward rebuilding the center of spiritual life and community in the largest and poorest diocese of the Episcopal Church. As is typical for our diverse diocese, each church "did it their own way" -- tailoring the campaign to fit their talents, capabilities and priorities. We know that some gave directly, individually, and that was just as crucial and appreciated in our reaching this goal. As a result, our diocese is one of the most generous in "grass-roots giving" in the Episcopal Church. Thank you! I give special thanks to all of the local organizers, and most especially to the person I entrusted with this campaign, and who "knocked it out of the park" Jennifer Daugherty. She has proven herself an amazing leader.

As the Bishop of Haiti has said, your generosity will do more than raise up bricks and cement. It  ill raise the hopes of a people who have lost so much of their earthly habitation. It will raise the spirit of a community made weary, and it will inspire the minds and hearts of the young men and women who knew Trinity as their intellectual and artistic home. On behalf of them all, I am deeply grateful and I bless you.


The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel
Bishop of Olympia

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Anglican Church in Canada confesses and asks forgiveness for secretly selling Japanese Canadian church buildings

Highlights from the Council of General Synod: March 14

Japanese-Canadian presentation

Archdeacon Jim Boyles, former General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, introduced speakers representing the Japanese-Canadian Vancouver Consultative Council: Joy Kogawa, Lynne Shozawa, and Greg Tatchell.
The speakers shared the story of how two Vancouver Japanese-Canadian churches-Holy Cross and the Church of the Ascension-were sold by the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster after World War II.
In 1942, 22,000 Japanese Canadians were sent to internment camps. On April 1, 1949, they were allowed to return. The church sold Church of the Ascension in 1945 and Holy Cross Church was sold just months after Japanese Canadians were allowed to return to Vancouver.
JC-VCC researchers have spent years piecing together the stories of these properties and were finally able to prove the story in 2009.
Bishop Michael Ingham, Diocese of New Westminster, apologized for these actions in 2010.
"Racism is and has been part of our church," read Bishop Ingham's apology, "and we should acknowledge and repent of it."
COGS adopted the following resolution from the Partners in Mission and Ecojustice Committee:
1. Acknowledges the injustices experienced by Japanese Canadian Anglicans at the hands of our Church during and after WW II; and confesses the error of our ways.
2. Expresses its gratitude for the activities of the Japanese Canadian Vancouver Consultative Council (JC-VCC) and the Diocese of New Westminster, which since 2008 have braved to tell the truth about a long, hidden story of racism at numerous levels of our Church, including the naming of the 1,500 Japanese Canadian Anglicans who were exiled in 1942.
3. Supports the 2010 apology made by Bishop Michael Ingham for the sale of Japanese Congregation Churches in the Diocese of New Westminster in 1949.
4. Recognizes that deep-seated historic racism continues as a source of pain to Japanese  Canadian Anglicans across Canada, and commends every effort in the interests of healing and reconciliation.
5. Recommends that the Council of General Synod study the Episcopal Church's Asiamerica Ministries to explore ways of our participation in it.
6. Encourages the dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada to be mindful of the growing multi-cultural membership of our Church, to celebrate that diversity, and to enhance partnerships in common ministry.
The Primate spoke to the resolution. "I want to express gratitude to those who came to tell this story," he said.
"This is a sign to the whole church to acknowledge sins of the past and expresses a desire to be continually reconciled."
JC-VCC members gave the Primate a plaque that tells the story of their churches.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"What's Going on Here?!"

Ever wonder what's happening at St. Peter's or around the Diocese? 

1) You can always look online at Parish Events Calendar ( ). Our events calendar can even be set up on your iPhone/iPad or Android device. See Fr. James for help doing so. 

2) For the Diocese of Olympia events including Safeguarding trainings, spirituality workshops, free concerts, and adult forums on all sorts of topics, see its webpage, , and select "What's Happening".  

3) For behind the scenes info on what your vestry has been up to, don't forget to see the "Vestry Highlights" linked to each monthly e-Valor.   

4) And don't forget about these:
    webpage -
    Twitter -
                       or @stpeterseattle

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Catechumenate at St. Peter's Episcopal, Seattle

The Catechumenate*
(Preparation for Adult Baptism)

The Catechumenate is a period of preparation in which a Catechumen, defined here as a person capable of making mature faith decisions of faith and commitment for themself and desiring to be a Christian, undergoes training and formation in the Christian Faith within the Christian community. There is no specified length of time this period may last since readiness for baptism is determined by the catechumen in conjunction with Sponsors, Catechist (Teacher) and the clergy. This period typically, but not always, lasts between three months to a year.

In the Episcopal Tradition, Catechumens are often baptized on the Great Vigil of Easter, usually held on the Saturday night before the Sunday morning Easter Service. It has been St. Peter's recent tradition to baptize Catechumens on Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter Sunday), a common practice in old days of the British Isles from whence our Christian tradition comes.   

There are three stages of the Catechumenate.

STAGE 1:  Inquiry. During this time catechumens are instructed to examine their own motivations that they may freely choose Christ of their own accord. Preconceived notions of Christianity are also called into question. Inquirer’s classes are encouraged and group and individual meetings with the Catechist and clergy are encouraged. 

STAGE 2:  Catechumenate. Each person wishing to be baptized is presented by at least two sponsors to the congregation in a liturgical rite held at a Sunday Eucharist. This rite usually includes signing of the cross upon the forehead by the priest, a commitment from the parish community to pray for and encourage the catechumen in love, grace, and mercy, and the catechumen’s commitment to the following:
1)      Regular attendance at Sunday Eucharists with their sponsors. (Heb. 10:24-25)
2)      Attendance at regularly scheduled meetings (at least twice a month) with sponsors and teachers. The topics of discussion will include the most recent Scripture readings and other Biblical readings as well as the catechumen’s experience of the Christian Faith as they are living it. (Acts 2:42)
3)      Daily recitation of the Daily Office, meaning praying Morning and Evening Prayer. (1 Thess. 5:17)
4)      Practice of the Christian Way of Life with the understanding that earnest striving and faithfulness are our goals, not perfection. (Matt. 22:36-40; 1 John 1:5-10)
It is during this second stage that the Catechumen, accompanied by sponsors, the catechist, and others, will experience and digest a significant portion of the Christian faith. Typically, this reflection occurs by reflecting upon the worship and Scripture lessons of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. The format for this period of learning is to experience first and then to reflect and discuss. 

STAGE 3: Candidacy for Baptism. This stage includes a series of liturgical acts that are designed to complete the preparation of the Catechumen for Holy Baptism. They are as important for the candidate as they are for the community and take place at the Sunday morning liturgy. Typically, the following are observed:
1)      Ash Wednesday
2)      Enrollment of Catechumens for Baptism on the first Sunday of Lent.
3)      The Presentation of the Creed on the Third Sunday of Lent (or Easter 2)
4)      The Presentation of the Lord’s Prayer on the Fifth Sunday of Lent (or Easter 4)
5)      Vigil before Baptism (observed the evening immediately before the day or night of baptism)
6)      Baptism at The Easter Vigil or at the Feast of Pentecost
7)      The Sunday Following Baptism (Easter Sunday, Easter 2, or Trinity Sunday)  

THE BAPTISMAL LIFE:  Holy Baptism, like marriage, is not a certificate program. Completion of the process does not mean one is finished, just as getting married does not mean the marriage is completed and over. Rather, in both Baptism and marriage, the sacrament signifies the beginning of a new relationship.
            Therefore, it is expected that the newly Baptized will continue in that new relationship to God and to their neighbor, “devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). And also that they will remember in prayer and action the poor and the neglected, the orphans and the widows, the oppressed and forgotten, just as Christ has remembered us.
            And so, “let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25)


*  This information is based on the Catechumenate pattern set forth in The Book of Occasional Services, 2003 by Church Pension Fund, copyright 2004 and used by permission.