Why Leaders Need Support: Small Group Leadership Support Groups

At St. Mary’s Episcopal Church we would like to have a small group available to anyone who would like one. Small groups are places where people practice listening to God and to each other. Small groups can provide safety and closeness that makes our community life together more meaningful. Sunday worship gains a whole new level of joy when you see your group members sitting in the pew opposite.

Earth Day

As Christians, we have a responsibility to care for God’s creation. At the end of the first chapter of Genesis, we are told that humanity has been given dominion over creation. This has been misunderstood by some to mean that we can use, even abuse, creation however we would like. But Scripture teaches us quite clearly that dominion from a Christian perspective means to be servants, not lords. We were invited to be stewards, not rulers, of creation. We are to appropriately use, not abuse, this gift that God has given us. 

Listening Hearts - Small Group Leadership Training

Small Group Leadership Training

Sunday April 22

3 to 5 PM in Berktold Hall


One of our five-year goals at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church is to have a small group available to anyone who would like one. Small groups are places where people practice listening to God and to each other in order to discern God’s presence and movement in our lives and community.

Maundy Thursday

I wouldn’t say we go to an experimental church.  But, yesterday our church had an experiemental service.  They offered their first annual Maundy Thursday Family Service.  I would call the experiment a success.  The only thing they should change would be saving the nice towels for the adult service.  More on that later.

Observing a Holy Lent

Lent is a journey we take every year with Christ through the wilderness. Traditionally, Lent has been a time to prepare for Easter by extra prayer, self-examination, self-denial, study, and acts of charity. Many have simplified this by saying that in Lent we give up and we take on. Through giving up, we open space for God within us; through taking on, we invite God in.
Deepen your faith this Lent by adopting a practice for the season.

Advent: A Time for Introspective Reflection

Advent starts a new church year. There may be four Sundays in Advent, but our Sunday lectionary readings point us to three primary stories for the season: the end of time (1 Advent), John the Baptist (2 & 3 Advent), and Mary (4 Advent). These stories help us prepare for Christ’s coming, Christ’s advent, into the world. Advent is a wonderful time for introspective reflection and these stories of Advent give us a wonderful launching pad for this task.

Throw in the Towel and More for Refugees

St. Mary’s Refugee Committee invites you to take part in this Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Lane County (RRCLC) Relief Kit project. Our committee, which includes some great cooks, will be hosting coffee hour after each service on June 18. At that time, we will collect new bath towels and other bucket items, as well as funds for the RRCLC Relief Kit project. There will also be information available about RRCLC and the plight of refugees around the world.

Local Partnerships for Addressing Your Carbon Footprint

Local Partnerships for Addressing Your Carbon Footprint

Recently, St. Mary's Earth Stewards decided to look into local options for counterbalancing carbon outputs, and began working with local organizations to develop the necessary relationships. We agreed that the Long Tom Watershed Council (LTWC) and McKenzie River Trust (MRT) would be the two most appropriate organizations (due to geographic overlap, mission, efficacy, capacity, etc.).

Soil--It's More Than Dirt

In her book, The Soil Will Save Us, Kristin Ohlson recounts the story of being able to push a 4-foot pole down into a farmer's corn field up to her knuckles.  She was able to do it several times in different places, proving that the farmer, Gabe Brown, had completely transformed his soil from the Dust Bowl desert he had purchased into a farm that had become easier and cheaper, not harder and more costly, to run.  

The Kingdom of God is like Piper

Before the movie Finding Dory, there was a charming Disney Pixar Short called Piper (trailer above). A mother sandpiper is encouraging her little piper baby to learn how to forage food for herself. Sandpipers go down to the ocean and when the wave is out, they search for little clams. Bubbles indicate where some of them are, so the sandpipers look for those bubbles and quickly dig and eat before the wave returns. The young sandpiper isn't so sure about having to forage for herself. She wishes her mama would still just feed her, but with some encouragement she tries. It all goes south when a wave completely soaks her. Eventually though, she meets a family of little crabs, and the child in that family teaches the piper a different technique than the sandpipers use: the crabs burrow a little down into the sand, so the wave can't knock them off their feet. Then they are able to see underwater for a brief moment the great abundance of food that the wave has exposed and will be re-covered as soon as the wave recedes. There is so much more food available than the standard piper technique of looking for bubbles identifies. The piper is no longer afraid of the water and is able to harvest the bounty for herself and others using this improved technique.

A written description does not do the story justice; I highly recommend take six minutes to watch it (https://itun.es/us/HFKUeb). Piper has all of the classic Pixar elements: stunning animation, perfect music and sound effects, and a focus on challenge, fear, courage, and growth. I think it is also a metaphor for the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is like a sandpiper who is deathly afraid of the ocean and unable to collect the meager harvest, until the day she meets a crab who teaches her how to brace herself in the sand and see the riches that the ocean holds, producing food that was thirty fold, sixty fold, even one hundred fold the average, enough to share with her family and sandpiper neighbors.

Jesus teaches us that the kingdom of God is already among us and within us. We need to learn how to see it. We need to open our eyes. Just like that little sandpiper, we can brace ourselves in the sand and open our eyes when the waves of life roll over us, so that we can see the abundance of God's grace in the midst of all of the difficulty. God's grace is sufficient to nourish us as we face any challenge.

Contemplation: Finding the Eternal in Daily Life

Someone I know recently told me something that Ram Das said: "If you ever begin to think you are enlightened, go and spend a week with your family."

This suggestion speaks to the dynamic within prayer and contemplation that is challenged by daily life….. the natural conflicts that occur, the intermittent chaos, sprinklings of upheaval, anxiety and fear about security in its many forms,