A Sunday Forum with Casa Latina

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SUNDAY JANUARY 29, in person in Bloedel Hall or online via Zoom

Saint Mark’s welcomes back Casa Latina! Come and hear the inspiring personal stories of challenges, transformation, and their work in affirming rights for Latinx workers. Saint Mark’s is so grateful to be in relationship with Casa Latina, and to hear first-hand how our Latinx neighbors are making a difference in the community. Join in person OR participate online using this Zoom link.

Dean’s Message on Police Violence and Our Response, January 28, 2023

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Read Saint Mark’s Statement of Lament and Commitment to Action.

Read Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Statement on the Death of Tyre Nichols.

A Message from Dean Thomason

Police Violence in Memphis and Our Response

Dear friends,

“On my honor, I will never betray my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always maintain the highest ethical standards and uphold the values of my community, and the agency I serve.”

That Oath of Honor comes from the International Association of Police Chiefs. The horrific videos released yesterday by Memphis authorities document how tragically and traumatically the five police officers who beat Tyre Nichols to death failed to uphold such commitments to serve the common good and the welfare of their citizens. There is no honor in what unfolded; their values and ethical standards gave way to the frenzied violence; others stood by and did not intervene. Still others delayed their care, and another young man is senselessly dead, another mother grieves, a city cringes in fear and mistrust, and the nation reels once more as we add another name to the litany of lament that grows longer and longer. How long, O Lord, how long!

Kathy and I said Morning Prayer earlier today with this anguish on our hearts. Psalm 55 is the appointed psalm for today—a lament psalm that spoke its truth into this moment, excerpted here:

Hear my prayer, O God…I have no peace, because of my cares.
And I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
I have seen violence and strife in the city…her streets are never free of oppression and deceit.
Had it been an adversary who taunted me, then I could have borne it…
But it was you, a man after my own heart, my companion, my own familiar friend.

The strife in Memphis is not so distant from us as to be removed from the orbit of our pain and grief. Nor are the woes of that city so different than ours. This does not indict every police officer. Many do uphold the values in the oath above, and they serve us with dignity and respect. We should not lose sight of that fact. We should be grateful for them and thank them. But surely we can say that there is a plague in the law enforcement industry where such brutality is somehow justified time and again. (It is a red herring, in my opinion, to cite that these five officers were Black—except perhaps to note just how quickly they were charged with murder unlike many other police whose demeanor was similarly abusive.)

There is no “them” there. We are in this together, and the long tendrils of racism in this nation will not be eradicated by superficial tilling of our woes. It is painstakingly long, arduous and fraught with risk. But here we stand, and we can do no other if we are to stop killing our children.

I am convinced this nation and our cities will not really embrace this work in transformative ways unless we, as people of faith, actively participate in the work—not to cast aspersions on others, but to model the sort of repentance, lament, and resolve to work for a different way. It will be costly, but it is the quintessential work of this generation.

We lead with prayer, not as escape or a claim of ineffectual indifference, but to gain clarity and conviction to continue, even when the way forward remains elusive. It will require courage and sacrifice, attributes Jesus modeled for us, and is inviting us now to adopt. It seems the Oath of Honor might be fitting for us to consider as well—a mantra, a prayerful commitment we make in this moment, with God’s help:

“On my honor, I will never betray my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always maintain the highest ethical standards and uphold the values of my community, and the agency I serve.”

May it be so.

The Very Reverend Steven L. Thomason
Dean and Rector


“Is Christianity Worth Saving?” A One-Day Interactive Event with Brian McLaren

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FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2023, 9:30 A.M.–4 P.M., in cathedral nave; registration required

Join renowned leader Brian McLaren for a dynamic interactive event exploring the future of Christian faith in the 21st century. Brian will engage in a series of civil and substantive exchanges with special guests — subject matter experts, practitioners, advocates, critics, and folks in the audience.

Is Christianity Worth Saving? is produced by Off The Map, who've gotten lost so many times they're no longer much afraid.

  • SESSION 1—“NO”

Cost (updated!): Regular, $39 | "Bring a Friend," $69 | "Team" (up to five people), $99.

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity”—just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is the author of many books, including A Generous Orthodoxy (2004), A New Kind of Christianity (2010), The Great Spiritual Migration (2016), Faith After Doubt (2021), and, most recently, Do I Stay Christian? A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned (2022). Learn more about Brian here.

Pre-registration required, and spaces are limited. There are no refunds, but we’ll gladly look for someone who’ll be happy to join us if it turns out you can’t.. Register at this link. .

A Not-So-Quiet Day

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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 9:30 A.M.–2:30 P.M., in person only, in the cathedral nave and outdoors. Registration requested.

Facilitated by Wendy Claire Barrie, Cathedral Canon for Intergenerational Ministries

This offering for children, youth, and adults is an intentionally intergenerational exploration of embodied spiritual practices.

The doors will open at 9 a.m., and we'll begin at 9:30 a.m. with prayer, song, and an introduction to the day's activities. Feel free to come and go as you desire; we'll break for a light lunch at noon and the day will end at 2:30 pm.

All activities take place in the cathedral nave and on the labyrinth, weather permitting.

The day includes facilitated experiences as well as self-guided activities, and includes options for all ages and abilities. You are invited to choose among the offerings that interest you. Facilitators include Betsy Bell, Emily Meeks, Deborah Brown, Will Matthews, and Sarah Hyde.

Schedule of the Day

  • 9 a.m. | Doors Open
  • 9:30 a.m. | Opening Circle
  • 10 a.m. | Qi Gong
  • 10:30 a.m. | Body Prayer
  • 11 a.m. | Drum Circle
  • 12 p.m. | Lunch
  • 1 p.m. | Collage
  • 1:30 p.m. | Yoga
  • 2:15 p.m. | Closing Circle

Self-guided activities available throughout the day include:

Don't miss this day of prayer and connection for all ages! Please register in advance by submitting the form below, or here. (Registration is appreciated but not required.) Suggested donation: $10. Contact Canon Barrie with any questions: wbarrie@saintmarks.org

Fill out my online form.

Candlemas Eve Candle-making and Evening Prayer

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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 6:45-8:15 P.M., in Bloedel Hall and Thomsen Chapel, in person only. Optional community dinner served 6-6:30 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family).

This in-person only event looks ahead to Candlemas, the Feast of the Presentation (February 2, midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox) of the infant Jesus in the temple, when Simeon recognizes him as the Anointed One, “the Light to enlighten the Nations.” Traditionally, it is the day in which candles are blessed for use in the coming year, so we’ll hear about the history of the day, make candles to take home and end with a simple service of Evening Prayer in Thomsen Chapel.

New Ministry Launch: Queer in Chirst

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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 10:10 A.M., Bloedel Hall

Queer in Christ, a new ministry forming at Saint Mark’s, welcomes all whether you identify as part of the queer community, you are an ally, or you just want to find out more. We gather together in fellow-ship and friendship while learning more about being queer in the church. Join us on Sunday, February 19 for a forum in Bloedel Hall between the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services to learn more about this new ministry, what got it started, and what the future looks like. Questions? Contact Sacristan Michael Seewer at mseewer@saintmarks.org or Canon Rosario-Cruz at: erosario@saintmarks.org

Meal Sharing Ministry Update

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The Meal Sharing Ministry program at Saint Mark’s is an evolving, growing ministry in collaboration with several programs in Seattle worknig to combat hunger. Our current partenrs include Saint Martin de Porres Men’s Shelter, Teen Feed in the University District, and the Breakfast Club at First Covenant Church. We are hoping to work with Tent City again this coming summer, while they are in residence in our cathedral parking lot.

We provide a hot dinner to Saint Martin de Porres, a shelter for men over 50, on the third Sunday of every month. Teen Feeds provides nutritious dinners to homeless youth in the University District six times a year. We have recently partnered with First Covenant Church on Capitol Hill to provide a hot breakfast for homeless men and women on the first Saturday of every month. If you would like to cook, help serve food, and get to know some members of our community outside the Cathedral walls, we would welcome your help. Our volunteers highly value this opportunity to serve our neighbors and guests.

We guarantee you will have fun while serving, and the burden is definitely light! For more information, please contact Deborah Person at deborah.person@gmail.com, Maris Olsen at maris.olsen@gmail.com, or Chris Rigos at crigos33@gmail.com

Upcoming Opportunities to Serve:

Cook, serve, and clean-up breakfast at First Covenant Church

Cook and deliver (or serve) dinner at University Congregational Church for Teen Feed guests

Cook at Saint Mark’s and deliver meal to Saint Martin de Porres Shelter

SUNDAY, MARCH 19, ~1–4 P.M.
Cook at Saint Mark’s and deliver meal to Saint Martin de Porres Shelter

Vestry and Conventional Delegate Candidates, 2023

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Vestry Members Continuing in Office

Term ends February 2024:
 Carmen Brady
Chris Rigos
Scott Kovacs
Kathy Minsch
Katie Prettyman, Diocesan Member (Trinity, Everett)
Term ends February 2025:
Wayne Duncan
Scott Hulet
Kristen Kelly
Justin Mills
Tina Blondino, Diocesan Member (St. Michael and All Angels, Issaquah)
Term ends January 2026:
Four members elected at the 2023 Annual Meeting

All members of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral congregation are invited to attend the 2023 Annual Meeting to elect new parish Vestry members and Delegates/Alternates to the Diocesan Convention. The agenda includes brief reports from parish leadership and committees, the presentation of awards, and the Dean’s address. This year there will also be a vote to amend the by-laws to confirm to recent changes to the Washington Non-Profit Corporation Act The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, February 5, 2023, at 12:30 p.m. and may be attended in person in Bloedel Hall or online via Zoom. The usual potluck meal will not be offered in 2023.

Who makes up the Vestry?

The Vestry currently consists of 17 members: 12 elected from Saint Mark’s Parish, three diocesan members appointed with the consent of the Bishop, the Dean who chairs the Vestry, and the Bishop (or her designee). Additionally, the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Treasurer, and Clerk serve with the Vestry as non-voting officers. All Vestry members are to be persons with demonstrated qualities of dedicated commitment to Saint Mark’s (or their own parish), leadership and vision with responsiveness to the needs, concerns and hopes of the world.

Vestry leadership resides with the Dean and individuals who are traditionally known as “Wardens”, together with other Vestry Officers. In accordance with the By-laws (Art. IV, sec. 1), the Senior Warden, the Chancellor, and Vice Chancellor (the Cathedral’s attorneys) are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Dean. The Junior Wardens, Clerk and Treasurer are elected by the Vestry.

Each member serves for one three-year term. This year, the members completing their terms are: Emily Meeks, Clara Berg, Walter Stuteville, and Doug Thorpe. (Diocesan member Karla Koon stepped down in 2022 to attend seminary, and Becky Kacel from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Seattle, has already been elected to fill this position prior to the Annual Meeting.)

Nominating Committee

This committee is designated by the Cathedral’s Constitution and Bylaws to present to the annual Parish meeting a list of nominees for Parish representatives. The committee also invites nominations for delegates to Diocesan Convention. The process involves careful vetting of all candidates and includes interviews with those standing for election to the Vestry. This year’s committee membership is: Julia Logan (chair), Jim Buskirk, Maria Coldwell, Carrie Davis, Emily Meeks, Michael Perera, John Selberg, and Dean Steve Thomason (ex officio). Questions? Contact: nominations@saintmarks.org

Who can vote in the Parish Election?

Saint Mark’s Constitution (Art. I, sec. 3) provides:

In accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Olympia, “Parish Communicants” are those baptized persons who are faithful in corporate worship and who have received the Sacrament of Holy Communion at Saint Mark’s at least three times during the previous year (unless good cause prevented)...”;

“Parish Communicants in Good Standing” are those Parish Communicants age sixteen years or older, who are recorded contributors to the support of Saint Mark’s with money or with personal service...
Unless subsequently defined otherwise by Diocesan or Episcopal Church canons, “Parish Electors” shall include all the Parish Communicants in Good Standing.”

Prior to the balloting, nominations may be offered from the floor.

Voting Remotely

Parish Communicants in Good Standing who attend the Annual Meeting virtually using Zoom will be invited to vote using a link that will be posted in the Zoom chat during the meeting. The link to vote will not be available before the meeting. If you have concerns about your ability to vote remotely, call Erik Donner in the Cathedral office at 206.323.0300 ×217.

Complete election rules are presented during the meeting.

About the Diocesan Convention

Each fall, more than 500 convention delegates from around the Diocese of Olympia come together to conduct diocesan business. This includes electing individuals to offices and deputations, admitting worshiping communities as missions or parishes, and voting on resolutions. The Bishop also gives an annual address.

The dates and location of the 2023 convention have not yet been announced.

Convention Delegates are a major link between the parish, the Vestry, and the Diocese, at both convention and other diocesan meetings. Delegates serve for two years. The 12 Delegates elected at the 2023 annual meeting will join the 12 delegates already elected in February 2022.

Candidates for Vestry


A former Roman Catholic, I moved to Seattle from Virginia in 2017, began attending Saint Mark’s with my wife Lauren, and became a member of the Episcopal Church and Saint Mark’s parish in 2021. In my previous parish, I served as a lector, choir member, and confirmation catechist. At Saint Mark’s I serve as a lay reader and member of the Restorative Justice Council. I have facilitated two Radix groups and served in prison ministry at King County jail. I attend weekly Cursillo group and Second Sunday Cathedral book group meetings. I hold a PhD in American history. I have taught at every level of public instruction and served as a historian and manager in Virginia’s State Historic Preservation Office for 35 years. Lauren and I have been married for fifty years and have three sons and six grandchildren. As a member of the Vestry I would strongly uphold and support the welcoming, inclusive spirit of the Saint Mark’s community and our strong commitment to equality, justice and the spiritual growth of our parishioners. I will advocate for the formation of a team of parishioners to research, write and publish an illustrated history of Saint Mark’s Church.


Sallie is a lifelong Episcopalian and fairly new to Saint Mark’s. She was born in Dallas but raised in Galveston, Texas where her family attended Trinity Episcopal Church. Her mother became one of the first female Episcopal priests in Texas. Episcopal schools also shaped Sallie: Trinity in Galveston, St. Stephen’s in Austin, and Sewanee: The University of the South. At each she served in various capacities. While earning her Ed.M. at Harvard, she attended Christ Church Cambridge. In Dallas, where she lived for 26 years, she attended St. Matthew’s Cathedral and married Mark. They later attended St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church and raised their children, Kate and Stephen, there. She served as a Lay Eucharist Minister, Sunday School and Children’s Chapel teacher, Lay Reader, Young Adult Forum facilitator, and Diocesan Convention delegate. She served one term on the Vestry, her last year as Senior Warden. She led a Vestry retreat and stewardship campaign. After moving to Seattle in June 2019, Sallie and Mark joined Saint Mark’s. She finished Education for Ministry and has participated in Radix and EfM book group. During lockdown, she attended many virtual offerings and services. As the world reopens, she plans to engage in Creation Care Ministry and other opportunities. As a writer, teacher, and mental health advocate, Sallie believes she would bring a unique perspective to Vestry. She is open and curious. As a priest’s child, she recognizes clergy demands. Additionally, she has watched her children move through the various stages of growing up Episcopalian.


I grew up in a small town on the Oregon coast. My family did not attend church except for a few times with our grandma. I knew there was a God, because we said the Lords Prayer every morning in school until about 4th grade. I worked in aerospace for 35 years starting out as an airplane mechanic, and then working my way into engineering. I was a mechanical engineer in fasteners with Boeing when I retired in 2017. After retirement I felt like I needed to grow my community so I started attending services at Saint Marks figuring I’d find a good cross section of people on Capitol Hill. The first morning I walked into the 11 a.m. service Carolyn White nabbed me. She told me about the service and sat with me until it ended. After a couple more services I felt like I found a home, so I was baptized and joined the church in 2018. I am currently active in the Garden Ministry and the Facilities Committee, and serve as Greeter, Acolyte, Oblation bearer, and Eucharistic visitor (2nd). I have participated in both Women’s Retreats and in Radix groups. I love to figure out how things go together and how to fix them when they don’t. I’m always trying to learn more about how the church works and where my work is within it. Joining the Vestry might tie it altogether. I’m not sure where I’m going on my journey, but I know I’m going with God.


I have been a member of Saint Mark’s Cathedral for about 6 years. My wife and I relocated to Seattle from New Jersey to be near our sons; earlier we lived in Germany and California. We began attending Saint Mark’s shortly after arriving in Seattle. We were initially drawn by two things: the music offerings and the inclusive spirit that is evident in all the Cathedral does. I am retired; my professional life was spent in both academic settings (computing in genomics and molecular biology) and in biotechnology companies (IT, human resources, and corporate management). Most recently, I consulted for life science companies on issues involving corporate integration, change management, and executive team coaching. I currently serve on the Saint Mark’s Finance Committee and sing in the Cathedral Choir. I served on a subcommittee of the Finance Committee tasked with determining needs and plans for office space at the cathedral. Since 2019, I have chaired the ad hoc Audit Committee for the cathedral Foundation. I feel called to service on the Vestry out of gratitude for Saint Mark’s and its contributions to life in Seattle. As the Cathedral continues to weather many changes wrought by the pandemic and other storms that beset our community, I hope that my background in organizational change and helping people to achieve consensus around common goals could be useful in the Vestry setting as well.


My name is Kelsey Herschberger (she/her) and I’ve been a member of Saint Mark’s Cathedral since my confirmation in November 2021. I serve as a chalice-bearer, work with Creation Care and go to events for the 20s/30s group. I’m also serving as a confirmation mentor and I’m in my second year of Education for Ministry. In my professional life, I work as a business continuity analyst for HomeStreet Bank, a Seattle-based community bank. I’m responsible for implementing the business continuity program, which ensure the bank has plans and infrastructure to weather all kinds of disaster scenarios. I’ve also done quite a bit of volunteer work outside of church. I worked the front desk at Peer, an organization that helps provide peer emotional support and development services to the LGBTQ community. I was the public relations assistant for GeekGirlCon, which is dedicated to celebrating female involvement in all fields of math, the sciences, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, fiction, gaming, and much more. I also wrote public relation materials for Thurston County Coalition Against Trafficking, which works to prevent human trafficking through community partnerships and prevention education.


I was baptized and raised an Episcopalian. After a detour into other denominations, I eventually came home to the Episcopal church because I found there a commitment to “seek and serve Christ in all persons” and an openness to the multitude of ways this commitment can be lived out. I became a member of Saint Mark’s about three years ago, drawn by the community’s focus on justice and inclusivity, and by the beautiful and compelling worship that I experience here. Since then, I have participated in liturgical ministry as a lector, intercessor, and assisting lay minister. I sit on the Council for Intergenerational Ministry, was a delegate to the Diocesan Convention this year, and am currently in my third year of EfM. More recently, I have been involved in racial justice ministries and in our feeding programs. These experiences have enriched my spiritual life in more ways that I can name. I have served on vestries at other parishes, and it would be an honor to do so at Saint Mark’s.


Doug Thorpe is emeritus professor of literature and creative writing from Seattle Pacific University and the author of four books, including Rapture of the Deep: Reflections on the Wild in Art, Wilderness and the Sacred. Having joined the Episcopal Church and Saint Mark’s Cathedral at the Easter Vigil in April 1980, he subsequently served as a Vestry member, a lector, chalice bearer, greeter, and spiritual director. He chaired the Adult Education Committee, taught adult education classes, worked for twenty years with the labyrinth group, and co-led a high school group to Belize (such a hardship!). He currently co-chairs the Mideast Focus Ministry (and serves on the Diocesan Middle East Affairs Committee) and writes for and helps the Creation Care Committee publish its newsletter. He’s married to Judy Andrews, is the father of Kate Thorpe and delighted grandfather of Walter. Doug was elected to the Vestry in 2022 to serve a one-year term, to complete the term of a Vestry member who stepped down before their term was complete.


My name is Alexandra Thompson and I am honored to be nominated for the Vestry. I have watched their work from afar for years and am excited to have the chance to get a closer look at the life of the Cathedral. I have been attending SMC since 2001. I live in West Seattle with my two teen-aged daughters and husband (and our one year old poodle mix). My husband is from the area and works for Boeing. I was born and raised on the campus of the Virginia Theological Seminary and graduated from the nearby Episcopalian high school. In my 20-some years here, I’ve served on a few committees, worked in the Child Care program, and volunteered in the Godly Play program while my daughters were young. I’ve been acolyting for 10 years and recently became the cathedral’s newest Verger. My professional background is primarily in project and program management for King County, but also includes teaching and language translation and interpretation. We are a neuro-diverse family and embrace creative problem solving to every day situations. My younger daughter exclaimed the other night (after a rehearsal of the Pageant of the Nativity) that she loves coming to Saint Mark’s because she likes how coming to the cathedral also means that you can be “in” the Cathedral. I want to be part of the Vestry in part because I want everyone to feel the same way, that coming to the Cathedral means they belong.

Candidates for Diocesan Convention Delegate


No statement submitted






Saint Mark’s has been my spiritual home since my graduation from Pacific Lutheran University in 2013. I am an active member of both the Cathedral Choir and Evensong Choir and have served as an acolyte. I was elected to the Vestry in 2017 and ended my term as Junior Warden for Finance. I have a degree in Religion and work work at the non-profit Holocaust Center for Humanity. I have a passion for the ecumenical, humanitarian, and transformational work that Saint Mark’s provides for this city and diocese.


I first started attending St. Mark’s in 2019 after my husband and I moved to Seattle from Philadelphia. Initially pulled to Saint Mark’s due to continuity—we attended a St. Mark’s in Pennsylvania—I was drawn deeper by the church’s commitment to diversity and equity. Technically a cradle Episcopalian, I spent my college years confidently areligious, but after a spiritual awakening was particularly drawn to Saint Mark’s Education for Ministry program. Now in my fourth year of EfM, I have discovered a passion for theological education and a fascination with Anglican governance and history. Especially after recently baptizing our first child, Grace, at Saint Mark’s, I am eager to take a more active role in the Episcopal diocese and within the Saint Mark’s community.


I have lived in the Greater Seattle area for most of my life. I left to attend university on the East Coast in 2009 and then briefly left again to live in Australia for a year from the summer of 2015 to the summer of 2016. I first attended Saint Mark’s Easter of 2021 for the Easter sunrise liturgy. I was looking for an accepting spiritual home. I grew up in the Evangelical tradition and I didn’t feel safe going back once I started my transition as a transgender woman. Everyone was so nice to me at the Cathedral and the Rev. Canon Jennifer Daugherty kindly made it clear to me that I was welcome here. At my previous churches I served in children’s ministry and hospitality. At Saint Mark’s I have served in Altar Guild, as a Eucharistic Minister as a Chalice Bearer, and as an Acolyte. I am also involved in helping to start a LGBTQIA+ ministry and as well as the 20s/30s group. Professionally, I have worked as a congressional staffer, a member of the buying team for Costco Wholesale, and currently as a Human Resources Personnel Specialist also at Costco.


I have been a member of St. Mark’s Cathedral since 2007, confirmed in 2009. My current ministries include serving as an acolyte, chalice bearer, coordinating our Eucharistic Visitor ministry, and I’ve taken a Cathedral-related picture or two. I have previously served as a delegate to the Diocesan Convention and am pleased to serve again. I appreciate the opportunity it provides the Cathedral delegation to meet parishioners from around the Diocese, while offering insight into our contribution to the Diocesan community.


Carleton Macdonald is a member of the Saint Mark’s Singers and has been an active member of the Episcopal Church for decades. He served as a Vestry member and convention delegate in his previous church in the Washington, DC area. After retiring, he moved to the Seattle area. He and his wife were married at Saint Mark’s in 2020.


I am already engaged in various ministries and roles at Saint Mark’s, including serving as a Lector, hosting Newcomers’ Coffee Hour, and organizing the Ministry Fair. My top areas of interest at Saint Mark’s are ones addressing social injustice, racial inequalities, greater access to economic & social opportunities people with many barriers, sanctuary for those fleeing persecution, and immigration issues. I’m honored to be nominated for Diocesan Convention Delegate.


I started attending Saint Mark’s with my beloved spouse, Matthew Briggs, when we moved to Seattle in August 2018 to begin my doctoral program in adult clinical psychology at the University of Washington. We were previously members of Saint Thomas’ Parish in Washington DC. At Saint Mark’s, I attend events with the 20s/30s Group, and I co-facilitated a book group on Newell’s Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality during Lent 2022. I spoke with the Sanit Mark’s confirmation class about how faith informing my lived experience in January 2023, served as a small group facilitator in the summer of 2020 as part of Saint Mark’s series on “Taking up our Responsibility for Racial Justice,” and volunteered with Saint Mark’s ministry to those without access to stable housing. Significantly, my life at Saint Mark’s is informed by using the funds donated in loving memory of my beloved spouse, Matthew Briggs, to align with his last will and testament to, “(1) serve marginalized youth and (2) lovingly challenge privileged youth to consider how they may more equitably share their power.” As such, I am honored to support the upcoming visits to Saint Mark’s of Dr. Christena Cleveland and The Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D.


I’m excited by the prospect of being a delegate to our 2023 Diocesan Convention. I believe that participation is an important part of ones ministry: to learn, to network, to represent the wishes of the parish in the business of the Diocese, to be a part of the larger Episcopal community and to share those experiences with the church family on return. A lifelong Episcopalian, I transferred to the Cathedral in 2021. I am active member of the Quilt Ministry and in the past have served on the Book Shop advisory board. Before retiring in 2013, I was the manager of the Cathedral Book Store at St. Philip’s Atlanta. I’m an EfM graduate with 2 years experience as mentor. I have served on 3 vestries in 3 different states including St. Elizabeth’s Burien. I’m a volunteer with the Friends of Seattle Public Library, League of Women Voters and the Missing in America Project.


No statement submitted






It is an honor to be nominated to be a convention delegate from Saint Mark’s to the Diocesan convention. I appreciate the opportunity to represent Saint Mark’s at the convention, but more importantly, I look forward to the opportunity that the convention provides to listen to the experiences of other congregations and to learn from other delegates. As a person who has been an elected official at the local level of government, I understand the importance of thoughtful governance—and also understand that change takes time. My wife, Nancy, and I have attended Saint Mark’s since 2003 and in that time I have been involved with the sanctuary ministry and I am currently involved with the Eucharistic visitor ministry. As a retired engineer, I apply my skills at keeping numbers straight by serving as a collection counter.


My family and I arrived at Saint Mark’s in the fall of 2003 after exploring multiple churches in the Diocese. We were inspired by the cathedral’s stance on peace and justice and were invited by the proclamation that all are welcome here, wherever they are on their faith journey. Since our arrival, I have been active at Noel House, the Welcome Table, the Hunger Offering, the Sanctuary Ministry, feeding Tent City, Education for Ministry, the Eucharistic Visitors and I have attended convention as a delegate. As a retired teacher interested in justice and compassion and an alumna of 1950’s Cathedral Days with deep roots in this Diocese, I find a place in my heart for both the Cathedral and the larger Diocese of Olympia. It is an honor to have been nominated to be a convention delegate.

Gaza: Continuous Trauma and Social Devastation, or Caring for All?

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THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 7 P.M., in Bloedel Hall or via Zoom.

The Gaza Community Mental Health Programme is the leading mental health non-governmental organization in the Gaza Strip. At this Symposium, Gaza Strip psychiatrist Dr. Yasser Abu-Jamei will visit in person, and give an update on current conditions. Panelists and the audeince will then discuss intersections with “glocal” social divisions and the best ways forward.

Participants will include

  • Imraan Siddiqi, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Washington chapter
  • Damon Shadid, Seattle Municipal Court judge
  • Jonathan Kanter, Director, Center for the Science of Social Connection at the University of Washington, and Core Leadership Team of the Office of Healthcare Equity of UW Medicine.
  • Brian Baird, PhD , psychologist and Congressman for 12 years, was one of the first and very few U.S. officials to visit Gaza following the Israeli bombing and invasion of 2008-2009.

This event is co-sponsored by the Saint Mark’s Cathedral Mideast Focus Ministry, The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia's Bishop's Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, US-Gaza Mental Health Foundation, USA-Palestine Mental Health Network, the Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Affairs, Jewish Voice for Peace—Health Advisory Council, Jewish Voice for Peace—Seattle chapter, Kairos Puget Sound Coalition, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, and SUPER-UW: Students United for Palestinian Equality and Return at the University of Washington

Attend in person in Bloedel Hall, or online via Zoom. Register to attend online using this Zoom link: http://bit.ly/3k1Aflv No registration needed for in-person attendance.

Religion in the Public Square: A Year at Newsweek

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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2023, 6:45–8:15 P.M., online via Zoom only, but those who wish to join for the parish supper at 6 p.m. will participate together in Room 210

Julia Duin, Newsweek’s contributing editor for religion as well as the daughter of long-time Saint Mark’s parishioners Robert and Phyllis Duin, shares what were the top religion stories for 2022 and how she covered them. Ranging from the Trump prophets and a praying football coach in Bremerton to Mormons’ increasing embrace of “Heavenly Mother” God, the reparations movement in churches, evangelical adoptions and of course the demise of Roe v. Wade, not to mention the death of a pope. 2022 was a big year for religion news! We'll discuss the role of religion in the public square and how it impacts our daily lives and relationships. Join using this Zoom link.

Also in 2022, Julia won four awards for her articles from the Religion News Association (the professional group for the nation’s religion reporters for the secular press) as well as the Evangelical Press Association. Over the years, she’s won at least 15 other national awards for her work. She’s been a reporter or editor for six media outlets, including the Washington Times and the Houston Chronicle, has written seven books on religion topics, has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and another MA in religion from Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry in western Pennsylvania. She and her daughter live in Issaquah.

Program is free; Join using this Zoom link. Community dinner served at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family). Those attended the dinner who wish to participate in the forum will gather in Room 210 at 6:45.

The Art of Pilgrimage: A Workshop on Sacred Journey

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SATURDAY, JANUARY 21, 2023, 9:30 A.M.–3:30 P.M. (note change in time), in person in Bloedel Hall and online via Zoom; registration required for either option

Facilitated by Phil Cousineau

A pilgrimage is a spiritually transformative journey to a sacred place. This workshop will focus on seven spiritual practices intended to augment your travels, whether sacred or secular. Each practice is designed to help the traveler be present in the moment, to experience the miracles of the world with all the senses, to show respect and reverence for the sites you visit, and to honor those who walked there before you. Richard Neibuhr once said: “Pilgrims are poets who create by taking journeys.” Using photography, brief film clips on pilgrimage, contemplative music and other media, participants will explore this sacred work together. Please bring a journal, pen or pencil, and a favorite spiritual poem or passage pertinent to an upcoming journey. Saint Mark’s is devoting intentional focus to the spiritual practice of pilgrimage in 2023 and beyond with an invitation to see travel, near and far, can be a sacred enterprise.

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Queer Theology Workshop with Hugo Alas

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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2023, 9-11 A.M., online via Zoom (register below or here for Zoom link)

In this workshop, we will understand what queer theology is, analyze the relationship between theology, sexuality, gender and sexual orientation, and critique the assumptions institutional religions have about gender and sexuality."

About the Facilitator:

Hugo Alas is a member of the Ministry of Sexual Diversity of the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador with advanced studies in Global Queer Theologies from the Higher Institute of Interreligious and Social Studies (ISDEIS) of Argentina. With the Sophia Institute of the USA, he has studied Theology and History of Christianity. He is an industrial engineer with a master's degree in quality management and twelve years of experience as a university professor.

En este taller, buscamos comprender qué es la teología queer, analizar la relación entre teología, sexualidad, género y orientación sexual, y criticar los presupuestos de las religiones institucionales sobre el género y la sexualidad.

Sobre el facilitador:

Hugo Alas es Miembro del Ministerio de Diversidad Sexual de la Iglesia Episcopal Anglicana de El Salvador. Posee estudios superiores sobre Teologías Queer Globales por el Instituto Superior De Estudios Interreligiosos y Sociales (ISDEIS) de Argentina. Con el Institute Sophia de USA, ha sacado su diplomatura en Teología e Historia del Cristianismo. Es ingeniero industrial y Maestro en Gestión de la Calidad, con doce años de experiencia en docencia universitaria.


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Annual Parish Meeting 2023

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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 12:30–2 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall or online via Zoom.

All cathedral parish communicants in good standing are encouraged to attend the Annual Parish Meeting at which we will elect new vestry members, delegates to Diocesan Convention, and vote to amend the by-laws to confirm to recent changes to the Washington Non-Profit Corporation Act. We will also celebrate our common life, and Dean Thomason will share Pro Christo Awards and a Cathedral Cross to individuals. Please note: since we continue in hybrid format this year, we will not have a full potluck lunch. Light snacks and coffee/tea/water will be available to those in Bloedel Hall. (You are welcome to bring your own food if you find that helpful).

Join online using this Zoom link.

The following will be posted here as they become available:

Concert for the Human Family

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SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 7:30 P.M., cathedral nave. Reserve tickets here ($20–35). Co-sponsored by Abbey Arts, Saint Mark’s Cathedral, and the Office of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

“What movement could begin, what conversation could take the stage, if everything else got out of the way? This Concert for the Human Family event is an inspiring collaborative between award-winning musicians and church leaders who believe in the power of music and storytelling to foster Beloved Community. Experience genre-bending original music that bridges jazz, hip-hop and bluegrass, performed by a multicultural team led by Nashville pianist and composer Kory Caudill and hip-hop artist Wordsmith. All woven with sacred stories to launch conversation around reconciliation, healing and justice in the communities we call home. It’s the power of music, for the sake of love.”

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences named the first Concert for the Human Family webcast as Best Event and Live Stream Video in the 26th Annual Webby Awards in April 2022.

Learn more here, including a series of interesting Behind the Scenes videos. More information about the artists can be found below. Reserve tickets here, and view a brief trailer:

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Notice of Intent to Amend Bylaws at the 2023 Annual Meeting

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The Annual Parish Meeting will be held on Sunday February 5, 2023 at 12:30 p.m.  As in past years, we will vote to elect new members to the Vestry and delegates and alternates to Diocesean Convention. In addition, there will be a vote to approve the Second Restated Bylaws. In 2022, the Washington legislature revised the Non-Profit Corporations Act (RCW 24.03A) which applies to St. Mark’s. The Vestry undertook to revise the St.Mark’s Bylaws to comply with the new statute. The most significant revisions relate to rights of transparency and participation by members in a non-profit. While The Vestry usually votes on any Bylaws revisions, because the revisions under the new statute impact member rights they will be voted on by Parish Communicants in Good Standing at the Annual Meeting.  A copy of the revisions to the Bylaws can be found at the following link:

Click here to view a pdf of the proposed revision to the Bylaws.

Those who may vote are Parish Communicants in Good Standing. Parish Communicants in Good Standing are those baptized persons who are faithful in corporate worship, who have received the Sacrament of Holy Communion at St. Mark’s at least three times during the previous year (unless good cause prevented), are age sixteen years or older, and who are recorded contributors to the support of St. Mark’s with money or with personal service. Voting by Proxy is not permitted.

Afghan Refugees Arrive in Seattle—Ways to Help

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UPDATE 1/19/23: The Saint Mark's community responded with overwhelming generosity to the request for household items for the Popal family (note corrected spelling). All the requests for specific items, from baby socks to a laptop, have now been fulfilled. Sajad, Fareda, Mustafa, and Oswa will be living on the cathedral property for some time, so there will be more opportunities to help in the future.

Welcome Popal Family!

Late on the evening of December 28, the Popal family arrived at their new temporary home at Saint Mark’s, where they will be staying for a time on the cathedral campus. Saint Mark’s is providing them emergency housing until they get their bearings, and we will support them in the months to come as they make the transition.

They arrived with lots of smiles and excitement to be in Seattle after 22 long hours of travel with a toddler and baby! The family consists of Sajad, Fareda, their son Mustafa (2 years old) and daughter Oswa (4 months old). Since their arrival, the Popals have been settling in, getting acquainted with the surrounding neighborhood, focusing on English studies and making plans for their new life in the U.S.

If you see them out and about the cathedral campus, don’t hesitate to extend to them a warm welcome and greetings! They welcome the interaction with the Saint Mark’s community and are grateful for the kindness and hospitality of many since their arrival.

A little about them and hopes for the future   

In Afghanistan, Sajad worked as an electrician and hopes to eventually work in that field again. Fareda is a graduate of Kabul University with a focus in legal studies. She worked as an attorney and most recently as a judge. She spent her first year as a judge working in criminal courts, and then three years making judgements on domestic abuse cases. When the government fell into Taliban hands, women judges were immediately at high risk. Fareda describes the day of the Taliban takeover as an “unreal dream.” (This podcast episode telling the stories of women judges in Afghanistan will give some idea of the danger she experienced.) Fareda hopes to find work and obtain a master’s degree. She is researching scholarship opportunities.

The Popals went into hiding for one month until Fareda’s international association of women judges was able to help them escape to a refugee camp in United Arab Emirates, where they remained for over a year. Both Sajad and Fareda have close family members in Afghanistan at very high risk due to their past work with American military forces, and are awaiting evacuation opportunities.

How to help    

The Popals are sponsored by the Diocese of Olympia’s Refugee Resettlement Office with support from the Saint Mark’s community. However, they left their country with few belongings and are rebuilding their household with two small children, so there’s lot’s to do! They have identified their highest needed items. To assist with new or gently used items, please see the sign-up page here. Please review the available home and clothing items and click on the button to sign up. Items may be new or gently used and dropped off at the Saint Mark's Cathedral front desk or in the donation bin in the cookie corner of the nave. Sign-ups will be available through Thursday, January 26. The donation bin will be out until January 31. Thank you!

If you wish to be added to the Refugee/Sanctuary ministry group communications, and receive further updates on ways to walk alongside the Popal family as they integrate into U.S. life, please email Rev. Emily Austin, Deacon, at eaustin@saintmarks.org. Kathy Sodergren and I will be providing updates.

New 40s/50s Ministry Launch: Let’s Do Bruch

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SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 12:15 P.M., Leffler House

Have you “aged out” of the 20s/30s group, or are you 40+ and desire fellowship and friendship centered around opportunities for fellowship and shared prayer? A new ministry for folks in their 40s and 50s is forming. Gather for brunch on Sunday, January 29, served in Leffler Living Room, starting after the 11 a.m. liturgy ends. (Leffler Living Room is on the south side of the Cathedral Campus, just across the parking lot). Curate Linzi Stahlecker will join for conversation. Questions? Contact Sacristan Michael Seewer: mseewer@saintmarks.org

Sermon and Forum with The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson

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SERMON: SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, at the 9 and 11 a.m. services

"FRIENDS TALKING" FORUM: 10:10–10:50 A.M., Bloedel Hall

Saint Mark's is honored to welcome (back) The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson, Canon for Multicultural Ministries & Community Transformation of the Diocese of Olympia, as guest preacher on January 15, the weekend of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Carla served as a Lutheran pastor for 13 years before coming to the Episcopal Church. After being received into this communion in 2001, she was an active member of Saint Mark’s Cathedral for several years. Following her ordination to the priesthood in the Diocese of Olympia in 2009, she also served for a time as Priest Associate at the cathedral. She is renowned for her compelling sermons, and has been awarded the Bishop's Preaching Award multiple times. Between the 9 and 11 a.m. services that morning, Carla will participate in a "Friends Talking" forum with Dean Thomason in Bloedel Hall.

Addiction and Love: Reclaiming Our True Identity

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UPDATE: Due to an oversight, this presentation was inadvertently not recorded. We apologize for the inconvenience.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2023, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall and online via Zoom. Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family).

Facilitated by Killian Noe. A presentation of The Wisdom School at Saint Mark's.

Most of us suffer from mistaken identity. We identify as the trauma we have endured or the behaviors that emerge from that trauma. The spiritual journey is the life- long journey of reclaiming our truest identity, which is Love. We will reflect on the many ways we numb our pain instead of staying present to and being transformed by our pain and we will celebrate the hope/joy of living from Love.

Killian Noe is the Founder of the Recovery Café Network, and is the author of Finding Our Way Home and Descent Into Love. Read more about Killian here.

Program is free; register here for Zoom link; no need to register for in-person attendance. Optional community dinner served at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family).

2022 New Year’s Eve Labyrinth Walk and Midnight Eucharist

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Midnight Eucharist at the center of the labyrinth, observing the Feast of the Holy Name.

Since 1999, Seattle's most peaceful New Year's tradition.

As the old year passes and a new one begins, take time in the quiet, candle-lit space of the cathedral nave to pause, look inward, and experience a large indoor labyrinth laid out in the nave.

Invitations to other contemplative practices will be offered, and musical accompaniment will be provided by guest musicians throughout the evening. Drop by any time between 6 p.m. and midnight; stay for a few minutes or a few hours.

This year, activities especially appropriate for younger children will also be available. Tea and cookies will be served.

At this time masks are recommended inside the cathedral building. However, masks will be required while walking the labyrinth itself, due to the unavoidable close proximity to others that can occur while walking the path.

All are welcome. Suggested donation: $5 or $15/family.

Check out this 2015 Seattle Times article about the event!

At the stroke of midnight, a special, intimate service of Holy Eucharist is offered in the center of the labyrinth, observing the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus—a beautiful way to begin 2023. Canon Jennifer King Daugherty will preside.

2022 Musician line-up:

  • 6–7 p.m.  •  More Luck To Us, family folk group
  • 7–8 p.m.  •  Mel Butler (Saint Mark’s Canon Musician Emeritus), piano & viola
  • 8–9 p.m.  •  Seastar (Fay Wiedenhoeft & Ron Allen), Celtic-inspired heart music.
  • 9–10 p.m.  •  Deborah Brown, psaltery
  • 10–11 p.m.  •  Lynn Markova, solo vocals

The 2022 Pageant of the Nativity

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, 2023, 7 P.M., in the cathedral nave and livestreamed


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 7 P.M., in the cathedral nave and livestreamed

Saint Mark's Pageant of the Nativity is a children's Christmas pageant like no other. In 2015, the leadership of Saint Mark's Cathedral formulated a vision for a offering that centered Holy Scripture, took full advantage of the inspiring space of the cathedral nave, could be enjoyed by children and adults of every generation, and challenged the choristers of the cathedral to new heights of musical excellence.

Video of the pageants of years past can be seen here. Each year, a different ensemble of instrumentalists creates a different theme for the musical selections—from the colorful Celtic instruments of 2016, to the intimate string quartet in 2019, to an American folk ensemble for last year. This year's offering will feature a spectacular brass ensemble, which, when paired with the mighty Flentrop, is sure to raise the roof!

Don't miss this prayerful and inspirational meditation on Christ's coming into our world—join in person in the cathedral nave, or via livestream.

Radix 9: Hope in Hard Times

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Art by Saint Mark's community member Sandy Nelson; used by permission. (Click to enlarge.) Learn more about Sandy and her work here.

The Return of The Radix Project

OPENING PLENARY: SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2023, 7–8 P.M., online via Zoom only

Click here to download the participant packet (pdf), containing guidelines, scripture selections, discussion questions, and accompanying visual art.

The Radix Project is an opportunity to gather in small groups, share their stories, reflect on Holy Scripture and sacred art, and pray for one another with intention. This fall, the theme for Radix 9 is Hope in Hard Times.

As Christians, we are called to be people of hope, but what does that mean? In the face of so many challenges—globally, ecologically, economically, socially, and individually—it can be difficult to avoid falling prey to cynicism or even despair. Our scriptures are replete with words of encouragement that do not deny the struggles and suffering of life while also offering a buoyant resilience that is nourished by expectant hope—not that God will swoop in and sweep it all away, but that God is stirring in this world with us, and has endowed us with gifts that sustain us until we are primed to see (really see!) the brilliant inbreaking of the holy and healing presence of God’s hope in us, for us, and for all creation. We discover this beautiful truth in community, and Radix groups are designed to help us consider what that looks like. All are welcome and encouraged to participate in a Radix small group.

The Plenary Presentation with Dean Thomason and the Radix Project team will be Sunday, January 8, 7 p.m., via Zoom only. All are welcome and encouraged to join the Plenary, whether or not you plan to participate in the small groups.

UPDATE: The plenary presentation was inadvertently not recorded. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Groups will meet weekly for six weeks beginning the week of January 8. (Sunday groups will start on January 15 and end on February 19.) Learn more about Radix groups and see video and materials from previous iterations here. Questions? Email radix@saintmarks.org

Masking and Public Health Update—December 2022

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DECEMBER 14, 2022

Dear friends,

As you have likely noted, late last week King County Public Health officials reasserted a strong recommendation for masks to be worn in public indoor settings (which would include church services). The primary reason for this is the confluence of three viruses—COVID, influenza and RSV—sweeping through the population as winter approaches. The impetus for this reassertion of the mask recommendation at this time is about hospitalization rates and capacity, and the fact that our health care system is teetering with overloaded staff, insufficient beds to care for all needing inpatient care, long wait times in emergency departments, etc. It is incumbent on us to do our part with this in mind.

Doing our part means a few very important things, and I ask that we each take these very seriously:

  1. If you are sick, stay home! If someone in your close orbit falls ill, you need to stay home! If you have any respiratory symptoms, a new headache, sore throat, congestion—lie low, allowing time to declare whether it is an acute illness or not, and consider testing.
  2. Get your flu vaccine and COVID boosters.
  3. Mask when indoors in public settings (grocery, church, concert halls, holiday parties, church, etc.). We expect things will subside again as warmer weather returns, but for now, we can do this.

At this point, the public health advisory is a “mask recommendation” rather than a “mask mandate,” and Saint Mark’s Cathedral will follow their advisory as part of our commitment to the welfare of all. Our signage will change accordingly this week, but the south pews remain a distanced and masked section. The rest of our seating is “mask recommended but not required.” And please remember there is livestream for our principal services, including Christmas Eve.

It is my hope that if enough of us engage these guidelines, we may avert a more stringent intervention prompted by worsening crisis in the health care system. As I have said several times in these last three years, we are in this together, and what we do impacts others. I am grateful for this community and your willingness to adapt as needed.

Blessings and peace,

The Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason, Dean & Rector

Becoming and Belonging: Embodied Spirituality in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

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TWO WEDNESDAYS, DECEMBER 7 & 14, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall and online via Zoom. Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family). NOTE: This presentation has been rescheduled from its original date


The Wisdom School at Saint Mark's presents this timely presentation from Dean Steve Thomason. We are in a paradigm shift of seismic proportions.  Drawing on the evolutionary theology of Teilhard de Chardin and the ground-breaking postulations by Ilia Delio, we will explore what embodied spirituality means in a post-human world where climate change, artificial intelligence, and modern medicine converge to create an altered dynamic in which humans exist and evolve. What is the role of spirituality in this increasingly complex and complicated world?

Program is free. Optional community dinner served at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family).

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Comfort and Peace at Christmas: A Service of Healing for Aching Hearts

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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18, 7 P.M., Thomsen Chapel (in lieu of the Sunday evening Contemplative Eucharist) 

Although the Christmas season is claimed by our culture as festive and happy, for many people it is a painful time of year. Memories of loved ones who have passed away or other losses can stir up grief and exacerbate loneliness. For those who are grappling with the loss of health or happier times, the expectation of jolliness can feel oppressive. And for others, preparation for Christmas stirs up a general sadness that is hard to pin down.

Saint Mark’s has a long-standing tradition of holding a “Blue Christmas” service to create space for quiet and peace for those who experience Christmas as difficult or painful. This year, a service of healing for aching hearts entitled “Comfort and Peace at Christmas” will be held Sunday, December 18 at 7 p.m. in Thomsen Chapel. We will acknowledge the grief, sadness, and other uncomfortable feelings of the Christmas season and offer them to the One who loves us and helps us to bear our burdens. All will be invited to name those for whom we desire God’s care and grace. In addition, participants can light a candle as a sign of turning toward God’s love, and receive individual prayers for healing, with anointing and laying on of hands, for themselves or on behalf of another.

All are welcome at this service, wherever you are on your spiritual journey or whatever concerns you bring.

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