Mothered by God: Divine Feminine and the Black Madonna

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A Saturday Workshop with Christena Cleveland, Ph.D.

SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2023, 9 A.M.–2:30 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall and online via Zoom; registration required for either option. 

The Divine is not limited to one gender or race, but for many people the dominant image of God they’ve experienced is that of a white male. Such a poverty of metaphor limits not only our understanding of the Holy One who overflows all human categories but also reinforces white supremacy and patriarchy. Join Dr. Christena Cleveland as she explores the Divine Feminine, especially in the context of her 400-mile walking pilgrimage across central France in search of ancient Black Madonna statues.

Cost: $65 (for both online and in-person participants). Scholarships available. Includes a light lunch and snacks for those participating in person. Registration required; please submit the form below or here

Dr. Christena Cleveland is a social psychologist, public theologian, author, and activist. She is the founder and director of the Center for Social Justice and Renewal as well as its sister organization, Sacred Folk. She is the author of Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart (2013), and God is a Black Woman (2022). Learn more about Christena here.

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Share Your Creation Care Story!

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May 2023

The Creation Care Ministry is creating a Storytelling Project to allow parishioners to share actions they are taking related to Creation Care, as a way for parishioners to share their good work and to encourage others to help reduce climate change. Stories can be about any action you are taking, large or small, to care for creation and mitigate climate change. Stories can take the form of a brief written essay, a video, a photo album, an infographic, or a piece of podcast-style audio. Sharing these stories can help others to learn, lead to new ideas about what to do, and be an inspiration for others to take action too.

Creating and Contributing Your Story

Families and individuals in the congregation can decide on the story they want to share. If you'd like input on their idea, check with Richard Hartung at

Once you've decided on what you'd like to share, you can tell the story using whatever media you prefer. Write a story, record a short video or podcast using their phone, create a collections of photos with captions, or use another way of communicating their story. Written stories should be 300 words or less. Videos and podcasts should be less than 2 minutes and preferably less than 90 seconds. (While writing or recording a longer story can be tempting, many people will not read or watch stories longer than these length!) Anyone can contribute and everyone is welcome to contribute more than one story.

If there's a story you'd like to tell, but you don't feel that you can write/film/record it yourself, please reach out so the ministry can match you up with a writer or other collaborator.

The story should focus on a specific action you have taken related to Creation Care, including what you did, how you did it, and any impact you saw from taking action. Even small actions can make a big difference, so sharing any action you’ve taken can be beneficial. Some examples of possible stories include:

  • Expanding from meatless Monday to add on Meatless Tuesday.
  • Walking to meet a friend or to go shopping rather than driving.
  • Installing a heat pump.

When you have completed your story, please send it to Richard and the Creation Care Ministry team will read/watch/listen to the story and may share feedback or suggest changes.

Once the story has been reviewed and finalized, it will posted on the cathedral website, and shared on social media, in cathedral newsletters, and other channels. Storytellers will be credited in the post, although you may remain anonymous if you prefer.

More Information

For more information about the storytelling project or to provide suggestions, please contact Richard Hartung at, Marjorie Ringness at or Kathy Minsch

Seattle Service Corps Celebration

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TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 7–8:30 P.M., in the cathedral nave

You’re invited! Please join Service Corps members past and present to celebrate the life of the Seattle Service Corps ministry at Saint Mark’s. It will be an evening of memories, photographs, stories and gratitude. There will also be a short liturgy to commemorate the closing of the program. We will have desserts and beverages to share. All are welcome!

Please RSVP to Luke Abdow using the form found here.

Questions? Reach out to Luke at:

Juneteenth 2023 Liturgy & Potluck BBQ

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The Black/African American Circle of the Diocese of Olympia invites you to a special Juneteenth liturgy and potluck BBQ! The worship service will feature poetry, music, and dance by local African American artists with The Rev. Malcolm McLaurin preaching and The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson presiding. Big thanks for the vision and ministry of the Rev. Beverly Tasy, liturgist. A special offering will be taken up in support of the Richard Younge Curacy fund.

After the service, all are welcome to enjoy a potluck BBQ on the Cathedral lawn. Please RSVP here to let us know what you plan on bringing. Protein will be provided. Come learn more about Circles of Color, the PNW Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians, and our friends at Nurturing Roots Farm. Join us in celebrating freedom and the gifts of our Black/African American community!

June 19 commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and is one of the longest-celebrated African American holidays. Learn more about the history of Juneteenth here and Juneteenth resources for families can be found on Canon Barrie’s blog.

Celebrating Pauli Murray, the First Queer Saint in The Episcopal Church

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TAIZÉ PRAYER LITURGY: SUNDAY, JULY 2, 4:30 P.M., in the cathedral nave and livestreamed. (QuiC Meet & Greet to follow in the cathedral nave)

FORUM: WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 6 P.M., Bloedel Hall and via Zoom

The Saint Mark's Queer in Christ Ministry has planned two events in July honoring The Rev. Pauli Murray, the first Black person perceived as a woman in the U.S. to become an Episcopal priest, and the first queer person added to The Episcopal Church's "Calendar of Saints" (called Lesser Feasts & Fasts). Murray's feast day is July 1.

Taizé Prayer Liturgy in Honor of Pauli Murray, Priest, Activist, Scholar, and Poet

A special Taizé Prayer liturgy will be offered Sunday, July 2, including readings and prayers by Pauli Murray and specially chosen music. (This service is offered in the first-Sunday, 4:30 p.m. time usually taken by Choral Evensong, which will be on summer hiatus.) A Queer in Christ Meet & Greet will follow the liturgy in the southeast corner of the nave. Contact Michael Seewer to learn more:

Forum on Pauli Murray, Priest, Scholar, Activist, and Poet

On Wednesday, July 12, at 6 p.m., noted author (and creator of the Brave Sis Project) Rozella Kennedy will present an evening hybrid forum in Bloedel Hall and on Zoom, exploring who Pauli Murray was, their life as a priest, activist, scholar, and poet, and why their story is important to us today. Stay tuned for more details about this event.

Neighborhood Eucharist 2023

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SATURDAY, JUNE 24, 4–5 P.M., at the home of Betsy Bell (RSVP for address)

All are invited for a Neighborhood Eucharist in West Seattle at the home of Betsy Bell.

These neighborhood liturgies services were presented in various locations last summer, and are designed to be especially family-friendly, meaningful, and brief—a great way to strengthen the connections among us as well as to God's good earth.

RSVP to Canon Barrie and you’ll receive the address, parking, and other information:

Beekeeper Forum & Blessing of the Hives, 2023

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SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 10:10-10:50 A.M., meet in Bloedel Hall 

Don't miss this Sunday forum between the 9 and 11 a.m. services on June 4. All are invited to taste the honey made by the bees that live on the Saint Mark’s property, meet the beekeepers, learn about pollinators, and try a bee craft. At the conclusion of the forum, everyone will head outside, and The Rev. Linzi Stahlecker will bless the hives for the new season.

See a video introduction to the beekeeping ministry from Fall 2020 below:

Hymn Sing, July 2023

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SUNDAY, JULY 16, 12:30–2 P.M., in the organ loft 

Hosted by the 20s/30s Group; All are welcome

Back by popular request! Join Canon Michael Kleinschmidt for a fabulous “back-stage” pass experience of Saint Mark’s famous Flentrop Organ. We’ll gather for snacks and fellowship in the nave at 12:30 p.m. and then head up to the organ loft at 1 p.m. for a brief tour followed by a hymn sing along. Email Bryan ( for questions or to request your favorite hymn title from The Hymnal 1982.

Saint Mark’s at Pride Night of the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Storm

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Mariners: TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 6:40 P.M., T-Mobile Park (or meet at the cathedral at 5:15 p.m.)

Storm: THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 7 p.m., Climate Pledge Arena

Deadline to register: SUNDAY, JUNE 4.

Join Queer in Christ ministry group members and friends for the Mariner's Pride Night at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday, June 13! The game starts at 6:40 p.m., and those who wish to travel together are invited to meet at Saint Mark's at 5:15 to walk together to the Capitol Hill light rail station. Reserve your Mariners tickets by completing this form. Tickets cost $19. For questions about the Mariners game, write to Rose Hazard at:

The following week, on Thursday, June 22, you are invited to join together at Seattle Storm's Pride Night at Climate Pledge Arena. Reserve your Seattle Storm tickets by completing this form. For the Storm event, the ticket cost is contingent upon us getting a minimum of 20 reservations, and then each ticket will cost $45. For questions about the Storm game, write to Michael Seewer at:

Deadline to reserve your tickets for either event is end of day on Sunday, June 4. You will be asked to pay for your ticket if you submit a reservation, even if you are not able to attend in the end. If you purchase a ticket and end up not being able to attend, you can gift your ticket to somebody else.

A Season for Gun Violence Prevention—May/June 2023

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 A Message from Dean Thomason

The epidemic of gun violence in our nation continues to take its toll, and we must maintain a resolve to resist it becoming normalized. It is not okay that there have been more mass shootings than days thus far this year. It is not okay that more than 40,000 die each year to gun violence in this nation. It is not okay that death by firearms is the number one cause of death for children and teenagers in this nation.

Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) has issued a call to all congregations in the Episcopal Church to a Season for Gun Violence Prevention, following the Feast of Pentecost, May 28. This is a call to deepen our commitment as people of faith to resist complacency and to confront the epidemic of gun violence through action at the grassroots level in our parishes and dioceses. Through liturgical action, public witness and legislative advocacy, we will continue to lend our voice to the cause with intention, and we will engage the EPF’s Gun Violence Curriculum as part of our work. You can read more at:

For a decade now (since Sandy Hook in December 2012), Saint Mark’s Cathedral has also been engaged with Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR) as a member organization supporting the legislative work of this broad alliance. We have made considerable strides in safe gun legislation here in this state. It can be done. It must be done!

The weekend of June 2–4 is Wear Orange Weekend, a tangible way to raise awareness about the tragic reality of this epidemic. I hope you will consider wearing orange at points across that weekend as a sign of your commitment to this cause.

In it all, I bid your prayers for our nation, for the victims of gun violence, for our children, for our lawmakers and civic leaders, and for the cathedral community, that we may have the courage and resolve to engage this work with grace and fortitude. I am,

Your Brother in Christ,


The Very Reverend Steven L. Thomason
Dean and Rector


Oxbow Farm CSA Pickup at the Cathedral

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Saint Mark's is excited to be offering Saturday pickups for Oxbow’s Farm Share program. Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center is a nonprofit organization located on 240 acres of forest and farmland bordering the Snoqualmie River in Carnation, Washington. Invest in Oxbow’s Farm Share (formally called a CSA) and they will bring fresh organic veggies from their farm in Carnation, Washington to be picked up at Saint Mark's on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and noon. (Pickup is also available on Mercer Island on Sundays.) You can sign up for one season, or bundle up to save some money and get access to more goodies all year long.

For more information and to sign up, go here. (Select "Main Season")

Guest Preacher Preacher on May 21: The Rev. Canon Britt Olson

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SUNDAY, MAY 21, at all morning services

Special "Friends Talking" Forum with Dean Thomason: 10:10–10:50 A.M., Bloedel Hall

We are delighted to welcome The Rev. Canon Britt Olson, vicar of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ballard, as guest preacher Sunday May 21 at all three morning services. She has guided the church replant and St. Luke’s redevelopment project which will soon include church space, retail, and affordable housing spanning the entire city block. She is recognized as a leader in congregational development and parish systems, having served as Canon to the Ordinary and Canon for Evangelism and Congregational Development in two California dioceses, as well as serving parishes in Oregon, before coming to Seattle eight years ago.

Pentecost Polar Plunge!

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SUNDAY, MAY 28, 7 A.M., meet at Madison Park Beach

Let's gather for an early morning dip in Lake Washington that promises to wake up the senses and have us feeling fully alive and ready to celebrate Pentecost! We'll meet at the Bathhouse, at Madison Park Beach at 7 a.m., pray then plunge, then head over to Leffler House for a shared breakfast. We'll be dried-off and well-fed in plenty of time for the 9 a.m. liturgy! Dip in whatever you're happy getting wet (doesn't have to be a swimsuit) and bring a towel! Be in touch with Rev. Linzi if you have questions or would like to bring something to share for breakfast.

Pentecost Ride/Run/Roll at Seward Park

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SUNDAY, MAY 28, 3-4:30 P.M., Seward Park, Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle

Calling all bikers, scooters, walkers, rollerbladers, runners, unicycles and so forth to join in a Pentecost Sunday Ride/Run/Roll around Seward Park in Southeast Seattle. We will meet on the lawn near the Seward Park Playground at 3 p.m. From there, we will head around the Seward Park 2-mile paved and flat loop. The day ends with the traditional root beer floats! All ages and generations are encouraged to join in. Families with children should plan to chaperone their own children around the loop as needed. The park is a popular place on Sunday afternoons so allow time for parking! Write to Canon Barrie with questions:

Dr. Christena Cleveland and the Black Madonnas: The Pilgrimage of a Womanist Theologian

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TWO WEDNESDAYS, MAY 10 & 24, 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).

The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson will lead a discussion of the book God Is a Black Woman by Dr. Christena Cleveland, as seen through the lens of pilgrimage. The book itself came out of her journey to see the Black Madonnas of France. In this series we will explore the major themes of Dr. Cleveland's latest book.

NEW LINK FOR PART 2: Join online using this Zoom link.

Dr. Cleveland will be visiting the Cathedral in June. This two-part series is intended to help people prepare for the material she will present when she comes to Saint Mark's. Attendees are asked to view either of the two podcasts (linked below) in which Dr. Cleveland is interviewed, and then to read the book.

A complete video of Part 1 may be seen below:

A Rogation Day Liturgy, 2023

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2023, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person only in Bloedel Hall (and throughout the cathedral grounds). Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family).

Join Rev. Stahlecker, Canon Rosario-Cruz, and Canon Barrie as we celebrate and give thanks for the gifts of Creation with an outdoor liturgy for Rogation Day, an observance that dates to the 5th century. For 1,500 years, the weekdays preceding Ascension Day have been marked by outdoor prayers and thanksgiving for the fruitful Earth. Following the community dinner in Bloedel Hall, participants will process around the cathedral grounds, stopping to reflect and pray at significant locations. The liturgy ends with includes a portion of the Great Litany.

UPDATE: The leaflet for this year's procession may be seen here

Tent City 3 Returns to Saint Mark’s Cathedral for Summer 2023—Volunteers Needed

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Tent City 3 is returning to the Cathedral Parking lot from June 17 through September 9, 2023! Our Meal Coordinating Committee welcomes people to help us cook and serve Sunday night dinners each of these 12 weeks at 6 p.m. Our friends will come inside Bloedel Hall, and we will join them for a sit-down meal. No special skills are needed for those who greet and serve, and our able kitchen team can train kitchen volunteers. Families are welcome, and there will be meaningful tasks for all ages. The shift hours depend on the volunteer task, but they range from 3 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

We are also asking for your generosity in donating move-in supplies: tents, tarps, cots, sleeping mats and bags, and blankets. Tent City has its own website which lists other needs at Donations may be brought to the Cathedral office Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30p.m. or to Chris Rigos after the 11 a.m. service each Sunday.

Please join us for this fun and important work! For further information, please contact Chris Rigos at, Maris Olsen at, or Deborah Person at Deborah is our schedule coordinator and will add your name to our volunteer list for scheduling.

Palestine on the Edge: Where Do We Go From Here?

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SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall or online via Zoom

Hosted by Amnesty International: Campaign for Palestinian Human Rights [Pacific NW]; co-sponsored by Saint Mark's Mideast Focus Ministry, The Bishop's Committee for Justice & Peace in the Holy Land of the Diocese of Olympia, and Kairos Puget Sound Coalition

Please join this Saturday afternoon conversation with Miko Peled, Israeli-American activist for justice and author of The General’s Son: Journal of an Israeli in Palestine, and Maya Garner, advocate for justice in Palestine and founder of Friends of Hebron, an American non-profit working with peace and justice advocates in the West Bank. Following the conversation, Peled will sign copies of the new Tenth Anniversary Edition of The General's Son, and the Saint Mark's Mideast Focus Ministry will officially open the collection of resources now housed in the Bloedel "Center Stage" meeting room.

A complete video is now available below:

Youth Group Pizza, Hang-Out, and Body Prayer

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Youth Group Pizza, Hang-Out, and Body Prayer with Saint Mark's Coolest Grandma Betsy Bell

SUNDAY, MAY 7, 5:30–7 P.M., cathedral nave

Betsy has probably hiked more mountain miles than you've walked in your life. She's fantastic. After we fill you up with pizza, Betsy will lead us in Qi Gong practice and Body Prayer. Don't know what that is? Good. Come try out a very different way to ground yourself in the Holy.

Sign up here so we order enough pizza.

For more info email Wendy Barrie at:

Transitions in COVID Precautions—May 2023

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MAY 3, 2023

Dear Friends,

As you likely know, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declared by the federal government in 2020 will be expiring on May 11. It has been a long, arduous journey, and we are keenly aware that more than 1.1 million Americans have died from the disease. Sensible precautions will remain in place—stay home if sick, consider testing and follow protocols for isolation, get vaccinated, etc. But the broad public health guidelines of distancing, avoiding public indoor spaces, etc. are ending, and Saint Mark’s Cathedral will follow suit.

Of course, this does not mean that the virus that causes COVID is no longer with us, nor does it mean that it is no longer a serious illness for some. It means that the virus is endemic, and we are learning to live with it while also moving forward with our lives. Anyone may wear a mask, and perhaps some should. We all should avoid groups when symptomatic for infectious respiratory illness (that is not a new precaution). We should use good hygiene (e.g., handwashing) and get vaccinated when boosters become available for our demographic.

Following changes in public health guidelines, we will no longer require vaccinations for staff or liturgical leaders, nor will we retain a distanced section in the nave for worship after May 11, 2023. Wear a mask and sit wherever you like. And know the livestream is available at 11 a.m. Sundays and special services so you can actively participate when home sick.

I know not all will agree with these changes at this time, and I am happy to address your concerns. Please contact me directly. The cathedral community is large, diverse, and has conducted itself with much grace and goodwill for one another through the pandemic. Many have found their spiritual home here since March of 2020, and I trust more will in the coming months and years. We will make our way together, and for that I am exceedingly grateful.

Yours in Christ,

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

Bake for Lowell Teachers!

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DROP-OFF ON SUNDAY, MAY 7; sign up requested.

Help us honor teachers at Lowell Elementary School during Teacher Appreciation Week! The teachers of Lowell Elementary, where a disproportionate number of students face challenging family circumstances, work extremely hard all year, and the cathedral is thrilled to be able to express our appreciation in this way.

A neighboring PTA has gifted a coffee cart to Lowell on Monday, May 8, so the cathedral community has been asked to provide baked goods (muffins, cookies, bars) to be dropped off at Saint Mark’s on Sunday, May 7, to be delivered by the cathedral staff the next day. Sign up to contribute using this link. Email Canon Barrie with questions:

Behind the Seams: Ugly Clothes with 20s/30s member Clara Berg

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SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2–3 P.M., MOHAI and White Swan Public House. Sign up required.

Hosted by 20s/30s—All are welcome 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! The aesthetics of fashion are constantly changing and with it our perception of what looks good. We’ll join MOHAI Curator of Collections and 20s/30s member, Clara Berg, for an in-person, one-hour session to view the historic fashions in MOHAI’s collection which were once stylish but don’t translate well to our modern eyes. What do you think—is it fabulous or frightful?

Some may choose to join early (12:30 p.m.) to visit the museum’s exhibit and/or join after (3:30 p.m.) for snacks and refreshments at White Swan Public House.

Tickets are required for Behind the Seams admission. A limited number of discounted tickets from Saint Mark’s are available ($20). Sign up here. Questions? Email Betsy Heimburger:


Sacred Listening as a Transformational Practice

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 6:45–8:15 P.M., presenters online via Zoom. Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family).

Please note: The presenters, Rev. Stahlecker and Canon Rosario-Cruz, will be leading this forum online via Zoom. The Wednesday evening community dinner will be served in Bloedel Hall 6–6:30 p.m. as usual. Those who wish to attend the dinner and then participate in the forum will join together in Cathedral House Room 210.

Facilitated by The Rev. Linzi Stahlecker & The Rev. Canon Eliacín Rosario-Cruz. An offering of The Wisdom School at Saint Mark's.

Sacred listening is more than the hearing of words and sounds. Sacred listening is an invitation into relationship and an honoring of the ways in which the Divine presence is felt and responded to in our lives as a source of transformation. In this forum, we will learn about—and practice—various ways to cultivate sacred listening, how to notice and recognize the resistances and avoidances that may hinder our transformation, and we will create spaces together that honor the sharing of our stories and the fostering of transformative relationships as a way to enhance and expand our relationship with God.

Note: Canon Rosario-Cruz was ill and could not participate. A complete video is now available below:

Flower Arranging as a Spiritual Practice Cancelled

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UPDATE: This forum has been cancelled. The community dinner will be offered 6–6:30 p.m. as usual.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall only. Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family).


The members of the Flower Ministry create exceptional arrangements in the nave and chapel each week, taking the beauty in nature and transforming it, through human reason and skill, into striking displays—as a service to the community and as an offering of beauty back to the One who made it. Gather for this in-person only forum with members of the flower ministry and explore together questions such as: Why are flowers part of rituals and offerings in almost every religion in the world? What has the symbolism of flowers meant for Christians specifically? What is the role of the floral artist in showing off the natural beauty of plants and flowers to their best advantage? All are welcome.

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