Meet the 2020–21 Seattle Service Corps!

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Check out this video by and about the current Seattle Service Corps!

The seven women of the 2020–21 cohort extend pandemic-safe hospitality with a virtual tour of their home. Learn who is who, where they're from, and where they serve. Produced, directed, and edited by Stephanie and Caroline.

Stewardship Reflection and Community Discussion

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Each Tuesday during Stewardship Season, October 4–November 8, a member of the Stewardship Ministry is posting a brief reflection and invitation to discussion in the Saint Mark's Community Life closed Facebook group. If you do not use Facebook, here is the final reflection from November 3, posted by The Rev Canon Cristi Chapman, along with highlights of the subsequent discussion. Please add your thoughts in the comments below!

My coffee table was anything but pristine this morning, featuring at least nine different containers. The obvious ones were present: cereal bowl, empty mug, and tea strainer. Several candleholders occupied one corner. On the other side, a ceramic bowl was filled with buttons and stickers and, yes, dust.

It is fitting that a container is the image for this year’s annual campaign. By now, you probably have seen the clear glass bowl, full of colored stones, during the live stream. Like every aspect of our liturgy, the bowl serves a purpose. There’s a practical aspect, of course. Each stone represents a pledge for 2021. And wow, it’s much easier to move 500 stones when they are all gathered into one place! That’s not all, though. The glass container is also an outward sign of something profoundly important: God’s movement at Saint Mark’s and in our own lives. It is a tangible reminder of the Body of Christ and each of our part within it.

How has God been at work through you and through your experiences at Saint Mark’s in the last year?

Saint Mark’s has kept me connected to community even when we can’t physically be together. Our parish and Church is like the simple glass bowl, it holds a secure space for all of God’s diverse children. I meet God in that diversity and call to create a secure space in our church for all.Oh, the simple crystal bowl was my mom’s. It makes my heart sing to see it and I know mom is pleased it’s part of our appeal.
—Robert Stevens

Here is the reflection from October 27, posted by ministry team member Greg Simon.

Can Venmo be a sacrament? It has become one for me.

Julie and I fulfill our annual pledge to Saint Mark’s automatically – directly from our bank to the cathedral office every month. But I have still valued the ritual of hearing those offertory sentences and placing cash in our offertory basin every Sunday. Or I did until the pandemic happened. Since March, that sacramental act of giving during our liturgy now happens on Venmo.

I could say that the pandemic has upended many of our sacraments. Or I could say it has expanded them. As life has moved to “the cloud”, Zoom has become a space for sacrament. And Facebook. And Chromecast. Even Xfinity! When that all seems disorienting or even disturbing to me, I remind myself that people said the same thing about the printing press.

I think that our actions with money have always been a sacramental space. Our money decisions are, as the traditional catechism puts it, “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace”. Giving money directly connects our ordinary lives to the extraordinary life of God’s Kingdom. Our gifts to grow the Kingdom are, as the catechism says, “certain means by which we receive that grace”. Even if they happen over Venmo.

How has your sacramental giving changed since March?

I have been giving online for years, even since the option became available, mainly because I stopped carrying my checkbook, and it was a way for me to give "my first fruits" on payday.
Giving during this time of pandemic feels like a powerful connection. I think it always did, but I had so many other ways of connecting and interacting with all of you, that I didn't notice it as much. Now, when I give my gift, I take a little time, picture our church and our wonderful people, and savor the thought that I am continuing to be present with you all, even while apart physically.

—Lynne Markova

I donate using the text message system. Before, I’d send the message just before the offertory anthem at the 9:00 service, then sing that anthem since I’m in the Saint Mark’s Singers. Now, I do it from home at the same point in the online Sunday morning webcast. It is a symbolic way of putting something in the basket.

—Carleton MacDonald

Here is the reflection from October 20, posted by Vestry member and fashion historian Clara Berg, along with highlights of the subsequent discussion. Please add your thoughts in the comments below!

The stewardship collect for this year begins with, “Generous Creator, you knit us together into one common life.” For today’s stewardship reflection I want to muse a little on knitting as a theological metaphor. Knitting is known as a “single element” technique. That means knitting takes one continuous thread and then shapes it into something new. You begin with a ball of yarn and loop it in a specific way to form a hat or scarf or sweater. So being knit together implies that, like a strand of yarn, we are already connected to one another (as members of the human family and children of God). But being knit together means an added closeness and a new shape—which serves a fresh purpose. How have you felt knit into community at Saint Mark's?

"I love the "knit together" anthems - seeing all those faces I miss seeing in person....
It's important to me to walk around the grounds at least a couple of times a week. And sometimes chat with Ray"
—Greg Simon

"There was something comforting about seeing pictures of everyone's Wednesday evening dinners right after the building closed. Knowing that we were still finding a way to eat together but from our own homes was reassuring. It was also fun to discover what a deep bench of good chefs there are at Saint Mark's!"
—The Rev. Cristi Chapman

"Sometimes, especially when we have large meetings or classes, I like to arrive early and spend the first few minutes just scrolling through the gallery of faces, reminding me that we're all part of the same community even if we can't be together in person."
—Lynne Markova

"Clara, I’ll never use the phrase “knit together” in quite the same way ever again! What an beautiful and profound image... and it speaks exactly to what I’ve learned during the building closure: that this wasn’t just a group of people who happened to be in the same place as me on Sunday morning, and that we were actually connected in a deeper way all along."
—Greg Bloch

"It also implies a creation, as in "you knit me together in my mother's womb" from my favorite Psalm 139."
—Lynne Cobb

"I've been able to meet folks that I might not have met otherwise because of having more available on Zoom. I'm eager to see people in real life again and I'm thankful I can participate in some things that I couldn't have before."
—Amanda Osenga


Here is the reflection from October 6, posted by ministry co-chair Lynne Markova, along with highlights of the subsequent discussion. Please add your thoughts in the comments below!

Welcome to this week's Stewardship Reflection!

During this pandemic, two unique clouds have helped me to stay connected and avoid isolation. I am grateful for them both.

One is the technical computing cloud, the backbone of servers, other hardware and software that fuels our global network. It enables us to connect quickly, safely and virtually, whether through texting, emailing, attending (yet another) Zoom meeting, or my sharing this reflection. The other is our wonderful “Cloud of Witnesses,” our Saint Mark’s community that has gathered virtually in dozens of new and innovative ways, reminding us that we are not alone. We are still One Body, even during this difficult time, and, one day, we will gather in person again.

For me, making my pledge is one way of giving thanks to God for the gift of our community. It is also a tangible way I can contribute to others staying connected and can help to bring about our longed-for reunion, whenever it arrives.

How has God helped you to stay connected and “knit together” during this pandemic?

Thank you, Lynne! One of the ways I witnessed God working through Saint Mark's this summer was through Tent City 3. The hospitality of the community to care for our new neighbors was remarkable. So was the hospitality of the residents to the wider community. (More on that latter part in Sunday's sermon!) God *is* finding all kinds of ways to bring us knit us more closely to and with each other. What a great joy to witness!
—Cristi Chapman

Being part of the team that helps with the livestream production during the pandemic has been a discomfiting experience; the nave feels unnaturally sterile (no pun intended), and I'm acutely aware of the privilege of having access to the cathedral when so many hundreds of our fellow worshippers can't be there.

But when I read their comments on social media about how they follow along every week, how they stand and sing the hymns as we do every Sunday, it reminds me that we are all so deeply and powerfully connected. We have committed our time, our energy, and our money to this place, and I fully believe that God commits to us that we will never be alone.

Even as COVID-19 has taken away so much from us, God has given us so much; the gift of community, the gift of connection, the gift of love.
—Michael Perera

Lynne Markova replied: "Thank you, Michael ! I was on the Vestry when we voted to purchase the livestream equipment. I remember we were all very excited about the new technology and how it might make people feel more drawn in and included. I'm not sure if anyone envisioned it being the lifeline that it has proven to be. So many thanks to you and the rest of the team who work so hard to make the connection possible."

This summer we brought several Ministry groups together through “Virtual Popcorn HappyHours.” It was great to see familiar smiling faces and to hear voices of people we are in community with but have not seen since closure. It was as if time has not passed. It was a blessing.
Robert Stevens

Lynne Markova replied: "Thank you, Robert! The one I attended was so much fun. One of the things I try to do is arrive early to Zoom meetings, especially the larger ones, so I can scroll through and see everyone's faces.
As one of my friends and I agreed, if we *have* to live through a pandemic, at least we're doing it in a time where we have technology to keep us connected."

Erik Donner receives the Ky Chen Service Award

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Each year at Diocesan Convention, the Bishop recognizes a church employee in the diocese with The Ky Chen Employee Excellence “No Problem” Award, named after the staff member at Diocesan House who ran the print shop for 25 years, and famously replied "No problem!" to any request.

At this year's (virtual) diocesan convention, held last weekend, the 2020 Ky Chen award was presented to Saint Mark's Cathedral's own Erik Donner. As is made clear in the award citation, printed below, Erik serves an extraordinary number of different roles at the cathedral, and anyone who engages with Saint Mark's in any way has most likely experienced his dedication, conscientiousness, and efficiency first-hand.

Please read the Bishop's citation, and then watch the video of his acceptance below (or using this link). Congratulations, Erik!

2020 Ky Chen Award Citation

For several years Erik Donner has worn many hats at the cathedral—executive assistant to the dean, manager of accounts receivables, stewardship and membership support liaison, office manager and office volunteer coordinator, and the one who juggles many other responsibilities in this complex organization.

He always engages his work with grace and good will for all whom he encounters, and he has the deft gift of engaging parishioners in communication about money with non-anxious presence, a commitment to confidentiality and an eye toward the pastoral realities of people's relationship with money.

He greets all people with respect and a desire to help, no matter who it is that presents with an issue.

And on top of all that, he is a Cathedral Verger, acolyte, lector, altar guild member, and the spouse of Jenny, an equally gracious and active member of Saint Mark's.

Erik epitomizes the "no problem" approach to his work as ministry, and all at the cathedral are grateful for his presence among them.

The Bishop's presentation of the award may be seen in the video below, beginning at 24'40" (the final award presented in the video).

Tent City 3 at Saint Mark’s: A Report from Summer 2020

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Click the image below to see a pdf of this report as it appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of The Rubric. 

The following report was published in the Fall 2020 issue of The Rubric.

Ministry report by The Rev. Canon Cristi Chapman.

Between 2001 and 2013, Tent City 3 (TC3), a movable community of people who have experienced homelessness, took up residence at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle for three months each year. After a hiatus, they returned this summer in the midst of a global pandemic, arriving to set up camp on July 7. Tent cities began in Seattle in 1990, when a group of citizens experiencing homelessness came together to create a self-managing community run according to grassroots democratic principles. Thirty years later, the organization that grew out of this initiative, called SHARE/WHEEL, runs 11 indoor shelters and two tent cities, housing almost 500 individuals. During that time, the crisis of homelessness in the Seattle area has only become more acute. Today, Seattle has the third-largest homeless population in the nation, despite being only the 15th largest city. [citation]

Per an agreement with the City of Seattle, Tent City 3 sets up its facilities on the property of a church or other host and stays for approximately 90 days before moving on. Living in a tent is not the secure, permanent housing that everyone deserves; however, for some of those for whom such housing is inaccessible, a Tent City can be a better situation than more traditional homeless shelters. Unlike many shelters, it allows mixed-gender couples to live together and some animal companions can join them. In addition, the residents are not bound to restrictive curfews, which removes a significant barrier to employment (most residents of Tent City are employed full- or part-time).

TC3 resident Mary moved to the camp in late August after returning from Florida. She says it has been difficult for her to figure out how to finalize her claim for disability after a recent accident. In Florida, she had to meet with people in person to verify her claim, but with covid-19, those offices were closed. She moved back to Washington, in part, because the state offers more pathways for her to receive benefits. Mary was grateful to find a home at TC3 while she sorted out what was next. About TC3 and covid-19, Mary said, “You make the best out of whatever situation you find yourself in.” Mary’s motto was shared by many others who made their homes in tents outside the cathedral building this summer.

TC3 residents were not the only ones who had to adjust to covid-19. So did members from Saint Mark’s. In the past, many different groups at the cathedral would regularly interact with residents from the camp. While this summer’s building closure and physical distancing requirements made that more difficult, it didn’t stop ministry from happening. Instead, new ways developed to connect residents with the community. Members of Saint Brigid’s Banquet provided meals while adhering to the governor’s precautions. The cathedral provided pallets of water. Individuals brought other basic needs like socks, jeans, t-shirts, and can openers.

Parishioner Kathy Albert recently said of the work done by Saint Brigid’s Banquet: “We need to continue doing this kind of work! We could conceivably shut down this ministry out of consideration for our own health needs and those of the people around us. But what about the needs of the most vulnerable among us? Our faith tells us their needs are to be considered first.”

Tent City 3 packed up and moved to their next host on September 15. In this extraordinary and dangerous time, their presence was a gift and a blessing to the cathedral in so many ways. We continue to remember them in prayer, we decry and denounce the dehumanizing and degrading treatment to which those who have lost their home are subjected in this country, and we continue to work for a world in which all can live with safety and dignity.

United for Good: An Interfaith Election Contemplative Prayer Vigil Co-Sponsored by Saint Mark’s

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Click on the flyer image below to enlarge.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2020,  6:30 P.M., watch live here or on the Saint Mark's livestream page

This event is co-sponsored by Saint Mark's, St. James Catholic Cathedral, Temple de Hirsch Sinai, First African Methodist Episcopal, and the Church Council of Greater Seattle

Please join with Dean Thomason, virtually, as Saint Mark’s cosponsors this event with Temple DeHirsch Sinai, First AME Church, St. James Cathedral, and Church Council of Greater Seattle. Amidst the cacophonous noise of round-the-clock spin and the restless ticking of our anxious hearts, we gather in prayerful solidarity to settle our souls, as people of faith and citizens concerned for the well-being of our nation. As we pray for wisdom and grace, healing and connection, we draw on the broad and ancient wisdom to be still, entering the contemplative spirit that transcends word and speech, and rest for a moment of inspiration and intentional grounding. For more information, click here.

Voting, Politics, and the Church: A Message from Dean Thomason

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dear friends,

This Friday, October 16th, marks the opening day in this state for early voting in the November 3rd general election. As I consider my own ballot, I find myself prayerfully mindful of the right and privilege I have as a voting citizen in this nation. Not everyone is afforded the right, restrained either by law or by impediments of disenfranchisement or disinterest.

I am especially mindful of our nation in these turbulent days and prayerful for a peaceful election. I bid your prayers, too, that we may be given grace to be guided “by the better angels of our nature,” as Abraham Lincoln famously wrote in his first inaugural address, as the vituperations launched toward one another reached a boiling point. “Though passion may have strained, it must not break the bonds of our affection,” he said.

Many have offered spiritual counsel in recent weeks—good counsel—on ways to navigate this difficult stretch of days. I commend them to you here once more— name just a few. The common theme is perspective and grounding. As people of faith, we know such perspective and grounding are forged in the contemplative spirit of prayer and self-reflection, not the acrimonious energy oriented to the other. So I add my voice of entreaty to you: claim your spaces of contemplative quiet with intention in the coming days and weeks; turn off the cacophonous spin which feeds off worst-case hyperbole; turn into those spiritual practices that enable you to plant your whole self squarely with perspective and a firm grounding in the values you hold most dear. These values rise from our identity as God’s beloved.

I often get questions, or challenges really—that the Church and its leaders should refrain from entering the political fracas. I appreciate their sentiment, which I take to mean we should avoid using the pulpit to make decidedly partisan pronouncements. They often cite “separation of church and state” as the prevailing reproach against such activity. A closer read of the founding documents of this nation, however, and additional clarifying statements made by those who wrote them, draws an important distinction between the need for a wall “separating church and state,” and some corollary premise to separate religion from politics. The latter is a fabrication not intended by the founders, and they made that very clear. They saw political and religious expression as inexorably linked and believed one’s values were derived from the intermingling of the two. [note 1]

A person’s religion informs his politics, or it’s not much of a religion. When Americans speak of freedom these days, I think we largely intend a freedom from obligation to anyone else. I am free to do and say whatever I want. Unmoored by a commitment to the common good, our nation teeters perilously close to the precipice of a chasm, lured over the edge by songs of hatred and fear and hubris—a house divided cannot stand.

Our faith-informed notion of freedom comes with an undeniable sense of servanthood. Christian freedom intends the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—virtues that ultimately bear fruit when others experience them as gifts from you.It is dangerous to speak of politics and religion in the same conversation. I know it is. Such talk is fraught with chances to demand that we are right while others are wrong, or even worse, to claim hubristically that God is on our side. But it seems to me that we are living in a time when our religious virtues are desperately needed in the public discourse, and that is what we have to offer—not our claim of moral superiority, but our humble claim to Christ-like virtues offered to all as neighbors.

So vote, dear ones. Bless you in the act of voting. And may you be a blessing to all the families of the earth. I am,


The Very Reverend Steven L. Thomason

Dean and Rector

  1. Meacham, Jon. American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. New York: Random House, 2006. We must note the sad deficiencies of the Declaration of Independence and its authors who did not responsibly address the evil of slavery in this nation.

Virtual Choir Anthem Collection

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Inspired by the success of the "O come, O come Emmanuel" video, the next virtual choir video will again be for the entire cathedral community—a rendition of "Jesus Christ is risen today" for Easter Sunday! Click the image above for all the details.


In the Stewardship video above, Heather and Peter briefly reflect on their history at Saint Mark's, and then explain how the Saint Mark's virtual choir offerings came about.

Like many choral and instrumental ensemble around the world whose normal activities have been suspended due to the pandemic, the choirs of Saint Mark's Cathedral have turned to "virtual choir" offerings, in which choir members each record themselves singing their own part individually, and the videos are edited together to make one performance. While the experience for the choir members is nothing like gathering in person to sing in a choir, it is a valuable way to allow the participants to continue to offer their gifts in worship during this extraordinary time.

The process of editing together all the submitted videos is labor intensive and technically complicated. All the videos below were edited by longtime Cathedral Choir members Peter Garbes and Dr. Heather MacLaughlin Garbes, on a volunteer basis.

Their generosity of time and talent has been exceptional. Their many hours of work, combined with labor of the music staff in preparing the guide tracks and printed music, and of course the work of the choir members themselves, means that each video below represents dozens of hours of labor.

Jesus Christ is Risen Today! • April 4, 2021

O come O come, Emmanuel • November 29. 2020 (“O” Antiphons Liturgy)

Keep Your Lamps! (arr. Thomas) • November 8, 2020

At the River (Lowry/Copland) • November 1, 2020

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind (Parry) • October 11, 2020

Lord for Thy Tender Mercy’s Sake (attr. Farrant) • September 6, 2020

Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart) • July 26, 2020

If Ye Love Me (Tallis) • May 31, 2020

Stewardship Videos

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This year's stewardship campaign will feature videos from a number of community members, including brief messages included in Sunday morning worship, and longer videos and reflections send out via email and shared on social media.

Check back on this page—more videos will be added here as they are released in the coming weeks.

An Invitation from Dean Steve Thomason

Stewardship Ministry Co-Chairs Robert Stevens & Lynne Markova

Dr. Heather MacLaughlin Garbes & Peter Garbes

A Message of Gratitude from the Stewardship Ministry members

Noel House Ministry Update

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Our Noel House guests have found a new home!

The women who formerly slept on the floor of Bloedel Hall now have a permanent home in the Central area of Seattle. The building is a former day care center and is named the Bunny Wilburn Home, in honor of a woman who worked to establish an early childhood education facility in the space a few decades ago. Each woman has her own bed and space to keep belongings. They do not have to leave in the morning. What a blessing! Operation Sack Lunch is providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a full time case manager is onsite. Click on this link for a Seattle Times article from early September.

For over 20 years, Saint Mark’s Cathedral has opened its doors to 30 women each night of the week. They have slept in Bloedel Hall and received an evening snack and light breakfast. Our dedicated volunteers have cooked soup, sewed holiday bags, shopped for groceries, picked up and delivered donations from Food Lifeline, tended the vegetable garden, and served meals in the evenings and mornings. Then, when COVID-19 required the Cathedral to close to the public, the women moved to other emergency shelters set up by the city. The move to the Bunny Wilburn Home is good news for our former guests.

When it is safe to gather again, we will plan an event for volunteers to meet and tell stories and reminisce.

The Saint Mark’s community and Justice Ministries are committed to responding to the ongoing challenges of the homeless population. Watch for news of opportunities to volunteer and get involved.

Stewardship Season Begins

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Join a community Facebook discussion:

THIS TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2020, 5:30 P.M. in the Community Facebook Group (highlights will be posted later in the week on the Cathedral website)

To the greater Seattle community, Saint Mark’s Cathedral provides a welcoming place to come in joyous times, times of sorrow, times to pray for peace, and as a beacon on the hill for justice. For many of us, both near and far, The Holy Box on the Hill is our spiritual home, where we come on Sundays, Holy Days, and special events to experience a faith community full of love and acceptance.  This year, we have worshiped and gathered both physically at the Cathedral and through Livestream. We are living as One Body—A Cloud of Witnesses, both near and far.

The Stewardship Ministry invites all to join in a weekly reflection on the year and how St. Mark’s has knit all of us together into a community. We will host an informal sharing on Saint Mark’s Seattle Community Life during the Closure Facebook page. Each Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., a member from Stewardship Ministry will host and offer a brief reflection, and invite others to share. Please plan on joining us on October 6 at 5:30 p.m. on Facebook.Highlights will be posted on the cathedral website later in the week.

Look out for additional offerings from the Stewardship ministry throughout the month! Watch your mail next week for the annual stewardship mailing, and watch your email next Tuesday, October 6, for a special video invitation from Dean Thomason.

 Generous Creator, who knits us together into one common life: open our eyes and hearts to your gracious hand at work in all of creation, so that, rejoicing in your glory, we may be faithful stewards of your gifts as One Body - A Cloud of Witnesses; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Radix Project Returns, Fall 2020!

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In January of 2020 the cathedral launched The Radix Project: Small Groups/Deep Roots. Over 150 people met together weekly for 6 weeks to study scripture, share stories, and pray for one another. Then, when the Cathedral closed in the Spring, 80 people met in small groups via Zoom to study the Resurrection narratives in the season of Easter. This fall, you are invited to a third series centered around stories of Biblical surprise. New groups are formed for each series, and meet once a week online for six weeks, beginning the first week of October. More information is available on the Radix Project webpage, where material from previous iterations of the Radix Project are now posted, and where materials for the upcoming series will be posted as they become available.

Registration for the small groups is now closed, but the Opening Plenary is open to everyone, whether or not they are participating in the meetings.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

The Role of Surprise in the Spiritual Journey

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 7-8:30 P.M., via Zoom
Dean Thomason will offer some theological reflections on the element of surprise in scripture and in our lives. We’ve had a lot of surprises this year, good and bad! How do we understand them in light of the spiritual journey? (Note: this forum serves as opening plenary for the Radix Project, but all are welcome to attend.) No pre-registration necessary.
Video of this presentation may be seen below:

The Wisdom School 2020–21 Season Announcement

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See the complete 2020–21 Season Schedule here. 

Earlier this week, an email was sent to the community announcing the upcoming season of The Wisdom School, now entering its fifth year. The complete schedule may now be seen at, and the full season brochure can be downloaded as a pdf. The earliest special event on the schedule is the annual Advent Quiet Morning at St Andrews on December 12, 2020 (update: Quiet Morning cancelled); the main programing of the season, organized under the theme of The Spirituality of Desire, begins with an opening plenary on January 13, 2021. Other events include visits by the teacher and theologian Belden C. Lane; author and therapist Dr. Hillary McBride (co-host of the well-known podcast The Liturgists); a men's retreat and a women's retreat; a capstone pilgrimage to Britain rescheduled from summer 2020 (update: Pilgrimage postponed to 2022); and more. In light of the ongoing pandemic, contingencies have been built in to the planning—events will be in-person, all-online, or blended as conditions allow. Check back on The Wisdom School page as the events approach, and use this form to sign up for the special Wisdom School mailing list.

Special Parish Meeting – Exploring Potential Uses of the St. Nicholas Building

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UPDATE (October 2020):

In late October, it was announced that Laura Ellen and Robert Muglia had made a gift of their share of the St. Nicholas property. This is the largest single gift in the history of Saint Mark's Cathedral! Read about it here.


On September 2, Dean Thomason sent an email to the cathedral community announcing that the Vestry has recently engaged a development consultant to assist us in exploring potential uses of the St. Nicholas building with a goal of advancing the cathedral’s mission and ministries. John Hoerster serves as the chair of a committee guiding this process. The text of the summary report is available below.

On Sunday, September 20 at 7 p.m., Mr. Hoerster and Dean Thomason will share details of the process, plans for parish input along the way, and address questions folks may have at this early stage.

There will be time in this meeting for parishioners to ask questions about the process as well. It is important to note that this is an exploratory process, authorized by the Vestry, which will unfold across the fall, and the committee will provide periodic updates to the parish at key intervals. You may also email committee leaders using the special email address:


Exploration of Potential St. Nicholas Redevelopment

September 2020


Saint Mark’s Cathedral is receiving a generous gift this Fall by which it will become the sole owner of the St. Nicholas property that is north of the main cathedral building. As a result, Saint Mark’s is undertaking a process to explore how the property can best be used to further the cathedral’s mission and ministries after 2023, when the current subleases with Gage Academy of Art and Bright Water Waldorf Society expire.

Read More

“Wonder in Creation”: Two Wednesday Forums

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TWO WEDNESDAYS, SEPTEMBER 16 & 23, 7–8:30 P.M., via Zoom

Wonder in Creation: A Two-Week Series of Spiritual Practices in Creation

How do you experience God in everyday life? How might your daily living itself be and become a spiritual practice? The Creation Care and Faith Formation ministries will jointly host a two-week series in September to explore how spiritual practices outside bring opportunities to encounter presence, connection and reflection. Each evening, a panel from Saint Mark's will reflect on their own experiences, and you will have time to share your own. We'll also introduce tangible ways to share in active spiritual practices and reflect on how they may nurture reflection and faith in our response.
Join us to "Celebrate the Harvest" on 9/16. The panelists for the first session will be:
  • Rob Reid
  • Carolyn Blount
  • Keiko Maruyama & Jamie Rubio
  • Lisa Graumlich (host)


The second session, "Mindful Steps," on 9/23, will feature contributions from:
  • Sarah Elwood
  • Robert Stevens
  • The Rev. Earl Grout, Deacon
  • Brother Paul Dahlke
  • Nancy & Andy Valaas
  • Emily Meeks (host)
For questions and to obtain the Zoom link, contact

Here are pdfs of lists of references and resources related to the two sessions:

Session 1: Celebrating the Harvest, Sept. 16

Session 2: Take a Next Step: Mindful Steps, Sept. 23

Video of both sessions is now available:

In addition, below are some additional links shared from the chat and conversation during Part 2:

Year of Seattle Parks 

Vote with Creation as a Value
Books on Ecology and Spirituality
Diocesan Resource Center - email Sue (
Muck Rack
A podcast series on environmental perspectives by Ashley Aheard
The Year You Finally Read About Climate change

"Read about the future of the planet,"
New York Times Book Review.

Saint Mark’s Music Series 2020–21 Season Announcement

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The 2020–21 Saint Mark's Music contains a variety of offerings, from beloved annual traditions to encounters with the unfamiliar. You can read the series announcement email here. This year, all the event on the Music Series will be livestreamed and viewable for free.


Details of the complete series may be found on the Music Series page here. 


Highlights include:

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2020, 7:30 P.M.,
Flentrop Organ Concert with Canon Kleinschmidt

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2020, 7:30 P.M.,
Native American Flute Songs with Gary Stroutsos

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2021, 7:30 P.M.,
Fritts Organ Concert with John Stuntebeck

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2021, 7:30 P.M,
Concert à 3: with Jillon Dupree, Rebekah Gilmore, & Page Smith

PALM SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2021, 4:30 P.M.,
Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021, 7:30 P.M.,
All-Bach on the Flentrop Organ with Alex Weimann

Check out the Music Series page to learn more!

Ministry Blessing Sunday and Ministry Fair (Online)

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, before, during, and after the morning worship service.


Check out the Ministry Guide page here, including video introductions by ministry leaders!


Here is the slideshow of cathedral ministries presented before the service on Sunday morning, including live organ accompaniment by Canon Michael Kleinschmidt:

The building may be closed, but the ministries of Saint Mark’s are as vibrant in heart as ever. They are integral to our community—those fully in action during the pandemic and those that will be reenergized as we gather in person again! At the 11 a.m. livestream liturgy on September 13, Dean Thomason will commission and bless all ministries of Saint Mark's. That also includes everyone who participates—all of us—because worshiping together IS ministry!

Just before the morning liturgy, at 10:45 a.m., a slideshow of images of cathedral ministries in action in recent years will be presented (see above).

After the service, Zoom into a lively online Coffee Hour for a special presentation on the ministry life of Saint Mark’s and preview of our new Ministry Guide, and talk together as we kick into our fall season!

If you have not already received the link to join Zoom Coffee Hours, please email Peter McClung for instructions:

Reopening Plan is now available

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On Wednesday, September 8, an email message was sent to the cathedral community with information concerning the eventual reopening of the cathedral building and resumption of in-person worship. Dean Thomason announced over four months ago, in May, that "we will not be among the first churches to reopen." As of now, there is no date set to reopen. But a committee of staff and volunteers has worked hard to think through what it will look like when the cathedral's doors do eventually open, and to create policies and procedures to keep everyone as safe as possible during this ongoing crisis.

The work of that committee may be seen on the "Reopening Planning" page here. At this time, the page contains the complete Reopening Plan document downloadable as a pdf, a summary version of the policies and procedures, as well as some Frequently Asked Questions. The Reopening Planning webpage will be continually updated as the situation develops. When the date for the resumption of in-person worship is set, further information including a link to register online to attend a Sunday service will appear there.

Tuesday Bible Study Returns

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EVERY TUESDAY, 11:30 A.M.–1:30 P.M., currently meeting via Zoom 
Tuesday Bible Study provides a weekly conversation around the scripture readings for the following Sunday. It has recently re-launched using the Zoom platform. Each week a discussion is facilitated and lively conversation ensues as people share their thoughts about the lessons. The group meets from 11:30-12 pm for social time and 12–1:30 pm for study and prayer over the lectionary. For more information and to get the link to join, contact The Rev. Canon Jennifer King Daugherty.

Feeding Ministry Update Summer 2020

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Saint Brigid’s Banquet/Saint Martin de Porres Ministry Report

Saint Marks Episcopal Cathedral, August 2020

Hello to all the supporters of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral’s ministry to the Saint Martin de Porres shelter on Alaskan Way in Seattle!

I hope that you are enjoying your summer. I wanted to report to our wider group of supporters and volunteers as to what has been happening during July and August for our ministry.

We have had a very busy two months! We are as active as possible in providing meals to some of our homeless friends, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. As you know, our friends in need require more support than ever due to the hardships imposed by the pandemic.

In early July, Reverend Cristi Chapman asked if some of us involved with the Saint Martin de Porres ministry would be able to cook some meals for our church visitors with Tent City 3 in the church parking lot. We decided that the lead cooks in our ministry and those in Teen Feed program ministry should join together to help out.

On Sunday night, July 26, four of us met in the church parking lot to help prepare 50 meals for our guests. You can see the four of us in the photo at the bottom of this email. On the left side of the photo, you will see some of the paper bags we prepared for each Tent City resident. We prepared 50 paper bags, each with a sandwich (Maris Olsen and Mark Stumpf), homemade cookies (Earl Grout), an orange, two containers of potato salad, a bag of chips, a small granola bar, and a can of seltzer water. It was a perfect outdoor dinner on a pleasant summer evening!

On August 23, our other lead cooks Brook Brayman, and Teresa Pliskowski hosted Tent City again with Kathy Albert ‘s help. You can check us out below! This time we offered homemade sandwiches, potato salad, fresh fruit, and cookies. The photo below shows Kathy, Brook, and Teresa in the church parking lot.

Meanwhile, we continue to provide hearty dinners twice a month to the Saint Martin de Porres shelter on Alaskan Way. In July Kathy Albert and Rabi Lahiri, a new volunteer, helped do the grocery shopping. In August Earl Grout and Jay Quarterman helped us at Restaurant Depot. In the final photo you can see Jay Quartermain, Brook Brayman, and Earl Grout with our meal supplies from Restaurant Depot. Thank you all!

Do any of you read the Real Change newspaper sold by Seattle street vendors? In the July issue (Volume 27, Number 28), vendor David Dunn (and Saint Martin’s resident) refers approvingly to Saint Martins as “the ranch.” He talks about how challenging the pandemic lockdown was for many shelter residents. The good news is that Real Change vendors are back selling their papers. Maybe you could buy one and help the vendors out?

Why in the midst of a worldwide pandemic do we continue to provide meals to our neighbors in need? Volunteer Kathy Albert summarized her thoughts and values when she wrote our team members in March. (With her permission):

I'm glad the prep and delivery of the lunches for the Saint Martin de Porres men was such a success!  I'm proud that my faith community is doing the saintly work of serving the needs of our most vulnerable during this pandemic, the people who in the long run will be the most forgotten as we find our way through.  We need to continue doing this kind of work!  We could conceivably shut down this ministry, out of consideration for our own health needs and those of the people around us.  But what about the needs of these homeless people whom we serve?  They are just as important, and our faith tells us their needs are to be considered first.

Perhaps it also helps us to re-read the mission statement from the local Saint Martin de Porres on its website:

Our Ministry of Presence

“Do not depend on the hope of results…In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.”
—Thomas Merton

Our ministry of presence is rooted in the Gospel Values and entwined with our idea of friendship and community. We believe our ministry is to live out an unconditional affirmation and passionate pursuit of the best in every person.

We have faith that the good is there and that we can discover it together through our solidarity with one another in all the pain and joy of life.

We recognize our shortcomings and we ask forgiveness when we fail to sustain our vision of home for one another.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer! We will periodically keep you all advised of our activities. Thank you again for your continued support in helping to keep our ministry alive and vibrant.

—submitted by Chris Rigos, Team Coordinator

A Season of Creation

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Saint Mark’s and the greater Episcopal Church joins Christian churches across the world in celebrating the Season of Creation September 1 – October 4. From the Season of Creation website:

“The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator through repenting, repairing, and rejoicing together. During the Season of Creation, we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home.”
  • Be inspired by watching Presiding Bishop Curry’s video message below, titled, The Jesus Movement: Good News for All Creation.
  • Weekly "Season of Creation" devotionals will be shared in Sundays & Beyond each week during the month of September — See the complete collection of weekly devotionals below!
  • And plan to attend the "Wonder in Creation" Cathedral Commons offering on September 16 and 23 about spiritual practices in Creation.
You can email for more information on the ongoing work and conversation of the Creation Care Ministry.


Statement on Hiroshima Anniversary

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This August marks the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima, on August 6, and Nagasaki, on August 9, 1945. As the world community remembers and addresses the ongoing threat of nuclear aggression, the Vestry of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral Parish in Seattle has released a resolution “calling upon U.S. policymakers to determine a timely process for the dismantling of existing U.S. nuclear weapons while urging other countries to do likewise, and urging the President and Congress to explore a moratorium on production of new nuclear arms.”

In solidarity with so many churches and faith-based organizations, Saint Mark’s Cathedral has taken a stand against unjust wars and nuclear weapons going back decades. Dean & Rector The Very Rev. John Leffler repeatedly denounced the Vietnam War from the pulpit in the 1960s, and his successor, The Very Rev. Cabell Tennis, notoriously spoke out against the bombing of Cambodia in a televised sermon on Christmas Eve, 1972. In the subsequent decades, the cathedral has continued to use its voice on these issues, partnering with groups such as the Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition (WANW).

Nuclear disarmament is a particularly significant concern in the Pacific Northwest, since the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. is just 20 miles away at Naval Base Kitsap. Washington State’s Hanford Site, which produced the plutonium for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, continues to store millions of gallons of high-level nuclear waste in unsafe conditions, leaking contaminated material into the environment to this day—an enduring consequence of the country's nuclear weapons program.

Betsy Bell of Saint Mark’s Cathedral, who leads the Nuclear Disarmament Ministry, said, “To the majority of people alive in 2020, both WWII and the Cold War seem like history far in the past, and so it is a shock to realize that the United State continues to build and stockpile nuclear weapons at such a vast scale, and even more shocking in light of how invisible the subject has become in our national discourse. The mere existence of these weapons today is an atrocity!”


Dedication Liturgy of Memorial Benches

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On the first Sunday in August, at 5:30 p.m., you are invited to attend (via livestream or in person) a brief service of dedication and blessing of four benches that have been placed around the perimeter of the labyrinth on the front lawn of Saint Mark’s Cathedral.

These benches are given in loving memory of four long-time members of the cathedral who have recently died—The Rev. Canon Mike Jackson, Randy Revelle, Kathie Moen, and The Rev. Canon Timothy Nakayama. Their families will be on hand for the occasion, and we hope that many in the parish community will gather around them, masked and socially distanced of course, as we remember these beloved people and give thanks for their lives, and place into service these four benches designed to be seats of urban rest around the mystical beauty of the labyrinth. This is one more way we intend to say to the world: wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome here…

Following the brief rite of dedication of the benches, The Pacific Brass Quintet—a professional ensemble with which parishioner and resident trumpeter, Bob Gale, has performed for over twenty years—will gather on the cathedral front terrace and offer a festive musical offering for those present and those joining via livestream.

Video of this service may be seen below:

Cathedral Bees Updates—Summer 2020

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Cathedral Bees Update

The cathedral building has two beehives on the roof of Bloedel Hall. Thanks to beekeeper Rob Reid, our bees are thriving! Scroll down to view pictures.

Your prayers for the health of our hives are welcome. For more information about protecting pollinators, visit this link.

If you are interested in helping out with the bees, contact the cathedral and we will put you in touch with Rob.

Sundays & Beyond Update August 30, 2020

The bees and beekeepers have been hard at work. In July, one of the hives lost its queen. However, wild bees are able to create a new queen with remaining larvae, so apiarists Rob and Jaime moved eggs from the healthy hive to the queenless one. Once the queen was established, she then started laying fertile eggs. We're happy to report the success of Rob and Jaime's work - both beehives are now thriving!

Sundays & Beyond Update July 19, 2020

The active honeybee hives on the roof of Bloedel Hall have been busy. And, apparently, they have a sense of humor: Q: Why do virgin bees mate in the air? A: They can’t get any privacy in the hive. Consider planting pollinator-friendly plants in your own garden or window box. And reduce or eliminate pesticides on your plants.

Sundays & Beyond Update July 12, 2020

Did you know St. Mark’s has two active honeybee hives on the roof of Bloedel Hall? Installed on May 10, they include thousands of residents. Recently, our apiarist Rob Reid suspected one of our hives had lost its queen because, when inspecting the frames, he was unable to find eggs. But wild bees are able to create a new queen with remaining larvae. To assist our bees, Rob and Jaime Rubio moved eggs from the healthy hive to the queenless one. Now the bees can create queen cells and feed them “royal jelly.” If all goes well, in less than a month, the new queen will mate in mid air with drone bees and start laying fertile eggs. There’s lots of miraculous science involved. You can see where the expression “the birds and the bees” comes from.

Sundays & Beyond Update July 5, 2020

This week’s thought: The world is facing a mass extinction of species, including pollinators. Bees are critically important to our global food production and nutritional security. Estimates suggest that pollinators directly contribute US$235–$577 billion to global food production each year. Without pollinators, many of the foods we depend on would become scarce, putting life on our planet at risk. When planting your flower garden this summer, consider planting pollinator-friendly plants. Take Earth Day Network’s Pesticide Pledge, and learn about additional actions you can take to help protect pollinators.


June Update from Beekeeper Rob

The bee population in our hives is increasing rapidly. We have added a second deep hive box to both hives. I may try to split an existing hive and create a third hive. Providing another queen can be tricky though.

Some of you have joined me in caring for the bees already. Thank you for your company, Jaime, Keiko, Yoshi, Barbara and Steve, and Nancy.

May Update from Beekeeper Rob

Penny and I picked up bees from the Snohomish Bee Company at the Monroe Fairgrounds last Sunday afternoon. Then, we “installed” two “nucs” of bees into two of the existing hives on the roof of Bloedel Hall. I ordered them several months ago and they were shipped here from Northern California a week ago. Each nuc comes with 5 frames and a working queen and thousands of worker bees. It was quick and easy to move the 5 frames, one at a time, into our hives. In fact, miraculously, I saw the queen on one of the frames as I was moving it from nuc box to hive.



Bees update June 2020

Bees update August 2020

Flentrop Organ Workshop Open House

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The Flentrop Orgelbouw, founded in Zaandam in the Netherlands in 1903, created the organ for Saint Mark’s Seattle in 1965, and is still producing world-class instruments in 2020. On Saturday, July 18, 2020, the firm presented a virtual open house via YouTube livestream, during which they presented a tour of their workshop, presented videos and sound recordings illustrating their work, answered live questions from viewers, and revealed their current project, a large instrument for the Royal Birmingham (U.K.) Conservatoire.

View the video below to go step by step through the making of the organ.

A New Liturgical Pattern for Summer

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UPDATE 8/18: With the return of a Sunday Morning service of Holy Eucharist on August 23, the cathedral's experiment with Morning Prayer has concluded. Eucharist will be continue to be offered every Sunday as we enter the fall season. Please reach out to the cathedral or to Dean Thomason directly and let us know what your experience of this liturgy was like.

For a period of time this summer, Saint Mark's Cathedral will adapt the rhythms of its Sunday Morning livestreamed liturgy. On July 19 and 26, the cathedral will offer a service of Morning Prayer instead of Holy Eucharist, harking back to the standard practices of the Church until the last generation. A service of Holy Eucharist will return August 2, followed by Morning Prayer again on August 9 and 16.

This pattern or services, with Eucharist only once a month, and morning prayer at other times, was the normal practice at churches of the Anglican tradition until the liturgical reforms of the mid-to-late 20th century. Morning Prayer, or Matins, is part of the cycle of prayer services contained in the Book of Common Prayer collectively known as "The Daily Office," which in the current prayer book includes Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer (called "Evensong" when sung), and Compline.

Writing at the dawn of the current global pandemic, The Most Rev Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal church, wrote:

Many factors contributed to a general decline in the celebration of the Eucharist well into the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Morning Prayer became the common service of worship on the Lord’s Day. And while it is good and right that the situation has changed dramatically, that the Holy Eucharist has again become the principal act of worship on Sunday across our church, few would suggest that the experience of Morning Prayer somehow limited God’s presence and love to generations of Anglican Christians. [...]


While not exclusively the case, online worship may be better suited to ways of praying represented by the forms of the Daily Office than by the physical and material dimensions required by the Eucharist. And under our present circumstances, in making greater use of the Office there may be an opportunity to recover aspects of our tradition that point to the sacramentality of the scriptures, the efficacy of prayer itself, the holiness of the household as the “domestic church,” and the reassurance that the baptized are already and forever marked as Christ’s own.

For a few weeks this summer, Saint Mark's will be taking up the Presiding Bishop's invitation. Please write to or contact any of the clergy and let us know what you think of this experiment.


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