Preparing for Pentecost from Home

with No Comments

The Feast of Pentecost is upon us!

On May 31, the Church observes the Feast of Pentecost. It is a great feast, a grand day, and one full of joy and anticipation! 

While social distancing may change the look of some of our celebrations, nothing can stop the Holy Spirit from transforming our lives and the life of the Church. This year, there are lots of ways to catch that Pentecost Spirit at Saint Mark’s! Read on for some suggestions... As always, engage with any or all of these practices as you wish or are able. You are very much encouraged to make them your own, adapting them as makes sense in your life and your circumstances right now. And please contact the cathedral, in whatever way is convenient for you, to share your feelings and experiences.

What is Pentecost?

Pentecost is one of the Major Feasts of the church year. We celebrate and give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit, we remember how God speaks to humanity through every human language, we renew our Baptismal vows, and we mark "the birthday of the Church"—the moment when the small band of confused disciples became, through the grace of God, the kernel of global movement to transform the world. Pentecost is also an inflection point in the rhythm of our liturgical year, marking the end of our 50-day celebration of Easter and the turn towards the "long green growing season" of the so-called "Ordinary Time" of the summer.

1. Preparing your home altar before next Sunday

First, prepare your home altar home altar for this new season. You might redress it colors fitting of the day—reds, oranges, yellows—and consider placing symbols of Baptism and the Holy Spirit. Include something that reminds you of your own baptism like or other symbols for the promises made at baptism, such as your baptismal certificate, a Bible, BCP, bread, or prayer beads. A candle brings to mind the flames of the Spirit—and if you happen to have the candle presented to you at your Baptism available, bring it out! Other images of the Holy Spirit include: birds, wind, water, oil, fruit, and more. A cross and flowers are always appropriate adornments. Think creatively about how the Divine Spirit might best be represented to you! In addition, place a small bowl of water and a fragrant branch of your favorite herb to be used during the Sunday liturgy. Please take a picture of your Pentecost altar and share it for the community to see, either on Facebook or by emailing them to info@saintmarks.org.

2. Prayerfully reflect on the Baptismal Covenant  

The promises we made (or were made on our behalf) at our Baptism, and which we renew at each Baptismal liturgy during the year, articulate the core of what it means to follow Christ. Before the Pentecost celebration, you are invited to take a moment to read through them—they may be found in our Book of Common Prayer, p. 304, or at this link. What is one promise you feel called to practice with intention at this moment? Write it down; then on Sunday place that note on your altar during the Offertory.

During the week leading up to Pentecost, keep an eye out for more videos and ideas, here on the cathedral website or on social media. (UPDATE 5/28: Check out Dean Steve's video reflection, featuring voices from the community.)

3. Participate from home on Sunday morning 

For many years, people of Saint Mark's have enjoyed wearing red to church on Pentecost—particularly for the sake of seeing the whole congregation in red. Put on your favorite red outfit before the service begins, and, if you are so inclined, take a picture and send it in to the cathedral——either on Facebook or sent to info@saintmarks.org. We'll put the photos we receive together into a collage.

Join the livestream a few minutes early (about 10:45 a.m.) for another special slide show. The Holy Eucharist with Renewal of Baptismal Vows begins at 11 a.m. Have your water and herbs ready to use during the service. The service will contain some special elements. Listen with care to the readings, and offer your voice along so many others as we sing and pray and give thanks to God!

4. On Sunday afternoon, take your celebration outdoors 

For many years, a Pentecost tradition at Saint Mark's has been, following the Sunday service, to "run, ride, or roll" around Green Lake, wearing festive red clothes and with bikes and scooters festooned with red ribbons and streamers. The event would conclude with root beer floats. This type of celebration is not possible at this time, but why not recreate it in miniature, alone or with your household? Decorate your favorite mode of transport and take your celebrations outside! Ride, run, or stroll through your neighborhood. Decorate your yard or balcony. Notice the feel of the wind and the sun. Enjoy festive cake and floats. How might you give thanks to the Living God in new ways that reflect how God is moving in your life? And don't forget to take pictures and share them on Facebook or email them to info@saintmarks.org.

Above: The 2016 Pentecost Run, Ride, & Roll

Come Holy Spirit, and renew the face of your Church!

An Introduction to Sunday’s Hymns: May 24, 2020

with 2 Comments

On Thursday, May 21, Canon Kleinschmidt introduced the hymns to be sung during this coming Sunday's live-streamed service for May 10 at 11 a.m—The Seventh Sunday of Easter, The Sunday after the Ascension, AND, at Saint Mark's, Heritage Sunday. This introduction was presented live on Facebook.

Join us in the future on Thursdays at 4 p.m. for another live hymn chat! Just visit the cathedral's public Facebook page at the time of the broadcast—if you "follow" the cathedral on Facebook, you should receive a notification when we're live.

An Introduction to Sunday’s Hymns: May 17, 2020

with 1 Comment

On Thursday, May 14, Associate Organist John Stuntebeck (standing in for a stay-cationing Canon Kleinschmidt) introduced the hymns to be sung during this coming Sunday's live-streamed service for The Sixth Sunday of Easter, on May 17 at 11 a.m. This introduction was presented live on Facebook.

Join us in the future on Thursdays at 4 p.m. for another live hymn chat! Just visit the cathedral's public Facebook page at the time of the broadcast—if you "follow" the cathedral on Facebook, you should receive a notification when we're live.

Storytelling and the Bible: An Interview with The Rev. Earl Grout

with 2 Comments

Spend some time with The Rev. Canon Cristi Chapman and The Rev. Earl Grout, and hear how Earl approaches the reading of the Gospel, the stories of the Bible, and the way we tell our stories as people of faith! Earl also shares a few of his favorite Bible stories.

What are your favorite bible stories?  Post in the comments below.

An Introduction to Sunday’s Hymns: May 10, 2020

with No Comments

On Thursday, May 7, Canon Kleinschmidt introduced the hymns to be sung during this coming Sunday's live-streamed service for The Fifth Sunday of Easter, on May 10 at 11 a.m—the Sunday of "The Way, the Truth, and the Life." This introduction was presented live on Facebook.

Join us in the future on Thursdays at 4 p.m. for another live hymn chat! Just visit the cathedral's public Facebook page at the time of the broadcast—if you "follow" the cathedral on Facebook, you should receive a notification when we're live.

All-Bach Recital on the Mighty Flentrop

with No Comments

A livestreamed event

FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2020, 7:30 PM

with MICHAEL KLEINSCHMIDT, ORGANIST

Right now Bach is as essential as ever, and we are excited to be able to bring Bach to your homes through livestreaming. Michael Kleinschmidt, Canon for Cathedral Music, will offer a 70-minute program featuring three of Bach’s famous Toccatas and Fugues, and Bach’s monumental Passacaglia in C Minor. In addition, Canon Kleinschmidt will offer brief commentary from the organ console about the music and the Flentrop organ itself.

This concert will be livestreamed. While this is offered freely for all to enjoy, donations in support of Saint Mark’s Music Series will be gratefully received.

Note: Alex Weimann, previously scheduled to perform this All-Bach concert, will instead perform next season on May 14, 2021.

The Inquirers’ Class Resumes Online

with No Comments

BEGINS SUNDAY, MAY 10, 2020, 12:30 P.M., via Zoom

Are you curious about Episcopal liturgy, beliefs, or tradition? Are you feeling called a deeper commitment with God? No matter where you are on your journey, consider attending this multi-week series, where will explore the basics of the Christian faith through the Episcopal lens. The series, called " Living the Questions," is usually offered in Lent, and was cut short this year... but it will begin anew, virtually, on Sunday, May 10 and continues on Sundays weekly through June 7. Sessions run from 12:30–2 p.m. via Zoom. For more information or to RSVP and get the link, contact The Rev. Canon Cristi Chapman, cchapman@saintmarks.org.

Mideast Focus Ministry Presents: Voices Across the Divide

with No Comments

Film Screening and Live Discussion 

FRIDAY, MAY 15 — FILM AT 7 P.M.;
Q&A BEGINS AT 8:00 P.M., via Zoom.

Watch the film online any time between now and Friday evening, using this link: https://vimeo.com/73860850 (The film is 60 minutes long—begin watching at 7 p.m. at the latest in order to paricipate in the discussion at 8 p.m.)
Live Q&A with the director begins at 8:00 P.M. via Zoom. Email info@saintmarks.org to receive the link. Please note that the time of the Q&A has changed.

On Friday, May 15, the Online Film Series continues with Voices Across the Divide, an award-winning film by Dr. Alice Rothchild, exploring the thinking of Jews who support the Occupation and settlements in the West Bank, and those who do not. A live discussion with Dr. Rothchild will follow the screening. The purpose of the film, as explained by its directors, is to open a space for honest dialogue:

"The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one of the most prominent, hot button debates in the US today. There is often little space for compassionate listening or deepening awareness. Access to information about the conflict is shaped by powerful forces and organizations. We believe a better future is possible based on mutual respect and knowledge.

We hope Voices Across the Divide will contribute to an open dialogue grounded in mutual respect, understanding, and political activism that leads to justice for all people in the region. Narrated by Alice Rothchild, an American Jew raised on the tragedies of the Holocaust and the dream of a Jewish homeland in Israel, Voices Across the Divide follows her personal journey as she begins to understand the Palestinian narrative, while exploring the Palestinian experience of loss, occupation, statelessness, and immigration to the US."

Creation Care Online Forum

with No Comments

PART 2: MAY 11, 7–8:30 P.M., Via Zoom

Led by his faith to be a steward of life on this planet, Scott Henson is the co-founder of Drawdown Seattle, a collection of concerned and engaged Seattle citizens who are interested in enacting proven solutions which create the possibility of reversing the global climate crisis we face. Scott will lead two sessions focused on introducing “Project Drawdown” as well as facilitating the beginning of your personal action plans to help reverse global warming. Through videos and group activities, we will learn about a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming from Project Drawdown—a scientific study that identified 100 solutions that, together, could actually reverse global warming by 2050. These solutions encompass the energy we use, the food we eat, and the cities we live in. Let’s shift the conversation, from “Game over” to “Game on!” By the end you will see the vital role you can play in the movement to reverse global warming.

If you did not already receive the link to join in an email, please contact Marjorie Ringness or The Rev. Canon Cristi Chapman and they will send it to you.


Resources and references relating to this event may be found here. A video of part 1 of this event may be seen below:

Heritage Sunday at Saint Mark’s Cathedral

with No Comments

SUNDAY, MAY 24

  • DEAN'S FORUM AT 10 A.M., via Zoom

  • SPECIAL LITURGY AT 11 A.M.

  • FESTIVE COFFEE HOUR AT NOON, via Zoom

In 2019 Saint Mark's began what was intended to be an annual tradition: Heritage Sunday, an opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for all the generations who have come before us in the community of Saint Mark's, Seattle—from the founders of the parish in the nineteenth century, to those longtime members of the community who still bless us with their experience and wisdom today.

The event will begin with a special Zoom forum in the 10 a.m. hour. Dean Thomason will present a brief slide show of historical details about the cathedral, then a panel of The Reverends Carla Berkedal Pryne, Kate Kinney, and Sue Reid, who served at Saint Mark’s as priests in three different decades, will reflect on their experiences. This forum will be presented simultaneously over Zoom and on Facebook Live—watch your email for more details, or contact info@saintmarks.org.

From 10:45 until the start of the 11 a.m. liturgy, the livestream will present a special slideshow of historical images from the 1940s through the 2000s, shared by many members of the community. (Note: If you want to share a photo to be included, please send a copy, with your names on the back, to Erik Donner at edonner@saintmarks.org no later than Monday May 18)

Like last year, the 11 a.m. service will again employ elements of the liturgy that would be familiar to generations past, including music, prayers, vestments, and the order of service itself. Drawing on prayers spanning nearly 500 years of Anglican worship, we will pull out the stops for a special celebration. Former senior wardens serving in three different decades will read the scriptures. Former Dean The Rev. Fred Northup will be guest preacher. Dean Thomason will officiate. Special music will frame the joyful occasion, including a rousing postlude of Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” with organ and percussion.

Following the service, there will be a Zoom gathering to which all are invited as we share stories about our common life at Saint Mark’s through the years. Special guests have been invited—including Pro Christo Award recipients, former senior wardens, and all the living clergy who have served at Saint Mark’s through the years. Join the fête to share some Saint Mark’s time together! Watch your email for the links to participate, and contact info@saintmarks.org with any questions.

Trying Times: Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Grief—How to Tell the Difference

with No Comments

A Webinar with Shelley Mackaman, PhD, and Wayne Duncan, PhD

SUNDAY, MAY 24, 2020, 3 P.M., via Zoom 

Documents for this event:


A complete video of the webinar is available below:

Do you find yourself fretting or anxious about reopening? Are your children stressed with the challenges of virtual school? Are you struggling to balance all the aspects of life now converging in your home life? We are all facing new pressures in light of this pandemic and the lack of certainty about so many things. Dr. Shelley Mackaman (clinical psychologist in Kirkland with emphasis in Child Development and Family Psychology) and Dr. Wayne Duncan (Child and Adolescent Psychologist in Seattle) are both active members of Saint Mark’s Cathedral and will offer timely and important information for people of all ages. Dean Steve Thomason will moderate the webinar. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. The webinar is free but advance registration is required. Click here to register now.


About the presenters

Shelley Mackaman has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development and Family Psychology.  After working and training in a variety of settings from urban pediatric hospitals to rural mental health centers, she is now in private practice in Redmond, Washington and is the staff psychologist at an integrated care clinic in Kirkland, Washington.

Wayne Duncan is a child and adolescent clinical psychologist in Seattle. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and completed his clinical internship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. He consults frequently with families around learning and school issues.

An Introduction to Sunday’s Hymns: May 3, 2020, “Good Shepherd Sunday”

with No Comments

On Thursday, April 30, Canon Kleinschmidt introduced the hymns to be sung during this coming Sunday's live-streamed service for The Fourth Sunday of Easter, on May 3 at 11 a.m—"Good Shepherd Sunday." This introduction was presented live on Facebook.

Join us in the future on Thursdays at 4 p.m. for another live hymn chat! Just visit the cathedral's public Facebook page at the time of the broadcast—if you "follow" the cathedral on Facebook, you should receive a notification when we're live.

Mideast Focus Ministry Presents: Gaza Fights for Freedom

with No Comments

Film Screening & Live Discussion 

FRIDAY, MAY 29

Watch the films at 6:00 p.m. (or earlier)

8 p.m.: Live discussion with Former Congressman Dr. Brian Baird via Zoom.

paired with the award-winning short film Nightmare of Gaza

On Friday, May 29, the Online Film Series continues with Gaza Fights for Freedom. Filmed during the height of a six-week campaign of protests near the Gaza-Israeli border in 2018, this film features exclusive footage of the demonstrations. This documentary tells of Gaza’s complex history through rare archival footage, info-graphics, and first-hand accounts. Backed by thorough legal documentation and exclusive evidence, this film details Israeli military war crimes that are supported by our own country.  See the trailer here.

The documentary will be paired with NIGHTMARE OF GAZA, an award-winning short film by Farah Nebulsi.

After viewing the documentary, join together on Zoom for a live discussion with Former Congressman Dr. Brian Baird. Email Liz Gilbert, elizabethegg@hotmail.com, for the links to participate, or to sign up for the Mideast Focus mailing list and receive the links automatically.

An Introduction to Sunday’s Hymns: April 26, 2020, The Third Sunday of Easter

with No Comments

On Thursday, April 23, Canon Kleinschmidt introduced the hymns to be sung during this coming Sunday's live-streamed service for The Third Sunday of Easter, on April 26 at 11 a.m. This introduction was present live on Facebook.

Join us in the future on Thursdays at 4 p.m. for another live hymn chat! Simple introducing the hymns for The Second Sunday of Easter. Just visit the cathedral's public Facebook page at the time of the broadcast—if you "follow" the cathedral on Facebook, you should receive a notification when we're live.

The Radix Project Returns!

with No Comments

In January we launched The Radix Project: Small Groups/Deep Roots. More than 150 people in 18 small groups met weekly for six weeks to share their stories, reflect on scripture, and pray for one another with intention. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, so we are going to do it again! The next opportunity to participate will be in the season of Easter, with groups meeting online.

“Radix 2” will occur in the Easter Season, from late April through early June. It will begin with a plenary meeting, over Zoom, led by Dean Steve Thomason. The Dean will give a general introduction to the various narratives of the resurrected Christ which will be discussed in the small group meetings.  This presentation is open to anyone, whether or not they are participating in the small groups. Following this presentation, the groups will meet individually for the first time in Zoom break-out sessions.

We have tweaked a few things based on your feedback, but the design and format for small group meetings will be similar to the winter session. The planning team—Kelly, Steve, Nancy, Jennifer and Cristi—have chosen resurrection stories for scriptural reflection, some familiar (because we hear them on Easter Sundays); and some that may be less familiar to you. We hope that studying these multi-layered stories will inspire and encourage us to move, as the disciples did, from fear and confusion to joyful connection with God and one another in the midst of troubled times. But we also expect that they will challenge us as we find ourselves reflected within them!

You may recall we chose the name “Radix” for this small group ministry because it means “root,” and we are reclaiming our Christian roots by this practice. Jesus lived and taught in small groups, as did the early Church. To be “radical” doesn’t mean to be rebellious—rather it describes the freedom to stretch into the borderlands precisely because one is rooted in the deep soil of a defining narrative, which, for us, is the brilliant and liberating gospel of Christ. Through this defining narrative we are known and nourished in the church community, and connected through past, present and future to all who are so rooted. Radix groups reveal this connection in tangible and life-giving ways.

Contact Spiritual Formation Associate Kelly Moody, kmoody@saintmarks.org, with questions. Visit the Radix Project Page to learn more and to sign up!

Noonday Prayer, Wednesdays 12 p.m.

with No Comments
UPDATE 6/17/20: The Wednesday noon prayer service has been discontinued at this time. 

Due to the success of the Daily Office Zoom meetings at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. on Thursdays, Cathedral Sacristan Michael Seewer is now offering Noonday Prayer, following the order of the Book of Common Prayer 1979, every Wednesday at noon. This is a brief service (around 10 minutes) of Psalms, scripture, and prayer that all are invited to join. The same link as our Daily Evening Prayer will be used. To get the link, simply email Michael at mseewer@saintmarks.org.

Kathy Albert: Good Friday and the Truth

with No Comments

It's Good Friday. Today is the day that Jesus was turned over to The State. The State, that behemoth that has always been, sans compassion, sans conscience, sans consciousness, a veritable greed machine. In the Palestine of Jesus's day, that would have been a Roman Empire. In our time, it's an American one. Neither one of them has had a great track record when it comes to truth.

Today, we can see a powerful Jesus. Though he is given up to the workings of an evil system, he is never conquered by it. He has come to so embody the truth that when he simply presents himself in the garden, false authority falls away. Later, he stands up to Annas' attempts to frame him, while asserting his own authority among the people: "Ask those who heard what I said to them. They know what I said." Even when hit, he has a response that would require his assailant to face truth: "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I've spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" In facing his own Jewish community that has gone far astray, Jesus confronts them with truth.

But in his encounters with the Roman oppressor in the person of Pilate, Jesus points to truth in a different way. Compassionately, he speaks to the Roman procurator words that shed light on a path to truth for him: "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here. . . . You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Then Pilate seeks to learn from Jesus, "What is truth?", and goes out and asserts his detainee's innocence to those who want this captured man dead.

Even throughout the horrific pain and despair of the cross, Jesus remains heart and soul surrendered to the truth of his life. Even in his suffering, he fulfills the duty of an only child to his cherished mother, and releases her into the care of his beloved disciple, John.  He stays vulnerably human right up to his last breath, expressing his thirst and drinking what's offered, sour as it is.  Then  Jesus simply acknowledges when his final moment has come, saying "It is finished.", and dies.

So, that's how truth showed up two thousand years ago in the Roman Empire. How is it showing up in the American Empire today?  My answer—far beneath the surface of things, and with great struggle and indomitable spirit. To find truth in America today requires deep diving, fringe-living, and perseverance like we've never persevered before. I find truth in accepting limitations in my life that were unfathomable before, while indomitably confronting the stubborn myopia of my American people's devotion to a failure-bound  system. I find truth in praying for the devotees, and therein receiving grace to think and act compassionately towards them. And I find truth in acknowledging my own—albeit unwilling—participation in the most destructive and inhumane mode of socio-economic organization that human beings have heretofore come up with,  and doing all that I can to stop participating, one step at a time.  [You know what system I'm referring to. I don't have to say the "C" word.]

When I look at the mangled truth hanging on the cross these days, I see the undocumented, the impoverished, the imprisoned, the homeless, the raped, the murdered, the queer, the elderly, the children, the sick, the abandoned, the molested . . . who in truth does NOT hang on the cross of Jesus today? It is in finding myself there that a portal into resurrection opens. Then I have the strength and Godly power to resist and keep resisting The State, as Jesus did and continues to do, whenever the Church stands up and divests of her own complicit - and almost always unconscious - support of The State.

I suspect America is like Pilate in the 21st century. Our best bet is to ask Jesus, "What is truth?" But unlike the Roman procurator, we can still choose to follow the Christly word whispered in our hearts, and NOT the loud demands of a crazed culture gone mad with greed. We can opt for death—and pass through to vibrant life like we've never known before.

Walter Brueggemann’s Sabbath as Resistance

with No Comments

During this "wilderness time" for the cathedral, Dean Thomason is encouraging everyone to read The Sabbath as Resistance: Saying NO to the Culture of Now. In this book, the great modern prophet and theologian Walter Brueggemann offers a delightfully provocative critique on the ways modern culture seduces us into anxiety, exclusivism, and multitasking as ways to subvert the life-giving ways we were created to enjoy. Drawing on ancient wisdom of keeping sabbath, but making it relevant to us in modernity, he offers an invitation to another way—a way needed in these difficult times as much as ever

Join a Book Discussion with Dean Thomason on two Mondays, April 20 and 27, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom. . To sign up and receive the link to join the conversation, simply send an email to sthomason@saintmarks.org or edonner@saintmarks.org.

You are encouraged to support independent local businesses by purchasing the book online from our Capitol Hill neighbors Elliot Bay Book Co. Purchasing from Amazon is also an option!

The Home Altars of Saint Mark’s

with No Comments

Earlier this week, the people of Saint Mark's were invited to create home altars to serve as a focal point for their Holy Week observances. Visit this post for details. Below are some of the photographs that members of the community have sent in to the cathedral or shared in the Facebook Group. Click to enlarge!

Preparing for Holy Week from Home

with 4 Comments

In the video below, Dean Thomason shows you some of the ritual objects that he will be using to observe Holy Week from his own home. Read on for more detailed instructions! (You may wish to print out this page for convenience—just hit ctrl-p!) 

Holy Week is upon us.     

Holy Week is the most solemn and sacred time of the Christian year, when we are invited by our liturgical tradition to contemplate the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and death. But more than that, we are also invited to take these ancient liturgies into our own hearts and consider what they might mean for us in this moment, opening ourselves to the possibility of grace and transformation. That more personal dimension can be a challenge while the cathedral building is closed during this time of pandemic. While livestreamed liturgies afford a way of remaining connected, there exists a temptation to engage with them as a passive spectator rather than a vital participant.

As with all livestreamed liturgies, during Holy Week you are encouraged to sing along with the music; speak the responses; stand, sit, and kneel (as able); and send out greetings electronically at the Peace. It’s about being connected—we are one Body, many parts.

Because Holy Week liturgies are especially designed to be multi-sensorial, in this guide you will find other practical, embodied ways of participating, meant to help you more fully engage with the Holy Week journey. Throughout Holy Week, we trust that our distanced and diverse community is bound into a single expression of faith: the liturgical actions in the cathedral nave are woven with those that happen in your own home. Many people, wherever they might be located, will be undertaking these same actions at the same time.

Engage with any or all of these practices as you wish or are able. You are very much encouraged to make them your own, adapting them as makes sense in your life and your circumstances right now. The important thing is to perform them with intention. Perform the actions slowly, remaining aware of what thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations may arise. Consider all five senses: make note of how things smell, taste, sound, and feel in addition to how they look. It may help to use special objects or utensils that you don’t normally use or that you find particularly beautiful. At the same time, a ritual using a plastic tub can be just as spiritual as one using a crystal basin—the key is the thoughtfulness and attention you bring to the act.

And finally, keep in touch! Let us know, in whatever way is convenient, what the experiences of these liturgies was like for you. Take a photo and post it to Facebook or email to the cathedral. Call a fellow parishioner to share your experience. The community of Saint Mark’s remains one Body during this time, and we all look forward in prayerful hope to the time when we may embrace each other again in the Holy Box.


Checklist for the Week

 

  • Home altar (including cross, a candle, and a bowl of water, in addition to other items meaningful to you)
  • Cushions for kneeling (as able)
  • Branches (for Palm Sunday)
  • An aspergillum – a bundle of small fragrant branches for sprinkling (see below)
  • Noisemakers and Bells
  • Material for washing: A basin or tub, a pitcher, soap, several towels
  • Food for the Agapé Meal Thursday evening (see below)
  • Easter Eggs, real or plastic
  • A sweet treat (berries, chocolate, candy, etc.) and/or sparkling wine or other festive beverage to celebrate the Resurrection

Palm Sunday 

(watch here)

PREPARE IN ADVANCE:
branches, noisemakers, cushions for kneeling

Liturgy of the Branches:

All four Gospels tell the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, greeted with shouts of “Hosanna!” and cloaks and branches strewn in his path. However, only the Gospel of John specifies palm branches. Matthew and Mark mention branches without saying what kind they were, and Luke does not mention branches at all. We can imagine that those who greeted Jesus grabbed whatever branches were available.

You will need a branch to participate in the opening of the Palm Sunday liturgy, and it need not be from a palm. Is there a tree or other plant in your yard or in your neighborhood that has special meaning to you, because of an association with a particular person or happy memory? Or is there a plant which you have personally witnessed growing and changing over many years? Alternatively, take a walk in your neighborhood and be the lookout for a branch that strikes you as particularly beautiful. If you are at home with others, everyone in the house can have the same kind of branch, or each person can pick their own. Choose a branch that you can remove without damaging the plant, and which you can carry easily in one hand.

In the first part of the Palm Sunday service, you will be asked to raise your branches as they are blessed. As everyone sings All glory, laud, and honor, you are invited to make a procession around the room or around you home. Saint Mark’s Palm Sunday procession is famous for its raucous boisterousness, so if you’d like to accompany your procession with noisemakers and trumpets, you should! But only three verses of the hymn will be sung, so be sure your procession makes its way back to the start as the hymn concludes.

After the end of the service, you may place your branch(es) on your home altar, or in a vase nearby, or on your front door.

Passion Gospel:

At two moments in the reading of the Passion Gospel, the congregation plays the role of the crowd, crying out “Let him be crucified!” Words will appear on the screen at this point, and you are invited to raise your voice. At the moment of the death of Jesus, everyone is invited to kneel for a period of silent prayer. If you would like to kneel, and this requires an extra cushions or other preparations in your home, be sure you have these ready before the service.


The Stations of the Cross
(Wednesday in Holy Week)

Join the live premiere of the the Station of the Cross liturgy (or watch the video afterwards) at this link.

Processing is a fundamental aspect of the Stations of the Cross liturgy, or, as the Book of Occasional Services calls it, "The Way of the Cross." It is a ritual reenactment of Jesus’ final journey to his execution. In this video experience, the movement of the officiant between each station is depicted by images of   shoes on the floor and the sound of footsteps. If you wish, you are invited to move your body in some way during these moments. This could mean moving to a different place in the room for each station, or simply walking in a circle and returning to your place between each station.

You are welcome to print a leaflet in advance and follow along (available at saintmarks.org/bulletin), but the text of the responses spoken by the congregation will appear on the screen, so you may fully participate in the liturgy without a leaflet, if you prefer.


Maundy Thursday

(watch here)

PREPARE IN ADVANCE:
material for foot- and handwashing (basin, pitcher, towels); food for the Agapé Meal; a Bible; small cloth or paper towels

On Maundy Thursday we remember the events of the Last Supper, Jesus’ final meal with his friends on the night before he died. During the meal, Jesus stooped down to wash his disciples’ feet, demonstrating by example the humble service and love for one other that he asks of all his followers.

Footwashing:

The first part of the Maundy Thursday liturgy will be livestreamed from the cathedral nave, beginning at 7 p.m. Then, after the homily, the Presider will offer an invitation to footwashing as we remember Jesus’ call to serve on another. The livestream will then pause. You are invited to engage in the footwashing ritual at this time. If you are in isolation with others, consider washing each other’s feet using a basin and pitcher as is our practice in the nave. If you are alone, or physical limitations preclude the washing of another’s feet, consider washing your feet in the tub or shower, letting water flow over your bare feet, mindful of all those who serve us in supplying clean water in our city, and all those who care for the bodies of others.

Handwashing:

After the footwashing is completed, each person then engages in a handwashing ritual. The act of washing hands is an ancient holy act of preparation and purification, but in addition, in this time of pandemic, washing our own hands is a very real way of serving others. By washing our hands, we can all reduce the chance of infection and slow the spread of the virus, and in this way we express care and concern for everyone whose life is linked with ours, especially the most vulnerable. Perform this act slowly and with intention—consider using a special basin you have prepared, or rinse your hands using water poured out of a special pitcher or cup. As you wash, you are invited to speak slowly and with intention, the netilat yadayim, which Jews of the Orthodox tradition say every time they wash their hands:

Blessed are you, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments, and has commanded us concerning the washing of hands.

Sacred Meal:

Following the washing, you are invited to partake in an Agapé Meal.

Long before there was a formalized ritual called “The Holy Eucharist,” followers of Jesus would meet in private homes to hear stories of Jesus’ earthly ministry, his death, and resurrection, followed by a simple meal including bread and wine, which they shared as Jesus commanded: “Do this in remembrance of me.” This is sometimes referred to as an “Agapé Meal” because God’s love (Greek: αγάπη) brought them together and bound them into one Body. This year on Maundy Thursday we are all invited to reclaim that ancient practice of a simple meal in the home, knowing that even if we live alone, we are joined with community of Saint Mark’s by sharing this meal.

This meal is not a feast. The food should be meatless, simple, and sparse. Appropriate foods for this meal might include: a vegetarian soup, cheese, olives, dried fruit (especially dates), bread (especially unleavened bread such as pita), and wine or non-alcoholic grape juice – or whatever simple fare is safely and readily available to you. You may wish to present the food in a particularly intentional way, perhaps using a special dish or utensils.

Immediately following the handwashing, gather around the table and remain standing as able. After a time of silence, two or three blessings are recited, as appropriate—one over the bread, one over the wine if it is part of your meal, and one over the other food. (The texts of these blessings are printed in the Maundy Thursday leaflet, available at saintmarks.org/bulletin or posted on the livestream page on the day of the service). If several are gathered, each participant first serves some food to all the others, and then all may dine.

As the meal nears its end, a designated person reads aloud chapter 17 of the Gospel according to John. Songs or simple hymns may then be sung together. The Agapé meal concludes with all saying in unison Psalm 63:1–8, followed by a concluding prayer, as printed in the Maundy Thursday leaflet.

Stripping of the (Home) Altar:

The livestream service resumes at 8:15 p.m. for the Stripping of the Altar. The ancient practice of stripping and then washing the altar ritually prepares the worship space for the Good Friday liturgy, while poetically calling to mind the stripping of Jesus’ body before his scourging, and the washing of his body after his death. When this ritual from the cathedral nave has concluded, you are invited to remove all the objects and decoration from your home altar as well, carefully and with intention, placing them in a special place where they will be accessible on Saturday. Then wash your altar using a damp cloth or paper towels. It will remain bare until the Good Friday .

Night Watch with the Altar of Repose:

As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest, he asked his disciples to stay with him: “Could you not watch with me for an hour?” As a community, we are invited to keep watch with Jesus overnight, as symbolized by the reserve sacrament in the altar of repose. You can view this from your home overnight on the live stream, and you are invited to set aside thirty minutes to an hour to sit in quiet contemplation of Jesus’ journey to the cross.


Good Friday

(watch here)

PREPARE IN ADVANCE:
kneeling cushions, your home altar’s cross or crucifixion icon

The Good Friday liturgy is solemn and austere. The service at noon and the one at 7 p.m. are similar, the principal difference being that the noon liturgy is almost entirely spoken, while much of the 7 p.m. liturgy will be chanted.

Both during the reading or chanting of the Passion according to John, and during the Solemn Collects, you are invited to kneel at certain moments as you are able. Prepare cushions to kneel on if necessary.

The liturgy concludes with the Contemplation of the Cross. At this time you may place a cross or an icon of the crucifixion back on your bare altar.


The Great Vigil of Easter

(watch here)

PREPARE IN ADVANCE:
candle, matches or a lighter, a small container of water, aspergillum, bells, the remaining components of your home altar, a sweet treat, sparkling
wine or other festive beverage

The Service of Light:

Before the service, the cathedral nave is in total darkness. The liturgy begins with the lighting of the New Fire and the Pascal Candle. Darken your own home as much as is practical. When the Paschal Candle is carried through the nave, light the candle or candles on your home altar, and light additional candles to the extent that can be done safely.

Sprinkling:

After we hear Holy Scripture, the Bishop will bless the water in the Baptismal font and sprinkle the participants with water as a sign and reminder of their baptism. At this time, you are invited to sprinkle yourself and others with pure water as an act of remembering your baptism. You many simply use your fingers to do this, or make your own aspergillum (sprinkler) using a few small branches, preferably from a plant with a beautiful fragrance, bound together with string or tape or wire. At Saint Mark’s, the tradition is to make aspergilla out of fragrant cedar branches, but consider using rosemary, juniper, jasmine, or even basil!

Proclamation of the Resurrection and the Gloria in Excelsis

At the high point of the liturgy, the Bishop shouts the Proclamation of the Resurrection, the great doors of the reredos are opened, and the cathedral is flooded with light. If you have bells, ring them now!

At this time (or any time after this) you may replace all the items onto your home altar which you stripped from it on Thursday. If you had been using a red cloth for Holy Week, now is the time to switch it for one that is white or gold. You may also place new items on your altar now that were not there earlier in the week, such as: fresh candles, Easter eggs, sweet treats, things you plan to include in your Sunday morning breakfast, an icon of the resurrection, or an image of the word ALLELUIA!

After the Vigil Liturgy concludes, before you go to sleep, you are encouraged to indulge in a sweet treat—such as strawberries, chocolate, or a pastry—and a glass of sparkling wine or other celebratory beverage.


Easter Sunday

(watch here)

If you are isolated with other people, an Easter egg hunt can be a fun activity either before or after the 11 a.m. livestreamed Eucharist—and not just for kids! Adults may be surprised at how much fun an Easter egg hunt can still be.

Enjoy your Easter breakfast, reach out to those you love with whatever device is best for you, and then participate in the Feast of the Resurrection via livestream at 11 a.m. – and remember to join early if you can, starting about 10:45 a.m.

Making your Home Altar

with No Comments
We are about to enter a Holy Week like none other any of us have ever experienced. We are all anxious to feel the joy of the Feast of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, but it is a core part of our tradition that we must, with intention, walk through the Holy Week observances of Passion and death in order to reach our Easter celebration.
As has been announced, Saint Mark's Cathedral will be livestreaming services from the cathedral nave throughout Holy Week. In addition, in order that we might all more fully engage with the Holy Week journey, we will all be invited into various activities and practices in our own homes that will integrate with the liturgies offered through the livestream. You may participate in these activities whether you are home alone, with a partner, or with your family.
The first of these is the home altar. In the video below, Dean Steve Thomason, Choir School Director Rebekah Gilmore, and Associate for Spiritual Formation Kelly Moody of Saint Mark's Children's and Families Ministries introduce the idea of a home altar, and show what their families have created.
You will be invited to engage with your home altar in specific ways during the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday observances in particular. As it says in the video, please send in images or other reports on what you have created for yourself.

Carrie Kahler: Three Poems

with 2 Comments

Parishioner Carrie Kahler taught a class at Saint Mark's a few years ago on ekphrastic poetry, focusing especially on Saint Mark's own collection of icons. Three poems she wrote as a result of that class were subsequently published in the literary journal Image, issue No. 99. (You can view them on Image's website here, here, and here.) She has graciously offered to share them here. 


 

After Rublev’s Trinity

Each face turned toward
a face at table leaving
always a space for

one more. An open
door to run through when someone
can’t quite make it home

on their own. Though the
wings work, humans haven’t got
them, and it’s hard to

converse from heights so,
in one hand a staff to lean
on. The other hand
ever reaches down.

After Prokhorova’s Saint Mark

There is no shadow
of turning here but there are
spaces for the dark.

Neither does the point
vanish—receding toward
a horizon of

agreement pinned to
dancing angels, instead gold
instead several

visions at once see
desk with sharp quills curved to light
like the mind on the
feet that bear good news

After The Anastasis

who’s to say here what
is not when the hand firmly
grips the bird-light wrist

the face facing Eve—
her son’s as much as Mary’s—
furrowed long and lined

on her left Adam’s
cloak billows back in the blast
of blue air He brings

the deep blue behind
Him an almond of truth that
is, heaven that is

how we grasp after
holiness when gold leaf is
too dull we go dark

witnesses crowd each
other’s ears and each gestures
and each gesture sends

your glance heavenward
you stand just beyond the first
parents just this side

of death’s doors waiting
for the pull to light waiting
to leave the late night

A Special Video for Choir Members

with 2 Comments

The music program at Saint Mark's Seattle, somewhat famously, involves seven different choirs (Saint Mark's Singers, Cathedral Choir, Evensong Choir, Compline Choir, Junior Choristers, Senior Choristers, and Schola). During this time when choirs are neither singing for liturgies nor meeting weekly to rehearse, choir members are feeling separation and absence acutely.

Canon Kleinschmidt and Choir School Director Rebekah Gilmore made the following video to recreate the warm-ups which begin all choir rehearsals, when singers prepare our voices and our bodies for the work to come. At Saint Mark's, the children and adult choirs share many of the same warm-up exercises! The exercises included in the video are beloved by 5-year-old junior choristers and 50-year veterans of the Cathedral Choir alike.

1 2 3 4 5