The Radix Project 4: Winter 2021

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In January of 2020 the cathedral 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 Holy Scripture and sacred art, and pray for one another with intention. This offering lent itself perfectly to the transition to an online-only offering when the pandemic happened, and two further series were offered with groups meeting virtually in the Spring and the Fall of 2020. The next iteration begins in late January 2021. This season you are invited to a fourth series, centered around the scripture narratives heard each year at the Easter Vigil liturgy. New groups are formed for each series, and you are encouraged to sign up whether or not you have participated in the past.

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.


What Is God Up To in All “This”?

SUNDAY, JANUARY 24, 2020, 7 P.M. (note evening time!), via Zoom

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Notice that Changes to Bylaws Have Been Adopted

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At the Vestry meeting on January 19, 2021, the Vestry amended Article I, Section 3 of the Bylaws of St. Mark’s Cathedral Parish, to add “(unless good cause prevented)” immediately after “during the previous year” in the first and the second sentences of Section 3. This change was prompted by the Cathedral’s closure due to pandemic, which has prevented parishioners from attending services in person, and to align more closely with the language in the Episcopal Church Canons and the Diocesan Canons.

Article I, Section 3 now provides:

In accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Olympia, "Parish Communicants" are those baptized persons who are faithful in corporate worship and who have received the Sacrament of Holy Communion at St. Mark's at least three times during the previous year (unless good cause prevented).  "Diocesan Communicants" are those baptized persons who are faithful in corporate worship and who have received the Sacrament of Holy Communion at least three times during the previous year (unless good cause prevented) in a parish or mission of the Diocese other than St. Mark's.   "Parish Communicants in Good Standing" are those Parish Communicants age sixteen years or older, who are recorded contributors to the Support of St. Mark's with money or with personal service.  "Diocesan Communicants in Good Standing" are those Diocesan Communicants age sixteen years or older, who are recorded contributors to the support of a parish or mission of the Diocese other than St. Mark's with money or with personal service.  Unless subsequently defined otherwise by Diocesan or Episcopal Church Canon, "Parish Electors" shall include all the Parish Communicants in Good Standing.

Illuminated Examen: A Virtual Retreat for Spirited Women

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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 12:45–3 p.m.

Illuminated Examen: A Virtual Retreat for Spirited Women

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, the Spirited Women are having another (virtual) gathering—Sunday, February 7 from 12:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. (virtually). The focus is the spiritual practice of the Examen, a way of prayerful reflection from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. We will be led by Lorelei Amato, cathedral clergy, and others in exploring a contemplative way of doing Examen by “illuminating” our written reflections through art. Art skills are not required—you will be provided a template for ideas/designs. Registration and a fee of $11 are required, to cover a packet of materials that will be mailed to you before the event. Register by January 20.

Registration is now closed. Contact Mary Segall ( or Canon Nancy Ross  ( with any questions.

Church Leaders Respond to Political Violence

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The shocking (if unsurprising) events of January 6 have occasioned countless responses from faith leaders in The Episcopal Church and beyond. A selection of those responses, including the messages from Dean Thomason and Bishop Rickel, are collected here for convenience.


Presiding Bishop Curry – Call to Prayer for the Nation

Presiding Bishop Curry – “Who Shall We Be?”

Bishop Budde and Dean Hollerith on Election Violence

Prayers of Intention for our Nation in the Coming Days

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Dear friends,

Many of you have expressed concern for our nation facing the threat of recurring violence in the coming days, even as we long for a peaceful transition of leaders, which is one of the most defining and distinctive elements of our democracy. As citizens we have a voice to share in the public sphere, offering words of reason and justice, and as people of faith, we have a voice of prayer to share for the common good. Both are important, and I bid you strike the balance in your rhythms in the coming days. Resist the temptation to consume so much news and social media that you end up being consumed by their anxious energy. Ground yourself in prayer, too, and carve out times for quiet so that you might find a perspective that offers you some peace—a peace which can then be shared with others, and with our nation.To that end, I would like to highlight a few things in the coming days, and encourage you to consider how you might choose to engage these practices. They are by no means exhaustive, but they are meant to help.

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In-Person Prayer in the Nave for Inauguration Week

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At designated times on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday leading up the Inauguration of the new president the nave will be open for personal prayer. Time slots must be reserved in advance, and masks, distancing and screening procedures must be observed. Time slots are available during the following periods:

  • Monday, January 18, 12–2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, January 19, 4–6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 20, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Click here to make your reservation.

If you need assistance with making a reservation, please call Erik Donner in the cathedral office: 206.323.0300 x 217. Email or any of the clergy with any questions.

SACRED: Milestones of a Spiritual Life—Watch Party Sponsored by the 20s/30s Group

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SUNDAY, JANUARY 17, 5–7:15 P.M.

All ages are welcome to join the 20s/30s Group for a watch party viewing and discussion of SACRED via Zoom. How do others outside of our tradition, and our country, experience faith and spiritual practice? After the screening, we’ll discuss observations from the film. Watch the trailer below.

Join using this Zoom link.

If you wish, you can RSVP to the Facebook event here. Questions? Contact Courtney Wendel-Stevenson,

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Pilgrimage into Celtic Spirituality: A Presentation Led by Dean Thomason

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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 7-8 P.M., via Zoom

Join Dean Thomason and others for an evening of reflecting on our Celtic heritage, and the ways Celtic spirituality innervates our communal life and worship even still. The pilgrimage to Iona and the Celtic missions of northern England and Scotland has been postponed till summer 2022, but pilgrimage involves prayer and preparation, and an openness to be changed by the experiences that unfold near and far from the place we call home. All are welcome. Join using this Zoom link.

Announcing the Cathedral’s Theologian-in-Residence for 2021

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UPDATE: Rev. Brownridge's first sermon for Saint Mark's will be offered during the 11 a.m. liturgy on Sunday, January 17


Dear friends,

It is my delight to share the news that The Rev. Canon Walter B.A. Brownridge will serve as Saint Mark’s Theologian-in-Residence during 2021. In this role, which is grant-funded and was delayed several months due to the pandemic, Canon Brownridge will bring his manifold gifts and considerable experience as he engages the cathedral community at periodic intervals as theologian, priest, preacher, teacher, and ministry consultant. We look forward to his presence among us, which will be virtual until pandemic restrictions allow for him to travel to Seattle safely.

Canon Brownridge writes:

“I am looking forward to taking a journey with you in 2021. As followers of Jesus Christ we are invited to participate in God’s mission of bringing a reversal in our society which reflects the Dream of God. It is my hope that I can in some small way assist in discerning how God is calling, and equipping, Saint Mark’s Cathedral to become more like God’s Beloved Community.”

Canon Brownridge was recently called by the Bishop of Vermont to serve as Canon to the Ordinary and Canon for Cultural Transformation for that diocese. He begins that role in the new year, transitioning from his current post as Associate at Christ Church, Grosse Pointe, Michigan. He formerly served as Associate Dean of the School of Theology in Sewanee, Tennessee, and I came to know him during his five years as Dean of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Honolulu. Earlier in his ministry, he served as a Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, as the nation transitioned from apartheid rule. Prior to ordination, he practiced law as a federal prosecutor and in the area of public policy development. Canon Brownridge is a contributor to the recently published book, Preaching Black Lives (Matter) (July 2020, Church Publishing). His essay/sermon is titled “On the Occasion of the 400th Anniversary of the Arrival of the First Enslaved Africans to British North America.”

Canon Brownridge is scheduled to preach on Sunday, January 17, 2021, and will lead a portion of the Vestry retreat in February. As the year unfolds, he will preach periodically, teach, consult with ministry leaders, staff and vestry, and serve as facilitator of theological reflections and consultant for curricular visioning with a special focus on the cathedral’s efforts to address systemic racism.

I look forward to Walter engaging our community at regular intervals in the course of next year, and I hope you will join me in welcoming him. I am,

Gratefully yours,


The Very Reverend Steven L. Thomason, Dean & Rector


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At the January 19, 2021 Vestry meeting the Vestry will consider and vote on an Amendment to Article I, Section 3 of the Bylaws of St. Mark’s Cathedral Parish, to add “(unless good cause prevented)” immediately after “during the previous year” in the first and the second sentences of Section 3. This change is prompted by the Cathedral’s closure due to pandemic, which has prevented parishioners from attending services in person, and to align more closely with the language in the Episcopal Church Canons and the Diocesan Canons.

As amended, Article I, Section 3 will read (the added language in underline):

In accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Olympia, “Parish Communicants” are those baptized persons who are faithful in corporate worship and who have received the Sacrament of Holy Communion at St. Mark’s at least three times during the previous year (unless good cause prevented). “Diocesan Communicants” are those baptized persons who are faithful in corporate worship and who have received the Sacrament of Holy Communion at least three times during the previous year (unless good cause prevented) in a parish or mission of the Diocese other than St. Mark’s. “Parish Communicants in Good Standing” are those Parish Communicants age sixteen years or older, who are recorded contributors to the Support of St. Mark’s with money or with personal service. “Diocesan Communicants in Good Standing” are those Diocesan Communicants age sixteen years or older, who are recorded contributors to the support of a parish or mission of the Diocese other than St. Mark’s with money or with personal service. Unless subsequently defined otherwise by Diocesan or Episcopal Church Canon, “Parish Electors” shall include all the Parish Communicants in Good Standing.

Any Comment may be emailed to or made during the January 19, 2021 Vestry meeting which starts at 6 p.m. To attend the Vestry meeting, please contact Erik Donner to obtain the Zoom link: or 206.323.0300 ×217.

Cathedral Jeopardy!

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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2021, 7 p.m. via Zoom

Facilitated by Dean Steve Thomason

In a nod to the late Alex Trebec, Dean Thomason will host a fun evening of trivial pursuit “Jeopardy-style.” Categories include Cathedral History, Music and the Arts, Deans and Canons, Know your Staff, and Pot Pouri. Everyone can play along at home, but the Dean invites individuals to volunteer to be audible participants in teams. To volunteer, email Dean Thomason at All are welcome. Join using this Zoom link.

Please note: The Wisdom School presentation By Dean Thomason originally announced for Wednesday, January 13, will be offered at a later date, TBA.

A Video Introduction to the Organ Prelude on Christmas Eve

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Before the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve liturgy ("Midnight Mass"), starting at 10:30 p.m., Canon Kleinschmidt will offer an unusual and special organ prelude for an unusual and special Christmas. He will begin with variations on a French Noël by Louis-Claude Daquin (1694–1772), followed by "Dieu parmi nous"—"God among us," from the monumental suite La Nativité du Seigneur by the twentieth-century composer, organist, and man of faith Olivier Messiaen.

Canon Kleinschmidt has recorded a brief video introduction to the latter piece, pointing out some of its unique qualities and playing some illustrative passages. Check it out below:

The Hallock Institute presents: The Compline Psalter

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The Hallock Institute is a non-profit founded after the death of former Saint Mark's Cathedral Organist and Choirmaster Peter R. Hallock, with the mission of preserving and promoting Hallock's legacy as a composer and a liturgical innovator.

Just in time for Christmas, the Institute is proud to present its first publication: a complete edition of The Compline Psalter, containing newly-edited versions of the over 50 psalm settings written especially to be sung during the Office of Compline at Saint Mark's by the Compline Choir, in his unique, inimitable style. This publication is the product of over five years of work. Learn more about the Psalter and the Institute—and purchase a copy for yourself or your loved ones!—here.

Click on the images below to enlarge.

Christmastide Evensong

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SUNDAY, JANUARY 3, 4:30 P.M., via livestream

Download the service leaflet here.

Saint Mark's Cathedral invites one and all to worship the Christ child with prayers and praises sung safely at home at sundown on the tenth day of Christmas.

In addition to leading hymns with the organ's support, soloists will offer Gregorian settings of portions of the service. The Magnificat and anthem will be drawn from archived recordings of livestreamed liturgies sung by the full Evensong Choir. The setting of the Magnificat will be from The Emerald City Service composed by countertenor Tyler Morse, a member of the Evensong Choir and The Compline Choir.

2020 Advent/Christmas Schedule of Events

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The schedule of special liturgies, events, and offerings, from The First Sunday of Advent on November 29, to the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord on January 10, is now available.

Highlights include the return of Mirabai Starr on December 5, another Hymn Sing with Canon Kleinschmidt and Dean Thomason in Decemeber 13, a reimagined New Year's Eve Labyrinth walk, and much more.

View the complete schedule here. 

Introduction to Sunday’s Hymns: December 20, 2020

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On Thursday, December 17, Canon Michael Kleinschmidt introduced the hymns to be sung at the morning and afternoon liturgies this coming Sunday, December 20, 2020, the Fourth Sunday of Advent. This introduction was presented live on Facebook.

The hymns discussed are:

  • Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord [Hymn #437]
  • The angel Gabriel from heaven came [Hymn #265]
  • O come, O come, Emmanuel [Hymn #56] a few words about this Sunday's organ voluntaries, the upcoming Pageant of the Nativity Reprise, and the liturgies from Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Note that there will be no Hymn Preview for the next two week. The next installment will be streamed live on Thursday, January 7!

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.

New Year’s Eve from Saint Mark’s Cathedral

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The very first post on the Online Community Life page of the cathedral website, created in March of 2020, was this post announcing that, while the cathedral building may be closed, the outdoor labyrinth was still open and available to all. Since then, the labyrinth in the lawn in front of the cathedral building has remained a valuable resource for cathedral members, Capitol Hill neighbors, and passers-by alike.

The labyrinth at Saint Mark's is closely tied to New Year's Eve. Every year since 1999 a large canvas labyrinth has been laid out in the cathedral nave, inviting all to engage in this ancient spiritual practice as the old year passes away and the new year begins, in candlelight and accompanied by local musicians. This offering has been enormously popular through the years, often attracting over 1,000 people. In 2019, the event was advertised as "Seattle's most peaceful New Year's tradition," but the overwhelming turn-out made the jam-packed nave feel somewhat less peaceful than expected! Clearly, the offering fills a need felt by many people, including those not otherwise connected to the cathedral community.

This year, because remaining physically distant while walking the labyrinth at the same time as others is practically impossible, a formal Labyrinth Walk Event cannot be offered, even on the outdoor labyrinth.

However, the cathedral would like to honor this longstanding tradition by extending an invitation to walk the outdoor labyrinth on December 31, at a time of your convenience. The labyrinth is open 24 hours a day—use common sense, remain masked, and do not form a crowd. To echo the indoor offerings of prior years, the labyrinth will be adorned with candles and (electric) luminarias later in the evening, weather permitting.

The other aspect of the annual New Year's Eve observances at Saint Mark's is the Midnight Eucharist for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus—normally offered on a small altar table placed at the center of the indoor labyrinth at the stroke of midnight as the new year begins. The select few who have participated in this service in the past can tell you that this is a very special liturgy, using a unique form of the Holy Eucharist not employed at any other service in the cathedral's annual cycle. Although there will be no indoor labyrinth, this service will be offered via livestream at the stroke of midnight as usual, and all are invited to participate, wherever you may be.

2018 New Year's Eve Labyrinth Walk

Christmas Eve Resources and Activities for Kids!

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This year, we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus together from home! 

Your family may participate in one of the Cathedral services together through a computer or TV, following along with the service leaflet, or you might choose to light candles, sing and pray and read scriptures together on your own. You might even choose to act out the story of the Nativity! It doesn’t matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this year on Christmas Eve. What matters is that our celebrations remind us that nothing stops Christ from coming to be with us—not a pandemic, or a closed cathedral, or anything else!

Below, you’ll find a Christmas Eve activity pack intended for elementary school-aged kids to explore the story of Christmas. Simply print it out at home and offer crayons or a pencil during the live-streamed service. Enjoy the beautiful music, take in the good news, and know you do so with many other families who are participating in various ways from their homes, too.

Click on the image to download.

If watching a livestream doesn’t work for your family, you can also use this very simple at-home worship guide for reading, singing and praying together to remember the story of Jesus’s birth. This brief service can be engaging even for very busy little children, and simple enough for the most uncertain singers!

Click on the image to download.

We know that children are more attentive than we realize, and that any way we engage them with the Christmas story from home is powerful and formative. Adults are not nearly so attentive, but worship from home is still powerful and formative for us, too! So go ahead... make room for Jesus to be born at your house, and rest in the grace of your belovedness to God, and to us here at Saint Mark’s.

Merry Christmas!

Nativity Pageant Reprise in Pandemic, hosted by Dean Thomason

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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20, 7 P.M., via YouTube live premiere; Community Zoom afterparty to follow.

Missing the Christmas Pageant this year? The delight of little angels, the sweet sounds of children’s voices, Magi processions, and three choirs gathered? Want to sing your carols as part of the experience? Pageants are an ancient way of telling the sacred story—a way that nourishes us deeply.

Join Dean Thomason and others in the cathedral community as we experience a prayerful telling of the Nativity through the familiar cycle of readings from scripture, with musical reflections and congregational carols selected from the cathedral's pageants of 2015, '16, '17, '18, and '19.

Then, let's gather together in a Zoom "afterparty" to share our thoughts as we turn into the week that leads to Christmas. All are welcome.

Download the service leaflet here.

Watch the video premiere on YouTube at this link: or in the player above.

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Personal Prayer Time in the Cathedral for Advent

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Register for a 20-minute time period.

  • Wednesdays, December 2, 9, 16, or 23 between 12 and 2 p.m.
  • Sundays, December 6, 13, or 20 between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.

There are two slots available in each time period. A party of individuals from the same household may claim a single slot.

or call Erik Donner at 206-323-0300 x217 for a reservation.

Personal Prayer Time in the Cathedral is for anyone who wishes to come into the Cathedral nave for quiet, prayerful reflection during Advent. Although the building remains closed for public gathering, the reopening plan allows for personal prayer to happen in the nave following safety protocols. Clergy will facilitate these personal prayer times on Wednesdays and Sundays during this holy season.

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Advent At Home, 2020

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This simple form of evening worship is intended to be used during the lighting of the Advent wreath or other table candles at home from November 29 to December 24. It can be used at the daily evening meal, or another time. The entire form will take no more than five minutes.
The beauty is in the simplicity and repetition for people of all ages. Repeating these words together centers them in our heads and hearts, and draws us into the longing and anticipation of the Advent season, so that we might experience the joy of Christmas with deeper gladness. You will need three purple or blue candles, one pink candle, and some trimmed evergreens to encircle them. This homemade wreath may be placed at the center of the dining table or another suitable gathering place.
This service is based on An Order of Worship for the Evening, found in The Book of Common Prayer 1979, p. 109. The BCP may be found online here.
UPDATE: Each week of Advent, the Saint Mark's Prayer Podcast for Children and Families will release an episode presenting the service below in audio format, featuring some familiar voices from the Saint Mark's community. For Week 1, there is an additional bonus episode with an "instructed" version of the same liturgy, interspersing comments and explanations about the various elements. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, or listen to the episodes embedded at the bottom of this page!


A leader begins by saying the antiphon of the week, or:
Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.

All respond:
Thanks be to God.




November 29–December 5

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.


SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT: “Prepare the Way”
December 6–December 12

Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.


THIRD WEEK OF ADVENT: “Testify to the Light”
December 13–December 19

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed.


December 20–December 24 (Advent ends at sundown.)

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.




On the final seven nights of Advent, December 17 through 23, there are special antiphons appointed for evening prayer each evening. These are called the “O Antiphons,” and they form the basis of the verses of the hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and of the O Antiphons Liturgy offered at Saint Mark’s each year. Read more about the O Antiphons here.

1. "O Wisdom" (December 17)
2. "O Adonai" (December 18)
3. "O Root of Jesse" (December 19)
4. "O Key of David" (December 20)
5. "O Rising Dawn" (December 21)
6. "O King of Nations" (December 22)
7. "O Emmanuel" (December 23)



Short (2-minute) video reflections on the theme or antiphon of each week have been created by Saint Mark community members! Week 1: Michael PereraWeek 2: Tallulah Campbell • Week 3: The Nelson Brown FamilyWeek 4: Matt Briggs & Victoria Szydlowski.  The videos will be added here each week. All the videos may also be found here.


A reader reads the following, or another appropriate passage of Holy Scripture:

If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night,” darkness is not dark to you, O Lord; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike.
—Psalm 139:10–11



All pray together:

God of all the ages, rouse us from sleep, and form us into a watchful people, so that, at the advent of your Son, we may be prepared, bearing witness to your light, and eager to receive you. We ask this through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.



The Advent wreath is now lighted, lighting one blue/purple candle during the first week, two candles during the second week, and so on.

The pink candle is lighted on the third week.



Conclude by saying or singing the evening hymn, known as the Phos hilaron, one of the oldest Christian hymns, first recorded in Greek in the 3rd century.

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Saint Mark’s Congregation & Evensong Choir

from The Church of the Apostles, Seattle

8 members of the Saint Mark’s Evensong Choir

Saint Mark’s Evensong Choir

setting by Owain Par, sung by the Cambridge Chorale


If dinner follows immediately, say together the mealtime blessing for Advent:

Holy God, we give you thanks for this meal, and for the One who is, and is to come among us. Make us steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, and constant in love. We pray this in the name of your son Jesus, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2020 Advent Video Reflections

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The Advent at Home page contains a form of private or family prayer which engages with an advent wreath in your own home. Each of the four weeks of advent is given a special theme: Keep Awake (week 1), Prepare the Way (week 2), Testify to the Light (week 3), and Here am I (week 4). Below you will find brief video reflections from Saint Mark's Community members, prompted by each of these themes.

Please check back on this page–the reflections for future weeks will be posted here as the become available. Feel free to add your response in the comments below.

Week 4: Matt Briggs and Victoria Szydlowski

Week 3: The Nelson Brown Family

See the complete schedule of Advent liturgies and events:

Introduction to Sunday’s Hymns: December 13, 2020

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On Thursday, December 10, Associate Musician John Stuntebeck introduced the hymns to be sung at the livestreamed service of Holy Eucharist at 11 a.m. this Sunday, December 13, The Third Sunday of Advent.

The hymns discussed are:

  • Savior of the nations, come. [Hymn #54]
  • Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding [Hymn #59]
  • Hark! the glad sound! [Hymn #72]

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.

Christmas Hymn Sing with Canon Kleinschmidt and Dean Thomason

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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 4:30 P.M., via Zoom

Dean Thomason and Canon Kleinschmidt’s Hymn Sings are quickly becoming a favorite pandemic pastime! For this Christmas Hymn Sing, they invite you to join in singing hymns and carols via Zoom. Do you have a favorite carol that celebrates the birth of the Christ child? This is your chance to carol with the Saint Mark’s Community.

Requests are encouraged, from any hymnal. Make your hymn request here (one per person, please!) by December 26.

Zoom link here.

Ornaments of Advent at Saint Mark’s

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Did you know? Just as we light a new candle in the wreath each week of Advent, so the cathedral altar also changes each Sunday...

Cathedral Sacristan and Head Verger Michael Seewer sends an email several times a year to those at Saint Mark's involved in liturgical ministries, including both practical announcements about scheduling, training, etc., as well as spiritual reflections and items of more general interest. In his Advent newsletter, Michael included interesting information about the Advent "paraments" (matched set of seasonal vestments and decorations) and the 2020 Advent wreath—information which may be new to many community members, and deserves a wider audience. Thank you, Michael!

The Advent Paraments

Each year for the four weeks of Advent, the nave is adorned with our Advent set of paraments. This set of Sarum blue, purple, and rose paraments (which includes altar hangings and vestments) was lovingly crafted years ago by Steve Hartwell, a beloved member of Saint Mark's Community for many years.

Steve made the original set using wool and dupioni silk in jewel shades of blue, purple, and rose. He designed the multi-color borders used on the altar frontal and on the vestments (chasuble, tunicle, and dalmatic). Remnants of the fabric when the set was originally created were kept for future use. Years after the set was originally made, the altar was enlarged, and Jo Ann Bailey stepped forward to add a larger layer (the royal blue layer in the back) so that the frontal fits the enlarged altar better.

One special tradition of ours with this frontal is to add an additional layer to the frontal each week. On the first Sunday of Advent, we start with the original jewel-toned border layer visible. The second week of Advent, the purple layer is added, the third the royal blue, until by the fourth week of Advent the final light blue layer is made visible. This coincides with the tradition of adding additional O Antiphon banners each week in front of the reredos.

Since the pandemic, we have begun using a burse and veil to "vest" the chalice each week. You may notice this placed in the center of the corporal on the altar at the start of service. We did not have a matching blue burse and veil for our Advent set, and so Jo Ann Bailey has once again stepped forward with her talented eye and has crafted a burse and veil using remnants from the original parament set. This Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, will be our first Sunday using this new burse and veil.

We are grateful for the talent of Steve Hartwell who lovingly crafted this beautiful parament set for us many years ago. We are also grateful for the passion and creativity of Jo Ann Bailey, who helps us to maintain this and all of our paraments, and who has made this new burse and veil and others this year to match our other parament sets. These beautiful additions to our worship space help to remind us of the changing seasons, and to remind us that we are called each week to worship "in the beauty of holiness."

Editor's note: Steve Hartwell died in May 2011 after an illness. The following note appeared in the service leaflet for his funeral liturgy:

We use today the Cathedral's Advent set of vestments. The liturgical color normally used for funerals is white, the color that marks our celebration of Jesus' promise of resurrection. However in some traditions, such as the Sarum rite, a community would use its best and finest vestments for a funeral regardless of their liturgical color. Of all the vestments Steve designed for this community, he felt that the Advent set was his best work and it is the favorite of many people in this community.

The 2020 Advent Wreath

We are grateful that, even with the continued Cathedral closure, the Saint Mark's flower guild continues to grace us with their talent and care by providing flowers and plants to beautify the nave. We are especially grateful this year for the time that Ray Miller dedicated to crafting our Advent wreath, a must-have for the season of Advent! [Editor's note: The making of the Advent wreath was another task overseen by Steve Hartwell for many years, and taken over by his partner Ray following his death.]

This year's wreath was crafted using clippings from the Cathedral Close, as well as some plantings along the Greenbelt. The evergreen branches are juniper, and the small branches with red fruit are from the hawthorn plant at the north end of the close. The yellow and green leaves are from a shrub along the northwest side of the close. This shrub is known as euonymus, or maybe specifically golden euonymus.

Ray designed the wreath with the alignment mindful of the fact that we light the rose candle on the third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday. We are grateful to Ray for crafting this wreath. And thank you also to Beatrix Roemheld-Hamm for her leadership of the flower guild, and for all of the many ways the flower guild team brings beauty to the nave!

Ray Miller and Steve Hartwell

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