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A Reflection with Jeff Lewis

June 2019

Just a few days ago I found myself sailing our little boat up the northern edge of Pacific Grove between the Hopkins Marine Lab and Lovers Point.  The sun was getting low in the sky and the clouds over the Monterey Peninsula were backlit by shards of light.  

The mountains back toward Salinas were still light green from the recent rains but I knew that soon they would be taking on the golden hue of summer.  A squadron of pelicans soared by, just inches off the water, barely moving their wings. As I gazed in their direction and at the rocky shore behind them, I noticed a little spire of a church beyond a stand of eucalyptus and pines. I realized that I was looking at the spire of St. Mary’s by-the-Sea.  

Seeing the church from this angle gave me an image and an insight that I will not forget.  I felt both a sense of belonging to a particular community in a particular place at a particular time – while at the same time noticing the undeniable fact that this little church exists in the midst of a complex web of life and interconnectedness that is hard to quantify and yet is obviously true.   

It was two years ago this month that I accepted the call to be your next rector. I remember writing a letter to you sharing in the delightful news that soon my family and I would be driving across the continent to join you in this lovely church by the sea.  It was a windy day and the windows were open. I remember thinking that the coast of Maine and the coast of California were actually very near to each other in that moment. The dancing wind was like a warm introduction between new friends.

I cannot help in this season of Pentecost to marvel at how the Holy Spirit moves in our lives. Metaphorically, the Spirit has been compared to tongues of communication that allow people to speak and understand each other in new ways.  Sometimes it is described as flames of transformation that catalyze new creations and movements. But mostly the Holy Spirit is compared to wind.   The wind blows where it will. It can seem unpredictable – and indeed sometimes is. But this wind is literally the breath in which we all share our being.  

These last two years we have shared our being in this lovely place perched near the edge of the continent by the world’s largest ocean.  I have been blessed to be your rector at this particular time on our history. It has been a transformational time, sometimes gentle and sometimes wavy.  I have cherished your warmth and friendship as I have been honored to help lead this church into a new age and a new chapter. My departure to the other side of those mountains has sooner than any one of us planned for or imagined, but I have come to believe that there are blessings in our shared time together that we haven’t even realized yet.   

May we love together in that truth – each of us – wherever we may be – in the Spirit of Peace that passes all understanding.

May God bless each and every one of you and St. Mary’s by-the-Sea.


In Gratitude,

Special Farewell Service and Coffee Hour, Sunday, June 9th

Sunday, June 9 - the Day of Pentecost - is literally a "red-letter day" throughout the Church and therefore at St. Mary's. It is also the day that we will celebrate the time Fr. Jeff and his family have been among us.   Read more

I-HELP for Women

I-HELP (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program) provides services to the homeless and partner with many different churches in the area to help with nightly lodging and meals.

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Reminder: Parish Camp coming soon

June 14-16!  
Easiest camping trip ever, organizers provide all the food and cooking equipment, just bring personal camping or day trip gear.  Registrations and details in Edwards Hall, contact Brita Bruemmer to learn more.   Read more

Old Blind Dogs Perform, June 23rd, 3 p.m. matinee

Tickets and info are available at Celtic Society discounts and kids’ pricing is also available.  Read more

A Wonderful Blast Of Treasures From The Past

Charles Greenleaf Jr. stopped by the office recently with historical goodies for us. His father, The Rev Charles R. Greenleaf, was Rector of St. Mary's from 1936-1941.

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St. Mary’s embraces the return of ALBA, and welcomes our new farmers!

Yes, our ALBA farm stand is back on Sunday morning, so bring your veggie shopping basket to church!

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St. Mary’s Vintage Photo Captured On Facebook

New Photo Challenge Issued for Times and Tides! This lovely photo was sent to use by our eagle-eyed account representative at The Monterey County Weekly, Arno Featherstone, who spotted this grand old lady on a Facebook site, Vintage Images From The Monterey Peninsula. We'd love to see any of your old photos too, so send them in to us!  Read more

Time for “Big Red” to think “greener?”

St. Mary’s once received an award for our efforts to “go green.” Are we keeping up with our “green” stewardship philosophy?  Read more

Upcoming Events

Friday, June 7, 1:30 pm: Prayer Shawl Meeting

Saturday, June 8, 5:00 pm: I-HELP Women

Sunday, June 9, 9:00 am: Father Jeff's Last Service

Friday, June 14 - Sunday, June 16: Parish Camp in Big Sur

Sunday, June 16, *9:00 am: One service only (*note the 9am time) 

Monday, June 17, 7:00 pm: Vestry Meeting

Saturday, June 22, 6:00 pm: I-HELP Men

Sunday, June 23, 3:00 pm: Concert, Old Blind Dogs

Copyright © 2019 St. Mary's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, All rights reserved.

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