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We recently repaired various weathered and damaged stained glass windows in the church. The window of St. Andrew, on the west side of the church, was entirely removed, repaired, returned home and reinstalled. I was staring at it this morning, illuminated by the sunlight shining through its vibrant and beautiful colors.

At the bottom of the window is a symbol of the saint. Andrew’s symbol, as a fisherman, is a boat hook. You can see it at the bottom of the photo above. I think it looks a bit like a heart. The purpose of a boat hook is to moor and unmoor a small boat. I imagined the real Andrew using it to pull his boat up on the beach, safely home for the night and the next day pulling the boat out again to tend to his daily work. That is, until his life was changed upon meeting Jesus. With that encounter he became the very first disciple, unmoored and liberated and yet grounded in a new and vital calling. Jesus inspired him to be part of a new community of men and women offering healing to a world full of hurt.

The St. Mark’s community theme this year is “Seeking the Heart of Christ”. How do we both “come home” and “set out” in our effort to seek the Heart of Christ? What grounds us and gives us the courage to live each day with compassion and strength? How does our faith inspire us to go deeper into our hearts so that we may more fearlessly lift up the goodness, truth and beauty in this world each and every day?

These are some of the questions we engage and try to answer with our minds, our own hearts and our bodies as a community of faith at St. Mark’s. Our rich Episcopal tradition and the presence and support of the people in this community help us all to live lives of compassion and to work together to make a difference in our own hurting world. It is the work of many holy hearts. God’s grace shines through us, like stained glass, and we become much more than symbols. We become real participants in a beautiful and hopeful history of love and justice.

Please read the enclosed materials and with a thankful heart prayerfully consider your ability to support the ongoing ministries in this place for 2017. What time and talent and treasure are you able to share to help us sail faithfully into the future?

In the name of Christ,

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The Rev. Matt McDermott

Rector