A community of Christian worship, well-being and service.

The week of Sunday, February 11th

Prepared or not prepared, life and death

Dear Friends,

I've been thinking a lot about the difference between having time to prepare for a tragic or traumatic event and experiencing the shock of an unexpected loss. It has been a very hard week in Portsmouth for many people, especially for the students, faculty, staff, and loved ones of the PHS student who died unexpectedly on Wednesday. On the same day as this shocking loss, three houses were destroyed by fire in Common Fence Point, leaving one person dead. No matter how prepared our courageous first responders were, these events, and facing the losses of their neighbors must have been heart breaking.
For all others who had neither preparation nor experience with the sudden loss of life, the confusion and grief may have been heart breaking. Whether prepared or not, one of the best things we can do as Christians is to follow Jesus into the hard places, offering love and support to those who need healing. We can gather together and ask for the care we need. We can commend those who died to the eternal embrace of God. When we go together into the hard places, they are not as dreadful. Our fears are met with love and suffering is met with compassion.
We are about to enter the season of Lent - the time of preparation for Holy Week and Easter - love, death, and resurrection. At St. Mary' this year we have several ways of supporting your preparation.  Even before you choose a Lenten discipline, you may wish to assess what you need in terms of filling your well of well-being. One great tool for this is the Living Compass self-assessment, (see below). It can give you some valuable insight into the areas of your life that may need some extra attention, preparation, and practice.
The scriptures this week introduce us to some standout characters who were all facing dark places and new life, two sides of the same reality.  Elisha, Elijah, Peter, James and John. Come worship, hear the stories, consider your preparation, be in loving community and hold all the suffering in our prayers.

We are also sending a giant thank you and prayer card to our first responders. Come and add your support to this. You will find it on the back table in the chapel.

In Christ, Jennifer+

Lenten Journey: Living Compass   In the 40 days leading up to Holy Week, there is a lot to navigate spiritually and emotionally. We might get caught up with the question of what to "give up" but the real goal is to get a little closer to loving with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It's a tall order, but we have tools. As we journey into the desert with Jesus this Lent, we aren't alone but knowing our areas of strength and weakness are essential for making the trek. To prepare yourself for our Lenten programming, based on this theme, you will want to avail yourself to one of these short assessments, available for free here:

For those who have taken ownership of their Church

Thanks to those who have recently been elected to serve on the Vestry. Murry Edwards as Sr. Warden, (2021) Paul Westrom, (2021) Junior Warden, Dave Brierley, Peter Collins, and Julie Zecher for three year terms as vestry members serving until 2021; and Trish Culver for a two year term serving until 2020. The vestry meets monthly on the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. and our meetings are open to all members as guests. If you would like to bring something to the attention of the vestry, please speak with an officer of the vestry: Murry Edwards, Paul Westrom, Mattie Gustafson, the clerk, Chris Bartlett, the treasurer, or the Rev. Jennifer Pedrick, the rector. They will bring it to the executive committee for consideration.
With the change of Vestry and Ministry Leaders it is important that all FOBs, keys, tools and paperwork are handed into the Parish Administrator to be available to the new leaders and future leaders.  All paperwork will be filed accordingly. Please label appropriately if Parish Administrator is not there to collect items from you. Thank you in advance! 

The Historic Church Renewal Team (HCRT) has continued to meet weekly and is making great progress. This week work will begin on remediation of water in the basement.

Our new mission and ministry priorities

St. Mary's Episcopal Church is  
a community of Christian worship, well-being and service. 

Ministry priorities for 2018:
1)    Ministry serving children, youth and families.
2)    Encouraging current members to take ownership of their church.
3)    Growing our church by
*    Welcoming those who are not yet here,
*    Honoring guests, seekers and newcomers at worship and programs,
*    Supporting membership, discipleship and connection,
4)    Educating members and guests in spiritual practices and Holy Scripture.

Mark your calendars...

St. Mary's in partnership with The Sacred Center: 
Journey Dance with the Reverend Jennifer Pedrick:  This Friday, February 9 6-7 PM. All are welcome including teens. No experience necessary. Cost is $10 This is a journey of healing through dance and expressive movement offering you freedom, joy and supportive community. 

Pancake Breakfast: This Sunday there will be a pancake breakfast during the 9 O'clock hour in lieu of Sunday School. Be sure to thank Bill Geasey and  his crew for the idea and get to know some of our teen confirmands who are also helping. 

Confirmation:  Bishop Knisely will be here on February 17th and 18th for a visitation. At the 10 am service he will confirm youth and adults as well as receiving adults into the fellowship of the Episcopal Church.  

Rest and Return:  Sunday Feb 25th,  4:00-6:00 PM  St. Mary's Church
Are you looking for a fresh Christian experience? Do you want to take time to tend to your body and soul? Join us for this mini-retreat led by Jennifer Pedrick, priest at St. Mary's Church and Shelley Dungan, Director of The Sacred Center. This spacious time will include guided prayer, ample silence and time for contemplative practices. Participants will have the opportunity to be nourished by Holy Scripture & Communion.
Offered to all looking for an embodied faith experience for a suggested donation of $25.
Scholarships are available.  
Shelley Dungan, 860-965-9995.  For more details please visit  EARLY ARRIVAL OPTION: Restorative Yoga 3:00-3:45 ~ $5.00

Ash Wednesday: February 14th begins the our Lenten Journey with the reception of ashes and services with Holy Communion at 12 noon at 7PM in St. George's chapel. Taking part in this worship as a community is important as we move into this sacred season together. For those unable to attend services, ashes will be offered all day at the parish offices 9AM-3PM.

Here's what's happening this week...

This week's Collect
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Sunday School & Formation Opportunities for All Ages:

Godly Play for children takes place during the Sunday School hour, downstairs in the Parish House in classroom 1.  
Winter Sunday School classes: Animate Bible Study: This Sunday we will learn about the various genres in which the bible is written 9am Adult Ed room.  If you ordered a journal, please bring $15.

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul:  "Captivating" book and sharing group for women and those interested in women's spirituality this Sunday at 6PM. If you'd like to join or have questions, contact
Men's Bible Study: Men's Bible study rotates every other week. For the schedule and to get the lessons ahead of time, and if you have any questions, contact Paul Westrom:

Clements Receipts...

Marcia Monroe has been tallying and delivering $10,000 batches of Clements receipts to the market for some time. In return, Clements sends St. Mary's $100 for each $10K delivered. Marcia has decided to pass this ministry on and is seeking a volunteer.  In 2017 St. Mary's received more than $700 from the community outreach program. Please contact the Parish Administrator if you are interested in taking on this ministry.

Soup Kitchen ...
Here we go again, our next soup kitchen is Thursday, February 8th 3:30 - 6:30ish at St. Paul's Newport. As always we need meatloaves cooked and wrapped in foil, apple juice, Ragu, finger desserts, and fruit - oranges, pears and bananas.

Help setting up, serving and cleaning up is always needed too and greatly appreciated.

Blessings for all you do!
Girl Scout Cookie Booth at St. Mary's...

Girl Scout Troop 730 will have a cookie booth at St. Mary's on Sunday, February 11th during coffee hour!

Eight varieties plus a gluten-free option will be for sale, and boxes are $4 each. Support Portsmouth Girl Scouts in their efforts to become young ladies of courage and confidence!  

Cookie proceeds help with Girl Scout programming, GS camp maintenance, and provide scholarships for Girl Scouts in need. Troop 730 will also be using a portion of their proceeds to support local food pantries!

Happening on the Island...

Evensong (Evening Prayer Service with music)
February 25 at 4 pm
St. John the Evangelist, 61 Poplar Street, Newport
Commemorating Black History Month and two historical black figures, Absalom Jones, and Peter Quire, the founder of St. John's

Fundraising opportunity for St. Mary's...
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*Support your charitable organization (SMC) by starting your shopping at  This Link  will take you directly to in support of SMC so you won't have to search for SMC among almost a million other organizations.

Serving this week in worship...

Altar Guild
Ann Gizzi, Joanne Gracia, Kari Reardon

Saturday at 5 pm
Greeter: Jean and Andre Wilson/Levesque
Lectors: Carole Nicodemus
Lay Eucharistic Minister: Bob Vergnani

Sunday at 8 am
Crucifer: Steve Downing
Lectors: Cindy Dube
Intercessor: Sue Hall
Lay Eucharistic Minister: Hugh Hall
Greeter : Lauren Lema

Sunday at 10am
Crucifer: Steve Bakios
Torch Bearers: Andrew Silveria
Lectors: Chris Barker, Mia Bartlett
Intercessor: Rene Bierman
Lay Eucharistic Minister: Michelle Freitas
Greeter: Pauline Davis

Coffee Hour Hosts
Bill Hall, Judy Hall, Jennie Nestlerode, Karl Nestlerode

Staff News...

Get in touch with the Staff

Parish Administrator:
Music Director:
Director of Christian Formation:
Pastoral Musician:
The parish house is open Sunday 7 am to 12 pm; closed on Monday, Tuesday through Friday, 9 am to 3 pm; and by special arrangement with the Parish Administrator, Kim Bakoledis (