In this Issue

  • Opening Reflection - Emily Meeks
  • Upcoming Events - December and January 
  • Spotlight - featuring Luke Abdow, New Seattle Service Corps Director & 20s/30s Staff Lead 
  • What We’re Reading Lately - Victoria Szydlowski
  • Links and Resources 
Dear Friends,
Each December Stuart and I unpack our Christmas tree from a plastic bag that fits inside a small cardboard box that is slightly dented from a few apartment moves. It’s not an actual tree but a collection of photo table cards from our wedding reception that can form a tree shape on the wall when topped with a gold gift bow. When we first moved to Seattle, we couldn’t afford to buy a full Christmas tree but it felt important to mark the time and space in a familiar way. We decided to start a new tradition, recycling a special memory from an important event and remembering the people and places it represented in the assembly. This photo tree is something we still unpack and assemble even now when buying a tree could be an option. In some ways, it has become a spiritual practice of remembering and anticipating - of what was and what will be. The seasons of Advent and Christmas are upon us and bring forth opportunities to share in the remembering and in the anticipation with one another. From a discussion series on Advent and the Apocalypse to learning a new cooking technique, we have a range of activities to look forward to in our Seattle days of winter ahead.
Emily Meeks (
Advent and Apocalypse: A Discussion Series 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, and SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 5:30–7 P.M., Leffler House

How does our anticipation for the birth of Christ reflect the seismic significance of the incarnation? In this two-part series, we’ll explore the Advent and Christmas season in the context of the apocalypse and how this may change our preparation with Rev. Linzi Stahlecker and Fraser Reach. We'll end in time for the option to attend the Contemplative Eucharist together. The second gathering will follow on Sunday, January 8 in Epiphany. Questions? Email Emily (
Spreadable Hope: An Advent Gathering Benefiting Edible Hope

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 7:30–9 P.M., Leffler House

Drop in to decorate and frost cookies at Leffler House for an Advent gathering to benefit Edible Hope! Frosting and decorations will be provided along with a custom hot chocolate and tea station. Bring your own pre-baked sugar cookies either homemade or bought. We recommend trying this go-to recipe from Jade Bawcom-Randall. Decorated cookies will be delivered to Edible Hope, which is also a site placement for the Seattle Service Corps. Questions? Email Luke:
Candy Cane Lane Walk and Holiday Cheer 


A tradition since 1949, the houses on this section of NE Park Road in Ravenna transform into Candy Cane Lane, a display of lights and decorations representing traditions and themes from around the world. We’ll meet first at the home of Penny and Rob Reid (6114 21st Ave NE) from 7–8 pm. for hot chocolate and cookies, and then walk together to Candy Cane Lane, just a under a mile away. RSVP (appreciated but not required) to Emily:
TGIF Coffee Break

FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 7:30 a.m., at Saint Bread, 1421 NE Boat Street, Seattle

Start the day with fellowship and reflection at Saint Bread, a bakery and community space on the Portage Bay waterfront near UW in Seattle. 
Cooking Circle 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 6:30-9 P.M., Bloedel Hall 

Prepare and share a meal together. The menu will have a Lebanese theme and we’ll learn several cooking techniques from trained chefs Luke Abdow, Marc Aubertin, and Deborah Person. Questions? Email Luke:

Fee: $15, includes resources and food. Financial assistance available if needed. Registration information to come. Capacity will be limited to 12 attendees. 
Advent and Christmas Services at Saint Mark’s

See the complete Advent/Christmas schedule of event here.

**Christmas Eve Service Ministry Opportunity**
Christmas Eve can bring hundreds of people to Saint Mark's. Volunteers serve an important role in showing hospitality to guests by providing ease of parking assistance and navigating traffic flow. Shifts start 45–60 minutes prior to each service (4 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 11 p.m.) with the opportunity to attend the service as it begins. If you are interested in serving in this ministry, please email Erik Donner:
New Year’s Eve Labyrinth Walk and Midnight Eucharist


**New Year's Eve Service Ministry Opportunity**
This popular event with candle light, live music and refreshments is made possible because of the service of volunteers. The evening begins with an evening Labyrinth walk in the nave and culminates with Eucharist at midnight. Shifts are available. Roles include setting up the canvas labyrinth, welcoming visitors, restocking refreshments, and wayfinding. If you are interested in helping, please email or call Doug Thorpe: or 206-390-9045

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, 2023, 6-8 P.M., cathedral nave and grounds

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2023, 6:45–8:15 P.M., Bloedel Hall or Zoom

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 7 P.M., cathedral nave or livestreamed
Young Adult Contemplative Retreat 


Get away from it all and experience a weekend of peace, prayer, and self-care with young adults from across the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia. This casual retreat, held at the waterfront Archbishop Brunett Retreat Center at the Palisades, just south of Seattle, is designed for adults in their 20s and 30s who are seeking to experience an array of contemplative practices from a Taizé service to lectio divina to centering prayer.
Email to get onto our notification list.
New Seattle Service Corps Director and 20s/30s Staff Lead
Where are you from originally? 
I grew up in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. I love it there and feel fortunate to have grown up in a place that I feel so fond of! I then spent ten years living in Boston.

What's something someone may be surprised to know about you? 
I speak French, and have lived in France and Senegal.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? 
My entire family is Lebanese. I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled once to Lebanon, but I’d love to go back. Mostly to eat!
What do you like to do outside of work? 
Outside of my job at Saint Mark’s, I’m an avid cook and baker. I have a lot of professional experience in kitchens and bakeries. I currently work one day per week at Saint Bread in the U-District, and always bake in time (no pun intended) for culinary projects at home. In the summer I love to spend time outside hiking, backpacking, and cycling. In the winter I love to ski – mostly downhill, but last winter I discovered cross-country skate skiing and completely fell in love. I also play the viola and love to sing.
What is a holiday tradition that you have or would like to start? 
It’s not a tradition exactly, but I spent a number of years in Episcopal intentional community in Boston, and during the spring of 2020, when the pandemic lockdown was in full swing and churches were closed, we celebrated Holy Week together in the home.

Every day we prayed Morning and Evening prayer, and put together at-home liturgies for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and an Easter Vigil beginning at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. My housemates and I each took a turn offering a short reflection during the services. We ate a simple agape meal together, washed each other’s feet, stripped our chapel, prayed and sang together. We kept holy silence throughout the Triduum, from Monday Thursday through the Easter vigil. We took shifts during an all-night vigil on Thursday night into Friday, praying with Christ in our chapel.

On Sunday morning we woke up at 4am, gathered around our lit fireplace, and timed with the sunrise, went outside to proclaim the Resurrection, singing Jesus Christ is Risen Today accompanied by my housemate’s joyous trombone. Our Easter liturgy ended with a “bread buffet” of breads, pastries, and baked goods we had spent Saturday preparing. Our community didn’t include a priest, so we didn’t celebrate the Eucharist together, but nonetheless our celebration of Easter was entirely eucharistic. We broke bread together and I have never in my life felt a greater sense of community, togetherness, and the presence of Love. ◆

Get in touch with Luke at:
Victoria Szydlowski shares The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy by Martha C. Nussbaum—a find from a Little Free Library on her walk home.

I haven’t wanted to read anything else since. I’m drawn to Nussbaum’s exploration of the relationships between reason and emotion, the self-sufficiency of a rich interior life that can never be violated vs. the tender vulnerabilities we are positioned in as we live in material bodies and form relationships with those around us, as well as her use of informing an analysis of the tragic poets alongside categorically different philosophical writing.

Most compellingly, she analyzes these relationships in the context of acknowledging that “an event that simply happens to me may, without my consent, alter my life.” I find the premise of this text validating the position I find myself in, and that I find myself drawn to contemplating at Saint Mark’s. How to inform reason with feeling? How to nourish a spiritual interiority that persists throughout unimaginable sorrow vs. how to grow and deepen relationships to people and the material world that are inherently delicate? How to understand faith as explored in poetry and art vs. academic analyses? How to do all of this in the context of a life in which things happen to us, without our consent that alter our lives?
October Stairway Walk at Trinity Parish

  • The Hive - an online platform for wellness, spirituality and growth developed by The Rev. Dr. Hillary Raining who also served this year as theologian-in-residence for Saint Mark’s 

  • Many videos of past forums and presentations at Saint Mark’s —virtual, in person, or hybrid—are now gathered into a YouTube playlist here.

Saint Mark’s Cathedral acknowledges that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of all the Coast Salish tribes. [Learn more]