Lent 2022

"Be present, O Lord, to our prayers
and protect us by day and night;
that in all successive changes of times
we may ever be strengthened by thine unchangeableness;
through Christ our Lord. Amen."

--From William Bright's Ancient Collects
(older version of second collect on page 133 of The Book of Common Prayer)
Dearest friends,

Greetings to you all, those who are new to liturgical ministry, and those who are veterans! It has been quite some time since I've sent a worship update, and have several things of interest to share in this newsletter. I hope you take a moment to read through it, and let me know where you might be able to help with the opportunities on the horizon.

As many of you know, I'm in my fourth year of Education for Ministry (EfM). I have been in EfM for quite a bit longer, several years of which were as a co-mentor on Sunday evenings. With things having been so very busy and continuously changing for some time, I stepped back from my co-mentor role and am finishing out my fourth year just as a student. I'm really enjoying the reading this year, and am grateful for the time each week to slow down and connect with others in my EfM group.

In our weekly check ins, one thing has become very apparent: we are all exhausted. Life seems to be continuously throwing curve balls our way, and nothing seems to be settling. From the pandemic, to climate change and wildfires, to extreme heat and drought, to social unrest and political turmoil, from war to inflation...the list goes on and on. We hold all who are impacted by these things in prayer, even while our faith can feel weary and worn.

The prayer I shared at the beginning of this newsletter is an older version of the prayer on page 133 of The Book of Common Prayer, "Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night...". I like the older version just a bit better, as it asks God to strengthen us by his unchangeableness (you've gotta love that word!).

I find myself facing a choice pretty much every day. Do I want to face the changes that I will deal with today with an open heart and mind, with courage and with God's help and strength? Or, do I want to respond with bitterness, frustration, fatigue, and spite? It is only with God's help that I have the strength every day to get out of bed, face the changes and chances of this life, and be a source of light and love in a world that is hurting so very badly.

It's a sincere blessing to have that presence of God in my life, and I owe that to being in community with so many amazing people like you. God's love becomes known in us and through us, and it is that love of God that is our strength, our shield, our light and life, even in the midst of a world filled with so much hurt.

I am grateful to serve among you. May we, who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life, be strengthened each day by God's eternal changelessness.
Yours in Christ,
Michael Seewer
Cathedral Sacristan & Head Verger
(206) 323-0300 x219
Banner photo above taken by Kevin Johnson, March 2019.
Mark Your Calendar: Liturgical Minister Training
You are invited! The next Liturgical Minister Training will be on Wednesday evening, May 4. We are offering this training for the first time at a Wednesday Evening Forum, and it will be online only via Zoom so that as many people as possible can attend. The format will be abridged from Liturgical Minister Trainings in past, as follows:

  • 6:45-7:30: Plenary and Theological Reflection led by Dean Thomason
  • 7:30-8:15: Breakouts by Liturgical Ministry, led by ministry leaders

All Liturgical Ministers are invited to attend. The goal is that everyone active in Liturgical Ministries attend one of these trainings at least every three years, so if you haven't attended one in a while, please join us! The next training will be offered again after Labor Day. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Confirming Vaccination & Booster Status
As recently communicated in an email from me on March 7 regarding mask mandate updates, we are requesting that all liturgical ministers provide confirmation of full COVID vaccination and booster status before serving again. To streamline this, I have asked you to please consider uploading a copy of your vaccination and booster doses to my OneDrive by clicking this link. Or, if you'd prefer, you can show me in person before the next time you serve.

This is part of the cathedral's overall strategy to protect those who are vulnerable in our community, including younger children and the immunocompromised. We will continue offering a distanced and masked section in the south side of the nave for those who wish to sit there, and confirming vaccination and booster status of all of our volunteers is an additional step in this initiative as well. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me!
Holy Week & Easter Scheduling
Holy Week and Easter are about a month away! It's hard to believe, but it is true. I'm now ready to start working on the schedule for the many liturgies we will have each day of Holy week, culminating with our Easter Day liturgies.

If you are available and interested in volunteering in any liturgical ministry at any of the Holy Week or Easter services, please use this form to communicate that to me. Please submit your information by no later than Monday, March 21. I will begin working on the schedule after that.

Here's a summary of the liturgies planned during Holy Week and on Easter Day:

  • April 11 @ 7pm: Holy Monday Contemplative Eucharist (ALM, greeter, usher, and intercessor needed)
  • April 12 @ 7pm: Holy Tuesday Healing Eucharist (ALM, greeter, usher, and lectors needed)
  • April 13 @ 7pm: Tenebrae (service led by the choir, no liturgical ministers needed)
  • April 14 @ 7pm: Maundy Thursday Holy Eucharist (ALM, ushers, greeters, lectors, altar guild, verger, chalice bearers needed)
  • April 15 @ noon and 7pm: Good Friday liturgy (greeters, ushers, lectors needed)
  • April 16 @ 12:15: Holy Saturday liturgy (greeter, lector needed)
  • April 16 @ 8:30pm: Easter Vigil (ushers, greeters, lectors, acolytes, thurifer, altar guild, verger, chalice bearers needed)
  • April 17 @ 8:30am and 11am: Easter Day (ushers, greeters, lectors, acolytes, thurifer, altar guild, ALM, vergers, chalice bearers, oblation bearers needed)
Miscellaneous Updates & Reminders
Please see the below updates and reminders by ministry group:

11am Liturgical Ministers:
  • Please remember as soon as you arrive on a day you are volunteering to check in with one of the vergers as soon as possible, especially before vesting. The vergers wear the purple and black vestments, and are usually floating around the nave on the north side.

9am and 11am Ushers & Greeters:
  • As part of our updated mask policy, please remember to wear your mask in the following situations:
  • When present in the narthex
  • When seating people in the south (distanced & masked) section
  • When collecting the offering, or coordinating communion, in the south section
  • Ushers: we no longer need to sanitize everyone's hands at communion. I have removed the small sanitizer bottles from the drawer of the usher table.

Chalice bearers:
  • Please remember to send me your updated availability through end of April; I will be working on a schedule for the 9am and 11am services later this week.

Compline Hospitality Ministers:
  • We are working toward adding a third person to each Sunday team! Let me know if you know anyone who might be interested in volunteering once a month as a Compline Hospitality Minister. And don't forget to send me their email address or telephone number!
Taizé Prayer at Saint Mark's
In case you missed the announcement in this past weekend's cathedral newsletter: Taizé Prayer is coming to Saint Mark's! Join us on Tuesday Evening, April 5 at 7pm, for this one-time offering of Candlelit Prayer with music from Taizé. We are offering this once to see if it might be a good fit for the worship life of Saint Mark's. If you like Taizé Prayer, consider showing your support by joining us, either in person or via live-stream. If you have any questions, send me an email and let me know.

If you're unfamiliar with Taizé, we will have a service leaflet that will guide you through the liturgy and songs. The service will include song and silence, candles and meditation, scripture and prayer, and should last around 45 minutes. The music will be led by four members of Saint Mark's Evensong Choir. It should be a lovely evening as we approach Holy Week. Consider joining us!
O Antiphons ... in July?
This is not a typo! We are, indeed, having two services of the O Antiphons in July! While these services will not be listed as "open to the public," they are occurring as a part of the national conference of the American Guild of Organists, which takes place in Seattle in early July. Saint Mark's is one of several Seattle churches that will offer organ repertoire for attendees of the conference to be able to hear the variety of local pipe organs while experiencing some of the unique liturgies as well.

As part of this, Saint Mark's will have two O Antiphon liturgies: Tuesday, July 5 and Wednesday, July 6, both at 7pm. In order for these services to happen, we are looking for liturgical ministers! Each service will be run in its entirety, so we will need the standard number of liturgical ministers for each service, which includes:

  • 7 lectors
  • 15 acolytes
  • 2 vergers
  • 2 greeters
  • 2 ushers

If you are interested and available to serve at one (or both!) of these liturgies, please complete this form and let me know!
Worship & Prayer Committee
As you may have noticed, I have not sent one of these worship update newsletters in quite some time! This is due in part to the fact that we have started offering Worship & Prayer Committee Meetings every few months, which allows us an opportunity to provide updates to the parish community on what is going on in worship! All are invited to attend these meetings, which meet on Zoom.

This Worship & Prayer Committee is a part of a strategy driven by the Mutual Ministry Goals adopted by the vestry, All liturgical ministers, and anyone interested in learning more about worship & prayer at Saint Mark's, are invited to join us. You can join as you wish, as there is no commitment to "join" the committee.

The next committee meeting is schedule for Sunday, May 15, from 1:30-3:00pm via Zoom. Any questions, or if you are interested in attending, please let me know. We hope to see you there!