The Elizabethan is a monthly update of parish and ministry happenings. Any items for the newsletter should be sent by the fourth Friday of the month to the church office email address:

Current Edition of the Newsletter: Elizabethan8-17

Read the August Elizabethan for updates on: Building improvements, landscaping and finances, as well as a note from Father John on the Feast of the Transfiguration and tending to the natural world.

From Fr. John: On the feast of the Transfiguration

On the feast of the Transfiguration on August 6th, many Eastern Orthodox churches have an old custom of thanking God for the harvest by bringing their first vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers as an offering. Some monasteries bless their gardens or livestock for the same reason, which is to recognize the renewal of the earth caused by the presence of Christ. They see the harvest as the conversion of planted seeds into their full potential and are rightfully drawn acknowledge the role of that which creates, sustains and transforms.

St. Benedict admonished those who follow his rule to take on manual labor, which has historically tended to mean farming. And when monastics “reform” Benedictinism, they often emphasize a return to manual labor. Of course, Benedictines throughout the ages have also pursued other types of work: providing for guests, nursing, writing (or at least copying), teaching and pastoral work among them. My own monastery, Mt. Angel in Oregon, raises a few crops and tends some livestock, and there are always monks, postulants, oblates and friends of the monks working on the abbey grounds, although the monks make most of their living with a well-attended seminary. It seems that some kind of farming, even if it is just gardening, is always a part of a Benedictine monastery.

Farming and gardening provide daily exposures to the marvels of God’s creations and every experience of grace is an opportunity to become transformed by the power and wisdom of Christ. Tending to the natural world at home or on the church grounds also teaches us about seasonal cycles and live cycles, and the remarkable interactions of ecosystems.

Read more in the August newsletter >> Elizabethan8-17

Copies of The Elizabethan may be picked up at the church, or mailed upon request. Just email us at the address above or call the office at 206-243-6844!

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