Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Psalm 2


Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire,

    and the peoples plot in vain?


The kings of the earth set themselves,

    and the rulers take counsel together,

    against the Lord and his anointed, saying,


“Let us burst their bonds asunder,

    and cast their cords from us.”


He who sits in the heavens laughs;

    the Lord has them in derision.


Then he will speak to them in his wrath,

    and terrify them in his fury, saying,


“I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”


I will tell of the decree of the Lord:

He said to me, “You are my son;

    today I have begotten you.


Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

    and the ends of the earth your possession.


You shall break them with a rod of iron,

    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”


Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

    be warned, O rulers of the earth.

Serve the Lord with fear,

    with trembling kiss his feet,

or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;

    for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Happy are all who take refuge in him.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Plans for November 15th and 22nd

For Quiet Confidence

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and

rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be

our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,

to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou

art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Dear Beloved Parishioners,

I hope you are well; quite the rainy days we've been having.

After conversations with the Bishop, and due to the dramatic spike in cases in Philadelphia and the region, we will be going to fully online services at St. Mary's this week and next.   

We am hoping that if we take this respite from meeting in person, the situation may be better after the 22nd.  We shall see.  

We will have Morning Prayer at 9am on our YouTube Channel on Sunday and we will have Morning Prayer with music and homily at 10am, also on our YouTube channel.

This is not what I had hoped to be doing at this point, and I am sad about not meeting in person, but the cases and the positivity rate give me much pause.  Philadelphia schools are remaining online only, and Montgomery County and Delaware County are also looking like they will be taking a step back due to the present health issues.  Many other churches in our Diocese are also taking steps to respond to the current situation as well. 

Please pass the word, especially to those folks who have joined us in person, but who may not be online.

Blessings to each of you,


The Rev. Peter M. Carey, Rector
St. Mary's Episcopal Church - Cathedral Road

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Henry Beston: "The Outermost House and the Great War" Part 1


“The Outermost House” & The Great War


When the National Park Service proposed the preservation of the Outer Beach of Cape Cod during the 1950s, it cited Henry Beston’s book, “The Outermost House,” to make its case. “Because of Henry Beston’s work, many have visited Cape Cod to experience an extraordinary spiritually charged natural environment,” James C. O’Connell wrote in his 2003 book, Becoming Cape Cod: Creating a Seaside Resort.

Yet, Beston’s first stop on the road to this peaceful solitary setting was witnessing some of the worst carnage that the battles of World War I, or the “Great War,” where he served as an ambulance driver, had to offer.

The author of “The Outermost House” was born Henry Sheahan on June 1, 1888, in Quincy, Mass., and graduated from Harvard in 1911. After teaching at the University of Lyon in France, he returned to the states — but only briefly.

in 1915, Henry recalled “a pleasant August afternoon, and the Sunday papers brought along on a family picnic at the beach, and great headlines, a picture of Kaiser Wilhelm and the War. My own recollections here turn into something of an old film.”

Feeling a sense of loyalty to his mother’s native country, Beston’s medical training from his family proved to be useful as a member of the Harvard Ambulance Service, serving with the French army “in Lorraine at the wood of the Bois le Pretre.” His brother, George, a noted Quincy surgeon, also served in France in a hospital of the British Expeditionary forces.

Beston’s recollections of the war were “a long, long winter, the great melancholy sound of distant cannon in the night, a bombarded town and the arriving whizz and rending crash of the big shells, an air shell at Verdun which all but got me.” The April 22, 1916, edition of The Patriot Ledger of Quincy referred to the Battle of Verdun as “the greatest battle ever fought in the history of the world.”

“His service in the ambulance section, known as the Section Sanitaire Americaine, No. II took him right into the seat of the battle, where the trenches were strewn with dead and dying and where huge shells from German cannons made life continually one of the greatest hazard,” The Patriot Ledger reported.

Already a well-known correspondent for newspapers and magazines, Henry penned the first of many books – “A Volunteer Poilu” – based on his World War I experiences. He returned home with many items from the battles, including a gas mask, his own trench helmet, German shells and grenades, and photographs he took during combat.

On May 3, 1916, Henry recalled his experiences for the Special Aid for American Preparedness Society of Boston. “Words fail to depict conditions they fight under,” he said of the French soldiers. His address to the Society resulted in numerous pledges of support raising money for the ambulance corps.

Beston later served as a correspondent for the U.S. Navy, which resulted in a second book about the war, titled “Full Speed Ahead.” He survived the war, but the memories would haunt him for many years to come. Only on Cape Cod could he begin to find the spiritual cleansing that he so desperately needed.

“When he came to Cape Cod, he was really in search of peace,” said Nan Turner Waldron, author the book, “Journey to Outermost House,” in 1992. “Like anyone who’s been to war, you’re scarred. He never spoke of it as being scarred, but he was affected deeply by it. He came to Cape Cod in search of something for himself.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

#AdventWord Gathers Christians for Prayer via a Global Online Advent Calendar


#AdventWord Gathers Christians for Prayer via a Global Online Advent Calendar

Media Contact: Elizabeth Panox-Leach  
Tel: 703-461-1764  

ALEXANDRIA, VA AND ONLINE – For the seventh year in a row, #AdventWord will gather prayers via a global, online advent calendar. Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) in partnership with Forward Movement is offering 27 daily meditations and images during this holy season beginning Sunday, November 29. During a year of disparate worship and communities of prayer, AdventWord offers a way to reflect and pause for the Advent season and await the birth of Christ. 

Gathering a worldwide community, #AdventWord provides a daily meditation, visual image, and invites your personal reflections via social media to share your own Advent journey. Thousands have participated each year, responding to the words with photos, written responses, crafts, drawings, poems, found art, and Holy Spirit-filled posts. 

“It is amazing to witness the prayers from around the world appearing on social media when Advent begins,” says AdventWord program director, Sarah Stonesifer Boylan. “I am really pleased to see that VTS has been able to continue to provide this offering consistently for four years, each time building on its success, and I’m excited to join with Forward Movement this year to expand the offering.”  

In addition to the short daily meditations via email and social media, Forward Movement offers a print booklet of scripture-based longer reflections, action items, and questions. Waiting & Watching: Advent Word Reflections is available for purchase and is a perfect personal prompt following the #AdventWords and Sunday lectionaries. Each day includes a “doodle prayer” prompt by Praying in Color author, Sybil MacBeth. Forward Movement also offers a package of Advent prayer calendars created by MacBeth to accompany your #AdventWord. 

“Forward Movement is delighted to be a partner in this year’s #AdventWord,” said Richelle Thompson, managing editor of Forward Movement. “Immersing ourselves in the Word of God is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. #AdventWord offers many different ways to participate, enabling us to make this journey together.”

The Advent Sunday lectionary readings and The Way of Love inspire the word list for #AdventWord. Discover the visual and written meditations and give yourself the opportunity to dive deeper into the stories of this waiting season. 

The prompts for 2020 #AdventWord are: 

November 29 Tender
November 30 Deliver
December 1 Strengthen 
December 2 Earth
December 3 Rebuild
December 4 Fellowship
December 5 Glory
December 6 Speak
December 7 Comfort
December 8 Patient
December 9 Mercy
December 10 Baptize
December 11 Word
December 12 Honey
December 13 Go
December 14 Rest
December 15 Worship
December 16 Pray
December 17 Learn
December 18 Bless
December 19 Turn
December 20 Rejoice
December 21 Mystery
December 22 Wisdom
December 23 Holy
December 24 Proclaim

The #AdventWord Images and meditations can be experienced through, direct daily emails, as well as on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and ASL videos via YouTube. Meditations will also be available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole via email and on Find Watching & Waiting on

For more information:


Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at 

Anniversary of the founding of the Marine Corps

  Thank you to all those who have served our country in the Marine Corps, including many people I have been blessed to know, such as Earl James, my college lacrosse coach, Web Harrison (RIP), and so many other heroes.

Anniversary of the birth of the US Marine Corps

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Tracy Chapman ~ Talkin' about a Revolution


Hold on to hope


A future not our own

In memory of Oscar Romero (1917–1980)

A Future Not Our Own

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of
saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession
brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives include everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one
day will grow. We water the seeds already planted
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of
liberation in realizing this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's
grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the
difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not
messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Origen's poem on engagement in public life


And as we — by our prayers —
vanquish all the demons that stir up war,
and lead to the violation of oaths,
and disturb the peace,
we in this service
are much more helpful to the kings
than those who go into the field
to fight for them.

And we do take our part in public affairs,
when along with righteous prayers,
we practice self-denying disciplines and meditations,
which teach us to despise pleasures,
and not to be lead astray by them.
And none fight better for the king
[and his role of preserving justice]
than we do.

We do not indeed fight under him,
although he demands it;
but we fight on his behalf,
forming a special army of piety
by offering our prayers to God.

Origen (185–254 AD)
from Against Celsus, Book VIII, Chap. 73