Second Saturday Discussions

second-saturday-logoJoin us at 9:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month as we delve deeper into topics important to the faith journey of all Christians. These one-hour discussion groups are informal and everyone is welcome to join us when your schedule permits.

Our current discussion series focuses on C. S. Lewis' masterwork, Mere Christianity. Discussion topics will include: How do we differentiate right from wrong? Who is God? What is Free Will? How should Christians behave? Why is hope so vital to humans? Why is there a Trinity? What is the cost of being Christian?

About Mere Christianity

mc-cover-artOne of the most popular and beloved introductions to the concept of faith ever written, Mere Christianity is a collection of scintillating brilliance which remains strikingly fresh for the modern reader, and which confirms C. S. Lewis's reputation as one of the leading Christian writers and thinkers of our age. The book brings together C. S. Lewis's legendary radio broadcasts during the World War II years, in which he set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times." Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many denominations, Mere Christianity provides an unequalled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to absorb a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith. A forceful and accessible discussion of Christian belief, Mere Christianity is one of the most widely read and discussed introductions to Christianity ever written. Lewis uncovers common ground upon which all Christians can stand together.

About C. S. Lewis

cs-lewisClive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. A close friend and colleague of J. R. R. Tolkien, Lewis was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. Lewis wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over one hundred million copies and have been adapted into three major motion pictures.

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Meeting God in the Garden

Memorial Garden croppedJoin us the fourth Monday of the month for a potluck and bible study as we "Meet God in the Garden" at St. Mary's. We read and discuss one of the parables of Jesus and reflect on the beauty of creation in our beautiful church gardens. Potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. with discussion to follow.  Meeting God in the Garden continues through September. Everyone is welcome!

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Solar Energy Discussion March 24 at St. Mary’s Episcopal

The Denmark Township Homemakers are hosting a Community meeting to learn more about Soldouble-boost-us-solar-energy-industry_206ar projects that are being planned for Washington County given Xcel Energy plans to double the amount of electricity it gets from wind and solar in the Upper Midwest.

"Customers certainly want cleaner, greener energy, so we are trying to be responsive," said Chris Clark, president of Xcel's Upper Midwest division, as quoted in a January 2015 StarTribune article.

On Tuesday, March 24th, Tena Rytel, Solar Project Manager for Aurora Distributed Solar, will present information about a proposed solar farm in Denmark Township and the growing movement for community solar gardens in Washington County. Aurora is a subsidiary of Geronimo Energy, a Minnesota based developer, that is proposing to construct a 100 megawatt solar farm across approximately 25 locations in Minnesota.

The meeting will be held St. Mary's Episcopal Church (Afton/Basswood Grove) , 8435 St. Croix Trail South, Denmark Township, at 7:30 pm on March 24th. Come and get your questions answered over a cup of coffee with friends and neighbors. All are welcome

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Give It Up for Haiti!

Haitian School ChildrenMany folks choose to give up something for Lent: chocolate, beef, mocha lattes, dessert, movies, liquor. This year, why not Give It Up for Haiti? Choose something to forego during the season of Lent, figure out how much what you give up would cost, and donate that amount to support St. Mary’s mission initiative in Haiti supporting scholarships for school children.

Bring your donations with you to church and Give It Up for Haiti. Your donation will change a child’s life.

For more information on our mission partner in Haiti, the Society of St. Margaret, click here.

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The Rev. Scott Monson Welcomed as Rector

Door Welcome 6-24-2014 croppedJim and Linda Wallace (left), Deacon Brenda Hoffman and Gurtie Berkner (right) welcome the Rev. Scott Monson as their new Rector following his induction on June 24, 2014.  Fr. Scott had been serving St. Mary's as Priest-in-Charge since January 2012.

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150th Anniversary Celebration Sunday, June 8

150yearsandourstoty_whiteback2St. Mary's is celebrating 150 years of ministry!

You are cordially invited to attend the 150th anniversary celebration of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Basswood Grove on Sunday, June 8, 2014.

Holy Eucharist in the Memorial Garden at 10:00 a.m.

Potluck brunch and group photograph following the service.

RSVP: 8435 St. Croix Trails, Hastings, MN 55033
651-459-5668 or 715-262-3941

Everyone is invited!

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The Royal Banners Forward Go!

Cross BannerPentecost Sunday, May 19, marks the culmination of work by our children born out of faith formation activities led by Sharon Lewandowski and  Linda Wallace.  Supporting help came from Jim Wallace, Susan Horn, Tom Hitchcock, Nancy Rotramel, Dar Cran, Carolyn Campfield and others.  At the 9 am service the children will process in with banners they made over the past eight weeks and show you their artwork inspired by St. Mary's beautiful windows.

We are grateful to all who have stepped forward to engage with our children this year in a variety of ways.  The results are inspiring.

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Prayer Ministry

PrayerIf you would like to have someone remembered in prayer by St. Mary's Prayer Chain and/or by the congregation during the Prayers of the People, please contact Sharon Lewandowski. Sharon will contact the prayer chain and place the individual's name on St. Mary's prayer list.


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Children’s Banner Project

Cross BannerThe banners are coming! The children of St. Mary’s have been learning about the meaning of the liturgical colors and symbols. They are transforming what they have learned into beautiful, colorful banners that the children will carry in procession on Pentecost Sunday, May 19.

Between now and then, teaching/banner-making sessions will take place alongside adult formation the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month. This is a fun, engaging project; a great opportunity for our kids to learn and to create something meaningful and tangible they will take home and enjoy. It builds nicely on the church window project led by Sharon and Karon and Godly Play lessons led by Nancy and Dar.

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Making All Things New

spring blossomsO gracious Father, who openest thine hand and fillest all things living with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters, and multiply the harvests of the world; let thy Spirit go forth, that it may renew the face of the earth; show thy loving-kindness, that our land may give her increase; and save us from selfish use of what thou givest, that men and women everywhere may give thee thanks; through Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 828)

Stewardship of creation is an ongoing ministry in the church. The creation which God declared good is entrusted to the care of humankind. Exercising that care is one dimension of daily Christian discipleship. Rogation Days are a way for the church to honor God for the gift of creation and to pray for the land, the gift of labor, and the needs of all people.

Rogation Days are traditionally celebrated during the Great Fifty Days of Easter on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day (May 6, 7 and 8 this year). The word, Rogation, has its roots in the Latin word (rogare) which means to ask or petition and it comes from the ancient introit for the Sunday preceding the Ascension. In some places, particularly England, the celebrations of Rogation Days were quite elaborate and included processions from the church to and around fields while asking for God’s blessing. These processions were known as “beating the bounds” as they often followed the parish boundaries.

The Episcopal Church maintains the practice of celebrating Rogation Days on the three days before the Ascension. However, provision is also made for Rogation Days to be celebrated at times and places which meet local needs. With an increased awareness of the need for the stewardship of creation both within the church and within contemporary culture, the themes of thanksgiving for the land and petitions for a fruitful earth may be adapted around broader cultural celebrations of Earth Day.

Although Rogation Days are agricultural celebrations, they are not solely for rural congregations. These days underscore the dependence of all people, urban and rural, on the fruitfulness of the earth and human labor. The themes of Rogation Days may be highlighted in a special worship service or in prayers of intercession on the Sunday preceding Ascension Day.

The Book of Common Prayer has a set of propers to commemorate these feast days. These propers include three prayers traditionally used for Rogation Days: a prayer for fruitful seasons, a prayer for the stewardship of creation, and a prayer for commerce and industry. A set of scripture readings appropriate for a Rogation service is also provided. The Great Litany or the Litany of the Saints is traditionally said or sung during a Rogation procession.

While we will not formally observe the Rogation Days at St. Mary’s this year, please be mindful of your role as a steward of God’s creation. Take time to observe the beautiful shades of green we see only in the early spring. Notice the early blooming flowers and the rich, loamy smell of the earth. Whether or not you are a farmer or gardener, remember those who till and plant, and give thanks for their labors on your behalf. Thank God for all the gifts that are provided by God’s gracious providence. Celebrate the beauty and bounty of all creation that reflects and magnifies the glory of God.

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