Deepening Our Faith

At St. Mary’s we are exploring new ways for all ages to learn and grow deeper in faith, so that we might follow Jesus more closely.


Easter Chorales

On May 18th St. Mary’s Music Program and Christian Formation Team partnered once again for a presentation by Dr. Heather Paisar on the Easter Chorales found in J.S. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein. The event had engaged attendees, and ended with a very thoughtful Q&A session.

A Journey with Luke

Photo oil on canvas by Claude Vignon ca. 1610

Back last spring in our Christian Formation survey, many of you expressed an interest in studying books of the Bible. With Advent this year we began the lectionary cycle “Year C” which uses the book of Luke extensively. Written in an almost journalistic style, to reach as many people as possible, the gospel of Luke is full of human interest stories and compassion. Now seems like a good time to have a Gospel read-along, immersing ourselves in the whole book, exploring it together and encouraging each other in engaging with scripture daily.

For our guide we will use A Journey with Luke edited by Marek P. Zabriske, which divides Luke into 50 manageable daily readings. Each day has four sections

1) a short reading from Luke, (+/- 15-25 verses)
2) a reflection by one of 26 respected authors (+/- 200 words)
3) 2 or 3 questions
4) a prayer

We will meet by Zoom, 7 – 8 pm, on Wednesday evenings January 12 through February 23 to support each other in the project, to review the previous week’s readings, and to discuss any questions, thoughts, surprises, and/or revelations that have come up amongst the group members. Leaders scheduled so far include Rev. Kristine to start us off, Kathy Stoner, Celeste Ventura, and Deacon Scott, with more to come. Join us for A Journey with Luke!

Find the book at the links below:

iTunes store

If you have any hardship with the book, please reach out to Rev. Kristine.  If possible, please read the introduction before our first meeting.

 Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 852 5322 4748
Passcode: 343441
One tap mobile
+16699009128,,85253224748#,,,,*343441# US (San Jose)

Race and Social Justice Summer Series – This summer we will be studying the intersection of race and social justice in a month-long Wednesday night series.  Each session will meet from 7-8pm on Zoom, and will include clips from selected videos, small and large group discussion, and potential action steps we can take individually and as a congregation to support those who are working for justice for these groups.

Zoom Link
Meeting ID: 960 1374 4857
Password: 458548

One tap mobile
+16699006833, 96013744857# US (San Jose)

The videos for each session will be posted in the St. Mary’s News email a week in advance so that you can watch the videos beforehand, if you would like. Or you can come to any or all of the sessions without any preparation other than an open mind and heart.

On August 11, our music director, Nicholas, will be hosting a special in-person session (with a Zoom option) on the musical genre of Spirituals, following on from the last session of the series on African Americans. The schedule is as follows:

July 14 (7-8pm on Zoom): Introduction to the series / Native Americans: Truth and healing for survivors of forced adoption and residential schools – Discussion facilitator: Beth Jones

        Additional resources

Deb Haaland announcement of US probe into Native American boarding schools
VOX report on assimilation of Native American children throughresidential schools, foster care, and adoption
PBS Newshour report on US government potential to make amends for history of indigenous schools
National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA): Lukas’s Story of forced adoption
NICWA: Ways to get involved
Statement by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on indigenous boarding schools

July 21 (7-8pm on Zoom): Asian Americans: Addressing hate crimes in the wake of the pandemic – Discussion facilitator: Mickey Welsh

        Additional resources

#Stop the Hate
TIME video: Combating Anti-Asian Violence
TED Talk: A Tale of Two Americas

Monterey County  Weekly article, May 20, 2021: “Historical Amnesia: Anti-Asian Hate … a lot of learning to be done in Monterey County’s Past”

In light of our discussion on Asian Americans: Addressing hate crimes in the wake of the pandemic and beyond, here are a few organizations to contact to take concrete actions in addressing this injustice:

Education and elimination of bias; Taking action: Bystander Intervention training
Japanese American Citizens League of Monterey County
Citizens For Better Community (Gerry Low Sabado, Chair)  Fremont<
Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Asian Law Caucus)   San Francisco<
Ikebana International, Monterey Bay Chapter #231  (Art of Japanese Flower arranging, see Kozue Knowles)

July 28 (7-8pm on Zoom): Latin Americans: Reframing the immigration narrative – Discussion facilitator: Jackie Frey

Videos: LA Times story of a day in the life of an unaccompanied minor
TED Talk: What’s missing from the American immigrant narrative
How one journalist is changing the immigrant narrative on TV. (click on “Ask me later” when prompted)

 Article:  Monterey County Weekly Article on DACA ruling

In light of our discussion of Latin Americans and immigration, here are some organizations to contact to take concrete action in addressing this issue:

COPA Website
Hispanic Scholarship Fund

August 4 (7-8pm on Zoom): African Americans: Confronting police violence and incarceration – Discussion facilitator: Scott Taylor

Videos:  New York Times Opinion | Why Life Without Parole Isn’t Making Us Any Safer
TIME – Official Trailer
13th – Official Trailer

August 11 (7-8pm in person and on Zoom): The history and genre of Spirituals – Host: Nicholas Mourlam

**The August 11th History of Spirituals & Gospel Music Event has been postponed. Please stay tuned to our announcements for the rescheduled future date and time.

Additional resources will be posted on this page as they become available.

If you would like more information about the series, please feel free to send your questions to Beth Jones:

The Feast of the Annunciation stained glass window at St. Mary's By-the-Sea in Pacific Grove, CA

Mary Revisited
An Advent Study

This year we focus on Mary as we wait and watch and prepare through the Advent season.

We will meet on Wednesday evenings Dec 1, 8, and 15, from 7-8 pm via Zoom.

Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 867 0793 9636
Passcode: 122817
One tap mobile
+16699009128,,86707939636#,,,,*122817# US (San Jose)

December 1, Wednesday, 7-8 pm
The “Real” Mary – Mary in her historical context
In this session, we’ll consider what the Bible does (and doesn’t) tell us about Mary; who Mary would have been as a woman in first century Jewish culture; the expectations of engaged and married women at that time; and how her relationship with Joseph may influence our understanding of her.

Please read the stories of the Annunciation and Jesus’ birth if you are able prior to this session: Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:1-23; Luke 1:26-37 and 2:1-8

December 8, Wednesday, 7-8 pm
“Images of Mary”
This will be a contemplative evening. We will follow Mary’s life through images and scripture, responding with poetry and prayer. I hope we will grow close to her great trust, love, courage and blessedness. What can we learn from the work of great artists who have envisioned her?

December 15, Wednesday, 7-8 pm
“Mary in Music”
Lyrics dedicated to the Virgin Mary have inspired many composers throughout the centuries. We all know Schubert’s Ave Maria, but have you heard Josquin des Prés or Gounod’s music praising the Virgin Mary? This class will explore lesser-known composers’ stunning musical arrangements in honor of Our Lady.