Our Spiritual Identity
We see ourselves as a spiritually engaged and welcoming intergenerational community devoted to living out the two great commandments:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
St. Mary’s serves, through the broad framework of Episcopal tradition, as a safe place where each individual is supported in his or her own spiritual journey.
We are not dogmatic. We predominately experience and express our connection to God sacramentally, through worship and action.
When asked about St. Mary’s spiritual identity, the conversations among parish members reflected two streams.
Inward: We are nourished through each other, our worship, prayer, music and study.
Outward: Striving to love our neighbors as ourselves, we are a community committed to following Christ’s example and responding to God’s love by welcoming and offering supporting ministries.
Although not enunciated specifically, as the two streams converge, they reveal our engagement as sacramental, embracing a deeply known presence of God’s grace.
Supporting each person’s growth in their own relationship with God, through worship, prayer, music, study, reflection, and deep conversation.
Living out our relationship with God in ministries that serve others and promote justice.Being an inclusive community, where everyone feels they belong and are valued.
Being faithful and grateful stewards of God’s creation, including our church buildings and grounds.
At St. Mary’s, we strive to be an open and welcoming congregation. We affirm, promote, and celebrate all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender and its expression, religious background, marital status, family structure, age, mental and physical health and ability, racial and cultural identity or background, and educational and socioeconomic status. We are a loving community in which people are free to be themselves fully and without fear, and all feel valued and cared for.
A parish of roughly 350 adults and children, with an average Sunday attendance of 132. About a third of us have been members for more than 20 years, while about a quarter of us have been members for less than five years.
Most of us live within a 15-minute drive of St. Mary’s. About two-thirds of us are female and one-third male. Although outwardly we may appear fairly similar, we are diverse in our opinions, situations and preferences, all sheltering under the same big Episcopal tent, abiding with each other in Christ.
Most adult members are over the age of 45, and about half are retired. We have some families with children, including military families stationed nearby. A majority of members are college-educated, and many have completed postgraduate work. About 90% support St. Mary’s financially. Household incomes vary, with almost half reporting annual incomes of $100,000 or more.
Most of us are active in one or more of the many ministries of St. Mary’s, and most of us attend worship at St. Mary’s at least twice a month. A few of our members split their time seasonally between the Monterey Peninsula and a location elsewhere. Membership and involvement in St. Mary’s has been relatively stable in the past few years.
The Monterey Peninsula features two academic military installations: the Naval Postgraduate School, and the Defense Language Institute, both of which frequently bless us with interesting and lively transient members. Pacific Grove is also home to Canterbury Woods, a unit within Episcopal Senior Communities. While they have their own Chaplain, many residents worship with us and are integral to the St. Mary’s community.
We come to St. Mary’s
For a wonderful variety of reasons and many different faith traditions. For those raised in the Episcopal Church, the traditional liturgy and setting is familiar and comforting. For those coming from other faith backgrounds, St. Mary’s provides a welcoming place to find a sense of community and God’s grace.
We make friends and bring family members here. Whether within St. Mary’s or through community outreach, we participate in programs that make visible what we believe. We share our blessings and serve others.
For all there is a sense of welcome, acceptance, and the opportunity for spiritual renewal and growth.