Category Archives: Articles

Register for Jr. High Outreach Camp!

Camp Runs: August 21 – 25, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 

Outreach Camp is for Youth who are rising 6th – 8th graders. Campers should bring a  sack lunch Monday – Thursday. Lunch is provided on Friday!

Each day a new adventure in ministry and fellowship!

St. Mary’s 2017 Jr High Outreach Camp is a ministry to the people whose are in need in the greater Washington DC area, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. Volunteers participating in the activities of the mission trip will be expected to be involved in activities that may require direct contact with those in need, preparing and serving food, praying together, encountering people with special needs, working with animals, picking crops/produce, sorting clothing, etc.

Cost $100.00 ~ Checks payable to “St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.” *Cost includes Water Park fee (Friday) lunch Friday, rental van cost, speaker fees and agency donations/fees.

 Registration deadline August 7, 2017

Download the Registration Form!

West Virginia’s Greenbank Elementary Comes to DC & St. Mary’s

Dear St. Mary’s Parishioners,

[It is my pleasure to share Greenbank Elementary’s story with the St. Mary’s community.] Keep in mind,  that I come “late to the party” since the Greenbank-St. Mary’s partnership has been going on for more than 35 years.

In the 1970s, two of our fourth-grade teachers at Greenbank Elementary (located in Green Bank, West Virginia) decided they wanted to take the fourth graders to Washington, D.C., for a field trip.

At that time, one of the teachers had lived in and around D.C. previously and was somewhat familiar with the area.  She and the other teacher planned an overnight trip to D.C.

We live in a remote, rural area of West Virginia.  With the exception of the Green Bank Observatory, formally known as the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, our parents are primarily of the working class.  We have limited resources and a majority of our students will only venture out into the world as far as we take them as a school.  We also have an 8th grade trip to VA Beach; might be the one and only time some students get to the beach.

I’m not meaning to make our families sound ignorant nor am I suggesting they don’t do things with their kids.  Just most families live paycheck to paycheck and a vacation of the caliber of D.C. and VA Beach is out of range for some, not all.

Over the next few years, these two teachers developed the trip into the four-day trip we now take.  As it is, the trip will cost us approximately $14,000.  Without the facilities of the church for lodging, we would be unable to raise the additional amounts for hotels.  So it was determined long ago that staying in a church was the best option.  I’m amazed each year how the area supports our efforts to raise this money to make the trip happen.

A short story about one particular trip.  I personally brought a young lady several years ago that was raised by her dad.  She was very tom-boyish, wore boy’s clothes, and only had experienced the world as a girl being in a man’s world.  On the trip, the moms took her under their wings.  On the trip, she experienced what it was to be woken up by a “mom” figure as well as experiencing this interaction with women.  By the end of the week, the “moms” had convinced her to pull her hair up in a ponytail (unheard of until then for her), [treated her to a new clothing outfit], as well as [discussed seeing] the area as we toured with a female point of view.  It was a wonderful experience for her and I saw her blossoming by the end of the week.

Sleeping in [St. Mary’s] church is much more than saving on cost.  It allows us to bond as a group and become a large family by the end of the week.

[We  jam-packed our time in D.C.] to squeeze out as much as we can in the time we have.

To finish, one of the two teachers who began this trip, both are retired at this time, travels with me each year to be a school chaperone.  She and I have a wonderful time showing the students and some parents D.C. as well as laughing at ourselves in the church at night (snoring, day’s events, and pure exhaustion by the end of the week).

Your church is our safe haven in D.C., a place we can just recoup each night for our adventures the next day.  I cannot, cannot express how appreciative we are of the use of your church.  I plan to retire in two years but also plan to help keep the trip going until someone picks up the baton after I leave and continues the trip.

We are beyond getting excited, we being Judy and I, for our trip.  This year I’m privileged to be bringing my son, who went as a fourth grader, and his son on the trip.  The parents still talk about their memories.  God bless each one of you and your church for your hospitality.  We will see you soon.


Cheryl Nelson

Greenbank Elementary Trip Organizer

Get Ready for St. Mary’s Summer Book Sale


St. Mary’s parishioners Elizabeth Hale and Christine Hahn are organizing a booksale fundraiser to benefit the Arlington Pediatric Center (APC).

St. Mary’s encourages you to please donate your gently used books, DVD movies, and magazines appropriate for children up to age 16.  This is your chance to clean out your overflowing bookshelves!

Donation Welcome Beginning Sunday, June 4

Donations may be left in the Church’s lower lobby on the Glebe Road side.  All of the money raised will go to the APC, and any unsold books will be donated to the APC so that patients can take a book home with them after their appointments.

The Collected Books will Go on Sale Next Month, July 8-9
  • Saturday, July 8 from 9:00  to 1:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 9 from 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m.

All of the money raised will go to the APC, and any unsold books will be donated to the APC so that patients can take a book home with them after their appointments.

Thank you for your support!

Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre Update

On Sunday, April 23. 2017. St. Mary’s was delighted to welcome Ibrahim Faltas, Executive Director for the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre for Disabled Children to speak at its Adult Forum. The Centre is a charitable, non-governmental, non-profit institution entrusted under the Anglican Episcopal church and founded by the Princess Basma bint Talal of Jordan, known for her long-time dedication to promoting human development, gender equity and children’s charities.

Click here to download a slide handouts from the presentation.

Click here to watch the video presentation.

2017 Palm Sunday Reflection by Paul Douthit

La Iglesia Episcopal de Santa Maria Palm Sunday Reflection
Nine parishioners from St. Mary’s Arlington worshipped with our neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christ at Santa Maria Episcopal Church in Falls Church. It is a mission church; the service is in Spanish, and the congregation is predominately from the large Bolivian diaspora in the Northern Virginia area. It was a delightful experience for all of us at many different levels, from witnessing a very different worship tradition from St. Mary’s to the fellowship afterward and meeting leaders of the church. We already plan to meet for a dinner on April 26 and have parishioners from Santa Maria join us for Sunday worship.
Here is my reflection on the experience. I did not look like I belonged compared to the hundreds gathered that day. I dressed differently and my skin is paler. The people of Santa Maria graciously and genuinely welcomed me as a visitor. The entire service is in Spanish and I don’t know Spanish. It followed the Book of Common Prayer so I knew the order of the service, the prayers being said, the celebration of the Eucharist, and when to pass the Peace.
The cultural identity of the congregation is expressed in the music, prayer, and other traditions that bind the people and the faith together. An acoustic guitarist and conga drummer lead the singing. The songs are more like ballads and folk songs than hymns. It accomplishes the same – to praise God and give Him glory. During the Lord’s Prayer, which is mixed with a song of thanksgiving to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence (maybe they borrowed the tune), everyone stands, holds their neighbors hand or touches a shoulder so everyone is physically connected, as the one Body of Christ, and sings together. At the end before the final blessing, Fr Roberto calls for anyone celebrating a birthday to come forward and receive a special blessing.
It is a large, growing and vibrant church. As I have discovered, the two St Mary’s have a history together but on a smaller and more formal arrangement. As far as I know, this is the first time this many from St Mary’s have actually visited and worshiped at Santa Maria. How appropriate on Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, when we prepare for the Resurrection and enter into new covenant with God. 
Something good is happening. We don’t know what exactly. That is the mystery. The Holy Spirit is leading us and so far we are going where we are led. First He lead us to worship together. Second He is leading us to join together in a fellowship dinner on Wednesday, April 26, and third to discuss together how to strengthen the relationship between us and the greater community within which both exist through continued worshipping together and discussions.