Category Archives: Articles

20’s & 30’s Gathers Sept 25 @ 6:00 pm

Capture a glimpse into this group as we gather for a meal (in Paca Hall) and conversation about our Response to God’s blessing — Fr. Chris will guide the reflection of this phenomenon. Jay and Lindsay Liwanag, who are part of the 20s and 30s group, will be there to help celebrate and extend the conversation about our talents, time and treasure.

Adults of all ages are invited.

Join us this Sunday, September 25 from 6:00 pm-7:30 pm.  Childcare will be provided.

Please RSVP via Sign Up Genius.

Sept 10: Regular Sunday Service Schedule Resumes

On Sunday, Sept. 10, St. Mary’s regular Sunday Worship Schedule resumes. 
>>Holy Eucharist at 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m. , 11:15 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.<< 

Sept. 10, we will have Children’s Chapel during the 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. services.

Sept. 17, we will resume Sunday School, which is scheduled at 10:15 a.m. downstairs. Adult Forums and coffee hours will also resume at 10:15 a.m. upstairs in Paca Hall.

Weekday Services 

  • Tuesday
    12:00 p.m. – Noonday prayer
  • Wednesday
    6:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist
  • Thursday
    11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist with Healing Prayer

Justice at St. Mary’s: Fall 2017 Update

Thinking about social justice and race in America and wondering where to start?  We encourage everyone to exercise their Christian identity at one of the following events this fall.

WHAT: The Diocese of Virginia – 2nd Annual Intercultural Summit

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 16, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Updated Location:  St. Mark’s, 520 North Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23220 804-358-4771

The events of Charlottesville highlighted the racial divide in our Country, our State and even our Church. How do we find our way to community from this chaos? Join the Diocese of Virginia’s 2nd annual Intercultural Summit to discuss critical issues related to the the multicultural church. You will meet and network with people of various cultures from our diocese and beyond.

Cost: is $15.00/ individual or $10.00 per person for a group of 4.

Interested? Contact .

WHAT: Washington
 DC, March for Racial Justice

WHEN: Saturday, Sept 30, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

WHERE: The march will line up at Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill

This march is intended to harness the national unrest and dissatisfaction with racial injustice into a national mobilization that strengthens local and nationwide efforts for racial equity and justice. Organizers are mobilizing a coalition of organizations, groupsand individuals to stand together for racial justice in Washington, DC., to create a just and equitable future for communities of color, so that we may all thrive together.  The march will line up at Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill between 10 am and 12 pm, march to the Capitol and past the Department of Justice at 12:30, before culminating at the National Mall between 4th and 7th Streets. A vigil at MLK Memorial will happen at sundown.

Questions? St. Mary’s Contact for the March: Alicia Phillips Mandaville


 WHAT: VOICE State Election Action

WHEN: Sunday, October 15, 4:30-6 p.m.

WHERE: Patriot High School, 10504 Kettle Run Rd., Nokesville (Prince William County).

Join VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) leaders to hear from the candidates for governor and lift up social justice issues ranging from housing affordability and support for public education to immigrant rights, criminal justice reform, and ensuring a future for WMATA.

Questions? St. Mary’s Contact for VOICE: Marjorie Green,

Supporting the Dreamers: Episcopalians as Individuals Can Contact Senators and Representatives

The Presiding Bishop and the Virginia Diocese are supporting the bipartisan Dream Act, which will provide a path to citizenship for the Dreamers, brought to this country as children and now living and working under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

To show your support, go to the Episcopal Public Policy Network website for info on contacting your senators and representatives.


Responding to Hurricane Harvey

Dear Friends,


Throughout southeast Texas, rainfall of unprecedented proportions has flooded tens of thousands of people out of their homes. Hurricane Harvey is now turning back to Louisiana. Your prayers for the victims and for first responders are needed.


In conversation with staff and the Wardens, the St. Mary’s Outreach Committee has allocated/ reserved $5k in emergency funding for natural disasters. It makes sense to send those monies immediately to ERD (Episcopal Relief and Development).


Episcopal Relief & Development reminds us not to send food, clothing or other items because affected dioceses have limited or no capacity to receive, store or distribute goods. It is more efficient and better for the local economy to make a donation.

Episcopal Relief & Development already has actions in place for first-line aid.

  • If you too would like to make an individual donation to the ERD Hurricane Harvey Response Fund to support impacted dioceses, check here.


The Reverend Andrew TP Merrow


Vestry Update to the Parish, June 28, 2017

June 28, 2017

Dear St. Mary’s Parishioner(s):

Many of us undoubtedly welcome the different rhythm that summer brings to our lives, with the promise of long days, vacations, and, hopefully, a slower pace. The rhythm changes at St. Mary’s as well, as we switch to the summer service schedule and give our Sunday school teachers a well-deserved break. Likewise, our regular coffee angels take a respite, and lemonade is offered during fellowship time after the 10:00 a.m. service. The choir is less formal with an open invitation to anyone who would like to join on a given Sunday.

While the rhythm has changed, a good deal of ministry is still going on. This summer, in particular, we have quite a bit happening.

  • As the Rev. Amy Slater settles in (after jumping in with both feet!), we are excited to add a third clergy member. The Rev. Chris Cole has accepted the call to serve at St. Mary’s, with an expected start date of early to mid-August.
  • Our summer book sale July 8 and 9—run by the Hale and Hahn families with help from youth—is a fundraiser for Arlington Pediatric Center and a draw for the larger community.
  • Our summer Ice Cream Social will be on July 20. This year, the Committee on Youth and our Neighbor Relations Workgroup have invited Old Dominion neighbors to join us.
  • We are organizing a St. Mary’s Day at the Ball Park on Saturday, August 12, to see the Giants versus the Nationals. Tickets are $20 per individual. Sign up in Paca Hall; email with questions.
  • And on St. Mary’s Day, August 13, we hope to have a joint service with Iglesia Santa Maria, a mostly Bolivian parish in Falls Church that St. Mary’s helped to support years ago. More recently we have been exploring avenues of deeper relationship based on worship and social justice interests.

Your Vestry also is working to forward the vision of the Beacon Committee, in particular around sustainability.

As you know, the Beacon Committee recommendations have shaped much of the recent work of the Vestry. Previous Senior Warden Jane Jacobsen wrote a letter at the end of December 2016 updating you on the parish’s response to those recommendations. Many of those efforts around staffing, financial health, stewardship, and our physical plant continue apace.

I wanted to update you on a particular decision of the Vestry, which came out of many months of discussion and discernment. The sense of the Vestry is that St. Mary’s will need a rectory at some point in the not-so-distant future. This is common practice for many Episcopal parishes: they own a rectory that is made available to a rector upon hiring. It seems particularly important in this part of the country. We simply would not be able to attract qualified candidates (when the time comes) without offering housing, given how steep home prices and the cost of living are here. With rates creeping up and housing prices steadily increasing, we don’t believe waiting too long makes sense.

To that end, the Vestry approved the formation of a small committee, headed by recently retired Junior Warden Dave Fletcher (working closely with Jane Shafran), to look for housing and to act if an opportunity presents itself.

The Vestry has empowered the committee to work from a set of parameters of what a rectory should have (proximity to the church, the number of bedrooms, open layout etc.), but otherwise has given the committee flexibility to be nimble and responsive. For example, the committee could look at a ready-to-move-into house, or perhaps one that needed renovations or an eventual addition. The house could be rented out in the meantime to keep a flow of revenue.

Earlier this year, the Vestry directed the Finance Committee to make liquid the funds from the sale of the house to our former priest associate, Anne Turner, so that we would have those funds ($850,000) available to put toward a rectory. Those funds would be used as a down payment. The Vestry agreed to work with the Finance Committee to find the best way to finance the balance between the purchase price and the down payment. We have set an upper limit on a purchase price of $1.35 million, hoping to find a suitable property for less but realistically addressing this market.

Please know these decisions were made after robust discussion over a number of meetings and months.

Indeed, the groundwork was laid a few years ago with the sale of the associate’s house. The Vestry strongly believes that giving the committee flexibility, with some basic parameters, increases our options and could even present us with a number of opportunities.

We fully expect there are parishioners who might want to sell their homes to the church, with possible lease-back while they near retirement or relocation. This raises the possibility that we could consider more than one property if associate housing and a rectory were possible to finance. The issue of parish vitality and sustainability going forward is uppermost in the Vestry’s thinking.

All sorts of options should be on the table. Hence, it is important to the Vestry that Dave Fletcher and his committee have the flexibility they need to explore and act on them. With that, I would like to thank Dave and Jane for giving of their time and talent to lead this very important ministry. We are blessed as a parish to have such faithful leaders. If you know of or have a property worth exploring, please email the information to

Rest assured, we are not pushing Father Merrow out the door. To the contrary. It is hard to imagine St. Mary’s without him. But long-term planning, which includes succession planning, is totally appropriate and critical. Businesses do this kind of planning all the time; healthy parishes do as well. Indeed, Father Merrow has encouraged this sort of planning.

Of course, much has been written about the difficulties of planning. To paraphrase one of my favorite poets, Robert Burns: the best-laid schemes of mice and men aft go awry. Or to quote Woody Allen, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

I certainly don’t think those quotes argue against planning. They just serve as a reminder that we need to be open to adjusting and adapting. Most importantly, we need to be open to the Holy Spirit. And, we have to be willing at times to step out in faith.



Kate Muth
Senior Warden

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!