We Share Our Spiritual Journey

Latest on Brennan Simkins – Tom and Martha Davis’s Nephew

My brother Turner's song "The Possibilities," inspired by my nephew Brennan and recorded by the wonderful Darius Rucker, is out. Brennan had a virulent, rare form of leukemia diagnosed in 2009, but with his strong and determined spirit survived 4 bone marrow transplants in 18 months, thanks to the brave and determined docs and nurses of St. Jude. We love St. Jude. Read more →

Stewardship Series

What The Church Means To Me? By Stewardship Volunteers: George Cortez, Ria Rhea,Joslyn Aitken and Nancy Sellas. Read more →

Our Stolen Episcopal Flag

For years I would sit on my deck and wonder about that blue flag with a white cross peeking out of the treetop. What country is that from? “Identify that Countries Flag” website was no help. Where is that flagpole? Through the years the flag gradually disappeared within the growing tree. Then one day the tree was trimmed away and I could finally enjoy the flag freely blowing in the wind day and night. And the flagpole is located right behind St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Searching the Internet for “Episcopal flag?” answered my question. Read more →

Citizenship

Barbara Van Gaasbeek has become a US Citizen! On July 11, 2014, Barbara became a US Citizen. The ceremony took place at the LA Conventional Center. Approximately 2300 people joined Barbara in taking the oath of citizenship. The top 5 nationalities represented were Mexico, Philipines, El Salvador, China, and Iran. Read more →

Stewardship Retreat

We want to extend an invitation to join us Saturday, September 28th for our Stewardship Retreat in the Guild Hall from 8:30am until noon. We'll be sharing and discussing the webcast of the recent Episcopal Steardship retreat held in Atlanta that Elizabeth attended with Joan Chittister and others. We'll have coffee and you are invited to bring your favorite snack (food and/or drink) to share. Read more →

Practice The Tithe

On Sunday, June 29th, St. Mary's will be celebrating Practice the Tithe Sunday. This offering asks parishioners to tithe 10% of one week's gross income to our Church. Please note that this donation is in addition to your regular pledge to our faith community. This year we are facing the challenge of trying to pay off our debt, with these funds earmarked for our Capital Campaign. This is one of the most important goals we have set for the coming year. Paying off this debt would allow us to do so much for others in our community and our world. Read more →

Words from Mother Teresa

“Never let anything fill you with so much pain or sorrow so as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen.” This quote, widely attributed to Mother Teresa, is one of my favorites and I think of it often. I have kept it on whatever smart phone I am using, and I make sure that it is the first thing I put on my phone, when buying a new phone. (That’s 2 Blackberrys and my current Galaxy S4) I like to think of the memo I keep of this quote as my ‘safe’ place. When I am having an especially bad day, I think of this and know that I am strong enough to get through anything that is thrown in my path…no matter what. It reminds me that whatever hard times I am facing, what Christ did for us; dying for our sins, dwarfs anything bad that is happening to me. Read more →

Good Friday Offering

Your Good Friday offering is one way to touch the lives of Christians throughout the province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.  Annually, a conference is held in Beirut, Lebanon to focus on the serious challenges facing indigenous Christians throughout that region. One focus of the conference is on the pain of loss expressed with passion and grief by so many on account of political and social pressures that continue in Syria, Israel/Palestine and Egypt.  The Most Reverand Schori states that while there is great sorrow expressed by loss, there is also great hope and expectation that peace and prosperity are possible. Read more →

A Great Day

Bishop Bruno was here. He gave a most inspiring and informative talk during our Adult Education Hour. Then he led the Sunday service which included Confirmation. The church was almost full. Next we had a wonderful potluck lunch in the Guild Hall. The joy, laughter, and energy were invigorating. This evening there was a Newcomers Dinner for our newest members at Rev. Elizabeth’s and Jay’s home. It was a delightful evening of getting to know each other better, stimulating discussion, and good food. St. Mary’s rocks! I love this church. Read more →

Saint Mary’s Vestry Retreat

Saint Mary’s Laguna Beach hosted the annual vestry retreat at the beautiful Mount Calvary Monastery in Santa Barbara California. This is a beautiful location, with walking paths and gardens for prayer and meditation. The rooms are clean, quiet and quaint. The meals were wonderful and severed in a lovely dining hall. Mount Calvary Monastery is a treasure in the hills of Santa Barbara. Our vestry was well cared for and we came away from the retreat feeling renewed in spirit and strong in our walk with the Lord. We were blessed to experience the weekend at Mount Calvary Monastery and we are looking forward to next retreat at Mount Calvary Monastery. Read more →

2 “Big Fat Greek Weddings” Five Years Apart

My story begins framed by 2 “Big Fat Greek Weddings” five years apart. Yes this is my ancestry and yes, the movie was true to life. I had traveled with my family to Cape Cod for the wedding my cousin’s daughter in September of 2007. We are close to this part of my family, having spent summers together as kids in up state New York and as adults, seeing them yearly and talking to them at least once a month on the phone. Not only do we see our cousins, but also cousins from her husband’s side of the family, one of whom was a junior bride’s maid. Her name was Isabelle, but everyone knew her as “Izi”. Read more →

Seeds of Hope – Saint Mary’s Laguna Beach

Saint Mary’s is excited to participate in this incredible opportunity to help feed those in need through the Seeds of Hope program established by the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese. The Saint Mary’s Gardening Guild and Pastor Elizabeth Rector are working with experienced individuals to assist in land cultivation in support of Seeds of Hope. The parish and vestry are eager to see the program thrive in Laguna Beach. If you are interested in supporting Seeds of Hope through Saint Mary’s please contact the Saint Mary’s office at or for more information please follow the link for participating churches. Read more →

Balancing Spiritual Life and Professional Life

I’m involved in multiple church ministries and would volunteer for more if I wasn’t a working professional. The ministries I support I love and in turn they feed my soul. There are times when I can’t attend a function or service when I really want to and there are other times where I should attend something but I am too exhausted because of a hectic professional schedule. Read more →