St. Mary’s Bicentennial Celebration Events
Our bicentennial is upon us! As we begin to celebrate St. Mary’s rich history, we are reminded that the past always informs the present. We need to pause, and reflect on how the circumstances of our inception as a church community and the vision and wisdom of our founders laid the cornerstone—literally and figuratively—on which our parish rests today. What can be gleaned from our humble beginnings? What did our founders intend for us? How have our mission and our unique traditions evolved over several generations? Would our forebears be proud of the church community we have become? What experience, insights, values and passions can we codify to inform future generations?
We have the opportunity to make our 200th year a transformative event! To that end, we want to share some of the many ways we will mark this special anniversary. Please add these events to your calendar!
On Sunday, January 27thfollowing the 10:00 a.m. service we will gather for our annual meeting. There we will share a catered brunch and kick off our anniversary year with fellowship and learning. Unlike other annual meetings, where reports take center stage, this year our fantastic people and fellowship will be front and center. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the many gifts of our parishioners and spend time with our community. Childcare will be provided.
We will honor our history one Sunday in the spring at the 10:00 a.m. with a Historical Service of Morning Prayer and Holy Eucharist. Using the 1789 Book of Common Prayer and hymns and anthems from that era, we’ll worship like our founders did in 1813. Following the service, we’ll have a time for questions and answers at coffee hour.
At coffee hour on Lenten Sundays (February 17, 24, March 3, 10 and 17), we’ll be tracing the history of St. Mary’s from the first Pentecost until today. This broad study of church history will add context to the specific identity we claim as a community.
During Eastertide, beginning in March, we’ll be preparing adults for confirmation and reception into our church. If you are interested in ‘officially joining’ our congregation, being received from another denomination or reaffirming your baptism, please contact the Rev. George Stevens for more details about meeting times. Youth interested in being confirmed (7th grade and up) will meet on Sunday evenings.
On Monday, April 15th, we’ll host a picnic for parishioners and neighbors and cheer on Boston Marathon participants.
On Sunday, May 12th at the 10:00 a.m. service, we will have a special dedication service for the amazing kneelers (nearly 200!) completed in honor of our bicentennial. That afternoon, we’ll march in the Wellesley Memorial Day Parade.
On Sunday, June 9th we’ll mark the end of our program year with our parish picnic. That afternoon, we’ll open our doors to our neighbors from Lower Falls with an ice cream social and tour of our church.
In June and July, a guest organist will join us as Kirsten Johnson takes a sabbatical in celebration of her 20th year at St. Mary’s.
Sunday, August 18 we will have a special service at 10:00 a.m. as we celebrate our Patronal feast day in honor of St. Mary.
On Saturday, September 28thwe’ll mark the 200th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone with a formal dinner.
On Sunday, September 29th The Rt. Rev. Thomas M. Shaw, the Bishop of Massachusetts, will celebrate with us and baptize, confirm and receive new members. This Festal Eucharist will feature a newly commissioned Nuc dimittus and Magnificat by composer Nicholas White in honor of our bicentennial.
Following the service we will welcome back former parishioners and guests with a luncheon, rededicate our cornerstone and create a time capsule to be opened 200 years hence.
In November, in celebration of All Saints Day, the St. Mary’s Choir will welcome a guest organist for a special concert and reception.
As you can imagine, in the coming months we will be adding fantastic events to this calendar to celebrate this historic anniversary. In the meantime, we invite you to share these dates with friends and former parishioners so that they can join us!
You will be hearing separately from the vestry about the opportunity to participate in a Capital Campaign in conjunction with our bicentennial. Your vestry has engaged Leslie Pendleton, the Assistant Program director from the Episcopal Church Foundation, to guide us in this important part of our anniversary. We’ll be asking you for your input about how we might build upon the great work of this parish this began nearly two hundred years ago in the coming months. We thank you in advance for your discernment and participation.
Finally, we want to thank you for your commitment to this parish and we look forward to celebrating s s’ with you this year!
The Rev. George R. Stevens