A Rose and a Thorn

March 29th, 2020|Comments Off on A Rose and a Thorn

What is your favorite time of day to be in our chapel or sanctuary? It’s hard for me to choose. I love early morning light hitting the old windows in the sacristy. I love our chapel on a winter evening when the wood enfolds us in warmth. I love that the late afternoon light makes a range of blues sing out from two narrow stained glass windows. I’m sure that you all would name countless more memories from time in our sanctuary and chapel – memories that are even more dear to you now that we’re not there together (for a time).

It’s often said that a church is more than its building and that is true. What enlivens our sanctuary and gives us an identity is each of you. And yet, what is also true, is that Trinity’s holy architecture is rather extraordinary. I know that we miss being there together. The familiar creak of a pew. The movement of a processional cross. The gleam of gold on a saint that encircles our altar. 

An important part of making it through a difficult time like this one is to name what we are missing, to name what is hard about our experience. It’s part of how we pray to God, with honesty, about our experience. It’s part of how we give our whole self to God. It’s part of how we learn, from God, what is worth our attention. After you’ve named, in prayer, what is hard about this experience, listen for God’s word of comfort. Sense where God is bringing you consolation. Notice where you see Christ out in our everyday world – even when you can’t be within the walls of our beloved Trinity. 

A simple way of practicing this – maybe it’s something you practiced as a child, or when you were raising children – is to name a rose and a thorn of your day. The rose is something from your day that brought you comfort or joy or was life-giving. The thorn is something from your day that was hurtful or a challenge. I’ve found it helpful to write these down each day or week – over time they help me understand where I experience God, and Christ’s consolation and challenge, as I grow and mature in my faith.

Above all, I pray that the peace of Christ rules in your hearts during this difficult time. One of the great gifts of our faith is that the Holy Spirit is connecting us and drawing us back together even as we cannot be physically together. We continue to trust in the Holy Spirit. We continue to seek the peace of Christ – while we are apart and until we are together again. 

In God’s Peace, 

You are God’s Temple

March 18th, 2020|Comments Off on You are God’s Temple

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

Dear People of Trinity Church,

For the next several weeks, we will need to be Trinity Church without meeting in our sanctuary and parish hall. Remember, you are the Church whether we can meet face-to-face or not. Following the CDC guidelines and the guidance of our bishop (read the Bishop’s most recent pastoral directives here), Trinity Church will suspend all activities that gather people together until April 17, 2020. The church has not closed — we’re on the phone, on the internet, and in your email inbox more often than ever before.How do we live out the faith in community without gathering together? We are all in uncharted territory, but below are some strategies for the next few weeks. Also, if you have any additional creative ideas, please email me at rector@trinitywatertown.org.Although all in-person church activities are postponed until at least April 17, many will move online. The office will be closed to foot traffic, and I have given the staff permission to work from home to limit in-person contact. You can call the church office or email anyone on the staff with any questions or concerns. Our parish administrator, Sue Ebersol, will ensure that our mail is checked and our bills are paid unless the state or federal government issues greater restrictions on in-town movement/travel.

  • Weekly online worship/prayer:  I plan to upload a weekly service for you that would allow us to worship together either through a website or a conference call. (You wouldn’t need Facebook to participate). With Kyle Ramey’s help, we hope to have a bulletin posted to our website that you can use while watching.
  • Daily Noonday Prayer through Facebook Live: I’m live on Facebook each day at noon (except Sundays) with the short, Noonday Prayer service from our Book of Common Prayer. Anyone can lead this from the Trinity Church page – you don’t have to be a priest. Email or call/text me if you’d like to be part of our rotation (850) 777-9572.
  • Canvasing our congregation by phone:  Together with our vestry and several members who have volunteered, we are working to canvas the congregation and check in with people. If you are willing to help make those calls or run errands for people, please email me at rector@trinitywatertown.org.
  •  Reach out if you are hurting or need help: If you have any needs (physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.) or know someone who does, please email me at the address above. Please, don’t hesitate. If you need/want anything — an errand, a prayer, a phone call — please reach out. In addition, I’ve talked with the Urban Mission, and they are also ready to deliver food. If there is someone in your neighborhood who cannot or should not leave their home, they could also call the Mission at (315) 782-8440. Our Mission stands ready to deliver food packages. Each of us are only a phone call away.
  • Finally, if you are in a position to continue giving to God through Trinity Church, please do so. Please mail in your pledge (do not visit the church office). We are working on the ability for you to give online.

You are the Church, and the world needs the Church. We will face this uncertainty together, by faith, in prayer, and with hope.

In God’s Peace,
The Reverend Molly Payne-Hardin

Why does church matter?

March 1st, 2020|Comments Off on Why does church matter?

There are lots of other places that we could be on a Sunday other than in church. Places that might be more fun – like brunch, or a soccer game, or the dog park. Places that would make more sense to those who are not people of faith – like sleeping in or enjoying a leisurely morning with The New York Times. Why do we gather with fellow Christians, fellow Episcopalians, to pray and worship God? There are a number of ways to respond to this question. Most responses depend on where or how you see God at work in this world, or if you were raised in the faith, or what you believe about God in Christ.

Your response to this question is important because it helps you know how you might be sharing the faith with others. Even if you aren’t aware that you’re ever sharing your faith with others – simply by being a person of faith, you’re sharing some of who you are with others. (That’s how the Holy Spirit works). I hope you’ll join us Wednesday evenings during Lent to think more about this.

The Lord has blessed us with the beauty and ability of Trinity Church so that we might be a blessing to others.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.


Less is more

February 23rd, 2020|Comments Off on Less is more

“What are you giving up for Lent?” goes the old question. Most of us remember, from childhood, “giving up something” during the season of Lent because Lent is when faithful people are invited to “self-examination and repentance through prayer, fasting, and self-denial” (Book of Common Prayer, page 264-265). As a kid, I often gave up chocolate, soda, or sweets. More recently, as adults, we learn that instead of giving up something, we can instead take on a holy practice. We might commit to having daily prayer time, reading the Bible each day, or participating in Holy Eucharist every Sunday.

Whether you decide to give something up or take something on, our goal is the same. We’re creating space in our lives for the God of all mercy to create and make in us new and contrite hearts (as we’ll pray together on Ash Wednesday).

To borrow the phrase popularized by minimalism in the 1940s, you could say that “Less is more” during Lent.

We take a bit less into our lives trusting that we will receive more of God.

Our God, through Christ, is more generous than we can imagine. God is always wanting to offer us more and more of the heart of Christ, as we have room to take it in.


Be encouraged!

January 26th, 2020|Comments Off on Be encouraged!

Being Human

August 18th, 2019|Comments Off on Being Human


August 11th, 2019|Comments Off on Fireflies


August 4th, 2019|Comments Off on Alleluia!