Click on the picture for directions...

Click on the picture for directions...
We’re located at 408 Levee Road in Mount Sterling, across from the MCHS football stadium.

You can contact us at...

MAMA Church at Bethany House
PO Box 502
Mount Sterling, KY
40353

859-404-8374

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Learning to ‘Live Without’…

I was talking with my brother (by another mother) yesterday.  It’s always a good tonic to talk with him.  He gets me, and I get him.  We come from the same place, and yet we’ve formed different takes on things that help each other.

As we were talking, the topic turned to things that have been left behind in the pandemic.  He noted that pro football, basketball, baseball, and hockey have become something of a forgotten side note in most people’s lives.  And I realized that I haven’t watched a single college football game or kept up with the latest rankings.

It seems like this pandemic has forced us to realize – in daily living, not so much in philosophizing – what’s really important to us.  There are some routines and activities that I’ve clung to tenaciously.  There are others that I’ve actually forgotten that I’ve forgotten.  I suspect the same is true for you.

I’ve found this realization-after-the-fact to be quite comforting.  I’ve found it to be something like the exhale of relief after the last bag of junk from spring-cleaning has been set at the curb with the rest of the garbage.  The excess weight and worry have been lifted.  The unimportant junk of life has been given the heave-ho, and now I’m free to focus on my passions.

But there’s just one problem with this: The most important passions in our lives are not always of our own choosing.  Or maybe I should say it this way: Sometimes the most important passions in our lives come from around us and/or above us.  We don’t pick our families, and sometimes we don’t even really pick our friends.  And yet, they are the most important people in the world to us.  Likewise, we didn’t choose to be created and we certainly didn’t pick our Creator.  And yet, if we have listened with all our heart, soul, and mind, He will become the preeminent passion in our lives.

I’m so thankful for all those who taught me, by their example, that God must come first and that nothing else will be rightly ordered – and joy-filled or peace-filled – in my life unless He is my first passion.  And how do I know that their lesson has stuck with me?  Well, in the midst of this pandemic and the winnowing down of stuff and clutter in my life, Jesus is still on top.  And I don’t mean in just my words.  I mean (very, VERY imperfectly) in my deeds and actions.

By his grace, God still holds me tightly in his grip, a grip that no passing fad or dark pandemic can loosen!  There’s nothing I could ever imagine for myself that would remotely rival his plans for my life.  Likewise, there’s nothing I could ever imagine for myself that would remotely fulfill me the way He does.

Is Jesus your passion?  If not, he wants to be.  He may not be your first choice, but you’re His first choice.  Never forget that.

Father Todd



Monday, October 19, 2020

The Sunday Mass...

A NEW VIDEO from BETHANY HOUSE!!

Dear Friends,

If you would like to view Father Todd’s sermon only, go to the 25:30 minute mark.  To view the complete Mass, just hit “play”!



We pray that this video will be a blessing to you!  Maybe you aren’t able to physically attend worship right now (especially as we continue to deal with the Corona Virus).  If so, we’d be very pleased to know that you’re worshiping Jesus with us “virtually”!  This in-person Mass at Bethany House was celebrated on the nineteenth Sunday of Trinitytide – October 18, AD 2020.

This Mass contains the eighth in Father Todd’s series of sermons looking at Rod Dreher’s book “The Benedict Option”.  If you have questions you’d like to ask Father Todd or points you’d like to raise, please e-mail us at mamachurch4you@yahoo.com!  Father Todd is producing a weekly “Chapter Meeting” video in which he answers those questions and deals with the points you raise.  He would love to have your input!

Even though we are again celebrating in-person Mass (with Social Distancing), not everyone is comfortable attending in-person – whether for health reasons or other concerns.  So, even if you aren’t attending in person, you can still watch this video of Mass and receive Spiritual Communion.  At the point when you would normally receive Holy Communion, you can pray the following prayer to receive Spiritual Communion...

“Dear Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament.  I love you above all things, and I desire to possess you within my soul.  And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart.  I unite myself to you, together with all your faithful people gathered around every Altar of your Church, and I embrace you with all the affections of my soul.  Never permit me to be separated from you.  Amen.”

If you feel comfortable doing so, come and join us sometime!  We are socially distancing and always wear our masks.  We gather for worship at 10:30 on Sunday mornings!  :)

Always remember – We love Jesus and we love you, too!

Your Brothers and Sisters at Bethany House

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Sunday Mass...

 A new video from Bethany House!



Dear Friends,

If you would like to view Father Todd’s sermon only, go to the 29:15 minute mark.  To view the complete Mass, just hit “play”!

We pray that this video will be a blessing to you!  Maybe you aren’t able to physically attend worship right now (especially as we continue to deal with the Corona Virus).  If so, we’d be very pleased to know that you’re worshiping Jesus with us “virtually”!  This in-person Mass at Bethany House was celebrated on the Eighteenth Sunday of Trinitytide – October 11, AD 2020.

This Mass contains the seventh in Father Todd’s series of sermons looking at Rod Dreher’s book “The Benedict Option”.  If you have questions you’d like to ask Father Todd or points you’d like to raise, please e-mail us at mamachurch4you@yahoo.com!  Father Todd is producing a weekly “Chapter Meeting” video in which he answers those questions and deals with the points you raise.  He would love to have your input!

Even though we are again celebrating in-person Mass (with Social Distancing), not everyone is comfortable attending in-person – whether for health reasons or other concerns.  So, even if you aren’t attending in person, you can still watch this video of Mass and receive Spiritual Communion.  At the point when you would normally receive Holy Communion, you can pray the following prayer to receive Spiritual Communion...

“Dear Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament.  I love you above all things, and I desire to possess you within my soul.  And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart.  I unite myself to you, together with all your faithful people gathered around every Altar of your Church, and I embrace you with all the affections of my soul.  Never permit me to be separated from you.  Amen.”

If you feel comfortable doing so, come and join us sometime!  We are socially distancing and always wear our masks.  We gather for worship at 10:30 on Sunday mornings!  :)

Always remember – We love Jesus and we love you, too!

Your Brothers and Sisters at Bethany House

This Week at Bethany House...

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

To say that things are un-ordinary at the moment would be the understatement of the decade!!  Each new day seems to bring with it uncharted territory and bewildering new realities.  This morning I opened an e-mail from the Secretary of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety department (my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss) in which she shared with us that Governor Beshear and his family have been exposed to the Coronavirus.  Last Saturday I learned that my colleague in the EKCC Chaplain’s Office – Dr. Delsa Mock – has been quarantined due to possible exposure to the virus and that I would have to radically alter my work schedule.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself wanting to curl up in a ball and stay in bed until the growing shadow of this evil thing passes and “normal” returns.  I’ve been fighting both anxiety and depression in the midst of this.  I’ve been fighting to stay fully engaged both as a Jesus-follower and as a Jesus-bearer.  As I scramble to keep things covered, I know that I have to put top priority on following (listening to and heeding the voice of) Jesus.  If I fail to do that, I know that I will fall into a place of despair and gloom.  Now more than ever I need to hear his Word and to reflect upon it.  Likewise, because I know that I’m not alone in this struggle, I know that I need to continue bearing Jesus to those around me.  Now is definitely not the time for me/us to be isolated from others who are hurting, worried, upset, or angry.  Now is the time to “love [our] neighbor as [ourselves]”.

To those ends, I’ve begun doing some things to help me order my days and nights.  At 9:00 am you’ll find me praying Morning Prayer.  At Noon you’ll find me praying Midday Prayer.  At 3:00 pm you’ll find me praying Evening Prayer.  At bedtime you’ll find me praying Compline.  Sometimes, for Morning and Evening Prayer, when I’m pinched for time (because of the unusual nature of the times) I may only read the readings.  Sometimes I may only be able to pray the Psalm.  But always, I pause…because the need to be near Jesus presses in my troubled heart.

Also, as St. Benedict urges in his “Rule”, I’m learning to take extra care of my physical needs in these anxious times.  I’m keeping to a strict bedtime…no matter what tasks are unfinished.  I recognize that lack of good sleep is a cause of depression and anxiety in my daily life.  I also recognize that I need to be more careful than usual right now in what I eat and when I eat it.  With all the stresses that are laid upon us in these troubling times, we have to feed our bodies all the more carefully.  And, by the way, I have received word that I’ve tested negative for the Coronavirus!  So, if you feel comfortable doing so, I would invite you to join us for Mass on Sunday at 10:30 am!!

So, until we are together again (whether virtually or in-person)…

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever!  Amen!

Father Todd

Saturday, October 10, 2020

An Important Announcement...

NO IN-PERSON MASS this SUNDAY…

Hello, Brothers and Sisters!

Two colleagues of mine may have the COVID-19 virus. They are currently in quarantine and I have been tested (awaiting the results). Because of that, there will be no In-Person Mass at Bethany House tomorrow morning (Sunday, October 11).

I will be recording “Virtual Mass” this evening or tomorrow morning and you can follow along via our e-bulletin – just send an e-mail to mamachurch4you@yahoo.com and we will send you a copy.

I have every expectation that we’ll be able to gather again on Sunday, October 18 for In-Person Mass!!

God bless you!

Father Todd

Saturday, October 3, 2020

This Week’s Chapter Meeting...

The “Chapter Meeting” on Thursday, October 1, AD 2020 - at Bethany House…

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

Here’s the video from our latest “Chapter Meeting”, sharing thoughts about Chapter Six of Rod Dreher’s book “The Benedict Option”.  I hope you’ll find this conversation helpful and that it may whet your appetite for next Sunday’s sermon, in which we’ll explore Chapter Six!

If you have questions you’d like me to answer, please send me a Facebook message (the name of our Facebook page is “MAMA Church at Bethany House”).  Or you could send an e-mail to “mamachurch4you@yahoo.com”.

God bless you!

Father Todd



Friday, October 2, 2020

Another Benedict Option?!

Brothers and Sisters,

Here’s an assessment of our society’s predicament that’s very similar to “The Benedict Option”.  I would highly commend this video to your viewing.

Father Todd



Monday, September 28, 2020

The Sunday Mass...

A NEW VIDEO from BETHANY HOUSE!!  :)

Dear Friends,

To view Father Todd’s sermon only, go to the 4:35 minute mark.  To view the complete Mass, go to the 25:05 minute mark.



We pray that this video will be a blessing to you!  Maybe you aren’t able to physically attend worship right now (especially as we continue to deal with the Corona Virus).  If so, we’d be very pleased to know that you’re worshiping Jesus with us “virtually”!  This in-person Mass at Bethany House was celebrated on the Sixteenth Sunday of Trinitytide – September 27, AD 2020.

This Mass contains the sixth in Father Todd’s series of sermons looking at Rod Dreher’s book “The Benedict Option”.  If you have questions you’d like to ask Father Todd or points you’d like to raise, please e-mail us at mamachurch4you@yahoo.com!  Father Todd is producing a weekly “Chapter Meeting” video in which he answers those questions and deals with the points you raise.  He would love to have your input!

Even though we are again celebrating in-person Mass (with Social Distancing), not everyone is comfortable attending in-person – whether for health reasons or other concerns.  So, even if you aren’t attending in person, you can still watch this video of Mass and receive Spiritual Communion.  At the point when you would normally receive Holy Communion, you can pray the following prayer to receive Spiritual Communion...

“Dear Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament.  I love you above all things, and I desire to possess you within my soul.  And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart.  I unite myself to you, together with all your faithful people gathered around every Altar of your Church, and I embrace you with all the affections of my soul.  Never permit me to be separated from you.  Amen.”

If you feel comfortable doing so, come and join us sometime!  We are socially distancing and always wear our masks.  We gather for worship at 10:30 on Sunday mornings!  :)

Always remember – We love Jesus and we love you, too!

Your Brothers and Sisters at Bethany House

Friday, September 25, 2020

This Week’s Chapter Meeting...

“The Benedict Option” – Chapter Five…

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

Something has surprised me as we study “The Benedict Option” together.  I began by thinking that it would be, perhaps, dry and legalistic.  What I’m finding, though, is that it has within it the seeds of a new flourishing of the Church – in a word, the seeds of revival!  This week’s chapter – Chapter Five – is no different.  What Rod Dreher is sharing is nothing less than the ancient vision of the Church truly living as the body of Christ.  Whether it’s the issue of remembering the past and preserving everything that helps God’s people to grow or understanding how the Liturgy and Sacraments keep us grounded in the truth, “The Benedict Option” seems to be a reliable guide for calling the Church to come “home”.

To help us further explore how “The Rule of Saint Benedict” can help us individually and communally, I’ve included a couple of video links below that give us a glimpse of how this happens.  The first is, of course, this week’s Chapter Meeting at Bethany House.  The other is another video in which the members of a Franciscan community are living together as a monastic community and ministering to the world around them…



Our copies of “The Rule of Saint Benedict” that I ordered for us have arrived!  I’ll have them available for pick-up in the narthex on Sunday.  Two copies are spoken for, but five are still available (at no cost) to all who would like one!!  And, for those who are interested going deeper with this study, I heartily encourage you to invest in a copy of Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option” (I believe it’s $11.00 on Amazon).  I also encourage you to have your own copy of Esther de Waal’s “Seeking God: The Way of Saint Benedict”!

I eagerly look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!!

Until then…

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever!  Amen!

Father Todd

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

This Week at Bethany House...

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

I apologize for the tardiness of this weekly update!  Things have been quite busy – especially at the prison and for the saddest of reasons.  If you would, please keep the men in your prayers – especially those who have had to receive news that’s caused them to grieve.

It was a joy to be with you on Sunday – whether in-person or virtually!!  I sensed again that what we’re receiving in and through Rod Dreher’s book “The Benedict Option” may be truly appointed for us (and the whole Church) at this time.  As he points out in Chapter Five, the Church really does need to become comfortable in her own skin!  We need to live unapologetically Christian lives.  We need to be the peculiar people, royal priesthood, and holy nation that Saint Peter talks about.

As we grow in our unique identity as Jesus-followers, the world around us will not only notice that we are “different”, they will want to know why and how!  And, the truth be told, that won’t be an easy path to follow.  Not only is the world around us no longer a Christian culture, the memory of its having been so is fading.

At our Thursday “Chapter Meeting” I’ll be laying out some of the ideas that Dreher offers on how to form and cultivate a distinctive Christian community within the Church.  Not only that, I’ve been trying to gather ideas from other sources, as well.

In the meantime, here are some videos that I pray will help us in our journey.  The first is last Sunday’s Sermon and Mass.  The second is a talk given by Esther de Waal at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London concerning the way (Rule) of Saint Benedict and how it’s impacted her life and relationship with Jesus.  The third is a video from Saint Meinrad Archabbey that focuses on how ordinary folks can live their lives in the way of Saint Benedict.  The fourth is from “Mother Miriam Live” and also deals with how ordinary folks can live in the way of Saint Benedict.  And, finally, I thought I’d throw in a “Hymn to Help Us Through”.



So, until Thursday evening…

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever!  Amen!

Father Todd

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Pandemics and Small Churches...

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha, 

This is a difficult article to read, but it’s really worth taking the time to do so.  There are some good insights here (especially following up on the sermon I preached last Sunday – about the Church needing to become comfortable in her own skin again!).

Brothers and Sisters at Bethany House, would you please take a few moments and read this article?  Once you get past the “bad news”, there are some encouraging things to note!!  This is especially true for us as we investigate “The Benedict Option” and ways of being a vital Church community!

Father Todd

 

“The Pandemic and the Demise of the Church”…

by The Rt. Rev’d. David Epps

A recent Barna poll has indicated that, in the next 18 months, 20% of all churches in the United States are likely to close as a result of the pandemic. If accurate, this would mean that, in the United States, 9,491 Southern Baptist churches (out of 47,456 churches as of 2018) would shut down. With 17,000 parishes, the Catholics Church would close 3,400 churches. The Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ would both lose 2,400 churches. Other denominations would be similarly affected. Part of the reason may be financial.

An April 24, 2020 article in the Washington Post states that churches, especially small churches, are living week to week, have eliminated much of paid staff, and are struggling to pay their mortgages. Even though congregations may not be meeting as usual, the expenses are virtually the same. A significant portion of church-goers have a “movie ticket mentality.” That is, “If I don’t go to a movie, I don’t pay for a ticket,” which translates as, “If I don’t go to church, I don’t give an offering.” It is a flawed concept of stewardship but is wide spread in some circles.

Another factor may be that only about 20% of churches were live streaming their services prior to the pandemic. The church was, thus, out of sight and out of mind.  Many church leaders were having to learn how and what to do and decide if they could afford to live stream. Most realized that they could not afford to neglect live streaming.

More troublesome, 58% of pastors surveyed believe that their own church will not survive the current crisis. If the pastors themselves have this gloomy viewpoint, it stands to reason that their congregations will likely be affected by their pessimism. Leaders set the tone. Even if they try to hide their true feelings, many people are able to pick up on the non-verbal signals and indicators. If the captain believes the ship will sink, what hope has the crew?

Of course, this phenomenon is not new, even among church leaders. In the Gospels, Jesus himself seems to be regularly chiding his disciples for their lack of faith.  They seem to have forgotten that it is Jesus who said, “I will build my Church,” and that he promised that the “gates of hell” would not prevail against it. The Church has survived Roman persecution, Nazism, Communism, the Black Death, atheism, militant socialism, Fascism, and all manner of unfavorable circumstances. However, faith is required on the part of its members and leaders so it is very possible that some individual churches will not survive. The Church, however, is in no danger.

Another disheartening fact is that, for churches that do live stream, fully 1/3 of the active congregation does not and has not tuned in to watch. It’s hard to argue with politicians who say the church is not essential when that many people who are church members see their own church service as irrelevant.

If churches fail, it will not be the fault of the pandemic. It will not be the fault of the government, as indifferent or hostile as governments can be to spiritual matters. The blame will rest in the hands of its leaders and members who allowed it to die through neglect, apathy, and lack of faith.

I, for one, have a more positive outlook than Barna or the Washington Post. My personal experience is that the church leaders I know are finding ways – sometimes very innovative ways – to minister to their people. Most are working harder than they were prior to the pandemic. In the church I serve, almost all of the people have continued to be faithful in their giving. This summer we received an annual offering to help build churches in this country. Our “pandemic offering” was several hundred dollars higher than in 2019 when there was no pandemic. The offerings on Sundays are down but the checks we receive in the mail and donations online are up.

Churches, including our own, have discovered that the audience they have from live streaming is likely several times larger than in-house attendance prior to the current situation. In other words, people who have never visited their church are visiting for the first time through live streaming.

There is the danger that people who have broken the habit of church attendance may be tempted to stay absent. It is also possible that those who have only been to “virtual church” during this time will want to stay home in their pajamas and drink coffee as they watch church from the comfort of their recliner. This would be a shame.

When Genesis records that God said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” He meant that. Man (or humankind, if you prefer) was not created to be a solitary creature. In the New Testament, the admonition is given to “not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.” When Jesus himself addresses seven churches in the Book of Revelation, those messages are given to the gathered church, not to individuals. Almost all the Epistles are addressed to congregations. There is no such thing as “solitary Christianity.”  There is no, “It’s just me, my Bible, and Jesus.”

The pandemic will pass soon enough and the Church will be changed, I hope and trust, for the better. Already many churches are planning to re-open, new ministries have been created, some programs and ministries have been re-started, and ministries before the pandemic are being re-evaluated as to their current relevance. The Church will be here long after the pandemic and hostile politicians are but a memory.

In the meantime, “having done all to stand, stand therefore.” Have some faith, participate when and where you can, be faithful to give generously to your church, pray often, and read God’s Word. Pastors and priests, please lead—don’t limp—through this crisis. None of this has caught God off guard. It’s His Church, not yours, so adjust your attitude and actions and trust Him. He is faithful when we are not and He has answers when we are clueless. Let’s thrive, not merely survive, during these days!

The Rt. Rev’d. David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). During the crisis, the church is live streaming at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays. He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South and can be contacted at davidepps@ctk.life.

This article appeared in The Citizen newspaper, Fayette County, Georgia for the September 23,  2020 edition.



Saturday, September 19, 2020

Christians and Politics...

Hmmm.  Here's some food for thought, especially as we face elections.

This is an article by The Rev’d. Timothy Keller, founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.  There are some good insights and reminders here.  Of course, as Anglicans (in the ACNA) we are pro-life and must weigh all of our voting decisions in the light of that most fundamental of human rights.  Without the right to life, no political agenda matters.

Father Todd

How Do Christians Fit Into the Two-Party System? They Don’t


Friday, September 18, 2020

It’s Time to Return to Prayer…

This is some very good food for thought.  What catches my eye immediately is that it calls us to fit our lives into our faith, not our faith into our lives.  Powerful.

(By the way, this is the vision of faith I was raised with - a vision of the faith handed down by Father John Wesley!)

Father Todd

 

Here are Dustin Messer’s thoughts about this picture and its implications for our lives…

I love this picture of John Wesley’s prayer room.

The early “Methodists” were called such because they followed a method, a way of life.  They could have been called “Rhythmists” or “Habitists”.  They didn't fit the faith into their lives, they fit their lives into the faith.  For them, discipleship was a holistic call on their very being, not something that could be compartmentalized or outsourced.

The Church of six months ago, by contrast, could be called “Programists”.  In his kindness, God is calling us back to an older, better way.  Today, we’re asking, “What does faith look like if we can’t go to events?”  Maybe at the end of this, we’ll look more like the Methodists of old as we trade in new programs for old habits?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Strolling to Work…

Hurrying is the enemy of our peace and joy through contemplation.  I know this to be true because I’ve spent untold years hurrying…to catch up, to not be late, to make up for whatever I had not done, et cetera.  I was the kid whose report card always read: “Todd is very gifted, but does not use his time well.  He could achieve more if he would manage his time better.”  (That’s an actual quote from one of my Third Grade report cards.)

So here I am in my early 50’s still hurrying…and I don’t know why.  I find myself hurrying to get out the door in the morning.  I find myself hurrying (and impatient) on my hour-long commute to work.  I find myself hurrying to get things ready for Church.  And the list goes on and on.  And all the while I’m longing for peace.  I’m waiting to “exhale”.  I’m waiting to notice (and live) the beauty of life.

Then it dawned on me (for the hundredth time!): By managing my time better I can free myself from being a slave to the clock.  And this is really important for me.  I’m leading a parish that’s looking at “The Rule of St. Benedict” as a means of going deeper with Jesus.  And you can’t read the Rule without noticing that St. Benedict rightly calls on the brothers/sisters in the monastery to observe the times of the day and the need for quiet and focus in prayer as well as an attitude of quiet and focus in prayerful labor.

So I finally decided to make a change.  After all, I can’t preach what I’m not practicing!  And the change started by “strolling to work” instead of “rushing to work”.  I also serve as a full-time prison chaplain at a prison an hour away from home.  So I have ten hours (sometimes more) in which to find either peace and joy through contemplation each week or stress and tension through hurrying.

I knew that I had to make a change when I began feeling a deeper separation from God.  I knew that I wasn’t caring for myself in the way he asks us to…and I felt it.  So I decided to slow down during my morning commute each day!

On the first morning I tried this (just a couple of weeks ago) it was slightly cool, a little foggy, and such a beautiful morning.  I drive through the hills of eastern Kentucky (part my drive is through the Daniel Boone National Forest, around Cave Run Lake!).  It was like I was seeing everything around me for the first time.  And the thought came into my mind that I was “walking to work” instead of driving to work.

To be honest with you, I have become the driver that I used to get angry with…the one that drives under the speed limit!  I really had the sense that I was strolling to work in a leisurely fashion.  The only thing missing was a neighbor to wave to!  I couldn’t believe the peace and joy that I had been missing.

I’m praying while in the car again.  I’m letting my mind wander with Jesus as he shows me the goldenrod and lets me hear the crickets and birds through the open moon roof.  I’m finding wholeness again.  I’m sensing God’s peace in my heart and mind again.  I won’t regret the years in which I denied myself this blessing, but I’ll do everything I can to not go back to those ways again.

If you can, please “stroll to work” tomorrow!

Father Todd



So Very True!!

Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray with us!
We need to hear Gods voice!


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Too Tired for Jesus…

I’m sitting in my office, listening to the men gather for worship in the Chapel.  Their voices are full of energy and their anointed singing should be enough to lift anyone who’s feeling down.  But it’s not working for me.  Their energy seems to be magnifying my weariness.  Their faith seems to make me all the more tired.  Their joy makes me want to run away.

I’m busy.  In point of fact, I’m overly busy – between prison, Church, and home.  I never stop.  There’s always something more to be done.  I have less than a one day weekend.  I’m averaging 4 to 6 hours of sleep per night.  My attention is drawn to several things at once each day.  I have no time to reflect.  My nights are short and full of strange dreams – as my brain tries to make sense of all that it’s processing.  I feel like I can’t exhale.  I feel like I’m running to keep up.  I feel like I did when I was working two jobs just to keep the bills paid, the lights on, and a roof over my head.  I feel like the working poor.

I’ve often wondered why the poor don’t seem to darken the doors of the Church.  I’ve often wondered why the Churches are populated only by the middle class (what’s left of it, anyway), the retired, and the very religiously committed.  After tonight’s insight, I think I know why.  The vast majority of young families are scrambling to juggle the necessities of daily living.  The vast majority of single moms are juggling even harder.  And now, with COVID-19, families and single moms have added the title of “teacher” to their already over-stretched list.

The Church is offering the working poor, struggling families, single moms and many other stressed people smiles, coffee, doughnuts, and promises of Jesus’ love.  But when you’re over-stressed, it only magnifies your weariness, makes you feel even more tired, and makes you want to run away.  In a very real way, our society is too tired for Jesus.

We’ve got all we can handle with news of riots, fear for our children’s future, jobs being lost, politicians acting like morons, sources of childcare vanishing, wondering how we’re going to make sure that the bills are paid, wondering how we’re going to hold our relationships together, and wondering how we’re going to make sure our kids are adequately learning and growing.  I can completely understand why the working poor and young families are too tired for Jesus.  When you’re in crisis you focus only on the basics, and the Church has failed to offer help with the basics.  The Church is too busy being a club that meets its own needs.

Church, it’s time to think like the working poor and struggling young families.

Father Todd



Monday, September 14, 2020

This Week at Bethany House...

Hello, Companions of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!!

Like the rest of the wider Church, we’re continuing to hobble along in the surreal times in which we live!  But we know that God is in control, even if things seem beyond odd.  After looking at the ongoing research into how COVID-19 is spread, we’ve decided to not sing during Mass for the foreseeable future (not least because we have several folks with health issues that place them in the high risk categories).

I’m thrilled to continue sharing my series of sermons on Rod Dreher’s book “The Benedict Option”.  This week I shared from Chapter Four and will continue its theme on Thursday in the “Chapter Meeting”.  Links to video from Sunday Mass and last week’s “Chapter Meeting” (as well as a “Hymn to Help Us Through”) are included below…



Please keep Curt, Linda, Diana, and Jim in your prayers.  They are dealing with health issues.

Until Thursday evening…

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and always!  Amen!

Father Todd

Friday, September 11, 2020

This Week’s Chapter Meeting...

“The Benedict Option” Chapter Three…

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

With each passing week, as we continue our study of “The Benedict Option”, I’m becoming more excited about the possibilities and find myself more deeply drawn to Saint Benedict’s way of being a Christian!  My sermon last Sunday and this week’s Chapter Meeting both focus on how and why we’re living fragmented lives (both individually and communally) and how “The Rule of Saint Benedict” can help us draw together those fragmented pieces into a healthy and Christ-centered whole.

I’m stunned at how timely Saint Benedict’s rule is for people living in the 21st century!  But I guess that that shouldn’t be a surprise to us.  After all, Saint Benedict is simply applying sacred Scripture (which is absolutely timeless and always relevant) to the life of Jesus’ disciples.  To help us further explore how “The Rule of Saint Benedict” can help us individually and communally, I’ve included some video links below that give us a glimpse of how this happens.

The first is, of course, the Chapter Meeting at Bethany House.  But the others pertain to living the way of Saint Benedict, both in a monastery and as Oblates (people like you and me who are not monks or nuns, but who wish to include the Rule in their daily lives)…




 


I have received word that the copies of “The Rule of Saint Benedict” that I ordered for us have now shipped.  Two copies are spoken for, but five are still available (at no cost) to all who would like one!!  And, as I shared last week, I’d like to heartily encourage you to invest in two other books.  Please consider purchasing your own copy of Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option” (I believe it’s $11.00 on Amazon).  I’d also encourage you to have your own copy of Esther de Waal’s “Seeking God: The Way of Saint Benedict”!

And now it’s time for me to hit the road, but I eagerly look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!!

Until then…

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever!  Amen!

Father Todd

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Thought...A Memory...

My drifting mind sometimes gets lost in the list of “to do” items on my plate and sometimes it floats away to a dream secretly harbored in my heart.  At other times it ponders the questions that, painfully, cannot be answered.  This morning, however, it went to a sweet place in my memories.

This morning I found myself whistling “Let Us Break Bread Together on Our Knees”.  That, in turn, reminded me of the first time I was invited to receive Holy Communion by my parents.  For whatever reason, Mark and Paul were not with us in the sanctuary during the worship service.  When the time came to go forward to receive Communion, my Dad asked me if I wanted to go forward.

I’ll never forget the feeling within me.  A lump instantly came into my throat.  I felt that odd mixture of wanting to remain a child, but also wanting to go to the Altar.  It was too much for me to process.  I felt my myself shrinking.  I know I put my head down.  Ultimately, the issue was not shyness about receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, it was about my inner conflict with growing up.

This morning, as that memory came up, my first thought was, “Why on earth didn’t you go forward?  You love receiving Jesus in the Bread and Wine!”  And, almost as soon as that thought crossed my mind, one of the sweetest memories I possess flashed before me.  It was the picture of kneeling to receive Holy Communion with my Grandmothers on either side of me.

I don’t remember what the occasion was, but my Grandma Boyce joined my Mom and Dad and me (now an adult) for worship at my Grandma Marsh’s Church.  I was seated between them for worship, and, when the time came to receive Communion we went forward together.  We all three knelt at the Altar rail and received the Body and Blood of Jesus.

I still can’t believe how privileged I am to have had that moment with them…and with Jesus.

Father Todd

Thursday, January 9, 2020

This Week at Bethany House...

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and beloved friends, too)!

Isn’t it wonderful that we have the promise of God’s loving care and faithfulness?!  When we respond to his constant invitations of care, provision, and mercy, he gives us the grace to persevere no matter what is happening!  And I need his grace daily to make it possible to persevere!

This coming Sunday we have the joy of celebrating the Feast of Our Lord’s Baptism!  If you follow the readings for Midday prayer, you might notice that each of the homilies (from Fathers of the Early Church) focus in on that momentous and life-giving (for us) event in Jesus’ life.  What a treasure it is to hear the testimony of the saints who have gone before us (and, very often, drew closer to Jesus than we ever will).

And, on top of that, (if Mark Sadowski is able – please keep his Mom in your prayers!) we’ll begin our Discipleship Hour this Sunday at 9:00am!  Mark is going to lead us in studying the Word!  Yours truly is bringing some doughnuts (with sprinkles, of course!) and we’ll have a pot of coffee brewing, too!  If you plan on attending, please prepare by reading these Scripture passages: Isaiah 49:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, and John 1:29-42.  This promises to be a very rich time of learning and sharing!

I’m also excited to share a new avenue for praying Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline!  You can now pray the Daily Office by going to www.dailyoffice2019.com!  Everything is laid out for you there: You don’t need to juggle between prayer book and Bible (unless, like me, you like making notes in your Bible and/or physically touching the books).  Since we are – first and foremost – a community of prayer, this is an amazing step forward for us!


Finally, I’m able to share that Bishop John will be in Lexington (at Apostles Anglican Church) on Saturday, January 25.  He will be meeting with clergy in the morning/afternoon and in the evening will preside at Mass.  Some of you have expressed a desire to either be Confirmed and/or received into the Anglican Church – this is the time for that!  Let me know by Friday of this week if you’d like for that to happen (the Diocesan office needs to know so they can print the certificates next week).

As always, we'll send you a copy of this week’s “Our Life Together” if you send us an e-mail to mamachurch4you@yahoo.com.  And also as always, let’s stay in the Word each day.  There’s no better recipe for receiving God’s abundant grace than by listening to his beautiful heart!

Laudetur Jesus Christus, in saecula saeculorum!  Amen.  (Praised be Jesus Christ, for ever and ever!  Amen.)

Father Todd

Friday, December 27, 2019

This Week at Bethany House...

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

Merry Christmas to you on this Third Day of Christmas!!  As I write this, today is the Memorial of the Holy Innocents – the precious children murdered at the command of King Herod.  I can’t help but think of the horror those little boys and their mothers and fathers went through.  I also can’t imagine the pain and suffering that the little ones in the womb go through as they are murdered by “medical professionals” who are supposed save life, not destroy it.  This is a good reminder that January is Sanctity of Human Life month.  Stay tuned for material and ideas for ministry from our brothers and sisters at Anglicans for Life!

I don’t know about you, but my heart is still overflowing with the joy we received at the Vigil Mass of Our Lord’s Nativity (Christmas Eve Mass)!  The echoes of those words from sacred Scripture, the music, the candlelight are all still reverberating in my heart and mind!  Personally, I feel like I’m finally coming back to life as Chaplain Delsa comes on line to help me at the prison, ministering to both the inmates and to me.  I struggled to find the energy to make it through Advent and into Christmas, but the Lord is showing me that the hard times seem to be ending!!  I’m thinking and praying again about our community at Bethany House.  I’m becoming excited again, now that I’m able to devote time and attention to all that was put “on hold”!

A copy of last Sunday’s “Our Life Together” is available by sending an e-mail to mamachurch4you@yahoo.com.  And here are the links for last Sunday’s Mass and Christmas Eve Mass – please share them with those who may be home-bound or searching to connect with Jesus and his family…



I’m happy to share with you that Mark Sadowski has agreed to lead our Sunday morning Discipleship Hour before Mass!  Mark and I will be meeting to discuss possible Bible and/or book or other studies aimed at feeding our Continuous Discipleship Growth.  This is the most fundamental, most important component of our “Becoming a Church for the Sake of Others” (yes, we’re finally going to pick up with that – the need has not gone away, and neither should our desire!).

The schedule for this coming week begins, of course, with coffee hour at 10:00am on Sunday followed by Mass at 10:30.  Please invite a friend to join you!!  The joy of the Lord is something too good not to share!  Because the first Wednesday falls on New Years Day, our first Wednesday Rosary Group will be postponed by a week.

As I look forward to being with this Sunday,

Laudetur Jesus Christus, in saecula saeculorum!  Amen.  (Praised be Jesus Christ, for ever and ever!  Amen.)

Father Todd

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve Mass...

Dear Friends,

May this video be a blessing to you!  Maybe you aren’t able to physically attend worship on Sundays.  If so, we’d be very pleased to know that you’re able to worship Jesus with us “virtually”!


This Mass from Bethany House was celebrated on the Vigil of the Feast of Our Lord's Nativity – December 24, AD 2019.  We wish you a blessed and joy-filled Christmas!

If you can, come and join us sometime!  We gather for worship at 10:30 on Sunday mornings!  :)

Always remember: We love Jesus and we love you, too!

The Brothers and Sisters of Mary
and Martha at Bethany House

Monday, December 23, 2019

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

This Week at Bethany House...

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to send out my little weekly letter!  I’m happy to be doing so again, at long last!  I’m especially happy to be sending this week’s letter, coming as it does in the wake of our celebration of the Feast of Holy Pentecost.  I can’t begin to tell you what a joy it was to worship with you!  After everyone had left Bethany House and I was finishing up putting things away – as the sweet aroma of the Holy Oil still lingered in the Chapel – there was a palpable sense of the Lord’s nearness!

I want to give a special shout out to Nathan Brown for the beautiful job he did serving – for his first time – as Lector!  After I had approached his Mom and Dad about the idea of asking him to serve in this way and he and I talked about it, my hunch was immediately confirmed that it was a nudging from the Lord to have him do this.  He told me, in our conversation, that he would be honored to serve as Lector!  He certainly offered his best to the Lord on Sunday morning!

As you know, I’ve been thinking about the future – my own, Emily and I together, and MAMA Church’s.  I’m a planner, but I’m not The Planner!  I spent some time yesterday – in the afterglow of Pentecost – thinking about MAMA Church’s future in particular.  Whether I’m with you as vicar for only the next five years or the next ten or fifteen years, I have one goal to meet: To get MAMA Church ready for its next vicar.  That means doing everything I can to help equip you for growing in your relationship with Jesus and in sharing him with the people around you.

Your love for him is evident to anyone who meets you – I see it in your lives and in who you are!  When I’m around you – even just thinking about you or praying for you – I feel it!  Jesus living in you is absolutely contagious!  That why I think it’s not only possible but necessary that we look at setting and meeting the following goals for MAMA Church in the next few years…

1. Actively and intentionally seeking to share Jesus with those around us, with the goal of tripling the size of MAMA Church in the next five years – not for the sake of aggrandizement of our parish community, but for the good of the souls who need Jesus.

2. Actively and intentionally working to nurture and grow ourselves and each other (and those who join us) in the ancient Catholic faith, with a special emphasis nurturing that faith in the children and teens entrusted to our care.  As adults, we will only carry the torch of that faith for so long.  We need to actively prepare the next generation to take our place – and that means developing an understanding that we are in ministry WITH them, not just TO them!

3. Actively and intentionally seeking ways to either add on to Bethany House or, if need be, build a new Bethany House.  The goal here should be aimed squarely at one purpose: Offering hospitality for the needs of the world around us!  For example, as we minister to unexpectedly expecting moms and dads, we need to have facilities into which we can invite them and provide for their needs.  We need storage space (for the items we intend to supply them), we need space for day care (building on the vision that Liz Pederson has expressed – a vision that would help them immensely), and we need space for ministry to children and teens.

Well, I hope I haven’t scared you!!  But, knowing you as I think I do, I feel certain that I’ve expressed some of what you’ve already been thinking – as you’ve often expressed to me.

If you would like a copy of this week’s “Our Life Together” send us an e-mail at mamachurch4you@yahoo.com – we’d love to share it with you!  As I shared on Sunday, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to give you copies of the booklet form of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer.  Stay tuned!

As always, stay in the Word daily and…

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and always!  Amen!

Father Todd

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

This Week at Bethany House...

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

I pray that Ash Wednesday and our first “Sunday” in Lent have been a blessing to you and your journey with Jesus!  Each year, as we enter this Liturgical season, I’m put in mind of the seriousness with which our Lord calls us to his side.  As the temptation to compartmentalize our relationship with him increases (and as we sometimes fall into that trap), the season of Lent takes on increasing importance – we deeply need the reminder that Jesus wants each part of our lives and our complete attention!

I relish the opportunity of gathering with you to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries of the Mass, to study God’s Word, to share with and receive from you in conversation, and to explore what the Lord seems to have in mind for Bethany House!  I’m particularly delighted in the smashing success of our first Saturday evening Mass (our first Vigil Mass of the Lord’s Day) and our fellowship time afterwards!  Not only did we come before the Lord with our worship and adoration, we also shared significant time in talking about some of the prayer-led ideas for the outreach mission of Bethany House.

This week we’ll have the opportunity to continue in the life of “Ora et Labora” (Prayer and Work)…

1. Wednesday at 6:00pm – The First Wednesday Rosary Prayer Group will meet in the Chapel.

2. No Thursday Bible Study – Fr. Todd and Dcn. Emily have to be Lexington for a medical appointment.

3. Saturday at 5:00pm – The Vigil Mass of the Lord’s Day.

4. Saturday at 6:30pm – Light dinner and study on “The Benedict Option”.

If you would like an e-copy of this week’s “Our Life Together”, just send us an e-mail.  You’ll notice that it includes everything but the usual discipleship articles (because of space and time constraints).  Beginning this coming week, I’ll only be publishing a limited number of “complete” OLT’s for those who don’t have access to the e-copy version.  I’ll be asking those with internet access to use the e-copy for the  Daily Office and the reading of the articles.  If you don’t have internet access, please make sure to tell me – I’ll have a paper copy for you!  And now, as always…

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Father Todd

Monday, March 11, 2019

A Lenten Musical Devotion...

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I hope you find this little piece - A Lenten Meditation: "Our Hearts Are Restless, Lord" - to be a blessing in your Lenten journey.  It is the outflow of my heart - a prayer to the Lord in music, acknowledging that my heart is restless and that it needs to rest in him.

God bless you!

Father Todd

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

This Week at Bethany House...

Hello, dear Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

I want to begin this week’s letter by offering a confession: In years and days gone by, I have often felt priestly ministry to be something of a drudgery, a task to be done with faithfulness while eagerly anticipating retirement.  I felt as though I had to clench my teeth and do what I was ordained to do.

Over the past couple of years, however, I haven’t felt that way.  In fact, I’ve had a fire of anticipation growing within my belly – a fire that feels like it’s being fanned into full flame (to paraphrase Saint Paul), especially during the last few months!  It’s like I’m being carried along in my ministry now; as though the Lord is lifting me up on eagle’s wings (to paraphrase the prophet Isaiah)!

So what’s changed?!  Why has there been this shift within me?  Having prayed and thought much about it, I believe it has to do with the power of the Lord being loosed within me (something that CAN happen within each of us!).  As we’ve trod the path of discovery regarding MAMA Church’s charism (our call to ministry and the gifts God has given us to engage in that ministry), I’ve begun to see that my ministry (and yours, too) really CAN be transformational.

In a phrase, I am feeling increasingly free to lead us into a more intentional, more incarnational, deeper ministry than “Church as usual”.  The thought that I would only ever serve nice, normal parishes for the rest of my ministry was killing me inside.  The thought of serving parishes that only saw themselves as closed communities (clubs, if you will) that others were invited to join, made me sick and frustrated.

I only had a hint of it at the time of my Ordination, but I’ve come to realize that if I’m going to serve the Lord and his Church as a priest, I want to see the old model of compartmentalized Christianity obliterated!  I want to serve Christian communities that breathe with the depth of Saint Benedict and sing with the zeal of Saint Francis!  I don’t want “Church as usual”!  Why?  Because “Church as usual” is like dying from the disease of navel-gazing and self-satisfaction.

Over the past few months, as we’ve swung open the doors of Bethany House to see where and how the Lord is calling us to be the Church in a post-modern world, I’ve come to feel a renewed life and energy within me.  It feels, for all the world, like what I imagine the coming of the Holy Spirit must’ve felt like at Pentecost!  I feel once again like I have something deep and profound to live for!  Like I have something I’m willing to die for!  Like there’s a ministry that’s something more thank “milk toast” to engage in!!  I FEEL ALIVE IN JESUS AGAIN!!

I find myself, once again, talking to people about Jesus.  I find myself, once again, praying earnestly and deeply.  I find myself, once again, opening my life to anyone who needs to hear the Good News.  What the myth of “Church as usual” promised to deliver was orthodoxy.  What it actually delivered was a slow and agonizing death of self-pleasing shallowness.  Jesus was right!  Unless the seed falls to the ground, splits open, and dies, nothing good will be born.

Jesus is still offering MAMA Church (and every Church and every believer) the chance to be broken open, to die to self, and to bear something beautiful to his Altar and to the world beyond!  I spoke a few years ago, in one of my sermons, of desiring a vigorous faith life for MAMA Church – a faith life that could neither be created by nor sustained in a community of believers that only sought to worship Jesus on Sunday and not engage him (or his world) for the rest of the week.  In this moment of our life as a community of believers, we stand on the threshold of being broken open, dying to self, and bearing something beautiful to Jesus and his world.

Tomorrow evening we’ll gather for Ash Wednesday Mass (at 6:30pm).  On Saturday we’ll gather for the first of our intentional Vigil Masses (at 5:00pm).  We have offers of help on the table for our ministry to unexpectedly expecting mamas and papas.  We are already engaged in deepening our prayer and devotional lives.  We are being joined by folks who have heard of the vision that the Lord is casting in our midst and who want to be a part of it.  The Lord is not only inhabiting the praises of his people, he’s reorienting his people to the life of prayer and work (the “ora et labora” of Saint Benedict)!

Brothers and Sisters, I have been deeply hungering for the juicy meat of the life of intentional prayer and work – and that’s all well and good.  The Lord seems to be bringing us into a place of feasting on that meat – and that’s all well and good, too.  But this is a feast with a purpose: To feed the world, even as we are being fed.  That is salvation and joy – and that’s so much better than well and good!!

So, as we fling open the doors to Bethany House and allow the Lord to re-build us, let’s do the following…

1. Be present for Mass on Ash Wednesday (at 6:30pm tomorrow night) and for Mass on Saturday, March 9 (at 5:00pm).  (By the way, we won’t have Bible study on Thursday this week – it will resume next week.)

2. Be present for “Talk Time” and dessert following Saturday evening Mass – we’ll be looking at Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option” and at material regarding “The Francis Option”.  We’ll also be laying the groundwork for our ministry to new mamas and papas.

Let’s dig in to this amazing feast!  As ever, you can receive an e-copy of this week’s “Our Life Together” (which is full of good stuff regarding these issues) by sending an e-mail.  And now, as always…

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Father Todd

Friday, February 22, 2019

This Week at Bethany House...

Hello, Brothers and Sisters of Mary and Martha (and special friends, too)!

My goodness, when it rains it pours!  I feel, at the moment, like I’m running to keep up with all the good things the Lord is sharing with us!  There are so many “irons in the fire” right now – and each of them, when taken together, seems to be an integral part of what the Lord is leading us to do.  As we look at ways in which to become a more deeply intentional community and to reach out with the love of Jesus – ministering to both the spiritual and corporal needs of those around us – my heart is bursting with joy!

So, let me give you an update on where things stand – following conversations with many of you, with a special brother beyond our community, and with the Lord (in my prayer times and in my holy reading)…

Saturday Evening Mass followed by Bible Study or a Chapter Meeting: Having spoken and/or heard from nearly everyone, I do believe it’s time to begin a trial period of celebrating Mass on Saturday evenings.  I propose that we begin doing so on Saturday, March 9 at 5:00pm.  This will be the first Saturday in Lent.  I also propose that the trial period extend all the way through Lent and Holy Week, ending with The Great Vigil of the Resurrection on Holy Saturday.

As I’ve mentioned before (if we decide to continue permanently with Saturday evening Mass), this will allow us to do the following:

1. Gather for a community meal following Mass – a meal which we can use to offer hospitality to people outside of MAMA Church and which we can use to help build a deeper sense of community within MAMA Church.

2. Following the community meal, we can engage in Bible study or a Chapter meeting (all will be invited to attend, whether or not they are participants in the Companions of Mary and Martha – more on the Companions below).

Ministry to Unexpectedly Expecting Single Moms and Dads: Since it is no longer sufficient (and has never been pleasing to the Lord) to simply curse the darkness, it’s time to start bringing the light of Jesus into the present darkness!  One of the ways that we can bring tangible light into our community is by ministering to the spiritual and corporal needs of expecting mothers who are at risk for choosing abortion and/or feeling alone.  Likewise, we can bring tangible light by ministering to expecting fathers who have no idea what it means to be either a father or a mature man.

We can accomplish this mission in two ways (both of which are equally and urgently needed): First, through elbow grease and sweat equity, we can gather a “pantry” of baby and  household items that these unexpectedly expecting parents will need.  In this way, we could become the reason they might choose life over abortion!  Second, our “pantry” can be linked to engaging with them in mentoring, Bible study, and discipleship.  Not only can we help them to choose life, we can help them choose abundant life in Jesus Christ!

To this end, I have begun conversations with Deacon Georgette Forney at Anglicans For Life.  She is helping me to locate parishes that are doing similar things, so that we don’t have to re-invent the wheel.  Also to this end, we will need to seek out brothers and sisters in Christ in other local congregations who will be willing to join us in this ministry.  There will be plenty of work to do, and The Companions of Mary and Martha will need help!

I’m beyond ecstatic to share with you that our friends, Rabbi Rod and Jenny Eisenberg, will be making themselves available to advise us in this type of ministry.  Additionally, Rod shared with me today that the Board of Baruch Haba Messianic Congregation in Lexington would like to find ways of helping us in this ministry!!  The Lord truly provides!

The Creation of The Companions of Mary and Martha: I’m also excited beyond measure about both the interest in and possibility of creating a monastic community at Bethany House!  As you know, I’ve begun reading Rod Dreher’s book “The Benedict Option” and am looking within it to see how other Churches have answered the call to create a more intentional community of discipleship.  I’ve also been reading the Rule of Saint Benedict, the Rule of Saint Francis, and the Rule of The Company of Jesus.

I’m interested in us pursuing monastic community because I firmly believe that what the secular world needs now more than ever is Christians who are deeply formed in their faith – more deeply formed than what Sunday attendance will ever be able to provide.  So, what will this entail?  Well, it will develop as we go, but the basic Rule of Life will include these things:

1. Praying the Daily Office (by praying at least Morning and Evening Prayer or by praying either Morning or Evening Prayer with Noonday Prayer and Compline);

2. Earnestly participating in the mission of the community (to the extent possible – but some kind of active participation will be required);

3. Earnestly seeking the Lord’s will in creating your individual Apostolate (ministry) and then engaging in that Apostolate on a regular basis.

4. Coming together as a community (outside of Mass, in a Chapter meeting – perhaps every other Saturday evening, with Bible study on the alternate Saturday evenings) to share updates with each other, to receive encouragement and prayer for each other, and to receive teachings concerning the Rule of Life and our monastic mission.

How Do We Get Started?  Well, I think that we’ll need to gather for a retreat or two.  I would like to offer a retreat with Rabbi Rod and Jenny regarding our ministry to unexpectedly expecting moms and dads.  I would also like to include material gleaned from Anglicans For Life and other Anglican parishes in this retreat.  But even before that retreat, here are some things to be praying for/about…

1. That the Lord will give us favor with local (and beyond) merchants/stores – in terms of donations of baby and household supplies;

2. That the Lord will begin calling those – from among us at MAMA Church and from among those in other congregations – who can serve as mentors and/or Bible study leaders;

3. That the Lord will direct us to the mentoring and Bible study resources to be used in this ministry.

I would also like to offer a retreat for those who are interested in making a commitment to join The Companions of Mary and Martha!  I would like this retreat to focus on listening prayer – hopefully engaging Rebecca White from Apostles Anglican Church in Lexington.  I would also like each of us to be preparing for this retreat by engaging in holy reading – perhaps “The Benedict Option” and other books and resources.

And now for this week at Bethany House: We’ve got some good stuff coming our way!

1. Bible study on Thursday evening at 6:30 – John 5:1-15; and,

2. Mass on Sunday at 10:30am.

Also, if you would like a copy of this week’s “Our Life Together” just send us an e-mail.  I pray that it will be a wonderful blessing to you!  Until we meet again…

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Father Todd

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Videos from Mass...

Hello, friends!

If you weren’t able to attend Mass on Sunday and would like to see just the sermon, here it is.  By the way, this was a very important sermon that relates to what the Lord might be calling us to do.  If you’re interested in what’s happening at Bethany House, this is a sermon you don’t want to miss!


Also, here’s the entire Liturgy of the Mass.  May it be a blessing to you!