Join us at Bethany House for...

Mass on Saturdays - at 5:00pm (casual attire is our style)!

Rosary Prayer Group - at 6:00pm on the first Wednesday of the month!

Bible Study - at 6:30pm on Thursdays (the Life of Jesus - Serendipity Bible Study)!

Come and join us!

Click the picture for directions...

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

Contact us at...

Saints Mary and Martha Church
at Bethany House
PO Box 502
Mount Sterling, KY
40353

859-404-8374
mamachurch4you@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bethany House Vested for Christmas...



We have received grace upon grace this year!  God's love has been made real in countless ways in the life of MAMA Church this year.  We began the year worshiping at the Herald & Stewart Chapel (thanks to the kindness and generosity of Cheri Herald!) and we ended it worshiping at Bethany House today (the First Sunday of Christmastide).

We have received help and donations, both large and small, from R.T., Wayne and Juanita, Jim, and a host of new friends at Saint Maximilian Church in West Chester, Ohio (who gave Bethany House a major "face-lift" in October)!  On top of all of that, we have grown together as a family in Christ as we've rolled up our sleeves in the transformation of Bethany House.

We hope you enjoy these pictures of Bethany House vested for her first celebration of the Holy Nativity!  We gathered for Christmas Eve Mass, sang carols, and enjoyed fellowship on "the porch" afterward.  What a wonderful evening that was!  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of your Church family and for your coming to us in love and peace!





Saturday, December 26, 2015

Stopping by Bethany House...


From the vicar...

I stopped by Bethany House on my way home this evening. I can't begin to describe the joy that floods my soul when I enter that "house set apart to the glory of God." It's as though I can feel all the peace that will be found here, all the burdens that will be laid down at its Altar, and all the potential for the Kingdom of God that will be released here.

Come to this little house and discover the God who loves you and wants to lead you. There's more than meets the eye here. After all, Jesus is here.

Father Todd

Thursday, December 24, 2015

From the Vicar's Journal...


Thursday/Friday, December 24/25, 2015

I can't let this night pass without expressing how much I am bursting with joy.  We (Saints Mary and Martha Anglican Church) celebrated our first Christmas Eve Mass at Bethany House.  The Lord was at work, meeting the needs of his children from start to finish.

When I left Bethany House, I was struck by the blue, star-filled, moon-illumined sky.  It made me think of what the sky must've looked like on that first Christmas Eve night - a sky filled with the glory of the Lord.  I wondered if tonight's sky resembled the light shone by a star and the brightness of the heavenly host singing God's praises.

I thought also of so many people for whom this night is simply the eve of receiving gifts or attending parties.  How I wish I could do more to show them the mystery of the Christian faith - a mystery that's no secret.  How I wish they could know that God loves them and calls them to himself.  How I wish they could discover the joy that's right in front of them - if only they would reach out.

My heart aches for them to know Jesus.  I wish I could find a more effective way of reaching out to them.  I go to sleep tonight filled with an incredible joy in my own life - and with an indescribable ache for those who have not heard the angels' greeting and the shepherds' testimony.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

From the Vicar's Journal...


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What an interesting day!  I dragged myself to work (I was/am dog-tired) only to be reminded that I forgot about a wedding taking place today (not one officiated by me).  Soooo, I found myself running all over the institution and singing "Get Me to the Church on Time" as I left the Warden's office!

When the drama was over (and wedding party departed), I took refuge in my little office (which is really an outpost of the den in the little vicarage).  Then followed a series of "Oh, my!  I need to...!"  Throw in a few longish conversations with guys who are looking for help, and you have my day.

Not until tonight did I realize that I'd done it again: I forgot, in the midst of all sorts of craziness, to read Morning Prayer (in the Book of Common Prayer).  I've come to see a day without Morning Prayer like a week without Sunday Mass - it just isn't right.

Even so, I've also come to see something else: It's okay to read Morning Prayer at noon, or mid-afternoon, or in the evening (although, technically, it then becomes Evening Prayer!).  In the midst of life's craziness, the most important thing is to keep our prayer life "above water" - even if the rest of us is completely submerged!

It might be messy, clumsy, inelegant, scrappy, and downright odd, but it's still quiet time spent with Jesus.  It's still being fed in the Word of God.  It's still telling the world to put itself on hold until the important stuff is taken care of.  It's still pleasing to God's heart!  Soooo, if you'll excuse me, I have a slightly overdue appointment with the Master of my life!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Join Us for Christmas Eve!


Come and worship with MAMA Church at Bethany House on Christmas Eve!

Join us for Christmas Carol Singing at 7:00pm and for Mass at 7:30pm!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Fourth Sunday of Advent...


We light the fourth candle of the Advent wreath as a symbol of Christ our Love.  May the visitation of your Holy Spirit, O God, make us ready for the coming of Jesus, our hope, our peace, and our joy.

Come, Lord Jesus!  Come!

"A Child has been born for us, a Son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Third Sunday of Advent...


"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

We light the third candle of the Advent wreath as a symbol of Christ our Joy.  May the joyful promise of your presence, O God, make us rejoice in the hope and peace of our salvation.

Come, Lord Jesus!  Come!

Where the Church Stands...

by Father Todd Boyce

Missionaries sent to the Hindu peoples (who believe in a multitude of gods and goddesses) have often told of a peculiar difficulty: As they attempt to introduce them to Jesus Christ, the people quickly accept this new God.  However, they don’t relinquish their worship of their false gods and goddesses – they simply add Jesus to their pantheon of deities.  I have often wondered whether American and western European Christianity isn’t something like that.  Especially if we were raised in the Church, we tend to allow Jesus to come and go in our lives while we go about the business of collecting the ideas and philosophies that form the core of our lives.

The problem with this (as with the Hindu mission fields) is that Jesus (if we believe what the Bible says) asks complete (not partial) allegiance to him.  He tells us that we cannot serve any other gods but him.  When this is brought up in our presence, we tend to nod politely (while categorizing our list of ‘reasonable’ objections) and go on as though nothing has changed.  We continue, more or less, to let Jesus in and out of our lives while we hold passionately to our own, self-defined core values and philosophies.  Why?  Because we believe them to be non-negotiable, while Jesus and his will are held to be optional.

We’ve all been there, even though we may think otherwise.  It’s as old as original sin.  It’s as prevalent as the common cold.  It’s as persistent as taxes and death.  And it’s not going away anytime soon…unless we decide to do battle against it.  But that battle requires us to put Jesus on a pedestal.  It requires us to look at everything – absolutely everything – we hold dear and assess its worthiness in our lives.  “Is this something that I should or should not be thinking?”  “Is this something that contradicts God's word?”  “Is this putting a barrier between me and Jesus?”  “Are my words and actions consistent with the Gospel?”  “Am I telling people I’m a Christian while I’m promoting a philosophy that is intrinsically non-Christian?”

I’d like to share with you, given a recent conversation I had, some words on where the Anglican Church in North America stands regarding a particular issue and where it stands regarding the competing values found in sacred Scripture and the world.  For us, the word of God is the supreme guide for the Church with regard to any issue, at any time, in any place, in any context.  Any challenge from the culture to the authority of God’s word, whether from those outside or inside the Church, must be lovingly and patiently addressed.

When God’s word is challenged by those outside the Church, the Church must seek to evangelize the culture in the truth.  When, however, a plain reading of God’s word is challenged by those inside the Church, they must be reminded that God’s word takes precedence in the life of a believer.  The conscience of an individual believer is exercised within the boundaries of God’s word, not beyond it.  That is, a believer cannot claim individual conscience while espousing a belief that is contrary to the plain reading of sacred Scripture.

Therefore, when the issues of immigration and re-settlement of refugees from the Middle East began to be discussed in our country, a serious question arose for Christian believers of all denominations.  What’s our guiding source in this discussion and in the discussions concerning same-sex marriage, abortion, alleviation of poverty, et cetera?  Is our political philosophy informed and guided by our faith, or is our faith subordinate to our political viewpoint?  To put it another way, on judgment day, will we be judged for our thoughts and actions by Jesus or by a politician, journalist, commentator, philosopher, writer, et cetera?

God’s word asks us this question: “Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)  The bishops of our Church have called us to be faithful to God’s word in all these issues and areas of life.  In my sermons, I have called myself and all of us to do the same.  Because we are citizens of God’s kingdom first and citizens of the world second – that is, because we are supposed to be different than the world, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that [we] may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) – we will often find ourselves at odds with the culture around us, even with those within our chosen political and civic affiliations.

But here’s the difficult part: God’s will must win within us – and that means more than we might suspect.  Jesus said, “everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven…” (Matthew 10:32)  So, not only do we have to discern truth from untruth (see 1 John 4:1) in what we hear from the culture around us, we will sometimes need to stand against it, publicly.  Yes, there will be times when believers can add their blessing to what the politicians, commentators, philosophers, political parties, and journalists are saying.  But there will also be times when we must be a sign of contradiction to the ways of the world.  For some of us, that will mean speaking the truth when the crowd is feeding on fear or sinful desire.  For others of us, that will mean parting company with the crowd – be it an organization, an individual, a news organization, a political party, or a philosophy.

As the College of Bishops of the ACNA (along with the leadership in such denominations as the Roman Catholic Church, the North American Lutheran Church, the Orthodox Churches, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Christian Reformed Church, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, and many others) have noted, the Church must stand where God stands.  Often times, the reactions of the culture are fear-induced.  But God calls us react with his love.  Why?  Because “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.  We love because he first loved us…” (1 John 4:18-19).

Does that mean taking risks?  You bet it does.  Does that mean that we may be called to lay down our lives, as many are doing today for the cause of the Gospel?  Yes, it does.  Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)  The question before us in the refugee/immigration debate must not be centered on the fear of harm, because the Gospel is not centered on the fear of harm.  Indeed, if Jesus had feared harm, none of us would be saved from sin and death.  So, it must be centered on the outward-focused love of Jesus Christ.  We love others because God first loved us with the surrender of his life and his fears on the cross (see 1 John 4:19 and Luke 22:42).

As the College of Bishops has reminded us, the boundaries of our thinking and our individual consciences are found within God's Word, not in any human philosophy or way of thinking.  And that is where the Church stands.  Do we stand there, too?  Well, that depends.  As we go through different seasons of growth in our spiritual lives, we’ll see things slightly differently.  The important question is whether we’re moving ever closer to God’s way of thinking – whether the clash between cultural and Biblical viewpoints within us is resolved in favor of God’s will.  May it be so.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Beautiful New Look!



Here it is!  The Chapel of Saints Mary and Martha at Bethany House has been transformed!  From the knocking out of a wall to the jacking up of the structure (thank you Pete, for both of those things!) to the numerous trips back and forth to Lowe's for paint color selection and the actual painting of the Chapel (thank you Liz and Alice, for both of those things!), this most important room at Bethany House has undergone some major transformations since August 23, 2015!

Come and join us for Mass in our beautiful Chapel - each Sunday at 10:30am!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Whew! All Done!


From the vicar...

Wow!!! Alice finished up all of the intricate trim work and I finished up the second coat today in the Chapel of Saints Mary and Martha at Bethany House! Then we put the Chapel "back together". It looks beautiful - but we're not going to post any pictures until after "the big reveal" on Thursday night at Evening Prayer.

Thank you, Alice and Liz, for all your hard work yesterday and today! You are tremendously talented!!!

Father Todd

Monday, December 7, 2015

We Had a Painting Party!




Alice, Liz, and Father Todd got together today for a painting party...in the Chapel of Saints Mary and Martha at Bethany House!  (The chapel will never, ever be the same!)

Join us for "the reveal" on Thursday at Evening Prayer (at 7:00pm)!  The color is as wonderful as the artists who applied it!

Thank you, Alice and Liz, for doing such a beautiful job!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Second Sunday of Advent...


"John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

We light the second candle of our Advent wreath as a symbol of Christ our Peace. May the Word sent from God through the prophets lead us to the way of salvation.

Come, Lord Jesus! Come!