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

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!

Monday, February 11, 2019

This Week at Bethany House...

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

This week’s letter about what’s happening at Bethany House is going to be a little different (and longer) than usual.  In addition to what I usually share, I have several updates to share with you about various things that are happening.  I also want to share one or two more videos with you regarding the testimonies of men and women in religious life (that is, men and women who have consecrated their themselves to lives of prayer and service).  So, let’s get started!

First, with regard to the possibility of moving Mass from Sunday morning to Saturday evening, let me share what’s likely to happen with my schedule in the Chaplain’s Office at the prison and how that may affect us.  It may be worth noting that I have very little control over any of this.  As Father Tim prepares to leave for Michigan and we search for a new Chaplain to work with me, it is likely that I will required to work both Saturdays and Sundays (my current work week is Tuesday through Saturday, and Father Tim’s is Sunday through Thursday).

We are required – given the large size of our inmate population – to have seven day per week coverage by the two Chaplains.  This is largely due to the requirements surrounding emergency and death notices coming in to us from inmate family members.  We only have a 24 hour window in which to notify inmates of such emergencies – and, to be truthful, we like to notify them as quickly as possible.  In my ten years at the prison, I can attest to the fact that most of the emergency and death notices come in between Thursday and Sunday.  With Father Tim’s departure, I’m fairly certain that the Warden will want me there during those days.

Hence, I may not have a choice – for an extended period of time, at least – as to whether I can be with you on Sunday mornings.  Even so, this may be a blessing in disguise for us.  Here’s why: It may force us to think outside the box when it comes to our ministry to each other and our outreach to the community beyond Bethany House.  Whether we are forced to worship on Saturday evenings or simply choose to do so, the following opportunities will present themselves…

1. Current members of MAMA Church, for whom Sunday mornings are difficult to attend, will be much more likely to be able to join us.

2. Individuals and families who are interested in MAMA Church but not yet ready to make any “jump” from their current Church home (of whom there are quite a few) could join us more easily on Saturday evenings.

3. Individuals and families who are interested in MAMA Church and in taking part in our worship and some of our ministries (but who do not intend on leaving their home Church) could join us more easily on Saturday evenings.

4. Celebrating Mass on Saturday evenings would allow much greater flexibility in facilitating “Sunday School” and/or community meals (to which we would invite the community beyond Bethany House) follow Mass.  It’s worth noting, that for many individuals Saturday evenings are the loneliest time of the week.  Celebrating Mass and offering post-Mass activities on Saturday evening could prove to be an immense blessing to such folks.

5. Celebrating Mass on Saturday evenings would free me up to celebrate Mass with the EKCC inmates on Sundays.  Not only that, it would be an opportunity to revive the work I had begun in 2009/10 of creating a quasi-monastic community behind the walls of the prison – The Fellowship of Saint Joseph.

6. Celebrating Mass on Saturday evenings would give me a two-day weekend.  Even though I am highly energized to do the work God has given me and I’m excited about seeing what Bethany House can become, I need more than a one-day weekend in which to rest, be quiet, and prepare for the week ahead.

Please pray about this.  As I noted, we may not have a choice.  The lapse of time between the departure of Father Tim’s predecessor in the Chaplain’s Office and Father Tim’s arrival was nearly eight months – eight months in which I had to care for 1,700 inmates’ spiritual needs on my own.  I anticipate having to do likewise this time – the only difference is that EKCC now houses just under 2,000 inmates.  I am going to need all the support and help I can get from you!!

Now, on to the issues surrounding the creation of a monastic community at Bethany House!  I’ve known since July 29, 2010 – at Morning Prayer on that Feast of Saints Mary and Martha – that the founding of a Anglican parish in Mt. Sterling would be something very different than just another Church.  As I wrestled with the Lord over why yet another Church should be founded here – and as I honed the sense of call and had to meet with the approval of two bishops – I knew, and still know, that MAMA Church is to be some kind of monastic community.  This is why, through the years, I have laid such emphasis on our participation in the Daily Office.  This is why I have asked us to be highly intentional about our daily study of sacred Scripture.

So, what is the difference between a monastic community and a normal parish Church?  (By the way, let me say this before starting down the road of explanation – a monastery or abbey can simultaneously serve as the home for a monastic community and also as the home of a parish Church – not all the parishioners will choose to live according to monastic vows, and that is quite okay!)  The first difference is obvious: The members of a monastic community take vows relating to the mission of the community, while members of a parish Church do not.  Members of a parish Church are highly encouraged to engage in the practices of the spiritual life, but they do not make vows to that effect.  And for those among us who choose not to make monastic vows, nothing will change for them at Bethany House.  They will be able to pick and choose what they participate in and how often.

For those, however, who do choose to make vows in a monastic community at Bethany House, there will be self-imposed requirements of prayer (the Daily Office), worship (Mass), and service (especially in the area of evangelism and the works of mercy).  They will wear a certain kind of cross that will serve as the “habit” for the community and will seek to give themselves over as completely as possible to God.  Once a Rule of Life is written and adopted by the community, it will become the way of life for us.

We who are interested in making this commitment must remember two things:

1. The requirements will be realistic and take into account the range of busy schedules in our midst.  Essentially, our Rule of Life will be very similar to what is expected of an Oblate – someone who “obligates” themselves to living in similar fashion to a monk or nun, but in the world rather than in a monastery.  In this sense, Bethany House will be the “mother house” and our individual homes will be like “daughter houses”.  As vowed members of a religious community we will engage in the mission of the community (as the Lord leads us and as we decide as a community), but we will also engage in our own separate missions or “apostolates” that are centered in our own homes, lives, and vocations.

2. Also, members of the monastic community need not be members of MAMA Church!  So long as they are Baptized believers (having been Baptized with water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit) who are in good standing with their home Church, they may fully participate in the life of the monastic community.  And, given that the community’s main mission will be something (perhaps a ministry to expecting mothers who are at risk for considering abortion) that transcends doctrinal issues, we would gladly welcome sturdy believers who have a desire to take their prayer and worship and service life to a new level!

If you would, please take some time this week to view this wonderful video about monastic life at Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham, Massachusetts.  Pay special attention to the testimonies of the sisters!  Hear their hearts for God.  Listen carefully as they explain what led them to a life of prayer.  And notice the peace that pervades both the words of their testimonies (about their relationship with Jesus) and their countenances!  What God has done in them he can do in us, too!


As you think about your life with Jesus in the week ahead, please consider making room for the Daily Office, the reading of sacred Scripture, and attendance at Bible study this Thursday (our Life of Jesus Study continues with John 4:1-26 – Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well).  Bible study begins at 6:30pm and we try to wrap up by 8:00pm.  Come and join us!!

If you would like a copy of this week’s “Our Life Together”, just send us an e-mail.  Everything you need for daily prayer (Morning, Noonday, Evening, and Compline) is contained in it.  And everything you need for daily Bible reading is also contained in it!

If you weren’t able to attend Mass on Sunday, you can see video of the entire Mass or just the sermon on our Bethany House Youtube Channel, on our Saints Mary & Martha Church at Bethany House Facebook page, or at our website – MAMA.church.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Father Todd