Keeping close while keeping our distance.
A weekly guide for this journey. Our destination: Big Love BACK By the Sea.

Volume 1, Issue 8, September 14, 202078

What We Believe 

As a “Cradle Episcopalian”, it might be assumed all things Episcopalian have been ingrained in my DNA. Not so. Even an Episcopal school education did not prepare me for many of the questions I have today. Then it occurred to me, “What about all the new folks? Why the same prayers almost every Sunday?”.
I love our church for its rich traditions. As a parishioner said one day, you ALWAYS know what is going to happen THAT one hour of the week. No matter how chaotic our lives may be, the church is always there, but that lesson took a while for this writer to learn. Having a pedigree does not ensure one will stick with the flock. Thankfully, I did find my way back to “the fold” through a series of events that might have driven one even further away. And then, there are those who have found their way to the Episcopal church through differing interpretations of the same Good News.
Welcome Home ! 

So…   What DO we believe ?
If you have not visited the Episcopal Church website, do. While it doesn’t have all the answers, I found it to be great starting point; just one of the navigational tools to guide us through this faith journey.

“We Episcopalians believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (…)
We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved the world. (…)
We believe that God loves you – no exceptions.”

A few more tools:
The Bible  –  According to the Catechism, “We understand the meaning of the Bible by the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the true interpretation of the Scriptures” (p. 853-4)
The Book of Common Prayer  –  The Book of Common Prayer is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity.
The Creeds  –  Creeds are statements of our basic beliefs about God. The term comes from the Latin credo, meaning I believe.
The Sacraments  –  “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857)
Baptism  –  we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, as the “bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 298)
Communion  –  “…the family meal for Christians and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. As such, all persons who have been baptized, and are therefore part of the extended family that is the Church, are welcome to receive the bread and wine, and be in communion with God and each other.
Baptismal Covenant –  found on p. 304-5 of The Book of Common Prayer, is a small catechism.

Finally, a sort of FAQ:
The Catechism –  Offered in a question-and-answer format, the Catechism found in the back of The Book of Common Prayer (pp. 845-862) helps teach the essential truths of the Christian faith and how Episcopalians live those truths. It is also intentionally organized so as to “provide a brief summary of the Church’s teaching for an inquiring stranger who picks up a Prayer Book,”

I have prepared a PDF of the Catechism that you can download and read.


Here we are. Members of a group that may be the only exception to my Groucho Marx rule.

#bigloveyall !
Gail Hendrickson

View our latest streaming offerings…

Healing Service Wednesday September 9, 12:05 pm

Centering Prayer Thursday September 10, 5:30 pm

Return to Worship

Sundays at 8am and 10:30am
Wednesdays at 12:05pm

Sign up is requested by choosing a service from the link below and Safe Worship Guidelines will be observed

Bible Study Returns !!!

To maintain Social Distance we will gather in the Nave, Wednesdays at 10:30am for Bible Study.
Let us know you will be joining us by emailing

Study will be followed by
the Healing Service at 12:05pm
Sign up is requested at the above link.

Moveable feasts are in full swing !

Wednesdays at 7pm on the beach across from the church by the fire pit
and Sundays in the Courtyard at St. Peter’s at 8am.
Sign-up HERE
 so we can stay within the current diocesan guidelines for outdoor worship.

Since attendance is limited to 20 people, we ask that you choose only one service to attend so that everyone has a chance to attend
#biglovebythesea (literally)


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 plastic grocery bags
 Drop off at the church office
A special Sunday School project for kids and adults to participate in and help our neighbors to the West affected by Hurricane Laura
 St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, Lake Charles, LA


Worship Services
(in-person and 
Sundays @ 8:00 am
Sundays @ 10:30 am
Wednesdays @ 12:05 pm

Centering Prayer
(streaming only)
Thursdays @ 5:30 pm

Moveable Feasts
Wednesdays @ 7pm on the beach


Looking ahead:
September 20, 2020
Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

Our church office is temporarily CLOSED !

Please call ahead for drop-offs as there is no secure way leave anything
Offerings made by check
should be mailed to:
St. Peter’s by-the-Sea
1909 15th street
Gulfport, MS 39501

Or, made on-line at:

September 13 – September 19

Sept 14th – Ryan Frederic
Sept 14th – Carl Rackley
Sept 17th – Norman Ruble
Sept 19th – Becca Gerardine

Sept 14th – Bill & Ruthie Murdock
Sept 16th – Mark & Donna Lishen

getting social

Looking ahead…
From the Episcopal Church website: Bible Study: Pentecost 16 (A) – September 20, 2020

Jonah 3:10-4:11

Jonah has technically done what he was commanded – go to Nineveh and preach repentance. Even though the people listened and God relented, Jonah is livid. He leaves the town, builds a booth, and pouts. God directs a bush to come up to protect Jonah from the heat and Jonah takes that as his due. When the bush withers, he is angry enough to die. “Is it right for you to be angry?” God asks. “Then shouldn’t I be concerned about Nineveh, with all the people and beasts in her?”

Jonah is certain about what the fate of Nineveh should be. God’s mercy flies in the face of justice, as Jonah sees it. Jonah sees his work as a prophet being in vain because God had relented on punishing Nineveh. He can see only his own notion of what God should be and should do. Indeed, he ran away from the job at the beginning because he was afraid that God would do the very thing God did. And Jonah is angry enough to die.

We each have our ideas about what should happen in situations that outrage us. When our expectations are not met, we can become as angry and bitter as Jonah, or we can be amazed at the mercy that has taken place. Our reaction doesn’t affect the outcome; it simply affects us. We always have a choice – solitary bitterness or wonder with others. We can look only at the wrong we want righted or we can look at the bigger picture and see the humanity that did the wrong and its need for healing.

  • What situation outrages you right now?

  • How do you respond to the notion that God loves the people that outrage you?

  • Is it right to be angry?

Psalm 145:1-8

This is an exuberant song of praise. The image that comes to mind is of a fireworks display. Every volley of fireworks is startling and beautiful, and over the course of time, each one outdoes the previous until there is a glorious finale of sight and sound.

I will bless for ever and ever… every day… no end to God’s greatness…one generation to another… power, majesty, all your marvelous works… wondrous acts, greatness, great goodness, righteous deeds… The psalmist heaps praise upon praise until the last line ends with the word hesed – the ultimate name for God’s loving-kindness. The last line also recalls the forbearance of the Lord in the wilderness with Israel, where God stayed with them even as they rebelled and grumbled.

The images tumble over one another in an extravagant paean to who God is. God is too splendid, too glorious, too awesome for human words, but the psalmist is compelled to use words anyway because the experience of God is so overwhelming that it must be expressed. The extravagance of the psalm reflects the generosity of the landowner in the parable. It is beyond comprehension.

When was the last time you were breathless with gratitude and awe?

  • What attributes would you use in composing a song of praise?

  • Where in the liturgy could you use this psalm besides between the readings?

Philippians 1:21-30

Most decisions we make are not about choosing good over evil, but rather choosing between competing goods. This is the dilemma that the epistle presents us with today. It is a good thing to be united to God in Christ. It is also a good thing to work for the coming of God’s vision for creation. For the writer of Philippians, this choice presents itself as being between dying and being with Christ or living and serving the community.

The decision we make depends on how we understand the kingdom; is it for the eternal future only or does it exist here and now alongside the mixed reality we know as life in the world? There’s a way in which this is a false dichotomy – the answer is both/and, not either/or. We are made for union with God now, as well as eternally. God’s kingdom is being inaugurated on earth in the present as well as being in the future.

We are called to live within the tension of this paradox. Pointing to God’s kingdom, God’s dream for the world, is certainly what we are commissioned to do as followers of Jesus. We are called to help bring it into reality as we know it now, transforming the structures of the world.

  • How have you experienced the tension of choosing between goods?

  • Do you experience choices as mostly that of deciding between or among good actions?

  • How do you experience the paradox of the Kingdom being both already and not yet here?

Matthew 20:1-16

Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we ask for God’s kingdom to come. Do we really want that to happen? This parable tells us what the kingdom of God is like. When we hear it, many will say, with the laborers who were hired early in the day, “That’s not fair!” Our culture says that the owner of the vineyard is foolish at best, paying the latecomers the same wage as the ones who worked all day. That’s just rewarding laziness!

Of course, God’s ways are not our ways. Jesus tells parables that turn things upside down from the culture’s perspective. How are we to understand his perspective on the kingdom? The landowner goes into the town repeatedly during the day to hire anyone who has not found work. All the workers are welcomed, and all receive the same wage. This is not a capitalist work ethic.

The point seems to be that God freely gives to all, regardless of their productivity. We don’t earn a place in the kingdom; it is a gift, given without regard to worthiness from the world’s point of view. This parable could be seen as an example of what it means to respect the dignity of every human being.

  • Where do you see yourself in this parable?

  • How do you respond to the actions of the owner of the vineyard? Why?

  • Where in your life are there opportunities to hold up the dignity of every human being?

Kate is an Episcopal Benedictine monastic, a member of the Companions of St Luke – OSB, and serves her community as Dean of Formation and Safe Church administrator. She is currently in her second year in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota’s School for Formation as a postulant for holy orders. She lives in St. Paul, where her feline companion allows her to share an apartment.


Has your Big Love tee become thread bare?
not quite white anymore ?

We have had some requests for a “re-issue” and after a re-design we have a lot more styles, colors and items to choose from.

Big Love Collection
Micah 6:8 Collection

Sunday School Lessons
for the kids (and the young at heart):

Proper 20, Year A
Scripture: Matthew 20:1-16

This parable appears in the section of Matthew where those around Jesus are questioning him about everything. As Jesus continues his ministry and the disciples are witnessing his great works, they keep coming to him with questions about taxes, who is the greatest in Heaven, forgiveness, divorce, and how to inherit eternal life. The disciples are trying to figure out this new world that they are experiencing through Jesus’ miracles, parables, and teachings.  Just prior to our lesson today, the disciples have heard Jesus tell the rich young man that he must sell everything and give the money to the poor.  They begin to wonder, “We have left everything and followed you.  What then will we have?”  Meaning, we have left our homes and our families, we have left behind what we know and love to follow you…what will we get in return?

So, Jesus tells them the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard.  This is a difficult parable as there are many ways it can be read.  It could be seen as unfair or pitting justice with grace. However we read it, this parable is about God’s generosity and God’s grace.

The writer of Matthew’s Gospel has sandwiched the story of the Laborers in the Vineyard with 19:30 (30But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.) and 20:16 (“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”)  Clearly this is an important message for Matthew to get across.  That there is a reversal of the way we assume things will be and we are playing by a new rulebook.

A good number of the children will have heard “The first will be last and the last will be first.”  We don’t want them to think this is just about letting the last person in line go first or that they should always be last to receive a reward, but that this is about how much God loves them that it does not matter where they are in line or where they are finding God, but more that they are all a part of this together and we will all receive God’s amazing love and grace.  

Download the Lesson Plan for Proper 20

LPTW Proper 20, Year A, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 20, Year A, Older Children
LPTW Proper 20, Year A, Adult
LPTW Proper 20, Year A, All

*Crafts and Videos soon

“O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: preserve those who travel; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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phone: 228.863.2611
address: 1909 15th Street
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