Our Spiritual Journey

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

            Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 

I have long loved this quote from the French priest and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  It goes to the heart of what it means to be alive, to be invited beyond human limitation into the great mystery that is born of Love.  Every one of us is on our own spiritual journey, and no two journeys are alike.  We walk together in a church community, sharing the experiences, questions and challenges life brings.  It is good to have company along the way, and that is why we gather at St. Gabriel Episcopal Church. 

May God bless you on your journey – we invite you to join us on ours.  Come visit and perhaps find a home here. LouAnn+

Holy Week

Sermons

Labyrinth

Scripture Reading

Lent Series: Forgiveness

 


Worshiping at St Gabriel Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church celebrates progressive values in a traditional worship environment. We host a communion during each and every service to celebrate the life and death of Jesus Christ. All visitors are welcome to join us in this Holy Eucharist. Come as you are and welcome the love of Jesus into your life.

 

On Sunday mornings we begin the day reading Morning Prayer as found in the Book of Common Prayer.  Prayer starts at 7:30, and people arrive throughout the service.  Following Morning Prayer is our first Eucharist of the day.  At 8:00, we host a traditional spoken service.  This service tends to be more contemplative, and does not include music. 

 

At 10:00, we gather for our main service, which includes music.  Church School is held during the first part of the service.  Children join their families in time to share Communion.  The music at St. Gabriel is extraordinary.  Our Choir Director is classically trained and also sings jazz.  She is well connected in the music community around Portland and often invites her musical friends to share their gifts.  Our Organist is an amazing musician who often pens his own pieces to share on Sundays.  Our choir sings all but one Sunday a month. 

Three to four times a year, Church School is cancelled and our kids join the congregation for a “Family Service”, with the sermon being more “kid friendly”.

 
Birthdays and special occasions are celebrated during both services and coffee hour follows after the final blessing at each.
 
On Wednesday mornings we hold a Healing Eucharist at 9:30. The average attendance for this service varies from 5-15 people.  Holy Unction (laying on of hands and anointing with oil) is offered to any who wish special prayer. 
 
Our community is made up of all kinds of folks and all are welcome – the best way to get to know us, is to worship with us…stop by, there will be a smile and a cup of coffee waiting for you!


“…with God nothing shall be impossible!”

-The Archangel Gabriel

 


The Meaning of Holy Week

Holy week is filled with odd-sounding words and unusual observances, like “Maundy” Thursday, “Altar of Repose”, and “Good” Friday (what could be good about the day Jesus was crucified?). Holy week is important because during this time we reenact the events of the week before Jesus’ resurrection.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ triumphal but at the same time humble entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey with onlookers placing palm branches on the ground before him. At St. Gabriel’s 10:00am service we reenact this procession into Jerusalem by meeting outside the church where Palm branches are blessed and we hear a Gospel account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. We then sing “All Glory Laud and Honor” while we process with the palm branches into the church. Later during the service we read a gospel account of Jesus’ Passion (his capture, sufferings, and death). Members of the congregation read the roles of the principal figures in the Passion drama.

Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles. “Maundy” comes from the Latin “mandatum,” meaning “commandment.” At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” During the Maundy Thursday service, the priests wash the feet of the members of the congregation, reenacting Jesus’ washing of his disciples feet as an act of humility and servitude.

At the end of the Maundy Thursday service, the altar is stripped bare, and the Communion bread is taken into the library, which has been prepared to be an “Altar of Repose.” Here members of the congregation take turns keeping watch with Jesus overnight, as his disciples were unable to do at the Garden of Gethsemane, where he said to them “Could you not watch with me one hour?”

The name “Good Friday” comes from the sense of “good” as “holy.” On this day the church remembers the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Our services are solemn. At St. Gabriel at noon we reflect on the seven last words of Christ in a service of meditation and music. We process through the Stations of the Cross starting at 2:30, and the Good Friday Rite is performed at 7:30pm.

Holy Saturday commemorates the time that Jesus was in the tomb. Confessions are traditionally heard on this day and can be scheduled with Mother LouAnn.

After sunset on Saturday St Gabriel celebrates the Great Vigil of Easter as the first official service of Easter Sunday. During this service the new fire of Easter is struck outside the church, and the Paschal Candle is lit from it. This candle is used to light the candles held by members of the congregation, symbolically spreading the Light of Christ throughout the world. Finally with a mighty “Alleluia!” the candles of the altar are lit form the Paschal Candle and we join in a joyous, musical celebration of the first Eucharist of Easter. Then on Easter morning we celebrate the Easter Eucharist twice more.

We invite you to join us in the week of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and his Passion and Crucifixion, for in reenacting these events from long ago we bring them once more into the present, and make them a powerful part of our lives in Christ.

 


Our Sermons

Our weekly sermons remind us that we are all Beloved Children of God. They are a time to reflect on the weekly Bible readings and how they apply to our lives today. We are sent forth each week with our hearts full of the love and joy of Jesus Christ.

Listen to Our Sermons on YouTube!

 


Labyrinth

The patio of St. Gabriel is a special place, for it holds a labyrinth.   Ours is a replica of the classical eleven circuit labyrinth design created for Chartres Cathedral in France between 1194 and 1220.

 

Walking the labyrinth is an ancient spiritual practice. Priest and author, The Rev. Lauren Artress, puts it well in Walking a Sacred Path:

 

“Labyrinths are usually in the form of a circle with a meandering but purposeful path, from the edge to the center and back again, large enough to be walked into. Each has only one path and when we choose to enter it, the path becomes a metaphor for our journey through life. The labyrinth is a spiritual tool meant to awaken us to the deep rhythms of our inner life. In surrendering to the winding path, the soul finds healing and wholeness. The labyrinth is a sacred space and can give us a first-hand experience of the divine.”

 

Our labyrinth is available to any who would seek it out, with easy access from our parking lot.    Special labyrinth walks are held from time to time.  All are welcome to walk the sacred path.

 


Reading Scripture Aloud

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Thus begins John’s Gospel.

Our Bible is a work of literature written at a time when most of us were illiterate. It was meant to be shared aloud, and one must hear it spoken in a group to appreciate the Word in its fullness.

At Saint Gabriel we gather every Tuesday morning at 10:00am to share the richness of our Bible by taking turns reading to each other. We skip from book to book to read our favorite stories and passages, and we read each book in its entirety to understand the full context those stories. Join us and enrich your understanding of our scripture.

 


Lent Series: Forgiveness

This year our series will explore how we live into our complicated Christian commandment to FORGIVE.  We’ll explore some of what the Bible teaches us, and wisdom from other religious traditions, especially Buddhism; but our main focus will be on HOW we forgive, the limits of forgiveness, and the work of the self that is involved. We will base our series on the Fourfold Path of Forgiveness of Desmond Tutu, and will have two guest participants, including The Rev. Dcn. Annette Rankin, a deacon at St John’s and an experienced psychotherapist. 

Join us Wednesday evenings in Lent: March 13-April 10, 6-7:30 p.m.