Trinity Church Welcomes All through its "Big Red Doors" with Tibetan prayer flags flying in the wind. It would be hard to find a more diverse group of believers, used-to-be believers, and sort-of believers. Many of us were born into other religions and denominations, and have found ourselves to be part of the inclusiveness of God's love.


This period is also known as the pre-Lenten season. The days are getting longer. As the light increases the shadow of the Cross becomes prominent. Our focus shifts from the manifestation of Jesus to our individual response to follow the call of God. Springtime begins. A time to thaw and make a decision. A time to mask and unmask.

"The best you can do with your life is having a good time and get by the best you can. The way I see it, that's it—divine fate. Whether we feast or fast, it's up to God." — Ecclesiastes 2:24

February 1-Feast Day of St. Brigid of Ireland (c. 450-525)

Candlemas in Europe, New Year's Day for the Chinese and Aztecs, and Groundhog's Day in America all fall in early February alongside St. Brigid's February 1st Feast Day, a time of purification, blessing, and reawakened creativity.

Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, Ireland. Her parents were baptized by St. Patrick, with whom she developed a close friendship. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun] abbess, and founder of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland, which was considered legendary and was highly revered. Her feast day is 1 February, formerly celebrated as the Imbolc quarter-day of the pagan Irish year, which marked the beginning of spring, lambing, lactation in cattle.

St. Brigid, Abbess of Kildaire, lived in a time when Celtic spirituality shifted into a more hidden form as patriarchal Christian traditions gained power. Brigid's own name is that of the Celtic sun goddess, and the stories surrounding the saint -- called "The Mary of the Gael" -- helped keep alive the maternal face of God.

Legend tells us that, when asked to explain Christianity, she gathered rushes and made from them what is known as "St. Brigid's Cross."

February 2-Groundhog Day

Did the Groundhog see his shadow today? If so, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, according to tradition, are due for six more weeks of winter.

An old English poem lays the groundwork for this holiday:

February 2- The Presentation

Ancient Jewish custom prescribed that a woman who had borne a male child should, forty days after giving birth, come to the temple to be “purified” (Leviticus 12). Furthermore, it was customary to present publicly every firstborn male child to God in the temple (Exodus 13:2, 12). Therefore, Mary and Joseph went up to the temple for her Purification and Jesus’ Presentation. In the temple, to everyone’s surprise, a devout old man, Simeon, who was full of the Holy Spirit and “waiting for the consolation of Israel,” took the infant Jesus in his arms and praised God in the words of the now familiar Nunc dimittis. In this canticle Simeon proclaimed Jesus “a Light to enlighten the nations.” For this reason, in medieval times the Nunc dimittis was sung and candles were blessed and lit and carried in procession through the streets on the night of this feast. It is still called “Candlemas” in England, and the ancient “Feast of Lights” is still sometimes observed in connection with this occasion.

Candlemas primarily focuses on Jesus’ early life. Many Christians believe that Jesus’ mother Mary presented him to God at the Temple in Jerusalem after observing the traditional 40-day period of purification (of mothers) following his birth. According to a New Testament gospel, a Jewish man named Simeon held the baby in his arms and said that he would be a light for the Gentiles (Luke 2:32). It is for this reason that this event is called Candlemas.

Many people believe that some of Candlemas’ activities stem from pagan observances such as Imbolc, a Gaelic festival, or the Roman feast of Lupercalia. However, others have argued that there is too little evidence to shed light on Candlemas’ substitution for these festivals. Either way, Candlemas occurs at a period between the December solstice and the March equinox, so many people traditionally marked that time of the year as winter’s “halfway point” while waiting for the spring.

According to some sources, Christians began Candlemas in Jerusalem as early as the fourth century and the lighting of candles began in the fifth century. Other sources say that Candlemas was observed by blessing candles since the 11th century. An early writing dating back to around 380 CE mentioned that a feast of the Presentation occurred in a church in Jerusalem. It was observed on February 14. The feast was observed on February 2 in regions where Christ's birth was celebrated on December 25.

Candlemas is known as the “Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple” in many eastern churches. Other traditional names in the western churches include the “Feast for the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary” as well as the “Meeting of the Lord”. It is also Groundhog Day in the United States and Canada on February 2. According to folklore, the badger comes out to test the weather in the United Kingdom.

Snowdrops (galanthas nivalis) are known as Candlemas Bells because they often bloom early in the year, even before Candlemas. Some varieties bloom all winter (in the northern hemisphere). The superstitious used to believe that these flowers should not be brought into the house prior to Candlemas. However, it is also believed in more recent times that these flowers purify a home.

According to folklore, an angel helped these Candlemas bells to bloom and pointed them as a sign of hope to Eve, who wept in repentance and in despair over the cold and death that entered the world. Many Christians see the flower as a symbol of Jesus Christ being this hope for the world. Candles that are lit during Candlemas also symbolize Jesus as the "light of the world".

February 3 - The Dorchester Chaplains

The Dorchester Chaplains: Lieutenant George Fox, Lieutenant Alexander D. Goode, Lieutenant Clark V. Poling and Lieutenant John P. Washington, 1943. The Four Chaplains, also sometimes referred to as the "Immortal Chaplains" or the "Dorchester Chaplains" were four United States Army chaplains who gave their lives to save other civilian and military personnel as the troop ship SS Dorchester sank on February 3, 1943, during World War II. They helped other soldiers board lifeboats and gave up their own life jackets when the supply ran out.[1] The chaplains joined arms, said prayers, and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.

February 3 Saint Blaise and the Blessing of the Throats.

Saint Blaise was a physician and later a bishop in Sebastea in ancient Armenia, now in Turkey. He was martyred by the Romans in a threefold death by being beaten, attacked with carding combs, and then beheaded. On his way to prison, he cured a boy who had a fish bone stuck in his throat. His symbol is two crossed candles, which are used in the blessing of the throats every February 3rd.

February 4 - Anskar

Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865.This Saxon monk of Corbie, France, was one of the first Christian missionaries to the notorious Vikings. Most of the descendants of the Vikings are today's Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians. However, a significant Viking strain entered England through the Danelaw and the Norman Conquest. Anskar established the first Christian school in Denmark, but was soon run out by local heathens. Undiscouraged, he moved on to Sweden where he founded that country's first Christian church in about 832. His interest in the Vikings did not wane when he accepted a call as bishop of Hamburg in Germany. He continued to initiate missions, especially in Sweden. It was not until long after his death that Sweden became a Christian country, but he had sown the seeds of her conversion, and it is for this reason that he is highly honored in Sweden to this day. The Church of England has enjoyed centuries of happy relations with the Scandinavian churches, especially with the Church of Sweden. The Episcopal Church in America includes "Old Swedes" churches, established by the Church of Sweden in colonial times. The feast of Anskar provides an appropriate occasion to thank God for the gift of friendship among Swedish, English, and American Christians.

February 4 Saint Veronica

According to legend, Veronica was a pious woman of Jerusalem who was moved with compassion when she saw Jesus carrying his cross to Golgotha. She gave him her veil to wipe his forehead, and when Jesus returned it to her, the image of his face was miraculously impressed upon it.

“Veronica” is a Latinized form of Beronike, a Macedonian name, meaning “bearer of victory,” and she was known by the latter name in the Byzantine church. In the West, however, a relic associated with Veronica was venerated in Rome as the true image of Jesus. Indeed the veil itself was sometimes referred to as the Veronica, based on similarity with the phrase “vera icon,” or true image. More commonly the name Veronica was given to the woman, hence the tradition of St Veronica developed.

February 5 - Roger Williams, 1683, Prophetic Witnesses

Roger Williams was an English Puritan theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. He was expelled by the Puritan Leaders because they thought he was spreading "new and dangerous ideas", so in 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams was a member of the first Baptist church in America, the First Baptist Church of Providence. Williams was also a student of Native American languages, an early advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans, and arguably the first abolitionist in North America, having organized the first attempt to prohibit slavery in any of the British American colonies.

February 5- Agatha

One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, Agatha was put to death during the persecution of Decius (250–253) in Catania, Sicily, for her steadfast profession of faith.

According to Jacobus de Voragine, Legenda Aurea of ca. 1288, having dedicated her virginity to God, fifteen-year-old Agatha, from a rich and noble family, rejected the amorous advances of the low-born Roman prefect Quintianus, who then persecuted her for her Christian faith. He sent Agatha to Aphrodisia, the keeper of a brothel.

The madam finding her intractable, Quintianus sends for her, argues, threatens, and finally has her put in prison. Amongst the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts with pincers. After further dramatic confrontations with Quintianus, represented in a sequence of dialogues in her passio that document her fortitude and steadfast devotion. Saint Agatha was then sentenced to be burnt at the stake, but an earthquake saved her from that fate; instead, she was sent to prison where St. Peter the Apostle appeared to her and healed her wounds. Agatha is the patron saint of bell-founders because of the shape of her severed breasts, and also of bakers, whose loaves were blessed at her feast day. More recently, she has been venerated as patron saint of breast cancer patients.

February 6 -The Martyrs of Japan

(1597) Japan was first introduced to Christianity by Francis Xavier, a great Roman Catholic missionary. For nearly half a century the churches he founded flourished and grew. Finally, the Japanese government became alarmed at the spread of Christianity, which they regarded as a cloak for subversive activity by foreigners. Christianity was made illegal, and to show that the authorities meant business, six missionaries and twenty Japanese Christians were publicly crucified in Nagasaki.

But this was only the beginning. For the next 250 years, any Japanese people who were found to be practicing Christianity were subject to the death penalty. Through the years many thousands died rather than forsake Christ. At last the ban was lifted in 1859. Christian missionaries again entered Japan (see December 2). To their astonishment they discovered several secret Christian communities still surviving, without priests and with very little education, but still keeping the faith in a most admirable manner, as they had through centuries of persecution.

February 7 - Cornelius the Centurion

Some felt that the Christ had come to the Jews alone and that one must first become a Jew in order to become a Christian. Cornelius was a Gentile and a centurion (an officer in the Roman Army) stationed at Caesarea. He was widely respected among the Jews, not only because of his important position but also because he gave liberally to the poor and "honored God as they did." He was called "upright and God-fearing." He learned of Jesus Christ from the Apostle Peter, received the Holy Spirit, and was baptized. It was Cornelius' profession of faith that led Peter to exclaim, "God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean". God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." Perhaps the testimony of Cornelius would be helpful to those in our own time who see Christianity as a purely cultural thing. He is a fitting patron for the career soldier.

Absalom Jones- February 13th

Absalom Jones (1746 – February 13, 1818) was an African-American abolitionist and clergyman. After finding a black congregation in 1794, he was the first African American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States, in 1804.

St. Cyril and Methodius- February 14th

were Byzantine Greek brothers born in Thessalonica in the 9th century who became Christian missionaries among the Slavic peoples of the Great Moravia and Pannonia. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they received the title "Apostles to the Slavs". They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet.

St. Valentine-February 14th

Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner -- until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate [circa 269].

Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they're expected to keep busy: to perform miracles, to intercede. Being in jail or dead is no excuse for non-performance of the supernatural. One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine."

He is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.

February 17-Janani Luwum

Born in northern Uganda in 1922, Janani Luwum coverted to Christianity in 1948 and was ordained in 1956. He was ordained as bishop in 1969, and became Archbishop of Uganda five years later. When Idi Amin came to power in 1971, Luwum was one of the leading critics. Things came to a head in 1977 as Luwum presented a note to Amin protesting arbitrary killings. Not long after that, Luwum was arrested with two cabinet ministers and charged with treason. They were paraded before a large demonstration, loaded into a car, and bundled away. The government soon said they had been killed in a car accident, but when their bodies were presented to their families, they were riddled with bullets. While Luwum could have enjoyed the power and prestige of an archiepiscopal living, he chose instead to stand for justice, at the cost of his own life. While Idi Amin is now reviled as a villian, Luwum is remembered in a statue on the west front of Westminster Abbey, a witness for the power of right over might.

February 18 - Martin Luther

The catalyst for change in the life of Martin Luther was, of all things, a trip to Rome. There he saw the excesses of the church. As he studied the scriptures, Luther came to believe that the church was not preaching the fullness of the gospel. In 1517, he nailed a set of debating points (95 Theses) to the church door in Wittenburg. Not only did Luther strike a nerve with his proposals for church reform, but new printing technology made his ideas the talk of Europe. Luther did not set out to found a new church. But it was not long until he found himself at odds with church leaders. Summoned to explain himself and invited to recant, Luther is said to have declared, "Here I stand, I can do no other." Within a short time, Luther was excommunicated. By then, his critiques of the church had taken hold, and many people embraced Lutheran ideas. Originally a term of derision, soon "Lutheran" described a church. Most of the world's Christians owe Luther a great debt: he popularized the idea of reading scriptures in one's own language, so that any Christian could read the Bible, not just scholars. Luther himself translated the entire Bible into German. Throughout Europe, others were inspired to translate the Bible into many other languages. Luther's passion was that people might know the gospel of love which frees us from the tyranny of sin.

February 20 - Frederick Douglass

Born as a slave in 1818, Frederick Douglass was separated from his mother at the age of eight and given by his new owner, Thomas Auld, to his brother and sister-in-law, Hugh and Sophia Auld. Sophia attempted to teach Frederick to read, along with her son, but her husband put a stop to this, claiming, "it would forever unfit him to be a slave." Frederick learned to read in secret, earning small amounts of money when he could and paying neighbors to teach him.

In 1838, Frederick Bailey (as he was then known) escaped and changed his name to Frederick Douglass. At the age of 14, he had experienced a conversion to Christ in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and his recollection of that tradition's spiritual music sustained him in his struggle for freedom: "Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds."

An outstanding orator, Douglass was sent on speaking tours in the Northern States by the American Anti-Slavery Society. The more renowned he became, the more he had to worry about recapture. In 1845 he went to England on a speaking tour. His friends in America raised enough money to buy out his master’s legal claim to him so that he could return to the United States in safety. Douglass eventually moved to New York and edited the pro-abolition journal North Star, named for the fleeing slave’s nighttime guide.

Douglass was highly critical of churches that did not disassociate themselves from slavery. Challenging those churches, he quoted Jesus’ denunciation of the Pharisees: "They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." (Matt. 23.4)

A strong advocate of racial integration, Douglass disavowed black separatism and wanted to be counted as equal among his white peers. When he met Abraham Lincoln in the White House, he noted that the President treated him as a kindred spirit without one trace of condescension.

February 21- John Henry Newman

Originally an evangelical Oxford University academic and priest in the Church of England, Newman then became drawn to the high-church tradition of Anglicanism. He became known as a leader of, and an able polemicist for, the Oxford Movement, an influential and controversial grouping of Anglicans who wished to return to the Church of England many Catholic beliefs and liturgical rituals from before the English Reformation. In this the movement had some success. However, in 1845 Newman, joined by some but not all of his followers, left the Church of England and his teaching post at Oxford University and was received into the Catholic Church. He was quickly ordained as a priest and continued as an influential religious leader, based in Birmingham. In 1879, he was created a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in recognition of his services to the cause of the Catholic Church in England. He was instrumental in the founding of the Catholic University of Ireland,[8] which evolved into University College Dublin, today the largest university in Ireland.

Newman's beatification was officially proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010 during his visit to the United Kingdom-*Holy Men, Holy Women-Forward Movement

Feb 23 -Forgiveness Sunday

The Sunday of Forgiveness is the last Sunday prior to the commencement of Great Lent.

On the Sunday of Forgiveness focus is placed on the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, an event that shows us how far we have fallen in sin and separated ourselves from God.

Shrove Tuesday - Feb 25

is the last day before the start of Lent. Traditionally it was a day on which Christians sought to be absolved from their sins, or shriven, in preparation for the solemn fast of Lent. That meant not simply giving up cakes, chocolate or some other individual type of foodstuff, but fasting from meat, eggs and dairy products and sometimes fish, except on Sundays. Consequently on Shrove Tuesday all such items were cleared from the larder and eaten in a spirit of carnival. As dairy products were banned during Lent, it became the custom in Britain to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, and so the day also became known as Pancake Day. The custom continues today, often accompanied by competitions in pancake tossing, or by pancake races.

For Christians it is still a day on which to make an honest assessment of ourselves, including our failings, in order to submit ourselves to the cleansing and renewing power of the Saviour. It is also a day of celebration, as we prepare to enter the most solemn season of the Christian year. (Northumbia)

Feb 26 - Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. This day was also known in the old days as dies cinerum (day of ashes). On this day, the faithful is marked on the forehead with the sign of the cross using ashes while the words "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel" or "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return"(Gen 3:19) are said. The ashes are blessed by the priest before the imposition and sprinkled with holy water. The ashes come from the burning of palm branches used during Palm (Passion) Sunday of the previous year.

February 27 - George Herbert

George Herbert was brilliant, wealthy, well-born, handsome, and a favorite of the king and court. To the astonishment of a generation of prominent Englishmen, he abandoned a promising career in public life, took holy orders, and accepted a call to the humble parishes of Fugglestone and Bemerton. As he put it, "Methought I heard one calling, ‘Child.’ And I replied, ‘My Lord.’ In his short life (George Herbert was only forty when he died), he made a lasting contribution to the church’s life. At Bemerton he was able to witness for his Master in unselfish service to others. He had learned an age-old lesson. "Nothing," he wrote, "is little in God’s service."

February 28- Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright

Anna Julia Haywood Cooper was born about 1859 in Raleigh, North Carolina, to an enslaved woman and a white man, presumably her mother’s master. She attended St. Augustine Normal School and Collegiate Institute, founded by the Episcopal Church to educate African American teachers and clergy. There she became an Episcopalian and married George Cooper, one of her instructors, who was the second African American ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in North Carolina.

Widowed in 1879, Cooper received degrees from Oberlin College, and was made principal of the African American high school in Washington, D.C. Denied reappointment in 1906 because she refused to lower her educational standards. Cooper emphasized the importance of equal education for African Americans. An advocate for African American women, Cooper assisted in organizing the Colored Women’s League and the first Colored Settlement House in Washington, D.C.

At the age of 65, in 1925, Cooper became the fourth African American woman to complete a doctorate, granted by the Sorbonne in Paris. From 1930-1942, she served as President of Freylinghuysen University. She died at the age of 104.

Elizabeth Evelyn Wright was born in Talbotton, Georgia, in 1872. Her father was an African American and her mother of Cherokee descent.

With the encouragement of her teachers, Lizzie, as she was called, enrolled at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. She worked for the school during the day and attended night classes, but Olivia Washington, wife of the head of Tuskegee, Booker T. Washington, noted her promise and strength of character. Mrs. Washington made it possible for Lizzie to attend day classes.

Wright interrupted her studies and went to Hampton County, South Carolina, to establish a school for rural black children. Arsonists thwarted her efforts and she returned to Tuskegee to finish her degree, graduating in 1894. She returned to Hampton County to re-start her school, but once again her efforts were turned back. Together with two colleagues, Jessie Dorsey and Hattie Davidson, she ventured to friendlier territory near Denmark in 1897. There she started the Denmark Industrial Institute, modeled after Tuskegee. It continues today as Voorhees College, affiliated with the Episcopal Church.

The Liturgical Seasons

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** This prayer is offer for Victims of Violence throughout of the world. Victims of verbal, physical, emotional, of hunger and thirst,economic abuse,warfare (especially Ukraine, Venezuela, parts of Africa, South America Asia and the Middle East, terrorist action, the death penalty, suicide, shootings (in our cities and neighborhoods), and other guise of violence. May their souls rest in peace and their families experience the Comfort of God. The Church bells will toll on Wednesdays @ 6:10pm.

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