Deacon Kathryn’s Retirement

Kathryn Ballinger is retiring as a deacon and will be taking a break from ministry this fall! We are so grateful for her service to this parish and The Episcopal Church, and we will be showing our appreciation at a special reception THIS SUNDAY after the second service. Deacon Kathryn and Philip will return to worship at Good Samaritan as a regular members in December.

Deacon Kathryn’s Ministry

Born and raised in Seattle, Kathryn attended Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Spokane and Gonzaga University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree. After her first husband’s death, she completed a Masters in Counseling from Whitworth University, and was a RN for over 40 years. She is also a trained spiritual director with more than 35 years experience. Dcn. Kathryn was ordained a permanent deacon in 2000 in the Diocese of Spokane, and served in two parishes there before moving with her husband, Philip, to the Seattle area in 2003. She served as deacon at St. Thomas in Medina for 13 years. Kathryn was placed at Good Samaritan by Bishop Rickel in December 2016.


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The Deacon’s Corner: Celtic Spirituality

by Deacon Kathryn Ballinger
 
One of the primary marks of Celtic spirituality is its belief in the essential goodness of creation. It believes that the natural world is infinitely deep. Everything in creation has issued forth from the invisible and contains something of the unseen life of God; otherwise it would cease to exist. Because God’s life is like the heartbeat at the center of life, pulsating within, it sustains all that is. All created things are an expression of God for our souls to experience, to see and feel. God is forever communication his life and love in and through the outward forms of creation so we can come to a knowledge of God through the universe.
 
Join us at Celtic Evening Prayer on Sunday, March 17, at 6:30 pm.

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The Deacon’s Corner: St. Patrick

by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the most popular saints. He was born in Roman Britain in 387AD, and when he was about 14, he was captured by Irish pirates during a raiding party. He was taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. It was the land of Druids and pagans, but Patrick turned to God. He prayed in the woods and on the mountains, often through the night. Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was 20 when he escaped. He had a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. He found sailors who took him back to Britain, and he was reunited with his family. Years later he had a vision in which the people of Ireland cried out for him to come back and walk among them. The vision prompted his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest and later a bishop and sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland in 433AD. There are many legends and miracles surrounding him. Over 40 years of preaching, he converted thousands of people and built many churches across the country. And after years of living in poverty, traveling, and suffering, he died in 461AD. Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, with a love and total devotion and trust in God. “The Breastplate” is a poem of Patrick and of his faith in God.

Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ unguarded, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.


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The Deacon’s Corner: Star of Wonder

by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger

Behold, Magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the new born King of the Jews? We saw his star in it’s rising and have come to do him homage.” Matthew 2:1–2

The story of the star and the Magi has fascinated us since childhood. Artists have tried to capture the blazing glory of this manifestation—Emanuel, God with us. We imagine a dark and chilly night. Out on the horizon we can see three shapes silhouetted against the midnight blue velvet night sky. We can hear the muffled plodding of camel feet on the dunes. A bright star gleams like a beacon overhead. Three exotic men loom out of the darkness dressed in rich and heavy robes. They bear gifts as they kneel before the babe and his mother. And like Mary, we ponder all these things in our heart. What star do we follow and where is it taking us? God’s love illumines our path as we journey to God like the Magi. We come to God bearing our precious gifts of hearts transformed by his love and spirits at rest in his peace. But the greatest gift is our journey itself. Our life is a journey home to God. Like the Magi, we are wanderers seeking an encounter with the Divine. The Magi are role models for living life more fully. We notice they were totally focused on God, and they took risks when facing the unknown. And they were discerning, being prayerfully attentive to the voice of God along their journey. Our personal journeys may have detours and questions. It may require sacrifice, patience, and hard work. And it always involves listening; listening to a voice that may call at any time to set out in the darkness, the unknown, guided only by a star of hope. Doubt and fear are always part of our response. Change is difficult; we’re never ready, but the soft inviting whisper will not go away. So the star of wonder shines on in each of our hearts, illuminating and ever guiding us, and the darkness will not overcome it.


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The Deacon’s Corner: Advent Memories and Longing

by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger
 
Maybe we can never go back in time and recapture the feelings and anticipation of childhood Christmases. Maybe the memories are sufficient to sustain us. But there are moments when the wonder and awe and beauty sweep over us and we again experience the delicious anticipation of a child. We are swept up again with the wonder of cold starry nights, candlelight, and music. Our souls are lifted up, and we experience a spiritually “thin place” where we experience the nearness of the Holy and deep longing. Such was the evening of Lessons and Carols on December 2. Advent is a “now” experience as well as a historical event. Since the coming of Christ goes on forever, there is always an Advent going on. We are the people of Advent. Therefore we can see all the characters of the Advent that was “then” in our Advent which is “now.” Where in our lives is John the Baptist, provoking us to become aware of new things happening in our lives? Where is Zachariah in our lives, not immediately open to what is new? Where is Elizabeth, so ready to appreciate the coming of the Lord? Where is Joseph, so gracious when all was so strange? And Mary, where is she in us, trusting and welcoming the word in her heart? For where we find Mary in ourselves, there we find Christ being born in our souls. All of us are called to incarnate the seed of Christ.

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The Deacon’s Corner: Butterscotch Days

by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger

I love fall! It is my favorite season. The air is so clear, the sky so blue and the changing colors are breathtakingly beautiful.

Driving down the Woodinville-Duvall Road, you wind down through a canopy of old trees, and when the sun shines through the branches, the leaves glow a stunning butterscotch. It takes my breath away as I drive through the dappled light. I know soon enough the leaves will fall, and the skies will turn grey and heavy. The butterscotch trees will turn into black branches covered in moss and will become the creepy trees right out of a Harry Potter story.

But for now, I ponder where all the beautiful red, orange, and yellow hues come from. How do the trees do it? Yes, I’ve researched the science of it all. It’s very interesting and pretty amazing. But it doesn’t explain the wonder and awe I feel. My heart leaps up with all this majesty and glory.

God created the universe out of love, and it is full of his love, beauty, and truth. The very DNA of the Trinity is in all created matter from astro to quantum physics. Contemporary theologians and scientists are coming to similar conclusions. Speaking in different times and using religious language, mystics have been saying the same things.

God is not separate from his creation. St. Ignatius in the 16th century wrote: “All the things in this world are created because of God’s love, and they become the context of gifts so that we may know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.”

So as fall fades and we head into longer darker days, I will remember the butterscotch days and give thanks and praise to the God who loves us.


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