Fifth Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 7

Proper 7 - Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Readings: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 and Mark 4:35-41

Shared on Sunday, June 24, 2018 in Miles City and Forsyth


Peace is a big thing, so is it’s definition….

A liturgical exchange of greeting through word and gesture. It is a sign of reconciliation, love, and renewed relationships in the Christian community. It is initiated by the celebrant, who says, “The peace of the Lord be always with you.” The people respond, “And also with you.” The ministers and people may greet one another in the name of the Lord (BCP, pp. 332, 360). Any appropriate words of greeting may be used in the exchange of peace that follows between individuals (BCP, p. 407). The gesture of greeting has been expressed in a variety of ways, including a kiss on the cheek, an embrace, a handclasp, or a bow. The peace is also known as the kiss of peace and the Pax (from the Latin, “peace”).


The peace is an ancient Christian practice. It has been associated with Rom 16: 16, “Greet one another with a holy kiss,” and similar passages such as 1 Cor 16: 20, 2 Cor 13: 12, 1 Thes 5: 26, and 1 Pt 5: 14. The earliest references to the peace may be found in writings concerning the baptismal liturgies. After the baptism and the laying on of hands and anointing by the bishop, the newly baptized were included in the exchange of the peace for the first time. Justin Martyr indicates that during the second century the peace took place before the presentation of the gifts at the eucharist. It appears that the peace originally concluded the liturgy of the word. However, the peace was moved to the end of the eucharistic prayer in the Roman rite during the fifth century. The peace was exchanged at the time of the breaking of the bread prior to communion. The peace was exchanged at this time in the eucharistic liturgy of the 1549 BCP, and it continues in this position in the Roman rite. The peace was deleted in the 1552 BCP. The 1979 BCP restored the peace at the eucharist to its ancient position at the end of the liturgy of the word. The BCP still allows the peace to be exchanged at the time of the administration of communion, before or after the sentence of invitation (p. 407).


At baptism, the peace follows the baptism and the welcome for the newly baptized by the celebrant and people (BCP, p. 308). At Confirmation, Reception, or Reaffirmation, it follows the bishop’s concluding prayer and precedes the prayers of the people or the offertory (BCP, pp. 310, 419). The peace concludes the service for the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, although communion may follow (BCP, p. 431). The new minister’s first action at the Celebration of a New Ministry is to initiate the peace (BCP, p. 563). The bishop initiates the peace at the end of the liturgy for the Consecration and Dedication of a Church, prior to the eucharist (BCP, p. 574). In the Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist, the peace may be exchanged after the prayers for the world and the church and before preparing the table, “or elsewhere in the service” (BCP, p. 401). Depending on the pastoral needs of the situation, it might be more appropriate to exchange the peace at the end or the beginning of this more informal eucharistic liturgy. The peace may be intoned by the celebrant and the people. The Hymnal 1982provides musical settings for the peace (S 110– 111).


In the late middle ages, a wooden plaque or plate with a projecting handle was used to pass the peace without direct personal contact. It had an image of the crucifixion or another religious subject on the face. It was known as a Pax Board, Pax Brede, or Osculatorium. It was first kissed by the celebrant, and then passed to other ministers and members of the congregation who also kissed it. The custom of passing the peace by use of a Pax Board is now obsolete.



Adapted from Don S. Armentrout’s An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church: A User-Friendly Reference for Episcopalians Church Publishing Inc., 2000.

Bishop Search News, May 2018

The Nominating Committee (NC) met by phone on May 15 to review the results of the recent online survey conducted across the diocese and the ongoing parish listening sessions. The Nominating Committee thanks everyone who has participated.


In all, 554 lay members and clergy took part in the survey. An executive summary of the results is posted on the diocesan website. To date, listening sessions have involved over 450 people in 24 parishes; they continue through June.


NEEDED: Please submit pictures from your congregation (buildings, people, events, etc.) for inclusion in the diocesan profile by emailing them to The NC plans to meet by phone on the third Wednesday of each month through the summer as it builds the profile.


The Standing Committee (SC) has met monthly to continue its role of oversight for the search. The following is a summary of work to date.


➢ Coordination continues with the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, Bishop for Pastoral Development (in the Presiding Bishop’s office), and the Rev. Ann Hallisey, Bishop Search Consultant, to ensure that we carry out the search process in good order.


➢ The SC drafted a Letter of Agreement for the position of Assistant Bishop during the time between Bishop Brookhart’s resignation and the election and consecration of a new Bishop Diocesan.


➢ Dates are set for a combined Electing Convention/Diocesan Convention: July 25 (evening arrival) through July 28, 2019, St. James in Bozeman. During this time, we will elect the new Bishop, carry out regular Diocesan Convention business, and celebrate Eucharist together.


➢ The SC appointed the Rev. Rick Johnson (St. Peter’s, Helena), Darien Scott (St. Peter’s, Helena), Vicki Van Rennselear (St. James, Bozeman), and Holly and Gary Swartz (Holy Spirit, Missoula) to the Transition Committee, which handles all the various parts of transition associated with the Bishop Search and charged them to begin planning the celebration of Bishop Brookhart’s ministry among us at this year’s Diocesan Convention.


➢ The SC began “exit interviews” with our Bishops and Diocesan Staff to learn from their experience, consider present needs, and hear any suggestions for consideration as we move forward. To date we have interviewed: Bishop Brookhart, Bishop Gallagher, Barb Hagen (Canon for Finance and Administration), and Jill Sallin (Administrative Assistant). Remaining interviews are being scheduled.


➢ The SC received a request from the Nominating Committee to expand its number in light of its workload. Nancy McManus (Billings Deanery alternate) was added to fill a vacancy at a prior SC meeting. We approved the following individuals at our May meeting: The Rev. Stephen Day (Emmanuel, Miles City, and Church of the Ascension, Forsyth from the Billings Deanery), Laura Catlin (St. James, Bozeman, Bishop Tuttle Deanery), and Hope Stockwell (St. Peter’s, Helena, Bishop Daniels Deanery). Ms. Stockwell will prepare regular updates from the NC for the SC to ensure coordination and consistency in communications to the diocese.


We commend the work of the NC specifically with regards to the listening sessions being held in every congregation: for the care with which you prepared these sessions, and for your time and effort in making them happen.


Faithfully submitted on behalf of the Standing Committee,


The Rev. Terri Ann Grotzinger

Standing Committee Member


Fourth Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 6

Mustard SEeds

Readings: Ezekiel 17:22-24, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (11-13), 14-17, Mark 4:26-34

Shared on Sunday, June 17, 2018 in Miles City and Forsyth

Proper 5 – Third Sunday after Pentecost

Bishop holy spirit image

Reading: Mark 3:20 – 35

Shared on Sunday, June 10, 2018 in Miles City and Forsyth

Documents related to the Listening Session:

Timeline for Tenth Bishop

Landscape Executive Summary for Episcopal Diocese of Montana

The Path to the Tenth Bishop of Montana


  • June 15, 2017 – Bishop Brookhart, the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Montana announced his intention to retire as our bishop effective November 1, 2018
  • Summer 2017 – Standing Committee begins preparations for transition, Nominating Committee formed
  • Fall – Winter 2017 – Nominating Committee begins work
  • March/April 2018 – Online survey sent throughout diocese to get initial input – nearly 600 people participate
  • April – June 2018 – Listening Sessions held in every congregation
  • July – August 2018 – Nominating Committee works on diocesan profile
  • Late August 2018 – diocesan profile released and publicized
  • Fall 2018 – Applications and nominations invited, screening, video interviews, reference checks, interviews and visits conducted
  • November 1, 2018 – Bishop Brookhart’s retirement is official, Standing Committee gains ecclesiastical authority
  • Early 2019 – semi-finalist candidates selected
  • March 2019 – discernment retreat for semi-finalists held in Montana
  • April 2019 – final slate of candidates released
  • July 2019 – special diocesan convention to elect tenth bishop
  • Between July and December 2019 – time for consents from standing committees and diocesan bishops from throughout The Episcopal Church (simple majority is needed within 120 days of the election)
  • December 7, 2019 – Consecration of the Tenth Bishop of Diocese of Montana in Helena, Montana



A Very Special Sunday…

This coming Sunday, June 10, 2018, we will have a special sermon related to the search process for the tenth bishop of Montana. Following the service, there will be a listening session in each congregation about the process.

The Second Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 4

Proper 4 - Second Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 4 – Second Sunday after Pentecost

Readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20), 2 Corinthians 4:5 – 12, and Mark 2:23 – 3:6

Shared on Sunday, June 3, 2018 in Miles City and Forsyth

Churchy Term of the Week – Sabbath

It’s a long definition, so here it goes…

The seventh day of the Jewish week, our Saturday. It was marked by a total prohibition of work (Ex 23: 12). In Christian liturgical usage, Holy Saturday is called the Great or Holy Sabbath, the day when Christ rested in the tomb. Early Christians rejected the celebration of the Jewish Sabbath and the restrictions on activity associated with it in the OT. It was considered as part of the ceremonial law which was abolished in Christ. Instead they kept the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, the day of the Resurrection, as their day of worship. Seventh Day Adventists and a few other Christian groups continue to worship on the sabbath. Sabbatarians are those Christians, usually Scottish or English Calvinists, who apply the OT prohibitions against work to Sunday, deeming it the Christian sabbath. This was a point of conflict between Anglicans and Puritans in the seventeenth century. The “blue laws” in many localities forbidding various activities on Sunday are inherited from Puritan sabbath-keeping. Some Christian groups also forbid various forms of recreation on Sunday in order to keep the sabbath.


Adapted from Don S. Armentrout’s An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church: A User-Friendly Reference for Episcopalians Church Publishing Inc., 2000.

Trinity Sunday


Trinity Sunday – First Sunday after Pentecost

Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8, Romans 8:12-17, John 3:1-17

Shared on Sunday, May 27, 2018 in Miles City and Forsyth