From the Pastor

( October 2022)

So, what exactly is a “priory?”  You’ve heard me talk about this class of mine, but it kinda sounds like one of those weird churchy words.  And I suppose it is.


A priory is a “small group” version of a monastery.  Overseen by a “prior,” they dedicate themselves to a specific work on behalf of the monastery.  They may adopt unique ways of living, or specific kinds of ministry, separate but attached to the larger life of the community.  Which, truth be told, is what we do in our class.  St. Mary’s UCC is a busy, bustling community of faith.  But tucked away in a little room, a small group of us, a “priory,” will go deeper into the art and craft of prayer.


For a generation or so, prayer has been taught as little more than “a conversation with God.”  While this ancient definition is certainly true, we’ve watched as the understanding of prayer and the practice of prayer has eroded in Christian communities.  I remember being laughed at as a teenager when I suggested our youth group study prayer, “It’s pretty simple!” I was told.


But is it?


There’s a sense in every believer that prayer is essential to our spiritual life, yet a satisfactory prayer life eludes so many believers.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  We don’t have to be nuns or monks to have a living, effective prayer life.  We simply need some guidance, some practice, and some encouragement along the way.


That’s what “The Priory” is all about.  Together, we’ll dedicate six Sunday mornings to developing a healthy and sustainable life of prayer.  We’ll learn how prayer works to form us, how good liturgy shapes prayer and why liturgy is essential, and perhaps we’ll learn some things that will allow you to encourage others on their journey as well.  And by the way…you know what happens when a congregation learns to pray well together?  The apostle Paul suggests that “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


If you’d like to join – in-person or online! – please let Pastor Sam know.  Sign-ups will be closing soon, and we’ll release the dates in short order.  Join us in the Priory, and discover new life for your faith!


Pastor Sam