2024, July 3: Come to 4th of July Cookout

Good Morning, Nativity!

The Gospel reading this Sunday is Mark 6:1-13. Mark’s Gospel is all about brevity and immediacy. Leading up to Chapter 6, the ministry of Jesus was still a very new thing. Jesus had done some healings, most notably the double healing we read about last Sunday (the hemorrhaging woman and the daughter of Jairus); he had challenged the religious authorities; he had taught the people using his favorite medium — the parable; and he had demonstrated his authority over nature. Jesus had been recognized as a man of God and a man of power, as the synagogue leader Jairus admitted when he fell at the feet of Jesus to beg for his help (Mark 5:22). But Jesus had not yet been revealed as the Messiah; that happens in Chapter 8 when Jesus asks, “But who do you say that I am?” and Peter answers, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29, ESV)

In this Sunday’s reading, Jesus returned to his hometown. He preached in the synagogue and astounded those listening. And yet, despite being astounded, they doubted him. They knew him and they knew his family. Familiarity had led to a lack of faith: “How are such mighty works done by his hands?” (Mark 6:2, ESV) “His hands”, can you not just feel the disgust, doubt, and maybe fear dripping from those words! Because of this lack of faith in his hometown, Jesus “could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.” (Mark 6:5 ESV)

Many readers would point to the lack of faith as the important thing in this passage. I would suggest instead that we focus on the pockets of faith that must have persisted in his hometown. For there must have been faith among and/or surrounding those few who were healed. Pockets of faith, such as that, can change the atmosphere within a community and can go forth into other communities to spread the good news, as happens in the subsequent scripture passage. (Mark 6:7-13)

I would like to end with a prayer of faith for this pocket of Christ’s faithful at Nativity:

Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(The Collect for the Confession of St. Peter, celebrated on January 18; BCP 238)

In the Peace and Love of Christ.
Deacon Tim


July 7, 2024
7th Sunday After Pentecost
9:15am Holy Eucharist (with music)

Bishop Michael Garrison
Deacon Tim MacDonald

REMINDER!! Come one, come all to our 4th of July cookout. Where: Parish Hall; Time: 3:00pm for fun and games, 5:30 for hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, dessert. When you may ask? Tomorrow, the 4th of July, of course! :-)))
July’s Vestry meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 9, at 7:00pm, in the Library.
Healing and Praise night will be held at Church of the Holy Spirit in Osprey on July 5 at 7:00pm. If you are interested, please speak to Deacon Tim for more information.


A new addition to our week here at Nativity. Morning and Evening Prayer are now being offered. Morning Prayer at 8:30am Mon-Thurs; Evening Prayer at 4:00pm Mon-Thurs.

On Saturday, July 20, a Cursillo Ultreya will be held at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Lakewood Ranch from 10:00am to 3:00pm. See Deacon Tim for details.
The Parish Directory has been updated. You can pick up a copy on the Baptismal Font in the Church. If your listing is wrong or missing information such as date of birth/anniversary, etc, or if you are not in it at all, please call me in the office Mon-Thurs 9am – 2pm. Thank you.
Deacon Tim’s ordination is not until August 10 so we will be having supply priests for the month of July and August 4. Accordingly we will have only one service at 9:15 for all of those dates. Deacon Tim has requested a 9:15am service for August 11 so his first service with us will be with our whole community together. Again, mark your calendars so you don’t show up either early or late for service or miss Deacon Tim’s first service with us. :-))))))
There will be NO Bible Study tomorrow, Friday, July 5. We will start again on July 12.
If you would like more information, please email Judy Haywood at: judyhay@aol.com.
Have you remembered Nativity in your Will or your Estate plans? Our Endowment Committee is happy to assist. Please call the Parish Office to make a connection.

2024, June 27: Thank You Fr. Michael

From Deacon Tim

Good Morning, Nativity!

I enjoyed serving at Nativity for the first time as Deacon-in-Charge this past Sunday. It simply felt good and right to be up there serving our Lord and Savior and you, his faithful followers. I loved meeting and getting to know many of you just a bit. I look forward to getting to know each of you much better in the coming weeks, months, and years. Please remember to wear your name tags; that will help me out!

Last week my Nativity Now section focused on thanks. That theme of thanks is continuing this week as we step into the last Sunday Service with Fr. Michael as Priest-in-Charge of Nativity. I thank him for his skilled, joyful, and spirit filled leadership during this two year period. His love of our Lord and Savior naturally flows from him and is infectious. I have stepped into my new role incredibly indebted to him for that leadership. Nativity is in excellent condition (spiritually, materially, and financially) because of his dedicated service. That thanks extends to his wife, Bonnie Jean; they are truly a team! Please join me in showing Fr. Michael and Bonnie Jean our thanks.

I will end this Nativity Now with a suggestion that we pray “The General Thanksgiving” (BCP 101) this week with a special focus on how thankful we are for the Durning’s leadership, guidance, and friendship in the past, present, and future!

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory, and, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lies, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

In the Peace and Love of Christ.
Deacon Tim

Please join us this Sunday, June 30, after the 9:15am service in celebrating Fr. Michael’s retirement from our Church. I am sure he will pop up somewhere else and they will be blessed to have him. We want to give Fr. Michael and Bonnie Jean a warm and loving farewell so join us in the Parish Hall for brunch.

2024, June 20: Thank God

From Deacon Tim

Good Morning Nativity!

This past Monday morning, I started as your Deacon-in-Charge. The first thing I did upon arriving was step into our beautiful Sanctuary and pray Morning Prayer. The appointed reading was Romans 1:1-15, which includes the following verse (Rom. 1:8, ESV): “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, …”

As St. Paul thanked God for the Roman Christians, I genuinely want to thank God for you. Thank you for your courage and faith in selecting me to be your Deacon-in-Charge. I am honored and overwhelmed by that choice. Mostly, however, I want to thank you for your unwavering faith in, and love of Jesus Christ, especially during these past two years as you have searched for someone to shepherd this flock. I also want to thank you for the love that you have already shown me. A love that I hope you feel emanating from me to you as well. Thank you and God bless you!

St. Paul ended Monday morning’s scripture reading with, “So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome” (Rom. 1:15, ESV). Exchange “Sarasota” for “Rome” in that verse and those words could me mine. I could not be more excited to explore with you all what God has planned for us!

The words from this upcoming Sunday’s Collect seem like a fitting prayer to end my first Nativity Now (BCP, pg. 230):

O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

In the Peace and Love of Christ.

Deacon Tim

2024, June 13: Ordination

From Father Michael

Dear Nativity Family,

With the feast of the Apostle Barnabas on June 11, thoughts of ordination are in the air. Mid-June has been a traditional time to ordain people to the Diaconate in order for them to qualify for ordination to the Priesthood the following December, just in time for Christmas.

For me June 11 marks thirty-six years of ordination and June 13 marks nine years of the Rev. Ros Hall as a Deacon. And, of course, we are all looking forward to August 10 when Deacon Tim will be ordained a Priest.

Please continue to sustain your clergy with your prayers and support so that God may be glorified in the Church, and in this community!

Fr. Michael

Service Schedule Changes

June 30 is Fr. Michael’s last Sunday as our Priest in Charge. He has requested one service at 9:15am. Mark your calendars so you don’t miss his last Sunday with us.

Also, Deacon Tim’s ordination is not until August 10 so we will be having supply priests for the month of July and August 4. Accordingly we will have only one service at 9:15 for all of those dates. Deacon Tim has requested a 9:15am service for August 11 so his first service with us will be with our whole community together. Again, mark your calendars so you don’t show up either early or late for service or miss Deacon Tim’s first service with us. :-))))))

A New Face

Our Rector-to-be, Deacon Tim, will be officially starting on Monday, June 17. We look forward to having him here and seeing him on our altar.

2024, June 6: General Convention

Dear Nativity Family,

In about two weeks, hundreds of Episcopalians will gather in Louisville, KY, for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. This Convention will consider many things including the election of a Presiding Bishop. Five bishops have their name in place and the House of Bishops will elect one of them to a nine-year term. The House of Deputies (Lay Delegates and Clergy Delegates) are then required to affirm this election.

The Presiding Bishop is required to visit all 108 dioceses of the Episcopal Church. The “PB” also presides over the Executive council and many other weighty responsibilities. I ask your prayers for the candidates: Bishops Scott Barker, Daniel Gutierrez, Sean Rowe, Robert Wright, Dede Duncan-Probe.

I also ask your prayer for our current Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, whose term now comes to an end.

“Almighty and everlasting Father, you have given the Holy Spirit to abide with us forever: Bless, we pray with His grace and presence, the bishops and other clergy and the laity of the General Convention, soon to be assembled in your Name that your Church, being preserved in true faith and godly discipline, may fulfill all the mind of him who loved it and gave himself for it, your Son Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Prayer Book, page 255)

Fr. Michael