Good morning. I'm Mary Sears and I am honored to be sharing my Journey to and with King's Chapel. Many of you in the congregation have been on the journey with me at King's Chapel and know me very well. Not as many of you know where I come from, personally and spiritually.
It will come as no surprise that church and music have been constants in my life. I was raised in a large suburban church and was active in the music program there, singing in choirs, playing handbells and then conducting the introits and amens when I was a high school student. The church members encouraged me as a musician and as a conservative Christian. Within the musical groups there was fellowship and friendship, but there was a nervous edge to the theology there. I was not comfortable with the Us vs. Them, Saved vs. Unsaved view. I was very careful always to wear a cross and identify as a Christian to stay on the Saved list. Church was not optional for people in my family, it was mandatory.
When I went away to college and could choose to leave the church, I chose to stay. While I was at Wellesley College I was a chaplaincy intern, and worked with the chaplain on the church music every week, choosing hymns and either providing or recruiting music for our small volunteer services. By the grace of God and with the love of Lutheran and Episcopalian chaplains, I added liturgy and the sung canticles to my repertoire, beyond the simpler music of my upbringing. I was encouraged to embrace a more open Christian theology that did not divide the world into camps. I did recreational singing every week from the Sacred Harp shape-note hymnal, with a group of spiritually-minded singers, a group that produced several Protestant ministers, at least one rabbi and a couple of professional folk singers.
It makes perfect sense, looking back, that one of these Sacred Harp singers was the person who referred me to King's Chapel. She was a seminarian here and a member of the parish, and suggested that I contact the music director, Daniel Pinkham. The rest is history. The inclusive and thoughtful theology and the diverse and challenging music, the bright clear sound of this place, has been home ever since. I am grateful to so many of you. Thank you:
for supporting me as a person of faith and as a musician,
helping me find my direction in graduate school,
introducing me to my husband Bill Sears,
coaching me on running the Hospitality committee as a newlywed,
and supporting me now as a church school mom and chair of the Music committee.
I hope I can lend a hand and an encouraging word to you, and carry forward the support that I have received here. Amen!