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Rev. Winnie Varghese
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The Rev. Winnie Varghese is the 13th Rector of St. Mark’s-Church-in-the-Bowery in New York City. She is a native Texan with family roots in the ancient Mar Thoma church of southwest India (State of Kerala). She serves on the Board of Directors of the Episcopal Service Corps. She has been active in peace and justice work as a board member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and a writer for The Witness magazine. She is featured in the Via Media and Living the Questions teaching series. She has served as Episcopal Chaplain at Columbia University and UCLA.

Entries by Rev. Winnie Varghese

The Time Is (Still) Now

(2) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 12:55 PM

Two police officers were murdered in New York City Saturday. Awful. Terrifying. Undeserved.

The title of the sermon about that would be: "This S#$T is scary." And, Ralph and Anthony at St. Mark's would say "Amen."

I am intrigued by how quickly people have been willing to exploit...

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The Stones Cry Out

(1) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 3:11 PM

If you have a building, I have an ask. Use your building to express your solidarity with Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley ... .

We have an 8' banner hanging on our portico that says "Black Lives Matter."...

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Finding Sanctuary

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2014 | 5:11 PM

In the world of Christians there is a difference of opinion as to where salvation happens. Salvation is understood as reconciliation to our true state in God. For some that's all about social justice. For some that's all about personal holiness. All of those terms have lots of potential for...

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The Ministry of Reconciliation

(1) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 11:15 AM


When I was four or five, my younger cousin and I cut my accordion in half. Yes, I had an accordion at age 4. It was a birthday present, and we wanted to know how it worked. We were both pretty sad about...

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Procession or Riot

(3) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 3:00 PM

I come from processing people. My mother's family church holds the mother of all processions. Seriously. It is for the birth (tricky date to verify but very popular for celebration) of the Ever Blessed and Glorious Mother of our Lord Jesus, Mary. If you think you know of a better...

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Whatever Happened to Inclusive Language?

(11) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 6:32 PM

Earlier this month the General Synod of the Church of England decided women can become bishops. Earlier this year the Church of England celebrated 20 years of ordaining women as priests. The Episcopal Church is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first ordinations of women this month as...

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Be a Witness

(3) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 5:32 PM

In John 3:11 Jesus says: "We speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen," in response to a question of how we can be born from above or as we would say today, saved.

Sometimes as religious leaders, it seems that all...

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Torture Is to Baptism as the Demonic Is to the Holy

(24) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 4:59 PM

During Holy Week (the week before Easter) this year I got a voicemail on a day that felt too hectic to deal with voicemail on a landline. Who does that anymore? The message was "Hi, This is Alan Ginsberg. I'd like to get baptized when the bishop comes to St....

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Washington National Cathedral Charges Admission

(28) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 2:58 PM

This time of year I walk around humming something like this and now often with this disturbing visual of Stephen Colbert.

Advent is a season of expectation in the church. Advent is the season before Christmas during which we anticipate the birth of Jesus and the...

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Lawrence O'Donnell on Louie Giglio

(190) Comments | Posted January 11, 2013 | 12:08 PM

I'm a fan of the news and political commentary as delivered by MSNBC. I watch Rachel Maddow religiously, and I watch Lawrence O'Donnell while waiting for Jon Stewart. I bet you can guess my position on most current social issues.

I am an Episcopal priest, not an evangelical, but...

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Let's Throw Our Demons Off the Cliff

(75) Comments | Posted December 10, 2012 | 5:05 PM

Priests get asked to do strange things. A few weeks ago I was asked to give the invocation, an opening prayer, at an annual event to celebrate the accomplishments of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Social Responsibility.  They believe being a good citizen is good business. I got...

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Hate Crimes against Sikhs Should Be Documented

(1) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 4:34 PM

On September 19 the United States Congress held a hearing on Hate Crimes in response to the shooting at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, WI, the first hearing on Hate Crimes since 2009. On August 23, 2012, a bi-partisan group of Senators sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder...

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The Glorious Episcopal Church

(77) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 5:19 PM

The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, AP, Christianity Today, The Advocate and many others covered the General Convention of The Episcopal Church because we passed blessings for same sex couples. Brilliant! In addition, the New York Times and Wall Street...

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Cast Your Vote for a Queer Positive Church

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2012 | 8:09 AM

Cast your vote for queer positive, women positive, youth, men, baby and everyone else positive, healthy, progressive, diverse and fun church today. St. Mark's Church in the Bowery is one of 40 contestants in an online contest sponsored by Partners in Preservation to give away $3...

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Homophobic Do-Gooders

(448) Comments | Posted December 14, 2011 | 3:09 PM

Some of you must feel like me. I am a religious person who leans toward the "help those who are suffering" school of religion. I believe it's the way to the kingdom (the reign of justice on earth). Compassion heals the soul and moves the planet toward wholeness as God...

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Celebrating The Holy: Marriage Equality As Sacrament

(442) Comments | Posted July 22, 2011 | 1:20 PM

I've been preparing to write about the gardens at St. Mark's Church where I work, or our food pantry or the power of place, but the state of New York and The Episcopal Church keep making strides on marriage, bringing the inner workings of...

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Full Marriage Equality in New York: A Clergy Perspective

(714) Comments | Posted June 15, 2011 | 1:44 PM

We are one vote away from same sex marriage in New York.

I am an Episcopal Priest in New York, watching, more than a little excited. The Episcopal Church is one of the churches that has come out in full support of the civil rights of gay and...

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