Risen Creation Care 2019
In this issue
2019 RISEN — An annual publication of The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island 275 North Main Street Providence, RI 02903 Phone: (401) 274-4500 www.episcopalri.org
4 Creation care: Being God’s helpers
Rhode Island’s Source for Episcopal News
Publisher — The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, Bishop of Rhode Island Editor — Dave Seifert Copy Editors — The Rev. Canon Linda L. Grenz, the Rev. Bettine Besier Design and Layout — Anne M. Stone Writers — Manya Chylinski, Kim A. Hanson, the Rev. Anita Schell, Dave Seifert Printer — TCI Press, Seekonk, MA Subscriptions — RISEN Magazine is a free journal published by and for The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, or need to change your mailing address, send an e-mail with your name and address to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo Credits All photos are used by permission. Cover – Zybnek Burival (Unsplash) Page 2 (top), pages 4–6, page 30 (top) — Kenney Knisely Page 2 (hiking), page 13 — The Rev. Jennifer Zogg Page 2 (library), page 21 — Kim A. Hanson Page 2 (graveyard), page 24 — Center for Reconciliation Page 2 (classroom) — Rhode Island Department of Corrections Page 2 (bottom), page 31 — Episcopal Conference Center Page 7 — Kairos Earth Page 9 — Lynnaia Main (Episcopal News Service) Page 10 — Fuss & O’Neill Page 11 — D. Fisher Page 12 — St. Francis Church Page 14 — Ken Breault Page 15 — Brown University Pages 16 & 17 — Steve MacAusland Page 18 — Elise LaParle Garcia Page 19 — Janice Horn Page 20 – Rory Hennessey (Unsplash) Page 22 — Kathie Gibson Page 25, page 26 (bottom), page 28 — Nancy Paradee Page 26 (top) — Zachariah Allen Page 29 — Trinity Church Blue Icons — Venimo (123RF Stock Photo)
Reconciliation to Creation
The Jesus Movement 8 Living into the Jesus Movement
10 12 13 14 15 16 18 20 21 22
Here comes the sun? Sunday morning in the garden Where did you see God today? Save money, help others Caring for creation and each other A dozen ways to care for creation Tending the earth and soil A sacred journey in Rhode Island Welcoming Narragansett neighbors Taking creation care personally
Revisiting Reconciliation 24 Building the beloved community 25 Bringing the light
Revisiting Evangelism 26 Using your gifts: What’s your growth engine? 27 New churches, new practices
The Way of Love 28 Ready to live the Way of Love? 28 Making the Way of Love real
Around the Church 30 Key contributors retire from diocesan staff 31 Special time at ECC: Celebrating 70 years
Year three: Creation care RISEN completes Jesus Movement cycle Welcome to year three of RISEN’s journey through the Jesus Movement. After focusing on reconciliation in 2017 and evangelism in 2018, this year’s focus tells what Episcopalians are doing in Rhode Island and the wider church to care for God’s creation. We’ll also briefly revisit reconciliation and evangelism, to wrap up the story of the core values of the Episcopal Church. And we will introduce a new topic that will be a diocesan emphasis 2019 and 2020: the Way of Love (www. episcopalchurch.org/way-of-love).
Bishop Curry introduced this “rule of life” framework during the 2018 General Convention. It’s his answer to the question “How do I live into the Jesus Movement?” and offers seven practices for Jesus-centered living. The initial response to the Way of Love has been overwhelmingly positive — both nationally and here in our diocese. Our congregations began classes, preaching series and other activities almost immediately after General Convention. The diocese launched its multiyear educational
initiative in February at a workshop that’s highlighted here in RISEN. This issue, like others, is the product of contributions from many people, and they all have our thanks — whether they gave us a story idea, told us their story, or assisted in the writing, design and photography. We hope you enjoy it and that its content helps to deepen your relationship with God, your neighbors and God’s creation. — Dave Seifert, editor
Five things to know . . .
. . . about our 229th Diocesan Convention November in East Greenwich The 2019 Diocesan Convention will be held November 8 and 9 at St. Luke’s in East Greenwich. The Convention Eucharist is at 7 p.m. November 8; the business session begins at 9 a.m. November 9. About 300 elected lay delegates, clergy and bishops assemble to conduct the business of the Episcopal Church in Rhode Island. Visitors are welcome Everyone in the diocese is invited to the Eucharist and business session. Please register using information that will be posted early this fall on the diocesan website.
The bishop’s address is Saturday Bishop Knisely will address the convention during the Saturday business session. Other presentations will focus on highlights of the 2020 proposed budget and key diocesan initiatives and programs. Stay tuned! We invite a guest to preach at the Eucharist. Watch for an announcement about the 2019 guest preacher, whose subject will be “The Way of Love.” Find documents online The agenda, worship bulletin and other documents will be available in advance at www.episcopalri.org/about/diocesanconvention/
Reconciliation to Creation
Creation care: Being God’s helpers Taking our faith into the world is a must
Exploring Rhode Island wilderness areas on pilgrimage last summer reminded me that extensive parts of God’s creation were not created for us, nor are they directly dependent on us. Although the biblical accounts of creation place humanity at the apex of creation, a quick trip into the woods or out onto the ocean reminds me that we are intruders in another neighborhood. The trees grow wild, stretching for the sun. The waters bubble and cascade down and around the rocks — and there is no simple path for us as humans to walk upon them. They belong to creation,
as do we. They do not exist to serve us. But we have a role toward them. We are created to be God’s helpers in the world — to tend the garden God made and work beside God to bring order and health into the world. But instead, we have too often used creation to our immediate ends, not to preserve creation and the environment for our children and our grandchildren. But take heart, because there are times when we see our better selves in our action and God’s dream being fulfilled. As our group traveled down the Wood and Pawcatuck Rivers, we saw
places where, in previous centuries, natural waterflow had been diverted to serve the needs of manufacturing and agriculture. We saw how beaver-supported habitats had been permanently changed. We saw how barriers were created to stop regular spawning of native fish species and saw the changed aquatic biosphere that subsequently emerged. We saw hand-built rock walls marching forgotten through the trees — walls that had been built by the hands of enslaved people, by the people of our native tribes forced to scar the earth in From the Bishop
A Message from the Bishop
ways that despised their beliefs. And in all of what we saw we prayed prayers of lamentation. But we also saw new construction intended to repair what was damaged. Fish ladders that for the first time in a century allow the native shad and alewives to spawn, signs of beavers in the woods and young bald eagles in the trees. We saw clear water rushing free that had once been blocked from its natural course. We gave thanks for what had been restored, and for witnessing a reconciliation of our place with the natural world that surrounds us.
Co-workers with God Reconciliation is a restoration of a right relationship. We are co-workers, and at times even co-creators, with God in the garden God created for us. We recognize the parts meant for us directly, and we recognize the parts where God did not intend us to be. The chance to remember that and visit both sorts of places was one of the most important parts of our pilgrimages. So what should we do to restore reconciliation with creation? At one level, nothing. That’s because to this point, almost everything we have tried to do has had damaging consequences we did not anticipate. Insecticide meant for increasing crop yield and ending famine and faminedriven migration and war has leached into the ground and is changing the food system. Introducing non-native species into an ecosphere in what was intended to be a natural solution to a vexing problem has created unexpected unbalances where species like phragmites (introduced to aid water
remediation) or kudzu (introduced for soil erosion) push out native plant species and the animal life that evolved to depend upon them. But consider the fish ladders we saw on the Pawcatuck River. One was built to replace a dam entirely and another to lessen a dam’s impact. They represent thoughtful, deliberate and measured work on the part of society to care and reconcile with creation. These ladders remind us there are things we can do to make the situation better. I don’t think we can arbitrarily make a division between creation and society. So, given our conversation about our need to act on behalf of the creation entrusted to us, I ask us to also consider this: What is God calling us to do to affect reconciliation today in our social sphere? The 2018 midterm congressional elections took on profound importance and meaning. They felt like a referendum on where we intend to go as a community. Because of that feeling and the peculiar way democracy works here in the United States, those elections created significant consequences for many who feel disenfranchised from the larger national life. We elect and govern today, for the most part, by inciting passion and division. And that affects the way our communities function. It’s not surprising to me, therefore, that we are witnessing the collapse of communal organizations like the Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis Clubs. People are not joining bowling leagues or garden clubs. And this means there are fewer places where we encounter our neighbor — and where we get to know people who are different than us.
It is in this larger societal context that we do ministry and that we are charged by our Lord Jesus to create community — not of like-minded people, but of all people: Jews and Greeks, men and women, rich and poor, enslaved and free, liberal and conservative, progressive and orthodox, etc. It is in this larger context that we witness to our core belief that the kingdom that belongs to the Heavenly One is different than the kingdom that belongs to the ruler of this world. The heavenly kingdom, our kingdom by virtue of our baptism, is based on the comprehension and inclusion of difference — no matter how hard that might be to accomplish. It is not built on creating a small group of passionate people bound together by common belief and a desire to impose that belief on people with whom they disagree.
Real consequences There are real consequences to this situation — a situation where people are being rewarded with power and authority because of their ability to divide and conquer the people who vote. And given tragic events in recent years in so many places, this seems like a reasonable thing to fear. We need to do something. But what can we do that, while well-meaning, doesn’t make the situation worse? Professor Alan Kreider, a Mennonite theologian, points out that 1st- and 2nd-century Christians did not have a church growth plan. They didn’t have a set of practices of hospitality, welcome and inclusion to greet inquirers and seekers. They didn’t have good signage and comfortable seats. Instead, they had a practice of locking the doors, article continues on next page
From the Bishop
The business session at the 2018 Diocesan Convention at St. Luke’s, East Greenwich.
of carefully questioning anyone who showed an interest in joining a church and demanding multiple testimonies about anyone who desired to be baptized. And yet they grew at a rate faster than any other time in the church’s history. Why? Professor Kreider convincingly argues that those early Christians did one important thing. They lived out their faith with the actions of their lives. They made sure there was a public and clear witness to the Gospel, not with words or learned argument, but by the choices they made and the way they carried themselves in daily life. They lived lives that were different than their neighbors’, and their neighbors noticed. They boldly rejected the claims of the Roman Empire and the Emperor. They were willing to suffer and die
rather than do the momentarily expedient thing. And they expected everyone who was baptized to live toward that standard. And slowly at first, and later in increasing numbers, their neighbors joined them in their locked and secretive churches. The early Christians lived lives that were different. And that made all the difference.
Faithful followers What would it look like today to live a life that is materially different than the world around us might expect us to live? What is the core of being a faithful follower of Jesus and an heir to the kingdom? I think I have a sense of the answer. And I think the Presiding Bishop is preaching that answer daily. It isn’t to be
a Democrat. Or a Republican. It is to love your neighbor even when that love and witness is costly — and makes our lives difficult. We are trapped in a political and societal nightmare right now. We are killing each other and we are poisoning creation. We are not the helpers of creation God created us to be. But there is a way out of this night mare. It is the way that Jesus taught us — the way of self-giving, selfless love of our neighbor and our enemy. We claim we believe this. We claim this can heal the world. The world will believe these claims when the world sees that we are different. That was enough for the early church in a time when there was not a majority of people who believed in Jesus or even understood that belief in Jesus was an option. From the Bishop
The Eucharistic table is the one place in a given week where people who believe different things about our common political life kneel beside one another and eat of the same loaf of bread and drink out of the same cup. You and I have seen it in the daily worship of this church. But the world does not see our worship. The world is not coming into our buildings. So, we have to take our faith out into the world. And proclaim the Gospel, not with our words, but with our love of each other. Our love of our neighbor who is not part of the fellowship of the church. And our love of our enemy who rejects us and would persecute us. We must live in a way that is recognizably different than the rest of the world. We must walk the Way of Love. And in that action, God through us is able to reconcile the world to the dream of God — and to lead us all out of the nightmare that we now deplore. — The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, bishop of Rhode Island
Riding on a river
Pilgrimages continue in 2019 Does Bishop Knisely’s description of last year’s river pilgrimage make you want to ride on a river this year? If so, you’ll have multiple opportunities. Listed below are confirmed dates for river pilgrimages in 2019.
May 24–31 on the Connecticut River Segment 1 (three paddling days) May 25–27: Pilgrims join the evening of Friday, May 24 Segment 2 (four paddling days) May 28–31: Pilgrims join the evening of Monday, May 27
June 13 – 20 on the Taunton River Segment 1 (three paddling days) June 14–16: Pilgrims join the evening of Thursday, June 13. Read the bishop’s blog on entangledstates.org
facebook.com/ episcopalRI @episcopalRI @episcopalRI @wnknisely
From the Bishop
Segment 2 (four paddling days) June 17–20: Pilgrims join the evening of Sunday, June 16. If you’re interested in joining either of these pilgrimages, contact Jo Brooks (email@example.com). You can find more details at the Kairos Earth website (kairosearth.org/pilgrimage/).
The Jesus Movement
Living into the Jesus Movement Resources ‘Traveling the Jesus Movement’ A periodic video series that chronicles the travels of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. www.episcopalchurch.org/ traveling-jesus-movement
General Convention actions in 2018 in support of the Jesus Movement bit.ly/JesusMovementTools
Jesus Movement bumper stickers bit.ly/JesusMovementStickers
“What is the Jesus Movement?” From the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. bit.ly/WhatIsJesusMovement
‘The Jesus Movement in 8 points’ An Episcopal Café blog post by Bill Carroll. bit.ly/JesusMovement8Points
General resources A compilation of resources from The Episcopal Church about the Jesus Movement. bit.ly/JesusMovementGeneral
Loving, liberating and life-giving relationships When Presiding Bishop Michael Curry took office in 2015 and called our church “the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement,” it’s likely that a lot of Episcopalians were wondering what that really meant — and meant for us. More than three years later what he meant has become clearer. In fact, the Jesus Movement has created a groundswell that is inspiring new ways of living out the Gospel in Episcopal congregations large and small. And now he says: “We are the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement that is working to change the world from the nightmare it is for so many into the dream God has for us.” The Episcopal Church website says the Jesus Movement is “the ongoing community of people who center their lives on Jesus and following him into loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, each other and creation. “Together, we follow Jesus as we love God with our whole heart, soul and mind and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40), and restore each other and all of creation to unity with God in Christ (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 855).” Today we call ourselves a church where “In all things, we seek to be loving, liberating and life-giving — just like the God who formed all things in love; liberates us all from prisons of mind, body and spirit; and gives life so we can participate in the resurrection and healing of God’s world.” One thing that hasn’t changed is the overall focus on reconciliation, evangelism and creation care.
In 2017, Bishop Knisely said reconciliation matters because “At its core, the Gospel is about the restoration of right relationships between the Creator and the Creation. It’s about how God has acted in the person of Jesus to restore us to the relationships that God intended for us in the beginning. The action of restoring the proper relationship, a relationship characterized by a self-giving love (agape), happens as we are reconciled to God and to each other.” In 2018, he said that in this time of division and pain in our culture, “You and I as members of the holy family of God have the medicine for the healing of the nations, the medicine that was proclaimed in Revelation (chapter 22) and in Ezekiel (chapter 47), as the leaves of the trees that grow along the banks of the river of life that flows out to the temple of God wherein dwells God’s own spotless lamb. “This is why it is of primary importance that we share the Gospel with our neighbors — right now,” he continued. “Not so that our congregations can survive for another generation, but so that we can stop the increasing cycle of violence that threatens to consume us all and destroy our common hope and future. We have what the world needs, and I call on us as followers of the risen Lord of Life to share what we have so that the world can be saved.” At the 2018 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, a powerful “TEConversation” featured six creation care leaders from around our church. The Jesus Movement
Bernadette Demientieff, an Alaska native Gwich’in (bit.ly/ GwichinWikipedia) leader from Fort Yukon, talked about the impact global warming is having on caribou migration. “Alaska is ground zero for climate change,” she said. “Our children deserve to see the world as it was at the beginning, not just after we’re done with it. My ancestors fought to survive. We take care of the caribou because they cared for us. We have to be the voice of the animals. We are asking for respect of our community and our way of life.” What can we, in Rhode Island, do in response to our call as part of the Jesus Movement? How might we draw closer to others, especially those who are different from us? How can we walk alongside others as they draw near to God? And how can we care for God’s creation? Bishop Curry believes our church can make a difference, but only if we have a church with Jesus at the center — not if we try to recreate the church of the 1950s: “I really believe that the way of Jesus, the way that is gracious, kind, loving, just, good — that way and that Jesus — is what the world is hungry for.” When Episcopalians are part of a church “reoriented around the gospel in the way, as in most congregations,” he added, “the gospel is processed into the midst of the people and they turn to face the person who proclaims it.” — Dave Seifert, with additional content from Episcopal News Service and the Episcopal Church website The Jesus Movement
Episcopalians on world climate stage Episcopalians who represented Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at a United Nations climate change conference last December in Poland are pleased about key outcomes. In particular, the delegation called out the conference members’ agreement on next steps to be taken to address global warming. California Bishop Marc Andrus, the delegation’s leader, said the Episcopalians “bore witness to significant developments in international climate change policy.” Nearly 200 countries met December 2–14 in Katowice, Poland. The conference’s primary goal was to develop a framework for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement related to limiting global warming. Andrus said most member nations “acknowledged the need to ramp up ambitions for reducing carbon emissions, while also attending to a ‘just transition’ for the most heavily impacted countries who are also the most under-resourced for adaption.” Read about the details in an Episcopal News Service article (bit.ly/ COP24Poland).
Bishop Marc Andrus, center, and members of the Episcopal delegation at the United Nations’ COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland.
Here comes the sun?
Proposal for solar farm at ECC makes progress
Progress continues on an ambitious initiative to care for God’s creation in a big way: installation of a solar farm on the grounds of the Episcopal Conference Center (ECC) and camp. The proposal cleared a big hurdle in late January when the Glocester Planning Board approved the master plan. This approval moved the proposal into four final steps. If approved, the solar farm would use 50 acres of land in remote parts of the camp property in Pascoag and not be 1 visible from camp buildings. It would provide a path for the camp to be finan4 cially sustainable and would offer an 3 opportunity5for participating churches FIGURE 1 to reduce electricity costs by 25 percent. About half the churches in the diocese have indicated interest in participating.
The innovative idea emerged during a strategic planning process ECC leaders and volunteers undertook in 2016. “When we informed the camp community we were initiating a strategic planning process, one of our alumni suggested we look into solar as an alternative revenue source that could help fund the camp and care for God’s creation,” said the Rev. Meaghan Brower, camp director. “It is consistent with our theology and would be on a scale that’s appropriate to Rhode 3 2 Island.” After deciding to pursue the idea, ECC leaders created a solar development team, consisting of volunteers who are either members of a Rhode Island Episcopal church or friends of a church member.
“They all have tremendous gifts they are sharing, coming from their work careers within or affiliated with the solar industry,” Brower said. The farm would be built and operated by RER Energy, a Pennsyl vania firm selected from 12 bids by solar developers. After 25 years, the land would be restored to its original wooded condition. During the time when the farm is operating, the savings generated would be used 4 to build an endowment 5 that will generate sufficient dividends to permanently replace the diocese’s current ECC support. Dennis Burton, diocesan chief financial officer, said there’s no up-front investment required, and the solar field would require little oversight.
SEE FIGURE 2
SEE FIGURE 1
AN VIEW RENDERING
1 2 This shows the location of the proposed solar fields at ECC. Camp buildings are at the 5 overall green area.6 top center of the
“The volunteer development team went through a discernment process to consider the benefits of installing the solar field vs. maintaining the existing woods,” he said. “They developed a solution that’s relatively low risk and very much aligned with our church’s theology.” The proposed field would generate 10.5 million kilowatt hours per year, sufficient to supply 1,850 homes or 1,750 electric cars. It would prevent 8,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere per year. “This solar array will make a significant reduction in the carbon footprint the diocese has in Rhode Island,” Brower said. “As we become increasingly aware of our responsibility to care for our creation, it is exciting to have such a tangible way to make a difference.” The remaining steps in the process are confirmation of the interconnection cost from National Grid; approval by the state Department of Environmental Management of a plan to address wetland areas adjacent to the solar farm as well as crossing wetlands with roads and power cables; approval of a specialuse permit by the Glocester Zoning Board; and negotiation of a land-lease with a potential investor company. If the proposal successfully completes these steps, ECC anticipates a mid-2020 opening for the solar farm.
Hikers on the Appalachian Trail enjoy food offered by volunteer chaplains.
Chaplains to the trail One of the dreams of Bishop Doug Fisher of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts has been to have “chaplains to the Appalachian Trail.” Now it’s become a reality. The trail runs right through the diocese, and Episcopalians at Christ Trinity in Sheffield, Massachusetts, took up the challenge to be out in God’s creation as chaplains. They’ve teamed up with the town’s United Church of Christ congregation. Every Wednesday and Saturday volunteers offer hikers food, water, iPhone battery charges, and a place to sit and rest. “Like the Camino in Spain, people come from around the world to walk from Georgia to Maine or parts of it,” Bishop Fisher said. “You know people who do that are searching for something. And all of us in churches are asking ‘where are the young people?’ They are on the Appalachian Trail — many walk it after graduating from high school or college. “The new effort to provide chaplains is a wonderful expression of the collaboration that we all encouraged at our 2017 Diocesan Convention” he added. “I was there one Saturday and just asked the simple question of the hikers, ‘Why are you doing this?’ and the stories flowed.”
Evangelizing on the lawn
Sunday morning in the garden Coventry church moves outside in the summer An old Gospel hymn begins with “Come, let us worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Members of St. Francis, Coventry, would tell you that’s what they do in the summer when they worship outdoors. They’ve been doing it for more than 10 years, in what Carol Drought calls “a beautiful worship space.” The space features a large cedar cross, a small meditation area with a statue of St. Francis and a hand-crafted altar. Each week, altar guild members place linens embroidered by a congregation member on the table; the organist sets up a keyboard for music; and worshipers set up chairs and then fold and put them away. The outdoor schedule usually begins on Father’s Day and runs through Labor Day weekend. “I think we started worshiping outside because it was so peaceful and beautiful here in the wilds of Coventry,”
Drought said. “It’s also really, really hot in the church! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the services.” Last summer a vacationing couple from a nearby campground joined in. Drought said the visitors loved it so much they sent a box of hand-knitted items from their home in California for the church to sell at its annual bazaar. St. Francis advertises the worship on a sign placed on Route 117 near the church, but it’s also promoted to the congregation. One Sunday’s worship bulletin last summer included this: “Say a special prayer . . . as you look around this morning, notice how peaceful our garden is. Bring your awareness to the breeze as it blows the linens on the altar. Listen for the sound of the wind chimes and the birds. Take in the beauty of the flowers. What do you suppose St. Francis is thinking as he looks over the garden?” What do you suppose?
A Pennsylvania church took evangelism to a new place last December, with a living nativity scene on its front lawn. St. Andrew’s in the Valley, Harrisburg, staged the scene December 19 from 5 to 7 p.m., and an estimated 300 people drove past — including some who stopped for a photo op with St. Nicholas. If they learned something about Jesus and the nativity and realized that “the heart of the season is open to them,” then it was a success, Central Pennsylvania Bishop Audrey Scanlan told Episcopal News Service. The effort was part of an ongoing invitation from Bishop Scanlan to local Episcopalians to live out the Gospel in new and creative ways and encourage them to collaborate across parish lines. “This is a project that has taken people from the cathedral. It’s involved farmers from across the diocese,” she said. “It’s involved people from four or five different parishes who have agreed to come together to be shepherds and angels.” Read more about how the church volunteers put together this evangelism initiative in an Episcopal News Service article (bit.ly/LivingNativityScene).
Where did you see God today?
Epiphany ‘holy hikers’ explore nature and worship Holy moments happen outside on Saturday afternoons as well as inside on Sunday mornings for parishioners at Epiphany, Rumford. The outdoor moments are part of “Holy Hiking,” a summer and fall monthly time of fellowship and worship in forests and parks, on beaches and in nature preserves. It includes about an hour of hiking, incorporating an informal celebration of Eucharist. “We offer a time for worship and prayer together, while doing something we love outside with our kids, families and even our dogs,” said the Rev. Jennifer Zogg, rector. “Nature is where we often find joy and God, and we wanted to embrace and honor that.” The program, started in 2016, averages about 18 to 20 people per hike. Hikers have explored places like Colt Creation Care
State Park in Bristol, Fort Barton Woods in Tiverton, the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown and trails around a reservoir near the church. The hikes have attracted long-time Epiphany members and new members, families and single people. Some bring their pets. One constant is that people want to talk to each other — tell a story, ask a question. “The beauty of doing this outside is that we can try different formats,” Zogg noted. “We started with a silent meditation walk, but we learned quickly that this was a space we were holding for folks to have those conversations. They were holy moments.” During one hike, Zogg divided the liturgy into eight parts, read by the hikers, similar to a Stations of the Cross liturgy. “Then, when we got to
the beach, we spread a blanket, said the Eucharistic prayer, and passed around bread and wine,” she said. When Eucharist finishes, Zogg asks “Where did you see God today?” Answers have ranged from listening for birds to climbing on rocks, or just watching kids play and rejoice. One week, the hikers decorated two rocks with one-word prayers, such as “peace” or “hope,” took one home and brought the other to church the next day. “I asked them to put the rocks on our altar rail and told the congregation the rocks were from the Holy Hike, offering prayers,” Zogg explained. “I invited people to take one home that spoke to them. By the end of the service, the rocks were all gone. It connected what we had done in God’s creation to what we do in the building.” RISEN Magazine
Save money, help others
Thrift shop ministries offer variety of products
The thrift shop at Christ Church, Lincoln, offers a wide range of products.
From the start of the environmental movement in the early 1970s, “reduce, reuse, recycle” has been a successful slogan in guiding peoples’ actions. It’s still relevant today, and one way our churches practice it is through thrift shop ministries. These popular spots provide opportunities to reuse clothing, housewares, etc. Here’s a look at some of the thrift shops in our diocese.
Christ Church, Lincoln About 45 years ago, Christ Church opened a one-room thrift shop selling clothing in the basement of its parish house. Since then, it’s expanded to several rooms. Its products include men’s, women’s, and children’s clothes; a book room that accepts new and gently used books, CDs and records; an old bookshelf used for glass, china, and other articles. And the shop sells pots, pans and other kitchen necessities; and linens such as sheets, blankets, comforters and window curtains. Finally, the church posts used furniture
on the Rhode Island craigslist ® (providence.craigslist.org). “We have come a long way over the years with our dedicated volunteers of 10 women and two men!” said Marilyn Massey, thrift shop co-chair.
Transfiguration, Cranston In the Acts of the Apostles, Lydia, a faithful disciple, was a purveyor of “fine items.” Today, many fine items end up in a landfill because they were the wrong size, overstocked or grown tired of. Following in Lydia’s footsteps, Transfiguration opened Lydia’s Luxury Items for Less, which provides the church’s neighborhood with an eclectic assortment of new and gently used items. The selection includes women’s, men’s and children’s clothing. Shoppers can find new Calvin Klein jackets for $10 or a complete service of 12 Noritake china for $20. Monthly specials might include a brand-new pack-and-play and high chair for $15. A refurbished dressing room enables
guests to try on items before they buy. “Staffed by warm and friendly staff, our boutique is open the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon and always offers a refreshing treat for our visitors,” noted the Rev. Michele Matott, priest-in-charge.
Do it yourself These are just two of a dozen Rhode Island churches with thrift shop ministries. Some sell higher-priced goods to raise money; others sell inexpensive items and serve people who otherwise can’t afford to buy new ones. Several recognize that fellowship is an important part of their ministry. Learn more about RI shops on the diocesan website (www.episcopalri.org/ thrift-store-ministry/). Also, Bishop Knisely usually brings a brochure with him on visitations that people can take home. Look for it on the diocesan display table at coffee hour.
Caring for creation and each other Environmental expert urges us to embrace change How is caring for creation related to religion? I think it is simply about the fact that “all things come of thee of Lord.” All that’s material comes from nature, or as a religious person believes, creation. Taking this further to the core message of the New Testament that we must love God and each other, our experience on earth has clearly demonstrated if creation is degraded, it causes great pain to people and communities. If we are living our lives guided by the tenets of our religion, then caring for creation must be part of that experience.
How do you try to live into creation care? I was raised in St. James Episcopal Church located on Skaneateles Lake in New York. At a deep level, I don’t see the church as separate from the lake. I see the well-being of people being connected to us being able to experience and care for nature. It’s why I loved working for Save the Bay earlier in my career. We built a team with a thousand volunteers committed to public action and connection to the bay, and now nearly 25,000 kids are connected to Narragansett Bay each year. The opportunity to work as a leader at the Environmental Protection Agency was an expression of the same commitment.
What are the most important things we should know about the state of God’s creation? We need to recognize 1950 as a turning point. That’s when the acceleration of the number of people, the amount of energy used and the generation of carbon emissions shifted to unsustainable levels of growth. We are disrupting at a planetary scale the Creation Care
ecosystems that sustain all life. Now we need to move quickly to figure out how to adapt and stabilize our environment. When the Bible was written, caring for the earth seemed obvious. Everyone directly lived off what the land and water produced. But the commitment to stewardship of creation was undermined by social and cultural change in the Industrial Revolution and what followed. The local food movement and other efforts are trying to fix that legacy. We must hope that a commitment to change will spread across the globe, because in a flash of human time we have put the opportunity for a healthy and fulfilling future for our children and grandchildren in serious doubt.
What can we do in our churches? Does it matter if we reduce energy use, recycle paper, etc.? It does matter, especially if there’s also a conversation about why it is important and how vulnerable each place is to effects of climate change. To thrive, we must commit to making positive change that will help our communities adapt and reduce carbon emissions, so the planet can stabilize. Years ago, Narragansett Bay was grossly polluted, and some people wanted to make it worse by building refineries. Others said, “No, we see a different future that brings us a cleaner and healthier bay that enriches everyone’s lives, not just the few that would profit from exploiting it.” We are in the same place today but on a much larger scale. We have to act in the interest of the generations that follow at every level of our social existence. Thanks to our religious beliefs, we have faith that when we do act, we know we will be rewarded, today, tomorrow and forever.
Curt Spalding, professor of the Practice of Environment and Society at Brown University, served as guest preacher at the 2018 Diocesan Convention Eucharist. RISEN asked Spalding, a member of Trinity, Cranston, about why creation care should matter to us.
“If we are living
our lives guided by the tenets of our religion,
then caring for creation must
be part of that experience.”
Emmanuel transforms campus energy use At Emmanuel, Newport, caring for creation is more than a good idea — it’s part of the church’s daily approach. All over the campus, specific steps have been taken to reduce, reuse or recycle, and to increase comfort — for example, converting hot water heaters in the church office (plus apartment) and parish kitchen from traditional water heaters to heat pumps.
A dozen ways to
This picture highlights a “top 12” list of other changes at Emmanuel. How many of these ideas would work for your church?
1 2 3
Requested a free energy audit from National Grid, producing better information about potential ways to reduce energy use. Changed all lightbulbs to free LEDs from National Grid, reducing lighting costs by 90 percent. Opened up clerestory windows that had been sealed shut, allowing cross-ventilation to cool the church on hot days (the way the church was designed to function).
Added weather stripping around doors and windows, saving energy and increasing comfort.
o care for creation 1 7
Banned all single-use water bottles and eliminated disposable plates and cups, using china and glass at all church events, including coffee hour and the soup kitchen, reducing trash.
Added Mylar energy panels to windows, saving energy.
10 6 4 3
6 7 8 9
Installed programmable thermostats, saving energy — especially in unused or little-used parts of the campus.
Added insulation in multiple locations, including the church’s school, saving money and increasing comfort. Started growing hydroponic food in the basement, thanks in part to an Episcopal Church grant, providing a use for a formerly unused space and food for local food pantries and church events.
Installed a fireplace insert in the library/gathering room, increasing comfort, and reducing heat lost up the chimney and adding what the Rev. Anita Louise Schell, rector, calls “a coziness factor that builds community.”
Carefully pruned a large tree outside the south entrance, creating shade for outdoor worship on some hot summer days. Converted the heat source for an apartment to biofuel, using clean-burning fuel from Newport Biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil.
Tending the earth and soil
Church gardens soothe some, feed others A core value of the Episcopal Church is working to heal, defend and work toward justice for all God’s creation. Several of our churches care for gardens as a way to share God’s abundance and support their communities.
St. John’s, Barrington In a large field behind St. John’s, 25 raised beds are home to a garden serving about a dozen community members and church members. Started by a former rector, the beds now are cared for by individuals — many who continue the tradition by donating vegetables to Tapin (tapinri.org), a volunteer group helping local residents. “This garden lets us literally get our hands dirty and watch creation unfold,”
said the Rev. Patrick Greene, rector. “We all know our vegetables come from the earth, but how many of us see it? This garden fosters a connection to the earth and to creation. And we care for our neighbors who are hungry and don’t have access to fresh produce.”
Emmanuel, Cumberland The Emmanuel garden was started in 2013 on an overgrown lot behind the church. It’s designed as five areas that align with a piece of the Collect for Purity: • The opening section of the garden is filled with bright flowers. • Next is a labyrinth used for meditation and calming walks. • A section with a fountain and pond
is a habitat for amphibians and a water source for fox and deer. • A formal memorial garden with stone benches and stained-glass panels gives a sense of the church outdoors. • A meadow, left in its wild state. “We wanted to honor this once wild space and make it enjoyable for humans,” said the Rev. Joan Testin, rector. “Sometimes we forget how healing and romantic nature can be. One day, I saw a young couple setting up a picnic. They had seen the garden when they donated clothes at the church. They had little money to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, so they honored their relationship and Creation Care
Church gardens like this one at Emmanuel, Cumberland, and the one on page 18 at St. Mary’s, Portsmouth, offer functionality and beauty.
marriage here, someplace beautiful they didn’t have to pay for.”
Good Shepherd, Pawtucket The 21 raised beds at Good Shepherd were the dream of master gardener Ken Lagerquist. In this neighborhood of double- and triple-decker homes, there is little outside space available. People grow vegetables for themselves or to give to the local food pantry. Some grow flowers. The church offers educational sessions to help gardeners learn more about cultivating their plants. The garden is supported with seeds and plants from the University of Rhode Island master gardener program (bit.ly/ URIMasterGardener). “This is a little piece of greenery in a neighborhood where there isn’t much that’s green,” said Caryl Frink, garden organizer. “We have a bench to sit in a quiet place in the garden. This space means a lot to the community.” Creation Care
St. Mary’s, Portsmouth The St. Mary’s community garden was started in 2012 by master gardener Bob Gessler, to share vegetables with local food pantries. In 2016, the church opened up the garden to community plots — for congregation members and community members. Many grow vegetables for themselves, donating some to help feed neighbors in need. A flower garden, led by Debbie Timby, is used for pastoral care, church events and to support the community. With scissors on the fence and vases in the shed, anyone is welcome to pick flowers for those in need. “The garden has always been used as a God-given resource to support the community,” said garden coordinator Elise LaParle Garcia. “It’s a way to bring people together and to help those in need. It’s nice to be part of this community outreach and support.”
Chapel of St. John the Divine, Saunderstown The two-year old garden at St. John’s is mostly a place to grow herbs and a few tomatoes. Local residents are welcome to visit and take what they need. As an extension of the work, the church hosted a presentation by local forager Brett Mayotte. He walked people through the garden and down the street, to identify edible plants and the abundance of God’s creation. Guests then dined on the foraged food, mixed with vegetables from his garden. “We don’t grow food to feed a family, but a sprig of rosemary on your chicken is a sign that there is abundance,” said the Rev. Noel Bailey, assisting priest. “The garden is little, and it’s a beacon of hope for those connected with the chapel — generosity for everyone, even if they don’t attend this church. It’s a wonderful idea of God’s grace.” RISEN Magazine
A sacred journey in Rhode Island Celtic spirituality weekend focuses on creation care One of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world spent a weekend in the diocese last summer. John Philip Newell, author, teacher and former warden of Iona Abbey in Scotland, presented “Heartbeat: A Sacred Journey Towards Earth’s Wellbeing” at St. Thomas’, Greenville, and Emmanuel, Newport. The diocese’s Congregational Development Commission sponsored the weekend. The Rev. Susan Carpen ter, rector of St. Thomas’, and I had been on pilgrimages to Iona with Newell. We proposed a weekend to underscore how this Celtic program aligned itself with one of our church’s primary priorities and core values — reconciliation with creation. As Newell writes, “One of the most cherished images in the Celtic world is the memory of John the Beloved leaning against Jesus at the Last Supper. It was said of him that he therefore heard the heartbeat of God. He became a symbol of the practice of listening — listening for the beat of the sacred deep within us, within one another and within the body of the earth. This is the Christianity that emerged in the Celtic world in the earliest centuries. And it is a stream of Christian wisdom that is flowing again. It moves us to be aware of the Sacred at the heart of every moment and it calls us back into true relationship with the earth, with one another and with what is deepest in ourselves, all made of God. This is a vision that we need in our lives and world, urgently.”
Honoring the earth
Ellen Oaks, former director of music at Episcopal Divinity School, designed the liturgies with Susan and me — with input from Newell — and provided vocal solos as well as an accompaniment to service music throughout the weekend. Celtic texts, Genesis I and the prologue to John’s Gospel were part of the liturgies that closed each program. The worship underscored the Celtic vision of the Heartbeat Journey to honor the earth and restore relationships across divides We made time for book signing and individual conversations with Newell during the weekend’s events. Susan and I have used his texts in classes and programs in our congregations and continue to do so, adding a fresh creation dimension to the rich liturgy of congregational life — The Rev. Anita Schell
A love of nature highlights Celtic spirituality. Centered in Ireland and Scotland, monks and nuns carried God’s word into wild places as far back as the 5th century, with St. Patrick’s mission to Ireland. In the mid 6th century, St. Columba founded a monastery on the small island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, that would become an influential religious and cultural center. Today, Celtic communities take a range of forms. Leaders of the Northumbria Community in Northeast England noted in a beginner’s guide that they learned “the heart of Celtic spirituality was simply living the life, following the Way, travelling the journey in the everyday ordinariness of life — the pain and the pleasure, the heartaches and the hopes, the disappointment and the dreams. This is of great importance because this is essentially what spirituality is.” As Newell’s Heartbeat vision spells out, Celtic spirituality calls us to practice “healing in the world by honoring the earth and restoring relationship across divides.” Learn more about Celtic spirituality and current Celtic communities at iona.org.uk and www. northumbriacommunity.org. Creation Care
Welcoming Narragansett neighbors Sustainability project opens up green space In an effort to increase the sustainability of its campus, St. Peter’s by-the-Sea, Narragansett, undertook a two-year effort to redesign the front of its property to be a more welcoming and open space for the public. “All our actions were designed to purposely draw people into our church property,” noted the Rev. Craig Swan, rector. “It is our hope that the new openness of our front campus helps welcome people to our neighborhood, and continuously communicates the open, welcoming and warm nature of Episcopal churches, and the universal nature of Christ’s love.” Situated in the heart of a historic seaside residential neighborhood, St. Peter’s has a church building, parish hall, connecting office wing, large
flower garden and nursery school. The generosity of two families and the dedication of the church’s building and grounds and gardening teams made the project possible. It began with the construction of a small stone labyrinth nestled against the front of the parish hall and the addition of a meditation bench, funded by the Meyer Family. Through an annual gift from the Palmieri Trust, a new rose garden took shape, featuring many varieties of roses and complementary shrubs. Removing overgrown sea grasses opened up the front lawn more fully to people walking by. Members built and installed a Little Free Library, now filled with free, inspirational and thought-provoking fiction for adults
and children. And a reading wall beside the library encourages people to sit, rest, read and enjoy the shade of two trees. “By redesigning and repurposing our open space, we increased the sustainability of our environment, gently and thoughtfully adapting it to have better ecological balance — and adding natural elements that encourage others to enter our campus,” said Susan Hines, head of the gardening group and University of Rhode Island master gardener. Hines and her group worked closely with Gerry Reynolds, head of the building and grounds team, ensuring that all changes met local codes and were in line with the historic nature of the church and campus. — Kim A. Hanson
Taking creation care personally Early RI efforts are paying off now Creation care is a big topic today — one of the Episcopal Church’s three core values. But for that to happen, someone had to start caring about it. In our diocese, a group of environmental stewardship pioneers got involved about a decade ago. “We started a ‘green team’ at St. Augustine’s, Kingston,” recalled Kathie Gibson. “Our team began with an enthusiastic group — Zeke, Amy, Dick, ‘the Nancys’ and Marge, along with a committed congregation. We did an energy audit to help identify ways to reduce our energy consumption. We installed programmable thermostats, switched out light bulbs, replaced windows, recycled whatever we could, decided to use regular dishes and utensils, held environmental programs in conjunction with other faith groups and joined organizations where we could learn more.”
The Rhode Island branch of Interfaith Power & Light (RIIPL) (www.ri-ipl.org), was established in 2008 to promote sustainable practices and the care of creation. Steve MacAusland, now at Emmanuel, Newport, was a founder of the national group; his wife, the Rev. Anita Schell, rector of Emmanuel, recently retired as president of the Rhode Island board. “Being part of a larger group is a more effective way to promote and present programs than to take singular action,” Gibson noted. “We learned that humans have caused climate change, often inadvertently. We learned that it is often the poorest among us who suffer first and most. And we have set out to try to meet the challenges of creation care. Many levels of awareness and action were (and are still) required.” A diocesan Environmental Task Force, later renamed GreenWays,
developed a network of volunteers from churches around our diocese. This effort was based on groundwork laid by Deacon Mary Hitt, an environmental leader from the 1990s. “Mary was a real environmental stewardship pioneer in our church,” Gibson said. “She wrote a regular column in the diocesan newspaper, headed Earth Day RI for 12 years, and established our diocese as a member of the Environmental Council of Rhode Island, a consortium of environmental groups that includes Save the Bay and the local Audubon Society, among others.” Many GreenWays efforts have lived on and flourished in our churches, and now that group can be considered the forerunner of a Creation Care Task Force called for by the 2018 Diocesan Convention and being designed by Diocesan Council. At St. Augustine’s, volunteers still fill their cars twice a year and haul Styrofoam to the central landfill in Johnston. But meeting the challenge of creation care requires awareness and action beyond our daily practices. It also takes advocating for policy changes in local and national forums. “One of the tenets of our faith is that we were charged with tending this ‘garden,’ this precious, intricate creation,” Gibson stressed. “It is not enough to talk about the needs when we have a planet to save. I have grandchildren. Action is necessary. “We have to move peoples’ hearts to make a difference,” she added. “I know I can’t personally change everything. But if I show up, work with others, and make informed efforts, I can reduce my impact on the environment.”
Volunteers at St. Augustine’s, Kingston, take Styrofoam to the Johnston landfill.
Creation care pioneers
Thanking the volunteers who led the way in our diocese A wide range of pioneers helped churches in our diocese get started in caring for creation. In addition to those mentioned on page 22, the core of the diocesan work group included Cindy Rollins, Diana Sylvia, Lynn Harris, Dick Hathaway, Marty Ames, Ron Bennett and Zeke Olsen. The Rev. Anita Schell and the Rev. Jennifer Pedrick also became key supporters. Olsen, Amy Tully and Diana Sylvia were others who helped launch RIIPL. Later, Schell and Deacon Christine Cassels joined the board.
How we can care for creation Tips and resources
Efforts to care for God’s creation begin small and get larger. Here are ways you and your church can reduce your impact (and your church’s impact) on the environment: • Reduce consumption, reuse clothing and other materials, recycle whenever you can. • Compost as much food waste as possible. • Look for ways to drive fewer miles and use less gasoline. • Host a sustainable potluck dinner at church, with as much locally sourced food as possible. • Create a formation program to teach church members about creation care and why it matters. • Show/watch movies with an environmental focus. • When you travel, look to purchase “carbon offsets,” programs that help replenish carbon. You or your church also can be involved in Rhode Island-based organizations that are actively working to protect our environment. Here are a few: Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light n www.ri-ipl.org Green Energy Consumers Alliance n www.greenenergyconsumers.org Save the Bay n www.savebay.org Environmental Council of Rhode Island n www.environmentcouncilri.org
Saving our island home An initiative that launches on Earth Day (April 22) will give all Episcopalians a call to action in support of creation care. It’s called “Sustaining Earth, Our Island Home.” Five dioceses began piloting the program in early March. The Diocese of California created a web-based application that helps individuals, households, congregations and even dioceses to measure their carbon
footprint and take steps to shrink it to fit a sustainable life. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is even exploring how to use it as part of his spiritual practice The effort includes ways to make specific commitments in five areas, from easy to hard. The web-based app offers not only tech and data, but also links to creation-themed formation resources and space for online discussions. Learn more at www.sustainislandhome.org.
Building the beloved community CFR programs continue to grow in popularity In just a few years, the Center for Reconciliation (CFR) has grown from an innovative idea into an entity whose programming is reaching hundreds of people in Rhode Island and nearby states. “We are spreading God’s love and joy to build the beloved community,” said Elon Cook Lee, program director and museum curator. The CFR does that by developing programs in a range of areas (cfrri.org/ our-work/programs/) that include: • Art. One of the most popular programs is the monthly “Art of Race” series hosted by the RISD Museum (risdmuseum.org). Cook Lee works with curators from the museum to find works of art that have rarely or never been on view at the museum and use them to generate stimulating conversations.
Day (November 2), costumed performers — a slave ship captain, an enslaved mother seeking freedom, an indentured African boy forced to work on a slave ship, a Quaker slave owner turned abolitionist and an Episcopal clergyman — told their stories. The evening concluded with a candlelit chorus of voices in the Cathedral of St. John and a walk among the graves of the adjacent colonial cemetery.
“We want to do more theater and music in 2019,” Cook Lee said. “It was one of our organization’s early priorities, but we had to find the right talent to guide our work in that area. Now we have that in place.” As programs grow, the CFR continues to collaborate with other area institutions and organizations. A 2018 speaker series on the 2nd, 14th and 15th Amendments of the United States Constitution involved historians from universities in Rhode Island and
• Education. Due to a high demand for history walking tours, the CFR has hired five tour guides, provided them with training and offered weekly walking tours of College Hill’s history of slavery and slave trading. The tours include oppor tunities to visit up to four historic sites, receive guided tours inside two of them and talk about local history. The CFR has also developed a traveling exhibit, thanks to a grant from Province I of the Episcopal Church (www.province1.org). The traveling exhibit will become available for local churches this year. • Theater. A fairly new area of focus led to the CFR’s biggest 2018 success: a “once-in-a-lifetime walk among the dead.” On All Souls
Elon Cook Lee, CFR program director, leads Brown University staff around the campus as part of the “College Hill and the International Slave Trade” walking tour.
Massachusetts and even attracted the Rhode Island Secretary of State, who talked about voting rights. Finally, exhibitions and events continue in the CFR’s permanent space on the lower level of the Cathedral. That work, Cook Lee said, involves partnerships with schools, universities and the Center for Slavery and Justice (www.brown.edu/initiatives/ slavery-and-justice/). “We’re doing God’s work out in the world,” Cook Lee added, “taking the ideas of the Episcopal Church outside the churches.” The CFR is funded by donations, income from its programs and grants. No apportionment funds from Rhode Island churches are used.
Participants discuss 19th-century scenic textiles depicting the enslavement of African people during a session of “The Art of Race,” an ongoing series of monthly dialogues hosted by the CFR in partnership with the RISD Museum.
Bringing the light “Reconciliation with a world that has dismissively set you aside, locked you up, removing the danger you represent and forgetting about you is difficult. It is not impossible, but its darkness requires openness to the light.” The Rev. Stephanie Shoemaker wrote that in a letter published in RISEN in 2017. She had started volunteering in the Amazing Grace community at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) in Cranston. Today, she leads some of the volunteer presence of the Episcopal Church there. “To me, visiting those in prison is the kind of discipleship we’re called to do as Christians,” she said. “Not just priests — all of us. There’s such joy in this that I love it . . . the relationships, the sharing of our humanity, treating people with dignity.” Shoemaker leads a team that offers worship on Tuesday evenings at the Reconciliation
n Volunteers lead prison ministry
men’s minimum-security facility. She also teaches a “Houses of Healing” class — a faith-based program intended to help inmates better understand who they are and how they got where they are. Brook Richards (spouse of the Rev. Anne Marie Richards, rector of Trinity, Newport) and Deacon Rob Izzi (from St. Augustine’s, Kingston) also volunteer on Tuesdays. Once inmates complete “Houses of Healing,” they can move on to a course about establishing boundaries and creating healthier relationships. “They all want to have better relationships with someone — kids, spouse, girlfriend, etc.,” Shoemaker explained. “Many are in prison because of addiction. How do you restore boundaries? How do you forgive, especially yourself.” Another team, led by the Rev. Julianne Hanavan, priest-in-charge of
All Saints’ Memorial, Providence, leads Bible study and prayer for inmates at the women’s facility. She’s joined by the Rev. Jackie Kirby, chaplain at St. George’s School, and lay volunteers Sarah Young, a teacher at St. George’s, and Andrea Hutnak from St. David’s on-the Hill, Cranston. Shoemaker said she got to know nearly 40 inmates last year. “The numbers go up and down as the prison population fluctuates,” she said. “We try to be responsive to the people who come in a given week and to the needs of the moment.” In October 2018, Amazing Grace became a specialized mission of the diocese. Its volunteers would welcome additions to their team. To learn more about the community, its needs and required training, contact Shoemaker at firstname.lastname@example.org
Using your gifts: What’s your growth engine? Churches in our diocese are identifying and employing specific congregational gifts as tools for evangelism. RISEN is revisiting two examples.
New energy blossoming At Grace Church in Providence, a re-energized music program continues to be a major tool in bringing people through the doors. “Every church needs to be intentional about how it will create a community drawing guests to consider joining in the life of that church,” said the Rev. Canon Jonathan Huyck, rector. “The days of simply opening the doors and watching people flock in are over. And, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to evangelism. Identifying your strengths — and weaknesses — is crucial to church growth. Music is simply one of the ways (perhaps the biggest way) we use.” In late 2015, Vince Edwards arrived as director of music and started or restarted events and activities that are attracting musicians and music lovers from around the region: • Choirs. The adult choir has more than 40 members, and a new program has attracted 16 young choristers. Seven more (ages 4–7) sing in a training choir. • Special music events. A Thursday noon concert series, one of the first activities created, continues to attract about 20 fans a week. • Additional worship opportunities. Formerly occasional Compline and Evensong services on Sunday evenings now occur monthly. An Advent Lessons and Carols service
Christmas singing (top) by the choir of St. John the Evangelist, Newport. The Grace Church, Providence, choir sings at an Advent Lessons and Carols service (above).
has become an annual highlight, and now it’s been joined by a similar Epiphany service. Edwards also launched a chamber choir in residence — Collegium Ancora — to broaden musical offerings for audiences in Rhode Island and southeastern New England. Somewhat unexpectedly, it’s also strengthening the Grace choir. “Singers who weren’t looking for a church choir joined and
liked the community, so they joined our choir, too,” Edwards said.
Choir school leads turnaround An amazing turnaround continues at St. John the Evangelist, Newport. Average Sunday attendance has more than tripled since 2013, to 83. Church membership has more than doubled, and annual pledge income has climbed to more than $225,000. Evangelism
In many ways, that progress is due to the creation in 2014 of the Choir School of Newport County by the Rev. Nathan J.A. Humphrey, rector, who called Peter Stoltzfus Berton as its founding executive director. Berton had the gifts and skills to make the vision a reality, while also serving as the organist and choirmaster of St. John’s. The school is a year-round afterschool and summer program for boys and girls ages 7 and up; choristers are paid a small stipend for each rehearsal they attend and service they sing. Today the school has 16 choristers. Recent growth has been helped by a Rhode Island Foundation grant to offer
piano and voice lessons for area children whose family income qualifies them for free or reduced-price lunches. “We’ve recruited new choristers thanks to this program,” said Humphrey. “It’s a specific outreach to the wider Newport community, making music and the arts more accessible to people across all backgrounds.” Last summer, the choristers and some adult choir members spent two weeks touring, performing and singing services at Hereford Cathedral, Worcester Cathedral and other venues in England. One chorister said: “Ever since I was little, my dream was to go to England . . . the trip made me
appreciate the art of music more than I ever had before.” “My belief is that to grow, your congregation and clergy have to identify what could be your engine for growth,” Humphrey said. “For us, it’s music. For others, it might be a preschool or a thrift shop. But to build your Sunday morning congregation, you have to link your most vital ministries to Sunday worship — give people a reason to show up.” Humphrey said there are plans for doing new things on Sundays at St. John’s: “Our growth may be starting to plateau, so we need to do more than the same old things with our High Mass.”
Innovative campaigns promote evangelism Church of England
The Episcopal Church
The Church of England has launched a £27 million ($34 million) drive to start more than 100 new churches (bit.ly/100NewChurches). The goal is to “revive the Christian faith in coastal areas, market towns and outer urban housing estates.” The church is distributing funds to 10 dioceses for church planting and to support ambitious evangelism initiatives, including:
In the Episcopal Church, a 30-day evangelism challenge began last August. Participants received daily prompts encouraging them to reflect and take action, to adopt the spirit of experimentation encouraged by the Way of Love and its practices. The challenge, sponsored by Episcopal Evangelists (bit.ly/EpiscopalEvangelists) had three stages. First, participants were asked to think about God’s place in their own lives. Then they were asked to see God in their neighborhood and neighbors. Finally, a call to action encouraged participants to pray, serve, show kindness and, in the right moments, talk about their faith with others. “The challenge was a success,” says the Rev. Becky Zartman, one of the creators. “It was a pilot program, and now I think it would be very powerful for small groups within the context of a congregation. We are working to make the curriculum available to everyone.” Visit bit.ly/30DayEvangelismChallenge for resources about the spiritual practice of evangelism. — Manya Chylinski, with some content from Episcopal News Service and Anglican Communion News Service
• The Diocese of Canterbury is creating nine new worshiping communities based on a café-style church, to reach marginalized and deprived communities with weekly meetings involving food and a magazine-style service. • In the Diocese of Bristol, funds will enable a transformation of a railway works building into a new church for people under 40 who do not have any church connection. • In the Diocese of Manchester, funds will be used during the next six years to plant 16 small churches on estates and deprived communities in the poorest areas they serve.
The Way of Love
Ready to live the Way of Love? Event kicks off focus on new rule of life Nearly 150 interested lay and clergy crowded into St. George’s Chapel in the Parish House at St. Mary’s, Portsmouth, on a Saturday morning in February. They were there to learn more about the Way of Love and living into its practices. “Our cities and towns need us. They need the Gospel,” said Bishop Knisely at the event. “Our state needs to experience the transformation of Christ’s love. Our nation needs this. And more importantly, our Lord Jesus invites us to this work and commands us to do it.” Attendees also heard stories from seven laypeople and clergy about ways they try to live out one of the Way of Love practices. The stories ranged from turning to God after a near-death experience to finding a new way to pray with the book “Praying in Color” to using a day of baking to rest.
The diocesan Congregational Development Commission (CDC) sponsored the event to begin an explor ation of the initiative that’s spreading throughout the Episcopal Church. Knisely told attendees how the Way of Love had changed the 2018 General Convention of the Episcopal Church. “I watched as what we expected to be a conflict-filled convention, became instead one of the most important conventions I have attended,” he said. “Instead of creating winners and losers, we found compromises that kept people at the table. I expect anyone who was there will tell you it happened because of the power of both a corporate repentance of the way that the church and its bishops have failed victims of abuse over the years, and then the call from the Presiding Bishop to embrace a new paradigm, the Way of Love.”
The CDC will focus on one spiritual discipline every three months, beginning with resources on how to establish/live a Rule of Life, followed by the next quarter on Turn, etc. These resources, as well as videos of the event presentations, will be posted on the diocesan website (www.episcopalri.org). The CDC also will have funding avail able for congregations that want to create programs related to each Way of Love practice that would be open to the rest of the diocese.
The Way of Love
Making the Way of Love real Churches in our diocese are turning the Way of Love from a concept to a way of living. Here are examples — from a small church and a large church.
Teaching big ideas in small Alton church One of the smaller churches in our diocese — St. Thomas’, Alton — has been particularly creative in adapting the Way of Love to its congregational life. “We’ve been focusing on the Way of Love since it was announced at General Convention,” said the Rev. Bettine Besier, rector. “Many of the resources from the wider church are probably a better fit for large churches, so we came up with our own ideas.” The congregation’s church school class used the Way of Love as its theme from September through November, and kids created Way of Love crafts. Because it’s difficult to get members to attend special Advent programs or classes, Besier improvised by giving each person a Way of Love Advent Calendar. “My four sermons in Advent were taken directly from the Way of Love curriculum from the wider church,” she noted. “The church school class also focused on the calendar, and the kids made a Way of Love tree topper for a tree in our sanctuary.” Church members were asked to decorate the tree with ornaments that described what they did in response to the Way of Love Advent Calendar. “It’s been a worthwhile project,” Besier emphasized. “We’ll continue creating ways to learn about and live out the Way of Love in 2019.”
The Way of Love
A year of love at Trinity, Newport The Way of Love is big news at Trinity, Newport. The church is in the midst of a year-long adult formation program called “The Way of Love: Seeking Love, Freedom, Abundant Life — Seeking Jesus.” The Rev. Canon Anne Marie Richards, rector, said the program was prompted by the Way of Love wallet cards that started popping up last summer and fall around the diocese. Also, “We have been growing very quickly, and if we want to keep growing, we need to offer good formation for adults and kids. “The Way of Love is appealing to people who are not connected to a church,” she continued. “Love is universal and appealing, not dogmatic.” The program began last October, and a core group of about 10 adults have been consistent participants. They’re joined by others who come in and out as they’re available. Each month has focused on one of the seven practices. Richards and the Rev. Alan Neale, assisting priest, share teaching responsibilities and use scriptural references and exercises; each month also offers a list of resources to participants. “When I taught ‘turn’ last fall, for example, I let people talk about when they have turned to Jesus — and away from Jesus,” Richards explained. “I asked people to draw a road map identifying those times.” Most of the teaching has been traditional lecture and discussion, but along the way, Richards and Neale
The Rev. Canon Anne Marie Richards greets a participant in Trinity’s Way of Love class.
began broadening their approach, including referencing the Way of Love in sermons and other teaching. “That helps us all adopt the vocabulary,” she noted. They’re also looking for ways to incorporate more exercises like the road map and different modes of teaching, such as bringing in music or art. The idea of a year-long course might seem daunting, but Richards believes it actually makes it easier to manage all the content. “I’ve seen a few churches that tried a four-week course,” she said. “I think that would be rushing. And although we’re doing all seven practices, I think a church could successfully just pick pieces that resonate with their community. If your church’s energy is around the liturgy, for example, you could focus on how worship fits into the way of Jesus — the Way of Love.”
Key contributors retire from diocesan staff Bob Batchelor, Treasurer Many lay volunteers offer the gift of their time and talent to the church. But not many stick around for 25 years. Bob Batchelor did, serving as treasurer of the diocese for all those years until retiring in February. In that role, he made sure the financial records of the diocese were properly accounted for. He also brought some changes and improvements that helped our churches. Batchelor was a “preacher’s kid,” as he says, and it came second-nature to him to sing in the choir, be an acolyte, etc. Once he earned his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential, he wanted to use that expertise as a way to give back to the church. He’s actually spent nearly 50 years doing that, first as parish treasurer at St. Barnabas, Warwick, beginning in 1972. In 1993, he accepted Bishop George Hunt’s invitation to serve the diocese. “I felt privileged that someone in the hierarchy would invite someone doing that work in a parish,” he recalled. Batchelor emphasized the great support he’s had from others, including volunteers who served on Finance Committees, Program and Budget Committees, and Diocesan Councils, and staff colleagues. Among them were Joan DeCelles (current finance director), who’s spent more than 30 years on staff, and Ron Turnbull, former controller who retired after more than 40 years. An accomplishment he’s proud of is helping some of our churches formalize their recordkeeping. “I remember a convention in the early 1990s when I was able to report that for the first time, every church was reporting on the same basis,” he said. “We wanted to ensure an even playing field.” The diocese formally recognized Batchelor’s contributions at the 2018 Diocesan Convention, when Bishop
(Top) Bishop Knisely presents the 2018 Anchor of Hope Award to Bob Batchelor, who’s joined by his wife, Ruth. (Bottom) Canon Linda Grenz
Knisely presented him with the Anchor of Hope Award. In presenting that award, Knisely said: “Most diocesan treasurers attend Finance Committee meetings and review the books now and then. Bob comes in to work several days a week. And his work goes far beyond just reviewing the books — he also researches property and tax matters, and provides invaluable advice and assistance to our finance staff.”
The Rev. Canon Linda Grenz After serving since Bishop Knisely arrived in Rhode Island in late 2012, the Rev. Canon Linda Grenz, canon to the ordinary, is retiring in mid 2019. Grenz has been responsible for managing clergy transitions, serving as
chief of staff and acting as staff liaison to most diocesan committees. She worked with many clergy and congregations on needs such as stewardship and financial sustainability, Christian formation and conflict resolution. She also managed renovations of the Cathedral of St. John and served as director of the Center for Reconciliation. And she has helped the diocesan office update its programs, processes and procedures. “I am energized by solving problems, and this role gave me a multitude of problems,” she said. “This is the one position I’ve held in the church that I felt was the best fit for me and where I was most valued for my gifts. It has been my joy to serve as the canon in this diocese and with this bishop.” In announcing Grenz’s retirement plans, Bishop Knisely said: “Much of what has been accomplished around the diocese in the past seven years has been because of Canon Grenz’s work, her creativity and her passion for the Gospel. I have known for years that she had incredible gifts for ministry. Having now worked beside her for this extended time, I know what many of you know — that she’s easily one of the most capable priests I have ever known, and that we have all been blessed by her ministry here.” Prior to coming to Rhode Island, Linda served as chief executive officer of LeaderResources, a Christian formation publishing and consulting organization she founded after leaving a position as the Episcopal Church’s staff officer for adult education and leadership development. She is the author of numerous education programs and several books, including “The Marriage Journey,” co-authored with her husband Del Glover. Linda and Del plan to move back to Washington, D.C., to be with family and take time to travel. Around the Church
Special time at ECC
Celebrating 70 years of transforming young lives Summer camp holds a special place in many lives . . . that first taste of personal freedom, the challenge and enjoyment of the “great outdoors,” meeting new people and learning new skills. For many Episcopalians in New England, that happened in Pascoag, at the Episcopal Conference Center (ECC) — now celebrating its 70th year! What makes ECC different from other Episcopal camps? Its stunning location — 186 wooded acres bordering a 350-acre lake — and its philosophy of worship, fellowship and stewardship. “We have a saying written on our barn wall, and known widely in our camp community,” said the Rev. Meaghan Brower, ECC director: “Love is the energy of a steadfast will, bent on creating fellowship. “That love, that energy, is the true core, of what happens here, most especially in our summer camp programs,” Meaghan said. “Coming together in worship and working
Around the Church
together on projects becomes a transformative experience. That hands-on stewardship, coupled with our impactful programming, builds a camaraderie that goes beyond cherished memories. It builds empathy, understanding, focus and character.”
Then: Campers Worked Together to Build ECC ECC began in the 1950s thanks to an unexpected gift of the property, with the idea of keeping young people engaged, working and worshiping together. Through those early summer camps, the former Sayles Homestead was slowly transformed from a farm into a camp with a beach and a series of cabins, dormitories, barns and workspaces for campers and staff. Currently only 15 percent of the property is developed, with nine girls’ and seven boys’ cabins, housing 125 campers in all. The wing of the main house has 15 rooms and 27 beds with
shared bathrooms. Upcoming additions include a dispensary and a boys’ bathroom and showers.
Now: An Opportunity to Build the Future “Rise Together,” a 70th-anniversary gala on June 1, will celebrate the many milestones of ECC and help raise funds to maintain the ministry. The event includes a dinner dance, historical display and silent auction. To purchase tickets and/or become a sponsor, go to eccri.org/ risetogether. “There have been 25,568 sunrises at ECC since the diocese received the property, a most generous gift,” Meaghan said. “We are hopeful that those who wish to support ECC, and the programs we have established, will join us in celebrating ECC’s extraordinary, life-changing legacy and help ensure its future.” — Kim A. Hanson
The Diocese of Rhode Island 275 North Main Providence, RI 02903
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2019 Diocesan Calendar March 23 — Leadership Institute, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. John’s, Barrington Practical workshops and vital information for wardens, treasurers and property chairs.
May 19 — Episcopal Conference Center Open House, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Pascoag An opportunity to learn more about the camp, its facilities and its programs.
June 1 — Eastertide Confirmations, 10 a.m. at location to be determined
Diocesan-wide service for those being confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church.
June 1 — 70th Anniversary Gala, 6 to 11 p.m. at Episcopal Conference Center Celebrating the legacy of the conference center and camp after its first 70 years.
June 22 — Episcopal Conference Center Open House, 1 to 4 p.m. (see description above)
ECC staff will be available for tours and activities.
November 8 & 9 — Diocesan Convention, at St. Luke’s, East Greenwich
Annual business meeting of the diocese, preceded by a festival Eucharist open to all.
The 2019 issue of the annual magazine of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. This issue focuses on Creation Care, and also includes stori...
Published on Mar 27, 2019
The 2019 issue of the annual magazine of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. This issue focuses on Creation Care, and also includes stori...