The Way of Love 2020
Rhode Island’s Source for Episcopal News 2020 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 Publisher — The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, Bishop of Rhode Island
In this issue A Message from the Bishop 4 ‘Let us be the yeast’ 7 ‘YOU are the 70!’
The Way of Love 8 Introducing the Way of Love 8 Getting started on the Way
Editor — Dave Seifert Director of Communications — Kristin Knudson-Groh
10 Hearing God in spirit and space 11 Rooted in community
Copy Editors — Kristin Knudson-Groh, the Rev. Bettine Besier Design and Layout — Anne M. Stone Writers — Manya Chylinski, Kim A. Hanson, Kristin Knudson-Groh, 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: email@example.com. Photo Credits All photos are used by permission. Cover – Grace Church, Providence Page 2 (top), page 13 — RSCM Newport Page 2 (priests), page 16 — Jackie L. Turner Photography, Hinckley Hill Photography Page 2 (bishop), page 18 — Steven Atha/ Episcopal News Service Page 2 (grill), page 19 — The Rev. Maryalice Sullivan Page 2 (candles) — Deacon Mary Ann Mello Page 4, page 6 — Kenny Knisely Page 10 (top), page 20 — Nancy Paradee Page 11 — Orbis Books (cover), Page 12 — Murry Edwards Page 14 — The Rev. Robert P. Travis Page 15 — The Rev. Noël Bailey (left), EpiscopalShare/CC-by-NC-SA-2.0 (right) Page 17 — Episcopal Camp and Conference Center Page 18 — Steven Atha/Episcopal News Service Page 21 — Dianna Southiseng Page 23 — The Rev. Michael Horvath Page 25 — Episcopal News Service Page 26 — The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely Page 27 — Christopher Sillema/TECstock Page 30 — Shane Photography Blue Icons — Venimo (123RF Stock Photo)
Learn 12 Forming Christians several ways 13 Summer music in Newport
Pray 14 Putting God at your center 15 Praying in motion
Worship 16 17 18 19
Westerly honors first responders Turn and worship ‘Called . . . to build beloved community’ Sundays in the park
Bless 20 A time for blessings 21 Tithing for a wedding
Go 22 23 24 25
‘Being the church . . . at a party’ Love through laundry Giving their gifts and talents Gun sense is common sense
Rest 26 Resting by walking 27 Stop, look and listen
Ministry Updates 28 Church Beyond the Walls, RIC ministry 29 Episcopal Charities, Hispanic ministry 30 Episcopal Conference Center, Hallworth House 31 Center for Reconciliation, Lambeth Conference
The Episcopal Church: We’re all about love On July 5, 2018, in Austin, Texas, I experienced a meaningful moment in my spiritual journey — but I didn’t know it at the time. Outside the room for the 2018 General Convention Opening Eucharist, folks wearing brightly colored T-shirts with catchy slogans like, “Can you imagine a world where love is the way?” They were handing out little cards, so I took one, put it in my pocket and went in for worship. After great music and the usual Episcopal pageantry, prayers and readings, we came to the sermon. I knew it would be special, because the preacher was Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
After an animated start, he began talking about something he called “The Way of Love.” A simple rule of life, to help us “grow more deeply with Jesus Christ at the center of our lives.” I realized that must be what the little cards were all about. And what an impact this simple idea has had. Bishop Knisely often says it changed the tenor of the convention overnight. Listening and compromising suddenly became possible. Anticipated antagonisms went away. Most, if not all, of the 1000+ people at the convention went home changed. I’ve never seen an idea capture the attention of Episcopalians like the Way
of Love has. More than sermons and classes, the Way of Love has prompted action — everyday Episcopalians living out love on an everyday basis. It’s given me a useful tool to check my own commitment and spiritual practices, and make needed adjustments. In many places in our church, complexity has given way to clarity: In the Episcopal Church, we’re all about love. Learn more in this 2020 issue of RISEN about how that’s taking root in our diocese — and the wider church. — Dave Seifert, editor
Five things to know . . .
. . . about our 230th Diocesan Convention
1 2 3
Autumn in East Greenwich The 2020 Diocesan Convention will be held November 6 and 7 at St. Luke’s in East Greenwich. The Convention Eucharist is at 7 p.m. on November 6; the business session begins at 9 a.m. on November 7. Everyone is 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. Hear the Bishop on Saturday Bishop Knisely will address the convention during the Saturday business
session. Other presentations will focus on highlights of the 2021 proposed budget and key diocesan initiatives and programs. It’s a big crowd! About 300 elected lay delegates, clergy and bishops assemble to conduct the business of the Episcopal Church in Rhode Island. And we traditionally invite a guest to preach at the Eucharist — watch for more news later in the year. Find documents online The agenda and other useful documents will be available in advance at www. episcopalri.org/about/diocesanconvention
‘Let us be the yeast’
Use what God has given us to transform the world The following is an adaptation of Bishop Knisely’s address to the 2019 Diocesan Convention. There’s an old bit of wisdom that was passed on to me when I was a newly ordained priest. Sometimes, because of our weekly familiarity with the sacraments of the altar and our regular reception of the body and blood of Jesus, we forget how astoundingly powerful the things are that we handle
with our hands and take into our mouths. Because it becomes a regular experience to eat of the bread of angels and drink of the cup of sacrifice, we aren’t as deeply affected as we have been and as we should be. A former bishop told me the most important thing in the life of the church or her congregations was to “keep the main thing, the main thing.” By that, he meant we were to keep Jesus as the center of everything we did and every
decision we made. But I’d add that we also need to recover our awe at what we are in the presence of when we open our hands, our mouths and our hearts. Doing both those things will allow us, I hope, to recognize the power that is present in our midst and to powerfully respond. I say this because like you, I am worried about the world around us. Between the real present danger of a changing climate and sea level rise,
From the Bishop
A Message from the Bishop the rise of economic inequality we haven’t seen in centuries in the West, and an increasingly divided society, things seem as bad as I ever remember them being. Certainly, we have had bad spells in our past, but the combined effects of all these divisions, and the inability of the normal mechanisms to manage them, makes we wonder if it’s time for us to recall what we, as a church, are meant to do.
We have what we need The thing is, in the power of Jesus’s story — the Gospel as it has been present from the beginning of Creation until now — we have everything we need to remake the world and set things right again. We just have to remember that we have what we need. The holy things we handle regularly have the power to change the narrative of society if we remember their power and the directions about how to use them. It seems to me we have spent much of the last century trying to “fix the church” so that it would look like we think it should. We have tried to get back to some special time we think we remember — when society worked more justly and more equitably. Our solution is to create the program that will fill our pews, balance our budgets and restore our status in the community. We’ve been trying to do that for decades. But it’s not worked, because what we are trying to make happen again, didn’t happen then either. We’re remembering something that never really was. (I’ve spent time reading bishops’ addresses and convention reports from the late 1940s and ’50s. They have their own handwringing and spoken concerns that the church of that moment had lost its way, too. We’re not that different.)
So what should we do? Giving up in the midst of such a societal and climatological storm cannot be a serious option. Instead of trying to go back to a time when we don’t remember things being as bad as they seem to be now, I want to call on you to use what Jesus has put into our charge. I want you, the people of the Way, fed with Jesus’s own body and blood, to go out into the world and live as the scattered seeds of the coming Kingdom of God. The church has had other moments in its history when things seemed pretty grim. The most recent was in the latter part of the 18th century, as the scientific determinism of Isaac Newton and others began to dismantle society’s willingness to believe, at face value, some of the extraordinary claims that the Bible and church make about the presence of God in our history and in our midst. But then came John Wesley and the Evangelicals, and so too came the Oxford Movement (www.britannica. com/event/Oxford-movement). Both were reform movements that completely re-invigorated the life of the Church of England, and of her daughter churches around the world.
Zinzendorf and the Moravians Right about the same time, though, there arose Nikolaus von Zinzendorf. Count Zinzendorf was a former Lutheran who became associated with what was considered an offshoot of Lutheranism: the Moravians. They were persecuted and were dying off. They were born in the First Reformation. (You and I are descendants of the Second Reformation, which preceded us by about a century or so.) We’re in full communion today with the Moravian Church in America in the same way
we are in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Zinzendorf had two great insights that apply to our own time. First, he did not panic. He had an idea that God was sifting the church like you sift flour — purifying the church and pulling out the very best and getting rid of things that weren’t needed. I think sometimes when we look at ourselves losing members, losing power, losing a sense of access to parts of the state or the nation we think that if we just do the right thing, we’ll be able to have that power back again. That would be a mistake, and it would be a mistake to try to go back to it. Zinzendorf’s idea that we were being sifted down to the portion of the church that God was going to use sounds an awful a lot like the Gideons. Remember the story of the Gideons? The people of Israel are being attacked, and God gathers an army, and he says to all the men everyone come here, and he sends them down to drink. And they all drink, and some of them drink like normal people do by cupping with their hands, and everyone who put their face in the water and lapped it up like a dog, those are the ones God wanted in the army. It’s a ridiculous story. But God uses that small remnant to save the day. It may be in fact, Zinzendorf argued, that the church’s decline in his day is not about the failure of the church or the taking away of the spirit, but that God was using God’s creation as God will. And similarly then God is sifting us and purifying us and making us whole so that God can use us as a small remnant today Zinzendorf had a sense of personal piety we don’t often see anymore. He was comfortable with the emotional aspect of faith we don’t typically have article continues on next page
From the Bishop
in the Episcopal Church. But it wasn’t the hyper-individualistic impact of faith that somehow makes charismatic worship so complicated — where people have an emotional experience of God in worship and they think, “This is what God wants me to do,” while the person next to them has a different experience and the two can’t reconcile, and then you have two charismatic churches or four. In Zinzendorf’s understanding, and in Moravian understanding, those emotional experiences are always tested and understood by the community gathered together. It’s a kind of communal pietism that is incredibly powerful, and I think often supplies something you and I lack in our worship, that emotional weight that has allowed us to get that distance from what we’re actually doing and not draw close. Zinzendorf believed that what mattered was figuring out the essentials and asking that those be held in unity by all. And then giving as much freedom and latitude as possible in the things that weren’t essential. But there was another great insight that Zinzendorf had. Perhaps inspired by the talk of flour and sifting, he returned to St. Paul’s use of the image of the church as yeast in chapter 5 of Galatians: “a little yeast leavens the whole loaf.” Zinzendorf began to imagine the small bands of Moravians living in communities around the world as little lumps of yeast that were transforming the community in which they were planted. By the way, it was the Moravians who played a key role in John Wesley’s (the founder of Methodism and an Anglican priest) ultimate conversion. John Wesley was sitting with Moravians on a ship on one of his voyages and as they sang in the night his heart was strangely warmed. It was the Moravians in that moment who served as leaven in his life, just as Zinzendorf believed they could act in the bread of the world. It
Delegate Joan Testin, rector of Emmanuel, Cumberland, addresses the convention.
was their faith and prayer that changed things. We are sifted so that we are more effective as the yeast. A little yeast makes the whole thing rise. We are that which gives growth. We are that which transforms. So just remember where we are. We are the Anglicans. We are the people who mostly benefited and
controlled the enslavement industry. The Moravians were the ones who were willing to sell themselves into slavery. A brother and a sister Moravian in the choir sold themselves into slavery so they could preach the gospel to the slaves on the plantations, down in the Caribbean. To this day, the smallest coins in the Caribbean are called From the Bishop
Moravians, because the Moravians would give the slaves their money so that the slaves had a little bit of money that would belong to themselves. That’s why I’m so proud to be in communion with the Moravians. But the most important thing in all this is that the Moravians of that moment (and today) understood themselves not to be the answer and solution to all the problems the world was facing in that hour. They understood themselves as the yeast which, through the working of faith and sacrament, caused the whole loaf of the world to be transformed. That’s what I want us to consider ourselves to be in our present moment. Not the problem solvers, or the unique solution to everything going on in 2020. I call on us to use our faith and the tools Jesus gives us — bread, wine, proclamation and call — to go into the world and be present. Let God use us as God would. Let us be the yeast. And even though we may not understand what God is doing, or how God is doing it, or maybe even see anything happening, let us trust that God will use our offering of ourselves. — The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, bishop of Rhode Island
Read the bishop’s blog on entangledstates.org
facebook.com/ episcopalRI @episcopalRI @episcopalRI @wnknisely
From the Bishop
‘YOU are the 70!’ Convention preacher calls us to action “After this, the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them . . . ” — Luke 10:1 Do we think about how important this verse might be? Or the opportunity it presents for us to think about what God is calling us to do and to be? The Rev. Canon C.K. “Chuck” Robertson (above), guest preacher at the 2019 Diocesan Convention, suggested that we look closer and more often at this verse, especially as we think about how what Jesus was doing in his time can help us apply the Way of Love in our time. “Those of us who wear the collars are more like the Twelve Apostles, but all those in the pews are the seventy, and Jesus calls them just as much as the ordained to preach by word and action,” he explained. “Most of the seventy would never stand in a pulpit to preach love, but they could preach it through their words, their actions, their life — as Francis of Assisi once said. “It is a Way of Love that Jesus sent those 70 others to experience themselves and share with all they met. When they
returned to Jesus . . . they were practically giddy with excitement as they shared their stories of how people around them encountered God, through them, through the Way of Love!” Robertson suggested that we’ll find that “way” through a life of balance — one that is “grounded not in fear but in faith; in trust, in letting go. You are not God; you are God’s beloved. You are blessed, so that you might be a blessing to all those you meet, preaching through your life the Way of Love.” He shared stories of encounters he’s had along the way of living into what God has called him to do. One such encounter occurred when he was a young adult — meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu, future Nobel Prize winner. After a somewhat nervous conversation, Robertson turned to leave, and Tutu stopped him: “He (Tutu) said to me, ‘I will not forget you, Chuck Robertson’.” Hearing those words, and indeed having the archbishop’s complete attention for that time, Robertson said he felt like he was “the most important person in the world, and that is true for YOU, every time you look into the eyes of Jesus.” He closed by urging us to action: “Don’t just support the church as institution, but BE the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement,” he said. “BE Jesus’s Ambassadors. Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest . . . and turn your world upside down, with LOVE.”
THE WAY OF LOVE n PRACTICES FOR JESUS-CENTERED LIFE
Introducing the Way of Love An invitation from Bishop Curry I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:17-19 In the first century Jesus of Nazareth inspired a movement. A community of people whose lives were centered on Jesus Christ and committed to living the way of God’s unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, and redemptive love. Before they were called “church” or “Christian,” this Jesus Movement was simply called “the way.” Today I believe our vocation is to live as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. But how can we together
grow more deeply with Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, so we can bear witness to his way of love in and for the world? The deep roots of our Christian tradition may offer just such a path. For centuries, monastic communities have shaped their lives around rhythms and disciplines for following Jesus together. Such a pattern is known as a “Rule of Life.” The framework you now hold — The Way of Love: Practices for Jesus-Centered Life — outlines a Rule for the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. It is designed to be spare and spacious, so that individuals, ministry groups, congregations, and networks can flesh it out in unique ways and build a church-wide treasure trove of stories and resources. There is no
specific order you need to follow. If you already keep a Rule or spiritual disciplines, you might reflect and discover how that path intersects with this one. By entering into reflection, discernment and commitment around the practices of Turn – Learn – Pray – Worship – Bless – Go – Rest, I pray we will grow as communities following the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus. His way has the power to change each of our lives and to change this world. Your brother in the Way of Jesus, +Michael The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, primate and presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church
Getting started on the Way Watch a video that introduces the Way and each practice (episcopalchurch.org/way-of-love). This piece, featuring images and video from across our common life in the Episcopal Church, gives a brief overview of each of the seven practices of the Way of Love. Use the “Introducing the Way of Love” document to reflect on practices and imagine how God is leading you to engage (episcopalchurch.org/library/ document/introducing-way-love). This document explores how each of the seven practices — and a rule of life, itself — has a basis in Scripture and our Episcopal tradition. The question is: how can you engage those practices
using your gifts, talents, and calling? Use the reflection and discernment questions to find out more. Available for download in English, Spanish, Creole, French and Chinese. Connect with a church community. Episcopalians around the world are using the Way of Love in a way that fits their communities. Find your local congregation (www.episcopalri.org/finda-church) and learn more about walking together on the Way of Love. Looking to learn more about Episcopalians? Read the Episcopal Church’s “What We Believe” page (episcopalchurch. org/what-we-believe). Want to talk with someone about joining a local
church? Send an email (wayoflove@ episcopalchurch.org) to the church center for an introduction to someone in your area. Learn more about each of the practices. What does it mean to bless? What am I turning from and toward? Read more about the seven practices to learn about the definition and available resources. Drop us a line. If you have questions, comments, new resources, or an idea about the Way of Love, we want to hear from you! Send an email to wayoflove@ episcopalchurch.org, and the Episcopal Church staff will get back to you as soon as possible.
The Way of Love
More about the Way of Love The Way of Love is a way of life. More than a program or curriculum, it is an intentional commitment to a set of practices. It’s a commitment to follow Jesus: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest TURN. Pause, listen, and choose to follow Jesus. Like the disciples, we are called by Jesus to follow the Way of Love. With God’s help, we can turn from the powers of sin, hatred, fear, injustice, and oppression toward the way of truth, love, hope, justice, and freedom. In turning, we reorient our lives to Jesus Christ, falling in love again, again, and again. LEARN. Reflect on Scripture each day, especially on Jesus’ life and teachings. By reading and reflecting on Scripture, especially the life and teachings of Jesus, we draw near to God and God’s word dwells in us. When we open our minds and hearts to Scripture, we learn to see God’s story and God’s activity in everyday life. PRAY. Dwell intentionally with God each day. Jesus teaches us to come before God with humble hearts, boldly offering our thanksgivings and concerns to God or simply listening for God’s voice in our lives and in the world. Whether in thought, word or deed, individually or corporately, when we pray we invite and dwell in God’s loving presence. WORSHIP. Gather in community weekly to thank, praise, and dwell with God. When we worship, we gather with others before God. We hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, give thanks, confess, and offer the brokenness of the world to God. As we break bread, our eyes are opened to the presence of Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are made one body, the body of Christ sent forth to live the Way of Love. BLESS. Share faith and unselfishly give and serve. Jesus called his disciples to give, forgive, teach, and heal in his name. We are empowered by the Spirit to bless everyone we meet, practicing generosity and compassion, and proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ with hopeful words and selfless actions. We can share our stories of blessing and invite others to the Way of Love.
The Way of Love
GO. Cross boundaries, listen deeply and live like Jesus. As Jesus went to the highways and byways, he sends us beyond our circles and comfort, to witness to the love, justice, and truth of God with our lips and with our lives. We go to listen with humility and to join God in healing a hurting world. We go to become Beloved Community, a people reconciled in love with God and one another. REST. Receive the gift of God’s grace, peace, and restoration. From the beginning of creation, God has established the sacred pattern of going and returning, labor and rest. Especially today, God invites us to dedicate time for restoration and wholeness - within our bodies, minds, and souls, and within our communities and institutions. By resting we place our trust in God, the primary actor who brings all things to their fullness. — Content from the Episcipal Church website
THE WAY OF LOVE n TURN
Hearing God in spirit and space
New possibilities for young man with autism On a Saturday night in early 2018, Joel Goloskie and his son, Ethan, (pictured left to right) were walking on Westminster Street in downtown Providence — when through the open doors of Grace Church burst the beginning of a sung Evensong service. “Ethan’s eyes lit up and he stopped in his tracks, staring at the open doors,” Joel recalled. “He has always been obsessed with churches and cathedrals, but his autism never allowed him to
sit quietly for more than five minutes. As we went in that evening, I expected another few minutes, but he sat enthralled the entire time. “I looked up at one of the stainedglass windows, and it read ‘I sought the Lord and he heard me’,” Joel continued. “We have been regulars at Grace ever since.” The Goloskies’ life changed that evening, and so did the life of people at Grace. Nearly every Sunday, dad and son are in the pews and around the
building. And in early 2019, Ethan was baptized. “The congregation has embraced Ethan with an acceptance for which I will always be both grateful and humbled,” Joel said. The Rev. Canon Jonathan Huyck, rector, said, “Ethan and Joel have been a blessing to Grace from the day they arrived. Ethan’s clear joy in being here is matched by the congregation’s joy in his presence among us. He lifts my spirits every time he greets me!” Joel says Ethan “connects with the spirit of the space, the music, the ritual, the ministry and the congregation. He’s also been struck by Grace’s authenticity. And the people make a big deal of him, which he finds to be the natural state of affairs.” The experience has also prompted Joel to examine his life and turn to God in new ways — “Grace has helped me internalize the possibility of redemption,” he said. In addition to worshiping regularly, Joel has now joined the Grace Church vestry. Meanwhile, Ethan keeps connecting. “Because of his limited verbal and comprehension skills, he’s always been attuned to communications that occur outside the ‘lingual’ band to which most of us limit ourselves,” Joel explained. “Grace speaks to all of us; he just hears it more clearly.”
The Way of Love: Turn
Rooted in community
Redeemer explores racial reconciliation When the Rev. Patrick Campbell arrived at Church of the Redeemer, Providence, eight years ago, he was pleased to find that the congregation had a strong history of inclusion. Among other things, it was one of the first churches founded without pew rent, not wanting to place a financial barrier to entry. It was time to build on that heritage. The congregation began exploring issues of racial justice and white privilege in the context of their diverse Mt. Hope neighborhood. They attended events at the local library and joined with other community groups for potlucks. They used “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” (James Cone) curriculum from the Center for Reconciliation as a Lenten study program in the wake of the upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri. When Campbell went on sabbatical, he left a list of related books he planned to read and encouraged the congregation to read and discuss them. By the time of last year’s vestry retreat, racial reconciliation had emerged as a top priority. The congregation has created a list of educational activities; organized workshops, book and movie discussions; shared podcasts, and offered tours on topics such as Implicit Bias, Legacy of Residential Segregation, and Church Involvement in the Slave Trade. Learning about these issues, Redeemer has become more attentive
Way of Love Resources The Episcopal Church has created a wide range of resources for churches to use in helping us walk the Way of Love. Here’s a sample of helpful tools that are available:
to the divides and discomfort between their largely white community on Hope Street, and the historically black community on nearby Camp Street. They plan to reach out to organizations in the neighborhood and be present for more neighborhood events, such as a summer party at Billy Taylor Park on Camp Street. As more families on and around Camp Street face issues of gentrification, Redeemer hopes to play a part in dismantling injustice and helping their neighbors. They want to model “vital community,” in Campbell’s words, and demonstrate the strength that comes from commitment to what binds — love — rather than what divides. — Kristin Knudson-Groh
Resources designed to help churches start, rejuvenate or inspire a small-group ministry. episcopalchurch.org/way-oflove/intentional-small-groupresources
Digital resources Ideas to help structure your use of the Way of Love, including graphics, a style guide, a nine-session guide and curriculum, an introduction to the Way of Love and more general information on rules of life. episcopalchurch.org/way-lovedigital-resources
And more . . . episcopalchurch.org/way-of-love/ featured
As more families on and around Camp Street face issues of gentrification, Redeemer hopes to play a part in dismantling injustice and helping their neighbors. The Way of Love: Turn
THE WAY OF LOVE n LEARN
Forming Christians several ways St. Mary’s offers variety of choices At St. Mary’s, Portsmouth, “formation” means more than formal education programs. “About two years ago, we redefined our mission — to be a Christian community of worship, well-being and service,” explained the Rev. Jennifer Pedrick, rector. “Although the well-being piece ‘holds’ formation programing, I think formation happens in all three areas. “In my experience as a priest, as people encounter Christ in a worshipping community, in spiritual practices and formation programs, it transforms their lives,” Pedrick added. “Teaching people what it means to be members of Christ’s body and how to practice their faith gives them access to the inner life of the community.” That’s why St. Mary’s has created a comprehensive formation program, offering a variety of choices at a variety of times. About a third of Sunday worship attendees take part in a regular Bible
study class, taught in large part by lay leaders. In 2019, St. Mary’s members read through the entire Bible using “The Path” (bit.ly/ThePathBibleStudy). Later in the year, they studied specific books, including the Acts of the Apostles. Each month, Pedrick also teaches a class focusing on the Episcopal Church’s beliefs and practices, for people new to the Episcopal Church or seeking a refresher. It’s offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays to provide options for busy people. There’s a program for kids, offering both formation and fun, but Pedrick acknowledged a need to further develop this program: “‘Sunday School’ doesn’t seem as attractive as it once was for busy families, so we’re trying other ideas.” And St. Mary’s is reaching into the community. Last summer, it hosted community conversations about welcoming LGBTQ+ people. There’s a rainbow flag outside to signal that everyone’s welcome, but the conversations gave members a chance to
ask questions and learn in more depth what it really means to “welcome all.” “The class was facilitated by a gay man in leadership,” Pedrick noted. “So to experience that and have a woman priest leading the church has been quite a change for former Roman Catholics who have found their way to St. Mary’s.” The work of formation is continuing to develop, with the creation of a new ministry focusing on social issues and service, led by a couple who are new to St. Mary’s. In addition to new service opportunities, St. Mary’s is launching the Episcopal Church curriculum “Sacred Ground, (episcopalchurch.org/ sacred-ground), a film-based dialogue series on race and faith. “It will be an important step for St. Mary’s, a predominantly white congregation, to engage in learning and conversation with the wider community on issues of race and reconciliation.” Pedrick said.
The Way of Love: Learn
Summer music in Newport Every summer, more than 60 young choristers and another 40+ adults from across the country converge on Newport for a week of singing and learning as part of a Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) Summer Chorus (www.rscmnewport.org). “It’s a week of music learning in the context of the life of the church — spiritually and liturgically,” explained Rodney Ayers, 2020 co-director and minister of music at St. Luke’s, East Greenwich. “Our choristers and adults learn about voice use, how to read and understand music, and what it means to belong to a choir.” The program is headed by a staff of professional musicians from throughout the church, including a music director, associate director and organist, associate organist, chaplain, chorus managers
The Way of Love: Learn
n RSCM attracts 100+ singers
and head proctor. (This year’s chorus managers are Ayers and Vince Edwards, organist and director of music at Grace Church, Providence.) Each day begins with Morning Prayer and finishes with Compline. Mornings are full of small-group rehearsals; afternoons combine learning opportunities (composition or vocal workshops, etc.) with free time to explore Newport or field trips to area attractions. “It’s an intense week, but we make sure there’s time for fun,” Ayers noted. Learning opportunities center around the “Voice for Life” course (bit.ly/RSCMVoiceForLife) created by the original RSCM program in England; participants earn awards, based on completion of specific modules/skills.
The 2020 Rhode Island course is set for June 29 – July 5, with classes and housing at Salve Regina University in Newport. It culminates with two public services. The Newport chorus was founded a decade ago by Priscilla Rigg, long-time musician at St. Luke’s, and is affiliated with the national RSCM program (www.rscmamerica.org) as well as the original program in England. For many participants, their RSCM experience doesn’t end when they return home: “A lot of people come back for several years,” Ayers said, “so it becomes a bonding experience. Some start when they’re young kids and return later as teenage participants or proctors. For the adults, families become friends, even visiting each other on vacations.” See scenes from the RSCM Newport program below.
THE WAY OF LOVE n PRAY
Putting God at your center Meditation through Centering Prayer
A Centering Prayer workshop attracted participants from churches in the diocese and beyond.
For the past five years, groups at the Chapel of St John the Divine in Saunderstown, and its partner church, Ascension, Wakefield, have been meeting weekly for meditation in the form of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina (divine reading.) The Rev. Rob Travis, head pastor, guides the groups and said: “Meditation is essential for Christian life. Centering Prayer is one of the most accessible forms of meditation.” Meditation is often not perceived as a Christian practice, but instead associated with Buddhism or yoga. Centering Prayer, however, is considered to have its roots in the practices of the early church. “You don’t have to leave the Christian tradition to benefit from meditation,” Travis said. Instead of
aiming for a state of emptiness, the intention of Centering Prayer is to find God, to consent to the presence of God within oneself. It is a deeply personal form of prayer. Travis was introduced to Centering Prayer by his mentor at the University of the South, the Rev. Tom Ward, who likens the experience to what’s in Matthew 6:6: “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Last October, a grant from the diocesan Congregational Development Commission enabled St. John’s to bring in Mike Smoolca from Contemplative Outreach of Connecticut and to pay for associated workshop videos. Workshop
participants came from St. John’s and Ascension; from Episcopal churches in Cumberland, Tiverton, Providence, Newport and Westerly; from a Roman Catholic church, and three individuals not affiliated with a church. Smoolca led 23 people in a workshop introducing Centering Prayer; at the same time, Travis presented a series of videos by the Rev. Thomas Keating, OCSO, a founding member of Contemplative Outreach (www.centeringprayer.com) to five more-experienced practitioners. Travis would like to see that organization open a chapter here in Rhode Island, to support the growth of the practice. — Kristin Knudson-Groh
The Way of Love: Pray
Praying in motion
New way to do Stations of the Cross Every Sunday, Episcopalians pray the Prayers of the People during Eucharist. At St. Paul’s, Pawtucket, they put those prayers “in motion” during Lent in 2019. “I have always wanted to have an in-motion Prayers of the People,” said the Rev. Greta Getlein, vicar, “and Lent seemed like a good time to do that.” St. Paul’s members set up 14 stations, following the traditional Stations of the Cross, along the side aisles of the church, using felt-covered plywood to rest on the backs of pews. Each Sunday during Lent, they used the stations during the Prayers of the People. “While the musician played quietly in the background, those who wished could walk around, visiting all of the stations or concentrating just on one or two,” Getlein explained. “They could pray, light a candle, and/or leave a prayer or a thought. Anyone who did not wish to get up had a copy of the Stations and prayers with their bulletins and could pray them at their seat.” Each station had a tall candle in a clay pot filled with sand, several votive
candles, matches, and both a traditional and modern version of the station — with prayers to match each style and information about the prayer focus. Paper and pens were available for people to write their own prayers or responses to the station. The first station, for example — Jesus is Condemned to Death — featured a picture of hands holding onto prison bars and a prayer focus of: “Pray for those on death row and all who have been unjustly accused.” Cards scattered around had information about numbers of people in prison, statistics from the Innocence Project (www.innocenceproject.org) and other information. “It was quite striking to look out on the church as we re-gathered for the Confession of Sin and see the candles lit,” Getlein said. “It was meditative and quite meaningful for everyone. Our teenage Sunday School class, which meets on Monday evenings, also used the stations for their own work.”
Our Prayer Book: A Rich Resource The Book of Common Prayer is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity as Episcopalians and Anglicans. Armentrout and Slocum note in their “Episcopal Dictionary of the Church” that “Anglican liturgical piety has been rooted in the Prayer Book tradition since the publication of the first English Prayer Book in 1549.” We, who are many and diverse, come together in Christ through our worship, our common prayer. The prayer book, most recently revised in 1979, contains our liturgies, our prayers, our theological documents, and much, much more. — From the website of The Episcopal Church (episcopalchurch.org)
Part of the Prayers of the People in motion at St. Paul’s
The Way of Love: Pray
THE WAY OF LOVE n WORSHIP
The Rev. Sunil Chandy, rector of Christ Church Westerly (far right), and acolytes for Evensong at the Blessing of the First Responders.
Westerly honors first responders Building a new community tradition Every September, hundreds of people enter a church in Westerly for a special event: The Blessing of the First Responders. The event, which honors emergency first-responders (police, fire, ambulance) from both southwest Rhode Island and southeast Connecticut, has quickly become a tradition. It originated in 2016, when the Rev. Sunil Chandy, rector at Christ Church, Westerly, proposed the idea to the WesterlyPawcatuck Clergy Association. Last fall, the event coincided with Westerly’s 350th anniversary. It included a concert by the Westerly Band at Central Baptist Church as well as a procession through downtown before culminating with Evensong at Christ Church. The community celebration, which recognizes the sacrifice and heroism of first responders, begins with a blessing of more than 40 vehicles by more then 20 clergy. The 2019 event even included a special blessing of a
local policy K-9 unit by the Rev. Ruth Shilling Hainsworth, president of the clergy association and pastor at United Congregational Church of Westerly. The Rev. Joe Pescatello, a Westerly native who’s been a chaplain to fire and police departments in North Providence, served as guest preacher for the Evensong. After Evensong, participants — including first responders and families — gathered for a reception. Chandy brought the concept to Westerly based on experience in organizing a similar service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Mount Holly, New Jersey. However, the Westerly community has extended it beyond the first responders themselves to honor families and friends whose sacrifices many times remain unseen. The service has had an impact on the Christ Church community: “It doesn’t necessarily bring more people to Christ
Church,” he explained, “but it helps us continue to build relationships within our community and beyond. “Our members are very supportive, serving as ushers, readers, choir members, acolytes and servers at the altar. We realize and understand the sacred calling and sacrifices of first responders, who often are wellacquainted friend, family or neighbors,” added Betsey Rice, senior warden. It’s also helped demystify the commonly held authoritative and sometimes one-dimensional perception of first responders, Chandy noted. “The service helps people recognize and relate to committed human beings willing to put their lives on the line. It’s a great example of The Way of Love, showing that we can be an encouraging, healing and reconciling presence in our community.” — Some content adapted from The Westerly Sun The Way of Love: Worship
Turn and worship
Halloween baptism an event of love On a cold, rainy day last October, a young man was baptized and welcomed into the church at the Sunday evening service at the Episcopal Conference Center (ECC) in Pascoag. In a barn. Next to a roaring fire. Surrounded by twinkling Christmas lights ready for the Advent service. In a room filled with kids and adults in Halloween costumes. “I love that we transitioned from something fun and outrageous to something sacred; from fun and dancing to worship” says the Rev. Canon Meaghan Brower, ECC director. “We moved between those seamlessly. They don’t need to be set apart.” For the past three years, ECC has partnered with churches in the diocese to host Halloween Village for families in the camp area to trick and treat.
This time, Brower decided to move the village activities to Sunday night, to join with regular worship service of the Church of the Beloved, which often worships at camp. Since so many people were already going to be there for the village events, combining the two would be an opportunity to share the worship service with the larger community. The ECC barn turned out to be the perfect location for the baptism. A young man who had spent much of his life in foster care was excited to become part of the church and to get an extra set of parents — his new godparents. And to do so surrounded by people who cared about him, whether they already knew him or not. “This baptism made the worship so special,” Brower said. “We welcomed
a new Christian into the fold, a young man who turned his life toward Jesus. It’s right there in the baptism service in the Book of Common Prayer: Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?” This service was a perfect example of the Way of Love: A community worshipping together with others to praise and dwell with God. Celebrating someone choosing to follow Jesus. With the added bonus of fun in joining it with the Halloween event and the beauty of a barn decorated with love and light. — Manya Chylinski
Halloween activities at ECC encompassed baptism and trick-or-treating.
The Way of Love: Worship
THE WAY OF LOVE n WORSHIP
‘Called . . . to build beloved community’ Peace Fellowship events address reconciliation “When was the first time that you noticed that there was injustice in this world? And when did you feel that you were called to be part of making things right? What influenced you, and how did you feel? In that moment of noticing, what do you think made you believe that things should or could be different? This is not about us, but it’s about the heart of Christ within us, stirring us to trust that God hears us and is using our lives — prayer, action, commitment, financial contributions, joys, and pains — all of us to rebuild the world.” The Rt. Rev. Shannon MacVeanBrown, bishop of Vermont, delivered that message at a “Commemoration of Witness” Evensong last November at St. Michael’s, Bristol. MacVean-Brown had been invited to preach by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF), as part of the organization’s celebration of its 80th anniversary. Bishop Knisely officiated at the service. And MacVean-Brown, a Black woman, was a particularly inspired choice as preacher, given that the first bishop of Vermont (and later the fifth presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church), the Rt. Rev. John Henry Hopkins, had argued that no scriptural basis existed for ending slavery. In 1861, he wrote his most controversial pamphlet, “The Bible View of Slavery.” The EPF was founded on Armistice Day (November 11) in 1939 and today works to connect people who seek “a deliberate response to injustice and violence and want to pray, study and take action for justice and peace in our communities, our church, and the world.” The 80th anniversary celebrations featured two days of events, beginning with the Evensong. The next day, the EPF teamed with the Center for Reconciliation (CFR) in Providence
Members of the EPF National Executive Council at the 80th anniversary evensong at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Bristol, Rhode Island. Front row: The Rev. Cody Maynus, the Rev. Ann Coburn, Bob Lotz, the Rev. Will Mebane. Back row: Rob Burgess, the Rev. Bob Davidson, Melanie Ath, Ellen Lindeen.
for a pilgrimage down Benefit Street’s “mile of history” as well as presentations and discussions. Traci Picard, CFR program and research associate, spoke of how the state, the church and businesses combined to create a “web of complicity,” even in states like Rhode Island, which lacked the large plantations found in the South but where the economy was heavily based on trade, including the slave trade. Until 1807, Rhode Island was the top slave-trading state in the United States, she said, and had some of the strictest laws on runaway slaves. “We didn’t have a primary crop, like tobacco or cotton,” Picard explained. “The African people were the commodity. That was our primary product.” Byron Rushing, vice president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, later delivered a keynote address and
moderated a panel discussion with representatives from across Province 1 (New England), who talked about racial reconciliation projects they had undertaken — from a church in Massachusetts that attracted nearly a third of its congregation to a 10-part “Sacred Ground” dialogue series on race and racism, to the Racial Healing, Justice and Reconciliation Ministry Network of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, which have fostered difficult conver sations through a variety of activities. Bishop MacVean-Brown summed up her homily with a call to us: “Through our baptism and by God’s grace, we are those who have been called to this work to build beloved community, to be beloved community. It’s the most wonderful time in our lives when we let God be God’s self and remember — we’re just invited to the party.” The Way of Love: Worship
Sunday in the park
Churches collaborate on bilingual worship Worshipping congregations from two Cranston churches took the Way of Love outside to Roger Williams Park in Providence on Trinity Sunday 2019. Spanish-speaking and Englishspeaking congregations from the Church of the Ascension and the congregation of the Church of the Transfiguration worshipped under the spreading branches of huge oak trees, braving threatening weather to share the Eucharist and reflect on the mystery of the Holy Trinity. “This service is an outgrowth of the relationship the congregations have developed with one another in recent
years,” said the Rev. Mike Coburn, priest-in-charge at Ascension. “The relationship is in large part as a result of the work of the Rev. Mercedes Julián, who is now retired. She has led worship in all three congregations and encouraged the congregations in their shared ministries. In Lent we held a weekly Bible Study series together, and we have participated in one another’s social events in recent years.” While children played on the grass, the Rev. Michele Matott, priest-incharge at Transfiguration, preached and concelebrated the Eucharist with Coburn, Julian and the Rev. Santiago
Rodriguez, Latino missioner at Ascension. “We hope that this kind of public witness to the Gospel will become a regular part of our shared life in Christ in Cranston — and we look forward to planning the next service this spring,” said Rodriguez. Eduardo Espinal, senior warden at Ascension, added: “This was a wonderful event, because it not only brought our congregations together but was a beautiful kind of evangelism to the surrounding community. Christ was glorified!”
Members of Church of the Ascension and Church of the Transfiguration enjoy bilingual worship at Roger Williams Park.
The Way of Love: Worship
THE WAY OF LOVE n BLESS
A time for blessings
Stewardship builds community The summer of 2019 was a different kind of summer for Episcopalians at Trinity, North Scituate. Beyond the usual cookouts and beach trips, the congregation was focused on blessings: How were they blessed? How were they blessing others? Responding to those blessings involved dropping coins and bills into “blessing jars” (pictured below) that they took home from church on Pentecost. “We were trying to be comprehensive in our year-round stewardship program,” explained the Rev. Johanna Marcure, rector. “My hope has been that peoples’ relationships with one another and their understanding of
their own spirituality will create a deeper connection to the community and help prompt giving from a place of generosity and faith. Remembering every day all the blessings we receive, and putting something tangible in the jar, reminds us of what we’re part of.” In September, the jars returned to Trinity — about 100 in all — and contained $1,800 that’s been added to the church operating budget. The results exceeded expectations. The blessing jars also created opportunities for church members to talk about their spirituality with each other. “What do their fellow parishioners think and feel about their community?”
Marcure explained. “How can Trinity be more than a place to just come and be present on Sunday morning? How can we be a community that walks with you? How do you understand your part in this faith community?” Thanks to the success last summer, Trinity is repeating the exercise this year. “I heard people last fall saying they missed having the jar on the table at night,” Marcure said. “They had used it as an opportunity to talk with their families about their blessings. We want to build on that in 2020, to remind us of all we have.”
The Way of Love: Bless
The Rev. Nathan Humphrey, rector, officiates at a wedding at St. John’s, Newport, where couples are invited to tithe the cost of their reception.
Tithing for a wedding
Newport church invites contributions When there’s a wedding at St. John the Evangelist, Newport, participants can make a special blessing to that church. Rather than being asked to pay a flat fee for the wedding preparation by clergy, musicians, etc., the couple is asked to tithe (10 percent) the basic cost of their reception venue rental. “The concept surprises many people, but when they see the logic of it, they are receptive to the idea,” said the Rev. Nathan Humphrey, rector. “Far from being turned off by it, the couples value the church more, are happy to give more and have tended to stay in touch more.” Humphrey noted that the idea arose from the fact that Newport is a destination wedding hotspot, but that The Way of Love: Bless
the concept can be applied to other contexts. Since beginning the approach in 2018, St. John’s has received wedding tithes ranging from $500 to $7,500. The family’s financial situation makes a difference. If 10 percent is unaffordable, the couple can give a lower amount. If they believe they can’t afford any sort of contribution, Humphrey will conduct the wedding at no charge. “We explain that we rely on the revenue for church operations and that if 10 percent is unaffordable, they consider what would be a generous donation to the ministry of the church — to which we hope they will return from time to time throughout their
marriage if they are not Newport residents,” he said. “We make it clear to every couple that we wish to be a blessing to them regardless of their financial circumstances,” he added. “We explain that their donation is a blessing to the people we serve through our outreach ministries and programs for children, and makes it possible for us to offer the St. John’s Guild Hall free or at a significantly reduced rate to nonprofits and community groups. By thinking of their donation to the church as a tithe rather than merely a fee, the couples feel that they are involved in doing good for the community.”
THE WAY OF LOVE n GO
‘Being’ the church . . . at a party Connecting with the neighborhood When Bishop Curry talks about us “BEING” the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, people at St. Peter and St. Andrew, Providence (www.stpetersstandrews.org/about.php), talk about a block party That party, held last fall at the church, attracted 70 people from the neighborhood, who enjoyed food, music, hula hoops, crafts, face painting and other activities. A squad of firefighters from the local fire station even joined in. “We have to think outside ourselves,” said the Rev. Maryalice Sullivan, vicar. “We began an ongoing effort to connect with our community about two years ago. It’s a walking neighborhood where you see people out walking, day in and out.
“What we’re doing is about being the church in the place where we are located, not about recruiting new members,” she added. “We can do that by just being friendly, and that’s what the block party was all about. Most of the congregation, which has grown from fewer than 10 regular attendees to about 30 on a typical Sunday, turned out to support and enjoy the event. And it was such a success that a repeat performance is planned this fall. “The people of the congregation received as much joy as they gave,” Sullivan noted. “They wanted to repeat it in the spring, but we’re trying not to take on too much too fast.”
One new ministry they did take on was a Christmas book drive. They collected more than 300 books to give to local children, working with the “An Unlikely Story” bookstore (www.anunlikelystory. com) in Plainfield, Massachusetts. The church also operates a food pantry, distributing food twice a month to neighborhood families. Sullivan promotes it by talking at coffee hours held for parents at nearby schools. “When we have block parties and give through our other ministries, we’re still at worship,” she said. “This is about broadening the whole thought of what is worship.”
A block party at St. Peter and St. Andrew, Providence, attracted neighbors, including the local fire station.
The Way of Love: Go
Love through laundry “Having to wear dirty clothes is a huge barrier to a sense of dignity, to feeling human,” says the Rev. Canon Michael Horvath, rector of St. Michael’s, Bristol. “What if you had to decide whether to spend your limited income either on clean clothes or food? Or between clean clothes or medication that you need? It’s a decision many of us never need to consider.” In talking to St. Michael’s members and the East Bay community, Horvath realized there was a need to assist struggling neighbors in getting their laundry done. St. Michael’s has always had a strong culture of supporting organizations through financial contributions and gift drives. With Laundry Love — an existing program across the U.S. that Horvath experienced in his previous church in Austin, Texas — an opportunity emerged for a more active and engaged outreach ministry. Volunteers are able to reach beyond their immediate circles and comfort zones to engage the larger community through service and fellowship. Approximately 9 to 12 volunteers from St. Michael’s and from St. John’s, Barrington, show up on the second Tuesday of each month at Launder n’ Luxury in Warren. They bring about
n East Bay ministry helps people in need
Laundry Love volunteers in Warren
$300 of quarters, detergent, dryer sheets, and a strong mission of love. Anyone who asks gets quarters and supplies to do two loads of clothes. A few of the visitors are homeless, but many are just trying to make ends meet. Like the woman who showed up and was unemployed with a husband on short-term disability; she needed help to get her laundry done so that her children had clean clothes to wear to school the next day. While the clothes are being cleaned and dried, the church volunteers have an opportunity for fellowship and building relationships. “It’s a chance to meet our neighbors’ needs on their terms and in spaces where we can
engage and make an impact,” Horvath says. Volunteers also bring activities like coloring books and games for the children who come to Laundry Love with their parents. And cookies and cider to celebrate the holidays. The Rev. Patrick Greene, rector at partner church St. John’s, added: “One of the things I have enjoyed the most has been watching the people from these two churches come to know not only each other but also the people coming in to the laundromat. Seeing these relationships grow, and watching as people recognize Christ in each other and respond with love and kindness has been truly wonderful.” — Manya Chylinski
Love and dignity since 2003 That laundromat in Warren is part of a growing national Laundry Love (laundrylove.org) movement. According to a 2019 report on Goodnet.org, Laundry Love has expanded from its founding in California in 2003 to 325 laundromats participating across the country — totaling more than 1.3 million loads of laundry for more than 950,000 people. Last summer, Episcopal News Service profiled St. Peter’s Episcopal
The Way of Love: Go
Church in Detroit, where a small congregation of 30 members is using a United Thank Offering grant to renovate its basement to install private shower stalls, sinks, bathrooms, and washers and dryers for a new Laundry Love location. Users are guests at the church’s soup kitchen (also in that basement), which serves 150–200 hungry people each day. Learn more in the ENS article (bit.ly/ENSDetroit).
THE WAY OF LOVE n GO
Giving their gifts and talents Block Island members make a big difference The “GO” practice of the Way of Love (“Cross boundaries, listen deeply and live like Jesus”) is nothing new for the members of St. Ann’s by-the-Sea, Block Island. They’ve been “going” into their community since the church was established in 1888. “The island community is different,” explained the Rev. Eletha Buote-Greig, vicar-in-charge. “Year-round residents are approximately 1,000 people. Being on a small island, people take care of each other and support all of the Block Island endeavors, including the emerging issues such as climate change, sea level rising, ocean pollution, elimination of fossil fuel, conservation
and land use. Nearly everyone who’s a member of St. Ann’s is part of one or more organizations outside the church, again organizations that support the well-being of its people and its natural resources. There are over 50 organizations in all, and members of St. Ann’s have been committed to these endeavors since the church was established.” The islanders also support and assist with outreach programs that reach people in need. The Helping Hands food pantry is one. It was established by the Rev. Pat Harrison, former pastor at Harbor Church and Elisa Hundt, member of St. Ann’s. “The founders learned that people who could not work
in the winter, most being immigrants, needed assistance with food — and thus, Helping Hands came into being,” Buote-Greig said. Two of St. Ann’s members explained why they volunteer: Pam Hinthorn said “Most of my life I have worked with the people who come to Helping Hands. So when we moved here, this is where I saw a need for my time.” Theresa Sisto added, “It was a natural thing to do.” Thanks to the members of St. Ann’s and other islanders, who give freely of their time and talents, the Block Island community benefits, all year long.
Episcopalians share the Way of Love Episcopal churches and individuals are finding creative ways to cross boundaries, listen deeply and “GO” to live the Way of Love. In Hawaii, St. James Episcopal Church (stjameshawaii.org) on the Big Island of Waimea is feeding people every Thursday night. A group of staunch volunteers and one part-time paid coordinator use donations of food and money from Waimea-area businesses, farms and other organizations to feed the bellies and souls of more than 350 people in 90 minutes at the church. Diners eat together at long tables in the open-air Savanack Pavilion on the church grounds while volunteers deliver meals to homebound people. When the Waimea Community Meal began in December 2016, organizers wanted to help those who were physically hungry, the Rev. David Stout, rector of St. James’, said in a recent interview. Soon, however,
greater needs became apparent. Meal organizers realized that people in and around town “were not only hungry in belly but hungry in heart and soul,” Stout said. “There is a lot of lonely eating on the island.” Learn more about what St. James is doing in the full Episcopal News Service story (bit.ly/ENSHawaii) And in California, Brian Ide, a member of All Saints, Beverly Hills (www.allsaintsbh.org) has drawn on his career as a movie director to help form a ministry at the church with other parishioners who work in the Hollywood film industry. In 2018, their efforts culminated in “This Day Forward,” a feature-length film about an Iowa family’s struggles with cancer and faith (bit.ly/ENSThisDayForward). Learn more about Ides and his new Grace Based Films (www.gracebasedfilms.org) nonprofit in the full Episcopal News Service story (bit.ly/ENSFilmmaking).
The Way of Love: Go
Gun sense is common sense Episcopalians rally to stop gun violence Gun violence stayed in the news throughout the last year, with 41 mass shootings in the United States in 2019. Just before Christmas, tragedy came to our diocese when Julie Cardinal, a member at Christ Church, Westerly, was killed in a shooting at an elderly apartment complex. While these tragic events continue, Episcopalians are working to end gun violence. In addition to Bishop Knisely’s involvement in Bishops United Against Gun Violence (bishopsagainstgunviolence.org), here are two examples of additional efforts being made by Rhode Island Episcopalians.
Prevention Took Kit” from Washington National Cathedral. We also discussed possible next steps following our meeting and identified two books the group could read: “Why Are We Yelling?” by Buster Benson, on the need for dialog to promote understanding, and “Grace Will Lead Us Home,” by Jennifer Barry Hawes, on the shootings at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina. For more information, please contact Tinka Perry (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Rev. Noël Bailey (email@example.com). — The Rev. Noël Bailey
Rhode Island Episcopalians United Against Gun Violence Last November, eight women met at St. David’s-on-the-Hill, Cranston, in response to an invitation to talk about how members of the Episcopal Church in Rhode Island can work toward safety from gun violence. In our Baptismal Covenant we promise to “respect the dignity of every human being.” One way we can do this is to ensure that people are safe wherever they are. We have chosen to work for safety from gun violence. We also hope to become part of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence. At our meeting, we also talked about Scott Lapham’s “One Gun Gone,” (www.rimonthly.com/artist-scottlapham-talks-one-gun-gone) a project to use guns as art displays to raise awareness and funds to buy back guns that otherwise would be in local homes and on the streets. We hope to work with him to have exhibits in several of our churches during 2020. We talked about the “Gun Violence The Way of Love: Go
Prayer Vigil in Narragansett In the wake of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, last summer, Billie Wilbur, a member at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea, Narragansett, felt something needed to be done. She was very concerned that the shooting was motivated by white nationalism and fear-mongering related to immigration. “I talked to my rector, Fr. Craig (Swan), about my concerns, and we agreed it was important for the community to come together and raise awareness around these issues, and honor those lost to gun violence in this shooting and so many others,” she said.
They decided to work with other community organizations and faith leaders to sponsor a community prayer vigil, held last September. Wilbur said she was inspired to create the vigil through the example set by the Center for Reconciliation (cfrri. org) and the Way of Love. A service from Washington National Cathedral (cathedral.org) helped shape the vigil service, which was attended by more than 75 people, including members of community organizations and local churches, temples, mosques and synagogues. “The candlelight service made it quite beautiful and memorable as we read out the names of the 176 people killed by gun violence in the last 12 months,” Wilbur noted. In addition to St. Peter’s by-theSea and the diocese, participating faith communities and organizations included Masjid Al-Hoda, Congregation Beth David, RI Coalition Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action. The local state representative and one Town Council member also participated. The South County chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice was a sponsor. “We appreciate the many community faith leaders who supported this vigil,” Wilbur said. “Gun violence is something that weighs on all our hearts, and we are all struggling to make a difference. Raising awareness in our communities is a first step along the road to stopping this scourge. And coming together helps us remember that, as God’s children, we can lean on each other for support, for help, for love.” — Kim A. Hanson
THE WAY OF LOVE n REST
Resting by walking
The Way of Love practice of “REST” calls us to step away from what we’re used to doing in today’s busy world. Instead of getting things done, God “invites us to dedicate time for restoration and wholeness.” Some of the clergy in the diocese have been doing just that on hikes organized by Bishop Knisely. The hikes, typically in state forest areas in Richmond and Exeter, are an outgrowth of experiences in 2018 on pilgrimages down the Wood and Pawcatuck Rivers. Participants have hiked in all kinds of weather, including rain and sun, in the summer and fall. They’ve come home muddy after “clambering over rocks,” Knisely noted.
n Clergy hikes offer restoration, wholeness
The hikes owe their creation to similar outings Knisely organized when he was serving as dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix. He led two groups there — one for conversation in nature and one for experienced hikers. Knisely hopes to offer similar options here in Rhode Island as well. One participant, the Rev. David Dobbins, said, “Hiking with the bishop has been great fun. He has a keen appreciation of being on the land — an appreciation rooted in scouting and camping — and, as a result, he prays in motion. His motion is steady, and his stride is long, and our walks have taken us as much as four miles through woodlands, fields, rock outcrops; and along ponds, rivers and lakes.
And there is indeed REST: We come away refreshed and renewed by the conversation and silence we have shared.” Knisely believes it’s especially important for clergy to have a chance to be with one another and be supportive of one another. “Building collegial relationships is expected of people who have been set apart for a special ministry in the church,” he said. “These hikes provide a place for clergy to build friendships and have informal conversations. We’ve had moments of prayer, and period of silence. Sometimes we talk about spiritual matters, sometimes legal situations — and sometimes just old parish stories.” The Way of Love: Rest
Stop, look and listen Rhode Island Episcopalians had two opportunities last December for the “REST” practice of the Way of Love. The Narragansett and Blackstone Valley Deaneries each hosted an Advent Quiet Day. The two choices, both on December 14, provided ways for people to attend in separate locations, especially if their church wasn’t doing a similar activity for its members. The Narragansett event, at the Chapel of St. John the Divine, Saunders town, was led by the Rt. Rev. Hays Rockwell, a retired bishop. He offered offered three talks about forgiveness,
The Way of Love: Rest
n Time to reflect at Advent Quiet Days
followed by periods of quiet reflection. Counsel was made available during the quiet time. The Blackstone Valley event, which benefited from a Congregational Development Commission (CDC) grant, was designed to provide rest, reflection and rejuvenation leading up to the Christmas season and took place at Christ Church, Lincoln. It was led by the Rev. Beth Sherman, vicar of St. Augustine’s, Kingston, and chaplain at the University of Rhode Island. “We had three meditations, with a time after each for reflection, prayer,
reading, etc.,” Sherman said. “We shared a quiet lunch with no talking — which was lovely. After lunch, we had a time for group reflection and feedback. We closed with a brief form of worship that integrated what we had experienced during the day. “The focus was very much about Advent, of course,” she added. “What does it mean for us to slow down? How do we make room/prepare for the One who is coming? What might God be saying to us right now, as we stop, look, listen?”
Church Beyond the Walls ‘I Have a Dream’
Church Beyond the Walls (CBW) continues its Saturday afternoon worship in Providence’s Burnside Park as well as a wide range of community activities.: In 2019, CBW sponsored a “Faces of Christ, Faces of Mary” art contest to create non-white images of Jesus and of Mary, to be displayed in places of worship and other settings. The contest, funded by an “I Have a Dream” grant to do anti-racism work, was designed to help dismantle racism by changing peoples’ perceptions about what Jesus and Mary may have looked like. Local artists submitted artwork, which was exhibited at the CBW annual fundraiser. Activities in 2020 will continue the anti-racism focus by taking the artwork “on the road.” CBW’s speakers’ bureau will bring the artwork to local communities for presentations. Additionally, CBW will offer “Merciful Conversations: Let’s Talk about Race,” anti-racism training created by the Rhode Island State Council of Churches and the United Church of Christ; four members of CBW participated last year and will complete part two in 2020 to become facilitators. Church Beyond the Walls (churchbeyondthewalls.org) is a streetchurch community called to build solidarity among people from all walks of life — housed and unhoused, poor and privileged, churched and unchurched. It’s a specialized mission of the diocese in partnership with the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
College ministry update Conversations create new possibilities
Seeing a guy on campus wearing a collar and jeans can be a real surprise for students at Rhode Island College (RIC). But it often leads to conversations that the Rev. Dante A. Tavolaro, campus minister, said are about “unlearning and relearning — unlearning the negative stereotypes students have learned about church and God, and relearning what’s possible.” For some RIC students, “what’s possible” has changed significantly during the time they spent on campus. New possibilities emerge — for themselves and for God. “I try to emphasize that God doesn’t take delight in people suffering; instead, God offers love, abundance and generosity,” Tavolaro said. Expressing that students are more than the stereotypes placed upon them and helping them dream about the future is one of Tavolaro’s focuses: “I wonder with them about where they see themselves in five years and help discern the next step to help them get there.” And the outcome, he added, is that they’ve gone from struggling to survive to being able to thrive, with some applying for graduate-school programs that wouldn’t have been possible originally. The diocesan ministry at RIC is a partnership with the multicultural center on campus. It involves pastoral care, participating in intersectional programming and supporting students to meet basic needs, especially combating food insecurity..
Sanford Lee, first-place winner, Faces of Christ.
Helping neighbors in need
Episcopal Charities continues good work For nearly 70 years, Episcopal Charities has been providing hope to our neighbors by giving support to ministries and agencies in Rhode Island that serve people in need. And 100 percent of the donations received go directly in the form of grants to non-profits and interfaith ministries. Did you know that in Rhode Island, one child in every eight and one elderly person in every five lives below the poverty line? That’s why Episcopal Charities now focuses its efforts on providing for the basic human needs of at-risk children and elders by giving grants to ministries and agencies that provide food, shelter and healthcare. Episcopal Charities also directly helps outreach efforts of our congregations when an urgent capital need adversely affects a church’s ministries. Charities can give small, one-time grants to assist in an emergency, such as the grant given last year to St. Mark’s, Warwick, for the replacement of its commercial dishwasher — to allow the church to continue to serve 60-100 of its neighbors at their community meals. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking evangelism seriously
Hispanic ministry active in two churches Members of Spanish-speaking communities at Ascension, Cranston, and St. George’s, Central Falls, are taking evangelism seriously. At Ascension, members of the evangelism committee completed a series of pre-Christmas “Las Posadas,” responding to invitations to visit nearby homes to enjoy food, Christmas carols and other holiday traditions. Las Posadas (Posada means “inn” in Spanish), celebrated in multiple Spanish-speaking countries, re-enact Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and search for a place to stay. At St. George’s, a group has begun discerning how to
apply their particular gifts or style of evangelism. They’ve been participating in regular prayer meetings and Bible studies to prepare for developing a congregational evangelism plan. Evangelism events already occurring include occasions with some Hispanic religious and cultural experience, including an Epiphany celebration complete with the traditional rosca de reyes (“kings’ crown cake”). The diocesan Hispanic Ministry involves the life, ministry and outreach of Spanish-speaking congregations that are part of vibrant Hispanic communities in Rhode Island.
Work continues on ECC solar plan Work continues on an exciting plan announced last year to install a solar farm on the grounds of the Episcopal Camp and Conference Center (ECC). A currently proposed solar array would use land in a remote part of the camp property in Glocester and not be visible from camp buildings. The intent is to use the solar energy produced to reduce the carbon footprint at ECC, lower costs and move the camp toward financial sustainability. It will also provide an opportunity for
churches to participate in similar clean energy cost savings. The project’s planning team is continuing to work through challenges and obtain approval for the interconnection to the power grid. Changes in National Grid’s requirements, however, have necessitated changes to the original plan. Though the revised plan reduces power generation capacity by about two-thirds the original size planned, the array will contribute significant savings and support creation care goals.
Hallworth House Robert Q. Hallworth, a son of St John’s Church in Providence (now the Cathedral), died in 1966, leaving his entire estate to the diocese with the provision that it be used for charitable work. After careful consideration, Bishop John Higgins decided to use a portion of the money to create a “Medicare Center” on the northeast side of the Cathedral property. The center, to be called Hallworth House, would be next to McVickar House, which had been a home for aged clergy and their families; it was dedicated on Saint Barnabas Day in June 1968.
n A history of care
Today, Hallworth House provides high-quality skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to persons recovering from surgery, stroke and other medical issues. It has earned a 5-star rating from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and is a “Best” rated facility by U.S. News and World Report for both short-term and long-term care. Hallworth House also offers respite care—short-term stays when caregivers need a break or have other obligations. For more information or to arrange a tour, call 401-432-7061 or visit www.hallworthhouse.org.
‘We don’t have to be in agreement’ Lambeth Conference a statement to the world On July 22, bishops from around the world, including Bishop Knisely, will gather in England for the 15th Lambeth Conference (www.lambethconference.org). This periodic meeting brings together bishops representing dioceses from across the Anglican Communion (www. anglicancommunion.org). At times, it is the focus of controversy and confusion: Just what is the Lambeth Conference? What is the Anglican Communion? The Anglican Communion is an affiliation of national churches in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury — generally meaning national or regional churches with historic links to the Church of England. The Lambeth Conference is a gathering of bishops from those churches. In 1867, 76 bishops met with the Archbishop of Canterbury at his London residence, Lambeth Palace, to “discuss matters of practical interest.” Despite fears that the meeting would begin centralizing decision-making
and give the Archbishop of Canterbury authority over churches outside England, the meeting was successful enough that it was held again in 1878 and approximately every 10 years since. At that second conference, the bishops said it is “of great importance for the maintenance of union among the churches of our communion” that “the duly certified action of every national or particular church . . . should be respected by all the other churches.” That mutual respect has been tested, especially regarding issues of gender and sexuality. The 2020 conference again will be in the context of differences, this time particularly because same-sex spouses have been excluded from the invitations. Episcopal Church bishops and their spouses have decided that each couple must make its own decision about attendance. Some bishops have declined, some are attending without spouses. Bishop Knisely and Karen have decided to attend, so they may witness
to the gathering the experience of our diocese. “I am heartened by the statements from the recent meeting of the primates of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion, including Presiding Bishop Michael Curry,” Bishop Knisely said. “The statements emphasize that though we have profound and significant differences between each other, the community is fully committed to walking together. The hope of all attending is that our embrace of each other will signal to the world that community can still exist even when there is division. I look forward to hearing the stories of God’s missional work around the world and to sharing the stories of God’s presence in the ministries of the congregations and people of Rhode Island. Please pray for all of us as we prepare for this important meeting.” — Kristin Knudson-Groh
Discerning new opportunities CFR planning new programs for 2020
The Center for Reconciliation’s (CFR) 2020 season kicked off in late January with “Unfinished Business: The Long Civil Rights Movement,” an exhibition loaned to the CFR by the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University (www.brown.edu/initiatives/ slavery-and-justice). The exhibition, which opened in conjunction with Martin Luther King Day and will be on view through April 26, tells the story of the relationship between the Black organizing tradition and the Civil Rights Movement from the moment of emancipation through the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson. The Center for Reconciliation will explore the intersections of three main themes — race and the law,
race and the environment, and race and health — with exhibitions and programs throughout the year. In addition to panels, conferences and other events, the CFR’s popular walking tours, book clubs, and movie nights continue. The Center for Reconciliation is a nonprofit organization based in Providence and dedicated to the work of racial justice and racial reconciliation. The CFR oﬀers a wide range of public programs, exhibitions, and workshops about the history and legacies of slavery, the slave trade, and the construction of race and racial identities in New England and America. To learn more, visit cfrri.org/our-mission.
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2020 Diocesan Calendar March 28 — Leadership Institute, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. John’s, Barrington Practical workshops and vital information for wardens, treasurers and property chairs.
May 16 — Eastertide Confirmations, 10 a.m. at location to be determined
Diocesan-wide service for those being confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church.
May 17 — Episcopal Conference Center Open House, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Pascoag An opportunity to learn more about the camp, its facilities and its programs.
June 4 — Clergy Day, time, location, and topic to be determined June 21 — Episcopal Conference Center Open House, 2 to 4 p.m. (see description above)
ECC staff will be available for tours and activities.
July 22 to August 2 — Lambeth Conference, Canterbury, United Kingdom Periodic meeting of bishops from across the Anglican Communion.
October 1 — Clergy Day, time, location, and topic to be determined November 6 & 7 — Diocesan Convention, at St. Luke’s, East Greenwich
Annual business meeting of the diocese, preceded by a festival Eucharist open to all.
December 3 — Clergy Day, time, location, and topic to be determined