A publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
B l e s s i n g s ... Holy Contrasts and Similarities Abundant Times is the official news publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, 37 Chestnut St., Springfield, MA, 01103-1787, (413) 737-4786. www.diocesewma.org.
At Diocesan House
The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts The Rev. Pamela J. Mott, Canon to the Ordinary The Rev. Dr. Richard M. Simpson, Canon to the Ordinary Steven P. Abdow, Canon for Mission Resources
Bruce Rockwell, Assistant to the Bishop for Stewardship E. John White, Missioner for Legacy Stewardship The Rev. Canon Tom Callard, Missioner for Hispanic/Latino Ministry The Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care Victoria Ix, Communications Director/Missioner The Rev. Hilary Bogert-Winkler, Interim Missioner for Christian Formation The Rev. Jennifer Gregg, Missioner for Servant leadership Abundant Times is a quarterly publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts. Articles may be submitted to the editor, Victoria Ix. firstname.lastname@example.org On the Cover: Photos of the diocesan summer mission to Dominican Republic and EYE 2014 in Philadelphia.
In July, Betsy and I had the wonderful experience of going on retreat at the Abbey on the island of Iona in Scotland. The origin of the Abbey goes back to St. Columba and his missionary work in the 500s. Since the 1930s it has been an ecumenical community dedicated to prayer and social justice. One night at evening prayer, the scripture passage was Jesus’ first sermon, delivered in Nazareth and told to us by Luke. It is a sermon Russ Ro Photography based on Isaiah in which a new The Rt. Rev. Douglas Fisher. world is proclaimed. Good news is brought to the poor. Captives are released, the blind see and the oppressed go free. As a powerful sermon was being preached on this passage, I had my head bowed and noticed the sweatshirt I had on. It was from Wooster College, where my son went. (Betsy and I have many clothes and coffee cups from where our children went to college. They all shopped at the campus store just before coming home for Christmas each year.) The team name at Wooster is “the Fighting Scots” (they were founded as a Presbyterian school). There on my sweatshirt was a large drawing of a warrior in a kilt, running and with his sword over his head in attack mode. For me it was a moment of cognitive dissonance. What I was wearing was not consistent with the Spirit of the moment. My sweatshirt was out of place. That moment made me think, what would it be like to have a world where violence was out of place? And a world where poverty and greed were out of place? And a world where destroying the very creation God gave us would be out of place? Isn’t creating such a world the dream of Jesus (“thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”) That was a moment of holy contrast, but there was another moment in Iona that for me was one of holy similarity.
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In the Midst of Change and Heartfelt Differences By the Rev. Canon Rich Simpson In May, I traveled to Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City to participate in a listening event sponsored by the Standing Liturgical Commission on Liturgy and Music (SLCLM). The purpose of this meeting was to engage representatives from Episcopal dioceses where there is marriage equality for gay and lesbian people to respond to the resources that came out of the last General Convention, A049, “I Will Bless You and You Will Be A Blessing.” The event included about 50 people, including the members of the SLCLM, the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies, ecumenical partners and global Anglican partners in addition to these previously mentioned representatives from dioceses where the liturgy is being used. A press release on this event went out in June from the Office of Public Affairs. For my own part, I wanted to share some more personal reflections with you —the people of our diocese. I experienced our conversations in Kansas City to be based on trust, prayer and commitment—using the guidelines of “indaba” listening. I felt, from beginning to end, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our
work together. My small group of eight persons included a priest from New Zealand and an ecumenical partner from the Moravian Church. But each small group had both global and ecumenical partners. I think what I brought to the table first and foremost was having been the rector of a congregation which was not “of one mind” in 2003, when Bishop Gene Robinson was elected and then consecrated as Bishop of New Hampshire. Over the course of the next couple of years we grew in faith at St. Francis’ as we “leaned in” to our differences, rather than pushing them under the carpet. Some people left the congregation and others came, but what emerged over time was a deep respect and love for one another and a willingness to engage one another honestly. My own experience has shaped the way I think about conflict in my new Diocesan role; yes it’s hard, yes it takes us deeper into the Paschal mystery. But we are an Easter people, and this work of reconciliation is not a distraction from the gospel—it is gospel work. By the time I left that parish the vestry had unanimously approved my request to use “I Will Bless You” if asked to do so, and I was. Using that liturgy for a couple whom I adore was one of the more gratifying moments of my ministry. And then, even before I accepted Bishop Fisher’s invitation to serve on his executive team, he asked me to chair the committee that wrote our own diocesan study materials that helped to guide him in his
discernment to ultimately give permission for our clergy to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. I know that people in our diocese, both ordained and lay, are in different places on these matters. One thing I love, however, is that we continue to make room for each other. Recently I heard a story about one of our clerics who is not ready to use this liturgy but put a couple looking to do so in touch with a neighboring priest who will come to the parish to officiate. I value these stories of our life together in the midst of change and heartfelt differences. So that was my own background and some of what I brought to the table in Kansas City. I was a deputy at General Convention in 2012 and I celebrated the passage of A049. Perhaps the biggest insight I gained from this experience is the clearer recognition that the world has changed faster in the past decade or so than the Church, and specifically even in these past few years. Marriage Equality began in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but it’s spreading pretty fast now. So A049 was very clear about offering a “blessing” and not “marriage”—mostly I think because marriage was not yet an option in many places. But that cultural context has shifted. The experience we heard again and again in Kansas City was that this liturgy feels separate but not equal. The overall consensus was that at
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Approaching Hispanic Ministries By the Rev. Tom Callard, Canon Christ Church Cathedral, Missioner for Hispanic/Latino Ministry. When you use Google to search for “Hispanic Ministries” on my computer, the first two things that come up relate to the Episcopal Church. Those first two entries from the Episcopal Church are interesting because they are not like the rest. The first is a link to a video about Hispanic ministry in Nevada. It is not so much a “how to” as it is a showcase video in which clergy, bishops, missioners and members involved with Hispanic Ministries share their stories and their excitement about what’s going on there. It is a lovely video in part because you feel you’ve been let into the life of this group in Nevada. It is the story of a joyous life, being well lived and they have a good future. The second entry that comes up in a Google search is a whole series of videos from the Episcopal Church. Each is about one or two minutes long. There are testimonials from folks about “Por que soy Episcopal” / “Why am I Episcopalian.” And these videos too are joyous and so optimistic regarding not only people’s faith in Christ but their faith in Christ specifically as Episcopalians. These are great videos. I am proud of our Episcopal Church and the direction Hispanic Ministries has taken in the last twenty years - especially under the guidance of current Hispanic/ Latino Missioner Anthony Guillen.
And part of the reason I am proud is that, as we can see in these two examples, the Church sees its role in telling the stories of Hispanic and Latino Episcopalians as to be of the utmost importance. We may not consider the fact that the Hispanic ministries of our church are giving a kind of testimonial here on the Internet—a witnessing on the part of those whose stories are highlighted on the world wide web. But this is different from what you often get when looking into Hispanic Ministries in other places and on other sites. This is not the institution or the academy holding out Hispanic Ministries in the abstract like another course of study to be learned or skill to be mastered. “The stewardship campaign,” “The Sunday School curriculum” “the use of your buildings and grounds.” These are all things to study and skills to master. Hispanic ministries, in contrast, is not presented as a content-filled course of study, but presented as a series of stories which are told as vignettes and photographs of men, women and children with people at worship, singing, gathered speaking English and Spanish. What more can we say about Hispanic ministries, this approach seems to suggest, other than what these people say for themselves? I would suggest that we can essentially do away with the concept of “Hispanic Ministries” and forget that there is an essence to be studied there. At this point in history, so many Latinos speak perfect English and the body of
those Latinos / Hispanos in the world is so diverse that it really begs the question: what is a Hispanic person or Latino person? In a world where Spanish is the second most spoken language, and the Latinos / Hispanics cover from Spain to Mexico down to the bottom of Argentina, how can we capture the essence of a people that is only really united by nothing more than some ancestry and a common language? So what do we study? How do we prepare to minister to such a diverse group? How do we get ready to do Hispanic Ministries in our churches? Well, hearing the stories and listening to the testimonials is certainly one great way to prepare to get involved in part because it does what any good educational training or video does: it demystifies the subject, it lets us know that we are no different from one another — that we have the same needs, desires and concerns. Breaking down this barrier is huge. If you want to study how to do Hispanic ministries, study congregational development instead. Study the way congregations relate to the communities around them. At some point in their evolution congregations decide “yes” they are going to engage in a meaningful way with the new group around them. Hispanic ministries follow that commitment. For those that have decided to engage with the Hispanic community, they find resources, new tools and skills to
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The Rev. Deacon Ann Wood St. Paul’s, Holyoke.
The Rev. Deacon Audrey Cronin Church of the Reconciliation, Webster.
The Rev. Deacon Beatrice Kayigwa Good Shepherd, Clinton.
The Rev. Deacon Donna Kingman Trinity, Milford.
The Rev. Deacon Eric Elley St. John’s, Northampton.
The Rev. Deacon Jane Griesbach St. Matthew’s and St. Luke’s, Worcester.
Diocesan Deacons We are blessed to have seven deacons serving in the diocese. Assigned by the bishop, a deacon is always at the ready to go—to serve the needs of God’s people wherever they are called to serve. Here is a quick update on where our deacons are giving their gifts in service to the Church and to the world. “We thank you for raising up among us faithful servants for the ministry of your Word and Sacraments. We pray that [they] may be to us an effective example in word and action, in love and patience, and in holiness of life.” n Book of Common Prayer, 546-547
The Rev. Deacon Terry Hurlbut, All Saints’, South Hadley.
Diocesan Welcome From the Berkshires to Holden, congregations have called new clergy doing... I want bear witness to it and be an imaginative partner with them.” Janet’s first Sunday at Grace will be Sept. 7.
In 2006 Cricket became Canon for Liturgy for the Diocese of New Hampshire and rector at St. Andrew’s, New London, N.H. Although Cricket is relatively new to the Diocese, we came to know her through the generous sharing of her liturgical and musical gifts at Warden, Vestry, Leadership Day in March.
The Rev. Janet Zimmerman Grace Church in the Berkshires has called the Rev. Dr. Janet W. Zimmerman as Priest-In-Charge. Janet holds a doctorate in Special Education and prior to her ordination in 2010, she was a professor for 16 years at The University of Texas at Austin. Her service to the Church began at All Saints’ Episcopal in Austin, Texas. For the past three years, Janet has served in Washington, D.C. As Associate Rector at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church and Chaplain at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in D.C., Janet engaged the adults and the children in the Gospel story using music, visual arts, teaching and preaching. Janet felt called to Grace—to its unconventional, ministry-driven community without walls. “I’m fascinated by the work that they’re
The Rev. Cricket Cooper On Dec. 4, 2013, the people of St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield, celebrated the new ministry of the Rev. Cricket Cooper, rector since October of that year. Cricket was ordained priest in 1989 after the completion of her studies at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. In her 25 years of ministry, Cricket has served as associate rector in St. Paul, Minn., and Wellesley and Chestnut Hill. Cricket then became Canon for Administration, Education and Liturgy at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, Mo., and diocesan Canon for Liturgy.
The Rev. Nathaniel Anderson On June 1, Pastor Nathaniel Anderson became Priest-In-Charge of Epiphany, Wilbraham. Pastor Nathaniel, as he is called at Christ the King Lutheran, joins several wonderful Lutheran ministers who are serving in our Diocese. His shared priestly ministry at Christ the King and at Epiphany reflects the movement of many hearts and openness to deeper relationship. This expression of “full
communion” requires generosity and courage on the part of both congregations. Nathaniel was raised in North Easton. He is a graduate of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C. Ordained in 2011, Nathaniel’s first call was to Christ the King. His “yes” to this second call came from a deep sense of what we hold in common—the preaching of the Word and the sacraments. Nathaniel is aware that this new configuration is prophetic. “With all these full communion agreements, so often it’s all at the national level. The local church doesn’t actually engage. How wonderful that we can put it into practice in our own communities.”
United States Navy. When asked what drew him to St. Francis’, Pat described the parish ethos. “From the moment I read the St. Francis’ parish profile, I felt an overwhelming sense of genuine love and care in the community of St. Francis’, a deep connection with God’s love and grace.” Pat will begin his ministry as rector of St. Francis’ on Sept. 1.
certified personal finance counselor in a nonprofit counseling agency. In that capacity, he helped people to construct budgets and negotiated debt resolution. The people of Holy Trinity, Southbridge, will celebrate Richard’s new ministry on Sept. 30.
The Rev. Tom Synan
The Rev. Richard Signore
The Rev. Patrick Perkins The people of St. Francis’, Holden, called the Rev. Patrick Perkins to be their new rector. Pat has been serving as Assistant to the Rector at St. John’s, West Hartford, Conn., since his ordination in 2009. Prior to that Pat worked in the corporate sector following seven years of service as a Nuclear Submarine Officer in the
The Rev. Richard Signore was called to Holy Trinity, Southbridge, on June 1. Richard graduated from General Theological Seminary in 1977. He received a THM Degree in Pastoral Care and Counseling from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in 1986. In between those two degrees, Richard served at Trinity Church, Vincentown, N.J., and St. Matthias’s Church in Trenton, N.J. He served as Ecumenical Officer for the diocese there for 12 years. Richard became rector of St. Peter’s Church on-the-Canal, Buzzards Bay in 1988. For the past three years, he has been bi-vocational—priest at the Chapel of All Saints in North Leominster and a
The Rev. Tom Synan was installed as rector of Grace Church, Amherst on Feb. 22. Educated in both finance and law, Tom accepted a call to priesthood in the midst of a successful career. A bank loan officer and later an attorney, Tom was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. After finding his spiritual home in the Episcopal Church, Tom attended Yale Divinity School and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of New York. For the past 13 years he served as associate rector of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City. Tom worked with AIDS orphans in Tanzania, served on the board of Habitat for Humanity and, following the destruction of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, Tom was part of the team of chaplains who blessed remains at Ground Zero. n
Sorrow ... By Victoria Ix, Communications Director/Missioner When news of the sudden death of the Rev. John Debonville reached parishioners, students, colleagues and friends, The late Rev. John there was an uninvited Debonville. but profound experience of the Paschal Mystery to be shared. The shocking loss of a beloved person is never easy to negotiate. Given John’s role as rector of Good Shepherd in West Springfield and his long-time role as professor and chaplain at American International College, it is no wonder that on Friday, July 11, Christ Church Cathedral was filled with those who knew and loved him. The Rev. John Debonville is survived by his wife, Cathy, and two children, Christian and Katrina. We continue to hold this family in our prayers as well as the people of the Church of the Good Shepherd who grieve the loss of their beloved rector. n
The Rev. Jane Tillman is vested with the chasuble.
... and Joy On Saturday June 14, Bishop Fisher ordained to the order of priests the Rev. Dr. Jane Tillman. Jane is Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at The Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge. A longstanding member of St. Paul’s, Stockbridge, Jane asked to be ordained in the parish church. Jane credits the Rev. Tom Damrosch with helping her to discern her vocation in the midst of her service in that community. A licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst, Jane is continuing her full-time work at the Institute. As a “bi-vocational” priest, weekend ministry will be only one of her many gifts to the Episcopal Church. n
Social Justice Commission Issues Study-Paper
• What common values do you share that underlie differences in political views and beliefs about social engagement?
By The Rev. Lisa Green Co-Chair, Social Justice Commission Should the Church engage in the struggle for economic, environmental and social justice? Or is that “mixing religion with politics”? Since Jesus’ day his followers have shared his longing for the reign of God and disagreed about their role in helping to bring it about. Questions like those above are common in churches today, as we learned at our workshop at Wardens and Vestry Day, “How Does a Ministry Become a Movement?” Some Christians are troubled by conversations, sermons, committees or projects that bring the Church into public affairs; others are eager for us to participate in developing social policy to create a more just and peaceful world. To encourage congregations to study and discuss what we feel is an essential aspect of Christian discipleship, the Social Justice Commission has released a reflection that follows on page 10 through 13. We especially hope that church members can engage these important matters in a spirit of diversityin-unity, seeking understanding, not uniformity. Our society offers few opportunities for conversations characterized by careful listening and candid, respectful speech; our churches can be places to practice speaking the truth in love. We invite all congregations in the diocese to designate a time for such
• How can we help each other create new ways to heal injustice, challenge violence, pursue peace, and care for creation?
The Rev. Lisa Green, co-chair of the Social Justice Commission.
a conversation during the month of September, with Sunday, Sept. 21 as a particularly appropriate date for those who are not traveling to New York City for the People’s Climate March as that day has also been designated an International Day of Prayer for Peace. Some questions you might consider for your parish conversation: • What aspects of God’s vision of shalom have been important to you personally or in your congregation (addressing poverty, gun violence, inequality, climate change…)? • What activities are appropriate for the Church’s participation in creating a just society (forums, sermons, public advocacy, civil disobedience, organized political activity…)?
The Commission’s study document is also available on the “Social Justice” page of our diocesan website, along with other resources, and we also have a Facebook group for those who wish to network with others involved in social justice advocacy and action. We are eager to support your conversations and welcome your inquiries, comments and reportbacks on conversations in your parish. n
To read the Social Justice Commission’s Study-Paper, please see Pages 10-13. Page 9
“Not only with our lips, but in our lives”: The Church and Social Justice June 24, 2014 -- The Nativity of John the Baptist Almighty God, Father of all mercies… give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days… --Excerpt from “The General Thanksgiving,” The Book of Common Prayer
We hope in this brief reflection to express to the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts why faithful Christians engage in the struggle for economic, environmental and social justice. We hope to inspire broad participation in the quest for God’s shalom (peace and justice). Please tell us how we can support you in that effort. -- Social Justice Commission • As Christians, we share Jesus’ vision of a world filled with justice, mercy, and peace. Our deepest desire is to join God’s mission to restore all people and all creation to unity with God and each other in Christ. In his first sermon, Jesus proclaimed the healing and liberation that his presence was unleashing in the world. In his last sermon, Jesus declared, “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…”
• Our efforts to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives and (Luke 4:18) liberation to the oppressed spring from our longing to be faithful disciples of the crucified and risen Christ and to bear witness to his liberating love. Like the earliest Christians, we seek to be Jesus’ ongoing presence in the world. We share his longing for the reign of God. “The only reason we dare to imagine a different world [is] because God is before us; God is already there.”
• Our commitment to social justice is renewed at every baptism, when we pledge in the baptismal covenant to “persevere in resisting evil,” to “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ,” to “seek and serve Christ in all persons,” and to “strive for justice and peace among all people.” Doing justice is not just an option for Christians, but an essential aspect of Christian discipleship.
2 I don't preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, “Now is that political or social?” He said, “I feed you.” Because the good news to a hungry person is bread. -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
• Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of God was near, and called for repentance – a change of course, a change of heart. Because God’s kingdom is not from this world (John 18:36), our ultimate commitment is not to the empires of this world, but rather to the realm of mercy and justice that God yearns to bring into being and for which Jesus asked us to pray (“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven”). • Fired by God’s vision of shalom (justice and peace), Christians have a long heritage of engagement in the justice issues of their time, from poverty and slavery to war, racial inequality, sexism, and pollution. Christians have been leaders in the fight for civil rights, in the anti-apartheid movement, the movements for women’s rights and labor rights, the movement for gay and lesbian rights, and the climate justice movement.
• As 21st century Americans, we live in a highly individualistic culture that values consumerism at the expense of sustainability, and the immediate present at the expense of long-term solutions. The gap between rich and poor has never been greater. Now more than ever the pressing issues that we face – from economic inequality, gun violence, militarism, and persistent racism to resource depletion, species extinction, and climate disruption – require united, collective action. Now more than ever the world needs an effective Christian “Do not be social witness and a renewal of the prophetic call to “Let justice roll conformed to this down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” world, but be (Amos 5:24). • Because political engagement often arouses strong feelings and the possibility of conflict, we urge our churches to become sanctuaries for careful listening and for candid, respectful speech. We are called to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). The Church can be a sign to the world of unity in the midst of difference. Although Christians share a commitment to justice, we may disagree regarding the best way to implement it and may hold quite different political views. Nevertheless, we seek to explore the common values that we share and to create a space in which to
transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
understand our differences. We know that all of us are equally welcome at God’s Table and equally beloved by God. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
-- The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
• We confess the temptation to dodge divisive topics among ourselves. Fears of being impolite, unpopular, or of “rocking the boat” may prevent us from naming essential truths. We also confess the temptation to avoid confronting systemic evils from which we benefit or which may seem too powerful to confront and overcome.
• Like the first Christians, we pray for boldness. “When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). • In our struggle to build a better future, we recognize that the wisest and most faithful prophetic actions spring from daily prayerful surrender to God. We hope to proclaim the Gospel boldly but without selfrighteousness. Humbly, we seek God’s ongoing guidance. “Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me” (Psalm 43:3). • We rejoice that we do not have to earn our salvation, for that battle has already been won for us. Serving God depends not on success but on faithfulness. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life” (Ephesians 2:8-9). • Because social inequality is not only woven into our social institutions but also embedded in our own individual psyches, we take responsibility for continuing to free ourselves – and we ask God’s help in freeing us – from unconscious patterns of thought that promote racism, bigotry, and other forms of bias. Without being fully aware of it, we may be benefiting from power and privilege that exclude other people or that exploit and diminish God’s creation. In the midst of a changing society, we need to keep re-examining what our baptismal covenant is challenging us to do. We seek the willingness to listen to the Spirit who leads us into all truth (John 14:26).
After marching alongside Rev. Martin Luther King at the voting rights march in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “I felt my legs were praying.”
• There is no such thing as “staying out of politics.” Everything we do or refrain from doing has political impact. Withdrawing from civic and political engagement may serve to perpetuate an unjust status quo. Remaining silent or staying “neutral” can mean colluding with oppression. • For both theological and constitutional reasons, the Church as an institution should never promote or campaign for a specific political party, party platform, or candidate. However, voting is a non-partisan issue, and churches and clergy can and should encourage church-members to register to vote, to cast their votes, and to be active participants in local and national civic life and public affairs. In their preaching and teaching, clergy should enunciate clear Gospel principles and values according to which political candidates and public policies can be evaluated. Churches and clergy may also advocate for specific public policies and take positions on ballot questions.
4 • Jesus revealed to us that when we feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, and clothe the naked, we do these things to him (Matthew 25:31-46). Developing compassionate social policies is essential to creating a just society in which every individual can flourish. To carry out God’s mission, it is important to enlarge the scope of our efforts, so that in addition to offering charity and service, we also engage in public advocacy and the struggle for justice. • At certain times our conscience may call us to participate in acts of non-violent civil disobedience to protest laws, policies, and social systems that lead to injustice or oppression. Such actions can be a form of prayer when they are undertaken in a spirit of love. • Participating in God’s movement to create a world that is just, sustainable, and peaceful not only conveys blessings to those we serve, it also gives our lives purpose and joy. As Robert Rainer (former director of Kirkridge Retreat & Study Center), once said, “The Gospel is just so much wind until we raise our lives against it like a sail.”
Social Justice Commission The Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas --Missioner for Creation Care Lee Cheek --Grace Church in the Southern Berkshires The Rev. Lisa Green (Co-Chair) --St. John’s, Sutton The Rev. Dr. Harvey Hill (CoChair) --St. David’s, Agawam The Rev. Deacon Beatrice Kayigwa --Good Shepherd, Clinton The Rev. Dr. Richard Simpson --Canon to the Ordinary The Rev. Peter Swarr --St. Mark’s, East Longmeadow Margaret Sweeney --St. James’, Greenfield John Zeugner --St. Luke’s, Worcester
Organized political activity is also a natural extension of ministries many churches are already engaged in. It is the difference between collecting cans of soup for a food bank, or promoting public policy expanding access to food stamps, WIC, school lunches and other feeding programs. It is the difference between giving spare change to the homeless, or promoting public policy creating more affordable housing and job training. It is the difference between caroling at the nursing home at Christmas, and promoting public policy ensuring increased Medicaid funding and better pay for nursing home workers. It is the difference between soliciting walkathon donations for breast cancer, heart disease or kidney disease, and advocating for better access to health care. -- The Rev. Leslie K. Sterling, “The Intersection of Church and State”
For further study, we suggest: Harold T. Lewis, Christian Social Witness (The New Church’s Teaching Series, Volume 10), Cambridge, MA: Cowley Publications, 2001 The Rev. Leslie K. Sterling, “The Intersection of Church and State,” MECA (the newsletter of the Massachusetts Episcopal Clergy Association), Fall 2012 [http://www.mecaclergy.org/newsletters/meca_newsletter_Fall2012.pdf] This short article addresses such common concerns as: “Churches should stay out of politics. Churches can't get involved in elections because of the separation of church and state. Churches should lose their tax-exempt status if they take political positions.” Jim Wallis, The (Un)Common Good: How the Gospel Brings Hope to a World Divided, Ada, MI: Brazos Press, Baker Publishing Group, 2014 Walter Wink, The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium, New York/London: (A Galilee Book), Doubleday, 1998
The Berkshire Organizing Sponsoring Project By the Rev. Jennifer Gregg, Missioner for Servant Leadership For years now, I have watched downtown parishes in Pittsfield serve thousands of meals to the people of Pittsfield. Food pantries serve at least 300 families a week. Every November, collectively, we put together 1,000 Thanksgiving baskets. The numbers are staggering. The need is great. And while we have continued to meet the immediate need, the chronic issue of food insecurity goes unaddressed. The systems that keep so many in the United States in this perpetual state go unchanged. This is complicated by the fact that we as parishes, have continued to go about this work of “feeding” and ministering to the larger community in isolation from one another. And yet, what we had come to know from experience was no single community had enough voice and human power to take on the work necessary for systemic change. So, we kept doing what we have always done: working on it alone. Approximately a year ago, with the help of community organizer Wendy Krom, faith communities throughout Berkshire County began to consider what it would be like to take our work of meeting the needs within our community from a direct service model (providing food to others, as one example) to begin to address the deeper systemic issues that keep people within the cycle of poverty. With Wendy’s assistance,
it was an invitation to take our work deeper and broader, with the hopes of creating lasting systemic change. It was also speaking to a growing realization that we are collectively coming to: we need each other. We cannot be a church or individual parish alone. It just does not work anymore. The paradigm needs to shift. James Lumsden, pastor of First Church (UCC) in Pittsfield, articulated it this way at a recent organizing meeting: “My friends in AA like to put it this way: If you always do, what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. The people of this community are hurting. Too many are already grieving, too many are already wounded and demoralized; too many already believe that our churches and religious organizations have just given up on them.” Addressing the root causes of these issues, is not just about delivering more or better assistance. It is about living into a vision of God’s kingdom that can lead to healthier families, communities, congregations and be an ongoing force for good in our region. But community organizing isn’t just about attaining systemic change, as if it were the only goal, it is about relationship building: relationships between congregations, relationships between parishioners, relationships with those who are experiencing the very things we are trying to address. It is about coming alongside and walking with one another and getting to know the “neighbors” we often interact with on a daily basis but often do not move beyond cordial gratuities. It
is about learning to love our neighbors by knowing more fully who they are. Through “house meetings” or listening sessions, congregations are invited in small groups to answer questions such as: “What is like to be your age and live in this economy?” or, “Tell a story of someone you know who is struggling to make ends meet in this economy.” The stories that emerge are profound. Issues are raised and relationships are built through honest and transparent sharing. Those stories and issues are then compiled for a regional assembly meeting where participants are able to hear the broad based stories that are emerging around the county. As we have embarked on this journey within the Berkshires, it is clear that the timing to do this work together has never been more urgent or timely. The power of this time to both transform the church and our communities was captured earlier this summer during our first assembly meeting, “Bringing Faith and Justice Together.” We heard reports from 11participating congregations, while new congregations took part for the first time. Stories were shared about the real needs and concerns of those in the community. At the conclusion of the meeting, the group discerned two issues we need to begin to work on as a body: food insecurity and transportation. Research teams are now being put together to understand the scope of each of these issues and an actionable goal will be chosen in the next several months. The energy, excitement and bonds of affection after this decision was made was palpable. n
Coming to New York, Praying with Our Legs By the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said it first: “I felt my legs were praying.” That is how he described his experience of marching alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the voting rights march in Selma, Ala. We have a historic opportunity to experience for ourselves the power of walking in witness to our faith. On Sunday, Sept. 21, people from across the country will participate in what promises to be the biggest climate march in American history. Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary-General, has summoned international leaders in government, business, finance and civil society to New York for the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit, as part of a global effort “to mobilize action and ambition on climate change.” [http:// www.un.org/climatechange/climate-summit-2014/] The People’s Climate March intends to amplify the urgency of that message, as tens of thousands of people who care about our planet’s future take to the streets of New York in a dignified, family-friendly, high-energy and historic march. According to organizers’ current plans, people of faith will march together. I like to imagine that lively crowd and its colorful tapestry of diverse religious symbols and vestments. I like to imagine the sight of banners held aloft from various churches in our diocese. I like to imagine the joy of walking alongside countless Episcopalians and other Christians and alongside countless Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist
The Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. and Hindu men, women and children as together we bear witness to our shared faith in the goodness of life as it has evolved on this planet. Yes, this event takes place on a Sunday afternoon. What shall we do about Sunday morning worship? Maybe clergy and members of your congregation can share prayers and a simple Eucharist as you ride the bus to New York City. Maybe your church can hold a special send-off worship service the night before. Maybe you can ask your church to pray for you on Sunday morning as you and other members of your congregation head out to the march. As I imagine us walking through the streets of Manhattan, I can already sense our common commitment to protect and heal the global atmosphere upon which all life depends. We will march because we love the God who created us, and because we cherish the marvel of God’s Creation. We will march because we love our neighbors, which include not only the people now suffering from the effects of climate change, such as rising seas and extreme storms, but also our non-human kin that share the planet with us, to say nothing of our chil-
dren and our children’s children. We will march because we are committed to creating a safe, just, sustainable, and peaceful future. As theologian Jim Wallis, the founder of Sojourners, comments in a recent blog about climate change, “We should not and cannot leave our children’s children with a fundamentally different planet. Perhaps we should replace the classic image of a polar bear on a small floating piece of ice with an image of our great grandchild standing in line for his or her water ration.” [http:// sojo.net/blogs/2014/06/05/takingclimate-change-seriously] • To sign up for the People’s Climate March and for more information, visit: http://peoplesclimate. org/march/. You will receive updates as plans for the march come together. • To ride one of the buses heading from your area of Massachusetts to New York City, visit: http://www. betterfutureproject.org/buses-tonyc/. • If you would like to ask the vestry of your church to endorse the People’s Climate March and would like me to send you a sample vestry statement, please drop me an email (email@example.com). Then let me know what your vestry decides! • If you are a member of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and would like to join our Creation Care group on Facebook (which is by invitation only), please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. n
Community Café Feeds the Homeless Jesus By The Rev. Jim Craig, St. Mark’s, Leominster The people of St. Mark’s Leominster have been on a most incredible journey over the past several months. At a January board meeting of Our Father’s House, I heard of how the hotels in Leominster were filled with homeless families from all over Massachusetts. Included in those families were 125 children that have enrolled in our public schools. That evening I brought this news to the vestry. No one was aware of this situation. No one in Leominster was talking about it. The entire vestry decided that something must be done to assist these families, and over a period of weeks, we connected with city and school officials to learn how we might help. Leaders from our parish met with the superintendent of Leominster schools, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club; at this point the number of school-aged children had grown to just over 190. In one hotel alone there are 110 adults and 177 children. It was decided at that meeting one of the best things we could do was to provide a meal at the Boys and Girls Club once a week. On Sunday, March 23, I presented the idea of offering a meal once a week to our parishioners. I asked everyone to pray about serving in this new ministry and if they felt that God was calling them to it, to come to an informational meeting on Monday, March 31. That evening over 40 parishioners attended and signed up to help. We named
Community Café “staff.” the new ministry Community Café. One of the challenges we faced was how to get the families to the Boys and Girls Club each week for the dinner. With the help of the school department we were able to get a school bus to pick them up at the hotels and then to take them home after the dinner. Almost immediately people in Leominster began to talk about these families and discuss ways of assisting them. One individual called a meeting of all the churches in Leominster to discuss ways each church could help. At the conclusion of our second meeting together, one parish offered to bring first aid kits for every family to our next dinner. Another church offered to bring toothbrushes and toothpaste to hand out to all of the families at Community Café. The synagogue committed to bring soap for all of the families. The Spanish American Club sent a representative to assist the families with navigating through the mounds of paperwork they have been given by the state and to help direct them to the different support organizations and
services available to them. Our first dinner served 89 children and parents on May 13 under the leadership of Brenda Milner. We were not only able to provide a hot meal for all of them, we also sent them all home with “to go” containers. One little girl asked me if there would be dancing. I promised we would have music the following week and that, “Yes, there will be dancing.” One mother said, “It is so nice to eat at a table again.” We have no idea where God will take this ministry. We are pretty sure it will expand in all kinds of different ways. We are seeing that already. Each volunteer has only been required to do two things. First, they are asked to commit to this ministry for at least one year. The other requirement is to get the name of the child that touches their heart and pray for him or her every day. They have all gladly accepted. n
Compassion To Go
Ecumenical effort in Leicester yields 20,000 meals
By Victoria Ix, Communications Director/Missioner It’s called “Stop Hunger Now” (SHN), and this non-profit helps interested groups feed the world. On June 8, three churches gathered volunteers to pack nutritious meals for hungry people. This was no spurof-the-moment event. Planning began in February to raise the funds necessary—25 cents per meal. Christ Episcopal Church, Rochdale, the First Congregational Church of Leicester and Leicester Unitarian Church came together to make this joint spring mission a reality. Through a variety of fundraisers, the three congregations (whose combined ASA is under 100) managed to raise $5,000 which equals 20,000 nutritious meals. Here’s how it works. Once the money has been raised and the volunteers identified, Stop Hunger Now delivers bags of rice, soybased protein, dried vegetables and packing materials to the parish. Everything needed to portion and pack meals for global transport is included. The meals are picked up and SHN ships them out. Over 70 percent of the meals are delivered to development programs—school feeding programs, vocational training programs, medical clinics. Another 10 percent are reserved for global emergencies—natural
On the line at Christ Church, Rochdale. disasters or refugee resettlement. The meals have a shelf life of two years and are easy to transport and distribute. The packing event was successful on several levels. Clearly, 20,000 meals will make a difference in 20,000 lives. One of the Christ Church volunteers, Karis Post, reflected on the experience. “It was a hot June day as we donned our hairnets and plastic gloves. Morphing into groups of five—one for spice, two for protein, three for veggies, four for rice and five to hold the bag under the funnel and keep the other four organized—we took our stations. We gathered as strangers and found that each of us had a role to play— gong-banger, bag-stuffer, weigher, sealer, packer, supply-distributor…. we became part of a single-hearted organism, focused with laser-like intensity on our goal: to pack 20,000 plus meals to be distributed world-wide as part we shared in the mission of Stop Hunger Now. We
chatted nervously as we prepared to learn our assigned tasks, introducing ourselves to our coworkers – seeing the multitude of 50-lb. bags of rice, bags of protein, bags of dehydrated vegetables, bags of bags of spices, knowing that we would be using most of these supplies in the space of the next two hours or so….the task we had set ourselves seemed immense. But there was something we didn’t count on… It must have been the Pentecost red, because as we worked the Spirit circulated with the cool(ish) breeze through the open windows, knitting us into a food-packing Leviathan, working with one will to accomplish the task we had set ourselves. From the 3-year-old to the 93-yearold, we each had an important role to play; alone the task would have been endless and impossible, but together, we celebrated each thousand meals with the bang of the gong and a round of applause. What a day!” The Rev. Molly Scherm, rector of Christ Church, acknowledged the internal and external blessings of collaborative service. “The experience of working together both within the parish and with the other congregations has provided a powerful sense of the fellowship that comes of having a shared mission.” For more information about Stop Hunger now and its patented food packaging program, visit: www. stophungernow.org n
The Children Just Kept Coming By Beth Moeller Trinity Church, Milford Once arriving in Santo Domingo and spending a day in the city, we started out on a five-hour bus ride from Santo Domingo to Jimani, a town bordering on Haiti and one of the only check-points between the two countries. It is in the poorest area of the Dominican Republic next to one of the poorest areas in the Western Hemisphere. It is also one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Imagine the contrasts—trash and poverty everywhere you look, yet everyone you meet are the most welcoming, gracious and giving. Part of our mission in Jimani is to run a Vacation Bible School each morning. Last year the VBS had a record day of about 265 children and while we were planning for this year’s VBS had “dreamed” that we might get to 300. As we gathered each morning for breakfast at 7:30 you could look out the window and see children already lined up at the door of the church, waiting for the opening at 8:15; and looking down the street you would just see them coming. An amazing sight indeed. By Friday we had 422 children, from pre-school age to 16 attending! Imagine 422 youth in the pews right now, singing praises to God, dancing in their seats and you cannot help but be drawn in. One of the women from the Cathedral in Springfield is a
The mission team and their new friends. wonder, Anibelka, and there is nothing to compare to watching her in action. Gail and I realized early on that one of the “coolest” places to be in the church was near the front door and that is where we got a view of everything going on. From our Dominican Partners breaking into dance to the skits put on by our team to act out the day’s lesson. It all came together as each day the children just kept coming. Now, when you’ve planned for maybe 300 kids, and you suddenly have about 400, arts and crafts becomes a bit of a challenge. The only thing that comes to mind is “Loaves and Fishes,” we just figured it out and for the most part it worked. What also happens is that you realize that no matter how many kids were there, you are able still to make attachments. There were plenty of tears when it came time to leave on Sunday. Another part of our mission in Jimani is to deliver food to those in need —now I’m not sure how any of us would ever be able to distinguish those in need in this town—as everywhere you look are those in need, but with the help of Mirabel we were able to deliver food. Imagine, if you will, the 18 of us with bright orange
bags over our shoulders, accompanied by a group of children (I call them the camp groupies) also helping us to carry bags, climbing into the hills surrounding the center of town. Now imagine coming to a small structure no bigger than the size of maybe your master bathroom, where several people live—it may or may not have a roof—there are goats, chickens and other assorted animals roaming, the ground is dust and dirt, and there is trash scattered all over. You know that there is hunger and am pretty sure that this one small bag is not going to go too far. Now imagine that you are greeted in the most gracious way, a chair is brought out for you, there is no urgency to take the food and run, but there is a hospitality that I know I’ve not experienced before. So many times on the trip the 18 of us would share that the sense of family and community, the pace, and the graciousness of the people of Jimani is what we are missing in our day-to-day here. At one point I was talking to Father Tom, our diocesan Hispanic Missioner about the day we had spent last Continued on Next Page
Uganda Bound By The Rev. Deacon Jane Griesbach What do two priests, two deacons and three members of the laity have in common? We’re off to Uganda September 4 to 15. We’ll be with Deacon Beatrice Kayigwa in her native country, and we’ll spend time with the Connect-Africa Foundation, staying at its guesthouse in Namugongo. Beatrice has tears when she thinks about the joy of showing off her beloved Uganda. She’ll bring us to see her school, her church, her family and those who have had influence in her Christian formation. Beatrice thanks everyone in the Diocese for caring about the people of Uganda and especially to those who visit in September. “Thank you for caring for all the children and people you will meet.” We’ve all been involved with Connect-Africa Foundation (CAF) for years. Now we go to see firsthand the work being done on the ground. Connect Africa helps children, mostly orphaned by AIDS, start or finish their education — kindergarten through university. CAF also grants no-interest microloans to folks in the community to start up small businesses. The people not only become self-sufficient but also help the community as a whole. Project Chicken Scratch (think funky quilted chickens) has given $5,000 to this effort and the loans, once repaid, roll over into another loan in the same community. CAF has had great success with loans being repaid and is teaching folks how to save money. Lynn Auer-
Vacation Bible School for 400.
From Previous Page
The Rev. Deacon Jane Griesback. bach, PhD in Clinical Psychology, is the founder of the organization. Lynn and Charles Kalule are the co-directors of CAF. Charles is a Ugandan with a degree in counseling. “I thank God who has enabled you all to support CAF in such unbelievable ways. Like a candle lighting another candle to shed light in a place in need of light—that’s what you have done. I can never thank you enough.” Charles lives in Uganda and Lynn lives there part of the year. See www.connect-africa. org for more information. Church of the Good Shepherd, Clinton, St. John’s, Sutton, and St. Luke’s, Worcester, have all sponsored a child/children’s education through Connect-Africa. We can’t wait to meet them in person! We hope this will be the first of future trips. Please hold us in prayer as we prepare for this trip: the Rev. Will Bergmann, Maria Bergmann, the Rev. Kathryn White, John White, Marialyce Worden, the Rev. Deacon Beatrice Kayigwa and me.
Saturday—and in particular the two hours from about 4 to 6 that day. In those two hours—our group climbed into the mountain to deliver food to families—along the way we met a young man from Haiti, Anthony, who had lost his entire family in the earthquake and Father Tom spoke with him to learn his story. We came to another large family and after some brief intros we all gathered around in prayer. As we made our way down along a brook path, two small children decided to come along, I imagine in the hopes of getting food. As we peered around the corner of a house that even we thought must be abandoned we saw an old woman looking around. Ani went over to give her a bag of food and we learned that there were five others in that house and she said to Ani “God answered my prayers today”. It is hard to find the word to describe this experience, and if I could people would be lined up to go on the trip. If you visit the DR and Jimani, bang the drums and tambourines loudly and with great joy. Amen. n
Why Should We ‘Believe Out Loud?’ By Victoria Ix, Communications Director/Missioner When I traveled to Chicago to meet other “Episcopal Communicators,” I met a man named Christian Paolino. Christian is the National Stakeholders’ Council Chair & Newark Diocesan Organizer for Integrity USA & Believe Out Loud. Yes, that’s a mouthful, but Christian has a day job. The advocacy, blogging, communications ministry is his service to the Church. He invited me to attend a “Believe Out Loud” Congregational Workshop being held in our Diocese at All Saints’, Worcester, on June 21. When I arrived at the church that Saturday morning, I came ready to cover a story and armed with my question: Why should we “Believe Out Loud?” “Believe Out Loud” is a transdenominational program designation. Integrity—which has led the movement toward inclusivity in the Church for over 40 years, has endorsed this program and given it an Episcopal twist. You may have seen the designation in your travels or, perhaps, in your own congregation. Parishes that elect to embrace this program may include this in all their branding and collateral media: Saint _____________ is a “Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation.” Whenever you see this assurance on a sign or in a bulletin, it means that the congregation has publicly affirmed inclusivity—specifically with regard, but not limited to, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender [LGBT] persons. The parish has had a focused dialogue, formatted
Christian Paolino of “Believe Out Loud.” a welcome message that reflects their missional identity and hospitality and it has identified a contact within the congregation. But, why is all this necessary? Our Diocese is in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts—the first state to legalize marriage equality. Rainbow flags fly alongside the Episcopal shield in many communities and across denominations. Aren’t we over that hump? Why, I asked myself, should we “Believe Out Loud?” In preparing for the Worcester workshop, I read a piece that Christian wrote. His words gave me the answer to my question before I set out to cover the story at All Saints’. “For those of us living in a place where our government, our church, and our culture have had time to grow used to and accept this idea, it is easy to become casual about
what we have been given. Many of our congregations welcome LGBT people, to the point where we no longer even discuss it. This is a good and joyful thing, and what we at Integrity had in mind when Louie Crew led the church onto this road back in 1974. However, even here, there are many who have not heard the good news. LGBT men and women, even in our relatively progressive part of the country continue to face discrimination and violence, and —thanks to particular slant of the media machine—their understanding of church is not the welcoming place that we know, but rather one that is at worst dangerous and at best irrelevant to their lives. Thus our efforts to engage them are frequently met with sadness, indifference or even hostility.
Bishop Fisher walks in the 2014 Northampton PRIDE with the Rev. Catherine Munz, the Rev. Eric Elley, the Rev. Tom Synan, St. John’s, Northampton, and Grace, Amherst. Not too many years ago, I was just like them. Rejected by the church of my birth, I did not think I would ever enter a house of worship again. But because of an Episcopal congregation that intentionally created outward signs of its welcome, I once again found a home in a church community after a long absence. What is more, I have found that my mission is to help others who are in the same position that I was.” So what happens at a “Believe Out Loud” Congregational Workshop? If you agree to host one, two wonderful facilitators will come and run the workshop in your space. Christian and Marie AlfordHarkey, co-author of Bisexuality: Making Visible the Invisible in Faith Communities, traveled to Worcester from New Jersey and Connecticut, respectively, the night before. Marie is deputy director of Religious Institute and a writer/researcher in the area of bisexuality. Her knowledge of the full spectrum of human sexuality changes daily as new research becomes available.
The large space at All Saints’ allowed for a generous semicircle around the presenters and that construct made sharing and interaction easy in both direcMarie Alfordtions. Christian Harkey. and Marie have given this workshop many times in many dioceses, but their approach to a new sea of faces feels fresh. Participants came from several dioceses in New England as well as three parishes from Western Massachusetts. After my role as observer was explained and the ground rules of confidentiality unpacked, the workshop began. The first half of the day is designed to meet everyone where they are with regard to LGBT issues and to help participants identify where their congregation may be. They include a “basic” overview of some terms and constructs for understanding the gift of hu-
man sexuality. Using video and story, participants hear about the Church’s journey into inclusion—a 40-year journey that includes so much more than the ordination of the first openly-gay bishop. The canonical inclusion of transgender people at the last General Convention in 2012 tells us that we are still making the circle of Christ’s love bigger yet. The afternoon session of the workshop is dedicated to the process—what has to be done by the parish to receive the designation—a “Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation.” Every participant gets a workbook with all the slides and information needed to begin the process with their parish. I studied mine at great length. Having had some experience with communal processes like World Café, Theory U and Appreciative Inquiry, I found the theory of Gracious Engagement a wonderful technique for helping good people who feel differently about something to be in conversation. Mutual respect, listening more than speaking, agreeing to disagree, meeting people where they are, concern for the relationship—these values mark a holy conversation, according to the Believe Our Loud workshop guide. Any parish would be blessed to appropriate the skills of Gracious Engagement—for any communal discernment process. Four parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts have formally registered as “Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregations.” If you are interested in finding the next workshop in Province I or if you want to host a workshop at your parish, contact Christian at email@example.com. n
Marked for Mission By the Rev. Hilary BogertWinkler, Interim Missioner for Christian Formation On July 9, nine youths and two adults from the diocese boarded a train to Philadelphia for the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) and “3 Days of Urban Mission.” Over 700 youths and over 200 adults from throughout the Episcopal Church gathered for EYE to pray, talk and think about the five marks of mission: tell, teach, tend, transform and treasure. The event opened with incredible worship, in which we heard from the Rev. Stephanie Spellers about the importance of youth to the church’s mission. Spellers encouraged youths to teach the church about what mission looks like and to reach out to those around them to spread the Gospel. On Friday, the group went on a pilgrimage around Philadelphia. We visited historic Christ Church (where the first General Convention was held), St. Martin-in-theFields, and Episcopal Community Services. At ECS, an emergency shelter for women and children, some of the residents and the staff told us about life in the shelter, the challenges facing the homeless living in these shelters and what we can do to help. The day ended with a party at the top of the “Rocky Stairs” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, complete with cheesesteaks, water ice and tomato pie. Saturday morning we heard from the Rev. Becca Stevens about the amazing and Gospel-filled work she does helping to get women off the streets of Nashville. Hearing
EYE 2014 participants at their Urban Mission site.
EYE 2014 Participants were: The Rev. Hilary Bogert-Winkler; Arianna Burch, St. John’s, Ashfield; Ben Gilsdorf, Grace, Amherst; Bethany MacGregor, St. Matthew’s, Worcester; Casandra Moss, Grace, Amherst; Alex Perry, Grace, Amherst; Thomas Perry, Grace, Amherst; Jimmy Pickett, Christ Church, Rochdale; Karis Post, Christ Church, Rochdale; Angela Rossie, St. Matthew’s, Worcester; and Noah Zobel, Grace, Amherst.
the story of Magdalene House and Thistle Farms inspired everyone in the room, and the Gospel message that “love heals” was inscribed on all of our hearts. The day concluded with a Eucharist at which Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori presided and Bishop Michael Curry preached. “Our mission,” Curry said, “is to love this world and ourselves into the very dream of God!” Curry’s sermon had the crowd on its feet, clapping and cheering and ready to follow Jesus’ call that we “GO!”
On Sunday, about 300 youth moved from Villanova to Penn to begin our “3 Days of Urban Mission.” The Diocese of Western Massachusetts teamed up with the Diocese of Rio Grande and worked at St. John’s in Norristown. While there, we spent time cleaning up the cemetery, beautifying the church and helping with the “city camp” held there for neighborhood children. We learned about the challenges facing Norristown Continued on Page 29
Grace Abounds at Grace, Oxford
By Victoria Ix, Communications Director/Missioner
Grace, Oxford, has been in the news a lot lately. First, the parish became the recipient of a $45,000 grant to repair the electrical infrastructure of the 149-year-old church. A month later, Grace was back in the news as Hodges House—a property the parish sold to the South Middlesex Opportunities Council (SMOC)— was opened as a transitional house for the homeless. Soon after, I received a call from Father Al Zadig. Father Al invited me to come out to Grace and hear the good news—to see for myself what God and good people have done together. Father Al smiles easily and his eyes sparkle as he talks about the community he has served for six years. It was an animated hour of conversation in the parish office. Father Al invited Russ Rheault, Senior Warden and the Rev. Stan Bohall, parish administrator, to our meeting. (The Rev. George Warren could not be present on the day of my visit.) Eventually, Father Al invited the parish secretary to join us as well. The circle expands easily at Grace. I ask them all what’s been happening. Even though I know the details, it is the affect and ethos that interests me now. They tell me about the community that gathers each Sunday—how the congregation has grown in the past six years. Nearly two-thirds of the parish is “new.” Sunday ASA has grown from 30 to 90. Both Father Al and Russ are incredulous.
Grace, Oxford’s, welcome sign. They don’t know why people are coming. They are just glad that they’ve come. Russ described his “plan” for Grace Episcopal. He said he had three goals when he became senior warden. “1) Call a priest, 2) sell Hodges House and 3) renovate the property and grow the church.” It would seem that Russ needs a new list. Father Al arrived six years ago—after retiring several times. Hodges House—a building constructed by the family who built the church, which had fallen into desperate disrepair—was sold to SMOC in 2010 for $200,000. Choosing to sell to SMOC was a values-based decision. Although there were some in the neighborhood who had concerns about homeless persons coming to live across the street from the Grace preschool, Father Al told the Telegram, in an article it published in June, “We couldn’t feel more secure. We will know who is here and who is watching them. Do you know who is living next to you? I believe everyone deserves a second
chance —and a third chance.” Hodges House will become home to 15 previously homeless individuals and Father Al sees the church as a resource for its newest neighbors. “My hope is that the parish may be helpful for the people here. Think how many lives might be touched,” he said in the Telegram story. Once the house was sold, the vestry got to work on the dilapidated rectory and office. Then, before the community could relax a bit, they discovered that all the wiring in the church has to be replaced and a new septic system was needed to keep their preschool open. Russ Rheault talked about the power of prayer throughout— especially with regard to the enrollment at Grace preschool. They were close to shutting it down, and now, the parish school is thriving—giving children of all faiths and incomes an early education. So, now that the parish has grown in size, the time seemed just right to launch a capital campaign. “When did that start?” I asked. “Fifteen minutes ago,” Russ answered. The $45,000 grant from the Janet Malser Humanities Trust is the seed money for the campaign. Already, electricians are working underneath the nave. “We were in real danger and we did not know it,” Father Al said. With no endowment to depend on, this community has already raised $75,000 of the projected $112,000. There is a spirit of gratitude among them. “No gift is too small,” Zadig says. Continued on Page 30
Bishops’ Legacy Fellowship Leaving a Legacy of Faith…
By E. John White Missioner for Legacy Stewardship
Ruth M. Barton* St. John’s, Northampton
John H. Campbell Holy Trinity, Southbridge
Robert H. Bascom* St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield
Mary Louise S. Carey* Epiphany, Wilbraham
Janice Beetle St. Philip’s, Easthampton
Alice S. Carr* St. Francis’, Holden
Rene and Laurie Beauchemin All Saints’, South Hadley
John and Lee Cheek Grace, Great Barrington
The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith and Marilyn Olson Newark, NJ
Edward Cobden Grace, Great Barrington
We are indeed grateful for the Legacy Gifts from 242 parishioners whose names appear on this list. It is a tribute to all of us in this diocese to have so many who have made gifts that will support the mission and ministry of so many parishes in the years to come. Of particular note 95% of all those who make a Legacy Gift do so directly to their parish. Gifts of all sizes are welcomed! If you have not yet made a legacy gift, please think about joining all those who have by becoming a member of the Bishops’ Legacy Fellowship. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-928-3705.
Grant Bond Southwick Community Church
Bishops’ Legacy Fellowship
The Rev. Canon Stephen P. Booth Chester, NS CAN
Hannah Abbott Grace, Amherst
The Rev. Barbara and The Rev. Paul Briggs Manchester, CT
Steve and Sue Abdow Grace, Amherst
David W. Brown St. Philip’s, Easthampton
Mr. and Mrs. Charles* W. Dolby Grace, Great Barrington
Douglas W. Adler Grace, Amherst
Robert K. Brown St. James’, Greenfield
Janith F. Dorsey* St. Francis, Holden
William B. Allen, II St. James, Greenfield
Madeline N. Buerger St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield
Thomas K. Doyle, Sr. Grace, Great Barrington
Mrs. R. Bruce Andrews St. Paul’s, Stockbridge
Elliott and Doris Buell All Saints’, Worcester
Andrea Driscoll All Saints’, Worcester
The Rev. Noel A. Bailey Warwick, RI
Constance G. Bullard St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield
The Rev. J. Bruce and Ruth K. Duncan All Saints’, N. Adams
Karen Banta St. John’s, Northampton
Paula and Jim Buonomo St. Matthew’s, Worcester
Paul and Linda Dupont St. Paul’s, Holyoke
Sue and David Barnard St. Michael’s, Worcester
Glen Campbell Nativity, Northboro
Utako S. Dwyer Christ Church Cathedral
As of July 1, 2014
Marcia D. Bellermann* Christ Church, Fitchburg Pia G. Bellinger Christ Church/Trinity Lutheran, Sheffield Elizabeth and John Bednarski St. James’, Greenfield The Rev. Richard and Mrs. Danielle Bellows Atonement, Westfield Marilyn Berthelette St. James’, Greenfield The Rev. Alden Besse Vineyard Haven, MA The Rev. Heather and Jason Blais St. James’, Greenfield
Nancy S. Cobden Grace, Great Barrington Jessie M. Cole St. Philip’s, Easthampton Reggie and Linda Cooper Trinity, Lenox The Rev. Peter Courtney Athens, GA The Rev. Leonard and Mrs. Hallie Cowan Nativity, Northboro Claire Cox St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield The Rev. Susan and Mr. Stuart Crampton St. John’s, Williamstown Susan Duncan Dana Trinity, Lenox Inga Dean* Trinity, Lenox The Rev. Dallas and Mrs. Cynthia Decker Bridger, MT Joyce D. Desorcy St. Paul’s, Holyoke
The Rev. William D. Dwyer St. Peter’s, Springfield
Arthur Hines St. Paul’s, Gardner
Patricia Linscott All Saints’, N. Adams
Prudence Dyer St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield
The Rt. Rev. Rob Hirschfield and Polly Ingraham Concord, NH
Mary Lovvorn St. John’s, Willamstown
Kent W. Faerber Grace, Amherst John H. and Priscilla H. Farquharson St. Mark’s, East Longmeadow Mary G. Fern St. Paul’s, Gardner David C. Finch All Saints’, Worcester The Rt. Rev.Douglas and Rev. Betsy Fisher Christ Church Cathedral Eve Forbes St. John’s, Northampton Dr. Betty L. Forest St. Michael’s, Worcester Diane Forsyth St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield William Frazier St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield Ruth C. Giard* All Saints’, Worcester James and Virginia Giddens Trinity, Lenox Todd and The Rev. Laura Goodwin St. Andrew’s, North Grafton Richard and Susan Gore Grace, Great Barrington Patricia D. Gulachenski St. John’s, Worcester Allan and Jean Hallett St. Mark’s, Leominster Robert Harris and Thomas Kreek St. John’s, Ashfield Mrs. Sinclair D. Hart St. John’s, Williamstown Matthew and Heather Heim Trinity, Lenox The Rev. Frances Ann Hills Grace, Great Barrington Achsah E. Hinckley* Holy Trinity, Southbridge
Joyce Hokans All Saints’, Worcester The Rev. Raymond and Mrs. Beverly Ann Howe Cary, NC Wallace H. Janes* Christ Church Cathedral Richard S. Jackson Trinity, Lenox Arthur* and Janet Jones All Saints’, Worcester Mick and Barbara Kalber Holy Trinity, Southbridge Alice M. Kells St. James’, Greenfield Karolyn A. Kemp* St. James’, Greenfield Jeff and Emily Kitross Trinity, Lenox Gladys King All Saints’, N. Adams The Revs. Perry and Donna Kingman All Saints’, Worcester Shirley Kolby Grace, Chicopee Joan F. Kurber St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield The Rev. Donna J. Larson Grace, Chicopee Beverly Lavallee Holy Trinity, Southbridge Mary Lou Lavallee Brunswick, ME Susan LeBourdais St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield Mark and Deborah Leonas Grace, Amherst Stephen and Joyce Lewis Epiphany, Wilbraham Crawford and Ann Lincoln Christ Church Cathedral
Mrs. Richard Marcure St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield Debbie Mathews Finch All Saints’, Worcester Bob and Daphne McGill St. John’s, Williamstown Joan Miller McKelvey St. James’, Greenfield Margo E. McMahon Grace, Amherst David C. Melrose Cape Coral, FL The Rev. Canon A. Pierce Middleton* Sykesville, Md. John Arthur and Trudy Miller Christ Church/Trinity Lutheran, Sheffield Marnie Miller Trinity, Lenox Bill and Paula Morey St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield The Rev. Eliot Moss St. John’s, Ashfield The Rev. Canon Pam Mott W. Springfield The Very Rev. James Munroe Christ Church Cathedral The Rev. William M. Murray Trinity, Milford Patricia B. Moynahan St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield Ben and Dolores Neely All Saints’, Worcester Lois Lyon Neuman St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield James and Caitlin Normington St. Mark’s, Leominster Kathleen O’Connor and Thomas Ritacco St. Francis, Holden Ed and Susan Olbon Christ Church Cathedral Dennis and Kathy O’Rourke St. James’, Greenfield
Frank S. Palano* All Saints’, N. Adams
The Rev. Canon Sarah Shofstall Bay Village, OH
Robert and Marion B. Waleryszak Christ Church Cathedral
Jean C. Palano* All Saints’, N. Adams
Richard T. Shotwell St. John’s, Williamstown
Beth Washburn Trinity, Milford
Peter J. and Catherine M. Pappas Christ Church Cathedral
The Rev. Canon Rich and Hathy Simpson Worcester
Robert and Claudia Wells Trinity, Lenox
The Rev. John H. and Mrs. Eleanor A. Parke Christ Church Cathedral
Laurel Stewart Christ Church Cathedral
The Rev. Kathryn and Mr. John White St. John’s, Sutton
Gail Street Trinity, Lenox
Steve and Clare White St. Francis’, Holden
The Rev. Nancy Baillie Strong St. Matthew’s, Worcester
Russell S. Williams St. John’s, Ashfield
Sharon Strzalkowski St. Luke’s, Worcester
Tom* and Ann Williams St. Mark’s, East Longmeadow
Richard Storrs* All Saints’, Leominster
Reynolds Winslow Grace, Amherst
Douglas and Frances Stotz St. James, Greenfield
Barclay Wood All Saints’, Worcester
Elizabeth Jennings Pekkala Trinity, Milford Ronald C. Perera St. John’s, Northampton Frederick Peters Trinity, Lenox Stephen Peters Trinity, Lenox Wendy Philbrick Trinity, Lenox Samuel C. Pickens All Saints’, Worcester Robert J. Pollard* St. Philip’s, Easthampton Karis Post Christ Church, Rochdale Don and Molly Robinson St. John’s, Northampton The Rev. Cristine and Mr. Bruce Rockwell St. Mark’s, East Longmeadow Jeanette S. Roosevelt St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield Jon and Gayle Ruscitti Trinity, Milford
Diana Sullivan All Saints’, Worcester The Rev. Noreen Suriner Middlefield, MA The Rev. Peter Swarr St. Mark’s, East Longmeadow Maggie and Kevin Sweeney St. James’, Greenfield Linda Taupier St. Mark’s, East Longmeadow Catherine and Henry Terwedow Nativity, Northborough Olaf J. Thorp St. John’s, Ashfield
Twelve additional donors who wish to remain anonymous are from: Christ Church Cathedral Epiphany, Wilbraham Good Shepherd, Clinton Grace, Amherst St. Andrew’s, Longmeadow St. David’s, Agawam St. Francis’, Holden St. John’s, Northampton St. Paul’s, Stockbridge Trinity, Lenox
The Rev. Anne E. Ryder Christ Church/Trinity Lutheran, Sheffield
The Rev. Barbara Thrall and Mr. Ed Farrell St. Paul’s, Holyoke
Robert K. Sawyer, Jr. Christ Church Cathedral
Thomas Tomasian and Carolyn J. Smith St. Francis’, Holden
William M. Scaife St. John’s, Northampton
Mary E. Tuttle* All Saints’, South Hadley
The Rt. Rev. Gordon and Mrs. Rebecca Scruton Wethersfield, CT
John and JoAnne Tyndall Trinity, Shrewsbury
Please note: The parishes to which people belonged at the time they became members of the Bishops’ Legacy Fellowship are listed unless otherwise requested. Please feel free to request changes any time. A legacy gift to any Episcopal entity, your congregation, the diocese, an Episcopal seminary, Episcopal Relief and Development, etc qualifies you for membership, no matter the amount.
The Rev. Gwen Sears St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield Bob and Marjorie Shaw St. Mark’s, East Longmeadow
John Veague Trinity, Lenox The Rev. Mary Vidmar Lake Milton, OH
Profiles In Giving Bruce Rockwell, Assistant to the Bishop for Stewardship, interviewed John Arthur Miller—a member of Christ Church Episcopal & Trinity Lutheran, Sheffield. The conversation has been redacted for this article. Was there a point in your life when you began to see stewardship in a new way? If so, tell us about it. Although I was never struck off the horse in a Saul of Tarsus way, I like to think that I have grown in my thinking about stewardship in smaller incremental ways as I have with my faith and with many other things in life. There was a time, mind you, that I longed to have a Saul experience, but it has so far not been in the Lord’s plan and I am more at ease with perhaps never having one or perhaps not having the need for one. I must say, dear friend, that you have given me many new ways of seeing stewardship, and I would not be able to comment here without having experienced your wonderful faith through your talks and through our friendship. And a banker at that! What role does stewardship play in your spirituality? Love God. Love your neighbor. Sounds simple. How hard indeed! Always room for improvement. Stewardship is a way to do that. Giving back and caring for the things you are so thankful for, that are important to you, and not really owning them in the first
John Arthur and Trudy Miller. place! Giving not for gain, not to relieve any guilt, but because you love to and you can’t not. I strive every day. It is wonderful not to be perfect! You always have another way to show your love of God and your neighbor. But the added boost is that God loves you anyway! I know and He/She knows of my imperfections and I think He/She gets a kick out of letting me think I’m in charge some times, and lets me make choices, and is pleased when I realize He/She influences those choices. And I feel better about whom I am when I realize it all. It is a wonderful, magical, spiritual cycle—this stewardship thing!
not only provides the “basics,” or what we think are the basics, of food, clothing and shelter, but it also is the “thing” of this world that provides us with the “extras” that we believe are also needed. We love our “things.” But, again, I go back to my thinking that ALL our things are on loan to us. We are only passing through! So money, as well as time and talent are important to include when striving to be a good steward. Money should be included in what we care for, what we love to give as thanks for what we have been given. Certainly the story of the widow’s mite in Luke or Mark has always made a strong impression on me.
How does giving enrich your spiritual life? Now we get into the part of Stewardship that I refer to as Financial Stewardship. Perhaps I am assuming the question is — How does giving money enrich your spiritual life? — Certainly money is important to all of us. It
How do you and Trudy decide what to give? I’m glad you include Trudy in this question, and I again assume we are talking again about money, although with our busy lives the discussion and decisions about what Continued on Page 29
Treasures from the Archives There is joy in the dust By Karen Warren Diocesan Archivist Spending time saving, organizing and inventorying 100-year-old papers, books and journals may seem to some a waste of time. I’ve heard it said, “It’s a shame no one uses the Archives!” This prompted me to consider just how is this new resource being used? Certainly our Archives, being only four years old and somewhat incomplete, cannot compare with the Diocese of Connecticut’s Archives, which was established in 1866. But perhaps our Archives is being utilized more than is apparent to others. Certainly it is not time wasted to preserve our history, and as an added bonus, there is joy in the ability to respond promptly to queries for information. So I take this opportunity to reveal why hours are spent working with dusty and moldy items of historical value, to house them and preserve them for the future—there is joy in the dust. The establishment of an Archive for the diocese was commissioned in 2010, and, just as I began working in the basement storage room of the cathedral, our first query was received! The United Congregational Church of Holyoke inquired: Did we have a copy of the VHS tape of the 1993 consecration of the late Bishop Robert Denig, which took place at the UCC? Somehow, miraculously, without finding aids, I was able to locate the requested tape, which was subsequently loaned to the UCC. The church
Springfield Hospital Chapel furniture, c. 1931. even returned it with a DVD conversion. The following April we received a request from Steve Calderone of Information Services at Springfield’s Baystate Medical Center. Mr. Calderone was researching the history of the furniture in Baystate’s Chapel—which, at that time, was celebrating its 20th anniversary. He knew only that the chapel furniture had been donated in 1931 to the then ‘Springfield Hospital’ Chapel by the Episcopal Church. Did we have any other information? Again, through sheer luck, I spotted a log book in the basement, labeled “History of the Chapel.” The log included a brief written history recounting that, upon the sale of the Episcopal Diocesan House at 1154 Worthington St., Springfield in 1931, then-Bishop Thomas Davies arranged for the dismantling of the chapel, which had been installed at that property by our first Bishop, Alexander Hamilton Vinton. Yes! Mr. Calderone, on behalf of Baystate Medical Center, was ecstatic!
The Chapel log book included a beautiful photograph of the donated furniture. Hmmm. Brittle papers, dusty books, smells of dampness— not really my favorite thing. But— the satisfaction of offering someone the information they’re looking for? This is joy. Other queries handled over the past two years include: a Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University, writing a book on Connecticut architect Henry Sykes, designer of St. James’, Greenfield; Chancellor Chip Doherty’s occasional requests for various records and information; Steve Abdow’s search for information concerning a real estate issue; confirmation records for parishes; and, a few months ago a seemingly urgent email received from a professor of mission studies at Midwest University, preparing a lecture on Reuben Archer Torrey’s mission work in the United States, prior to the Torreys’ work in Korea. Archival inquiries come randomly. I suspect they will increase in the future. For now, I will continue recovering, sorting, inventorying, labeling and storing diocesan treasures in a temperature-controlled safe environment, finding joy in preserving the history of this great diocese. For more information about our Archives visit our website at: http://www.diocesewma.org/aboutus/archives/ or email me at email@example.com n
our next General Convention we ought to find ways to rectify this; perhaps by allowing both The Book of Common Prayer Liturgy and “I Will Bless You” as marriage rites for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. I have no way yet of knowing if this will happen. But the point for me in this expressed hope and desire was to keep moving forward, and to catch up with what is happening in the world. And I trust that in a Church guided by the Holy Spirit and characterized by conversations based on trust, prayer and commitment that Julian was right: all shall be well. n
continue to engage people. These congregations invite even more new folks in and raise leaders from among the new members. For those congregations who have not begun to engage, it is a matter of sitting down—when they are ready —and watching these wonderful testimonial videos of Hispanic Episcopalians so they can see that we are all the same. We all want the same things. There is possibility. There is excitement here. Check them out: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/ page/latinohispanic-ministries
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time and talent we give is more and more prevalent than it used to be. I think it is unfortunate that more time and talent is not given by us. I think we have a problem being good stewards of time (or is it poor stewards of our bodies) and age has started to erode our talents! Trudy and I have always liked the tithing idea and at one point when I was in college I had a minister friend who was into the 50-50 idea. I think that would be very difficult when just considering money, but it certainly could be a goal! As performers, our income was always different from year to year, so tithing was a bit hard to plan with pledging in advance, so we generally set a modest goal each year and made a 1/50th offering of it each week. Some weeks it was hard, others it was easier to write that check. The important thing is that we kept increasing that annual number each year. And it seemed to become easier. And, somehow, not paying really close attention to what percentage of our income the yearly pledge was, our income varying so frequently as poor
musicians living hand to mouth in the city, helped. I usually was and still am the weekly Sunday pledge check writer. It carries no power or weight in this family—she has always made more money than I— but I have, by doing it, experienced an increasing joy over the years by just the action of writing the check. It is a bit of a mystery to me. And, when we sit together in church, which, alas is not as often these days—Trudy likes the eight o’clock —gets her back to the garden and her workaholic ventures, and I enjoy the music of 10 a.m., along with some of those other time and talent things, I always put my hand in hers with the envelope and place it in the plate together. Perhaps it’s corny but I think it makes us both feel good about giving and giving thanks. Low and behold, although Trudy no longer has that high-paying job and our income is a more moderate one, we still are tithing and increasing a little bit every year. And we have not starved! God still provides! n
http://archive.episcopalchurch. org/109405_ENG_HTM.htm n
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and the struggles to meet those challenges. It was hard work, but we were able to experience the joys and difficulties of doing mission work. EYE is one of the best things the Episcopal Church does, and it was an amazing experience for each member of the team. The worship—helped along by the music of Live Hymnal—was amazing and inspirational, filled with clapping, dancing, singing and most of all the Holy Spirit. We learned that we truly are marked for mission, and our lives were challenged and changed by the stories we heard and by the people we met. Each member of the team came back with a new energy for the Gospel, and is ready
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Just before leaving for the trip, MassLive published a picture of a front door of a house in Springfield. Hanging on the door was a sign: “We have kids here! Think before you shoot.” At Iona, there is a cross draped in red, with the words: “We remember all the victims of violence in the world and those who stand with them.” Prayer is not escaping the world. Prayer is embracing the world with God’s love. Prayer invites us to live into God’s dream for the world. It invites us to stand with that family with the sign on the door. And it invites us to a holy hope that compassionate action will make a difference. The theme of this issue of Abundant Times is “mission accomplished.” That may seem naïve in a world where so much is unfinished. But remember how Jesus ended his first sermon about God’s dream for the world. He ended it by saying “today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus believed, really believed, that God’s work in this world was already alive in him. The mission was already being accomplished. Abundant Times is filled with good news as our churches and our ministries embrace God’s dream for this world. “Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” God’s imagination is running wild and free in a world yearning for it. n
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Connor Berry/The Republican
MassLive published this photo of a plea for peace posted on the front door of a Springfield home.
This cross with its memorial to victims of violence is on view at Iona.
Stan Bohall is a quiet, reflective presence in the room. Father Al explains that Stan is a trained Spiritual Director and a Baptist minister who preaches regularly at Grace. “It’s a broadening for all of us,” Father Al says. With all the details in place, I still wonder what it is about Grace—what’s the community ethos? Russ says a sentence without missing a beat. “All are welcome—especially you.” Those are the words on the giant sign out front. Russ thought they needed a new twist on the traditional “the Episcopal Church welcomes you.” Several people have investigated the Sunday assembly because of that sign and stayed, they tell me. One could also see the recent goals and projects as institutioncentered rather than missional. That would be far from the truth. The conscious discernment for the sale of Hodges House is one example of the parish’s engagement with the local community. Grace Episcopal Church is committed to the ecumenical food shelf in town. Once a month, Grace runs the ministry. They are connected by works of mercy to the Lakota Indians on a reservation in the Dakotas, and Grace helps to support St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ghana. God is doing something wonderful at Grace Church. While they claim no secret formula or strategy for growth and revitalization—other than prayer and hospitality—there is a bit of a Lazarus factor here. Russ Rheault explains that Father Al just assumes that every person who enters the church will become part of it. n
From the Editor 20 minutes west of 37 Chestnut
Many parishes have taken on the challenge of walking 20 minutes in every direction to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Many have been very well-organized—creating four walking groups to move simultaneously east, west, north and south. Then, upon return, the groups were given an opportunity to work with the experience together. Here, at Diocesan House, we are such a small staff that we decided to walk all four legs together. So, we set off together on a beautiful morning into the heart of downtown—a straight line west to the Connecticut River. Just minutes from our offices, there are corporate towers and hotels, little businesses and local convenience stores. Even if you drive through downtown every day, walking changes everything. Walking requires a different kind of attention. Instead of traffic lights and bumpers, I looked for faces. Many people seemed busy—in business attire and late for things. Other people seemed dressed for warm weather and moved slowly. Faces were brown, black and white, old and very young. Little ones out of school waited at the bus stop with mom. I wondered if they were going to work with her. Summer camp is expensive. We made our way to the river. The beauty of the water was
Diocesan staff walking 20 minutes west. Below, Dean Jim Munroe tells Bishop Fisher, Canon Tom Callard and Canon Rich Simpson about the people who sleep under the bridge in the wintertime.
eclipsed by the close examination of the path that runs under the bridge. Dean Jim Munroe told us about the people who find shelter there in the wintertime. Below the massive structure we saw refuse, bottles and cans—icons of addiction and the remnants of those who live without home. But sadness for the plight of the poor can motivate us to action—can help us to frame the questions our community must ask. And, for followers of Jesus, there is always hope—it runs beneath the broken human landscape and flows into hearts that could
forget the promise. As we made our way back to 37 Chestnut St., there was a contemplative silence among us. We have much to do for our neighbors, but being present and really seeing people in the midst of the day is a small beginning. We will walk together again in the fall—pick a new direction and open our hearts to what is real in our neighborhood—the beauty and the suffering. The walking changes nothing that plagues our community, but it changes something in us. n
Got news? Contact Victoria at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 413.737.4786, ext. 124.
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts 37 Chestnut St. Springfield, MA 01103-1787
Please send address corrections or deletions to: Carol LaPlante 37 Chestnut St. Springfield, MA 01103-1787
ALSO Inside Feed Them Yourselves
The Rev. Mac Murray
Brad Hager preps food for the Community Cafe.
EYE participants receive a blessing at the Amtrak Station.
Diocesan Mission to the Dominican Republic.
Donations for the cost of Abundant Times are being accepted this year. The cost per household per year is $10. Gifts can be mailed to Diocesan House at 37 Chestnut St., Springfield, MA, 01103-1787.