Table of Contents 3
From the Bishop
We Must Confront Racism Within and Without
Voices from St. Peter's
Recommended by the Beloved Community Commission
A Silver Lining
Longmeadow Loves: A Community Works Together in a Time of Crisis
Church Prioritizes Making Farmersâ€™ Market Safe
Fighting Food Insecurity
Church Adapts Existing Ministries
Girls' Friendly Society Gives Thanks
Around the Diocese
From the Archives
On the Cover: Parishioners attend outdoor worship in the parking lot at Church of the Nativity, Northborough. Photo: Deborah Hesek
ABUNDANT Times is the official news publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts. The diocesan offices are located at: 37 Chestnut Street Springfield, MA, 01103-1787 Call us: (413) 737-4786 Visit us: www.diocesewma.org Follow us: @EpiscopalWMA
The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts, Publisher The Rev. Vicki Ix Managing Editor Alison Gamache Layout and Copy Editor
At Diocesan House
Steven P. Abdow Canon for Mission Resources The Rev. Vicki Ix Canon for Communications Susan Olbon Canon for Administration The Rev. Dr. Richard M. Simpson Canon to the Ordinary
The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith Missioner for Spirituality and Leadership The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas Missioner for Creation Care The Rev. Christopher Carlisle Director, Building Bridges Veterans Initiative The Rev. Jennifer Gregg Missioner for Servant Leadership The Rev. Pamela J. Mott Missioner for Congregational Vitality The Rev. JosĂŠ Reyes Missioner for Hispanic/Latino Ministries The Rev. Meredyth Ward Urban Missioner for Worcester
From the Bishop The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts
want to thank you all for your faithfulness in these days. I am so proud of our wardens and clergy. The challenges have been extraordinary and the spiritual sacrifices great. It’s been really hard to be physically apart and worship in new ways. I thank you for putting love of neighbor first. I thank you for wearing your mask and for washing your hands and for keeping safe distance from one another. We know how to do this now – how to keep one another safe and well. It’s not fun or easy, but this is the race we are running. It’s not a 5K. It’s a marathon. And even though we wish it was over and life could go back to some new normal, we’re not there yet. It’s been some time since I’ve issued a pastoral directive with regard to worship in these days. That’s because we are in the long stretch of Stage 2. Part of what we’re learning is that the language of stages we’ve been using may not be most helpful. We are listening to health professionals and paying close attention to the science. The metrics are not suggesting that we can move forward yet, so we need to stay safely where we are for now. I know that’s not easy and, believe me, I can’t wait for the day when I can visit you in person and share the beauty of worship. For now, we need to stay the course, and build one another up in love. Please support your wardens and your clergy as they continue to make difficult decisions with your good in mind. Keep adapting so that the mission continues, so that the hungry are fed, and the lonely feel God’s love with a phone call or a note. As we enter colder weather and watch
for the impact of the flu season, attend to those who need help with the heating bill or a delivery of food. Care for the lonely and isolated. And, tend to your souls. Be open to the ways in which God comes to us where we are and look for signs of hope to share with one another. I am so inspired by the Jesus Movement in Western Massachusetts, and so blessed to run this race with you. It seems as if we’ve been living this COVID life forever, but let’s remember that this will end. We don’t know when, but it will. Science is a gift from God and the best minds are working to end this pandemic. As people of faith, we are called to share the gift of our hope. It’s never been needed so much. So may God bless you with abundant hope, and fill you with love as you continue Jesus’ mission of mercy, compassion, and hope. ♦ +Doug
It seems as if we’ve been living this COVID life forever, but let’s remember that this will end. We don’t know when, but it will.
Bishop Fisher recording a sermon at Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield. Photo: Jean Chapin
For more information about diocesan response to COVID-19, please visit our website.
We Must Confront Racism Within and Without The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts
he killing of George Floyd points to the racism that is part of our society, embedded in our history, systems, and institutions – including the Church. People of faith cannot ignore the unconscious racism that dwells in our own hearts and minds. We must confront it within and without. Mr. Floyd’s murder is yet another in a centuries-long line. Not decades, but centuries. Our Presiding Bishop, in a joint statement with the Bishop-elect of Minnesota, reminded us that we are not powerless in the face of racism. “We are not, however, slaves to our fate … unless we choose to do nothing.” We have all been traumatized by the footage of one man’s death. We have also seen people of every color take to the streets to give voice to their anger and frustration. This moment asks something of all of us. More than ever, we need God to breathe on us. We need the courage of the Holy Spirit to stand up against the brutalization of black lives. We must all find ways to express our sorrow for our complicity in the sin of racism. The Gospel calls us to the work of racial healing and to the hard, inner work of personal transformation. That work begins with prayer that speaks the truth. I offer this prayer written by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the summer of 1953.
Let us pray: Most Gracious and all wise God; Before whose face the generations rise and fall; Thou in whom we live, and move, and have our being. We thank thee for all of thy good and gracious gifts, for life and for health; for food and for raiment; for the beauties of nature and the love of human nature. We come before thee painfully aware of our inadequacies and shortcomings. We realize that we stand surrounded with the mountains of love and we deliberately dwell in the valley of hate. We stand amid the forces of truth and deliberately lie; We are forever offered the high road and yet we choose to travel the low road. For these sins O God forgive. Break the spell of that which blinds our minds. Purify our hearts that we may see thee. O God in these turbulent days when fear and doubt are mounting high give us broad visions, penetrating eyes, and power of endurance. Help us to work with renewed vigor for a warless world, for a better distribution of wealth, and for a brotherhood that transcends race or color. In the name and spirit of Jesus we pray. Amen. ♦
Re-printed from “We must confront racism within and without,” on The Bishop’s Blog, May 30, 2020.
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▲ The Rev. Dave Woessner, center, walks in a march in Worcester in June 2020. Photo: Worcester Telegram & Gazette
◄▲ Parishioners of Christ Trinity, Sheffield hold Black Lives Matter signs. Photo: Jean Chapin ◄ The Rev. Tanya Wallace, rector of All Saints' South Hadley (right) with Lutheran Pastor Anna Tew. Photo: submitted
► The Rev. Meredyth Ward, Urban Missioner, at the #sayhername rally on June 7 in Worcester. Photo: submitted
Voices from St. Peter's
The Rev. Michael DeVine St. Peter's, Springfield
t a Zoom meeting of the Mothers’ Union, and later at a Vestry Meeting, there was a discussion of our feelings on the case of the George Floyd murder and racism in general. Here are some thoughts:
Olive Wheatley America is facing the truth about racial injustice and the power of peaceful protests. Almost all of the males in my family have been stopped and pulled over by the police. It happened in Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey. A cousin who is a medical doctor has told me stories about being stopped so many times. The "us against them" police mentality must end. Systemic racism exists, and it is wrong. Black Lives Matter. Joyce Otey The youth are showing our country the injustices black Americans face, such as the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery just to name a few. Black Americans and other communities of color can never forget, because of the structural racism that infects their lives. It is time for a change. It’s time to take action to make our voices heard and stop this killing of black Americans! Come this November, cast your ballot and vote!
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Karl Petrick George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and then, Rayshard Brooks. More names are coming. It’s enough for anyone to despair. I feel it, and I am far removed from ever experiencing discrimination. As the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said, "What does love look like? It is making the long-term commitment to racial healing, justice, and truth-telling, knowing that without intentional, ongoing intervention on the part of every person of good will, America will cling to its original, racist ways of being." I am full of hope, because for the first time, I think that we as a nation are ready to have that conversation. As painful and uncomfortable as it will be, we have finally opened our eyes to the fact that it will be less painful than where we are currently.
Marlene Baksh My heart hurts for George Floyd and his family. This man was treated like he was not a human being. Those policemen were heartless. How many more black people have to die before something is done. We need police reform to weed out the bad from the good, retraining when necessary, and also psychological testing quite often.
Carol Bushman Not another senseless cruel taking of a black person’s life by the police! The knee on George Floyd’s neck; then calling for his mother, it just brought me to tears. This is not new. This epidemic of murdering our black neighbors by the police is a cancer! Where is the love and respect for our fellow man? National legislation with strict policies, police reform, police Heather Hutchinson tracking, and education are needed. Technology has opened the lens on I was reading a response on the rethe systemic, institutionalized discrimi- cent murders and they used the word nation against black America, right"shocked". We weren’t shocked, fully fueling the world-wide Black Lives because we live with this racial tenMatter movement that underscores sion every day. A stronger word like our value as human beings. "disgusted" or "infuriated" that racial injustices continue would fit the bill. ♦
Recommended by the Beloved Community Commission All of the resources below are available on our website at www.diocesewma.org/beloved-community-commission/
Howard Thurman's Jesus and the Disinherited The Beloved Community Commission of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts invites all people and parishes in the diocese to read and discuss Howard Thurman’s 1949 classic, Jesus and the Disinherited. A mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman anticipated many of the themes of liberation theology, including Black Theology. But Thurman’s focus was not direct activism so much as cultivating a liberated spirit. The result is a short, inspiring work of pastoral theology.
Sacred Ground: A Film-Based Dialogue Series on Race & Faith Created by The Episcopal Church, Sacred Ground is a film- and readings-based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity.
Sacred Ground A Race Dialogue Series
Preaching Racial Reconciliation Watch Bishop Fisher's conversation with the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-founder of Poor People's Campaign.
▲ A screenshot from Bishop Fisher's conversation with the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis.
Being Church Now B
eing Church now is really hard. We are all weary from the constant adaptation. Whatever we have decided to do - daily emails, Zoom worship or livestreaming from the sanctuary - we are all ready for this to be over. But even when the pandemic is under control and the right vaccine has been made available, the ways in which we have reached out to one another will have changed us. We will not go back to “normal.” We will move forward into a future that is decidedly digital. We will be ministering in a new faith community that lives and prays beyond the borders of our building. Some churches are finding that the movement online - while forced by the circumstances of COVID-19 - has brought new friends into the virtual narthex. As we all consider the post-pandemic Church, most agree we won’t be pulling the plug on online ministry any time soon. ♦ – The Rev. Vicki Ix, Managing Editor
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Outdoor worship at Church of the Nativity, Northborough. Photo: Deborah Hesek
The Rev. Chad McCabe celebrating baptism at Church of the Nativity, Northborough. Photo: Deborah Hesek
▲ The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith and The Rev. Bernie Poppe record worship at All Saints, Worcester. Photo: David Leitko
▼ Ready to record worship at Christ Church, Fitchburg. Photo: The Rev. Bennett Jones II
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▼ The Rev. Mary Rosendale and The Rev. Beth Washburn lead worship at St. Stephen's, Westborough. Photo: submitted
▲ Tuning into worship at St. David's, Feeding Hills. Photo: The Rev. Terry Hurlbut
▲ The Rev. Will Bergmann leads worship at St. Mark's, Leominster, where caution tape enables social distancing. Photo: James Normington
► Parishioners of Christ Church, Sheffield prepare to deliver meals. L-R: Joe Kolodziej, Bob Mercurio, Jean Chapin, Jack McKelvey, and Linda McKelvey. Photo: Jean Chapin
► COVID-19 Memorial. "When the reported death toll from COVID-19 hit 100,000 nationally, the reported death toll in Massachusetts hit 6,547. On this line there are 6,547 strips of cloth and ribbon representing a life lost. May the knots remind us how we are bound together." - The Rev. Meredyth Ward, artist (The memorial has more than 9,000 ribbons at time of publication.) Church of the Good Shepherd, Clinton. Photo: The Rev. Meredyth Ward
Being Church Now
Drive-In Church The Rev. Terry Hurlbut St. David's, Feeding Hills
hen the diocese required all parishes to cease services as we knew them to protect everyone from COVID-19, St. David’s parish in Agawam, like all parishes, was left saying – “what do we do now”? So much of parish life is fellowship. Seeing each other, caring about each other. We knew we could pray at home and watch service on YouTube, Facebook, and Zoom. And that’s all good stuff, but many wanted the opportunity to physically see others in the parish. The vestry came up with a plan. We would offer church outside, in a safe setting, one that allows everyone to see one another, listen to the service, and hear the music. Church in our vehicles. An FM transmitter was purchased, that allowed parishioners to sit safely in their vehicles (with air conditioners on), and tune in on their car radio. There is also a loud speaker which echoes throughout the parking lot which parishioners can listen to. Our Altar is simply a lectern and a table. Simplicity and honesty with ourselves, nature, and God. Parking
lot attendants (usher’s in our old life), with masks and gloves direct parishioners where to park safely. Parishioners then drive into the parking lot and are handed the readings of the day by the usher (wearing gloves and a mask). Attendance is taken to protect everyone, should tracing be needed. Our choir consists of three faithful people. During the week, they separately record the beautiful music for the upcoming Sunday which is then played over the system. Our one reader, reads our lessons & prayers each week. Rev. Harvey Hill presides over Rite 2 each Sunday, which includes a wonderful sermon. It is a beautiful way to worship, outdoors, in the midst of God’s creation. It’s an opportunity that, before COVID-19, we never would have experienced. It’s a new way to move church to meet the times and needs of God’s people. Communion is taken from the prayer book for the Armed Services, “Spiritual Communion Prayer”. It’s a prayer that asks
The Rev. Harvey Hill and ministers at St. David's, Feeding Hills. Photo: The Rev. Terry Hurlbut
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for God’s presence, and asks God to come spiritually into our hearts. Again, an opportunity to worship and receive God differently than before COVID-19. Our attendance has been nothing short of amazing. Each Sunday the attendance is the same, or higher in total, as “the old way”. In addition to the outdoor parking lot service, we livestream the service on Facebook for those wishing to stay home. We continue to remember our call to service, and every week people bring non-perishable items, which are collected safely in a bin, and brought to the West Springfield Parish Cupboard. We have all learned that things are changing, things are not the way they used to be, and may never be again. Just like the prophets of old, things were never the same once they followed God’s call in their lives. We too, must listen to God’s call in each of our lives and in our lives as a parish and diocese. ♦
A Silver Lining Bill Johnston Holy Spirit, Sutton
he human spirit is accommodating. We have become accustomed to social distancing, wearing masks, and frequent hand washing. We have adjusted to oneway aisles at the grocery store. For those with pets, we have even gotten used to drive-through veterinary service. Our church, like many others, has been holding “virtual” Sunday Service since the pandemic began. We have followed the state and diocesan guidelines, and have found ways to be innovative as well. The Worship Crew, a group of six or seven of us, gathers at church an hour before service to rehearse and set up the electronics for Facebook Live transmission. We all look forward to Sunday when we get together with the Worship Crew. Phil, our technical guru, monitors the number of devices that log on. We have no idea if there is one person or twenty participating online. However, the number of com-
ments received would indicate that it’s a healthy number. Technology has become a blessing, enabling us to find social fulfillment and common worship together. Of course, we miss in-person service, but even from a distance we have developed a camaraderie that is very
uplifting. Pastor Laura Goodwin also conducts several Zoom outreach sessions each week. Prayer, Bible Study, and just touching base with folks fills a critical need to connect with one another. I’m one of two wardens at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church. Each Tuesday, Sandy Piscitelli (co-warden), Pastor Laura, and I spend a Zoom hour dis-
cussing the needs of the parish and how best to meet them. Our monthly vestry meetings are also an opportunity to visit and share what’s happing in our lives. It’s something that we all look forward to and it brings us closer together. When Phil fell ill with COVID-19, we all came together to pray for him and his family. (Thankfully he has fully recovered.) The virus has given us pause to re-evaluate what’s important and what’s not. God has given each of us the responsibility for the welfare of others. Pastoral Care has become more important than ever. We pray for the health and welfare of folks across the globe. We look forward to effective treatment and vaccines. In our quest, we have also found unanimity and solace with our sisters and brothers in the world community. “God works in mysterious ways!” ♦
God has given each of us the responsibility for the welfare of others.
The Mission Continues
n the months since the pandemic began, our congregations have adapted existing ministries to adhere to local health regulations and diocesan guidelines. Some have begun new ministries to respond to overwhelming need. The economic impact of COVID-19 may be measured in layoffs and the length of lines at the local food pantry. The Episcopal Church is deeply engaged in the local. In the following stories, you can read how this time of crisis has called forth great generosity and compassion from our congregations. â™Ś â€“ The Rev. Vicki Ix, Managing Editor
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Longmeadow Loves: A Community Works Together in a Time of Crisis The Rev. Charlotte LaForest St. Andrew's, Longmeadow
ith the shut-down of many non-profits and donation centers during the pandemic, many food banks have been forced to allocate their available space solely for food items, leaving many families without access to much-needed hygiene products such as diapers, wipes, period products, and incontinence supplies. Those products are not covered by federal assistance programs such as WIC, SNAP and Medicaid, yet the need for them is constant, with some families forced to choose between food and these necessary supplies. This is a persistent problem that has only gotten worse in the time of COVID-19.
could purchase items without leaving their homes and have them shipped to St. Andrew's. Cash contributions were accepted as well, which were used to directly buy items from the Target wish list. The response was astounding. Total items collected were: • Diapers: 13,758 • Wipes: 338 packs • Tampons: 6,648 • Pads: 3,343 • Incontinence Items: 2,531 Items collected had a total estimated value of $9,060.
We are so very grateful to our community for the care and support that made this drive such a success. It is wonderful that we all could provide a bit of help and hope in such a challenging time. At a time when the needs are great everywhere and it’s hard to know how to help, this is something concrete we can do. We are excited about the relationships we built with community organizations through this campaign and have learned in recent weeks that the need for these products has remained consistently high.
Members of the Longmeadow community reached out to St. Andrew’s with concern and a desire to help, and Longmeadow Loves was born. For the month of May, St. Andrew’s launched a donation drive for diapers, wipes, menstrual products, and incontinence items. The drive became an interfaith collaboration of religious organizations in Longmeadow including First Church and Temple Beth El. St. Andrew’s set up a collection bin outside the church for no-contact drop-offs and launched a 31-day social media campaign keeping the community up-to-date on product needs, recipient organizations, and donation counts. An online wish list was set up on Target.com so people
Resource Center • Way Finders • Hungry Hill Senior Center • Springfield Family Resource Center • St. Vincent DePaul (Westfield) • Church Without Walls
With that in mind, the next Longmeadow Loves drive will take place for the month of October. Help us make a difference! ♦
The supplies were collected, sorted, then distributed by a team of volunteers to those in need throughout Western Massachusetts via the following organizations: • Open Pantry • The Gray House • Children’s Study Home Family
Purchase items from our registry: tgt.gifts/longmeadowloves or send a check made out to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church with Longmeadow Loves in the memo line. Donations can be sent to 335 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, MA 01106. For more information, contact the parish office at 413-567-5901. ABUNDANT TIMES
The Mission Continues
Church Prioritizes Making Farmers’ Market Safe Deborah Randzio Church of the Atonement, Westfield
ost years, the Westfield Farmers’ Market was the place to be on a Thursday afternoon from May through October. There was music on the lawn from local musicians, there were cooking and craft demonstrations to support local restaurants and artists, and there were children on the playground built during the days of the Atonement Nursery School.
what other markets were doing and find access to PPE’s and sanitizer. We visited other markets that opened earlier to see how they were making accommodations for COVID-19. Finally, we took a vote to determine whether or not we were willing to consider taking the leap of faith and making a commitment to try to
The Westfield Farmers’ Market has been a ministry of the Church of the Atonement since 2014. Through five seasons, it has grown from five vendors to 52 during the 2019 season. By 2019, our management team and volunteers had grown to include over 30 people, many of whom were not even members of Atonement, but were familiar with the good work we were doing and wanted to support it.
Goal: Feed the hungry.
Then the pandemic hit. We received guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, from the Mass. Farmers’ Markets Association, the Governor’s Office, the Westfield Department of Public Health, and from the diocese. In order to open for the 2020 season, we would have to come up with a detailed opening plan that would satisfy all the guidelines and keep our community safe, including customers, volunteers, vendors, and church employees. The church building was closed, so we learned to use Zoom Meetings and met virtually to explore our options. We attended webinars to learn
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How: Provide access to affordable healthy food. Goal: Take care of the Earth. How: Support local agriculture.
open the Market, even if it meant not opening until July. It was a sad day when we contacted the 24 vendors who had registered prior to the pandemic to let them know our uncertain status. We returned all of their registration payments, releasing them to join other markets if they chose to do so, but we didn’t give up hope. We kept promoting their businesses on our website and our Facebook page, even though we did not have the volunteer support to set up an on-line ordering system as some of the larger markets were doing. We knew we couldn’t run the Market without our volunteers, so we took a straw poll to see how many would be willing to return. Many were in high risk categories or had family members at risk. Some were willing to be involved from a distance, but were not willing to come to the Market. We knew we would need to recruit more volunteers. We estimated that we would need approximately 17 people at the Market at any one time, and if people could only work half a day or needed a break, we would probably need twice that many to keep from closing. Our team got to work drawing more people into our ministry. Meanwhile, we drew up a plan and sent it to the vestry and the Westfield Board of Health for approval. By this time, it was July 4th. We knew we would need more volunteers willing to abide by the plan, and that we
wouldn’t be able to open without them. So before we committed to opening, we brought in 21 volunteers, some willing to work full days without breaks. This was enough to move forward, at least.
we kept moving forward, bolstering each other up, with faith that we could make it happen. On opening day, we had 443 customers, more than we had ever counted before, and the count has grown by 130 in
It was time to announce to the vendors that we were finally going to be able to open. We reduced their rates and encouraged them to return. Disappointingly for us, but good for them, some of our regular vendors were so busy with increased traffic at their own farm stands due to COVID-19 that, with the drought and no additional staff, they were unable to return to the Market. Our opening plan included training all volunteers and vendors in safe COVID-19 practices, so we held on-line and in-person training sessions, outside with masks and distancing. Finally, we were ready to do a trial run to see if our plan would work. On July 23rd, we held an unannounced run-through with all of our volunteers, three vendors, and 36 customers who saw us on the lawn and dropped in to find out what was up at the Church of the Atonement. We determined that we could run the Market safely, so we hung up our banners, posted the lawn signs around town, and sent out our publicity blasts to open the following week. It was July 30th. It was a long road to travel, discouraging many times to the point that we were ready to quit, but as a team
visited the mayor who arranged a donation of 80 plexiglass face shields. Thanks to donations from anonymous donors, we will be able to increase our weekly match of SNAP purchases from $5 to $10. We have partnered with Rachel’s Table, a ministry of the Western Massachusetts Jewish Federation. Their volunteers arrive at the Market each week to pick up food donated by our customers and vendors, and they deliver it to Our House, a local shelter for homeless teenagers which Atonement was instrumental in founding two years ago. The Westfield Boys’ and Girls’ Club purchased $500 worth of Farmers’ Market Gift Certificates to distribute to families in need at the sites throughout the city where they offer free meals every day.
the three weeks since then. Customers are willing to tolerate the inconvenience of the rules for the safety of others and to keep the Market open. We’re all getting used to the new look and feel of the Market with “Do Not Enter” tape around the perimeter, one-way traffic signs, social distance markings, no music, and few children. Nonetheless, vendors are requesting space, and customers are thanking us for being there. More volunteers are offering to help. A parishioner made and donated masks for all market volunteers. Another one
Because offices are closed at City Hall, the mayor has discovered that he can reach out to listen by setting up a table at the Market where people can drop by for conversation. People will be heard. We have learned much from this challenging time, primarily that maintaining our commitment to our dual mission, to take care of the earth and to feed the hungry, helps us persevere. We also learned that others want to join our ministry when we invite them in and when they see what good it does, beyond the church walls, beyond the boundaries of faith, and beyond the city limits on a map. ♦
The Mission Continues
Fighting Food Insecurity Barbara Loh Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield
pringfield’s Christ Church Cathedral and Square One, a non-profit education and support service based in Springfield, have established a new initiative that helps Square One’s families with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative provides meal kits to families whose children are enrolled at Square One. The Cathedral has been collaborating for years to help provide classroom supplies for Square One, providing food for Thanksgiving meals, as well as providing annual Outreach grants. This latest collaboration will help those most in need during this pandemic. Square One provides early learning services to over 500 infants, toddlers, and school-age children each day; and family support services to 1,500 families each year, as they work to overcome the significant challenges in their lives. Many Square One families come from situations involving poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, and other significant issues that may inhibit their ability to provide a quality early learning experience for their children, if the proper services are not made available to them. The Very Rev. Tom Callard, dean of Christ Church Cathedral, said “Square One has been a partner in ministry with the Cathedral for many years. I’m glad we can build on this 18
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partnership during this time of great need in our community. We love this ministry because everyone gets a chance to be involved and provide help that is clear and concrete and so needed.” The idea started during discussions in the spring as COVID-19 was impacting the economy, causing job loss, more financial pressures, and growing uncertainties about the future. After discussing different ways to
help address the issue of food insecurity in the greater Springfield area, Cathedral staff and members of the Outreach Committee decided to contact Square One. Kris Allard, Vice President of Development & Communications at Square One, suggested
we provide meal kits to parents picking up their children at the end of the day so they can have a nutritious meal to prepare when they go home. Cathedral parishioners gather items for individual meal kits and drop them off at the Cathedral. Kits contain items like pasta, spaghetti sauce, bread, dessert mix, and fruit, and other dinner and breakfast items. Not only are Square One families getting nutritious meals, Wendy Colon, director of Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center on King Street in Springfield, said there are other positives she sees from this initiative. “Families are benefiting from meal kit donations by spending some quality time together. It is making a difference in children’s and parents’ lives because it gives them a chance to socialize and communicate while they prepare and eat dinner together,” she explained. Callard stated that this initiative will go on as long as needed. Given that some forecasters are predicting that 54 million Americans may not have enough to eat this year due to job losses, income inequality, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on families of color, the Cathedral will be fulfilling its mission for many months ahead. And very soon, the Cathedral will be partnering with St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Springfield and its Mothers’ Union to bring even more meal kits to Square One parents and families. ♦
Church Adapts Existing Ministries
Lisa Bergman Church of the Good Shepherd, Clinton
ince 2016, the Diaper-A-Day Diaper Pantry at the Church of the Good Shepherd Clinton has provided 30 free diapers per child, per month to area families in need (SNAP benefits do not cover diapers). Prior to the pandemic, an average of 1,300 hundred diapers were given out each month. When the economic toll of the pandemic became evident, Diaper-A-Day increased the monthly amount of diapers given for each child to 40 and relaxed the geographic requirements. The average number of diapers given out has more than doubled to over 3,000 diapers each month. The Pantry also dispenses menstrual supplies—another expensive essential item not covered by SNAP. Although social distancing requirements have precluded families from entering the church, the Good Shepherd team adapted to offer curbside diaper drop-off directly to clients’ cars or into waiting strollers. The church’s monthly diaper distribution is made possible by the generous support of individuals, area churches and organizations. The ability to
increase the monthly amount of diapers provided was made possible in part by a generous grant from Episcopal City Mission. Every Pantry day, families express how much they appreciate this help, which allows them to stretch their budgets just a little farther. The pandemic also halted Good Shepherd’s Saturday Free Community Breakfasts, which have been offered twice a month for more than six years. Realizing that there is no other agency in the Clinton area
that provides a free hot meal on the weekends and that more people than ever are going hungry, Good Shepherd volunteers decided to offer instead a midday “Drive Up for Take Out” meal on August 22nd using the Diaper Pantry model. Initial responses indicated that perhaps 50 or so might avail themselves of the meal, but in just one hour, Good Shepherd served
86 delicious, nutritious takeout meals to the community--young and old, families and individuals, men and women, English speakers and nonEnglish speakers, drivers and walkers. Another Community Take Out Meal was served on September 12. Good Shepherd has also escalated its assistance to the Clinton area food pantry/soup kitchen, the Community Café operated by WHEAT and the United Way. For more than 25 years, the church has provided a meatloaf dinner on the first Thursday of the month. Quantities required for this meal have nearly doubled. Pandemic-related food insecurity has resulted in a huge increase in the total number of weekday meals the Café serves (at the pandemic’s peak, 200 lunches and 60 dinners daily) and Good Shepherd parishioners have stepped up to fill in there as well. In addition to keeping a stream of nonperishable pantry staples incoming, parishioners are supplying vats of mashed potatoes, pounds of fresh vegetables, and innumerable cookies. Worship may just be Morning Prayer via Zoom, and life a disheartening muddle of grim news and enforced isolation, but this parish is keeping its focus on one simple command: “Feed my flock.” Good thing we like cooking! ♦
The Mission Continues
Girls' Friendly Society Gives Thanks Carol Bushman St. Peter's, Springfield
irls, sponsors, and leaders of Girls’ Friendly Society (GFS), a 145-year-old international organization for girls and women at St. Peter’s Church in Springfield, have been busy. In the early part of the summer, the girls and leaders completed a service project of creating handmade thank you cards for the healthcare workers at Baystate Medical Center. The recipients included doctors, nurses, CNA’s, lab technicians, custodial staff, and security dealing with COVID-19. We applaud their commitment and continuous strength especially during this time of pandemic.
Thank You cards made by the Girls' Friendly Society. Photos: Carol Bushman
ABU NDANT TIMES
Interestingly, the motto of GFS is “Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens” from Galatians 6:2. The healthcare workers also bear many burdens faced every day at Baystate. We hope that these 118 beautiful handmade cards were a source of encouragement and a thank you for their dedication to the patients. We pray that this gift brightened the day of many of the Baystate Health Care Workers, and showed them how much they are appreciated by the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church family. ♦
Around the Diocese
Deaths in Our Diocesan Family
The Rev. Karen Safstrom June 11, 2020
Rabbi Mark Dov Shapiro July 21, 2020
The Rt. Rev. John Tarrant August 24, 2020
The unexpected death of one whom we love pierces the heart and reminds us all of the fragility of life. Our prayers are with Karen's family and friends, and the people of Christ the King - Epiphany, in Wilbraham as they celebrate a life lived for Jesus' mission of mercy, compassion, and hope. We personally mourn Karen's death. Her abiding faith and irrepressible spirit will remain with us, but for now we must weep for the loss of our friend and colleague in ministry. ♦
Since September 1, 2016, Mark served as Christ Church Cathedral's first Rabbi-in-Residence where he worked collaboratively with Dean Tom Callard. After twenty-seven years of leadership at Sinai Temple, Springfield, he came to our cathedral to teach, to preach, and to begin a conversation about God - the Mystery at the root of all faiths. It has been a gift to have a scholar of Mark's caliber among us and as a conversation partner in these complex times. ♦
The death of this faithful priest and beloved bishop is a shock to so many people near and far. Our prayers are with John's wife, Pat, and their children, his family and friends, and the people of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Pittsfield, with whom John shared a transformative ministry as interim since May of 2019. The scope of his ministry reminds us how many lives one person can touch and bless in a lifetime of servant leadership. ♦
The above texts are excepts from Bishop Fisher's pastoral announcements.
Ordination to the Priesthood: Kevin Antonio Smallwood
evin Antonio Smallwood was ordained to the priesthood on September 22, 2020 at Grace Episcopal Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was ordained to the transitional diaconate on March 7, 2020 at All Saints' Episcopal Church, South Hadley. Kevin Antonio was baptized and confirmed in the Diocese of Washington. His journey toward priesthood began as a youth
member of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Washington, DC, where he was involved in community service, youth events, and social justice initiatives. The call deepened as he served two years in the Lawrence House Service Corps program during which he interned at Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield. His life in Western Massachusetts led him into the discernment process and eventually to seminary. He attended The School of Theology at The University of the South: Sewanee, where he obtained the Master of Divinity degree, trained for ordained ministry, and served as an intern at Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville. He now serves as the Associate Rector for Families and Youth at Grace Episcopal Church, Silver Spring, MD. ♦
The Rev. Kevin Antonio Smallwood. Photo: Grace Episcopal Church, Silver Spring, MD.
From the Archives
1918: A Pandemic and a World War
Karen Warren Diocesan Archivist
pandemic in 2020? A friend said, “It’s like living in a science fiction movie." Businesses closing; countless unemployed; people ill and dying alone. Bizarre times. Disorienting. But we adapt. We Zoom meetings. We worship outdoors. We work from home. Curbside pickup is a new term, as well as “hybrid” learning. We manage our grief, adapting and enduring as our ancestors have done. God walks with us, always. We are accustomed to life being easy, always finding what we want. I came to this realization one day when, after visiting a third store that did not have the Bounty paper towels I was looking for, I felt frustration! Then my brain remembered: my parents endured the years of the Great Depression and World War II. My grandparents were young adults during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, young parents during the Great Depression, and some ten years later sent their only two sons off to World War II. We are living today with uncertainty— when will this pandemic end? When will we have a vaccine and feel safe again without mask wearing and social distancing? When can we meet again in person? This reality is new to us but we are learning, coping, even imagining. We are able. God is with us--always. In 1918, a pandemic of influenza (H1N1) took the lives of an estimated 50 million people worldwide and an estimated 675,000 in the United States according to the CDC. Diocesan records are limited but indicate that the main issue impacting the diocese at that time was World War I, greatly overshadowing the pan-
demic. Bishop Thomas F. Davies, in his 7th Annual Address to Convention on April 24, 1918, memorialized the lives lost of nine members of our diocese, although it is not specified whether from Influenza or other causes. He also noted the impact of a coal shortage, due to the war, on several parishes, which closed for a time. Our congregants found other ways to meet and worship, in chapels and parish houses. Also overshadowing the pandemic was the sudden death on January 5th of the diocese’s beloved Archdeacon and Missionary, Charles James Sniffen at age 46. Records of our Convention Journal as well as issues of The Pastoral Staff (PS) reflect how deeply affected our diocese was by the loss of Archdeacon Sniffen. More of the impact of the flu pandemic is seen in the 1919 diocesan records. Trinity Parish, Lenox reports in the January PS issue the untimely death of one of its members from influenza. The April issue contains an interesting article titled “Housing Conditions in the Hills” which references influenza in connection with hilltown homes described as overcrowded, sunless, and lacking sanitary facilities. A high death rate from the flu is noted in these rural areas, “traced to home conditions”. The most significant impact on our diocese, of both the influenza pandemic and World War I, is recorded in Bishop Davies’ 8th Annual Address to the Diocesan Convention, given on May 19, 1919. As was his custom, Bishop Davies opened his Annual Address with remembrances, memorials, and tributes to those of our faithful
Photo: Tent city in Springfield photograph courtesy of Frances Gagnon.
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who died throughout the previous year. On this day he wrote: “BRETHREN OF THE CLERGY AND OF THE LAITY: Because of the war and the epidemic of influenza, I have an unusually long list of names for memorial mention. Indeed its length prevents my paying the individual tribute to worth and devotion that I should like to do. Despite much care, and long as it is, I fear the list is incomplete. The following names have been reported to me…” Under the title “MEMORIALS,” 42 names are listed by parish. Remembrances and tributes attached to the names of these men and women include: clergy; vestry members; wardens; diocesan treasurer; sexton; communicant; lay reader; Sunday School Superintendent; benefactor; leader of the Junior Auxiliary; clerk; parish treasurer; choirmaster, organist and precentor. (Note: There is no indication whether these losses were due to influenza or other causes.) A second list, also by parish, is under the heading: ‘THE FOLLOWING HAVE DIED IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY:’ this list includes 62 names of those of our faithful lost to the war. Following these memorials: “Grant them, O Lord, eternal rest, and make light perpetual to shine upon them!” ♦
Karen has served as diocesan archivist since 2010.
The 119th Diocesan Convention
The 119th Novemeber Diocesan7,Convention 2020 November 7, 2020 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
www.conventionwma.com www.conventionwma.com A Call To Prayer For Our Nation Monday, November 2 7:00 PM YouTube & Facebook
Budget Hearing w/ Steve Abdow Wednesday, November 4 7:00 PM Zoom Meeting
Pre-Convention Delegate Meeting Thursday, November 5 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM Organ Prelude @ 6:15 PM
Convention Morning Prayer Saturday, November 7 9:00 AM YouTube & Facebook & Zoom
The 119th Diocesan Convention Saturday, November 7 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Zoom & YouTube
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts 37 Chestnut St. Springfield, MA 01103-1787
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ABUNDANT Times is a ministry of our diocese and is delivered to each household at no cost. Donations to defray the cost, however, are gratefully accepted. The cost per household per year is $10. Gifts can be mailed to Diocesan House at 37 Chestnut St., Springfield, MA 01103-1787. Address corrections or deletions may be sent to the same address attention: A. Gamache.