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A publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

Toward the Beloved Community

Holy Conversations About Race SUMMER 2016

From Bishop Fisher Racism: We Have Breathed It In This fall our diocese will begin offering days of reflection called TOWARD THE BELOVED COMMUNITY: HOLY CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RACE. I am grateful for the team formed from the Social Justice Committee that created the framework and gathered the resources for these days. I look forward to participating and having my vision expanded and my soul engaged. When I reflect on my own journey of race relations, I can see how my understanding has evolved. When the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s was changing our country, I was too young to appreciate what was going on. It was later, in college and seminary, that I developed a passionate interest in the Movement, studied it in-depth, and spent several summers working with the southern poor. My admiration for the great men and women that made history working for justice continued to grow through the years. With the cadets at West Point and the youth groups of Grace Church, Millbrook, I placed great emphasis on the witness of Jonathan Daniels – the young Episcopal seminarian who gave his life in the struggle. Underlying this was a belief that if we could all just follow in their footsteps, racism would end.

Left Right: The four little girls killed in the 16th Street church bombing in Birmingham; the Edmund Pettus Bridge - site of “Bloody Sunday”; Jonathan Myrick Daniels, d. 1965

While continuing my deep appreciation for all that has been done for racial equality by so many – the famous and those unnamed in the great cloud of witnesses - my understanding of racism has been expanded by a fable I heard a year ago. Here it is: A long, long time ago there was a place where people were very poor. They were farmers and their tending of the land produced very little. Life was hard. But then someone discovered a fertilizer that made all the difference. The crops grew and grew. The society became prosperous and remained so for hundreds of years. Then one day it was discovered that the fertilizer was, and always had been, toxic. The food people were eating, the air they were breathing, was poisonous. It was actually killing them slowly.



“Slavery has ended but the racism that comes with it remains. It is not just past history. It is part of us. We have breathed it in.” Right: “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speech delivered 3 April 1968 Memphis, Tenn.

Here is the insight. For hundreds of years we took human beings from Africa and enslaved them. They worked on our farms and America became prosperous. Slavery and the racism that comes with it is a big part of our story. The struggle with racism is not about “helping black people.” It is about understanding and addressing the toxic atmosphere that makes all of our lives less than what God intends. Professor Ryan Williams Virden explores this further in writing about racial justice. “The first step to creating this justice is to understand how it was sidelined in the first place. We must understand the way that whiteness — fitting into the Anglo-Saxon archetype – has been valued historically via formal avenues such as legislation and school curriculum as well as informal ones such as social customs, traditions and practices. Because much of this is passed down through generations, or happens away from public scrutiny, or is largely implicit, it is necessary to learn and then unlearn this sordid history and way of being. Once we can come to grips with the ways whiteness keeps us from our own humanity and strangles our souls there is no other choice then to struggle for this justice. We won’t struggle because we are trying to help anyone else, or feel bad for them; we will struggle because our own freedom, our own humanity, is tied up with everyone else’s.” I’m going to reflect more on this statement and I invite you attend TOWARD THE BELOVED COMMUNITY: HOLY COINVERSATIONS ABOUT RACE - because “our own humanity…is tied up with everyone else’s.” There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).




Toward the Beloved Community: By Victoria Ix

We have experienced a summer of violence and grief unmatched by any time in recent history with the possible exception of the summer of 1968. The deaths of police officers in the line of duty, the deaths of African Americans on our city streets, in police custody, or resulting from the process of arrest, confront us with several troubling questions: •

• • • • •

How do we unequivocally and gratefully support law enforcement and, at the same time, express concern about practices and perceptions that may need to change? How do Black Americans manage the pain and the anger provoked by these events? How deeply are white Americans affected by unconscious racism? How is white privilege understood? What does it look like? How does the lens of Christianity change how we see these events? How does the Baptismal Covenant challenge and guide us to a better world – toward the Beloved Community envisioned by Jesus?

The Social Justice Commission, under the direction of the Rev. Lisa Green and the Rev. Dr. Harvey Hill, has created a process by which individuals can approach these questions: “Toward the Beloved Community: Holy Conversations About Race.” This is not a required program like Safe Church, but the hope is that everyone – especially those in leadership in our congregations – will take part in one of three conversations scheduled during the 4

upcoming year: September 24, 2016 (Pioneer Valley Corridor); April 1, 2017 (Worcester Corridor); May 20, 2017 (Berkshires Corridor). Facilitated by the Rev. Lisa Green and Ms. Lee Cheek, these “holy conversations” will enable participants to speak to one another using the language of faith to express what is happening around us and inside of us, with regard to race. This formation day, according to the description provided by the Social Justice Commission, will lean into the tradition as a framework for envisioning a hopeful future. “We’ll share the sacred stories, Biblical and personal, drawing us toward transformation; explore the Episcopal Church’s complex history on racial justice; and navigate some

of the deeper waters of systemic racism and white privilege. Our day will include prayer, presentations, small group discussions, short videos, lunch, and Holy Eucharist.” Bishop Fisher endorsed the new process in a direct communication to clergy and parishes. “The Church has a history of talking about race and we really do need to keep that going, in some ways now more than ever. ”Anti-racism Training” has had its place in our collective effort to walk together as children of God. But we want this to be about what we are for, not what we are against so it is time for us to restructure those holy conversations and imbue them with all the positive energy we can muster.” ABU ND ANT TIMES

Holy Conversations About Race Lee and Lisa have completed the Province I training for facilitators. “It was powerful to come together with people from all the New England dioceses who are involved in antiracism and social justice work. And I think it gave all of us a wider sense of what this offering could look like,” Lisa said. “As a participant in previous versions of anti-racism training (in seminary and in my former diocese), I think there was more of a focus on the ethics, history, social process dynamics-which are all important. But we're clear that growing in our ability to have these holy conversations is spiritual development, an evolving openness to the movement of the Spirit to heal, encourage, transform. It's equipping the saints for the work of ministry, as Ephesians says--and at a time when such ministry feels particularly urgent. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.”

Registration for “Toward the Beloved Community” is online. See the icon on the homepage of the diocesan website or in Mission Matters, our digital news source.

Meet the Artist

The diocese has secured permission to use Make Your Mark; Be an Everyday Hero, by Beth Mount, as the logo for “Toward the Beloved Community: Holy Conversations About Race.” Mount’s quilts are renowned for their beauty and social messaging. Her designs are created by a “beloved community” of persons with intellectual and physical disabilities, their allies, family members, and support staff. “My life work of four decades is devoted to the possibility that all people, particularly those with disabilities, are seen in the light of their capacities and potential. My community works steadily on many aspects of personal, neighborhood, organizational, and cultural change so that the hopes expressed by people and their allies have some concrete impact on the structures of society.” Mount’s most recent exhibit, “Journey to the Beloved Community,” featured several quilts including


the one we so admire. Here is her explanation of Make Your Mark; Be an Everyday Hero story quilt: “The handprint is a universal symbol of spiritual power, signifying action, strength, and protection. The handprints found throughout time, in every culture, transmit the spiritual power of the person who has ‘made their mark’ on the world. This image celebrates the often hidden contributions of direct support activists who hold the potentials of so many others in their hands and have the courage to practice the art of inclusion.” This is folk art as instrument of justice. While her artistic process engages persons with disabilities, her vision of the world is expansive, inclusive and characterized by right relationship. Mount cites her own historical and geographical context as formative in her approach to art: Continued page 23

Make Your Mark; Be an Everyday Hero; Quilt, 86 wide X 88 high Artist: Beth Mount


Transitional Deacon “breaks the sound barrier”

WMA’s First Deaf Candidate for Holy Orders

Deacon Mahaffey dismisses the assembly in ASL

On Saturday, May 28, Bishop Fisher ordained the Rev. Richard Mahaffy to the transitional diaconate - a step in the process of becoming a priest. The celebration of this ancient liturgy was made especially beautiful by the addition of ASL (American Sign Language.) The entire rite was signed by two interpreters - one for the benefit of the ordinand and the other for the assembly. The ordination took place at St. John’s, Northampton - Dick’s sponsoring parish. Brother David Vryhof, SSJE, preached the sermon. Dick’s husband, Mr. Douglas Woodworth, placed the stole on his shoulders. The Rev. Mahaffy is the first deaf candidate for the priesthood in the diocese, but one of many ordained in the Episcopal Church. According to the Episcopal Conference of the Deaf, the first deaf priest was ordained over 150 years ago. Along with the Rev. Thomas Gallaudet, the Rev. Henry Winter Syle is remembered on August 27. Dick was awarded the M. Div. from Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge in May. As a transitional deacon, Dick will serve in an Episcopal congregation for a minimum of six months and then be ordained to the priesthood. Dick’s ministry will uniquely address the spiritual needs of the deaf - both within and beyond the Church. As in every mainline denomination, the challenge is reaching out to those who have never attended church. Episcopal deaf ministries are evolving to meet that challenge in new ways. The Episcopal Conference of the Deaf announced Dick’s ordination with great joy.



Living in the Lord’s Time

DOK Retreat Fosters Prayer and Creativity By Mariana Bauman

Living in the Lord’s Time was the title of the annual Province I Retreat for The Order of the Daughters of the King, April 29 - 30 at the Genesis Spiritual Conference Center in Westfield, MA. Eighteen women from Connecticut, Vermont and Western MA gathered, including two guests from outside of Province I. Susan Keith from The Order’s National Council (and the Diocese of Western North Carolina) and Marge Rogers (a former member of National Council) from the Diocese of Long Island joined us.

“...although we are so often caught up in the calendar and clock time of our lives, we are also still in God’s time, eternal time and we can take advantage of that.” ABUN DANT TIMES

Throughout the Retreat, we were centered in the concept of transitions, when we are in ambiguous and often confusing periods of our lives. We even learned a new word, ‘liminality’, which refers to a ‘threshold,’ to that period when we are not yet at our destination or goal, but cannot return to our previous status. We discussed how that uncomfortable time could be the pause we need to connect and rest in the strength of our Lord. Loosely based on Esther de Waal’s book, To Pause at the Threshold, the Retreat, led by Mariana Bauman, included Bible study, meditations and prayers. A closing Eucharist was celebrated by the Rev. Michael F. DeVine, DOK Chaplain for the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

Everyone enjoyed the hospitality of Genesis, the thoughtful discussions, fellowship, and the relaxing coloring time included! There was a consensus that although we are so often caught up in the calendar and clock time of our lives, we are also still in God’s time, eternal time and we can take advantage of that. We just need to pause to remind ourselves - whose we are. Mariana is Province I President, The Order of the Daughters of the King®


Summer Means Hungry Kids Churches in Milford and Wilbraham Are Addressing That Need MILFORD By Dave Scott Trinity-Milford has been very busy over the last few years forming the Milford Area Humanitarian Coalition. The MAHC has four main goals: • • • •

To improve food security To provide transportation Focus on elder concerns Maintain and publicize a resource guide.

The MAHC was formed under the leadership of Father Mac Murray and two parishioners, Jim Thayer and Dave Scott. The Coalition meets once a month at Trinity. Sub-committees were formed to oversee specific concerns. The MAHC has grown to include many churches, the medical community (we have a great Regional hospital), law enforcement, many service


organizations such as the Rotary and YMCA, the housing authority of Milford and SMOC (the Southern Middlesex Opportunity Council). SMOC’s mission is to “To improve the quality of life of low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families by advocating for their needs and rights; providing services; educating the community; building a community of support; participating in coalitions with other advocates and searching for new resources and partnerships.” The Milford School System, particularly their Food Services department, have been a great partner. Many other Trinity folks also have joined including Beth Washburn and Mary Johnson. Our efforts in food security have yielded success. In the summer of 2015 we started a pilot summer lunch program for children who normally receive free lunch during the school year. Approximately 2,200 meals were served with money raised from individuals and local businesses. This summer we have three lunch locations and have partnered with the YMCA to provide logistic support. The three locations

(Trinity, Memorial Elementary School and the Milford Youth Center) are all located in the lowest income area of Milford: allowing us to have “open” lunch sites, where any child or teen, irrespective of economic circumstances, will be provided a free nutritious lunch. We have contracted with the Director of Nutrition for the school system to prepare the meals. Over a hundred volunteers from Trinity and our partners throughout the greater Milford area are involved. Meals are served five days a week from 11:30 to 1pm. The Wal-Mart Foundation helped finance the program, along with a grant from the Diocese of Western MA, Project Bread, The State of MA, a federal subsidy, and many individuals and businesses.

Left and Below: lunches prepared in two of the locations served by MAHC


WILBRAHAM By Victoria Ix Every summer - for over twenty years - “Food, Friends and Fun” has taken over the kitchen at Christ the King-Epiphany Churches. Each day a staff of 30+ makes 2,000 healthy lunches that are delivered to children all over Springfield and West Springfield. The deliveries go to over 40 places - VBS programs, summer camps, housing projects. Without this ecumenical effort, many children in our community would go without a noon meal. This program also receives a grant from the diocese.

Above: Yes, that’s Bishop Fisher in the second row packing lunches into brown paper bags. He volunteered a morning with the team in July. Left: FF&F team meeting; the Rev. Nathaniel Anderson, far right.

The two who make FF&F happen in Wlibraham: Joy and Bele. Joy Ross is the daughter of Utako and the late Rev. Bill Dwyer.

MAHC Summer Lunch data through Week 6 • • • • •

Above: Volunteers at the Milford Youth Center; far right: Shannon Nisbett, Healthy Food Access Coordinator Hockomock Area YMCA


• • •

A total of 4,010 meals have been served which includes: 932 meals served to kids at the three open (drop-in) sites 388 meals served to Milford Youth Center campers 2,306 meals served to students during the Milford Public Schools Summer Success Program 384 meals served to adult caregivers attending one of the meal sites with their children 332 total snacks served 170 volunteers of all ages recruited and trained Over 550 volunteer hours contributed by dedicated volunteers of all ages 9

Young Choristers Travel to DC and Beyond By David Pulliam

Stunning Services, Glorious Singing The Bishop’s Choir School had quite a busy and remarkable first year, and as the season wound down, the most exciting and educational moments were yet to come. In May, the choristers had the opportunity to sing Evensong in the Royal School of Church Music Choir Festival at historic St. Bart’s on Park Avenue in New York City. In July, the older singers in the Choir School joined the Christ Church Cathedral Choir and eleven singers from the Choir School of Newport, RI, for a singing tour to Washington, DC. They departed Springfield for four days full of fun, history, memory making, and beautiful singing and had the opportunities to visit the United States Capitol Building, the National Zoo, the Smithsonian museums, the National Archives, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, and other historic sites. But the heart of the trip was the singing: rehearsing and singing Evensong and Benediction at St. Paul’s Parish on K Street and Evensong at the Washington National Cathedral. The services were stunning, the singing was glorious, and memories were made that will last a lifetime. Mr. David Pullium is the founding director of The Bishop’s Choir School.

Above: Choristers, The Bishop’s Choir School at The National Cathedral. 10


Above: Choristers from Christ Church Cathedral and The Bishop’s Choir School at The National Cathedral in Washington, DC for Evensong.

Clockwise from right: On the National Mall, visiting our national monuments.



Cartoonist-Turned-Priest Creates Process for Congregations to Grow Spiritually

The Rev. Jay Sidebotham

An interview with the Rev. Jay Sidebotham Founder of RenewalWorks™

Editor: Why is RenewalWorks™ a process and not a program? Jay: We really view it as a discernment process – I would say in many ways - this is a helpful way to think about it – it’s like spiritual strategic planning. And I guess one of the things I would say about it, it’s led by people within the local parish. And we find, after we’ve done about 140 Episcopal Churches, we find that there is great variety in the ways that people respond and that that response comes as reflective of who that congregation is, and where they are in their own spiritual journey and their history - as opposed to somebody just dropping a program on a parish in a cookie-cutter way. It’s really about the parish using the tools of discernment and strategic planning to figure out what God is calling them to do, and where they’re called to go. I have found after being a priest for 26 years, that those kinds of conversations don’t always readily happen in the Episcopal Church. We have glorious worship. We do great outreach. We don’t always have the opportunity in our congregations for people to talk in an authentic way about their own spiritual experiences - what God is doing in their life, what the struggles are, what the challenges are, what the joys are. This process, among other things, allows for that to happen. We say that this work is as much about culture change as it is about introducing program, about making spiritual growth the priority in a congregation. Coming out of the research that’s been developed, there are certain best practices that congregations are invited to explore and that’s part of the report that they get - based on the wider database of churches and what churches have found is helpful – principles like embedding Scripture in their common life, having people have a sense of ownership for their own life in the church, having a sense of outreach which we call, “pastoring the community.” Sometimes, those will lead us to suggest a program like, for instance, some of the things FM offers, but it’s not what our primary focus is. It’s really about inviting churches discern where they feel called to go, and what would be the steps that they think might take them there.

For more information about RenewalWorks™ in WMA, visit the homepage of the diocesan website and click on the icon. Contact the Rev. Canon Pamela Mott at Diocesan House if you have questions.

Editor: It sounds immensely satisfying – a four-step clear process that you engage in that has an outcome that yields future plans. 12


For nearly fifteen years, Jay has created the cartoons for the CPG (Church Pension Group) calendar.

Copyright © 2016 Church Pension Group

J: It’s about next steps.

Copyright © 2016 Church Pension Group

It’s very biblical kind of Exodus stuff. How do we move together? How do we get to that next place to which we feel called? How do we get there together? How do we deepen individually? Editor: Especially helpful in a parish that may feel like it’s wandering right now. J: We have a lot of places that seems somewhat spiritually inert. Part of what this process is hoping to do is to be provocative and evocative, in a way of getting people to take some next step that would strengthen their spiritual growth and deepen love of God and neighbor. Editor: It’s caring for the soul of the community first. J: Yeah. People dispute this, but I’ve really come after all these years of working in parishes, to say that a healthy, vital congregation – its key - is that it’s constituted, it’s made up, it’s filled with people who are spiritually vital or spiritually healthy. It’s sometimes called the cellular model - it’s as healthy as the cells in it. There’s a great emphasis – not the only emphasis – but a great emphasis on personal spiritual practices and where people are experiencing God in individual life and then the worship and service of the community as an outgrowth of that. Editor: Are you sick of people asking you about “Schoolhouse Rock?” J: It is “the thing.” That was fun to do and I did that for about three years. It’s not work I could do now. I did it the old fashioned way. --------------------------------Jay traced the origin of “SchoolHouse Rock” - an ABC educational cartoon that ran from 1971-2008 - to a conversation among cartoonists of which his father was a part. Lamenting a son’s C+ in Math, one of the creatives said, “He can’t remember the multiplication tables, but he knows every song on the radio.” The group got to work creating education cartoons with music. An entire generation of Saturday morning viewers can still sing, “I’m Just a Bill,” and “Conjunction Junction.” --------------------------------Jay: I think there’s something in there that’s a preaching moment. I think there’s something in there about what the Church needs to do - to find ways to be teaching the stuff that’s engaging and memorable, and brings old stuff to new life. For more information about RenewalWorks™ in WMA, visit the homepage of the diocesan website: ABUN DANT TIMES


Cathedral Raises Funds to Build a School for Displaced Syrian Children Partnership with NuDay Syrian Deepens By Donna Barten

A truly collaborative, interfaith effort involving multiple churches in Springfield and the Islamic Center of Western Massachusetts, has yielded sufficient funds to build a simple brick eight room school for displaced children inside Syria. On Sunday, June 5, 2016, Christ Church Cathedral and NuDay Syria co-sponsored a dinner and silent auction to help raise funds for the new school. Additional co-sponsors and contributors included: The Islamic Center of Western Massachusetts, St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church, Zion Community Baptist Church, Orchard Covenant Church Holy Cross Just Faith Community, and Trinity United Methodist. NuDay Syria is a highly effective NGO started by Nadia Alawa, a mother of 8 from New Hampshire. Nadia is an impressive woman who could not stand watching the events of the news in Syria without doing something. Recognized on the national stage for her activities (Ted X Talk, James Foley Freedom Award recipient,), her unrelenting efforts highlight the power of one person to make a difference in the world. Also, as a devout Muslim woman who chooses to wear a hijab, she strives to dispel some of the stereotypes of Muslim women as being passive and submissive. Christ Church Cathedral also chose to work with NuDay Syria because they focus on helping women and 14

a major focus of the UN this year as well. It is estimated that at least 400 children will benefit from this school, which will be built in a new hillside community with 90 new homes built for $750 each (several congregations in the diocese raised funds to build houses with Canon Steve Abdow’s encouragement). Donna Barten - inspired by the work of NuDay Syria - spearheaded the project. Photo: Donna and Nadia Alawa

“Thirty-five thousand people reside in this camp in tents and 70% are children.” children affected by the conflict, and because they work with local leaders who tell them what the greatest needs of the refugee and displaced persons camps are. The leaders of the Jissr Shughur Displacement Camp asked for funds to build a school for their children. The camp is in a mountainous region along the Turkish border in the Idlib province and is considered a relatively safe refuge within the country. Thirtyfive thousand people reside in this camp in tents and 70% are children. The parents are concerned about a war that has already lasted 5 years having a permanent effect on the next generation. This has become

Last week Liz Stevens delivered a check for $13,650 to Nadia Alawa, Founder of NuDay. She also brought a number of school supplies, medical supplies and clothing, that will go by shipping container to Syria. Also included will be a handmade quilt and a poster made during the fundraiser dinner, to be hung in the school upon completion. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Springfield, collected and donated the school supplies. The funds included a $2,500 grant from the Diocesan Global Mission fund, and a $1,000 grant from Christ Church Cathedral Outreach Committee. Sponsorships, private donations and funds from the benefit dinner (100 people) and silent auction made up the remainder. Christians and Muslims working together for the innocent victims of war – this models the world as we wish it to be. Bishop Fisher, in his note of gratitude to all who worked to reach the goal, said “You are engaging the nightmare that is the greatest ABU ND ANT TIMES

Above: Homes being built in the camp in Jissr Shugur in Syria. The new school built with the funds raised in WMA will look much like this structure. Photo: NuDay Syria

refugee crisis since World War II, and you are offering hope. You are making a powerful statement by building a school. Building a school means we know there is a future for refugees and that is sharing in God’s Dream. … [You are] helping Syrian children become a New Generation, and not a lost generation. God bless you.” RIGHT: Nadia Alawa accepts the school funds from Liz Stevens. Photo: NuDay Syria

For More About NuDay Syria NuDay Syria P.O. Box: 4521 Windham, NH 03087 (857) 244-1695 Amazon “wishlist” for direct donation on the NuDay Syria website

DROP OFF LOCATIONS IN WESTERN MA FOR IN-KIND DONATIONS Old Worcester Mosque, 248 East Mountain St, Worcester, MA West Springfield Mosque, 377 Amostown Rd, W Springfield, MA Please sort things into labeled boxes or strong, white labeled trash bags • • • • •

Rice, beans, powdered and liquid infant and regular milk, tuna, protein bars, flour, sugar, cooking oil New to like-new clothes, bedding, shoes Soccer balls, stuffed animals, colors, non-battery operated toys Diapers, feminine supplies, soap bars, powdered detergent, toothbrushes, Tylenol, vitamins Hospital equipment, walkers, wheelchairs, medical supplies



Your Invitation to Emergency Mode By the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas Imagine there is a fire in your house. What do you do? What do you think about? You do whatever you can to try to put out the fire or exit the house. You make a plan about how you can put out the fire, or how you can best exit the house. Your senses are heightened, you are focused like a laser, and you put your entire self into your actions. You enter emergency mode. Thus begins an essay that every faith leader should read. “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement” recognizes that when we face an existential or moral crisis, we can fall into inertia or rush about in a frenzy. But choosing between paralysis and panic is not our only option. Instead, we can enter a state of consciousness in which we become highly focused and purposeful, pour our resources into solving the crisis, and accomplish great feats. Margaret Klein Salamon, the article’s author and the Founding Director of The Climate Mobilization, calls this “emergency mode.” When we enter emergency mode, inertia or panic is replaced by focused, productive action toward a few critical goals. Non-essential functions are curtailed. People work together because we face a shared and urgent threat. Salamon accurately calls the climate crisis “an unprecedented emergency.” She writes: “Humanity is careening towards the deaths of billions of people, millions of species, and the collapse of organized civilization.” Most faith communities don’t recognize the climate crisis and are not in emergency mode. Yet when faith communities enter this heightened state of awareness about our planetary emergency, we have significant gifts to offer. For instance, congregations can…

“Instead, we can enter a state of consciousness in which we become highly focused and purposeful, pour our resources into solving the crisis, and accomplish great feats.”

• Address helplessness People worried about climate change often don’t take action because they feel helpless and overwhelmed (“What difference can I possibly make?”). Faith communities address helplessness in multiple ways, both directly and indirectly. For instance, during worship we turn to God, who renews our strength. Entrusting ourselves to God can release in us unexpected power “to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). • Face facts Science has established that climate change is real, largely caused by human activities, already inflicting widespread damage, and, unless we change course fast, on track to make it difficult for civilization to continue to exist. We know that 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. Such facts are difficult to face. But congregations have the capacity to face facts, tell the truth, and dismiss denial. Accountable to a sacred reality that includes and transcends the material world, we’re uniquely positioned to pierce the lies of climate denial. • Provide vision Facts alone don’t persuade people to take meaningful, concerted action. For that, we need vision – a shared purpose and values. This is what faith communities offer: a vision of people living in just and loving relationships with God, each other, and the whole Creation. 16


• Offer hope The climate crisis challenges the future of the human enterprise. Faith communities provide contexts in which to explore and take hold of the kind of hope that doesn’t depend on outward circumstances but emerges from a deep, irrepressible place in the human spirit. Animated by a radical, Godgiven hope, people of faith throw themselves into healing the Earth and its communities, human and other than human. • Renew love Racism, militarism, and xenophobia – the fear of what seems foreign or strange – may increase as the planet warms and as various groups battle over depleted resources, such as arable land and clean drinking water. Like every other group, religious groups can be hijacked by fear and become sources of discord and violence. Yet the deep message of the world’s religions is that we’re interconnected with each other and with the Earth on which all life depends. Faith communities can restore our capacity to respect the dignity of every human being and to cherish the sacredness of the natural world.

“Humanity stands at a crossroads. As individuals and as a species we face a decision of ultimate importance to our souls and to the future of life.”

• Inspire bold action Faith communities have a long history of leading movements for social and environmental justice. Faith communities tap into our capacity to dedicate ourselves to a cause greater than personal comfort and self-interest. Faith in God can inspire us to take bold actions that require courage, compassion, and creativity. ………………………………………………………… Humanity stands at a crossroads. As individuals and as a species we face a decision of ultimate importance to our souls and to the future of life. “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). This is not a fire drill. This is an actual emergency. Martin Luther King, Jr. got it right: we face “the fierce urgency of now.” “See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Please join in celebrating our diocese’s third annual Season of Creation, from October 4 (Feast Day of St. Francis) through the end of Pentecost (November 26). Resources for prayer, preaching, and action during these seven weeks are posted on the Season of Creation page on the diocesan website. We have a vital role to play in inspiring action to safeguard the world that God entrusted to our care. Now is the time to enter emergency mode. NOTE: This is an excerpt from a longer article. To read and download the full article, visit our diocesan Season of Creation Webpage [https://www.diocesewma. org/vision-ministry-statements/creation-care/season-of-creation. Visit [] to sign up for Margaret’s blog posts, and to read sermons, articles, etc. If you’d like to invite Margaret to preach or speak in your congregation, email: Please let her know if you wish to join our diocesan Creation care network. ABUN DANT TIMES


The hands of Kyle Durant (17) volunteer instructor “Afternoon Tunes”

“Afternoon Tunes” Makes Beautiful Music in Worcester Church Community Outreach Matches Talented Teens and Local Students By Victoria Ix When I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to get off the bus at the end of the day. The fake lunch I ate in front of my friends had long worn off and I needed a real meal. A sub sandwich, General Hospital and homework constituted a normal afternoon. Times have changed. Many young people are doing things after school every day – sports, lessons, tutoring. Some teens are volunteering their time after school and doing things that make a positive difference in the lives of people in their community. Actually, this happens every Friday afternoon during the school year at “Afternoon Tunes,” an outreach of All Saints Church, Worcester. “Afternoon Tunes” matches gifted teen musicians with students from the Greater Worcester area for weekly, low cost, private music lessons. High school virtuosos teach for free and on their free time so that little children can learn piano, flute, clarinet, violin, guitar, saxophone and drums. According to All Saints website, Afternoon Tunes “loans each student an instrument, cleaning supplies, music, a music stand, and a metronome/tuner.” Under the direction of the program’s paid Music Education Coach and Consultant, Mrs. Nike Mavodones Beaudry, the volunteer “instructors” learn how to teach music, how to encourage little people as they master the fundamentals. Mavodones Beaudry teaches music at Venerini Academy School. She invited Kyle Durant (17) to consider teaching piano. For the past three years this high school senior has volunteered his Friday afternoons to teach eight different children. He always thought about being a teacher, but this program gave him the chance to find out. When I asked him why he agreed to be a volunteer instructor, Kyle said he thought, “I have a passion for music and a passion for teaching so let’s put them together.” Kyle credits the program with confirming his desire to teach. He will begin studies this fall at Assumption College in English and Secondary School Education. “The kids really have taught me a lot of skills. It 18


takes a lot of patience.” “I’m so grateful that they let us use the space,” Kyle says of All Saints Episcopal Church. It’s amazing that they do this for us, they do this for this community.” I was given the opportunity and parental blessing to speak with one of the “Afternoon Tunes” students, too. Nicole Stephanie Sarmiento (12), started coming at age 7 at the same time she joined the choir at All Saints Church. She credits the church choir with teaching her how to read music. In addition to piano, Nicole also studies the flute, the guitar, and the recorder. “Adults usually expect more from you, but they don’t,” Nicole said of the teen teachers. It takes a little bit of the pressure off. I asked her what she wants to do when she grows up. “I want to create music.” Her favorite musicians? “Classical, I like Mozart and then, with like modern stuff, I like this band, Panic at the Disco.” Nicole’s proud mother looked on as we spoke in the courtyard at All Saints. When asked how this church outreach program made a difference in her life, she looked at her mom and said, “I would have to pay a lot of money for private lessons.” Nicole is going places. She is a gifted musician, singer, dancer and actress with a few really exciting credits already. She was an extra in the film, “Joy” starring Jennifer Lawrence and had a part in “A Christmas Carol” at the Hanover. Nicole was in a show with Debbie Allen and sang with Kenny Rogers, but on Sunday morning Nicole is just a member of the choir in her parish – the place where the music began and where music is nurtured as a gift from God - for every child.

Nicole Stephanie Sarmiento (12) is a member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Worcester and an accomplished musician thanks, in part, to “Afternoon Tunes.”

Families enjoy the annual end-of-year concert held inside All Saints’ Church.



From the Archives Archive…Archives? Either is correct! Does your parish have one? By Karen Warren Either way you spell it, singular or plural…it’s still the same question: Does your parish have an archive or records management program? Do you have an appointed parish historian or archivist? Points to consider on this topic include: What records should be preserved, and why? Where and how are they preserved? What constitutes a historical record? Who is in charge of maintaining your parish records? Who has access? What physical shape will they be in 50 years from now? How will they be accessible to future rectors, vestry, or persons interested in researching the history of your parish—do you have finding aids? While forward-thinking people see the present and the future of our parishes and congregations certainly of greater importance than maintaining records of ‘yesterdays,’ there are legal as well as historical reasons for documenting and preserving the past. Since the creation of our Diocesan Archives in 2011 there have been 36 inquiries for information—15 of these alone have been in the first six months of 2016. Most inquiries have been on legal matters. What to save? ‘Records’ are defined by the Archives of the Episcopal Church as documents and data pertaining to the operation and administration of the parish. This includes personnel records, vestry minutes, reports of committee meetings, contracts and other legal documents, parish sacramental registers, financial and property records. Recommendations from the Archives of TEC in Austin, Texas state that parishes should have a policy for the custody and retention of records, approved by the vestry. Documentation of records is also an important consideration—dates and authorship are of great importance, particularly when looking at the historical perspective. The National Episcopal Historians and Archivists (NEHA) publish a clear and concise booklet titled Archives for Congregations: An Introduction and Guide, which I recommend. See listing of ‘Resources’ on the next page. Where/how to save? Records should be kept in a secure area on parish property—never in someone’s home. Confidentiality 20

must be respected. Accessibility must also be considered. Vestry, finance officers, and rectors must be able to access parish records as necessary, but access needs to be restricted. A controlled environment is crucial to the integrity of paper records. Fine papers used to create records in the 19th century tend to hold up very well. However, more current papers over the past several decades contain high concentrations of acid, which cause the paper to deteriorate much more quickly. Solutions to the delay or prevention of deterioration include: photocopying records onto acid-free papers; microfilm or microfiche the documents; or simply transfer the documents into

acid-free files and file boxes. Please note: metal paperclips, staples, and transparent tape are the enemies! Remove these when archiving your records. Plastic clips are available. Newspaper clippings should be photocopied on acid-free paper, and the newsprint tossed away. The storage area you choose should have less than 5 degrees of temperature fluctuation, very little fluctuation in humidity level, and be maintained at 65 degrees Fahrenheit or less. If off-site storage is necessary, the parish should retain title, ownership and priority access to the records. Electronic records should be stored on a server and backed up regularly. ABU ND ANT TIMES

How long to Retain Records? For information on the retention and disposition of records, see the Archives of TEC’s Records Management for Congregations, listed in ‘Resources’ below. How to organize records: When I began creating an archive for the Diocese (I am not officially an archivist) I consulted often with Diocesan Archivists in Province One—in particular Meg Smith in CT and Mary Brundett (now retired) in NH. Meg often used the term ‘finding aids’ long before I understood what she was referring to. In time I came to understand that piling historical documents in a special room without a way to find what you’re looking for…is pointless. After consulting with Meg and Mary often, and reviewing the journals and documents that our Diocese had preserved, I developed my own ‘finding aid’ system, built on a hierarchy that made sense for our records, in descending order of importance, such as: Governance, Official Acts of the Episcopate, Bishops Papers, Diocesan Officials, Diocesan Missioners, Diocesan Affiliations/Organizations, Diocesan Publications, Diocesan Histories,

Records of Parishes & Missions, etc. Meg, an experienced Archivist, offered kudos for this system. I owe her a great deal. Archival Materials: Archival materials such as acid-free folders and boxes (in all sizes and shapes), book tape, cloth string, labels, and many other items are available from several sources, including: Hollinger Metal Edge, Inc., and Demco.

Karen Warren is Diocesan Archivist, provides Administrative Support to the Canons to the Ordinary, to the Board of Trustees and to Diocesan Council. She enjoys sharing some of our treasured history in this quarterly column.

Further resources: I hope some of this information is helpful to our congregations—I know many parishes are short-staffed. The Archives of TEC website has abundant information to help you get started or maintain what you have. If I can be of any help, please contact me at: Resources for parishes: • Records Management for Congregations: An Archives Manual for Episcopal Parishes and Missions – published by The Archives of the Episcopal Church, downloadable at: • Archives for Congregations: An Introduction and Guide, published by the National Episcopal Historians and Archivists, available at: • Guidelines for Creating Parish or Diocesan Archives with Limited Resources, published by The Archives of the Episcopal Church, available at: • Writing a Congregational History, booklet published by the NEHA, available on the above website ABUN DANT TIMES


From the Editor

What makes a conversation “holy?”

Abundant Times is the official quarterly 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: Follow us: @EpiscopalWMA We welcome the submission of articles via email to the editor, Victoria Ix, Communications Director/Missioner.

At Diocesan House

The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, IX Bishop 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

We talk to each other all the time – in the car, on line in the grocery store, at the dinner table. Conversations between spouses, parents and children, friends and co-workers – these interactions make up the stuff of life. They can be infrequent yet significant or happen every day with little benefit or blessing. Even when I was in the convent, there was plenty of time to talk – even with designated places and times for silence. Conversations between the sisters could be truly life-giving or, as in any human community, words exchanged could be the cause of misunderstanding and hurt. I knew a monk who referred to our verbal sins as the result of the “slippery slope of saliva.” Once our lips start moving, there is the possibility for blessing or curse.

More recently I have been thinking about conversation with my father. He’s only been gone four months. I miss him in all kinds of ways, but find myself Bruce A. Rockwell, longing to pick up the phone and just talk. Our phone calls were never long. Assistant to the Bishop for Stewardship & Getting my Dad to talk about his world was as productive as milking a bull. Interim Missioner for Legacy Stewardship But when the conversation was really important, he never missed a beat. If we The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, were talking about my life, my happiness or my search for God, time would Missioner for Creation Care stop. Our words would be measured and the space between sentences allowed The Rev. Hilary Bogert-Winkler, grace to carry us someplace important together. I miss these conversations Youth Missioner most of all because they were luminous – filled with God’s light and wisdom. The Rev. Jennifer Gregg, Those soul-stirring moments with my Dad give me some clues as to what Missioner for Servant leadership makes a conversation “holy.”


The Rev. Meredyth Ward, Urban Missioner for Worcester Robin Carlo, Missioner for Spiritual Formation The Rev. Christopher Carlisle Director, “Building Bridges” Veterans Initiative On the Cover: Quilt by artist, Beth Mount; see page 5. 22

• • • • • • • •

awareness of the presence of God in the other willingness to listen deeply absence of a defined agenda other than to speak the truth in love willingness to say, “I don’t know.” capacity for silence in between the words acknowledging the limits of what I know about the other allowing for the possibility that what will be said has never been said before willingness to be changed by the encounter ABU ND ANT TIMES

This issue of Abundant Times has been focused on the movement of the world from brokenness toward God’s vision of the beloved community. Of the many reasons why we are not there yet, racism is one of the most difficult to speak of. We fear being misunderstood. We fear our own unconscious racism becoming more conscious in the midst of the assembly. We fear our feelings – frustration, sorrow, anger, shame. All in all this is a complex and daunting undertaking. It would be much easier to stay home on September 24 and watch a film about the Civil Rights Movement, or read a book by Toni Morrison. But I’m not going to do that. I am going to the first “Toward the Beloved Community” event – not to “cover” it for the social media feeds, but to be part of this important conversation. Our world is hurting. Our nation is hurting. My discomfort is nothing compared to the sorrow I have felt. God will be with us - the One who has promised to be wherever two or three are gathered. God’s presence, God’s participation will make up for what we lack. God never misses a beat either and, like my Dad, delights in the timeless wonder of a holy conversation.

Vicki is the editor of Abundant Times magazine - a most enjoyable part of her ministry as Communications Director / Missioner.

Continued from page 5

“Growing up in Atlanta during the 1960’s civil rights movement I was influenced by Martin Luther King, Jr. calling us to remember that ‘we are all tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.’ Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an allinclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.” More information about Beth’s art can be found on her website:

The 115th Annual Diocesan Convention

Return to Purpose

The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright

Marriott Springfield

Friday & Saturday October 28-29 ABUN DANT TIMES

Since becoming bishop, Wright addressed the Georgia legislature about gun control, spoke up for Medicaid expansion and has been a vocal and active opponent of the death penalty in Georgia. In commemoration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, he prayed with a City of Atlanta sanitation crew before taking an early morning shift on the back of a city garbage truck. In January 2015, he was named among the 100 Most Influential Georgians by GeorgiaTrend magazine. 23

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts


37 Chestnut St. Springfield, MA 01103-1787

Racism: We have breathed it in.

Your Call to Emergency Mode

Priest-Turned-Cartoonist: The Rev. Jay Sidebotham

Pages 2-3

Pages 16-17

Pages 12-13

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. Address corrections or deletions may be sent to the same address attention: Carol LaPlante.

Abundant Times -- SUMMER 2016  

This issue explores the sin of racism in America - its roots, its long-lasting effects and the Church's vital role in healing the wounds tha...

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