A Publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
Sustaining Our Fragile Island Home
Table of Contents 3
From the Bishop
Sustain Island Home: Standing Up for Life
We Resolved to Make a Difference in 2019
Public Prayer for the Common Good: Blessing of Journalists
Reflections at the Blessing of Journalists Service
How the Shutdown Affected Southeast Worcester
Exploration into Christian Leadership
Education for Ministry: Is it for you?
Patronal Feast of Art at St. Lukeâ€™s
Around the Diocese
From the Archives: Tanzania Part Two
From the Editor
On the Cover: Image credit: Andrey Zyk
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
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
The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas Missioner for Creation Care The Rev. Hilary Bogert-Winkler Youth Missioner The Rev. Christopher Carlisle Director, Building Bridges Veterans Initiative The Rev. John Edgar Freeman Missioner to the African Community of Worcester The Rev. Jennifer Gregg Missioner for Servant Leadership The Rev. JosĂŠ Reyes Missioner for Hispanic/Latino Ministries The Rev. Meredyth Wessman Ward Urban Missioner for Worcester
From the Bishop The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts
ent invites us to ask ourselves: Where have I gotten trapped in ways of thinking and acting that are not faithful to God’s love? What changes can I make in my life so that my actions are more in tune with Jesus’ mission of mercy, compassion, and hope?
roll-out. We are test pilots for new technology that will enable your family and your congregation to track and reduce carbon emissions. Sustain Island Home will eventually reach across the whole Episcopal Church, and our diocese is honored to be part of the initial roll-out.
We know that the Earth is crying out for justice and healing. Climate change is already taking a toll around the world and right here at home. So this Lent I invite you to join me in making a Creation Care pledge.
I am grateful to the parishes that have already agreed to get started during this season of Lent. Our hope is that every congregation will consider joining this effort. If you like, you can jump right in and get started with Sustain Island Home, but we have also put together a team that can help you and your congregation to get started. Contact the team convener, the Rev. Eric Elley. He will arrange for someone on the team to help launch Sustain Island Home in your congregation.
It’s easy to do. Visit the Episcopal Church’s website for Creation Care to find some suggested actions you can take to help protect and restore the web of life that God entrusted to our care. You can decide which actions you feel called to take, and pledge to carry them out. I’ll be taking the pledge and I hope you will consider taking it, too. Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation. I want to tell you about another development in our Episcopal Church. It’s an innovative, web-based platform called “Sustain Island Home”. It’s named after that wonderful phrase in Eucharistic Prayer C. Our diocese is one of five in the Episcopal Church that will be part of this soft
Lent is the perfect season for learning to live more simply and gently on the Earth. It is a time for beginning practices that can last beyond Easter Sunday. I hope you will join me in making your Creation Care Pledge, and in exploring the carbon tracker at SustainIslandHome.org. We are God’s stewards of "this fragile island home." ♦ +Doug
To make your Creation Care pledge, visit www.episcopalchurch.org/ creation-care To explore the carbon tracker at Sustain Island Home, visit www.sustainislandhome.org
To bring the Sustain Island Home carbon tracker to your congregation, contact the Rev. Eric Elley Phone: (860) 394-8728 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
Creation Care 4
A BUNDANT TIMES
Sustain Island Home: Standing Up for Life The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas Missioner for Creation Care
e know that climate change is upon us. The world is already starting to experience its effects — from extreme storms to floods, droughts, rising seas, and refugees on the move. What we may not know is that we have the power, in our own households, to make a significant difference in combating climate change. If all Americans made better choices in five areas (how we heat and electrify our homes; how we transport ourselves; what we eat; and how we deal with waste), our national carbon emissions would plummet by 40%! The Episcopal Church is launching a new initiative, Sustain Island Home (www.sustainislandhome.org), which
will give us tools to reduce our carbon emissions and make good choices in those five areas of daily life. It provides a “carbon tracker” to help us mark our progress and it aggregates our commitments, so that we can see how our personal life-style changes are contributing to the larger whole. The carbon tracker was piloted in the Diocese of California and endorsed last summer by the Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention (Resolution C008). The Diocese of Western Massachusetts is honored to be one of five dioceses – along with the Dioceses of Connecticut, Kansas, North Carolina, and Olympia — that will be early adopters of Sustain Island Home. We will lead the way in testing
and refining the process of introducing Sustain Island Home to congregations. By Earth Day (April 22), all the dioceses of the Episcopal Church will come on board. Lent is the perfect season to begin exploring Sustain Island Home. During these 40 days, we take the first step in what Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calls the Way of Love: we turn toward Jesus. We notice the ways that we have gone astray, and we turn again toward love. In Lent we re-orient ourselves to the love of God, asking ourselves: What are the habits of thought and behavior that prevent God’s love from being fully expressed in my life? How have I — deliberately or unwittingly — been caught up in
Image provided by h9images / Pond5
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
Creation Care Image courtesy of sustainislandhome.org ▲
the powers of greed, hatred, fear, injustice, or oppression? What practices will restore me to a whole-hearted love of God and neighbor, so that I live my life more in tune with the Holy Spirit and become a bearer of God’s love? Learning how to live a carbon-neutral life — how to ditch fossil fuels and to turn toward energy efficiency, energy conservation, and clean renewable energy — is one of the most powerful and prayerful ways we can align ourselves with the love of God and neighbor, including our other-thanhuman kin. At a time when unchecked climate change is unraveling the web of life, what changes will you make this Lent in order to live more simply and in harmony with the rest of Creation? Take a look at the SustainIslandHome.org website and review your options. Some of the changes are easy to make; some of them ask you to stretch yourself. What is God inviting you to do, as each of us takes responsibility for sharply reining in our use of dirty fossil fuels? While everyone should feel free to explore the website, Sustain Island
A BUNDANT TIMES
Home is intended to be used by congregations, not only by individuals. We have formed a diocesan team that would be glad to help introduce the carbon tracker to your congregation (perhaps at a coffee hour, Forum, or special event), and to diocesan groups. To bring a member of our team to your congregation for a demonstration of the website and carbon tracker, please contact our Team Convener, the Rev. Eric Elley: Phone: (860) 394-8728 Email: email@example.com I am proud to be part of a diocese that, in so many ways, is answering God’s call to care for Creation. I know that many of you are implementing the diocesan resolution we passed last October, “Creation Care in our Congregations: Living Lightly on God’s Good Earth,” which asks every congregation to create a “green team” and carry out an energy audit, reporting on progress before our next diocesan convention. Thank you for getting that done. I am grateful for the enthusiastic support and prophetic leadership of Bishop Doug Fisher in our shared effort
to protect — in the words of Eucharistic Prayer C — “this fragile Earth, our island home.” With Sustain Island Home, we now have a grace-filled opportunity to accelerate and amplify our commitment to live lightly on God’s good Earth. If you visit the Episcopal Church’s website for Creation Care (www.EpiscopalChurch.org/ Creation), you will find a Care of Creation Pledge. I hope you will join me in making your Pledge, which can include making a commitment to explore Sustain Island Home and the carbon tracker. If you knew that making a few simple changes today would bless your children and future generations for years to come, would you make those changes? Of course you would! I look forward to discovering how we can encourage each other to make the changes that will help us express more fully our love for God and neighbor, and our commitment to build a safer, healthier future. ♦
How SustainIslandHome.org Works
Create your profile It's easy to get started. Create your household profile and enter some information on your current activities so we can track your success!
Take sustainable actions Browse a list of actions that will help reduce your impact, then add them to your dashboard. We'll help with next steps, costs, and questions.
Work together When you create your account you will automatically be added to your local congregation group! Work together and help each other succeed!
Graphic: adapted from sustainislandhome.org
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
We Resolved to Make a Difference in 2019 The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas Missioner for Creation Care
want to thank the congregations across our diocese that are moving forward to implement the resolution that our Diocesan Convention passed unanimously last October, “Creation Care in our Congregations: Living Lightly on God’s Good Earth.”
Our diocese is increasingly recognized as a Creation Care leader in the Episcopal Church. Thank you for all the ways that you are stepping up to safeguard the web of life, which needs our urgent protection as never before. Has your congregation created a Green Team? What has it done so far? Have you carried out an energy audit? As you enact the resolution, do you have any stories, surprises, or suggestions you’d like to pass along to the diocese? Please send news about your progress to our magazine editor, the Rev. Vicki Ix — we would love to share some of it in the next issue of Abundant Times. If your congregation has not yet enacted the resolution, now is the perfect time to get started. The resolution reminds us that we are all called to be faithful stewards of our fragile planet by taking three steps before our 118th Diocesan Convention: 1.) Create a Green Team, beginning by naming one or more individuals to serve as liaison
A BUNDANT TIMES
• • •
with our diocese’s Missioner for Creation Care in order to help the parish strengthen energy conservation and efficiency and encourage public advocacy around environmental issues. Undertake an energy audit for all parish buildings in order to reduce the parish’s carbon footprint, keeping in mind that grants are available from the Diocese to offset half the cost of the audit. Wondering how to get an energy audit? Contact Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light. Report back to the sponsors of this resolution before the 118th Diocesan Convention on steps taken and progress made on Steps #1 and #2. Congregations should report progress and accomplishments to the following members of the General Convention Deputation: In the Berkshire Corridor: John Cheek (firstname.lastname@example.org) In the Valley Corridor: Maggie Sweeney (magsween10@ yahoo.com) In the Worcester Corridor: Mac Murray (mac.murray@gmail. com)
Thank you, John, Maggie, and Fr. Mac, for receiving this information and for your leadership.
I look forward to connecting with a Creation Care liaison (or green team) in every congregation, and to hearing about your accomplishments as you implement energy audits. Thank you for everything you are doing — as individuals and as communities of faith — to heal God’s Creation, to cut back on fossil fuels, and to increase energy efficiency and conservation. Every prayerful action counts. Every degree counts. ♦
Photo: Tipper Gore ▲
The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care, can be reached at email@example.com. Visit her website, RevivingCreation.org, for sermons and articles, and to sign up for blog posts and monthly newsletters.
Green Teams at Work St. David's Episcopal Church, Agawam
“As you can see from the report, there was very little in the way of recommendations for energy savings, primarily because our building is only 21 years old, and thus is more up-to-date in terms of insulation, windows, etc. Our tankless hot water heater and fully LED lit building are from previous projects that continue to save energy and operating budget dollars. Our major concern at this point is the need to replace our air conditioning/heating systems, on which we have spent a large amount of money on repairs over the past 2 years. They have an expected life span of 20 years, so we are there.” - Jim Shields, Green Team
St. John's Episcopal Church, Ashfield
"Though much was accomplished for the care of St. John’s buildings and grounds in the past year, nothing stands out as much as the purchase and installation of a new, efficient propane heating system in the Corner House. [...] The gentleman from Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light (IP&L), Thomas Nutt-Powell, conducted a detailed audit of the church and the Corner House and estimates that the conversion is the equivalent of taking off the road a car driven 12,000 miles a year that gets 20 miles per gallon." - Bill Scaife, junior warden
Saints James and Andrew, Greenfield
“Saints James and Andrew received an energy assessment from Mass Save, and that brought with it a subsidy for the recommended insulation of our sanctuary amounting to roughly 90% of the total cost. In addition to insulating the sanctuary, the church is working on upgrading our lighting to mostly LED and installing dimmers and timer or sensor switches where appropriate. The energy assessments noted that our heating system is efficient and has modern controls, such as timed thermostats. Our next major energy-saving upgrade will be attention to the windows in our buildings, which likely will be an extended process.” - Tupper Brown, Green Team
Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield
“We were surprised to learn that even in our new addition (2000) there was work that could be done to save energy. It was nice to hear that the incentives for doing this work cover between 70% and 90% of the entire project cost. Looking into our energy usage has also led us to wonder about going solar as a next step.” - The Rev. Erik Karas, pastor, rector
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
WMA Revival Continues Claudia Ellet Chair, WMARevival Steering Committee
t’s been three months since Bishop Curry was here to inspire us, and revival events continue in local parishes and in corridors. The Steering Team is eager to hear what you have been doing to walk the way of love and how you have taken up the desire to be revived. Would you like to do things at a regional level, or two parishes together, or one parish? We are celebrating and giving thanks for some things that are emerging in different areas of the diocese: • The Bible Challenge will reach 365 days on the Monday after Pentecost • Lectio Group using The Way of Love Curriculum • Way of Love Lenten Series • 40 Days of Love and Kindness Challenge • Corridor Outreach Event — Parish outreach teams will gather to share their outreach ministries experiences, discuss opportunities to work together on outreach ministries.
It's local. It's collaborative. It's all about the #WayOfLove. It's rekindling HOPE, sharing LIGHT, and loving JESUS! 10
A BUNDANT TIMES
• Pentecost Day of Service Project Event — Packing meals for the organization “Stop Hunger Now.” • Corridor Vestries Gathering — Share ideas of being a welcoming, inclusive, and engaged parish. • Vestries exploring the Way of Love Rule of Life I am excited to know what you have been doing so we can share that information and inspiration around our diocese. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you. ♦ Peace and blessings,
February 19, 2019
• 40 Days of Love and Kindness Challenge
• Lectio Group using The Way of Love Curriculum
• Corridor Outreach Event — Parish outreach teams will gather to share their outreach ministries experiences, discuss opportunities to work together on outreach ministries.
• Way of Love Lenten Series
• Pentecost Day of Service Project Event — Packing meals for the organization “Stop Hunger Now”. • Corridor Vestries Gathering — Share ideas of being a welcoming, inclusive, and engaged parish.
• Scott Bailey has accepted the position as the Chair for the Pioneer Valley Revival Year 2 Committee. You may have read Scott’s article in the September Abundant Times, “A Liturgical Approach to Revival,” a guide to relating the Revival theme to the liturgical calendar, from fall to spring. Scott and his committee will be reaching out to you shortly.
• Day of Prayer (planning in the works. Contacts: Deacon Beatrice Kayigwa & Dr. Deborah Harmon Hines) • Way of Love curriculum • Way of Love Lenten Series
Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/groups/ WMAwayoflove/ ABU ND ANT TI M E S
Public Prayer for the Common Good: The Blessing of Journalists The Rev. Vicki Ix Communications Director
ublic prayer is first an act of faith, but it is also a powerful tool in addressing critical areas of the common good. The second annual Blessing of Journalists, held at Christ Church Cathedral on February 20, succeeded in lifting up the vocation of the journalist in our society and affirmed the necessity of a free press in strengthening our fragile democracy. Bishop Fisher saw the need for such a service in 2017 as journalists in our country became targets of slander and vitriol. A powerful and gracefilled service in 2018 led us to make this an annual event that will continue until the wide-spread attack on journalists comes to an end. Two additions marked this year’s gathering. First, we were honored to have Ambassador Mark G. Hambley (Ret.) speak about the uptick in violence against journalists around the world. His remarks addressed three concerns: • Growing challenges to a free press and freedom of expression • Journalist safety and establishing a more effective means to ending impunity for those responsible for their deaths • The fight against fake and deliberately misleading news Hambley concluded with a request. “I hope you will always keep a special place in your personal prayers for journalists both at home and worldwide. The role they play in securing 12
A BUNDANT TIMES
our freedoms, including our cherished freedom of religion, is too often under-appreciated and is deserving of our active respect and support, especially in these dangerous times.” (Full text of Hambley’s address follows.) The second addition was the establishment of The Bishop’s Award. With this award, our diocese will highlight a local journalist of any medium who demonstrates excellence in bringing local and national concerns to the people of Western Massachusetts. Our first recipient, Carrie Saldo, is the Bishop Fisher and Lynn Page. host of WGBY’s Connecting Point, a Photo: Episcopal WMA ▲ news magazine program rooted in local subject matter, from politics to the The date for the Blessing of Journalists was selected in conjunction with the arts, that airs weeknights at 7:00 PM. Episcopal Church’s annual commemoration of Frederick Douglass “Carrie takes on the local issues that (1811-1895) — abolitionist, orator, and affect our community,” Bishop Fisher editor of the pro-abolition journal The remarked. “She also facilitates a weekly conversation about ‘The State North Star. Douglass was a prophetic witness to the sinfulness of slavery and We’re In’ — an in-depth discussion with our government leaders. Carrie’s spoke this truth to a nation in need of repentance and reform. In a speech body of work for PBS and NPR has before the American Anti-Slavery Somade her a well-respected journalist ciety, May 11, 1847, Douglass spoke and a trusted voice here in Western Massachusetts. Carrie Saldo is a bless- of the need for unrelenting assault on the institution of slavery: ing and we bless her in return.” Saldo was unable to accept the award in person. Her baby arrived early — and healthy. Lynn Page, WGBY’s Deputy General Manager, accepted the award on Saldo’s behalf and read a message from Saldo to the assembly.
“The conscience of the American public needs this irritation. And I would blister it all over, from center to circumference, until it gives signs of a purer and a better life than it is now manifesting to the world.” As an enduring symbol of the power journalists possess to move the heart of the na-
tion toward the common good, the award recipient received a framed page from the paper founded by Douglass. “The prophetic voice speaking the truth is still the most powerful tool in creating a just society,” Bishop Fisher said. “Now, more than ever, we must support those who chronicle our times with integrity. Freedom of speech is the law of the land, and journalists of every medium exercise that right for
the common good. Today we honor all journalists — here and around the world — who give their lives to the pursuit of the truth. Some have lost their lives while bringing us a story from a dangerous place, or suffered imprisonment or death under a brutal regime. We honor them all today and we pledge to support the work of the journalist in our democracy — not just with our prayers, but with this public witness.”
The Prayers of the People, written by Dean Callard, included the White House Press Corps. A list of names submitted for prayer was also read aloud. While this service is deeply moving, we work and pray for the day we no longer need to defend journalists. One day we will simply gather to honor them for the good they do. May that day come soon. ♦
Reflections at the Blessing of Journalists Service Ambassador Mark G. Hambley (Ret.) Christ Church Cathedral Wednesday, 20 February 2019
ne of the principal focuses of today’s service must necessarily be on praying for the protection and safety of journalists — a topic which we should never have had to raise, especially in the United States. This is largely because of the traditionally high regard we have shown for the Fourth Estate, or fourth power, which refers to the press and news media, both in their explicit capacity of advocacy and their implicit ability to frame political issues for consideration by the public. Unfortunately, times have changed. It used to be that on battle fields, journalists wearing identification on their clothing similar to those worn by Red Cross and Red Crescent workers were largely immune from deliberate targeting for murder. Sadly, in recent conflicts in the Middle East, the opposite has become the norm. Even in the Iraq war, U.S. forces were not immune from criticism in this regard.
In my reflections this afternoon, I will focus on three concerns. The first concern is the growing challenge facing a free press and freedom of expression which are at the core of all of our democratic values and, indeed, of our liberty at large. For me, these values are neatly summarized by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms promulgated during his January 1941 “State of the Union” address delivered before the United States Congress. As symbolically represented by Norman Rockwell as part of his famous Four Freedoms illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, Freedom of Expression is the foundation of our basic freedom as enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (you will all undoubtedly recall
Ambassador Mark G. Hambley (Ret.). Photo: Episcopal WMA ▲
the other three: Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear). If you haven’t already done so, I would strongly encourage you to visit these wonderfully poignant drawings which are permanently displayed at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, which is located ABU ND ANT TI M E S
a short, 40 minute drive to the west of this cathedral, as our Bishop can attest. My second concern is for the safety and well-being of all journalists and the urgent need to find an effective mechanism to end impunity for those responsible for journalists’ deaths. They are literally “getting away with murder.” My third concern is really the bull in the proverbial china shop: fake news and the deliberate dissemination of non-truths and misleading facts, especially in social media outlets like Twitter, Google, and Facebook, but also on WhatsApp, and local newspapers and television.
Growing Challenges to a Free Press and Freedom of Expression
The Very Rev. Tom Callard
In this regard, keep in mind that fully
A BUNDANT TIMES
The Freedom House Report for 2018 claims that the president’s behavior stems in part from a frustration with our country’s democratic checks and balances, including the independent courts, a coequal legislative branch, the free press, and an active civil society. It concludes that these institutions remained fairly resilient in 2017, but warns that, “…the administration’s statements and actions could ultimately leave them weakened, with serious consequences for the health of U.S. democracy and America’s role in the world.”
And we pray for civility in our public discourse, for our ability to rise above surface differences and set aside personal agendas and bias, and we ask for God’s grace to seek the undivided truth — that truth has nothing to fear, that all will be revealed in the light, and that every story is a story of God’s creation, worthy of being shared. In your mercy, People: Hear our prayer.
Jamal writes: As a result, Arabs living in these countries are either uninformed or misinformed. They are unable to adequately address, much less to publicly discuss, matters that affect their region, and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative.
The Freedom House report cited by Jamal makes for a dismal read in cataloguing the downward spiral of freedom around the world in 2017, generally, and in press freedom, particularly.
The Prayers of the People
In his final column for the Washington Post, the late Jamal Khashoggi laments that in the 2018 “Freedom of the World Report,” published by Freedom House, only Tunisia among Arab countries is labeled as “free,” while Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, and Kuwait are labeled as “partially free.” The rest of the Arab world is labeled as “not free.”
two-thirds of the Saudi population of 28 million people is under 30 years of age. In the U.S., less than 40% is under 30.
Not surprisingly, the United States and President Trump are sharply criticized. The president, according to Freedom House “…lambasted the media — including sharp jabs at individual journalists — for challenging his routinely false statements.” And that was in the report covering 2017. It did not catalogue continuing outrages against the U.S. press, including the November 2018 embarrassing encounter at the White House briefing session involving CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Journalist Safety and Establishing a More Effective Means to Ending Impunity for Those Responsible for Their Deaths My second concern is two-fold. Firstly, to promote the safety and wellbeing for journalists, on every platform and from every nationality, and secondly, to demand an effective mechanism to end impunity for those responsible for their murder.
This latter point has gained some visibility, if little actual traction, in recent months because of the monstrous murder last October in Istanbul perpetrated against my acquaintance, Jamal Khashoggi. But his death — despite its notoriety — was only the tip of the iceberg. Russia, Malta, the Czech Republic, and Mexico have also had high profile murders of working, investigative journalists — in Mexico as recently as two weeks ago, the second murder of a high profile journalist over the past six weeks was recorded. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), over the past decade, in addition to literally scores killed in
war zones, 327 journalists have been silenced by murder. Think of this number — 327. In fully 85% of these cases, no perpetrator has been convicted for these crimes. Similarly, in all of these cases, no one who ordered these killings has yet been brought to justice. The second day of November has been designated by the United Nations as “The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.” But this somewhat gobblygook title does little, if anything, to mobilize public awareness, let alone to move governments to more concerted action. The case of Jamal and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) provides the most blatant case in point. MbS is unlikely to be removed because the narrative about Jamal’s murder is controlled by the Saudi government and is widely accepted and even applauded by a large majority of the country’s youthful population. A related concern is the way in which journalists are increasingly deliberate targets for murder, arrest, or harassment. Last May, nine Afghan journalists and news photographers were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul who had infiltrated their group posing as a fellow journalist. That same day, in Khost, BBC journalist Ahmad Shah was gunned down by an assailant on a motorbike. The Islamic State terrorist group took responsibility for the first bloodshed. To date, no one has claimed responsibility for murdering Ahmad Shah. The number of journalists jailed for simply doing their jobs is likewise staggering in number: 73 in our NATO ally, Turkey; 41 that are known in the People’s Republic of China, and 20 in Egypt to name a few of the more egregious examples. And in the Philippines, Maria Ressa, a very talented and award-winning journalist who was once listed as
a Time Woman of the Year, was indicted a second time earlier this month and arrested last Wednesday. Ressa, founder and editor of the online news outlet Rappler, now faces “cyber libel” charges over a 2012 article.
among people world-wide — have and are being used by persons, organizations, and governments of illintent to promote political agendas, ruin reputations, and, in some instances, attempt to bring down governments or influence local elections.
Late last year, she was hit with tax evasion charges. Ressa’s work has criticized Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and his brutal war on drugs, so the charges filed against her have been condemned by rights groups as a blatant attempt to stifle her specifically and press freedoms in the Philippines more generally.
The proliferation of use of these and other social media outlets over the past decade has been truly phenomenal; the challenge they collectively pose for media freedom and freedom of expression more broadly is equally formidable.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), over the past decade, in addition to literally scores killed in war zones, 327 journalists have been silenced by murder. Think of this number — 327. In fact, in the press freedom index published annually by Reporters without Borders, the Philippines is listed at 133 out of the 180 countries surveyed as lacking in press freedom. China is rated at 176 out of 180 countries, while, in contrast, Norway is number 1, Canada at number 18, and the USA is at number 45 and slipping. North Korea is listed at the bottom with 180.
The Fight Against Fake and Deliberately Misleading News
I will close with one statistic which underscores the extent of this challenge: In the third quarter of 2018 (1 July through 31 October), Facebook alone recorded 2.27 billion active subscribers – i.e., individuals who logged into their accounts at least once every day. That’s two billion, two hundred and seventy million people. This number exceeds the world’s estimated 2.1 billion Christians, 1.3 billion Muslims, 1.4 billion Chinese, and the 328 million Americans recorded as of this morning. To say that we have an uphill fight on our hands is truly an understatement. As will shortly be the focus of our Prayers of the People, I hope you will always keep a special place in your personal prayers for journalists both at home and worldwide. The role they play in securing our freedoms, including our cherished freedom of religion, is too often under-appreciated and is deserving of our active respect and support, especially in these dangerous times. ♦
My third concern underscores fake news and the deliberate dissemination of non-truths and/or misleading facts. Sadly, social media platforms — for the moment, especially Facebook, Google, Twitter, and WhatsApp (which is owned and operated by Facebook) — all of which were designed to foster communication
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
How the government shutdown affected Southeast Worcester The Rev. Meredyth Wessman Ward Urban Missioner for Worcester
f you listened to the radio or watched TV during the government shutdown, you could be forgiven for thinking it only affected government employees. The airwaves and newspaper accounts were full of TSA folks working without pay, furloughed employees trying to find out if they qualified for unemployment compensation, and elephants at the National Zoo being bored without visitors to entertain them. If you or a loved one didnâ€™t work for a National Park, a federal prison, or the Coast Guard, you might think that Massachusetts was insulated from most of the effects of the shutdown. The problem, of course, is that you would be wrong. The most vulnerable members of our communities were impacted as the shutdown restructured, stopped, or threatened some of the most basic elements of our rather tattered safety net for the poor. At Walking Together, we saw a lot of worried people. Many of the conversations around our tables were about the shutdown. Most of our folks use at least one type of government benefit. SNAP benefits, which used to be called food stamps, come under the Department of Agriculture. With funding for that department running low, a decision was made to release February SNAP benefits early, in 16
A BUNDANT TIMES
case they were shut down. Most people received their benefits for February on January 18th, rather than February 3rd to 5th. Unfortunately, not everyone understood that this was the February payment, and some treated it as an unexpected windfall. For some people, the letter explaining the change did not arrive until as late as January 24th. Even those who got the news were faced with making four weeks of benefits last almost seven, assuming that the shutdown ended before the March distribution date.
There were rampant rumors. Some people were convinced that the SNAP benefits had to be spent before the end of January, further compounding the problem of making the funds stretch. When I went to my local grocery store on the evening of the 18th, there were signs on the doors that EBTs (electronic benefits transfers) were not being processed. The system had been overloaded. WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) was another program affected by the shutdown. WIC provides healthy foods for pregnant moms, as well
as infant formula, baby food, and healthy foods for children up to age five. WIC stopped accepting new applications during the shutdown, and also stopped updating the status of the recipients. That means that a mother who gave birth early in the shutdown would go five weeks before receiving formula for her little one. Not every mother can nurse her child, and formula is very expensive. A third program under threat was Section 8 housing. Section 8 pays the difference between a percentage of the income of the recipient and the market rate for the apartment where he or she lives. Section 8 housing money was set to run out on March 1st if the new budget was not passed, forcing folks to come up with extra money for rent when most were already strapped for cash because of the early distribution of SNAP benefits. During school vacation week in February, we saw a lot of parents bringing their children to Walking Together for a snack or soup for lunch. With free breakfast and lunch at school unavailable and SNAP benefits almost gone, people were looking for ways to supplement what they had at home. We also saw parents looking for help in other ways. People who can usually cobble things together month to month came to us looking
Stock Media provided by DCnewsfootage / Pond5 ▲
for diapers, toiletries, or detergent. The number of people asking if we could give them toilet paper almost doubled. Even though the shutdown has ended, the need continues. It will take families a long time to regain the ground they lost, and they will be relying on food banks and community meals as they do so. While many parishes collect food for a local pantry, cash donations can be most effective. Individual parishioners buy food or toiletries at a retail outlet, but food banks can access the same items at wholesale prices. Pantries also know the needs of their constituents. Sometimes the donated items are unfamiliar or inappropriate for those who come to us for help. At Walking Together, we are always grateful for donations, but we are even more grateful when the donors ask what we need. Many of our folks are homeless or marginally housed, and carry most of their belongings in a backpack. That means space is at a premium, and large containers or
items which are nice to have but not necessities are hard for our people to carry. We love receiving travel size toiletries, and we welcome online donations. With donations of money, we can be flexible in our spending, responding quickly to the changing needs around us. The shutdown may have seemed far away, but it probably affected your neighbors, your co-workers, or members of your parish. Those who use SNAP or WIC are often invisible to us, and the way the story of the shutdown was told in the media added to that blindness. May our eyes be opened, and may we recognize the needs of our sisters and brothers around us. ♦
To donate online, go to www.diocesewma.org/givingopportunities/ and scroll down to Walking Together.
Text to Give: Text the word "give" to (978) 338-5281
Photo: Episcopal WMA▲
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
Exploration into Christian Leadership Susan Schneider The Rev. Peter Swarr St. Mark's, East Longmeadow
n 2015, a rector and a senior warden had a dawning. The Holy Spirit was alive and active in their church community, inspiring and enlivening people to serve in new and exciting ways. New ministry teams and projects were popping up everywhere. How wonderful… except the rector and senior warden found themselves integrally woven into the leadership of each and every initiative. It didn’t take too long for them to realize that having just a few leaders to run everything was not a sustainable way to raise up ministries or to empower people to use their God-given gifts for service.
The Rev. Marisa Egerstrom and Cindy Valentine of St. Paul's, Holyoke. Photo: submitted. ▲
A BUNDANT TIMES
So Fr. Peter Swarr (the rector) and Susan Schneider (the senior warden) set out to offer a program that would identify and support new leaders within their church. They felt called to offer a program that would not only explore the basics of Christian leadership but would also create a caring faith community where individuals would be fed spiritually as they discerned God’s call... and, of course, it had to be fun! Hard as they tried, they could not find a program that fit the call they had received. So they created one.
Exploration into Christian Leadership Program Overview God has gifted each of us with various skills and abilities that are meant to be used in service to God and others, and the gift of leadership is no exception. Over the course of five evening meetings and a weekend retreat, we explore the various aspects of Christian leadership within the church setting. Because no one can be Christian alone, this journey is done in community. Each church needs to be committed to raising up leaders who recognize and honor Christ in every person so that in every ministry and every activity, we might be faithful to God’s call.
new ways. Courses have taken place throughout the Pioneer Valley and retreats have been held in Leyden, MA and West Cornwall, CT.
• Gain tools, skills, and insights in worship and leadership so that they feel competent, ready, and equipped to respond to God and serve in whatever way they are called. • Engage in activities that allow them to try out different forms of leadership in a hands-on way so that when it is time to discern their call, they will have personal experiences on which to reflect. • Develop a community of learning with fellow Christians so that, through prayer, conversation, and discernment, they may understand and follow in the ways God is calling each one of them. • Recognize that they are beloved of God, endowed with gifts and talents which they are called to use to serve God and others.
Additionally, they have created and are offering a mentoring program. This program enables new leaders to enter their new role supported by the wisdom and guidance of skilled Christian leaders. These mentors walk with the new leader and support them as they live into their calling. It is hoped that once the mentoring program is fully functioning, there will be regional meetings made up of mentors from various churches who learn, worship, and support each other in the task of Christian Discipleship. ♦
Throughout and at the conclusion of this journey, participants will:
To learn more about the Exploration into Christian Leadership Program, check them out on Facebook @ExplorationIntoChristianLeadership or email ExploreChristianLeadership@gmail.com.
Over the past three years, Sue and Peter have offered the Introduction into Christian Leadership program four times, and are preparing for two new sites in the next few months. Through these courses, dozens of participants have grown, discovered, discerned, and begun serving God in ABU ND ANT TI M E S
Education for Ministry: Is it for you? Peter Prewandowski
s lay people, we face the difficult and often subtle task of interpreting the richness of the church’s faith in a complex and confusing world. We need a theological education which supports our faith and also teaches us to express that faith in day-to-day events. EfM helps empower us to be well-informed and knowledgeable lay people.
EfM is probably the most fun I’ve had doing thoughtful and challenging work. It is a pleasure to sit down each week in preparation and an even greater pleasure to take part in the weekly class. All baptized Christians are called to be active participants in the church’s total ministry. This total ministry is how we, as believers, participate in the ministry of Jesus. I don’t believe we can truly be the people we are meant to be until we discern and accept our Lord’s call. EfM has, in large part, enabled me to do just that. An EfM class has between six to twelve students and a mentor, who coordinates the class. Everyone in
A BUNDANT TIMES
the group has a chance to lead worship time, share their spiritual autobiography, participate in discussions about current faith issues, and make a wonderful group of friends who share the faith journey. The program’s four-year curriculum (you only have to commit to one year at a time) offers a solid, wellrounded, introduction to the Old Testament, New Testament, church history, and comparative religion/current issues and concerns. In our group at St. Andrew’s, Longmeadow, we start each meeting with worship and fellowship. We then move on to a discussion of the lessons and readings for the week. We break for snack, and return for a time of theological reflection. We have also shared in a Eucharist service from the seventh century, and participated in interfaith dialogue with an area Imam, as well as with several Rabbis. We have made Anglican prayer beads together, and recently watched and discussed Won’t You be My Neighbor, the Mr. Rogers documentary. I am the new Diocesan Coordinator of EfM, but my EfM journey began
after returning from Tanzania, where I served as a missionary from 1984– 1986. At that time, Bishop Andrew Wissemann helped me discern my next step in ministry by offering to pay for half of my first year of EfM. Over the years, as a student and then as a mentor, I have found that the program has strengthened my Christian commitment as well as enhanced my walk with Jesus. At the end of the Eucharist we all pray, “And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” EfM has helped empower me to be that faithful witness, enabling me to do the work He has given me, whether as a missionary for six more years in Tanzania, or as a eucharistic Minister, Lay Preacher, and EfM mentor here in Western Massachusetts. I invite you to join us; if there is not an EfM group meeting near you, I will help to get one started. Please give it some prayerful consideration. It may be just what you need to discern and answer Jesus’ call to you. ♦ Peter can be reached at ppletitbe@ gmail.com.
Patronal Feast of Art at St. Luke's The Rev. Timothy Burger St. Luke's, Worcester
he Arts (writ large) play an important role in our identity as Episcopalians. I purposefully use the phrase “writ large” because the art of Anglicanism is far-reaching. Think about the poets whose verses we sing or recite on Sundays, those glorious and witty giants of the 17th century. Think about the various hymnals used in worship, choices for vestments and adornments, architecture — or the theology in brick and mortar, to say nothing of windows depicting scenes from the Bible, or the lives of Saints. Think about the choices made for color, or flowers, even the choices made for altar candles. All of these have been, or are being, thought through, felt, and serve to create a particular kind of space and atmosphere. Think about churches in our tradition that have praise bands and Fender Telecasters in buildings that look like they belong in the English countryside. All of it is a kind of re-shaping of reality. Who doesn’t need that from time to time? I am the rector of St. Luke’s in Worcester. St. Luke’s is the stucco church among the other stone churches that looks like it’s right out of a Willa Cather novel. But for us, that’s fitting. St. Luke’s is an eclectic group, and we live into our Patron’s namesake as best as we can. St. Luke is the patron of artists, physicians, bachelors, surgeons, students, and butchers. I confess, we’ve not worked up to all
of those, but here’s what we have done, and the difference it has made in our community. On our Feast Day, in addition to a lot of food and music and fellowship, we invite our parishioners to bring in their “creations.” And all of those become part of our church experience for that time. In the past, it’s only been a day. This year, we decided to use our sanctuary space for the art, as well as the parish hall, narthex, and other entries into the church. Everything brought in stayed with us from October until Advent. It was glorious! We had paintings and photographs hanging in the church, and paintings of flowers on the high altar. Pottery sat near the baptismal font, and photographs of the murals in Worcester greeted people as they came into the church. Next to welcome cards and information about the church were parishioners' book publications or collections of short stories and poetry. Interspersed with all of this was art from the Sunday school — drawings, or paintings, or poems. (Some of our art appears on the next two pages.) The parish hall had a video of a large handmade train set, a video of our choir set to Star Wars, needlepoint, yarn work, fly-fishing hooks set to themes, and so much more. Some of our medical parishioners were offering to take blood pressure. As I thought about this, I thought about Karl Rahner and his wonderful understanding of sacramentality: that we come to church to give thanks for where we see God at work in the world, and to receive as
such, and also for sustenance. What was captured wasn’t simply a show of work, but a part of the creative expressions of a community. This certainly was not a banal moralistic art display that had as its primary reason for existing the question, “to what heights is this lifting you?” Everything spoke for itself, everything echoed in its own way something of The Creator. That is not always pleasant. The necessity of creating may often be because things are not seen as they should be, or reality is not the “dream that God has for it,” and so it is an act of anguish. As a James Baldwin fan, I’m reminded of what he said of art, and in his understanding, all art. He wrote, “All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.” Sunday after Sunday we worshiped with such diverse pieces of materiality around us. Somehow, and in some ways, they affected us, impacted us, made us think. They added to our experience; perhaps even, detracted, also fantastic. Some don’t realize what they love so much and why unless you tinker around with it for a while. For me, the most beautiful outcome was how much we learned about each other, and how much creative potential there is in our communities if we simply give it space. I would wager that you may have some empty space that could be filled with what you already have — those creative blessings that have already graced your thresholds. ♦ Photo: submitted.
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
Art Created by the People of St. Luke's Worcester
A BUNDANT TIMES
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
Around the Diocese
WMA's Newest Priest Ordination to the Priesthood Megan McDermott Our newest priest was ordained on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst. Megan was formed for the ministry of priesthood by the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. She graduated in May from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree, a diploma in Anglican Studies, and a certificate from Yale's Institute of Sacred Music. Megan was ordained to the transitional diaconate on August 4 by the Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan. She joyfully serves the people of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst as curate.
L-R: The Rev. Tom Synan, the Rev. Megan McDermott, and Bishop Fisher. â–˛
A BUNDANT TIMES
On the Way to Priesthood Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate Ann Scannell Ann Scannell was ordained to the transitional diaconate on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Worcester. Ann discerned her call to priesthood with the people of St. Francis' Episcopal Church, Holden where she served on the vestry and as a Eucharistic Visitor. She is currently pursuing the Master of Divinity degree at Yale Divinity School/Berkeley Divinity School and will graduate in May of 2019. Ann currently serves as deaconin-charge at Good Shepherd, Clinton until she is ordained a priest in June, God willing and the people consenting, when sheâ€™ll become priest-in-charge.
L-R: The Rev. Ann Scannell and Bishop Fisher. â–˛
Photos: Episcopal WMA
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
Around the Diocese
New Appointments Gideon's Garden Gets New Supervisor Jen Bloesch Grace Church in the Southern Berkshires has hired Jen Bloesch as Agrarian Youth Mentor and Supervisor. Jen will work alongside the current Youth Supervisor to manage Gideon’s Garden. Gideon’s Garden has been operated, for the last ten years, by volunteers of Grace Church and Taft Farms on whose land the Garden is located. Having a full time AYMS will secure the future of Gideon’s Garden and allow the mission of Grace to expand into the community. Jen graduated from Boston University in May 2018 with a Master of Divinity degree. In her own words: “I have often dreamed of combining my love for Christian ministry with my love for food and for nature, and I cannot imagine anything I’d want to do more than offer a spiritual environment for young people in a garden.”Jen will be ordained in the United Church of Christ on May 4, 2019 in Newton, Massachusetts.
United Thank Offering Leadership Change Under Susan Howland's stewardship, diocesan UTO ingatherings have grown and visibility for this churchwide ministry has increased. We're grateful to Susan for, in Bishop Fisher's words, "fourteen years of extraordinary service." Diane Nichols will assume UTO leadership in 2020. She serves as junior warden and the parish UTO coordinator at Holy Trinity, Southbridge. For the remainder of 2019, she will shadow Susan, who has served as diocesan UTO coordinator since 2004. We are grateful to Diane for her willingness to take on this important ministry. Susan will continue her ministry with ECW. She will leave a legacy of faithful service and good works at the UTO.
A BUNDANT TIMES
From the Archives
A Box Labeled Tanzania Part Two
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
From the Archives
A Box Labeled Tanzania Part Two Karen Warren Diocesan Archivist
aking a closer look at the development in the late ’70s and early ’80s of the relationship between our diocese and that of the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro is possible through a review of approximately 22 letters kept by Bishop Alexander Stewart. Most letters are addressed to him from officials and friends in East Africa, but while these letters may appear as a one-sided communication, they clearly show a mutual warmth, candor, trust, and respect between the correspondents. The initial reference to Bishop Stewart’s meeting of East African officials appears in a letter dated March 25, 1981 from Canon Martin Mbwana, Provincial Secretary of the Church of the Province of Tanzania. He writes “how pleased I am to renew our acquaintance that we made in 1977” noting that the time of their forthcoming visit to the U.S. is drawing near. The earliest dated letter in the collection, that of April 27, 1979 from the Rt. Rev. Amos Betungura, Bishop of East Ankole Diocese in Uganda, demonstrates an already-formed close bond between the two dioceses. Bishop Betungura writes his thanks for prayer support during the eight-year reign of Idi Amin in Uganda — a time in which a great deal of destruction and suffering was endured by the Ugandan people. The Bishop also requests financial support to help in rebuilding their diocese. This is a very detailed request, listing specific items needed and their cost in Kenyan currency. Even their banking information
A BUNDANT TIMES
for transfer is included! This forthright request suggests that Bishop Stewart clearly offered his assistance to Bishop Betungura and is pleased our diocese can be of help. The list of needs includes specific numbers of typewriters, filing cabinets, office desks and chairs, office supplies, duplicating machines, and a safe. Bishop Betungura notes that in addition to the devastation of the Diocesan office — the Bishop’s house, the homes of staff and neighbors; the diocesan hostel, tailoring unit, bookstore, and canteen were all partially destroyed and looted. Furniture, beds, mattresses, utensils, books, sewing machines, clergy robes and material — all needed replacing. Clearly the Bishop and his staff simply wanted to return
to some likeness of normal and move forward. A short handwritten note at the bottom of the two-page letter is signed “Amos.” In January 1981, Yohana Madinda, Bishop of the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, writes acknowledging an interchange of visits between people of the two dioceses (“what a wonderful blessing for our fellowship together”), and remarks that Bishop Stewart “has done great things for this diocese.” Bishop Madinda also states how pleased he is to announce that his Diocese will be split into two the following year, extending an invitation to Bishop Stewart to be a special guest at the inaugural festivities of the new Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro in
Invitation to the inauguration of the new Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro. ▲
May. Bishop Madinda also notes that he looks forward to having the Rev. George Sumner of our diocese teaching at St. Philip’s Theological College in Tanzania. A letter from the Most Reverend Musa Kahurananga of the Diocese of Western Tanganyika in January 1981 confirms that Bishop Stewart invited the Archbishop and his Provincial Secretary Martin Mbwana to visit our Diocese, and they did so in May that year. A photo of Archbishop Kahurananga visiting Good Shepherd, Clinton during his stay in the U.S. is part of this collection. A letter from Bishop Stewart to Bishop Madinda in June 1981 discusses Bishop Stewart’s planned visit to East Africa in August. During this visit Bishop Stewart wanted to “peek in as an observer” to the All African Conference of Churches in Nairobi, and asked if the ordination of George Sumner could be coordinated with his scheduled visit between August 2nd and the 15th. The following year Bishop Stewart did attend the celebrated inauguration of the new Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro, and the installation of their first bishop, The Rt. Rev. Alpha Mohamed on June 20, 1982. Following Bishop Stewart’s retirement in 1983, our Companion Relationship with the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro was continued for a time by our 6th Bishop, Andrew F. Wissemann. In 1984 Bishop Mohamed came to the U.S. to attend Bishop Wissemann’s consecration, and Bishop Wissemann enjoyed a month-long visit with our brothers and sisters of Tanzania in 1987. ♦ (Note: This is part two of a two-part series. Part one appeared in the September 2018 issue of Abundant Times.)
Bishop Stewart’s Swahili translation notes for his blessing of George Sumner during his August 1981 visit. ▲
Karen has served as diocesan archivist since 2010.
Images: Episcopal WMA Archives
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
From the Editor The Rev. Vicki Ix Communications Director
’ve been thinking a lot about the Way of Love — the seven practices of the Jesus Movement offered to the Church by our Presiding Bishop. In every revival Bishop Curry reminds Episcopalians and seekers of every stripe that following Jesus is a daily pursuit — a way of life. As a former member of a monastic community, “rule of life” lights up all different parts of my brain. Having lived “under a rule and a prioress” for ten years, I wasn’t so sure about taking on another one. The Rule of Benedict, about which I am unusually familiar, is a gentle, common-sense rule for strangers who want to live together in love. It’s a tall order, so a monastic rule must hold the glory and folly of being human together with wisdom and compassion. Benedict’s attempt took 73 chapters to cover every eventuality in the common life. It’s a great work — not just for monastic men and women, but for any Christian who wants to meditate on how one might live a Gospel life. (If you want to read it, may I suggest a contemporary translation? The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages, by Joan Chittister, OSB) Presiding Bishop Curry’s rule is far simpler. Rather than a weighty tome filled with specifics, he reminds us of the essential practices that helped the first followers of Jesus to get on the way. It’s far easier to remember
A BUNDANT TIMES
seven practices than to live 73 chapters. Trust me! While they may seem to be in a particular order, they are, in fact, a circuit.
useful, I think we can go it alone, too. These seven practices are already part of our spiritual lives. For me they are becoming a helpful litmus test. • TURN: What am I turning toward in my life? • LEARN: When was the last time I read a book about Jesus? • PRAY: What does being faithful to prayer look like these days? • WORSHIP: How is the grace and mandatum of Sunday overflowing in the other six days of the week? • BLESS: Who needs a blessing from me? Where does that urge to curse come from anyway? • GO: Where in my community should I go next with the message of God’s love in Christ? • REST: How can I schedule real rest from all work for the good of the order and the glory of God?
40 Days of Love, I mean Lent! TURN – LEARN – PRAY – WORSHIP – BLESS – GO – REST There is a wonderful video in which Michael Curry describes the Way of Love. You can find it here: www. episcopalchurch.orh/wayoflove. You’ll also find a multitude of resources: books, graphics, brochures, etc. While all of this is wonderful and
Lent is a wonderful season in which to reflect on how I’m living the Way of Love. The practice of turning feels especially relevant. Many of our congregations are using the Way of Love curriculum this Lent. The churches in the Berkshires created a daily challenge of generosity that appears each morning in our WMA Way of Love Facebook Group: www. facebook.com/groups/WMAwayoflove. All are welcome to join the
Presiding Bishop Curry preaching at the Hanover Theater during our #wmarevival on October 21, 2018. Photo: Episcopal WMA. ▲
conversation. We’re not going to put aside the Way of Love any time soon. This feels like an essential tool in the Episcopal toolbox! Bishop Fisher has been sharing his reflections on the Way of Love. You’ll find seven video clips here: www.vimeo.com/channels/wayoflove. The Way of Love is meant to be an antidote to the way of the world. As we absorb the chaos of governments, the greed of corporate entities, and the uncontrolled assault on our planet, we must return to power of living a good life in God. How we
live our days does make a difference. How we practice Christianity does move the needle toward the common good. In a time when the world seems so out of control, the Way of Love grounds us in what will truly satisfy the human heart: love. I’d like to give our Presiding Bishop the last word here. It’s my favorite thing he’s ever said: “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.” Amen! ♦
ABU ND ANT TI M E S
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts 37 Chestnut St. Springfield, MA 01103-1787
NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID TIGERPRESS
The 118th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
Donations for the cost of ABUNDANT Times 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.
This issue of ABUNDANT TImes features a new church-wide project called, "Sustain Island Home."