A publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
The Rev. Meredyth Ward reflects on the Cellebration of New Ministry held in the â€œSuds Upsâ€? laundromat in Worcester, page 3.
From Bishop Fisher
The tradition of the church is newness. The church grows by embracing the continually creative, never stagnant, ever dynamic God, known to us in Jesus Christ - Jesus, who “grows in age, wisdom and understanding” (Gospel of Luke). We follow Jesus, who does not stay anywhere for very long, and especially not in a tomb. “Newness” comes from “awareness.” Do you know that in the Gospels Jesus commanded us to do one thing more than he told us to “love one another”? (And he told us that a lot.) The most frequently expressed command of Jesus is “stay awake!” and “look!” and “see!” and “pay attention!” Written by Mark, Matthew, Luke and John mostly with exclamation points. The early followers of Jesus developed “new ministries” by paying attention. In the Acts of the Apostles, we are told the disciples paid attention to the needs of widows and so developed the ministry of deacons. They “looked” at the roads the Romans were building and sent out missionaries to bring the Gospel beyond Jerusalem. They were “aware” of who was wielding abusive power and sent prophets to confront them. We have a 2000 year old tradition of newness. The history of evangelism is a history of innovation. There is no Reformation beyond the doors of Wittenberg without the printing press. Do you know that “Sunday School” was only begun 100 years ago? My most compelling experiences of God’s newness in ministry were at West Point in the 1990s and at Grace, Millbrook, in the first dozen years of this century. There was an Episcopal community at West Point and on the other side of Thayer Gate there was Holy Innocents Episcopal Church. They had been separate for 200 years, even though almost everyone who worshipped at Holy Innocents worked at West Point. I asked the communities to come together and after some initial growing pains, the Holy Spirit did incredible, transformational, life-changing work. Grace Church Millbrook has a long history as a vibrant faith community in an economically upscale rural area. I asked where the Mexican people who worked on the horse farms and landscape trucks went to church. No one seemed to know 2
and then a few became curious. And that curiosity grew into commitment and the entire church embraced people of another culture and was transformed by it. The churches in Western Massachusetts, which are doing new things, started out doing an old thing – taking Jesus’ command to “stay awake” seriously. They intentionally set out to be aware, looking around at their neighborhoods, being curious and wondering “what if ”? They combined that new found awareness with what they cared about, what they were good at, or could become good at, what they were passionate about. And then they tried something new, knowing the new venture might fail. But people who live prayerfully in God’s presence are never afraid of failing. (For a Bible reference here, just read any of the four accounts of Jesus’ life.) This issue of Abundant Times is filled with those stories. They are stories of lives being transformed, of people coming alive. In other words they are gospel stories - a witness to the imagination of God. I experienced that witness when I took part in The Celebration of a New Ministry as Meredyth Ward was made our Urban Missioner to Worcester. One dimension of her ministry is Laundry Love, leading us to celebrate her new ministry in a laundromat. I was so grateful to see so many from our churches in and around Worcester in attendance. But the best part was seeing the expressions of those who were simply there to do their laundry. It reminded me of the Pentecost story, in which people witnessing the testimony of the disciples “were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean’?”It means the Jesus Movement is rolling on. +Doug ABU ND ANT TIMES
Urban Missioner Blessed by the Blessing
By the Rev. Meredyth Ward Have you ever had an experience that shifted everything? A moment of insight or knowledge or experience that made everything make sense? Like learning to read—one minute you are sounding out letters and suddenly there are words on the page before you. Or the birth of a child which should also be called the birth of parents and grandparents. Or a moment of beauty which moved you to prayer? I had that experience in Worcester at the celebration of my ministry last month. I have always known that churches can feel like sacred space. I know that beaches are sacred space to me, and that mountains or forests are sacred space to others. I have found a kind of portable sacred space in some kinds of music. But I had never expected to discover sacred space in a laundromat. I’ve been serving people in this laundromat for the past year or so, and doing Laundry Love there since July. It was clearly a place where I found relationships and fun and chaos and service. But last month it suddenly became clear to me that the laundromat was sacred space. Not just a place where friends gathered, not just a place where prayers were said, but a place where we can come in contact with the Holy. While the whole liturgy was both joyful and powerful, the moment when I understood that I was standing in the presence of God was clearest when I said the prayer that begins “O Lord my God, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; yet you have called your servant to stand in your house, and to serve at your altar…” When I spoke those words, I realized that the Laundromat was God’s house, just as surely as any church or chapel. That shifted everything. If a laundromat can be God’s house, then a diner or a storefront or a taxi can be God’s house, too. We give lip service to the idea that God is everywhere, but in that moment I knew it in my mind and heart and soul. Other people felt it, too. Including folks who were there simply to do their laundry. We had invited guests (lots of them!), but it was the people watching from the margins who caught my heart. Watching people look with curiosity, and then interest and then join in the “amen” at the end of prayers was a joy and an honor. We were the church at prayer that night - a public witness to the love and joy and grace of God. And affirming that God is present in all of our lives, wherever we are, even - and maybe especially - in laundromats.
ABOVE: The staff of Suds Up in Worcester, gather around Meredyth before the liturgy.
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Tips from the Trenches: Clergy Share New Efforts at Evangelization The Rev. Barbara Thrall St. Paul’s, Holyoke
“...we had signs made and put up on the church lawn that say we are a “Hate Free Zone/St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Holyoke”. Several parishioners took them home, too. They are in both English and Spanish and our city councilor saw them and put a picture on her Facebook page. Soon our neighbors requested signs for their yards. Later I saw the Mayor and our state rep at a function on Martin Luther King Day and asked them if they wanted a sign. They said yes, and the Mayor said, “Give me two, and I’ll put one on the lawn of City Hall.” We are trying to make Holyoke a Hate Free Zone, where civil discourse and respect for one another are the rules by which we live.”
The Rev. Cricket Cooper St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield Parish ads run in the local movie theater before the show. COST: $250 per month
The Rev. Carolyn Jones Christ Church, Fitchburg
“Christ Church Music Camp for children 4-12; 20 campers from Fitchburg and surrounding communities making instruments, learning songs, rhythms, and to play instruments, to praise the Lord.” 4
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The Rev. Catherine Munz St. John’s, Northampton
“Four years ago we teamed up with other local parishes to do the Palm Sunday March back to the church from the center of town. I think visibility is important.”
The Rev. Nancy Webb Stroud Atonement, Westfield “We are using music as an evangelization tool in two different
ways. We host the Westfield Farmers’ Market all summer long. We began last year, and are increasing for the coming year, the invitation to local singers and bands to set up on the lawn during the market. We offer a tiny stipend and the opportunity for the musicians to meet and greet and perform for a couple of hundred folks at a time... The music draws people to our space... Our doors are open, and parishioners are on hand for tours of the church and conversation about our ministry and mission. The other thing is our Choral Scholar program. We offer a tiny stipend to Westfield State University students (four each semester; one each bass, tenor, alto, soprano) for them to join our choir, join in the worship leadership, learn church music, and become part of the ministry of the parish in whatever way they choose. Last semester, one of the kids who applied but wasn’t selected for the program joined the choir anyway, because it looked like so much fun! The scholars provided a choral evensong for us; the congregation gives them dinner every time they come for rehearsal. Friends, family, and professors join our worship from time to time to hear the kids sing (and get Word and Sacrament all unawares).”
Scott Bailey Music Director “The choir without the scholars is an older group and so they really feed off of the energy that the 20 year olds bring to the rehearsals. The scholars in turn get to hear the wonderful stories/jokes of the older generation. The choir engages the students in conversations about God, faith, spirituality, as well as what it means to be an Episcopalian.”
The Rev. Marguerite Sheehan Trinity Church, Shelburne Falls “Our Community Clothes Closet is our latest adventure in ‘churching’ outside the sanctuary and in our neighborhood.”
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Why Does a Congregation Need a Logo?
By Victoria Ix It started on retreat. The Rev. Patrick Perkins looked up at the weathervane on the roof of Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York and saw the community’s logo spinning in the breeze. The simplicity of the image was striking as was the power of the image to evoke the community. Pat came home to St. Francis, Holden and began the process of creating a logo. Why does a congregation need a logo? It’s a wonderful way of identifying the good works of the church in the larger community. You may recall an article in the last issue of Abundant Times about the red T-shirts worn by members of Trinity, Ware. Having a logo or a t-shirt or something that uniquely identifies your parish in the larger community will help others connect what we do with the “Jesus Movement.” A logo can be a powerful tool in all parish communications. It’s not just about the letterhead, although that is always an important element in collateral materials. A parish logo can be used in digital publications, social media, the website and “giveaways.” St. Francis is using the new logo to maximum advantage for evangelization. Every new visitor to St. Francis receives a canvas bag filled with information about the congregation. At Coffee Hour everyone can identify the new inquirer by the bag. And, when the bag is used for grocery shopping, it highlights the Church’s concern for the environment and creates the opportunity for conversation. “It sparks an evangelical moment,” Pat said. “You get to talk about outreach. You get to talk about what the community is doing. You get to talk about the Gospel. Who knows where that conversation goes?” The process of creating a logo from scratch can seem daunting. It wasn’t so for St. Francis. Pat had a clear sense of where to begin. The power of the patron felt clear and present. The statue of St. Francis in the Memorial Garden behind the church was the primary inspiration. The second image integrated into the logo is the Weeping Willow tree that overlooks the Memorial Garden. The artist charged with creating the logo was the Rev. Judith Freeman Clark. Judith recently finished serving All Saints, Worcester as part of a pastoral clergy team. She kindly donated her service to St. Francis. It only took two revisions to achieve what Pat calls the “origami Francis.” Pat was clear that he wanted “something a little bit more contemporary… something that somebody that’s, you know, 18 years old or 25 would think, ‘this is pretty cool to have it 6
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on my jacket or hat.’ “ What does a logo cost? Working with a local artist is helpful. Beyond the creative cost is the conversion of the design into a high resolution format so that it can be used for print, digital and graphic use. Total cost to get the artist’s image ready for use was under $500. As for the “giveaways,” Pat selected a local company to produce the canvas bags, baseball hats and t-shirts. The hats and shirts are for sale in the parish and the proceeds are going to the mission trip planned for St. Francis’ youth. I asked Pat how the process of branding (or rebranding if a logo already exists) can help a community remember who they are. He talked about another step in the branding process, which was to take the mission statement of the congregation and distill it into what marketers call the “tag line.” So, in addition to the name of the church and the logo image, all collateral media have the following: “Bearing witness to Christ’s love.” This new logo and tag line embody something intangible – something real that exists among the faithful at St. Francis. “It reminds us about what is important to this community – kind of grounds us. It connects us - like the Weeping Willow in the Memorial Garden - to the cloud of witnesses who have come and gone before.”
“It sparks an evangelical moment,” Pat said. “You get to talk about outreach. You get to talk about what the community is doing. You get to talk about the Gospel. Who knows where that conversation goes?”
Pat dreams of a day when the St. Francis logo will be as recognizable as the Pepsi can. He dreams of a community going out into the world and doing so much good ministry that folks will say, “I know those guys. That’s St. Francis. I see them all over the place.”
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Faith and Fiber Arts in Turners Falls By Kathryn Aubry-McAvoy At St. Andrew’s we believe that the creative arts heal and nourish. Like many churches we have a knit/crochet group; folks who like to sew, quilt, make jewelry, refinish furniture, bake bread...you name it. This fall we decided to gather together as St Andrew’s Guild (our function room has been called Guild Hall for a zillion years), and figure out a way to share what we know and learn from others in our community. We have held several workshops in knitting, crochet, paint and painted ceramics. Tunisian crochet, needle felting and bread baking are planned for the early part of this year. Senior Warden Diane Kurkulonis is pretty handy with electronic media, and so our neighborhood has begun to spread pretty far across the valley. We used to make lovely handmade things to give away (and we still do this), but our main mission now is to teach others. We collaborate with Montague Catholic Social Ministries’ Women’s Center. They meet monthly in Guild Hall and we share leadership and teaching responsibilities. We have called on the community to join us in supporting their Family and Parenting Program in providing “Welcome Baby Baskets” for new parents in our neighborhood. The Montague Stitchers 4H Club (a group of 9-12 year olds, which also meets weekly in Guild Hall, have joined with us to stitch baby burp cloths! It is a blessing to know that we are making new friends in town and that St Andrew’s is another safe, nurturing place in the community to gather. Our greatest joy is that Reverend Molly Scherm has answered the call to lead us. She has so many gifts, not the least of which is that she is a master knitter!
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Coloring Outside the Lines in Longmeadow and in Pittsfield Coloring is back and it’s for young and old alike! Several parishes are gathering folks with colored pencils, markers and crayons to make a spiritual practice of what was once just play. A contemplative moment? Yes! An experienec of community? Absolutely! And, permission to be like children again - free to make the sky green or the sun blue. Coloring books for grown-ups are trending. Those big Crayola boxes with 64 colors are still available. Play some inspirational music or color in silence together. You’ll be surprised at the result. Being mindful of each stroke and grateful for the gift of color in our world - who says this isn’t a prayer?
This week - February 17 Coloring Books: The Neuroscience of Play, Mindfulness, Stress, and Coloring! (Yes, it CAN bring you closer to God...)
Kelli Cardinal photo
“Because coloring is an outlet to relieve stress, supporting people’s health, we feel that we are helping people on their life’s journey by offering a coloring event,” he said. “Coloring invites us to express creativity—an outlet to connect with God and at the same time exercise the creative power we share with God.” The Rev. Derrick Fetz Excerpt from article by Cori Urban - Special to The Republican
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“Food from Heaven”: MANNA Soup Kitchen Turns 30 By Victoria Ix
It’s been nearly thirty years since the Rev. Jim Munroe began the “MANNA” ministry at St. John’s, Northampton. It started as a response to the real physical and spiritual hunger of women and men living on the streets of Northampton - many of whom were part of a massive release of clients from a local mental health hospital. According to Carl Erickson, President of MANNA’s Board of Directors, Jim “was the epitome of loving and helping people.” Erickson joined the Board at Munroe’s invitation in 1991. “He gave MANNA the good start that it needed so we were able to carry it on from there.” Five years later the weekly Sunday meal grew into three MANNA meals in two churches – St. John’s and Edwards in Northampton. At the heart of this ministry is Bob Saalfrank who began in 1986 as a guest. He had lost his job and needed help so he ate his Sunday dinner at MANNA and started to do dishes and set the tables. In 1991 he took over as Program Coordinator. In 2001, after Manna lost its cook to cancer, Bob took over the kitchen. He had cooked in the army so it felt like a good fit. Bob prepares 85-150 meals three times a week. St. John’s MANNA meal is on Monday from noon - 1 pm. Edwards has two MANNA meals – Wednesday at 6 pm and Saturday from 11:30-12:30. “We’re here for them,” Bob said, “and we’re here for the Church.”
Bob Saalfrank, MANNA Program Coordinator and Chef
The guests who come for a MANNA meal are homeless and/or hungry for a variety of reasons. Some are veterans reintegrating into the local community. Some folks are struggling with mental illness, physical disability or with the consequences of the Great Recession in 2009. They come because they receive welcome, respect, nourishment and a dose of real community. MANNA is an ecumenical institution now – a not-for-profit entity solely responsible for raising its own funds. James Godfrey, Board Member since 2009 and a member of St. John’s, Northampton, recalls when the bank account hit $2.92. “We limp along. I’ve had to borrow money but divine providence always takes care of us.” With the exception of a small government grant, MANNA is funded completely from donations. An annual appeal reaches over 600 now. St. John’s has supported fundraisers for MANNA, like the annual “Messiah Sing.” MANNA even received a donation of $2,500 from Ben Cohen – that’s Ben from “Ben & Jerry’s” ice cream. A board member reached out when the account was low and Ben’s foundation was happy to step up. The high-functioning board is largely responsible for the ongoing viability of the ministry. It has grown in diversity and become quite specialized in function. Beyond the initial partnership of St. John’s and Edwards, the board now includes representatives from the Unitarian Society and Congregation Beth Israel. There is also a wonderful relationship between the staff at MANNA and the Roman Catholic soup kitchen run by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. The overflow of donated food moves between the two kitchens regularly. St. Elizabeth’s meals are on Tuesday ABU ND ANT TIMES
“You don’t know the burdens that people are carrying within themselves,” Godfrey said. The team of volunteers is trained to refer to everyone as a “guest” and to maintain the highest standards of respect for each person. That is the MANNA way.
and Thursday. With “Cathedral in the Night” serving a hot meal Sunday evening, hungry souls are fed six days a week in the city of Northampton. After interviewing board members and staff, I watched the preparations for the meal. Volunteers set the tables and arranged desserts on the buffet table. Bread and butter were placed on every table. Along the far wall, donated food items were organized so that everyone who comes for a meal can take them “to go.” The doors open at 11:30. Many guests take advantage of the early welcome because of the cold. Many know each other or know members of the MANNA team. There is conversation among the guests but some choose to sit alone. “You don’t know the burdens that people are carrying within themselves,” Godfrey said. The team of volunteers is trained to refer to everyone as a “guest” and to maintain the highest standards of respect for each person. That is the MANNA way. Carl Erickson, President of the Board, places the ministry of MANNA in the context of faith. “I think the best thing a Christian can do is realize that we all have the same spirit within us and therefore we should love and help each other.”
guests a healthy, hot, delicious meal. “MANNA is the Lord’s help,” Bob tells me. “It’s the food from heaven open to anybody who wants to come and we’re not going to turn anybody away.” Editor’s Note: MANNA gives gainful employment to four people and coordinates a multitude of volunteers. Anyone wishing to support MANNA is encouraged to make a secure donation on the MANNA Soup Kitchen website: www.mannasoupkitchennorthampton.org
I was introduced to a guest named Gerri – a regular benefactor of MANNA lives in an abandoned warehouse with no heat or hot water. Gerri panhandles in town and gives what he gets to those who care for the homeless community. I’m told that a special St. Patrick’s Day feast was financed by Gerri’s contributions. A man of faith and conviction, Gerri spoke about the need to support what MANNA does in the community. I couldn’t help noticing the two buttons on his satchel. One said, “Stop Whining!” and the other said, “Trust Jesus.” At 12:00 noon Program Coordinator and chef, Bob Saalfrank said the blessing. Bob reminded us to be grateful for what is before us and to pray for those who have not found a warm meal this day. The community gathered in the undercroft was still until the final “Amen.” Then, the volunteers served the ABUN DANT TIMES
Meet the Director of the Bishop’s Choir School
Editor’s interview with David Pulliam What is the mission of The Bishop’s Choir School? The Bishop’s Choir School - an affiliate of the Royal School of Church Music in America - is devoted to the training of young people in the art of Anglican choral singing, and aims to provide a well-rounded musical and Christian education in a friendly setting. Can you say something about the funding for this wonderful new ministry? I am very excited to say that we are the first Choir School in the entire country that is funded by an Episcopal Diocese! We are an initiative of the Fanning the Flames programs that are sponsored by the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and thanks to this, none of our singers are required to pay any kind of tuition fees (which otherwise would be around $250 per semester per singer). As Founding Director your vision is part of the Bishop’s Choir School. Can you say more about that? My vision has really been two-fold: to create a well-trained choir of young singers that will travel to various churches to sing where Cathedral-style Anglican choral music may not be heard on a weekly basis. The other side to my vision is that I really want to champion the talents of young singers in Western Massachusetts. I think really well-done music in our liturgies is extremely important and, as Episcopalians, we have such a wealth of beautiful, sacred repertoire and an amazing choral tradition inherited from the great choirs of England. Children have played the major role in this tradition for hundreds of years, and I want to offer our young singers the opportunity to be part of that tradition, too, no matter which parish they attend (or which denomination, for that matter). How many children are singing? Currently, we have fourteen singers from various denominational backgrounds who travel from East Longmeadow, Agawam, Northampton, Indian Orchard, and Springfield. What kind of a commitment have they made? The singers rehearse after school each Tuesday from 4:45 PM until 6:15 PM at St. Andrew’s in Longmeadow, and one Sunday a month, they sing Evensong in a different location. 12
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How can people hear the choir? In what contexts will the choir perform? The Choir sings Choral Evensong once a month. Our next service will take place at 5 PM, Sunday, March 6, in the beautiful Skinner Memorial Chapel at United Congregational Church in Holyoke. We’ll also be singing at other parishes in the Diocese each month through May. But I’m also really excited that the Choir has been invited to participate in Evensongs at St. Bart’s on Park Avenue in New York City on May 7, and older select singers will be traveling with the Cathedral Choir and the Choir School of Newport (RI) to sing Evensong at the National Cathedral and at St. Paul’s, K Street, in Washington, D.C., in July! Check out and like The Bishop’s Choir School page on Facebook to keep up with our Evensong schedule. What do you love most about directing The Bishop’s Choir? There are lots of things I really love: seeing a huge grin come across a child’s face when they try on their cassock for the first time and look in the mirror; feeling that real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction after conquering a hard piece of music; watching the little light bulbs light up when they remember the meanings of words like “chancel” and “nave,” or when they finally realize a connection between what we’re singing and the lessons for the day. But best of all, they leave me full of the knowledge that children really do love learning about our church traditions and liturgies, they really do love singing great Anglican choral music, and they really do - to paraphrase the Chorister’s Prayer - believe in their hearts what they have sung with their lips. Directing these kids is a real privilege. Anything else you’d like folks to know? Young singers in second grade and above that are interested in joining the Choir should contact me at dpulliam@ cccspfld.org or call 413.736.2742.
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David Pulliam is the founding Director of the Bishop’s Choir School and serves as Organist and Choirmaster at Christ Church Cathedral. Nationally recognized as a trainer of young voices, he is affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music, having served on the staff of their Training Courses in Raleigh, NC, and Newport, RI, and acts as one of only thirteen RSCM Awards Examiners in the United States. He is the Director of the South Hadley Children’s Chorus, Sub-Dean of the Springfield Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and serves on the Board of the Choir School of Hartford.
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“Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!” By the Rev. Dr. William Bergmann Recognizing that not “one size fits all”; the Prayer Book The Great Vigil of Easter is the magnificent climax service provides a structure and an outline with multiple of Lent and Holy Week and especially of the Triduum choices for crafting the liturgy. The structure consists of Sacrum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy four parts: The Service of Light, The Service of Lessons, Saturday) and it marks the triumphant entrance into the Baptism and/or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows, and Great Fifty Days of Easter. Although it is one of the oldest the Celebration of the First Eucharist of Easter. The Christian services, traceable to less than one hundred years Prayer Book, like the New Testament, honors the Jewish after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Great Vigil still reckoning of the day from sundown to sundown and not seems foreign to many Episcopalians. One of the principal midnight to midnight, meaning that the Easter Vigil reasons for this is that the Easter Vigil, like so many other occurs sometime between sundown of Saturday night and observances and practices, fell away from Anglicanism the sunrise of Sunday morning, and even if it is held on during the Reformation and only began to be recovered in Saturday night, it is Easter. While most parishes keep the the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. And, Vigil on Saturday night, I have known some parishes that it was not until the 1979 Book of Common Prayer that have held the Vigil before dawn, hoping to make the first the rites of Holy Week, including the Great Vigil, became Eucharist of Easter a true sunrise service. part of the authorized worship of the Episcopal Church. However, perhaps the main reason the Great Vigil is not The service is designed to emphasize the movement more widely observed is the idea that unless one has a from darkness to light, slavery to freedom, death to life, gigantic Church building, with a magnificent pipe organ, a movement wonderfully described by Michele Mongeon a large choir, a history of elaborate worship services, and of St. Stephen’s Westborough in this way: an average attendance of more than one hundred people, “Outside, in the dark a spark ignites a flame, the flames it simply cannot be celebrated successfully. This is no dance, our new Paschal candle is lit and the light of more the case than it is that one cannot have a wonderful Christ is brought inside. We saw and experienced two holiday dinner without Martha Stewart’s kitchen, a people reborn, born again in Christ. They were blessed seven course meal prepared by Wolfgang Puck or Jacques with water, lots and lots of water, and the Holy Spirit and Pepin, and a table set with Wedgewood china and sterling anointed with oil. We heard the stone roll away from the silverware. Certainly those things would be nice, but tomb and we heard the loud noise of resurrection.” the fact is we do what we can with what we have and we adapt. The same is true for the Great Vigil of Easter and The Service of Light begins in darkness. Janet Teng any liturgy for that matter: we do what we can do with describes the scene at Grace Church Amherst in this way: what we have and we adapt. The Great Vigil of Easter is “Just after sunset the people gather in the Columbarium one of the most adaptable of worship services. where the ashes of those who have died in the faith are 14
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“We heard the stone roll away from the tomb and we heard the loud noise of resurrection.” Michele Mongeon St. Stephen’s, Westborough scattered among the rose bushes or rest in their urns behind the ranks of small doors.” Other congregations will gather in their darkened Sanctuary or a Chapel or a place set aside where a substantial fire can be lit safely in a small grill or brazier. The Paschal candle, which will burn throughout Eastertide, is lit and carried to its stand at the altar while candles held by the congregation are lighted. The Exultet, one of the most ancient of Christian prayers is chanted or said. I knew one parish where the Exultet was said as those gathered sang “This Little Light of Mine”. The second part of the Great Vigil, (“Act 2 of a four part play, if you will) consists of Lessons. Because this is the celebration of the Christian Passover, we return to our spiritual roots reading various selections from the Hebrew Scriptures and one of the lessons is always the Exodus account of Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea. The Prayer Book states that “at least two” readings are offered but this is the part of the Great Vigil in which there is the greatest opportunity for adaptation. Some congregations may read four, nine or even twelve lessons. Last year at Good Shepherd, Clinton, the Service of Lessons consisted of four sections of James Weldon Johnson’s, 1927 classic book of poems, “God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse”, interspersed with African American Spirituals and the collects provided in the Prayer Book. “Act 3” of the Great Vigil consists of the celebration of Christian Initiation: either Holy Baptism or, if a Bishop is present, Holy Baptism and Confirmation, and if there are no baptisms, the Renewal of Baptismal Vows. As we are reminded at the Ash Wednesday Liturgy, the entire season of Lent began as a season for the final preparation for those preparing for Baptism, meaning this part of the Vigil demands great celebration - lots of water and oil; the renewal of the vows “sealed” with a gesture of sprinkling; perhaps a homily or a congregant’s witness of their own
commitment to Christ. I remember attending an Easter Vigil when I was in college at which a family of four who had fled Communist China was baptized. The father of the family, in broken English and with the help of an interpreter, told of his family’s struggle, their faith in Jesus, their prayer to be delivered from the persecution they experienced in their homeland, and their joy at finally being able to profess their faith in Jesus publically and be baptized. It was truly amazing. Finally having moved through this amazing liturgical journey from death to life, the Eucharist is celebrated. “Alleluia” returns to the liturgy. The great hymns of Easter ring out! And we celebrate the central truth of our faith and the fundamental truth of the universe; “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. Alleluia!” In many congregations in which there has been great solemnity and silence in Lent sad Holy Week, people bring bells and noise makers to celebrate the first proclamation that “Christ is risen”. And as Janet Teng says of her experience of the Great Vigil at Grace, Amherst, “The Eucharistic Feast, which has been suspended during the three sad days, the Triduum, is renewed, and every sense has partaken of this joy”. The Great Vigil of Easter is truly one of the most glorious worship experiences. Like anything it requires planning and adjustment, but it can become a rich feast to feed our faith and witness to Jesus the Christ. However we approach it, however we need to adjust being mindful of the resources we have, the point is to do it. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!”
“The Eucharistic Feast, which has been suspended during the three sad days, the Triduum, is renewed, and every sense has partaken of this joy”. Janet Teng Grace Episcopal Church, Amherst
The Rev. Dr. Will Bergmann
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Time to get messy! By the Revs. Lisa Green and Laura Goodwin “…all things should be done decently and in good order.” Those were Paul’s words to the church in Corinth and when it comes to worship, many Episcopalians would heartily agree! We love the ‘good order’ of our Book of Common Prayer liturgy and the way it helps us to connect with God. So why, oh why, would two Episcopal churches ever want to try something called “Messy Church”!? St. Andrew’s in Grafton and St. John’s in Sutton live in the same neighborhood, just five miles from one another on the southeast edge of Worcester. It’s a neighborhood full of families with young children, the majority of whom do not go to church. Some of these families have a church affiliation, but many do not. One thing none of these families has is time, even on Sunday morning. Instead they have sports, or family events or the rare chance to sleep in! So, how do we reach out and share the Good News of God’s love with these very busy families all around us? We might have to move beyond our Sunday-morning comfort zone and risk getting a little messy! And that’s just what we did!
Francis Day, God’s Superheroes on All Saints’ Day, Messy Christmas in December, New Beginnings in January, and Team God: Love Wins in February, when the first Sunday coincided with the Super Bowl. We begin with singing and crafts, games and activities for all ages: everything from finger painting and playdough to Zentangle! Each activity invites reflection on how it relates to the theme and our lives and conversation among participants of all ages. After about 45 minutes, we come together for a brief time of celebration (worship) with music, storytelling or drama and prayer. After our celebration we share a simple, family-friendly meal, encouraging more fellowship. Then everyone gets to go home happy, wellfed and ready for work and school on Monday morning!
In October 2016 St. Andrew’s and St. John’s launched a new way of being church for people of all ages and stages. From 4-6 PM on the first Sunday evening of every month, we gather at St. Andrew’s parish hall for two hours of intergenerational fun, friendship and food. Each month we have a Messy theme related to a biblical story. Our themes have included Pets and Peace on St.
Messy Church is not our invention. It began as part of the Fresh Expressions (of Church) movement in England and has grown tremendously in the U.K., Canada and Australia. Julie Hintz, the former National Coordinator for Messy Church in New Zealand, came to St. Andrew’s last September to do a one-day training, and we have been using a lot of their resources in planning
our themes, activities and publicity. We have a Messy Church Facebook group and we were featured in a great article by Kelly Rourke in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in December, entitled “No Sin to Be Messy at Grafton Church.” This collaboration is one of a number of things our congregations have been doing together over the
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last year since getting to know each other better through Recasting Assets, a consulting process from the Episcopal Church Building Fund. We discovered a lot of similarities between our parishes, including, as Laura recently wrote in her 2015 Rector’s report, “Shared history, shared geography and a shared sense of urgency about our ability to be God’s church in a sustainable way.” After our Recasting teams worked together for our final training in September, our vestries agreed that we will walk together in a variety of ways this year: some joint worship services, shared outreach projects, joint vestry retreats - and Messy Church. Working and worshiping together each month, alternating responsibility for the monthly meals, we’re deepening our relationships as well. Our first few months of Messy Church have been lots of fun and learning for the team of Messy Ministers. We’ve drawn families from our parishes who struggle to get to church regularly on Sunday morning and a few families from the local neighborhood. Many of our older parishioners like to come for the fellowship and shared meal. At a time and in a place where the demands of life often interrupt opportunities for families even to share dinner together, Messy Church feels a little subversive. We come together to be, to make, to eat and to celebrate God. Our goal is to introduce Jesus to people who don’t yet know him, to give them a chance to encounter him and to grow closer to him. And in doing that, we’re growing closer to him ourselves.
The Rev. Lisa Green (center) is rector of St. John’s, Sutton and cosponsor of “Messy Church.”
“So, how do we reach out and share the Good News of God’s love with these very busy families all around us? We might have to move beyond our Sunday-morning comfort zone and risk getting a little messy! And that’s just what we did!”
The Rev. Laura Goodwin (left in the Patriots’ shirt) is rector of St. Andrew’s, North Grafton and co-sponsor of “Messy Church.”
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WMA Receives “Thank You” from Ghana’s Royal Family
Kitchen Addition to Anglican Girls Vocational School Part of WMA Commitment to the Church in Ghana The Rev. Betsy Fisher received word that Her Royal Highness Lady Julia Osei Tut, the wife of King Ashanti-Ghana, unveiled the dedication plaque on the kitchen complex of the Girls’ Vocational School. At Betsy’s invitation the people of this diocese raised $30,000 toward the completion of this muchneeded space. Now, the girls are instructed in cooking and food safety in fully-functioning kitchen classroom. The Vocational School helps girls to prepare for a variety of jobs and offers them new skill sets that will make them good hires in the local economy. By helping these young women, we help their families. The Rev. Anne E. Ryder represented our diocese at the dedication of the kitchen classroom.
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Thank you for helping us “Change the Babies” 2015 Parish Gifts to the Mampong Babies Home *CCE & TLC, Sheffield
St. David’s, Agawam
*Grace Episcopal Church, Amherst
All Saints’, South Hadley
St. John’s, Williamstown
Christ Episcopal Church, Rochdale
*St. Stephen’s, Westborough
All Saints, Worcester
Holy Trinity, Southbridge
St. Peter’s, Springfield
*Grace Church in the Southern Berkshires
St. Thomas, Auburn
St. Mark’s, Worcester
St. John’s, Sutton
*Episcopal Church of the Atonement, Westfield
Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield
Church of the Good Shepherd, West Springfield
Southwick Community Episcopal Church
St. Luke’s, Worcester
*Trinity Episcopal Church, Milford
St. Christopher’s, Chicopee
*Church of the Reconciliation, Webster
Christ Memorial Episcopal Church, N. Brookfield Christ the King & Epiphany, Wilbraham
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* 5 year commitment to Change the Babies with an annual goal of $1500
From the Archives Christ Church, Clappville, a Manufacturing Village Parish: Snippets of 19th century Life By Karen Warren Ever heard of Clappville? Clappville was a section of the Town of Leicester (shown here on 1857 map), west of Worcester. Today, Christ Church, Clappville is known as Christ Church, Rochdale, an active, prospering parish with an interesting history. While archiving I came across a folder titled ‘Clappville,’ containing copies of notes written by parish rectors of Christ Church between 1830 and 1868. Labelled ‘Christ Church, Clappville’ the notes are copies of Annual Clergy Reports to the Diocesan Convention of Massachusetts. These reports offer a cultural snapshot of parish life in 19th century Clappville. This historical portrait reveals ups and downs in the number of communicants; the many clerical transitions; and the daily struggles of parish life in a small village supported almost entirely by manufacturing. The Clappville church preceded the Diocese of Western Massachusetts by nearly 80 years, having been organized in 1823-24. The building’s cornerstone was laid in 1823, and was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Alexander Griswold, Bishop of the ‘Eastern Diocese’ in 1824. According to From the Blackstone to the Housatonic, Christ Church, Clappville was begun by two families from Rochdale, England who came to the United States to work in the woolen mill in South Leicester. Early on, church services were held in the meeting hall of Hezekiah Stone’s tavern. Mr. Stone later deeded property for the building of an Episcopal Church on said land. Annual Clergy Reports from Convention clearly show the 20
many trials this small parish endured. Between 1830 and 1868 fourteen different Rectors served the Clappville parish—an average length of service of 2.7 years. Snippets extracted from these Annual Reports reveal that Christ Church was organized “with a special reference to the wants of individuals connected with the manufacturing establishment in the vicinity.” Clappville was a mill town, with an ever-fluctuating population dependent on the mills for employment and security—for their very survival. Clappville’s number of communicants rose and fell during this period. In 1831 Rector Lot Jones reported “the number of communicants is increasing.” The following year Rector Jones reported “the number of removals from this parish the past year has been unusually great…we have lost some of our most valuable members.” In 1833 the Rev. Stephen Millett reported average attendance at 55, but with good attendance at Sunday services and Wednesday evening lectures. In 1834 Clappville’s wardens Arisha Larned and H. A. Pettibone, reported “this church is much in want of a pious and devoted pastor.” 1835 saw the installation of the Rev. Henry Blackaller as Rector. Blackaller wrote a lengthy report to Convention that year, which included his hope for the formation of a Sunday School. However, he reported “parents having numerous children, most of whom were deprived of weekly schooling, had
Karen Warren 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.
undertaken to instruct the children on the Sabbath.” Subsequently, Blackaller commissioned nine competent parishioners to unite with him to “teach the working children the rudiments of education.” This took place on two weeknights, rather than Sunday, and was successful with attendance of nearly 50 children and adults. In addition to superintending Sunday School the Rev. Blackaller also offered sermons in two other villages, and gave mid-week evening lectures. Attendance increased at this time, but Rev. Blackaller noted in 1836 it was “a moving population” due to the church being located in a manufacturing village. He referred to the character of the congregation as “more like a missionary station” than one of stability. Due to the previous year’s drought, many villagers, dependent on the mill, were unemployed. In his 1837 report to Convention the Rev. Blackaller ABU ND ANT TIMES
“Today, Christ Church, Clappville is known as Christ Church, Rochdale, an active, prospering parish with an interesting history.”
reported an increase in the numbers of parishioners who were no longer in attendance—assuming the majority to have left the area seeking employment elsewhere. Rector Blackaller’s report concluded by stating that physical illness was preventing him from continuing his service to Christ Church—he would be taking leave “for a season” to recuperate. The subsequent five years, 1838-1842, were covered by four different ‘officiating ministers,’ one of which reported that the church was “gaining in the affections of the people.” Despite this good news, the 1840 report states that church services had been discontinued for many months due to the “stopping of the factories.” The Rev. William Withington, who officiated at Clappville in 1841, reported his health was also declining. The following year Father Putnam reported “the prospects of this parish seem a little gloomy, but there are still in it pious Christians.” There were no clergy reports from 1842 to 1845. In 1846 deacon and lay reader, James L. Scott, was ordained and was asked to stay on as minister. He reported the parish was in a sad state, being without clergy for three years. He also noted the “recent disaster of the burning of the largest factory, which checked the growing prosperity of the village.” Despite its weakness in numbers, however, the Rev. Scott reported that the parishioners raised $70 for ‘the famished sufferers in Ireland.’ In his final 1848 report, the Rev. Scott noted that many physical improvements to the building had been made, and that, overall, the parish presented “abundant reasons for an encouraging report.” In 1850 yet another new rector, the Rev. J. H. Rouse, began his report: “with regard to the condition of this Parish at present, I hardly know what to say.” One of Clappville’s large factories had been destroyed by fire, and subsequently many families left the village. Going forward, the annual reports continue to show fluctuations in attendance, more clergy transitions, reports of spiritual strengthening of the people, and ABUN DANT TIMES
the generosity of particular families. Report of 1858 states: “All pews are rented.” Report of 1862: “The Parish is suffering severely from the loss of two of the wealthiest supporters.” The report of 1866 revealed the restoration of the interior of the church. The final report in this set of notes, in 1868: “This parish has in some measure recovered from the depression under which it was suffering at the time I assumed the charge thereof, in April 1867, and harmony and goodly feeling seem to be restored; its prospects are more promising.” Today, Christ Church, Rochdale is deeply rooted in the surrounding community, offering many outreach ministries and sharing their space with a variety of groups. Perhaps numbers alone are not the true essence of a parish—but the spiritual strength of the people and the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Christ Episcopal Church, Rochdale 21
From the Editor
My new plan for evangelization... There is “no whining” about his circumstances or about the world that goes on without him. He lives like a man blessed. He smiles at strangers and offers joy and peace to all who can see beyond the surface of things. Not only was he happy to speak with me, he was glad to be photographed as well. I am happy to share Gerri with you all in the hope that he will be a blessing to you, too.
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: www.diocesewma.org Follow us: @EpiscopalWMA We welcome the submission of articles via email to the editor, Victoria Ix, Communications Director/Missioner. firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Bruce A. Rockwell, Assistant to the Bishop for Stewardship & Interim Missioner for Legacy Stewardship The Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care The Rev. Hilary Bogert-Winkler, Youth Missioner The Rev. Jennifer Gregg, Missioner for Servant leadership The Rev. Meredyth Ward, Urban Missioner for Worcester Robin Carlo, Missioner for Spiritual Formation On the Cover. The Rev. Meredyth Ward at the Blessing of New Ministry held at Suds Up laundromat in Worcester. 22
The experience of the MANNA meal in the undercroft of St. John’s, Northampton was a revelation. As a member of this congregation, I have been aware of MANNA and very pleased that “my church” offers food to hungry souls in the city of Northampton. I was invited to cover MANNA’s ministry anniversary by the people behind this good work. But after stepping into this very real community of faith, I haven’t been able to get one of the weekly guests off my mind or out of my heart. I mentioned Gerri in the article on pages 10-11. This good, kind man currently lives in what most of us would call poverty. Not unlike Antony who fled to the desert in his solitary search for God, Gerri has withdrawn from the demands and benefits of “normal” life. Whether or not we can understand his choices is beside the point. From that vantage point Gerri has come to some kind of holiness – a version of good that touches me deeply. Whatever he is given in the streets of Northampton, he gives back to his sisters and brothers who are also homeless. He does this quietly and with confidence that what he gives will amount to something. His “widow’s mite,” his “two fish” become something more by God’s blessing.
Meeting him has been a source of grace in my own spiritual life. I think it’s easy for anyone who does Church for a living to get caught up in stuff that just isn’t very important.
“I think it’s easy for anyone who does Church for a living to get caught up in stuff that just isn’t very important.” For me it can be deadlines, multiple platforms that need attention, feeling like there is no time for projects that I want to start, or wishing I could get to some happy place – some professional plateau where all the balls in the air stay right where I want them. (If you’re not laughing yet, go on!) This is the stuff of dreams – ministry in total balance and interior life swept clean of anxiety. I suspect most folks in full-time ministry – lay and ordained – have indulged in this fantasy. ABU ND ANT TIMES
The truth is that our work is never done. There is always more we can do to build the Kingdom of God here and now. God needs us to do our “more” – to attend to the whisper in the soul that says, “hey, you can do that.” God needs us all to go the extra mile and seek out those who have not found God’s love, God’s peace in their lives. That’s evangelization – doing what we can do to share the Good News that God’s love reigns now – the victory of love is unfolding. This is the “big picture,” the view from 30,000 feet. It’s easy to lose sight of this when I’m stuck in some turbulent fog near the ground.
Gerri is a guest and a benefactor of MANNA Soup Kitchen in Northampton.
So in honor of Gerri, I say to myself: “No Whining,” “Trust Jesus” and be about the things that really matter. Do only what you can do in a day and then delight in the sunset God has made just for you! Stop worrying about what’s on the list (or the white board) and live from your heart. Live the way Gerri lives each day for the good of others. And bless the God who reveals such goodness in those whom the world calls, ‘powerless.’ Vicki is editor of Abundant Times and serves our diocese as Communications Director & Missioner.
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Liturgy in a launromat?
In praise of the Easter Vigil
“Food From Heaven”
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