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Volume 35 • Number 3

Summer 2009

Hope in Action

“We must remember, and feel more and more amidst all emergencies, that the body of Christ is the undivided Missionary Body radiating upon earth the vital power of the life of Christ, and that the Brethren and Sisters are not individual Missionaries but the organ of that living Body.” – Richard Meux Benson, founder of SSJE

Cover photo: Br. David Vryhof and seminarian Margaret Osere at St. Philip’s Theological Seminary in Maseno, Kenya. Br. David will return to St. Philip’s this fall to teach a course on spiritual formation.

Hope in Action ©2009 by The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, North America

A Letter from the Superior Dear Members of the Fellowship of Saint John and other Friends, Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE


ne sunny summer day as a young boy I experienced a miracle. I was holding a small magnifying lens, examining a flower petal. Suddenly the flower leapt on fire. I was shocked! In a profoundly simple way, I witnessed the power of captured light: enormous. All light emanates from God. In the Genesis creation account, God creates light on the first day – “Let there be light”; however it is not until the fourth day that God creates the sun, moon, and stars (Gen.1:1-19). God’s light precedes our light. This is such an important reminder when you are living through a cloudy day or stormy season of life: how to capture, store, focus, reflect God’s light, the light of life. Several practices are helpful. For one, be mindful of what you find life-giving. What lightens your gait, enlightens your heart, brightens your soul? These practices need to figure into your day. Don’t just wait for the weekend, or for vacation or retreat time to savor life. Choose life daily. Infuse your day with some practices that you find delightful. These alone will not take away the huge challenges of life, though this lightening will change your perspective considerably for the better. The psalmist prays, “the LORD lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay” (Ps. 40:2). How can you co-oper-

ate with how God operates to give you life and light, especially when you are stuck in the mud? What do you already know that will help you detangle from the clawing tyranny of urgent demands? What helps you get above the cloudline? The psalmist prays, “Set me upon the rock that is higher than I” (Ps. 61:2). God will also answer that prayer for you, with your co-operation. Savor life daily. Secondly, store up light in your soul like with a battery. Life includes both day and night, and this is as true of the sky as it is of the soul. In a dark night of the soul when you have little or no light, you need to draw on your memory bank with its battery of stored light, and this will yield hope. How have you navigated the dark night in times past? Hope gives you the assurance you need that the dawn will come again, even when you can’t see your way. The psalmist prays, “You, O LORD, are my lamp; my God, you make my darkness bright” (Ps.18:29). In times of darkness, this is your hope. Thirdly, claim your identity as Christ’s lightbearer. Nearly a century ago the founder of SSJE, Richard Meux Benson, said, “We are Christ’s rays, and a ray cannot be taken away from the sun. It lives by a perpetual energy of that light which is the source of all other rays; and 3

Sr. Isabel, SLG and Br. Curtis with Br. Paul Wessinger, on the occasion of Br. Paul’s 90th birthday celebration four years ago. Br. Paul died on May 22.

all are one in their source, their life, their spreading power.” So many people live in darkness, not knowing that they are loved by God. We, all of us, are missionaries, “ambassadors of Christ,” as Saint Paul says. Mirror the light of Christ with your whole being. Picture this using the image of a photograph. The difference between a photographic negative and a positive (that is, a print) is simply light. Let the light of Christ teem from your being wherever you go, to whomever you meet. Don’t be timid! People will be transformed. We say more about this in the following pages, our own “hope in action.” Our brother Paul Wessinger died on May 22, and we have heard from so many of you sharing your remembrances and thanksgiving for his remarkable life and witness. The autumn issue of the Cowley quarterly will especially remember Br. Paul. At the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in 4

July, I joined our brothers Tom Shaw (Bishop of Massachusetts) and Geoffrey Tristram (Chaplain to the House of Bishops). We were glad to see so many of our friends. We welcome you to visit us, both at the monastery and online: We pray that our life and witness will be a wellspring of hope as we offer Christ’s sustenance and sanctuary to many. We also count on you for your abiding friendship, care, and financial support along the way. Bless you. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”. (Rom. 15:13) Faithfully yours,

Curtis G. Almquist, SSJE Superior SSJE

Hope, Peace & Understanding The Importance of Interfaith Dialogue Br. Mark Brown, SSJE


’ve just had a meeting with a group of people interested in forming a Boston area chapter of Kids4Peace. Kids4Peace (K4P) is an organization that began a few years ago in Israel/Palestine at St. George’s College in Jerusalem. SSJE’s work with St. George’s as chaplains for many courses brought us into contact with the K4P program and its founder, Dr. Henry Carse. K4P is a fascinating undertaking. Kids from Jerusalem 10-12 years of age representing the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam gather regularly for activities and conversations designed to foster better understanding and genuine mutual regard. In the summer, the Jerusalem kids come to America for camp experiences with kids of the same age. As a promotional brochure puts it: “By celebrating

Palestinian boys playing in the streets of Jerusalem.

Graffiti found in an alley of the old city of Jerusalem – “We need peace.”

the differences and similarities between their cultures and faith traditions, these children are taking a step toward global understanding and peace.” Why get involved in interfaith endeavors? In addition to being much in favor of “global understanding and peace” I’m also just naturally curious about the world’s peoples and cultures and religions. Some readers will know of some of my previous interfaith work. A few years ago I used a six week leave to interview people from different faith traditions in New York City who maintained some kind of regular practice of prayer. I’ve also been involved in the Massachusetts Council of Churches’ Christian-Jewish and Christian-Muslim Dialog groups. I am a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Re-

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lations at Merrimack College and have been a presenter for a panel discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although I feel ever more deeply Christian in my own self understanding, I am fascinated by the increasingly pluralistic landscape of our country and our world, especially its religious dimensions. With information technology and ease of transportation in this age of globalization making cultural and religious isolation a thing of the past, there is a growing need for mutual respect and understanding. The misunderstandings and mistrust of the past, too often fostered by Christians, have become too dangerous to sustain. Since Christians in this country enjoy the advantage of numbers and a great power differential, we do well to assume greater responsibility for encouraging the conversations and activities that lead to greater understanding. This is a concrete way that we Episcopalians can live out our baptismal vows to “seek and serve Christ in all persons”. The challenge to us in our own thinking is to somehow embrace the possibility that we can claim our own identities and live more fully and

Br. Mark with Rabbi Judith Kummer, working to bring a chapter of Kids4Peace to the Boston area.


Palestinian girls enter the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem on their way to school.

confidently into our own identities without denying the authenticity of other identities, other understandings, other faiths. The challenge to us is to be who we are, to be who we feel God is calling us to be, while granting the same right to others, even when they respond to this call in other ways. We need to let go of the presumption that we can remake others in our own image or according to our own preferences. We need to somehow seek the fullness of truth and at the same time recognize that our own particular purchase on Truth is limited. If the natural world is any clue to how God envisions the fullness of our humanity (and I believe it is), we should expect a high level of “biodiversity” in a healthy humanity. It is precisely the variety of life forms that contribute to healthy ecosystems—and yet all life is bound together by the same underlying natural processes and forces. It is precisely the variety of our individualities that contribute to a healthy human family. “It takes all kinds to make a world”. “Vive la difference!” Colossal clichés, but true. SSJE

The Early Missionary Work of the Society in Africa Br. Eldridge Pendleton, SSJE


am sure many of you are aware of the Society’s current missionary work in Tanzania and Kenya. But you may not know of our early work in South Africa, both in Capetown and in the Transkei area of the East Cape. The Society of Saint John the Evangelist was founded in 1866 as a society of missionaries and the ministry of the Society was intended to be missionary work, both domestic and abroad. Its organization was modeled on that of St. Vincent de Paul’s Company of Mission Priests, founded in France in the mid 17th century. Within four years of the founding of SSJE, a missionary province had been opened in the United States, and in 1874 the Society established a base in India. It was not until 1883, however, that the Society began its work in South Africa, when Fr. Frederick William Puller arrived in Capetown to serve as chaplain to the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, who ran a hostel for girls and a medical mission which included the care of lepers on Robben Island. The Society started the parish of St. Philip the Deacon and built a school. The work in Capetown was primarily with native Africans, mainly migrants from countries to the north; and “coloreds,” which included all other non-whites—Malays, East Indians, and persons of mixed blood. Virtually all of these were men who had left their families and had crowded into Capetown seeking work. To provide them housing and to serve as an

Father Godfrey Callaway, SSJE, in Africa in the 1930’s.

evangelical base, Fr. Puller established St. Columba’s Hostel in 1886. It was through St. Columba’s that Bernard Mizeki, a native of Mozambique, became a Christian, was trained as a catechist and sent as a missionary to Mashonaland (now Zimbabwe). In 1889 Fr. Edward Osborne left the staff of St. John the Evangelist, Boston to become Superior of the South African province of SSJE. He was responsible for the construction of Cowley House, our mission house in Capetown in 1894, and a little later the new St. Philip’s Church next door, both designed by the distinguished South

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Father Francis James Rumsey, SSJE, with the boys and teachers of St. Cuthbert’s boarding school.

African architect Sir Herbert Baker. Beginning in 1901 as most of the nonwhite population in the district surrounding the Mission House was forcibly resettled in surrounding townships, SSJE followed its audience, building churches and schools, first in Ndabeni and later in Langa, and Nyanga, while at the same time maintaining its presence in Capetown, where our chaplaincies were connected with the medical work of the All Saints Sisters and St. Columba’s Hostel. In those early days it was customary for members of the Society to be involved in foreign missions for at least part of their religious life. Some were

St. Lucy’s Hospital in the Tsolo district of South Africa.


sent from England to America, then after a few years to Africa or India. Though the membership of the Society was small in those early years, it was able to undertake significant missionary work because of the laity attracted to its ministry who boosted its numbers and worked along side the brethren. English Christian missionaries began to work among the Mpondomise people of the East Cape in 1865. A mission district, originally comprising 5,600 square miles, was established in the Tsolo district on the south bank of the Ixnu River in 1882 twenty seven miles west of the regional capitol of Umtata. The mission was called St. Cuthbert’s. In 1891 a young missionary and mystic, Godfrey Callaway, came to assist and the following year his friend, Gerald Ley, joined him. Both men were fluent in Xhosa, the native language. Together they were to give over a hundred years of ministry to the mission. The bishop permitted them to attempt a religious community which was not successful, and in 1904 its members asked to be admitted to SSJE. Fr. Puller, who by that time had worked in South Africa for twenty years, was SSJE

temporarily placed in charge. An impressive stone church begun in 1897 was completed by Br. Maynard and an Oxford stone mason in 1906, after the Society had assumed charge, and dedicated that year. Fr. Puller brought with him the first contingent of Wantage Sisters—English Sisters of St. Mary the Virgin—to assist SSJE at St. Cuthbert’s. Medical work began and the Sisters, who were trained nurses, established St. Lucy’s Hospital. In addition, at its height the Society maintained fifty outstations within a ten mile radius of St. Cuthbert’s, each with a church, and many had primary schools as well. The missionaries were able to make the rounds on horseback once a month to provide a sacramental presence (there were no paved roads at the time). Later, as a trained native clergy developed, the Society turned over much of this work to them. At St. Cuthbert’s SSJE and the Wantage Sisters established boarding schools for boys and girls, the latter also offering training in weaving. To help with the work, the Sisters nurtured

A native Pondomisi Anglican priest making his rounds on horseback.

Two girls learning to weave at St. Cuthbert’s weaving school.

an African religious community for women, the Community of Saint John the Baptist, which assumed many of the responsibilities of the English Sisters when they returned to England after World War II. As the South African government instituted apartheid policies which segregated the native and colored population, it became more difficult for SSJE to maintain its presence there. When the de-humanizing Bantu laws affecting the education of this portion of the population were instituted in the 1950s, the Society closed its schools rather than collude with the government. During the next decade the Society terminated its work in Capetown, withdrew its members from St. Cuthbert’s mission and returned to England. But the Cowley legacy in South Africa is still apparent. SSJE gave Cowley House in Capetown to the local diocese which first used it as a hostel for families visiting political prisoners on Robben Island. Later, since the end of apartheid, it has been a trauma center for former political prisoners. In the Transkei region many of the mission churches built by the Society are thriving, St. Lucy’s Hospital continues to provide much needed medical care for the region, and the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, now living in the former SSJE Mission House, are involved in a number of ministries.

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Following the Call

A Contemporary Story of Ministry in Africa Br. David Vryhof, SSJE


hen Margaret Osere felt a call from God to go to seminary, she spent long hours discussing the matter with her husband. There were a number of obstacles. Margaret and her husband had three children of their own and had adopted three others who had been orphaned by AIDS. They had also undertaken the care of another boy in the village with HIV who was being raised by his elderly grandmother but was not being adequately looked after because of her extreme poverty. Margaret’s husband was supportive of her call and agreed to look after the family while Margaret went away to school. He was a subsistence farmer and would need to rely on relatives and friends to help care for the children while he worked in the fields. The family would have to sell their only cow to pay the first year’s fees. Others in their village expressed their disapproval. They thought it was improper for a woman to go to seminary and abhorred the idea that she would be leaving the children (although it is not uncommon for men to leave their families for extended periods of time to further their education or careers). They criticized Margaret’s husband for letting her do this, but he remained supportive. The family would trust God to provide for them while Margaret responded to this call to serve. The courage and faith Margaret and her husband have shown in the face of opposition and difficulties is not uncommon among the students at St.


Br. David with Margaret Osere and Sylvia Otasi, seminarians at St. Philip’s Theological College in Maseno, Kenya.

Philip’s Theological College in Maseno, Kenya. It is not unusual for the students to have paid a heavy price to train for the ministry. Many have left their families to the care of relatives and neighbors so that they could be away for long periods of time. Finding the money to pay school fees for themselves and for their children at home is a challenge almost every seminarian faces. They worry about how their families are getting along without them, and often find themselves wondering whether their children have had enough to eat that day. Nor can they anticipate a day when they will receive a steady income for their part in God’s work. Priests are poorly paid and rely on the meager offerings of their equally-poor congregations to support their families. They are often among the poorest in the village. The demands on ministers are heavy. With students carrying such heavy concerns as these, one would think SSJE

that the mood at St. Philip’s would be somber and heavy. But instead one finds joy and gratitude in abundance. The students regularly marvel at God’s goodness and praise God for God’s faithfulness. They worship with heartfelt zeal. They pray fervently, many rising before the dawn to spend an hour or more praying in the seminary chapel before the day begins. They are eager to learn and they work hard to prepare for the exams which will qualify them for ordination at the end of their studies. There are signs of material poverty. One of the requirements of the seminary is that each student brings a Bible to school. Several do not own their own Bibles and have to borrow one from a relative or neighbor in the village. But in this poverty there is also a great richness: deep faith, impressive commitment, a willingness to make tremendous sacrifices, unyielding dedication to God’s call, joy and thanksgiving in abundance, mutual support. We brothers have had the privilege over the past three years of knowing these students and sharing in their spiritual formation. We learn so much from them, and they are so eager to receive from us. When we come to Kenya, we are able to spend up to two weeks at the seminary. All classes are suspended during the time we are there, and faculty and students alike attend our teaching sessions. We try to offer some teaching

Seminarians gather around Br. David for a photo.

Br. David teaching a course on prayer and spiritual formation at St. Philip’s Theological College.

and guidance in prayer each day, but mostly we listen. We listen to them individually and in small groups. We try to understand the challenges they face and give them the tools they will need to be effective pastors. We pray with them, encourage them, assure them of God’s love and faithfulness. It is altogether humbling work, to be servants of these servants of God. The connection is valued on both sides. The students and faculty look forward to our annual visits and we look forward to being with them. They are eager to learn from us, and we from them. In spite of the tensions that have sometimes characterized the relationship between our two churches, we find much common ground. We share a hunger for God and for God’s truth, a commitment to ministry, and a love for the people we serve. It is a great joy to experience such partnership in the gospel. And you are partners with us! This ministry would be impossible without your gifts and prayers. We look to you for this help, but also want to share with you the richness of blessing we have received from these Kenyan Christians. Pray for us all, and for our churches, that we may be faithful to God’s call no matter what its cost. Our next mission to Kenya will take place this fall. Kindly remember us in your prayers.

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Sermons Online

I’ve become very addicted to the website, the Lenten series, and so many other series, that I both read and listen to. Listening to the Rule during Lent, what really stood out to me was the notion of hospitality. The Brothers truly truly go out of their way to make you feel at home.

Dick Rasner

We Brothers have been increasing our presence online over the past year. We are excited about the ways we can use online space to expand our ministries and have been encouraged by the feedback many of you have provided. Have you visited the website recently?

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What a joy to receive your eNewsletter and read your beautiful words about the resurrection. – Priscilla Houghton If you want to be alerted to special meditations, publications and key events at SSJE, please sign up for the eNewsletter at the website or by emailing 12


Companions on the Way The Ministry of Spiritual Direction Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

“From the earliest days God has given members of our Society the calling and gifts for the ministry of spiritual direction.”

(Rule of the Society: Chapter 30.)


he ministry of spiritual direction is very rewarding. The exercise of this ministry is for me a deeply humbling experience and one which I never take for granted. As the Benedictine writer Matthias Neumann put it, “It is an immense responsibility to take on the guidance of human lives, especially the sifting, discerning, and supporting of the inner-most secrets of hearts.” In the monastery here in Cambridge we have several rooms set aside for spiritual direction. Many of the brothers meet with individuals regularly, perhaps once a month, over several years. We also offer directed retreats where we welcome a person to spend a few days with us and give them the opportunity to meet with a brother several times during their stay. At other times a person will ask to meet with a brother just once in order to receive guidance about a particular issue in their life with God. So what exactly is spiritual direction? First of all, spiritual direction is not the same as therapy; nor is it counseling, where the focus is more on solving problems or effecting better personal integration and adjustment in the growth towards human maturity. So what is it? I like the definition of Jean Laplace who defines spiritual direction as “the help one person gives to another to

Br. Jonathan Maury listens attentively to our resident guest, Elizabeth Sherlock, while our dog Duke lounges at their feet.

enable them to become themselves in their faith.” It is a “gifted presence to help a gifted self emerge.” I also appreciate the words of Shaun McCarty SJ, who writes that this ministry “calls for a reverence for the mystery of the other person and genuine hope for the ‘more to come’ that is in him or her. Through the real presence of one to the other, the presence and power of God can be better discerned.” As I have exercised this ministry over the years, I have found that the most important thing for me is to be

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Brs.Timothy Solverson, Kevin Hackett, and Robert L’Espérance, SSJE, who serve as spiritual directors.

always aware of this very real presence of God, the ‘third person’ in the room. This stops me from anxiously trying to ‘solve problems’ or offer ‘clever’ advice! It is much more helpful to truly listen to the other in a very deep way, and then to help them to listen more deeply ‘with the ears of the heart’ to God’s word in their lives and in their prayer. For this reason, the term ‘director’ can sometimes be rather unhelpful, and another term such as ‘companion’ can better express what is really going on in good spiritual direction. The ‘director’ is not a teacher, nor a savior, nor a therapist, but rather a ‘companion’ – one who literally ‘breaks bread’ with the other. It is about simply ‘being’ with the other in the presence of the Lord; watching, listening, responding, and being available for them. As you read this, you may sense that you would like to receive spiritual direction yourself. You may be longing to deepen your response to God in prayer, or you may be at a significant place of discernment in your life, and 14

you may well value the gift of a spiritual companion as you seek clarity and the inner freedom to move forward and embrace life in a new way. You may also sense that you have the gifts to exercise this ministry yourself. In either case you may find it helpful to read further, and there are certainly many books on this subject. I have been particularly helped by two books published by Cowley Publications: Holy Listening: the Art of Spiritual Direction by Margaret Guenther, and Trustworthy Connections by Anne Winchell Silver. Spiritual direction is a wonderful gift and ministry and we brothers can testify to its power to open up wells of living water deep within us. As our Rule puts it, “Our spiritual directors help us enter into the truth which is Christ, uncovering our illusions, and guiding us to explore the freedom for which Christ has set us free.” SSJE

A Place of Pilgrimage / A Place of Hope My Holy Week ministry at Canterbury Cathedral Br. James Koester, SSJE


first visited Canterbury Cathedral thirty-five years ago. I was there one Easter Day while in England with my high school English class. We had taken the train down from London that morning to be at the Cathedral in time for the morning Eucharist. I well remember kneeling before the high altar, almost in tears as I received Communion at that place which has been at the heart of Anglicanism for so many centuries. Little did I know then that thirty-five years later, I would again be almost in tears at the high altar, but this time not kneeling at the altar rail to receive Communion, but standing before the high altar itself presiding at the Eucharist early Maundy Thursday morning. This time I was there at the invitation of the Dean and Chapter to be the chaplain to the Holy Week pilgrimage which they host each year. I was joined by about two dozen others, from Australia, the US and many parts of England, as well as the thousands of pilgrims and tourists who find their way to the Cathedral on a daily basis. My role for the nearly two weeks that I was there, was to act as chaplain to the group of resident pilgrims; to give the lunch time Holy Week talks and to preach at the Three Hour Service on Good Friday. The rest of the time I wandered around the Cathedral and Precincts, attended the daily services and helped out where needed. I also explored some of the neighborhood pubs, testing out the local fare. After all

Canterbury Cathedral, the mother church of the Anglican Communion, on a cloudy day in April.

of it I have come home with incredibly vivid memories. One memory that will last a lifetime is praying the Lord’s Prayer with over a thousand people, in a place where that prayer has been prayed for nearly 1500 years. The walls of that magnificent house of prayer literally hummed with the vibration of so many voices. I remember too sitting in my choir stall at Evening Prayer aware that for 1000 years monks like me had prayed the Daily Office day after day in that same place. But Maundy Thursday will forever be etched in my mind as I remember standing at the high altar presiding at the Eucharist and later in the day sitting with eleven others as Archbishop Rowan washed our feet at the evening liturgy. I could not help but fight back tears as I thought of Augustine, Theodore of Tarsus, Dunstan, Becket, Cranmer, Parker, Temple, Ramsey and Runcie, and before them the Apostles and Christ himself as he knelt and

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Br. James with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

washed those first disciples’ feet. The sign of continuity in the person of Archbishop Rowan filled me not simply with gratitude for the past, but hope for the future as I found myself entering that unbroken stream of prayer, worship and service. On Good Friday, I faced the most daunting task of the week, preaching seven times and presiding at the Three The high altar of Canterbury Cathedral is prepared for the celebration of the Eucharist.

Hour Service. When I asked how many people would attend this service, I was casually told that they prepare 700 bulletins and that I could expect two to three hundred people at any one time. For the whole of the three hours, during strategically placed hymns, streams of people came and went. For the next several days many of them stopped me in the Cathedral, out in the Precinct or in the town to comment on what I had said. For centuries, Canterbury Cathedral has been a place of pilgrimage. It hosts not simply grand occasions and magnificent liturgies, but it is also a place where many find quiet moments and sheltered corners to pray, to cry, to rejoice, to hope. I was overwhelmed by the masses of people who simply felt at home, as if somehow this Cathedral belonged to them and they to the Cathedral and all that it stood for. This 16

is a building not simply for archbishops and princes, deans and clergy, monks and choristers. It is also a building for the ordinary and the unknown. And all have their monument. During my last days in the Cathedral, I became fascinated, not with the grand tombs of the dead great, but with the simple scratchings of people long gone and mostly forgotten. Along with wonderful monuments to the great, the Cathedral is filled in dark corners and behind Graffiti in a corner of the Cathedral, carved by a pilgrim in 1603.

doors and pillars with graffiti monuments to the not so great, and not so powerful. Oddly enough the graffiti I found throughout the building was to me more a sign of hope for the life of the church than were the great monuments of the powerful. The oldest dated graffiti I found was cut into the cloister wall in 1603 and the newest, in pencil, from this year. Just as the continuity personified in the person of the archbishop filled me with hope for the church, so too did continuity signified by the graffiti, for it reminded me that the church belongs as much to those who scratch their names in walls as those who shape history. Today the world and the church long for hope. This Holy Week I discovered hope in a building vibrating with prayer, in a simple act of remembrance over bread and wine, in a man kneeling to wash my feet, and in initials scratched in stone. Each one of those moments connected me with an ancient past and a yet unborn future and there standing between what has been and what will be, I found a sense of hope for the church, for the world and for myself. SSJE

COMMUNITY NEWS Br. James Koester traveled to England, where he served as chaplain for pilgrims to Canterbury Cathedral during Holy Week, April 1-16. Br. Curtis Almquist led a retreat for a group of lawyers from the United States and Canada at the Monastery, March 31 – April 5.

the farm of Bob and Ginger Riggins, long-time friends of SSJE. In early May, he gave a one-day workshop on Spiritual Discernment at Grace Episcopal Church, Lopez Island. He also preached and presided at the Sunday liturgy.

In mid-April, Brs. Eldridge Pendleton, James Koester, and Jonathan Maury enjoyed some vacation time in Texas.

Br. Curtis Almquist attended the annual meeting of the Conference of Anglican Religious Orders in the Americas in Racine, WI. April 28 – May 1.

On May 2, we celebrated our annual Fellowship of St. John Day. Many Fellowship members and friends gathered for a festive Eucharist followed by a luncheon in the cloister garden. Our Bishop Visitor, the Right Rev. Arthur Walmsley, preached.

Br. Mark Brown traveled to Brewster, Cape Cod to attend the Diocese of Massachusetts Clergy Conference, April 28-30. Br. James Koester led a retreat for an Episcopal Clergywomen’s Group at the Monastery, April 28 – May 1. In April, Br. David Vryhof enjoyed a four-week sabbatical on Lopez Island off the coast of Washington state near Seattle, taking time to read, study, pray, hike, kayak and tend sheep on

From May 8-10, many friends of the Society gathered at Emery House for a Work Weekend to prepare the gardens for the planting of vegetables and fruit that will supply the Monastery kitchen throughout the summer and fall.

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Br. Kevin Hackett led a retreat for St. Mary’s parish, Arlington, VA, at the Monastery, May 14-17. Br. Kevin Hackett accompanied friends Carl and May Daw to Virginia Theological School, May 20-22, where Carl received an honorary doctorate for his contributions to hymnody.

Br. Mark Brown led a pre-ordination retreat for the ordinands of the Diocese of Massachusetts at the Monastery, May 26-29.

Br. Jonathan Maury met with the youth of the Church of the Transfiguration, Dallas, TX, who were on pilgrimage and in residence at the Monastery, June 16-19.

Br. David Allen traveled to the DaySpring Conference Center in Florida to attend the annual consultation meetings for the Episcopal Asian American Ministry, June 18-22. David presented a report on the strong youth program in the Boston Chinese Ministry, of which David is a part.

Br. Curtis Almquist led a weekend retreat for women of St. Stephen’s parish, Richmond, VA, at the Monastery, May 29-31.

Br. David Vryhof led a weekend retreat for men of St. Stephen’s parish, Richmond, VA, at the Monastery, June 26-28.



in an icon writing workshop, June 25 – July 7. In mid July, Brs. Tom Shaw, Geoffrey Tristram, and Curtis Almquist traveled to Anaheim California for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Tom is Bishop of Massachusetts, Geoffrey serves as chaplain to the House of Bishops, and Curtis represented the Society.

Br. James Koester traveled to Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon to take part

In April and May Jacob Kidda and Andrew Gary withdrew from the novitiate. They leave with our blessing and good wishes for their futures.

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The Society of Saint John the Evangelist an invitation to join


The Friends of SSJE


came here at a particularly troubling time in my life, when I really had no particular faith that I was practicing. It’s really because of the Brothers that I have found my way into the Anglican faith. I’ve brought every member of my family here at one time or another to experience the joy of community. Many of the principles that I’ve observed here, in how the Brothers are together, have played a major role in forming our relationships within our family: principles of openness and love, no judgment. It’s hard to practice those principles in a secular life, so I’ve often turned to my experiences here when things have been particularly difficult. Watching the Brothers care for each other in times of physical difficulty, then you can see that the Spirit is true. This place has really been very much at the core of how I try to live my life with other people. I try to bring the same grace that I observe here into my life in dealing with others. – Ms. Barbara Johnson



Becoming a Friend Please consider becoming a Friend today by supporting the SSJE’s Annual Fund. A taxdeductible contribution may be made by check (payable to “SSJE”), credit card, or a gift of securities. Gifts may also be made online through our website


Friends of SSJE The Society of Saint John the Evangelist 980 Memorial Drive Cambridge, MA 02138 Tel (617) 876-3037 ext. 24 Email:


“SSJE” Attn: Mrs. Vi Bunclark The Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Co 130 King Street West, 20th Floor PO Box 430, Stn First Canadian Place Toronto, Ontario M5X 1K1, Canada


For UK tax deductible donations of £250 or more please donate via the Charities Aid Foundation CAF). Contact or telephone 01732 520 050. Please specify “The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, Boston” when making your gift. Online: Credit card donations can be made via Stock Gifts: Please email for details. Monthly Gifts: Please email if you would like to make monthly payments by credit card. Pledging: If you like to pledge please email your pledge to Tax Receipts: After the end of each calendar year receipts will be sent for Chapel gifts made by check and for all pledge payments received.

The Society of Saint John the Evangelist




Please Remember SSJE in Your Will


ere I feel more deeply connected to God. I feel God’s presence within me. And here, during the Eucharist, the bread and wine connect me to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It’s so — it’s just so real. It is such a real experience of God. The holiness here is not just the building, it’s also all the people who are here, the Brothers and the community; it permeates the activities that they do, the worship services, the hospitality. I see this holiness in how they meet me where I am at any particular time. It reaches into my depths without them even being aware of my needs. God is aware, but the retreat leader, the brother is not aware. And yet my deeply felt needs are met. I hope my bequest will support all the wonderful work that the brothers are doing and their ministries. I’m certain that whatever the funds are utilized for, they will be blessings for others, whoever they might be and wherever that might be. I just so admire the brothers’ disciplined lives and how they use their resources. They are wonderful models of good stewardship of their gifts and all that God has given them. I know that they use their funds very wisely; we all could learn from that.

– Martha Dunn Strohecker

Please remember SSJE in your will. Please let us know if you would like a copy of the Ways of Giving brochure to learn how you can include SSJE in your estate planning. Friends of SSJE The Society of Saint John the Evangelist 980 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02138 Tel: (617)-876-3037 ext. 24 E-mail:

The Society of Saint John the Evangelist


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Cowley Magazine - Summer 2009  
Cowley Magazine - Summer 2009  

The SSJE brothers magazine