Listen to the COOR Choir singing, “O Heavenly Word, Eternal Light“
Highlights of Our 233rd Diocesan Convention, Hyannis, MA, | November 3, 2018
By Deborah Jacoby-Twigg
Convention was not boring! (I expected it to be a snore.) The $1.5 million budget passed following much debate on its merits (enough?) and salaries (too corporate?). Special presentations focused on Indaba, a soon-to-be-launched program of purposeful discussion across parish lines, the work of our Ecumenical and Interreligious Committee, our Diocesan Youth Council, and the recent General Convention in Austin, TX. In Texas, delegates filled 17 buses, rode to a nearby immigrant detention camp and made a show of support.
Two new “mission” parishes were welcomed into our diocesan parish family with much pomp and fanfare, closing the convention on a high note. They are St. Peter’s in Waltham, a small Ugandan congregation and Grace Chapel whose growing youth ministry in Brockton was inspiring to learn about.
I was honored to serve as your lay delegate. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will attend our next diocesan convention. If you recall videos of his sermons played at our parish retreat, you may agree with my guess that that one won’t be boring either.
The 15th Annual Church of Our Redeemer All-Parish Retreat Weekend took place on October 26-28, 2018 at the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center in Greenfield, New Hampshire. Adhering to the weekend’s theme of “Redeemer Reboots,” nearly 80 adults and children attended!
They participated in worship led by Revs. Kate and Andrew, shared spiritual stories, and socialized over the Center’s wonderful food. They also took part in supervised games, a book discussion of Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, hiking in the rain, social hour, singing songs by the campfire, making S’mores, and cheering on the Red Sox.
Many thanks to our main organizers, Christopher and Janet Needham, and to the many volunteers who helped to make the retreat a community-building and rejuvenating event!
Dear People of the Episcopal Churches in Massachusetts,
A ceremony celebrating new life has become the latest setting for the murderous intersection of bigotry, religious hatred and easy access to lethal weapons.
We extend our deepest condolences, solidarity and kinship to our sisters and brothers at the Tree of Life synagogue and to the wider Jewish community throughout the nation upon the massacre today in Pittsburgh.
We join with Bishop Dorsey McConnell of Pittsburgh, who writes, “Human beings have moral agency. Someone chose to hate, and chose to kill. And now we are faced with a choice as well–to do nothing, or to reject this hatred in the strongest possible words and actions, and to refute in every way, in every forum, the philosophical foundations of anti-Semitism wherever they have gained a foothold in our churches and our society.”
As people of faith, we also decry suggestions that the solution to such violence is further violence. For national leaders to suggest that the solution is for our houses of worship (and by extension our schools, our movie theaters, our shopping centers and our outdoor concert venues) to be armed fortresses is to abdicate responsibility for addressing the root causes of this scourge.
We continue to insist that our grief and anger must issue not only in compassion and prayer, not only in increased vigilance and security, but also in continued advocacy for measures which will resist the religious and ethnic bigotry and easy access to lethal weapons which are among those root causes.
May we invoke the compassionate blessing of our God upon the victims of this act of terror and their loved ones, while rededicating ourselves once more to acting as agents of change for a more peaceful and just society.
The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
A Litany in the Aftermath of Gun Violence, penned by our colleague Bishop Stephen Lane of Maine, is available here .
Additional resources for congregational prayers are available on the website of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, here .
On October 14 at the 9:30 service, the Church of Our Redeemer celebrated St. Francis with a Blessing of the Animals. Parishioners brought their dogs, cats, lizards, stuffed animals, and photos of beloved pets for a special blessing. It was a truly special and fun service!
“Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable this beloved creature to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.”