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Listening sessions scheduled as new regional canon staffing structure develops

Parish clergy, wardens, deanery representatives and Diocesan Council

members have been invited to three listening sessions, an opportunity for them to give input regarding the creation of a new regional canon staffing structure for the diocese.

The recent diocesan mission strategy development process surfaced the desire in congregations for closer connections with one another and with diocesan staff, and it is hoped that new regional canons will assist in that work.  The hiring process is intended to get underway this spring.

Listening sessions will be held on:

* Tuesday, Jan. 23, 7-8:30 p.m., at Christ Church in Andover for the Merrimack Valley, North Shore, Mystic Valley and Concord River deaneries;

* Sunday, Jan. 28, 4-5:30 p.m., at Christ Church in Plymouth for the South Shore, Taunton River, Mt. Hope-Buzzards Bay, and Cape and Island deaneries; and

* Wednesday, Jan. 31, 7-8:30 p.m., at St. Mary's Church in Newton Lower Falls for the Boston Harbor, Alewife, Charles River and Neponset River deaneries.

Among the topics they'll be considering:  What the bishops and search advisory team should know about each region of the diocese, including what is particular to each region's ethos and culture that will be important to the regional canon selection process, and what kinds of support are needed from the new regional canons within the first year.

Questions may be directed to the Rev. Canon Libby Berman at or 617-482-4826, ext. 430.





The diocesan community's congratulations and best wishes are with its two newest priests, the Rev. Amanda March (pictured left with Bishop Alan M. Gates), ordained on Jan. 5 at the Parish of St. Paul in Newton Highlands, and the Rev. Duncan Hilton (pictured right with Gates and Bishop Tom Ely of Vermont), ordained on Jan. 6 at St. Michael's Church in Brattleboro, Vt.  (Photos courtesy of Graeme Mills and the Diocese of Vermont.)

Prayers and presence are invited for the upcoming ordinations to the priesthood of the Rev. Dan Bell on Saturday, Feb. 24, 10:30 a.m., at Grace Church in Medford, and the Rev. Amy Whitcomb Slemmer on Saturday, March 3, 3 p.m., at St. Stephen's Church in Cohasset.



Bishop Alan M. Gates (right) of the Diocese of Massachusetts, Bishop Douglas J. Fisher (center) of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Rev. Arrington Chambliss (left), Executive Director of Episcopal City Mission, attended a rally at Boston City Hall on Jan. 10 to show support for the approximately 6,000 Salvadorans in Massachusetts who may be affected by the Trump administration's recent decision to end their Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  TPS is the federal program that allows immigrants who have been displaced by civil unrest or natural disasters to live and work legally in the U.S. 

"For these people who are here and who have created a life here, who have their families here, have children who have never been in El Salvador, so they're vulnerable," Fisher said in this WWLP-22 report. "The church is always called to stand with those who are vulnerable."

The Boston rally was sponsored by the immigrant advocacy organization Centro Presente.  (Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts via Facebook.)


Sign up for Episcopal City Mission's newsletter and action alerts here.


Get a team together for "Brave Conversations":  This year's diocesan Spring Learning

Event on Saturday, March 3 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston invites the diocesan community into an opportunity to come together with others to acquire and share techniques and inspiration for establishing the church as a gracious place for dialogue on challenging topics and expanding the possibilities for reconciliation and transformation.  Online registration will open on Jan. 22.  Questions may be directed to the Rev. Karen Montagno at or 617-482-4826, ext. 413.

Other upcoming learning events include: 

* "Values in Action":  Live Webcast on Feb. 3 from the annual Trinity Institute Conference in New York City, hosted by the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston and focusing on building greater capacity for social action rooted in core values and partnerships.  Find more information and register for the Boston Webcast here.

* Congregational Business Practices Workshops offered for vestry members, treasurers, clergy and anyone in need of an introduction to or refresher on the business aspects of their congregation:  These will be presented by the diocesan Congregational Consultants on Feb. 24 in Barnstable, March 10 in Lynnfield; March 17 in Boston; and March 24 in Weston.

* Global Mission Summit:  This event on April 21 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston aims to offer theological and practical perspectives on global mission engagement through thought-provoking speakers, interactive workshops, time for networking and an internationally flavored celebration of the Eucharist.  More information and registration is available here.





Puerto Rico's Bishop Rafael Morales gives a toy to a child during a pop-up medical clinic that doubled as a hurricane relief station Jan. 3 in Toa Baja. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, far right, who was on a two-day pastoral visit, helped distribute the toys for Three Kings Day. (Episcopal News Service Photo: David Paulsen.)

Presiding Bishop Curry brings messages of hope to post-hurricane Puerto Rico:  Bishop Rafael Morales leaves no impression he is still wading into his job. He had been leading the Diocese of Puerto Rico a mere two months when Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September, and since then he and his staff and clergy around the diocese have mobilized relief efforts with a determination that earned praise from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry during a two-day visit.

Curry was in Puerto Rico on a pastoral visit, and he preached Jan. 3 in the evening at the Episcopal cathedral in San Juan, the capital of the U.S. territory. An earlier stop in Toa Baja introduced Curry and his delegation to Hugs of Love, a series of pop-up medical clinics the diocese has offered since the hurricane through the health care system it runs. This and other ministries are strengthened by ecumenical partnerships and through collaboration with federal agencies, local nonprofits and the Episcopal Church's Episcopal Relief & Development. 

Read Episcopal News Service's story here.

Live, work, pray around the world:  Young adults (21-30 years old) have an opportunity to transform their own lives while engaging mission and ministry in the Anglican Communion by joining the the Episcopal Church's Young Adult Service Corps, commonly known as YASC.
Currently YASCers are serving throughout the Anglican Communion, working alongside partners in administration, agriculture, communication, development and education. They are serving in Brazil, Costa Rica, England, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa and Tanzania.
The application deadline has been extended to Friday, Jan. 26 for 2018-2019 placements.  Find more information here.

Good Book Club:  Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry invites Episcopalians to join the more than 25 partners presenting the Good Book Club, a churchwide program for reading the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles during the Lent and Easter seasons this year.  Good Book Club readings begin the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday, Feb. 11 and finish on Pentecost, May 20.  Find resources at




Wicked Local Hingham:  With King's dream in mind, volunteers make 64,000 meals:  The basement of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist was packed Monday morning, its walls lined with 50-pound bags of rice and 20-pound boxes of raw pasta.  Hundreds of parishioners from across the South Shore donned hair nets and measured ingredients, and boxes were filled rhythmically with completed, vacuum-sealed bags containing meals for local shelters and food pantries.  "It's in the spirit of Dr. King and helping people," the Rev. Tim Schenck of St. John's said.  "Nothing transcends denominational boundaries like feeding people."  Read more.


Boston Globe:  Charting a path to a new bridge for Long Island:  The Religious Leaders for Long Island Refugees interfaith coalition, also known as "BostonWarm," wrote in support of Boston Mayor Martin Walsh's vision for a recovery campus on Long Island in this Jan. 10 letter:  "Three years ago, when the Long Island Bridge was abruptly and calamitously closed, interfaith leaders mounted an emergency campaign.  ...In the years since, many of us feared that Long Island would become yet another enclave for the very rich. However, Mayor Walsh has announced that this island refuge will be preserved not for those who can most afford it, but for those who most urgently need it. The mayor offers a vision of a bridge rebuilt and comprehensive recovery campus. We rejoice."

Sun Chronicle:  Committed to social justice, Cardoza now rector at St. Mark's:  The Rev. Edward Cardoza--better known as "Father Ed"--may be the spiritual leader of more than 100 families who belong to St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Foxborough.  But he's also recognized as a supporter and counselor to those who work for social justice and spiritual uplift the world over.  Cardoza, who has been priest-in-charge at St. Mark's since 2015, was recently named church rector by a unanimous vote of the vestry.  A formal installation ceremony is scheduled April 4.  Read more.

Taunton Gazette:  Taunton's homeless struggle to stay warm in bitter cold:  Jay Berube looks forward to greeting his breakfast guests with a warm smile and friendly hello every day.  But that morning ritual takes on extra meaning when the city is plunged into the kind of dangerously cold weather that has gripped the region.  "I worry if someone doesn't show up for a while, especially someone I know is sleeping on the streets.  It's good to see them walk through the door," said Berube, the assistant to the director of Our Daily Bread Food and Resource Center in the parish hall of St. Thomas Episcopal Church on High Street in Taunton.  Read more.

WGBH Radio:  Churches face a new reality:  Churches are traditionally places we think of as not only being sacred, but safe.  In Boston, church leaders have been meeting to share ideas about providing security that is effective, but not intrusive.  On Tremont Street across from Boston Common is the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, which has a sandwich board outside that welcomes visitors.  It's a welcome that also comes with a warning: "No violence and threats of violence, even if you are in the right."  Explaining the sign, acting dean Nancy Gossling said, "We welcome all people, but we don't welcome all behaviors."  It is a new reality church leaders must face: walking that fine line between security and openness - keeping their doors, and their eyes, open.  Read more.




Coming Up 


Jan 19-20: Diocesan Council Retreat, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Jan 19: Massachusetts Council of Churches Prayers for Christian Unity, Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, Springfield, 7:00pm

Jan 21: Bishop Harris visits Christ Church & St. Peter in Waltham, 9:00am

Jan 21: Bishop Gates visits Trinity Church in Haverhill, 9:00am

Jan 21: Evensong at Groton School, Groton, 7:00pm

Jan 23: Regional Canons Listening Session: North & West, Christ Church, Andover, 7:00pm

Jan 28: Bishop Gates visits Parish of St. Chrysostom in Quincy, 9:00am

Jan 28: Regional Canons Listening Session: South, Christ Church, Plymouth, 4:00pm

Jan 30: Faith & Work Conversation Series, Christ Church, Cambridge, 6:30pm

Jan 31: Sung Compline with Candlelight , St. John's Church, Sharon, 7:00pm

Jan 31: Regional Canons Listening Session: Central, St. Mary's Church, Newton Lower Falls, 7:00pm

Feb 2-4: High School Retreat, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Feb 3: Ministry Discernment Conference, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:30am

Feb 3: "Values in Action": Trinity Institute Conference Live Stream Event, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:30am

Feb 4: Bishop Gates visits Christ Church in Plymouth, 9:00am

Feb 4: Bishop Harris visits Episcopal Boston Chinese Ministry, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 1:00pm

Feb 6-8: Clergy Pre-Lenten Retreat, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Feb 8: Budget Committee Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:00am

Feb 9: Labyrinth Walk, Church of the Holy Spirit, Orleans, 10:00am

Feb 11: Bishop Harris visits Church of the Good Shepherd in Watertown, 9:00am

Feb 11: Bishop Gates visits St. John St. James Church in Roxbury, 9:00am

Feb 11: UBE Absalom Jones Service, Bishop Gayle E. Harris preacher and celebrant, St. Cyprian's Church, Roxbury, 4:00pm

Feb 15: Diocesan Council Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm

Feb 17: Eucharistic Visitor Training , St John's Church, Westwood, 8:30am

Feb 17: Christian Education "Train the Trainer" Workshop, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am

Feb 24: Congregational Business Practices Workshop, St. Mary's Church, Barnstable, 9:00am

Feb 24: Priesthood Ordination: Dan Bell, Grace Church, Medford, 10:30am

Feb 25: Bishop Gates visits St. John's Church in Franklin, 9:00am

Feb 25: Bishop Harris visits Church of Our Redeemer in Lexington, 9:00am

Feb 25: Evensong at Groton School, Groton, 7:00pm







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