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Diocesan Convention continues work toward "embracing brave change" 

This year's Diocesan Convention voted a "We Are Still In" response to climate change--calling on "congregations and every person of faith to set a moral example by making decisions of integrity in our energy choices and holding our leaders accountable to likewise reduce carbon emissions"--and it adopted a measure encouraging the formation of a diocesan network devoted to ministry with the elderly, to focus on developing resources and training that will help church leaders address the needs of aging people in their congregations.  


The convention also heard recommendations from the team that has been working over the past year to organize the implementation of the "embracing brave change"-themed mission strategy adopted by last year's convention.  The team's recommendations included launching a process for intentional conversation to help build relationships among congregations; implementing "Mission Match," a diocesan version of Episcopal Relief & Development's online asset mapping tool, to help connect people and congregations in collaborative ministries; and continuing work to discern a diocesan organizational structure that will more effectively balance centralized and regional support to congregations.


Read the team's written report here, and watch excerpts of the team's presentation at the convention here.

Honored at the convention were Leon Brathwaite of St. Andrew's Church in Edgartown, as he prepares to retire as secretary of the diocese after 40 years of service; and the Rev. Jane Gould, for her 31 years of leadership in the diocese, as a chaplain at MIT, rector of St. Stephen's Church in Lynn and longtime deputy to the Episcopal Church's General Convention.  She is leaving Massachusetts to become the rector of St. Luke's Church in Long Beach, Calif.


Leon Brathwaite is presented with an Old North Church lantern at convention.  

The Rev. Jane Gould, pictured at St. Stephen's, Lynn.


In other business, the convention approved the $8.8-million diocesan budget proposed for 2018.  Down from the $9.2-million budget adopted last year for 2017, the 2018 budget takes into account new mission strategy priorities as well as a reduction in assessment income resulting from a new formula for calculating each congregation's annual contribution to the diocesan budget.  Find the 2018 budget as adopted here.


About 580 people attended the annual legislative gathering, held on Nov. 4 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, including 490 voting clergy members and lay delegates.  An offering of $4,996 was collected at the convention Eucharist, designated for hurricane relief in the Caribbean via Episcopal Relief & Development. 


Find video and text of Bishop Alan M. Gates's annual address to the convention here.


View a photo gallery here. 


Find all actions taken by the convention, including the text of resolutions and election results, here.


Rooted in community connection, churches take up ministry with immigrants and refugees 

A year after the election of President Donald 

A welcome banner at Church of the Good Shepherd, Reading.

Trump, immigrant communities in the United States continue to face a barrage of uncertainty and fear. The pending executive actions and court cases that could affect the status of millions of immigrants and refugees are difficult to navigate, and it is not always easy to discern how a few individuals or a single congregation can help. Several churches in the Diocese of Massachusetts are moving ahead undaunted, though, with resolve and spirit they say extends from the fact that they have grounded their immigrant and refugee ministries in local relationships. 


Whether preparing to sponsor a refugee family, becoming a sanctuary church or taking action in their communities, Episcopal churches in eastern Massachusetts say they are are choosing not to go it alone, instead building ecumenical and interfaith networks that can provide significant and sustainable support for immigrants and refugees.






Vigil for victims of gun violence: On Thursday, Dec. 14 at 6:15 p.m., First Church in Boston will be hosting a candlelight vigil honoring all victims of gun violence. The service will be held in conjunction with the Dec. 6 National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence at St. Mark's in Washington D.C. and similar vigils in many states. This nationwide event was conceived by the Newtown Foundation in partnership with Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, and will be held on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. The event will include special candle lighting for the 2017 Boston victims of gun violence.  The service is intended as a memorial to the victims and as a call for further commitment to work to reduce gun violence in all of our communities. Bishop Alan Gates will attend and offer a brief reflection.  First Church is located at 66 Marlborough Street, Boston. 


Safety and security forum for houses of worship: The U.S. Attorney's Office, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, FBI and Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security are sponsoring a day-long learning forum on public safety crises specifically for houses of worship and faith communities.  Faith leaders, including university faith leaders, administrators, board members and other individuals responsible for emergency management at houses of worship are invited to attend the forum, to be held at four different locations:  

The forum aims to increase participants' understanding of various public safety concerns and knowledge about planning and preparing for an active threat, and to provide tools to build an emergency operations plan.  Issues like vandalism, arson, Internet scams, cyber threats, bomb threats, active shooter situations and hate crimes will be covered.  Pre-registration is required via the location links above.




WGBH: Wrentham Opioid Project offers love and support to community:  According to Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan, Massachusetts loses six people a day to the opioid epidemic. That number alone is staggering, but when you multiply that figure, it's hard to imagine a family in the state who hasn't been impacted by addiction and overdoses.

The 2069 opioid project, which consists of small lawn signs reading "#2069," points to the total number of opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts in 2016. It was launched by the Rev. Ron Tibbets of Trinity Episcopal Church in Wrentham.


"The project began as a small outreach program to raise awareness in our community, and we had no idea it would grow to this magnitude across state," he said.


Tibbets says there are now 1,100 signs posted statewide that were distributed by 15 partners, and a bumper sticker campaign has also begun. Read more.  


Lowell Sun: All Saints', Chelmsford, marks 150 years: 

All Saints' Episcopal Church began with one determined woman whose legacy lives on today in the strong leadership roles laypeople--especially women--hold in the 150-year-old parish. Anna Eliza Hunt and her family moved from Charlestown to Chelmsford in the mid-1800s. In 1860, she decided to start a Sunday school that would form the basis of the church.


On Saturday, Nov. 4 the church held a service of choral evensong followed by a gala reception and history walk featuring pictures and artifacts such as the Bishop's Chair that came from Elbridge Gerry, the former Massachusetts governor and U.S. vice president for whom the term gerrymandering was coined.


The following day, All Saints' Sunday, Bishop Gayle Harris preached at the worship service and meet with parish members and leadership. All of the church's choirs performed along with a brass quartet. Read more. 





Bishops United Against Gun Violence calls church to pray, elected leaders to act:  Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris, along with Bishop Douglas J. Fisher of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, are members of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, which issued a statement on Nov. 6 in response to the shootings the previous day in Sutherland Springs, Tex.  Bishops United Against Gun Violence is a group of more than 70 Episcopal Church bishops working to curtail the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.


"One does not offer prayers in lieu of demonstrating political courage, but rather in preparation," the bishops said.  Read the full statement here.


Michael Curry and Barbara Harris In Conversation:  "Jesus can't make everybodyhappy, and neither can you," Bishop Barbara C. Harris tells Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry in a new book from Church Publishing, edited by Fredrica Harris Thompsett.  The book is based on two days of face-to-face conversations between the two friends and includes stories about their families, vocational exploration, preaching, the work of bishops, justice and racism, and their hopes for the future and one another.  The book is available from Church Publishing here.


Food and Faith:  This ongoing five-part Episcopal News Service series is focusing on anti-hunger efforts in the Episcopal Church, from food pantries to the church's advocacy on government programs that fight hunger.  Find the series here.




Coming Up 

Nov 15-16: "Anglo-Catholicism: Uncovering Roots" Conference, Church of the Advent, Boston

Nov 15: Contemplative Eucharist, Bethany House of Prayer, Arlington, 7:00pm

Nov 17-19: Middle School Retreat, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, NH 

Nov 17: Grace Chapel, Brockton Anniversary Prayer Service, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Brockton, 7:00pm

Nov 18: Sustainable House of Worship Workshop, Edwards Church, Framingham, 8:30am

Nov 18: St. Mark's Harvest Fair, St. Mark's Church, Burlington, 10:00am

Nov 18: Metrowest Mission Hub "English Plus" Intro, St. Andrew's Church, Framingham, 12:00pm

Nov 18: Saturday Night in Marblehead Concert: 3 Ravens, St. Andrew's Church, Marblehead, 8:00pm

Nov 19: Bishop Gates visits St. Andrew's Church in Methuen, 9:00am

Nov 19: Bishop Cederholm visits Grace Church in Everett, 9:00am

Nov 19: Grace Chapel, Brockton Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Brockton, 10:00am

Nov 19: Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for Animal Companions, All Saints Church of the North Shore, Danvers, 5:00pm

Nov 24-Dec 6: Holy Land Mission Pilgrimage 

Nov 28: Webinar: You Don't Have to Do it Alone: Growing a Partnership by Building on Local Resources,  2:30pm

Dec 3: Bishop Gates visits Church of Our Saviour in Middleboro, 9:00am

Dec 3: Barbara C. Harris Center Sunday 

Dec 3: Metrowest Mission Hub "English Plus" Teacher Training, St. Andrew's Church, Framingham, 11:30am

Dec 3: Reception with Artist Janet McKenzie, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 2:30pm

 Dec 6: Noontime Organ Recital, Trinity Church, Melrose, 12:00pm 

Dec 7: Diocesan Council Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm

Dec 8: Labyrinth Walk, Church of the Holy Spirit, Orleans, 10:00am

Dec 8: Service of Lessons and Carols, Groton School, Groton, 7:00pm

Dec 9: SSJE Workshop: "Disordered Attachments and Inner Freedom," Society of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge, 9:00am

Dec 9: Priesthood Ordination: Emily Garcia, Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, 2:00pm

Dec 10: Bishop Harris visits Christ Church in Harwich Port, 9:00am 

Dec 13: Noontime Organ Recital, Trinity Church, Melrose, 12:00pm

Dec 14: Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence, First Church, Boston, 6:15pm

Dec 16: Las Posadas Advent Celebration, St. Luke's-San Lucas Church, Chelsea, 6:30pm

Dec 17: Bishop Gates visits Wyman Memorial Church of St. Andrew in Marblehead,  9:00am

Dec 17: Bishop Harris visits St. Michael's Church in Marblehead, 9:00am

Dec 20: Contemplative Eucharist, Bethany House of Prayer, Arlington, 7:00pm







December 15, 2017
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