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The Episcopal Public Policy Network will host virtual and in-person vigils on June 21, "the longest day of the year, in recognition of the fact that any day children are separated from their parents is too long."


Church leaders call for U.S. government to end its immigration policy separating families

When bishops and deputies at next month's General Convention consider ways to reinforce the Episcopal Church's positions on refugees, immigration and migration, the heart-wrenching images of distraught children, taken away from parents detained at this country's southern border, will still be fresh in mind--separations resulting from the recent federal zero-tolerance policy that many religious leaders have decried as "unnecessarily cruel," "disgraceful," "immoral" and "of utmost concern."

The Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, Michael B. Curry, was among the leaders signing on to an interfaith statement affirming "the household as an estate blessed by God."

"Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children. As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the administration to stop their policy of separating families," the leaders say in the statement.  

"The [Episcopal Church] Office of Government Relations is urging Episcopalians to contact their members of Congress to ask the administration to end this harmful policy of separating families at the border. Our office is sharing the presiding bishop's statement with members of Congress and meeting with them to share the Episcopal Church's deep concern about this practice and advocating through the appropriations process to oppose additional funding to detention centers," Lacy Broemel, the Episcopal Church's immigration and refugee policy analyst, told Episcopal News Service last week.

"Further, we are continuing to focus on advocating for larger-scale changes to our immigration policies such as citizenship for Dreamers and other undocumented persons in the U.S., implementing humane and reasonable policies at our border, and addressing the violence and poverty these families are fleeing in their home countries," Broemel said. 


On June 21, the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) will offer an hour-long virtual vigil on Facebook Live, beginning at noon. This virtual vigil will happen while EPPN hosts an in-person vigil on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., on the longest day of the year, in recognition, EPPN said, "of the fact that any day children are separated from their parents is too long."

"The current reality facing immigrant families weighs heavily on many hearts right now, particularly as more stringent policy around federal immigration law enforcement results in the cruel separation of parents and children seeking safety in the U.S.," Bishop Alan M. Gates said in a June 14 message to the diocesan community.

"We in the church often talk about our stewardship of money and creation, but how is it that we also are called to be good stewards of power? Is the vulnerability of the immigrant families in our midst a call for such stewardship? It is for me. If it is for you, there are ways to partner with others and take action," Gates said, citing ways to join the local efforts of Episcopal City Mission and partners such as the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA).

"Let us pray that the Spirit never cease to move our hearts. Let us pray that, having moved our hearts, that same Spirit will move us to action" he said.

Episcopal City Mission welcomes inquiries about ways to join its immigration advocacy efforts. Contact Natalie Finstad, Director of Programs and Engagement, at 


Episcopal Church heads to Texas for General Convention


General Convention, the Episcopal Church's triennial, bicameral governing body, convenes July 5-13 in Austin, Tex., to set the direction of the church's mission and ministry, worship and liturgy, policies and budget.

High-profile issues at this year's General Convention are likely to include the how and when of prayer book revision and the revisiting of new marriage rites for use by both same-sex and opposite-sex couples--approved for trial use in 2015--as well as equal access to those rites in all jurisdictions of the church where civil law allows for marriage equality.

Also among the plethora of topics addressed in the 231 resolutions coming before the convention (to date--resolutions can be filed until July 6):  

* procedures and data gathering for episcopal elections, including diversity guidelines (90 percent of active diocesan bishops are white and only 6.5 percent are women, according to the Task Force on the Episcopacy's report);

* strategic development of new congregations, including budget requests of $6.8 million to fund a churchwide network for church planting over the next triennium and $725,000 for congregational redevelopment;

* a call for the design of a new parochial report;

* racial reconciliation, including strengthened antiracism training requirements  and a $1-million budget request for ongoing and additional efforts to respond to racial injustice;

* environmental stewardship, including proposals for "green" loans, a carbon tax and fossil fuel divestment; and 

* public policy advocacy to address environmental racism, human trafficking, immigration reform and transgender access, among other issues of national and international concern.


Learn and follow:

#GC79:  This is the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.  Use social media hashtag #GC79.

Multimedia and news:  The General Convention Media Hub will live-stream legislative sessions, daily worship and more at

Sign up for Episcopal News Service's daily e-mail here.

Resolutions:  Browse the topics coming before the convention, and track specific resolutions as they make their way through the legislative process here.  


Diocese of Massachusetts Deputation:   

Meet and hear more from Diocese of Massachusetts deputies here.


Eternal God, who by the Holy Spirit presided at the council of the apostles to guide them in all knowledge and truth: Be present with those soon to be assembled in General Convention.  In the passions of debate give them a quiet spirit, in the complexities of the issues give them clear minds, and in the moments of decision give them courageous hearts. Guide them in all things to seek only your glory and the good of your Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  (From The Book of Occasional Services, p. 179) 




Holy Land pilgrims reconnect: On June 16, a group of about 25 people who had been on diocesan pilgrimages to the Holy Land in 2015 and 2017--led by Bishop Gayle E. Harris, the Rev. Debbie Phillips of Grace Church in Salem and the Rev. Manny Faria of St. Peter's Church in Beverly--gathered at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston for a reunion.  


"While enjoying wonderful Middle Eastern food, we got a chance to reconnect with each other, share how the pilgrimage has changed us since we've been back and to hear about the Diocese of Massachusetts-Diocese of Jerusalem collaborative," Phillips said by e-mail. "Many at the reunion have committed to the work of this diocesan group to continue to recruit and support the annual pilgrimages sponsored by our diocese, to build relationships with parishes and health and educational institutions of the Diocese of Jerusalem, to learn from their successful ministries in these areas, and to advocate, financially support and pray for our fellow Episcopalians and their partners. We all had a wonderful time!" Courtesy photo.


Join this year's "Encounters in the Holy Land":  Registration closes soon for this year's mission pilgrimage in Israel and Palestine, Sept. 28-Oct. 10, led by Bishop Gayle E. Harris and the Rev. Manny Faria.  It combines visits to holy sites, in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Jordan Valley, Nazareth, Galilee, Nablus and Ramallah with opportunities to learn about active mission in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem through its school, health care and peacemaking ministries.

The group will meet three times before the trip for orientation and community building. Estimated cost is $4,100 per person (double occupancy), with all payments due by July 15.

Inquiries about joining the mission pilgrimage are welcome.  More information is available by contacting Harris's office at or 617-482-4826, ext. 445.



Looking for a summer weekend getaway?: During a weekend break in the July 1-Aug. 3 summer camp season soon to be underway, the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center in Greenfield, N.H., is offering a first-ever Open Guest Weekend, Friday-Sunday, July 27-29.  The all-inclusive two-night package is open to the public and designed for families, couples and individuals.  Optional group activities will be scheduled throughout the weekend; guests may spend their time however they choose. Find more information at



Traveling in Europe this summer?  The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe welcomes you:  "The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe welcomes all visitors, but we especially hope to see fellow Episcopalians," the Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, the bishop in charge of the convocation, said in a recent e-mail to his colleague bishops. "Unfortunately, many Episcopalians do not even know we are here. So this is a request to all of you to make sure your parishioners know that we are, and that we'd like to see them for Sunday worship in Paris, Clermont-Ferrand (France), Rome, Florence (Italy), Waterloo (Belgium), Geneva (Switzerland), Frankfurt, Munich or Wiesbaden (Germany). There are also several mission congregations that offer services."  For more information visit the convocation's Web site at




Get ready to shine a light on shared ministry: Save the date for this first-ever Ministry Network Showcase, which will bring the diocesan community together to learn about and be inspired by ministries that model ways for embracing brave change, through reimagining congregations, building relationships and engaging the world:  Saturday, Sept. 22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston. 


The Ministry Network Showcase aims to shine a light on the variety of service-oriented ministries offered by churches and networks in the diocese; spark connections and kindle activity to start and strengthen networks of collaboration; and share resources for meeting ministry needs and opportunities in congregations and communities.

Congregations are encouraged to gather a group and plan to come for an enlightening day of short talks with big messages and resource sharing.  Online registration will open soon.

Those who are interested in submitting a presentation proposal or who would like to have a resource table at the event are invited to contact Jennifer Garrett at or 617-482-4826, ext. 421.


Congratulations and best wishes to the newly ordained: Many in the diocesan community were present, in person and in prayer, to celebrate the ordinations of new deacons and transitional deacons on June 2 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, and those of the Rev. Amy Whitcomb Slemmer to the priesthood on May 19 at St. Stephen's Church in Cohasset (above left, pictured center back, with Bishop Gates, colleagues and friends), and the Rev. Patrick LaFortune, to the priesthood on May 23 at Church of the Good Shepherd in Reading (above right, pictured with his children, Bishop Gates, the Rev. Brian Raiche and the Rev. Peter Jeffrey). 

New deacons and transitional deacons pictured below, from left, are:   

The Rev. Ruthann Savage-King (deacon sponsored by Grace Church in Newton), The Rev. Gregory Johnston (transitional deacon sponsored by the Episcopal Chaplaincy at Harvard), The Rev. Jennifer Vath (transitional deacon sponsored by St. Paul's Church in Lynnfield), The Rev. Helen McKinney (deacon sponsored by Emmanuel Church in Boston), The Rev. Bernie Jones (deacon sponsored by Trinity Church in Newton Centre), Bishop Alan M. Gates, The Rev. Sonia Hodge (deacon sponsored by St. Thomas's Church in Taunton), The Rev. Marilyn McMillan (deacon sponsored by St. Barnabas's Church in Falmouth), The Rev. Tamra Tucker (transitional deacon sponsored by Emmanuel Church in Boston) and The Rev. Jennifer McCracken (transitional deacon sponsored by Christ Church in Needham). Courtesy photos.


And still more to celebrate:


Earth and all stars, and a solar array, too: On the Feast of Pentecost, May 20, the people of All Saints' Church in Belmont gathered outside to bless and dedicate their new 64-panel solar array.   The prayers and litany included a hymn that reflected the congregation's experience of the installation, set to the tune Earth and All Stars by David N. Johnson. Courtesy photo. 


Still on the move for justice:  The diocesan community and wider church joined in good wishes for Bishop Barbara C. Harris, retired bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts, as she celebrated her 88th birthday on June 12.  She is pictured here marching in the Boston Pride Parade on June 9, with the Rev. Jeffrey Mello of St. Paul's Church in Brookline.


More pride:  Pictured below, the Very Rev. Amy McCreath, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (lower right) and members of The Crossing who helped lead the Episcopal Church contingent at the parade.  Courtesy photos.  








MassLive/Springfield Republican: Episcopal bishops express support for Puerto Rico evacuees:  The commonwealth's Episcopal bishops issued on June 6 a statement of support for Puerto Rican Hurricane Maria evacuees scheduled to meet with Washington D.C. lawmakers over permanent housing.

"As citizens of the United States, those who have fled the island of Puerto Rico should have the same assistance as a citizen of the 50 states. Instead, these families are getting phone calls from FEMA encouraging them to return to Puerto Rico," reads the statement issued by Western Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Douglas J. Fisher, Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Alan M. Gates and Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Suffragan Gayle E. Harris.  Read more.


Episcopal News Service: In new coalition of religious leaders and scientists, Massachusetts bishops declare climate change an emergency: Bishop Alan Gates of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and Bishop Doug Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts joined Cardinal Seán O'Malley of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and other local faith leaders and scientists on May 23 for the release of a joint appeal for action on climate change.

More than 500 leaders from religious and scientific communities in Massachusetts have endorsed the Faith and Science Joint Appeal for Climate Action, which declares, "Climate change is an ecological and moral emergency that impacts all other aspects of our shared lives and requires us to work together to protect our common home."  Read more.


Vineyard Gazette: Grace Church honored as African American Heritage Trail site: A new plaque outside Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven includes a straightforward question from the baptismal covenant of The Book of Common Prayer: "Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?" The plaque was unveiled May 20 as Grace Church became the 28th site on the African American Heritage Trail of Martha's Vineyard.

The church was designated to honor the Rev. Absalom Jones, the first African-American Episcopal priest, the Rt. Rev. John Melville Burgess, the first African-American diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church and a Vineyard resident, and artist and muralist Allan Rohan Crite, whose mural adorns a wall in the church's youth room.  Read more.




Summer scheduling note:

E-news takes a summer break, returning in time for fall news. The deadline for the September E-news is Sept. 12. Questions? Please contact




Coming Up 


Jun 21: Diocesan Council Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm

Jun 22-24: Retreat: "Without Shame or Fear: From Adam to Christ," Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield

Jun 23: Mystic Valley Deanery Confirmation, Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester, 10:30am

Jun 24: Bishop Gates visits Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole, 9:00am

Jun 24: Bishop Harris visits Church of Our Saviour in Somerset, 9:00am

Jun 27: Presentation and Reception with Giovanni Anbar of Diocese of Jerusalem's Episcopal Technological and Vocational Training Center, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 6:00pm  

Jul 1-6: Summer Camp Session 1, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Jul 5-13: 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Austin, Tex.

Jul 8-13: Summer Camp Session 2, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Jul 12: Budget Committee Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:00am  


Jul 15-20: Summer Camp Session 3, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Jul 20-22: Retreat: "Understanding Your Dreams - A Different Spiritual Path," Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield

Jul 22-27: Youth Leadership Academy Camp Week, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Jul 22-27: Summer Camp Session 4, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Jul 27-29: Open Guest Weekend, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Jul 29-Aug 3: Summer Camp Session 5, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H.

Jul 29: Beer and Hymns Event sponsored by St. David's Church, at Sea Dog Brew Pub, South Yarmouth, 4:30pm

Aug 3-5: Retreat: "Love is the Most Powerful Force for Change," Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield

Aug 6-10: Adelynrood School for Spiritual Direction, Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield

Aug 8: Quiet Day: "Transforming Power of 12 Steps Recovery," Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield, 8:00am

Aug 9: Budget Committee Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:00am

Aug 12: Bishop Gates visits Christ Church in Harwich Port, 9:00am

Aug 17-19: Retreat: "The Art of Listening," Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield

Aug 19: Bishop Harris visits St. Christopher's Church in Chatham, 9:00am

Aug 19: Bishop Gates visits Trinity Church in Oak Bluffs, 9:00am

Aug 20-25: Creative Retreat, Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield

Aug 28-30: Silent Retreat, Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield 






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