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The B-PEACE for Jorge Campaign was among the youth, church and community leaders who braved the cold on March 14 to make a prayerful witness outside the Smith & Wesson factory in Springfield.  All three Massachusetts bishops also participated (pictured below, from left): Doug Fisher, Gayle Harris and Alan Gates. 
Photos: Vicki Ix.


Episcopal Church in Massachusetts organizes & shows up in support of youth-led activism to end gun violence


Following a March 1 call from Massachusetts bishops to "move from lamentation to action for the sake of our children, for the soul of our nation and for the love of Jesus Christ," many Episcopalians have been mobilizing statewide in various prayerful actions to end gun violence.

On March 14, the one-month anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., school shootings that have launched a national movement of student activism, some gathered for candle-lit vigils and prayer services, including in Salem and at Epiphany Parish in Walpole and St. Dunstan's Church in Dover. 

Others were on hand at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston to host several hundred students who walked out of school and then up to the Massachusetts State House to lobby legislators for additional gun safety measures. 

Still others braved cold, snow-banked conditions outside the Smith & Wesson factory in Springfield to participate in a youth-led action protesting the manufacture and sale of assault weapons.  View a photo gallery.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a coalition of about 70 Episcopal Church bishops, had called for a churchwide "Day of Lamentation" for those affected by gun violence, to coincide with student walkouts planned across the country on March 14. 

The Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Diocese of Massachusetts, along with the B-PEACE for Jorge Campaign and Episcopal City Mission, partnered in various ways as organizers and sponsors of the several local actions that day, building momentum toward Saturday, March 24, when many Massachusetts Episcopalians will gather in Washington, D.C., for the March For Our Lives, and at local marches in Boston, Northampton, Springfield and Worcester.  See "Ways to participate on March 24" below.

"It is our fervent prayer that these coordinated events will be effective in moving the leaders of our nation to enact common-sense gun safety measures to proactively address the security of our schools and public places, including reinstatement of an assault weapons ban," the Massachusetts bishops said in their March 1 statement.

Students filled the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston on March 14, to warm up, make signs and get some lobbying advice from advocacy group sponsors before heading up to the State House to talk with legislators about a pending bill to allow for weapons removal in extreme risk situations; keeping Massachusetts' assault weapons ban on the books; and robust education funding. Episcopal City Mission sponsored the gathering. Photos: Tracy J. Sukraw.

More coverage of March 14 actions:

WBUR's Radio Boston:
  "Mass. students walk out, rally for gun control and Parkland victims"

WBUR's "Edify":
  "'They're standing up and saying something': Students march to State House to call for stricter gun laws" 

Boston Globe:
  "Outside Smith & Wesson in Springfield, gun paradoxes are laid bare"

Springfield Republican/MassLive:
  "Teens for gun control protest Springfield's Smith & Wesson after National Student Walkout"  

Episcopal News Service:  "Episcopalians gather for Day of Lamentation amid calls for action against gun violence"  


Ways to participate on March 24



* Sign up for a seat, here, on the Episcopal City Mission bus to the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C.  The bus will depart Boston at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 23 and arrive in time for the evening vigil at Washington National Cathedral.  The group will spend Friday night at St. Alban's Church.  Following the march on Saturday, March 24, the bus will depart Washington, D.C., at 5 p.m. for the return trip to Boston.

Updated logistics for Boston participation to accommodate changed march route:
* The B-PEACE for Jorge Campaign and Episcopal City Mission will gather Boston marchers beginning at 10 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry building (10 Putnam Street/John Eliot Square) in Roxbury (parking available). This group will join the main march beginning at Madison Park High School at 11 a.m. For more information contact Sarah O'Connor at 508-463-7363. 

* The Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston and the diocesan Office of Youth Ministry will offer hospitality throughout the day in the cathedral church, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.--a place to rest, refresh, reflect and convene before the march reaches the Boston Common and during the rally scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. There will be a postcard-writing opportunity focused on those who have the power to affect legislation and gun sales. For more information contact Natalie Finstad at 832-454-6631 or the Rev. H. Mark Smith at 617-482-4826, ext. 215.

* Grace Church in Medford is hosting a community breakfast and sign-making gathering before the Boston march, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

* Emmanuel Church and Central Reform Temple in Boston will offer a prayer service at 10:30 a.m., with Bishop Gayle E. Harris and clergy from neighboring congregations participating.

Find links and more information here.  




"Evangelism Matters":  Diocese of Massachusetts Episcopalians were among the several hundred participants at the March 14-17 Episcopal Church "Evangelism Matters" conference, held this year at St. Paul's Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  The Ven. Pat Zifcak said conference highlights were Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's preaching at the conference worship service, as well as the broad range of workshops available to participants.  "It was a wonderful opportunity for us to be the church together," she said of the experience, "and we were able to take great advantage of the many workshop offerings.  There was a lot to bring back to our own settings and diocese."  An online archive of conference presentations and resources is to be posted at  Pictured at the conference, from left:  Billy Boyce, The Rev. Emily Garcia, The Rev. Dan Bell, The Ven. Pat Zifcak and The Rev. Patrick LaFortune.  Courtesy photo.

Hardy churchgoers weather March storms:  Few in eastern Massachusetts have been spared some combination of the heavy snow, strong winds, downed trees and wires, widespread power outages and flooding brought on by March's back-to-back-to-back storms.  While no serious damage to Episcopal churches has been reported, many in the southeastern part of the diocese were without electricity and heat for Sunday services following the March 2-3 storm.  In some places services had to be canceled--including at St. Luke's Church in Scituate, whose parking lot became a staging area for power company trucks and crews--but elsewhere, hardy churchgoers persisted as they were able. 

"We didn't get power until Monday, but this rockin' parish still had two services on Sunday. The church was 47 degrees. Folks even stayed for coffee and snacks after the service! Numbers were low but my faithful stalwarts were there," the Rev. Sarah Brockmann of Trinity Church in Rockland reported. 

There was no electricity or heat at St. John's Church in Holbrook, either, but 30 brave souls stayed bundled up for a service in the parish hall (pictured above) and put the coffee-hour cups to creative use as candleholders for what the Rev. Tim Rogers described as "a lovely intimate candle-lit Eucharist." Courtesy photo.


Get some disaster preparedness training:  March's extreme weather events bring to mind the need for preparedness planning.  On Saturday, April 14, an Episcopal Relief & Development disaster preparedness training will be offered, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.  The session will focus on the preparedness planning process and will facilitate the development of a ministry that helps congregations anticipate and prepare for local, unexpected natural disasters.  Clergy are welcome and lay participation encouraged.  RSVP by e-mail and direct questions to the Rev. Jay Jordan at

Global Mission Summit on Saturday, April 21, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston:  Whether new to mission engagement or experienced, participants will hear from thought-provoking speakers, take part in interactive workshops, have plenty of time for networking and participate in a joyous international celebration of the Eucharist.  Find more information and register online here.

It's not too early to get ready for camp:  Registration is now open for summer camp at the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center in Greenfield, N.H.  Five one-week camp sessions run from July 1-Aug. 3 for junior campers entering grades 4-9 and senior high campers in grades 10-12.  Find program, financial aid and registration information at  Clergy who are interested in volunteering as camp chaplains for a week are invited to contact camp registrar Abby Holmes ( for more information.




Massachusetts B-PEACE participants in a prayerful procession at last April's Unholy Trinity conference in Chicago, sponsored by Bishops United Against Gun Violence. Courtesy photo.

Following Way of the Cross out of churches and into communities:  Praying the Stations of the Cross during Lent is a centuries-old tradition that focuses Christians on the path of suffering that Jesus followed to his ultimate sacrifice on the cross, and for many Christians, that story is retold in solemn tones inside the walls of a church or chapel.  Some Episcopal congregations, however, follow the Way of the Cross out of cathedral and church doors and into the community for public liturgies that often connect the details of Jesus' Passion with contemporary examples of injustice and persecution.

"Good Friday is a day when grace meets the violence of the world," and, in addition to recounting Jesus' earthly suffering, "it connects to our ultimate questions of where is the divine in this struggle?" the Rev. Simon Mainwaring of All Saints' Church in Atlanta says in this Episcopal News Service feature that focuses on Way of the Cross liturgies held each year, from New Jersey to Louisiana, allowing worshipers to publicly witness to their Christian faith.

House of Bishops pledges advocacy to end gun violence, sexual violence:  The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops, meeting March 6-9 at Camp Allen in Navasota, Tex., issued two statements in support of major social movements, one to end gun violence and the other to end sexual harassment, violence and gender bias.  Read more and find links to both statements here.




Salem News: Son of iconic American artist displays woodcuts:  Woodcuts of the Stations of the Cross by sculptor, teacher and art historian Peter Rockwell are on display at St. Peter's Church in Beverly until Easter.  The pieces are on loan from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

"To have the work of a serious artist like Peter Rockwell is just an amazing gift," said the Rev. Manny Faria, the rector of St. Peter's Church.

Rockwell, the youngest of Norman Rockwell's three sons, grew up in Vermont. He and his brothers were often used as models for his father's work, including his famous cover illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post.  Rockwell moved to Beverly in October and regularly attends services at St. Peter's Church.  Read more.




Coming Up 


Mar 22: "From Fear to Hope" Lenten Preaching Series, The Rev. Jeffrey Mello, preacher, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 12:00pm

Mar 22: Diocesan Council Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm

Mar 24: Congregational Business Practices Workshop, St. Peter's Church, Weston, 9:00am

Mar 24: March For Our Lives Community Breakfast, Grace Church, Medford, 9:30am

Mar 24: March For Our Lives Boston, All-Day Hospitality at Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 10:00am

Mar 24: March For Our Lives Prayer Service with Bishop Gayle E. Harris, Emmanuel Church, Boston, 10:30am

Mar 25: Bishop Harris visits Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans, 9:00am

Mar 26: Interfaith Witness for Climate Action, Massachusetts State House, Boston, 12:00pm

Mar 26: Metrowest Mission Hub Immigration Legal Clinic, Bethel Presbyterian Church, Marlborough, 6:30pm

Mar 27: Holy Tuesday Eucharist with Renewal of Clergy Vows and Blessing of Holy Oils, followed by Lunch with the Bishops, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 11:00am

Mar 27: "The Women of the Passion, A Journey to the Cross," Trinity Church, Concord, 7:30pm

Mar 28: Wednesday in Holy Week: Holy Eucharist in Spanish and English, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 12:00pm

Mar 28: Sung Compline with Candlelight, St. John's Church, Sharon, 7:00pm

Mar 29: "From Fear to Hope" Cathedral Lenten Preaching Series, Bishop Barbara C. Harris, preacher, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 12:00pm  


Mar 29: Agape Meal with Foot Washing, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 6 p.m.

Mar 30: Good Friday Liturgy, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 12:00pm

Mar 30-31: Good Friday Youth Overnight, Trinity Church, Boston

Mar 30: Good Friday Cantata, Church of St. Andrew, Marblehead, 8:00pm

Mar 31: Easter Vigil, with Baptisms, Confirmations and Receptions, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 7:00pm

Apr 1: Easter Day Service, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 10:00am

Apr 2: Public Reading Celebrating Martin Luther King's Last Speech, Bishop Gayle E. Harris participating, Boston City Hall Plaza, 4:00pm

Apr 6: Dover Unplugged: Packaging Meals for Puerto Rico, St. Dunstan's Church, Dover, 6:00pm

Apr 6-7: Pre-Confirmation Retreat, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, N.H., 7:00pm

Apr 8: Bishop Gates visits St. Mary's Church in Newton Lower Falls, 9:00am

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

Apr 14: Episcopal Relief & Development Disaster Preparedness Training, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am

Apr 14: Merrimack Valley Deanery Confirmation, St. Paul's Church, North Andover, 10:30am

Apr 15: Evensong at Groton School, Groton, 7:00pm

Apr 15: 243rd Annual Lantern Ceremony, Old North Church, Boston, 8:00pm

Apr 17: Church of the Advent's Theology on Tap: "Transforming the Supernatural in the Reformation," Carrie Nation Cocktail Club, Boston, 7:00pm

Apr 19: Diocesan Council Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm

Apr 21: Global Mission Summit, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:30am

Apr 22: Bishop Gates visits St. John's Church in Holbrook, 9:00am

Apr 22: Bishop Harris visits St. Andrew's Church in Framingham, 9:00am

Apr 23-25: Diocesan Clergy Conference, Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club, Brewster

Apr 25: Washington National Cathedral "Ministry with Young Adults" Program, Christ Church, Cambridge, 5:30pm

Apr 25: Sung Compline with Candlelight, St. John's Church, Sharon, 7:00pm

Apr 28: Diocesan Altar Guild Annual Meeting, St. Peter's-on-the-Canal Church, Buzzards Bay, 10:30am

Apr 28: Boston Harbor Deanery Confirmation, (location to be announced), 10:30am

Apr 28: Cape and Islands Deanery Confirmation, Church of the Holy Spirit, Orleans, 10:30am

Apr 29: Bishop Harris visits St. Anne's Church and St. John's Church in Lowell, 9:00am

Apr 29: Bishop Gates visits Trinity Chapel in Shirley, 9:00am    







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