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Diocesan community responds to natural gas disaster


According to an update from Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, "Many of our families are uncertain when they will have gas back in their homes, and, as a result, food scarcity is a real concern. To meet this need, we will be opening our school for free dinners every day this week for our students and their immediate families."  Read more about Esperanza's efforts here.  Artwork courtesy of Esperanza Academy via Facebook.


In the aftermath of the natural gas disaster in the Merrimack Valley on Thursday, Sept. 13, all three Episcopal churches and one Episcopal school in the affected communities--Christ Church in Andover, St. Paul's Church in North Andover and Grace Church and Esperanza Academy in Lawrence--reported no property damage and no known personal injuries but at least two church families in Lawrence and one in Andover with homes damaged by fires.  Many in all three communities continue to deal with the effects of the emergency evacuations and power outages that followed Thursday's explosions and fires. 

"The prayers and concern of our entire diocesan family are with those in the Merrimack Valley communities affected by this disaster," Bishop Alan M. Gates said in a message to diocesan and parish leadership on Friday, Sept. 14.  "Bishop Gayle and I, together with regional canon Martha Hubbard, have been directly in contact with the clergy of our parishes in those communities and our colleagues at Esperanza Academy.  A number of their families have been directly affected, together with countless others who will need our support in the weeks ahead.  I invite from all corners of the diocese your continuing prayers and contributions toward relief efforts."

How to help
To that end, the bishops have urged all congregations in the diocese to consider collecting or designating an offering for a diocesan relief response.  Contributions, made payable to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and marked "Merrimack Valley Disaster Relief," may be sent to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Attn: Lauren Zook, 138 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02111.

As recovery gets underway, the bishops, together with local clergy, disaster response contacts and diocesan personnel, will continue to be in conversation about ongoing response. 


In a conference call on Sept. 14, Episcopal clergy in the affected communities expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they've already received.  One of the ways people can be of help to them, they said, is to be patient as they prioritize the immediate care of their communities and families and take time to determine what will be needed in the days ahead. 


Diocese to celebrate new ministry with new dean


On Saturday, Sept. 29, the diocesan community will celebrate the new ministry and installation of the Very Rev. Amy E. McCreath as the ninth dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.   


Bishop Alan M. Gates will preach at the special 10:30 a.m. service and co-preside with Bishop Barbara C. Harris.  All are invited, in person and in prayer.


McCreath was appointed in February and began her new ministry as cathedral dean in April.  She is the first woman to serve as cathedral dean in the Diocese of Massachusetts. 


She served for eight years as the rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Watertown and, for nine years prior to that, was co-chaplain of the Lutheran Episcopal Ministry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.


In a recent interview, McCreath shared her thoughts on the ministry of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul and its potential to be the "spiritual, social and theological 'downtown'" of the diocese.  


"I've been in this diocese for 17 years, and have been to the cathedral countless times, but I never really understood how deeply faithful and life-giving the ministries offered here are.  It has been a great gift to participate in them and hear the stories of those whose lives have been affected--not infrequently, saved--by them," McCreath said. 



UTO grant furthers ministry partnerships in Tanga


Smoky working conditions caused by the wood-fired stove at the Hegongo Holy Cross Secondary school will be remedied by the 2018 UTO grant awarded to the Massachusetts-Tanga partnership. Courtesy photo. 

Imagine having to walk nine hours to the doctor's office while sick, or bringing your toddler to work where they have to sit in a smoke-filled kitchen for eight to 10 hours a day. Imagine being a young student living at a boarding school where the bathing facilities are a bucket of cold water and a cup. This was a reality that is no longer the case for many people in the Anglican Diocese of Tanga in Tanzania--thanks to a partnership with several congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

This partnership began in 2006, and the Diocese of Massachusetts first raised funds to build a health center, a new parish church and rectory, solar power installations and water conservation projects, as well as the Bishop Tom Shaw Early Education Center.

In addition to these projects, a main focus of the current relationship is the Hegongo Holy Cross Secondary School (HHCSS)--an Anglican mission school in the small village of Magila. Thanks to an Episcopal Church United Thank Offering (UTO) grant in 2016 and another awarded in August 2018, for almost $67,000, this school has been able to grow and give the students there a better quality of life and learning.  Read more here


Hymn sing to launch Bishop Barbara Harris's memoir


"Why the title?  The hymn 'Hallelujah Anyhow' is reflective of the attitude I have attempted to carry through life, or at least my adult life.  It speaks in a real way to the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys, and the sure knowledge that whatever happens along life's rugged pathway, 'it is well with my soul.'"   


So begins Hallelujah, Anyhow!, Bishop Barbara C. Harris's new memoir, out this month from Church Publishing Inc.


The new book arrives just in time to mark the 30th anniversary of Harris's historic Sept. 24, 1988, election as the first female bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion. 


The Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston will host a Book Launch and Hymn Sing with Harris on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 4:30 p.m.  Everyone is invited to come celebrate with singing and fellowship.  Pre-signed copies of Hallelujah, Anyhow! will be available for sale at the event. 


New regional canons named over the summer

From left:  The Rev. Martha L. Hubbard, The Rev. Kelly A. O'Connell, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Carol J. Gallagher.  Courtesy photos.


Bishop Alan M. Gates announced three appointments over the course of the summer to  complete the chapter of new regional canons for the Diocese of Massachusetts.


The Rev. Martha L. Hubbard, formerly the rector of St. Paul's Church in Newburyport, will serve as canon for the Northern and Western Region, comprising the Merrimack Valley, North Shore, Mystic Valley and Concord River deaneries.  She began on Sept. 10.


The Rev. Kelly A. O'Connell will serve as canon for the Southern Region, comprising the South Shore, Taunton River, Mt. Hope-Buzzards Bay, and Cape and Island deaneries, starting Oct. 1.  She is relocating from the Diocese of Los Angeles where she was the rector of St. Stephen's Church in Santa Clarita, and anticipates an Oct. 1 start date.


Bishop Carol J. Gallagher, who has been the assistant bishop in the Diocese of Montana and bishop missioner to the Bishops' Native Collaborative, will serve as canon for the Central Region, comprising the Boston Harbor, Alewife, Charles River and Neponset River deaneries, starting Nov. 1. 

Each of the regional canons have three primary responsibilities:  lay leadership support and development; transition ministry with congregations and clergy involved in search processes for new ordained leadership; and clergy wellness and family support.  The regional canons will serve on the bishop's senior leadership team and report to the canon to the ordinary.

This new regional canon staffing structure is a result of the diocesan mission strategy development process begun in 2015, which surfaced a desire in congregations for closer connections with one another and with diocesan staff.   (Find the mission strategy adopted by the Diocesan Convention in 2016 here.)      


New diocesan staff members welcomed

From left:  Martha Shaughnessey Gardner, Missioner for Networking and Formation; Tom Hamel, Controller; David R. Ames, Executive Assistant to Bishop Gayle E. Harris; and Bridget K. Wood, Communications Assistant.  Courtesy photos.

The fall program year begins with four new diocesan staff members in place.

Martha Shaughnessey Gardner started on Aug. 6 as missioner for networking and formation, a new position on the diocesan staff.  She was formerly the coordinator for program support and training in the education and wellness department at the Church Pension Group in New York.  She can be reached at or 617-482-4826, ext. 403.

Tom Hamel joined the diocesan Treasurer's Office on July 31 as controller.  He was formerly the director of business and finance for the Federation for Children with Special Needs in Boston.  He can be reached at or 617-482-4826, ext. 307.

David R. Ames started on July 16 as the new executive assistant to Bishop Gayle E. Harris.  He was formerly the assistant to the president of Andover Newton Theological School.  He can be reached at or 617-482-4826, ext. 445.

Bridget K. Wood has been hired as communications assistant and started on Sept. 5.  She is a recent Emerson College communication studies graduate and former marketing and human resources assistant at Boston Duck Tours.  She can be reached at or 617-482-4826, ext. 558. 



News Notes


Registration is open through Sept. 19 for Ministry Network Showcase: The Ministry Network Showcase on Saturday, Sept. 22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston aims to shine a light on the variety of service-oriented ministries offered by churches and networks in the diocese, as well as 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.  Come for an enlightening day of short talks with big messages and lots of resource sharing.  Find program information and register online here.


Get ready for Diocesan Convention at October forums:  Pre-Diocesan Convention forums in October will offer an important opportunity for learning and discussion about the issues and business to come before the convention, including resolutions and the proposed budget.  All are welcome; clergy and convention delegates are especially encouraged to participate.  Forums are scheduled to take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on:

* Wednesday, Oct. 17 at St. Andrew's Church (3 Maple Street) in Framingham;

* Thursday, Oct. 18 at Trinity Church (124 River Road) in Topsfield;

* Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the Church of Our Saviour (120 Center Street) in Middleborough; and

* Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston.

This year's Diocesan Convention takes place on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Cape Cod Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis, with an optional dinner on Friday evening, Nov. 2 celebrating the 30th anniversary of Bishop Barbara C. Harris's historic election.  For more information visit


After 40 years of service to the diocese and cathedral church, Ethel Crawford prepares for retirement by passing the baton to newly hired cathedral administrator Kevin Vetiac.  Courtesy photo.

Evensong to celebrate Ethel Crawford and 40-year career

A special service of Evensong, with reception following, will be offered on Friday, Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in honor of cathedral administrator Ethel Crawford.  All are invited to gather at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston for this celebration. 


Crawford is retiring after 40 years of service to the Diocese of Massachusetts and the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.    


"After 40 years of amazingly good work for the diocese, 19 of them as cathedral administrator, Ethel Crawford deserves a wonderful new season of rest and refreshment.  But it's hard to say goodbye to her for those of us who have had the great blessing of working with her here," cathedral dean Amy McCreath said.  "Ethel's organization, deep knowledge of 'how we do things around here' and great sense of humor were invaluable to me as I eased into my work here this spring.  This came after she 'held down the fort' through several years of various kinds of transition at the cathedral.  Amazing." 


Resource Day on strategic planning coming up at Trinity Church, Boston:  The Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes is offering a free Resource Day on Saturday, Oct. 6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at Trinity Church in Boston.  The program will focus on strategic planning, offering practical guidance for implementing an integrated planning process that considers mission, liturgy, program, finances and facilities.  Discussion will also include ways that such planning processes can be used to coordinate and leverage the parish's communications, finance and fundraising efforts.  Find more information and online registration here.





Episcopal churches in the Carolinas assess damage, offer help after Hurricane Florence [Episcopal News Service]: The storm has moved on, but the impact from Hurricane Florence still is being felt by the dioceses, congregations and Episcopalians in the Carolinas as they deal with power outages, downed trees, flooded neighborhoods and impassable roads.

The bishops of the five Episcopal dioceses in North and South Carolina issued a joint statement Sept. 15 pledging their support for those affected by the storm and asking for Episcopalians everywhere to help by giving to Episcopal Relief & Development.


"We are assessing the damage to our communities, which as you will know from news reports, varies widely. Conditions will continue to change for days due to rising rivers," the bishops said. "We are blessed by your prayers and assurances of support and give thanks to God for you. As the body of Christ, you give us tremendous strength and encouragement."  


Read the full Episcopal News Service story here.


Presiding  bishop back to work after surgery:  "I want to thank you for all of the cards, and the well-wishes and, above all, for all of the prayers," Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry said in a video message posted on Facebook as he returns to work following prostate surgery in late July.

"I came through the surgery very well. Everything is good," Curry said in the video.

"The pathology report was just fine, and I'm slowly but surely working my way back into the work I love to do." He describes reading through the hundreds of cards and letters sent to him at the Episcopal Church Center. "They are a blessing," he declared.  Find the video message here.


Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest:  At this summer's General Convention, Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry invited the whole Episcopal Church to take up "The Way of Love"--a "rule of life" focused on seven spiritual practices for a Jesus-centered life.  Find more information and supporting materials here.


Episcopal Church seeks delegates to UN Commission on the Status of Women:  The Episcopal Church is forming its delegation to the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which convenes March 11-22, 2019, in New York City.  Priority topics this year are social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.


The Episcopal delegation will comprise one delegate from each province of the church as well as a delegate from the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.  The intent, according to a Sept. 18 release from the church's Office of Public Affairs, is to have the delegation represent the diversity of the Episcopal Church, with priority given to those whose life experience and advocacy speak most directly to the session's themes.


Find more information and the application, due by Oct. 26, here.




St. Bartholomew's proclaims "Our Time is Now!" as it celebrates 110th anniversary:  During its Oct. 13-14 Homecoming Weekend, St. Bartholomew's Church in Cambridge will commemorate 110 years of faithful ministry since its founding in 1908, and 75 years in the 239 Harvard Street location where its people have prayed and praised God since 1943.

All are invited to attend a festive "Our Time is Now!" celebration on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2-5 p.m.  The Rev. Liz Walker--a spirit-filled preacher, pioneering journalist and social justice activist--will be the featured speaker at the Saturday event.  Anniversary testimonials, gospel choir selections, Walker's speech and an award presentation will be followed by a reception promising delicious refreshments.

Proceeds from event ticket donations ($55 for anniversary sponsors; $30 for adults; $20 for elders; $10 for children 17 and younger) and raffle tickets (with a first prize of two tickets to the Boston Opera House production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Hamilton") will support St. Bartholomew's Wednesday Evening Community Meal for the homeless, hungry and lonely.  This ministry is celebrating its seventh anniversary in October.

"We give thanks to God for 110 years of loving and serving Jesus in Central Square, Cambridge, 75 years of worship in the building at 239 Harvard Street and seven years of obeying the Gospel imperative to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and welcome the stranger at our Wednesday Meal," the Rev. Leslie Sterling, Rector, said.  "All are enthusiastically invited to join us for this special day!" 


Stoughton leads collaborative back-to-school project:  The people of Trinity Church in Stoughton donated about 80 much-needed backpacks filled with back-to-school supplies for the Stoughton Food Pantry. The supply-filled packs will help families in need start the new school year off right, and additional supplies will be kept on hand at the food pantry for needs during the year.

This year Trinity Church led a collaborative effort inviting participation from Trinity Church in Canton and St. John's Church in Sharon, in addition to Zion Baptist Church of Stoughton.


Amazing Grace gets amazing boost:  Amazing Grace of Cape Cod was the recipient of this year's William V. Tripp III Memorial Award from the Church Home Society.  The $10,000 award will help Amazing Grace continue to offer a summer camp program for children of families affected by incarceration. Amazing Grace got its start through Cape Cod Episcopal churches. Pictured below are Church Home Society president the Rev. Laurel Deery presenting the award to Julie Lytle, Program Coordinator and Camp Director of Amazing Grace (at left), and Lisa Barr, an Amazing Grace board member. The Church Home Society is a charitable, not-for-profit Episcopal Church-related foundation which has been granting money to help youth since 1858.  Courtesy photos.




South Coast Today:  St. Peter's welcomes all:  At a time when most church memberships are shrinking, that of St. Peter's Church in Dartmouth is exploding, according to the Rev. Scott Ciosek and co-warden Carol Xavier.  "We have gone to six times the membership we had five years ago," Ciosek said. He credited the expansion to the church's open-door welcome policy.  "It is our view that everyone is loved by God," he said.  Read more.

Episcopal News Service:  Therapy dogs are soothing ambassadors for church's pet ministry:  Paxton may not understand the full significance of his calling, but the 10-year-old Westie is one of All Saints Church's most dedicated ministers serving as Jesus' paws in the world.  As a therapy dog dispatched by Perfect Paws Pet Ministry at All Saints in Danvers, Paxton and his human, Fran Weil, have brought the soothing presence of a canine companion to students of all ages, nursing home residents, hospital patients and recovering addicts in drug rehabilitation centers. Weil is always amazed by the sense of calm that can be conveyed from simply patting her dog's head. 


"As terrific as the response is to our dogs wherever we go, it's so rewarding for us," Weil said. "It is really God's work, and we are so blessed to use one of God's creatures to do this amazing outreach."  Read more.

Newton Tab: Newton's faith community takes action, helps undocumented immigrants:  During a recent prayer vigil outside Newton City Hall on the plight of separated immigrant families, area religious leaders reminded attendees that caring for "the stranger" is an important tenet in the Old and New Testaments and the Quran.

In her prayer at a prayer vigil, the Rev. Gretchen Grimshaw of the Parish of St. Paul on Walnut Street, said, "Let us end the reign of denigration that separates families and destroys lives in the name of our one nation under God, which we hold to be indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The Parish of St. Paul has taken real action on this message by continuing to offer a safe, temporary home to an undocumented family.  "As a church we are nothing if we are not a sanctuary," said Grimshaw.  Read more.

Salem News: Sending caring messages to detained children:  As summer began, the seventh grade scholars from the Nathaniel Bowditch School in Salem joined with their partners from Grace Church in Salem for their annual end-of-the-year lunch at the church. In response to Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll's call for notes for the children in custody on the border in Texas, the entire class from the Bowditch School wrote words of encouragement on cards prepared by the rector, the Rev. Debbie Phillips, which were then gratefully received by Driscoll.  Read more.




Coming Up 



Sep 19: Evening Contemplative Eucharist, Bethany House of Prayer, Arlington, 7:00pm

Sep 22: Godly Play Core Training: Parables, All Saints' Church, Belmont, 8:30am

Sep 22: Ministry Network Showcase, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am

Sep 22: Alewife Deanery Confirmation, St. John's Church, Arlington, 10:30am

Sep 22: Festival Evensong, Trinity Church, Stoughton, 4:00pm

Sep 23: Bishop Gates visits St. John's Church in Westwood, 9:00am

Sep 29: Sustainable House of Worship Workshop, Christ Congregational Church, Brockton, 8:30am

Sep 29: New Ministry Celebration and Installation of Dean Amy McCreath, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 10:30am

Sep 29: Progente Connections/Metrowest Mission Hub Fall Gala, St. Andrew's Church, Framingham, 6:00pm

Sep 30: Bishop Gates visits Church of the Holy Name in Swampscott, 9:00am

Oct 2: Clergy Day, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am

Oct 4: Youth Worker Gathering, Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, 12:00pm

Oct 6: Godly Play Core Training: Liturgical Action, All Saints' Church, Belmont, 8:30am

Oct 6: Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes Resource Day, Trinity Church, Boston, 9:00am

Oct 6: Eucharistic Visitor Training, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am

Oct 7: Bishop Gates visits St. Andrew's Church in Wellesley, 9:00am

Oct 11: Budget Committee Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:00am

Oct 13: Fall Clergy Safe Church Refresher, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:30am

Oct 13: Poetry Workshop, Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield, 9:00am

Oct 13: Creation Care Day of Service for Youth, Location to be announced, 9:00am

Oct 13: Mt. Hope-Buzzards Bay Deanery Confirmation, Church of the Holy Spirit, Fall River, 10:30am

Oct 13: "Our Time is Now!" 110th Anniversary Celebration, St. Bartholomew's Church, Cambridge, 2:00pm

Oct 13: South Shore Deanery Confirmation, St. Stephen's Church, Cohasset, 4:00pm

Oct 14: Bishop Gates visits Christ Church in Medway, 9:00am

Oct 14: Bishop Harris visits Christ Church (Old North) in Boston, 9:00am

Oct 14: Sustainable House of Worship Workshop, St. Matthew's United Methodist Church, Acton, 1:30pm

Oct 14: Book Launch and Hymn Sing with Bishop Barbara C. Harris, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 4:30pm

Oct 16: Youth Worker Gathering, Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester, 6:30pm

Oct 17: Youth Worker Gathering, St. John's Church, Beverly Farms, 6:30pm

Oct 17: Evening Contemplative Eucharist, Bethany House of Prayer, Arlington, 7:00pm

Oct 17: Pre-Diocesan Convention Forum, St. Andrew's Church, Framingham, 7:00pm

Oct 18: Youth Worker Gathering, Church of Our Saviour, Somerset, 6:30pm

Oct 18: Pre-Diocesan Convention Forum, Trinity Church, Topsfield, 7:00pm

Oct 19: Evensong Honoring Ethel Crawford, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 6:30pm

Oct 20: Safe Church Training, St. Mary's Church, Barnstable, 8:30am

Oct 20: Retreat Day, Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield, 9:00am

Oct 20: Boston Harbor Deanery Confirmation, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 10:30am

Oct 21: Bishop Gates visits Church of the Good Shepherd in Dedham, 9:00am

Oct 23: Pre-Diocesan Convention Forum, Church of Our Saviour, Middleborough, 7:00pm

Oct 24: Pre-Diocesan Convention Forum, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 7:00pm

Oct 25: Diocesan Council Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm

Oct 27: Safe Church Training, Church of St. John the Evangelist, Duxbury, 8:30am

Oct 27: Episcopal City Mission Annual Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am

Oct 27: Episcopal Relief & Development Disaster Preparedness Training, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am

Oct 27: Charles River Deanery Confirmation, Grace Church, Newton, 10:30am

Oct 28: Bishop Harris visits Christ Church in South Hamilton, 9:00am     






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