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The Rev. Nancy Gossling leads prayer on the steps of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston at a Sunday evening vigil following the eruption of violence the previous day at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Photo:  The Rev. Canon Bill Parnell

"Pray for courage to maintain our Gospel ideals in the face of hate-mongering": Bishop Gates calls diocesan community to prayer following Charlottesville violence


Bishop Alan M. Gates issued the following statement and call to prayer on Aug. 12:

"We condemn the hatred behind Saturday's gathering in Charlottesville of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other purveyors of bigotry, which is equally un-American and un-Christian.

"We affirm, with the bishops of Virginia, that as followers of Christ 'we have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) ... [and] cannot remain silent in the face of those who seek to foment division.'

"We pray with and for those who have sought to maintain peaceful witness in Charlottesville.  In the face of continuing volatility there, all congregations are urged to pray on Sunday for peace, and for the courage to maintain our Gospel ideals in the face of racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of hate-mongering."

Boston Globe: "My city looked like a war zone"  The Rev. Rainey Dankel, an associate rector at Trinity Church in Boston, had traveled to Charlottesville on Friday in response to a national call for people--particularly clergy--to assist in peacefully protesting the white supremacists' rally. She shares her observations in this Aug. 12 Boston Globe article.

Ongoing response from community of faith
Friday, Aug. 18:  The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization will host an "Interfaith Gathering of Unity, Love and Strength" on Friday, Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. at Temple Israel of Boston.  All clergy will be invited to stand together, fully vested, on the bima (raised platform). At 6 p.m., Temple Israel invites the interfaith community to join for "A Sabbath of Love and Light," a Shabbat worship experience open to all, devoted to the values of justice and compassion. This is intended as a time to be together with all who wish to counter messages of hatred by kindling the light of compassion and human dignity for all.

Saturday, Aug. 19:  As news continues to develop about controversial plans for a rally on Boston Common this Saturday, with various groups planning counter-actions in response, the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for an ongoing vigil for peace, with a midday Eucharist at noon in the nave. Sproat Hall will also be open throughout this period for hospitality and peaceful conversations.  All are welcome.

Joint statement from Boston area religious leaders:  Boston-area religious leaders issued a joint statement on Aug. 16, coordinated by the Massachusetts Council of Churches and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.  Find the full statement here.



Paddling along the Connecticut River.

Photo:  Bishop Alan M. Gates  

Upstream, downstream: Bishop Gates's reflections from the "River of Life" pilgrimage


This summer, the seven Episcopal dioceses of New England and the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America sponsored a "River of Life" Connecticut River pilgrimage--a 40-day journey from the Canadian border to the Long Island Sound.  A small core of guides and pilgrims made the entire trip, with others joining for a segment of the journey, or for events at towns and parishes along the way.  In early July, Bishop Alan M. Gates joined the pilgrimage for two days of paddling from Springfield to Hartford. 

"The current was alarmingly swift. Though experienced since childhood at canoeing on lakes and streams, I had never paddled on such a large river, nor in such dramatically powerful current. This was to be a new experience," he wrote in a blog post on his experience.



Summer snapshots 


Walking the "Path to Peace":
  Twelve young people from the Diocese of Massachusetts, along with Bishop Gayle E. Harris and the Rev. Melanie McCarley and Hannah McCarley of St. Paul's Church in Dedham, traveled to Edmond, Okla., July 10-14 for the Episcopal Church's triennial Episcopal Youth Event, where highlights included inspirational preaching and time with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, workshops and field trips on the theme "Path to Peace," energetic worship and a chance to make friends with young Episcopalians from across the church.  Pictured are the delegations from the dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts, with Bishop Gayle Harris and Bishop Doug Fisher (back row left).

(Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts)




Cruzandos Fronteras:  Seven Youth Leadership Academy members and their adult companions traveled to Arizona and Mexico in August to meet ministers and migrants along the borderlands and learn more about what it means to meet Christ there. Find their daily blog and more photos at 


Know a young leader with skills to develop and share in their church and community?  High school students are invited to apply now for Diocesan Youth Council and the diocesan Youth Leadership Academy.  Find more information here. 




B-SAFE (Bishop's Summer Academic Fun & Enrichment Program) marked its 18th year of summer programming with a celebration on Carson Beach in South Boston on July 18 (pictured above).  With the help of more than 50 church partners whose volunteers prepare and serve meals, organize field trips and spend time reading with children, B-SAFE provides children with five weeks of safety and learning activities at six Episcopal church and school sites, and meaningful summer jobs for teens.  See more photos and read more, including the Rev. Timothy Crellin's reflection on 18 years of B-SAFE, on the B-SAFE blog here. 


A B-SAFE field trip to Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset, organized by the Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham:  "When I hug him it feels like heaven," one girl said of befriending  St. John's parishioner Leanne Jenkins's dog.




North Shore Episcopalians on mission:  In June pilgrims from North Shore congregations were on mission in Navajoland.  They helped build a labyrinth and a fence and did some painting.  St. John's Church in Gloucester, St. John's Church in Beverly Farms, the Church of the Ascension in Ipswich and All Saints' Church of the North Shore in Danvers were represented on the trip.



"Share the Joy":  Christ Church in Needham made a joyful witness at Needham's Fourth of July parade.  The church's roof-raising float--with parishioners inside--won the grand prize.



Getting to know you:  On two Sundays this summer, the clergy and congregations of St. Michael's Church in Milton and the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan hosted one another for worship and fellowship.  Pictured from left:  The Rev. Harry Jean-Jacques and the Rev. Zenetta Armstrong (Church of the Holy Spirit, Mattapan), whose church hosted St. Michael's on July 16, and Jennifer McCracken and the Rev. Hall Kirkham (St. Michael's Church, Milton), whose congregation hosted Holy Spirit on Aug. 6.




Diocesan Convention preparation is underway:  Submitting a resolution to Diocesan Convention or considering running for a diocesan office?  The deadline for all resolutions, nominations and other materials is Friday, Sept. 8.  Find position descriptions here and the nomination form here.


Are you a convention delegate or clergy member?  Plan to attend one of the pre-convention forums in October.  These are an important opportunity for learning and discussion about the issues and business to come before the convention, including resolutions and the proposed budget.  Find the schedule here. 


This year's Diocesan Convention is Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston. Diocesan Convention is the primary representative governing body of the diocese.  It convenes annually in November to conduct diocesan business, including election of officers and members of various leadership bodies; approval of a budget for the upcoming year; setting mission strategy; and establishing diocesan policy and procedure by considering and voting on resolutions and approving changes to the diocesan constitution and canons.  It is also an occasion for communication and teaching from the bishops; learning about and participating in shared mission and ministry; fellowship, community building and common prayer; and celebration of the Holy Eucharist together as a diocesan community.

Updates and all materials are posted here. 


Ministers involved in elder care gathered this summer.

Courtesy photo 

Elder care ministry: This summer, a group of lay and clergy members of the diocese met at Linden Ponds in Hingham to talk about the various ways they are engaged in caring for the aging population and what a wider diocesan elder care ministry might look like. Those gathered shared their gifts and talents, which included working in advocacy, housing, transitions, dementia care, pastoral care, pet therapy and others.


The group is planning a follow-up meeting and invites anyone else who is engaged in this work to be part of the conversation.  The meeting will be on Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Nativity in South Weymouth.  RSVP to the Rev. Colette Wood at 617-922-9664 or



Upcoming training and learning events:  The annual diocesan fall Resource Day is on hiatus this year, but a variety of other resources and training opportunities for congregational leaders will be available throughout the fall, including Stewardship Leaders Training on Sept. 9 and a short-day seminar on strategic planning, business practices and real estate planning on Sept. 30.


The Episcopal Church's Office of Social Justice, the Maine Episcopal Network for Justice and the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire are sponsoring an overnight workshop for New Englanders of faith interested in developing skills and practices in public advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable among us.  The Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, author of Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World and a professor at Auburn Seminary in New York City, will help lead the Sept. 15-16 workshop at the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center.  Find more information here. 


Additionally, the Church Pension Group will host "Planning for Wellness" conferences for lay church employees, on Oct. 3, and for active clergy, Oct. 4-5, at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield.  The conferences will focus on managing finances; improving well-being through exercise, nutrition and stress management; and maximizing Church Pension Group plan benefits. Spouses and partners are invited. 



Silvestre Romero 

Celebration and farewell:  St. Peter's Church-Iglesia San Pedro will host a celebration of ministry and farewell for its rector, the Rev. Silvestre Romero, as he departs as the new bishop-elect of the Diocese of Guatemala. 

The celebration will be held on Sunday, Oct. 1 at the 11 a.m. service, followed by a reception at 12:30 p.m. in the parish hall.  All are welcome.  


In the News  


News & Observer: Sam Rodman consecrated as bishop of central North Carolina Dressed in a simple white robe, Sam Rodman stood at the front of Duke Chapel 

Sam Rodman (left) with Bishop Alan Gates at Rodman's July 15 consecration. Photo: Bernard Thomas, The Herald-Sun

before the leader of the Episcopal Church, who asked the 1,000 congregants in attendance if Rodman should be ordained the bishop for the central North Carolina diocese.  "That is our will," they said in unison.

And shortly after, Rodman was consecrated as the 12th bishop for a diocese with 50,000 members spread across 111 congregations and 10 campus ministries in 38 counties. He was handed a series of attire reflecting his new role: stole, chasuble and mitre.

He told the congregants of a quip he made when asked whether the promotion would change him: "I said, 'No, I'll be the same person with a bigger hat.'"


Prior to his election, Rodman served as a parish priest and on the diocesan staff in the Diocese of Massachusetts.  Read more. 


South Coast Today: Dartmouth summer chapel turns 100  Ingrid Houghton lifted up her daughter Matilda to pull on a white rope to ring the bell as folks trickled out of St. Aidan's Chapel. Matilda is part of the fifth generation of the Houghton family who built the chapel in 1917 on Smith Neck Road.  On July 23, a service was held in celebration of the chapel turning 100 years old. The chapel with about 85 seats was overflowing.  The Rt. Rev. Alan Gates, Bishop of Massachusetts, said he hoped the tranquility that can be found at the chapel "enables you to cultivate patience and forbearance in less tranquil places."  Read more.




Coming Up 


Aug 21-26: A Week of Space to Create, Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield

Aug 24: Quiet Day: Walking in the Spirit Step by Step, Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield, 9:00am

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

Sep 9: Diocesan Council Meeting, Society of St. Margaret, Duxbury, 9:00am

Sep 9: Stewardship Leaders Training, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am

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

Sep 15-16: Faith-Rooted Organizing Workshop with Alexia Salvatierra, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, NH

Sep 16: Eucharistic Visitor Training, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:30am

Sep 16: North Shore Deanery Confirmation,  St. John's Church, Beverly Farms, 10:30am

Sep 16: Mystic Valley Deanery Confirmation, St. Paul's Church, Malden, 10:30am

Sep 17: LYRA Russian a capella Concert, Trinity Church, Stoughton, 4:30pm

Sep 19: Elder Care Ministry Gathering, Church of the Holy Nativity, South Weymouth, 1:00pm

Sep 22-23:  Antiracism Training, St. Paul's Church, Natick

Sep 23: Safe Church Training, Church of St. John the Evangelist, Duxbury, 8:30am

Sep 29-30: Antiracism Training, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston

Sep 30: Foundations of Brave Change Seminar: Strategic Planning, Business Practices, Real Estate Planning, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am







August 19, 2017
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