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For sixth year, Episcopal Church makes witness against gun violence at Mother's Day Walk for Peace

Diocese of Massachusetts Episcopalians were a strong presence again this year at the annual Mother's Day Walk for Peace in Boston, with at least 200 people walking with Bishop Alan M. Gates and members of the B-PEACE for Jorge Campaign--including large contingents from Trinity Church in Boston, St. Paul's Church in Brookline, St. Paul's Church in Natick and St. Stephen's Church in Boston.  This is the sixth year of diocesan participation in the walk as a witness against gun violence.  The annual event is a fundraiser for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. 

Read Boston Globe coverage of the walk here

Above, Mirna Ramos helps carry the B-PEACE banner in memory of her son, Jorge Fuentes, who was murdered in 2012 and for whom the diocesan antiviolence campaign is named.  Below, walkers from Trinity Church, Boston and St. Paul's Church in Brookline gather with Bishop Gates, and B-PEACE volunteers with State Representative Byron Rushing (center).  (Courtesy photos.)



Engaging our world: 
Upcoming adventures for spiritual traveling & learning

"Encounters in the Holy Land":
  Join Bishop Gayle E. Harris and the Rev. Manny Faria of St. Peter's Church in Beverly for"Encounters in the Holy Land," a mission pilgrimage in Israel and Palestine, Sept. 28-Oct. 10.

The mission pilgrimage will combine 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 deadline for registering is June 20.

The pilgrimage, which Harris leads annually, is an opportunity for anyone who is interested in experiencing the land of the birth of the Christian faith; who is willing to listen and learn from sisters and brothers in God who live their faith in a different culture and context; and who want to engage in the mission of God beyond their doorstep.

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 617-482-4826, ext. 445 or
(Pictured above:  Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.  Courtesy photo.)

"River of Life" paddling pilgrimages back by popular demand:  Inspired by last summer's 40-day "River of Life" paddling pilgrimage on the Connecticut River, sponsored by the New England Episcopal dioceses, Kairos Earth is partnering with the Diocese of Rhode Island to offer two three-day pilgrimages on Rhode Island rivers in May and September, and a third longer pilgrimage in July along the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont, and possibly into Massachusetts.  All are welcome.  Find more information here.

New Hampshire Public Television's "Windows on the Wild" program featured last year's "River of Life" pilgrimage in an episode titled "Holy Flotilla."  Watch it here, and keep an eye out for familiar faces.  Additionally, read "Upstream, downstream"--a reflection by Bishop Alan M. Gates, here, on his experience of the 2017 pilgrimage.  (Photo: Alan M. Gates)

Summer camp sign-up closes June 1: Registration is open a little while longer 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.  Financial aid is still available.  Find information at and direct any questions to


Open Guest Weekend:  For the first time since opening in 2003, the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center is offering an 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

Youth Leadership Academy Camp Week:  Rising 9th and 10th graders are invited to join this Sunday-Friday, July 22-27 opportunity to discover leadership skills and explore with peers what faith in action in the world means in their lives.  Find registration online here

Note to youth ministry leaders:  The yearlong diocesan Youth Leadership Academy will be replaced in 2018-19 with a new program currently being developed in partnership with Episcopal City Mission.  Details will be forthcoming, but don't wait to sign up for the July camp week; enrolling in the week at camp does not presume a commitment to the yearlong program. 



News Notes

Northeastern campus ministry gets grant for Path of Life prayer program: The Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry at Northeastern University in Boston has been awarded a $5,000 Episcopal Church Young Adult and Campus Ministry Grant, to further its Path of Life program.

Path of Life is a yearlong spiritual practices program for the Episcopal campus ministries at Northeastern, MIT and Boston College.

Path of Life was shaped by a mutual interest of the three to unite the chaplaincies and create community. "We wanted [to create] something where we could bring students together and also introduce them to different forms of prayer," said the Rev. Megan Holding, Acting Episcopal Chaplain at Northeastern.

"Through our program, we hope to introduce students to the breadth of practices through which they can reground themselves, connect more deeply and deepen their relationship with God over the course of their lives," Holding said.

A major goal of the joint program is to introduce students to a variety of spiritual practices, including activities they might not necessarily view as prayer.  Read more here.
(Photo: iStock)  


Input invited at upcoming diocesan budget hearing: As part of the diocesan budgeting process, the Budget Committee will host an open hearing on the 2019 diocesan budget on Tuesday, June 5, 7-9 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston.  All are welcome to attend.  This is an opportunity for all members of the diocese, particularly Diocesan Convention delegates, to provide input during the early stages of the budget process.  The completed proposed budget will be presented to Diocesan Council in September for its recommendation, and then to Diocesan Convention in November for final approval. Questions may be directed to Laura Simons in the Office of Convention and Council at


Retired clergy, spouses and surviving spouses:  The diocese's chaplains to this group are planning two spring luncheons with an uplifting hymn-singing program, featuring hymnwriter Carl P. Daw Jr., and they invite all retired clergy, spouses and surviving spouses to come and to bring their imaginations and voices.  The luncheons take place from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5 at St. Peter's Church in Weston and Thursday, June 7 at St. David's Church in South Yarmouth.  Reservations are needed by Tuesday, May 20 to the Rev. Mike Shirley at 857-272-5496 (voicemail or text) or by e-mail to
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons.)


Celebrate with "prophetic hope" at ECM annual event

Join Episcopal City Mission on Tuesday, June 12, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston for its annual celebration:  an evening focused on social action, fellowship and, this year's theme, prophetic hope: the capacity to fully see the world's brokenness alongside the hope of what God might create through us.

Keynote speaker will be Christena Cleveland (pictured above), a public theologian, social psychologist and professor at Duke Divinity School. She is also the author of Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart.

The event is free to all.  As this is Episcopal City Mission's annual fundraiser, contributions and sponsorships are welcome.  RSVP and find more information here.
(Courtesy photo.) 



Bliss Austin Spooner (Courtesy photo.)

New development director named: Bliss Austin Spooner has been hired to serve as the new director of development for the Diocese of Massachusetts, beginning June 5.

Austin Spooner is an experienced fundraising professional who comes to her new position on the diocesan staff from the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Massachusetts, where she has worked since 2004, first as director of development and then, for the past 11 years, as senior leadership and planned giving officer.  She is a member of Christ Church in Cambridge, where she has served on the vestry and as stewardship co-chair.

"In supporting our financial health and resources, the director of development serves our entire diocesan community.  Bliss Austin Spooner brings long experience and a creative energy to her work that will be a blessing to us," Bishop Alan M. Gates said in the May 2 announcement of the new hire.  Read more here.




Ahli Arab Hospital "stretched to the limit" by emergency response in Gaza: The American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) this week made an appeal for support for the Diocese of Jerusalem's Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza and its emergency response to people wounded during Monday's violence at the barrier wall.

"Suhaila Tarazi, the director of Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, reports that Ahli is implementing an emergency response to receive trauma cases and has configured an emergency wing with 24 additional beds," the AFEDJ says in its appeal.

"Ahli Hospital needs immediate and substantial financial support to respond to the catastrophe in Gaza. They need to obtain emergency medicine and medical supplies and fuel for generators. They need to support doctors and nurses who are working nonstop to meet the crushing flow of the injured and traumatized.

"Suhaila wants you to know that while the resources of Ahli Hospital are stretched to the limit, the hospital staff is working around the clock, treating and healing victims of the violence. This includes many children who have family members, friends and neighbors who are dead or injured. These children are suffering, and Ahli Hospital is providing them compassionate counseling and psychosocial therapy. During these days of violence in Gaza, the deadliest since the 2014 war, we ask your prayers for Ahli Hospital." 

Online giving information is available at



Presiding Bishop Curry to preach at royal wedding: The Episcopal Church's royal wedding watchers got an extra dose of pre-service excitement this week when Kensington Palace announced on May 12 that Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry will be the preacher at the wedding of Prince Henry of Wales--informally known as Prince Harry--and the U.S. actress Meghan Markle. Prince Harry, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and sixth in line to the throne, will marry Markle at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday, May 19 in a service conducted by the dean of Windsor, David Conner. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will officiate.


The invitation from the couple to Curry to preach at the service is a departure from tradition for British royal weddings, according to the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS). While previous royal weddings have involved clergy from other Christian churches saying prayers for the couple, sermons are usually given by senior Church of England clergy.

The wedding will be televised around the world. (Service time is 7 a.m. Eastern, with broadcast coverage beginning as early as 4 a.m.  Check local listings.)  ACNS predicts that Curry, who has been known to refer to himself as the chief evangelism officer of the Episcopal Church, won't resist the opportunity to talk about his favorite topic: The Jesus Movement.  Read more

(Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville.)

Didn't get your invitation to the royal wedding? St. Paul's Church in Dedham is hosting the community for a big-screen rebroadcast of the service on May 19 at 11 a.m.  Guests are invited to wear festive attire, or to just come as they are.  All are welcome. "This is a nice opportunity for the community to come and see beautiful Anglican liturgy in our lovely Episcopal church, with no added agenda," the Rev. Melanie McCarley. Rector, said by phone.  "When there are so many serious things happening in the world that we are praying for, it's good to have an occasion to celebrate and just have some fun."  There will be cake.


Holy headgear, look at these!:  Members of St. Paul's Church in Dedham got together on May 5 to make fascinators to wear at their royal wedding celebration at the church on May 19.  Read more about these "haiku of hats" here(Courtesy photos.)




Knitters needed:  The Spiritual Care Department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston invites knitters to share their skill and help bring comfort to dying patients and their families through its "comfort carts" initiative, by which chaplains bring refreshments and comforting supplies--including knitted shawls--to patients and families during the dying process. Families can then take the shawl home, as a reminder of their loved one.

The Rev. Katie Rimer, an Episcopal priest and the director of spiritual care and education at Beth Israel, first put out the call to the diocesan community in late 2016 for comfort shawl knitters.  "We had such a positive response--it was fantastic. And alas, the supply has slowed to a trickle," she said by e-mail.  

Rimer encourages church knitting ministries or individuals who would like to knit comfort shawls to e-mail her at She can make available a shawl pattern and yarn guidelines.

"They can be prayerfully knitting these blankets, and trust that they are put to good use and that their prayers are extended beyond the patient to the family, and that will become a treasured gift," Rimer said.
(Photo: Pixabay.)

Centennial blessings, St. Paul's, Lynnfield:  Bishop Alan M. Gates joined the Rev. Robert Bacon, Rector, and the people of St. Paul's Church in Lynnfield on May 5 for a special service of Evensong celebrating the parish's 100th anniversary.  A pictorial history of the parish was on display during the festive reception that followed.  (Photo: Richard Shafner.)

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Reading celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday, April 22 with an Earth Day procession featuring puppet creatures, great and small, borrowed from the puppet library at Emmanuel Church in Boston (pictured with another good shepherd, the Rev. Patrick LaFortune).  "It was great fun!" the Rev. Brian Raiche, Priest-in-Charge, reported. (Courtesy photo.)

Pre-weekend prayer refreshment at St. Andrew's, Marblehead:  St. Andrew's Church in Marblehead is introducing a Friday evening prayer service, starting May 25 at 7 p.m. All are welcome.
"This service has been developed in response to requests," the Rev. Clyde Elledge, Rector, said in a news release from the parish.  "It will offer each person an opportunity to reflect on the previous week, connect with God through prayer and music, and embark on the weekend refreshed and with a clear mind and heart."

The service will feature prayers, readings and time for reflection, and will last approximately 40 minutes. The next prayer service will be on Friday, June 29. After a hiatus in July and August, the service is scheduled to resume the last Friday in September.





New York Daily News: Gun protesters hold second rally outside Smith & Wesson after CEO rejects meeting with students in Mass.:  More than 75 students, anti-gun advocates and local clergy braved the pouring rain April 27 outside the headquarters of Smith & Wesson to ask the company's president to stop manufacturing the assault weapons used in at least three mass shootings.

Chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, assault rifles have got to go," the demonstrators also carried signs imploring Smith & Wesson President and CEO P. James Debney to sit down with them.

The students, who came from gun-violence plagued neighborhoods in Boston, Springfield and Holyoke, stood for a moment of silence after reading the names of teenagers who died from gun violence in their communities.

"We think state and federal legislation are an important way to tackle gun violence but we also know the role of the manufacturer is important too," said Liz Steinhauser, one of the protest organizers from St. Stephen's Church in Boston.  Read more.




Coming Up 


May 17: Diocesan Council Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm

May 19: Concord River Deanery Confirmation, Trinity Church, Concord, 10:30am

May 19: Priesthood Ordination: Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, St. Stephen's Church, Cohasset, 2:00pm

May 20: Bishop Gates visits Church of the Advent in Medfield, 9:00am

May 23: Priesthood Ordination: Patrick LaFortune, Church of the Good Shepherd, Reading, 6:00pm

May 23: Lecture: "Occupational Hazards: 20 Years as Old North's Leader," Old North Church, Boston, 6:30pm

May 30: Sung Compline with Candlelight, St. John's Church, Sharon, 7:00pm

Jun 1-3: Retreat: "Risk Taking: The Spirituality of Pauli Murray," Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield

Jun 2: Ordination of Deacons, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 10:30am

Jun 3: Bishop Harris visits St. Paul's Church in Newton Highlands, 9:00am   


Jun 5: Spring Luncheon for Retired Clergy, Spouses and Surviving Spouses, St. Peter's Church, Weston, 10:30am 


Jun 5: Diocesan Budget Hearing, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 7:00pm


Jun 7: Spring Luncheon for Retired Clergy, Spouses and Surviving Spouses, St. David's Church, South Yarmouth, 10:30am

Jun 9: Taunton River Deanery Confirmation, St. Thomas's Church, Taunton, 10:30am

Jun 9: March in the Boston Pride Parade with Bishop Gates and The Crossing, 11:00am

Jun 10: Bishop Gates visits St. John's Church in Duxbury, 9:00am

Jun 10: Bishop Harris visits Christ Church-Iglesia de San Juan in Hyde Park, 9:00am

Jun 11-15: School for Spiritual Direction: "The Nature of Spiritual Companioning," Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield

Jun 12: Episcopal City Mission Annual Celebration, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm

Jun 13: A Day of Centering and Contemplative Prayer, Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center, Byfield, 9:00am

Jun 14: Budget Committee Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:00am

Jun 16: Confirmation Service, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 10:30am

Jun 17: Bishop Harris visits St. Elizabeth's Church in Sudbury, 9:00am

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

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








May 24, 2018
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