July 1, 2020
Christ Church Chimes
Dear Friends,

We are opening in stages. Join us this Sunday for outdoor worship at 10am! We will also continue our livestream on Facebook.

Worship will be outside under a ten t. The tent is on the east side of the church, as weather permits .

-Please park in the parking lot.
-Please bring your own lawn chair.
-Line up in front of the church in six foot distancing.
-An usher will invite you to a designated place.

If you have mobility issues, please enter near the tent side of the church. An user will tell you where you can park.

If it is raining or looks like rain, please stay home. We will not go into the church or be able to bring everyone under the tent.

·       Please note all are required to wear masks unless under 2.* Those not wearing a mask will be asked to leave.
·      Strict Social Distancing is required. Maintain a six foot distance. You will receive instructions for seating from an user when you arrive.
·      No bathroom facilities are available - unless an emergency.
·      No physical exchange of the peace.
·      Persons must supply their own seating for outdoors.
·      Persons must supply their own masks.
We do have a limited supply of masks you may use. 
·      No Holy Communion will be administered at this stage of re-opening .

Please contact an usher if you should have any questions.
  * Criteria for exemptio n: The CDC states that a person who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face mask without assistance should not wear a face mask or cloth face covering. POLITICS are not an exemption. WE have the right to refuse anyone we deem needs to wear a mask.

  • Individuals with respiratory disabilities such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or cystic fibrosis may not be able to wear a face mask because of difficulty in or impaired breathing. People with respiratory disabilities should consult their own medical professional for advice about using face masks. The CDC also states that anyone who has trouble breathing should not wear a face mask.
  • People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe anxiety, or claustrophobia (an abnormal fear of being in enclosed or narrow places). May feel afraid or terrified when wearing a face mask. These individuals may not be able to stay calm or function when wearing a face mask.
  • Some people with autism are sensitive to touch and texture. Covering the nose and mouth with fabric can cause sensory overload, feelings of panic, and extreme anxiety.
  • A person who has cerebral palsy may have difficulty moving the small muscles in the hands, wrists, or fingers. Due to her limited mobility, she may not be able to tie the strings or put the elastic loops of a face mask over the ears. This means that the individual may not be able to put on or remove a face mask without assistance.

We are a joyful community celebrating Jesus Christ.
Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome here!
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Join us for Sunday Worship at 10am.

Facebook

or Father Al's Facebook

You will also fin the link to the Sunday Worship Program on the Christ Church Facebook Page.
Please know we continue to operate from our homes and from time to time in the Parish House Office. We strive to be accessible to you and your needs.


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Our Intercessions and Thanksgivings
You are invited to type your intercessions and thanksgivings in the Facebook Livestream, Sunday 10am. 
Also please email the office with prayer requests. Thank you.

Contributions may be mailed or electronically given at https://christchurchswansea.org/donation/
 
We are a joyful community celebrating Jesus Christ. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey,
you are welcome here.

Prayer for People Critically Ill or Facing Great Uncertainty

God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.
- Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765


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From the Pews

COVID-19
by Sue Carvalho
             Its’ been awhile since I’ve written for the Chimes…its not because I didn’t want to its’ just that I thought what I had to say wasn’t as important as the Covid-19 updates that Fr. Alan has been posting. I hope as I write this you are all safe and well . I also hope that you have managed to make the “best “ of this situation that has become the new normal.
             I have days where I really miss some of what was….like physically going to church . I never realized how much I enjoyed the physical aspect of church, the feeling of real community that church brings. I miss sitting in front of Betty (I don’t even need to tell you her last name) and turning around and asking how her week was. I have tried to stay connected the best I can.. I have sent postcards and cards…..sent emails and baked and dropped off goodies to stay connected to others.
             I don’t think any of us could have imagined our lives today. I have had some things which I have enjoyed and I have some things I wish were still the way they were. I don’t like the new normal in some cases. I have cleaned and cleaned and purged. I have searched the pantry and freezer and cooked countless suppers and meals, trying new recipes and avoiding the urge to run out and get ingredients I didn’t have. I love to cook and bake, but I also enjoyed cooking and baking for others. I have still been able to do that but instead of coming to our house I have traveled and social distanced. I have had to get creative and have found I was up to the challenge most days. Thankfully Steve know better than to complain about the meals put in front of him…
             I consider myself to be a pretty positive person but there are days I just cant find the way to be positive. Where can we go to escape? Who can I talk to to tell them how I feel? Is all this time together too togetherness? When will life be normal again? Who knew we would one day crave the mundane of normal life.
             I am not ready to give up quite yet on being positive.. I have been trying to make lemonade wherever I can. I have enjoyed the resourcefulness of my cooking, creating cards and gifts from what I already have available, smiling even while wearing a mask, creating purged and cleaned spaces and taking the time to reach out wherever possible
             I will try to embrace the new normal………………………………………..for now. Looking forward to the day when we can once again share in the community of Christ Church.

Reflections from the Bishop
June 26, 2020

A voice cries out:
"In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
   and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
   and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
   and all people shall see it together,
   for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
...Get you up to a high mountain,
   O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
   O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
   lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
   “Here is your God !” -- Isaiah 40:3-5, 9 New Revised Standard Version

As in most months, June has several commemorations for both our society and the Church. Flag Day, Father’s Day and Juneteenth celebrate symbols, people and liberty in our families and nation. The Episcopal Church calendar for June is much longer.
There are several feast days, honoring an abbot, bishops, missionaries, educators, mystics, an early Syrian deacon, Ephrem, the first Native American Ojibwa Episcopal priest, Emmegahbowh, and James Weldon Johnson, a poet and lyricist of the Christian hymn "Lift Every Voice and Sing"-- the African-American national anthem. Two major feasts in June mark the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Elizabeth, and the Nativity of John the Baptist.
In June, the category that many on the church calendar fall into is that of martyr: Justin (c. Year 167); the Martyrs of Lyon (in 177), followed on the next day by the Martyrs of Uganda (in 1886); St. Boniface (in 754); St. Barnabas (in the first century, C.E.); Bernard Mizeki (in 1896); St. Alban (in 304); and the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, who both were executed in Rome around the year 64 C.E. 

But certainly, John the Baptist, the forerunner to and cousin of Jesus, was a martyr also. He was beheaded for a faith that led him to declare truth and morality as signs of repentance, even to the highest seat of power in the government. Christians consider John the Baptist the last prophet in a centuries-long line of prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures, demanding we place God first in our lives. To put God first, we must live as God demands of us: acting ethically, adhering to speaking the truth, compassionate generosity and striving for mercy and justice for others.
Prophets had a difficult life and usually suffered rejection. They were inconvenient and often unwelcomed and dismissed. Their words still ring in the air and are directed to us today. They challenge our priorities, perception and values that are based on worldly desires. Prophets preach "harsh words in a smooth season." Of prophets the Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel wrote:
The prophet is human yet he employs notes one octave too high for our ears. He experiences moments that defy our understanding. He is neither 'a singing saint' nor 'a moralizing poet,' but an assaulter of the mind. Often his words begin to burn where conscience ends. --The Prophets, p. 10

Like the prophets before him, John the Baptist had an isolated and difficult life. It wasn’t just that he wore itchy camel’s hair, ate locusts and wandered in the hot, dry dessert. He did not mince words with anyone. He delivered words of condemnation to those who were affluent, powerful and had re-created their identity through status and finances. He called them idolaters, even if they were respectable and kept the religious observances outwardly, but were conformed to the world inwardly. Like all the prophets, he wasn’t just a spiritual leader; prophets were theological commentators on civic life and political structures. Politics and religion were distinguishable but not separable. He was consumed by, in, for and with God. 
John the Baptist was a dangerous man.

Though crowds did flock to see him, some who came were just curious, some were there to laugh, some to spy and report back to the authorities, and only some were seeking spiritual renewal. John proclaimed that someone was coming after him, whose greatness and holiness made John unworthy to even carry his sandals. In a society where order of birth meant something, demanding respect for those older, John had to make way and become diminished by the rise of his younger cousin, Jesus. 

I write this reflection on the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist. In a few hours I will be in a Zoom gathering with some of our deacons. At the end our time together, we will hear the lessons appointed to this feast day and I will read again a meditation by my friend and colleague the Rev. Sam Portaro on John the Baptist. His meditation, written over two decades ago, speaks to us, our church and society today:
It could not have been easy for John, the elder cousin who was miraculously conceived and born first. John rose to public notice well before Jesus, a phenomenon in his own right…
It could not have been easy for John to take the lower place. His charism and his daring opened the way for Jesus; by sheer force of personality, the path had been cleared. The bold cousin, unafraid to speak out against injustice, was the first to risk and the first to die…
In this me-first, give-me-my-rights world, John proves that blessedness and virtue do not always mean the highest place, that vocation does not always lead to the top of the heap. God also calls to supporting roles. What we initially experience as a setback or loss may be a new call, a vocational urging to understand our role as John understood his.
Giving up his life, [Jesus] fulfilled his own vocation by following the example of the cousin he joined in death. With steadfast faith and awful symmetry, Jesus, like his cousin John before him, confirmed the pattern of discipleship: he decreased that we might increase.
        --Brightest and Best: A Companion to Lesser Feasts and Fasts, pp. 110-111

There is much to frighten us, and much for which we can be thankful. At times we may feel helpless, alone and without direction. It is then that God calls us, away from complacency, fear, anxiety, in order to lead us to look beyond ourselves and circumstances toward seeking and serving Christ in others, and walking with them in what they face, or need. And in so doing, following the pattern of discipleship that may diminish us by worldly standards so others may be empowered, we discover the presence of Christ in us. 
John the Baptist always pointed away from himself toward God, and found God in others, and in himself, as he baptized. He is an example for us in challenging times. Entitlement and privilege mean nothing in God’s eyes; we must speak against injustice and inequality, and pull the knees off the necks of others. John the Baptist shouts, he cries, he whispers to us today to clear the way; "God and the Kingdom of God is at hand." He speaks to us today to clear from our path fear, bigotry, greed, apathy, hopelessness and self-preoccupation. John reminds us to clear the path so others who are different, needy, oppressed and marginalized might be free, have justice and rise. He shouts, he whispers to our hearts, "Prepare the way of the Lord." An American prophet of freedom and equality said it this way:
There is a prophet within us, forever whispering that behind the seen lies the immeasurable unseen. --Frederick Douglass,1862
Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
                   --Collect for The Nativity of John the Baptist, The Book of Common Prayer
Yours in Christ,
+Gayle
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris


The Outreach Committee has been gathering via zoom. Last Saturday the Outreach Committee was able to deliver meals for the homeless of Fall River. We worked with Hearts of Hope to help facilitate.
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The next Vestry meeting is coming up. If you have any questions for the vestry, please let me or one of the wardens (Rick Kirkpatrick or Sue Pavao) know of your blessings or concerns.

W  e will also be discussing the Harvest Festival.
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God's Peace and protection to you in name of the Living Christ,

   Alan+  
Father Al,
The Reverend Alan R. Hesse, 25th Rector of Christ Church
 
Desmond Tutu reminded us, 'Christianity is not a religion of virtue; it is a religion of grace.'
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Sunday Worship
J oin us on for Worship on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/christ.church.swansea.57
or Father Al's Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alan.hesse.9
Christ Church - 10am Sunday
Christ Church
57 Main Street, Swansea, Ma 02777
Office: Leslie Lemire; 508-678-0923 or Christchurchswansea@yahoo.com ,
The Rev. Alan R. Hesse, Rector; 508-505-5668 cell, Fralan@verizon.net ,
The Rev. Sue Correira, Deacon