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February 2019
Save these dates: Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry to visit Diocese of Massachusetts, April 26-29
Courtesy photo.
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry has scheduled a visitation in the Diocese of Massachusetts, Friday-Monday, April 26-29.

Plans for how the weekend will take shape are in the works, with an intention to have at least one public gathering with Bishop Curry, in addition to gatherings with other groups in the diocese and time with the clergy at the start of the annual Clergy Conference on the morning of Monday, April 29.

More information will be available soon. Updates will be posted here as they become available.

In the meantime, clergy, congregations and the wider diocesan community are invited to keep the visitation dates in mind as planning for this exciting opportunity continues.
"Won't you be my neighbor?": Lower Merrimack Valley Collaborative parishes build relationships from the ground up
Clergy and combined choirs of the six parishes of the Lower Merrimack Valley Collaborative celebrate the Easter Vigil together. Courtesy photo.
Every year in the Merrimack Valley, the Easter Vigil brings together six parishes. Acolytes and readers serve together, and the parish organists take turns providing the accompaniment for a combined choir of up to 50 voices--most of whom don’t often get the chance to sing in such a large group. Children are baptized, candlelight fills the church and these six congregations lift up their voices together in song and prayer.
This Easter Vigil happens each year as a result of the relationships built through the Lower Merrimack Valley Collaborative, or LMVC, whose congregations have been working together since Easter 2011 on various projects and shared ministry. The Lower Merrimack Valley Collaborative comprises St. James's Church in Amesbury, St. James's Church in Groveland, Trinity Church in Haverhill, St. Paul's Church in Newburyport, St. Paul's Church in North Andover and All Saints' Church in West Newbury. 

The joint Easter Vigil is the culmination of a collaborative Lenten dinner series, whose theme this year is "Won't you be my neighbor?"

Each week the parishes will come together to share a meal and fellowship hosted at one of the churches. The Rev. Kit Lonergan, who is the rector of St. James's Church in Groveland and has been involved in the collaborative for about four and one-half years, said in an interview that she believes that sitting and sharing a meal together is something powerful and incredibly meaningful for the parishes involved.

“That’s really what I’m excited about--that we get to know each other and we actually share an experience,” Lonergan said. “It’s meant to be nourishing and it’s meant to bring us deeper. This is a way that we can sit and actually carefully listen and be curious and invest in relationships with one another.”

Lonergan believes that this collaboration allows parishes to work together in a way that is both incredibly meaningful and sustainable.

“For me the deep value and deep grace of it is that we’re not falling into siloed congregationalism, and that the fact that we are sister parishes is so deeply evident,” Lonergan said. “Practically, it’s made my life easier, but theologically it’s deepened my understanding of what it means to not just care about one’s own parish to the exclusion of everyone else. We don’t need to do everything together because that’s unsustainable, but we can do some of the things together, and oh, that is such a gift.”
"What is truth?":
Cathedral Lenten preaching series begins March 7
Pilate’s question to Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38), resonates through the ages, as we each stand before God wrestling with questions of meaning and identity. In our time, the idea of truth is under attack in new ways, challenging our coherence as a society and the witness of the church. 

This Lent, the annual preaching series at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston will feature bishops, scholars, a poet and a journalist engaging the question, “What is truth?”  

"Hearing a wide range of voices from a variety of social locations is a critical aspect of living into our promise to seek and serve Christ in all persons," the cathedral's dean, the Very Rev. Amy E. McCreath, said of the roster of preachers for the series.

The series takes place on Thursdays, March 7-April 11, 12-1:30 p.m., featuring a simple worship service with guest sermon, followed by a light lunch and conversation with the preacher. All are welcome.

  • March 7: Bishop Gayle E. Harris;
  • March 14: Dr. Sally Haslanger—Ford Professor of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies, MIT;
  • March 21: Regie Gibson—Poet, writer, educator and National Poetry Slam champion;
  • March 28: Dr. Jonathan Cavillo—Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Theology;
  • April 4: Matthew Bell—Reporter, Public Radio International’s “The World”; and
  • April 11: Bishop Alan M. Gates.

Questions may be directed to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (617-482-4826, ext. 221 or kvetiac@diomass.org).
Photo: iStockcom/Charissame
Keeping a holy Lent: Ash Wednesday, on March 6, invites us to the observance of a holy Lent--the season of penitence, reconciliation and renewal that leads to Easter. For those taking on a devotional practice during Lent, a variety of Episcopal Church resources--from a United Thank Offering Lenten calendar to the saintly competition of Lent Madness to daily meditations from Episcopal Relief & Development--are available online here

Also included:  "Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent"--adult forum and quiet day guides based on Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry's "Way of Love" spiritual practices: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, rest.

Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday is March 10: Congregations churchwide are invited to observe Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday on the first Sunday in Lent, using it as a day to pray for those in need and to dedicate a special offering for the Global Needs Fund. Find more information here.

Lenten call to reclaim Jesus through prayer, fasting and action: Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry and the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners joined with faith leaders to issue on Feb. 14 a letter "Reclaiming Jesus: A Call to Prayer, Fasting and Action" urging national prayer and fasting beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 6 and continuing through the season of Lent.  

"In 1863, at the height of the Civil War--the most divided time in American history--Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national 'day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer.' Today, we also believe our national crisis calls for prayer, fasting, humility and repentance. With the season of Lent before us, we ask how we can apply Lenten spiritual practices to our lives and to the dangers facing our democracy.

"We pray with those who suffered during the unconscionable government shutdown and with those who face poverty and hunger every day. We pray for those who live in fear of deportation and family separation. We pray for those who face violence--especially parents who fear for their children of color--and those who endure language of racial divisiveness. We pray for the soul of the nation and the resilience of our government’s processes. We pray for those who have lost hope.

"Above all, we pray for God to take away our fear and stir within us certainty in the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord."

Read the full text of the letter here. It follows the "Reclaiming Jesus" declaration that the faith leaders issued last year.
Remembering Pat Mordecai: Former Diocese of Massachusetts administrator and Episcopal Church chief operating officer Patricia C. (Nason) Mordecai, 80, of Scarborough, Maine, died on Feb. 7, from cancer.  

Mordecai (pictured) joined the staff of the Diocese of Massachusetts in 1976 as assistant for administration to Bishop John B. Coburn, having previously worked with him at Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, and she continued as diocesan administrator under his successor, Bishop David E. Johnson, until 1989.  
Barbara Braver, who met Mordecai in April 1977 when Braver joined the Massachusetts diocesan staff as the editor of The Episcopal Times, said, by e-mail, of Mordecai: "She was an amazing force in the diocese for so many years. For Pat, it was always about getting the work--the proper work--done in the best way and never about her. She never had any need to take credit. An amazing woman and I am going to miss her terribly." 

Mordecai went on to work as the director of operations at St. Alban's Church in Washington, D.C., before serving from 1998 until her retirement in 2006 as the chief operating officer for the Episcopal Church under Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold--a role that included managing the $34-million renovation to the Episcopal Church Center at 815 Second Avenue in New York City and helping to revamp Episcopal Relief & Development.

"The chief operating officer exercises a ministry of care and oversight on behalf of the presiding bishop. I can think of no one more suited to that task than Pat Mordecai. Her previous diocesan, seminary and parish experience, together with her well-developed ability to balance close attention to the proper working of the systems under her charge with respect and care for those engaged in the work at hand, made her the right person at the right time. Pat was a wonderful colleague and a dear friend," Griswold said in a statement.

A memorial service will be held on March 2 at 11 a.m. at the Church of St. Mary (43 Foreside Road) in Falmouth, Maine. Read the full obituary here.  
The Rev. Thomas Brown elected bishop of Maine: The Rev. Thomas J. Brown, Rector of the Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, was elected on Feb. 9 as the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine.

"We are delighted at the election of the Rev. Thomas Brown to be the next bishop of Maine. He will bring to that role the same energy, joy and pastoral heart which he has devoted to his ministry at the Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester," Bishop Alan M. Gates said in a statement. "We extend the congratulations and prayers of our diocese to Thomas, and to his spouse, the Rev. Tom Mousin, as they enter this sacred time of farewells and new beginnings."

Read the Diocese of Maine's election announcement here.
Courtesy photo.
New priests ordained: Pictured (from left) with colleagues, family and friends: The Rev. Gregory Johnston, ordained on Jan. 5 at St. Anne's in-the-Fields Church , Lincoln; The Rev. Jennifer Vath, on Jan. 12 at Christ Church, Andover; and The Rev. Jennifer McCracken, on Jan. 27 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul , Boston. Courtesy photos.

The diocesan community’s prayers and presence are invited for the upcoming service of ordination to the priesthood of the Rev. Tamra Tucker on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston. Tucker is the pastor and lead organizer for The Crossing worshiping community of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.
Bishop Gayle E. Harris and Bishop Alan M. Gates hosted a welcome gathering at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Feb. 19 for the Rev. Canon Fuad Dagher, Canon for Reconciliation in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (pictured, center). He was in Boston for the annual conference of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes. Many Holy Land mission pilgrimage groups from the Diocese of Massachusetts have enjoyed visits to St. Paul’s Church in Shefa’amr, in northern Israel, where Dagher also serves as rector.
Join “Encounters in the Holy Land” mission pilgrimage: Join Bishop Gayle E. Harris and the Rev. Debbie Phillips for “Encounters in the Holy Land,” a mission pilgrimage in Israel and Palestine, Oct. 1-15.

The mission pilgrimage will combine visits to holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, Nazareth, Galilee, Nablus and Ramallah with opportunities to learn about active mission in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem through its school, healthcare and peacemaking ministries. The registration deadline is May 15.

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.
For more information, contact David Ames (617-482-4826, ext. 445 or dames@diomass.org).
Cathedral staff transitions announced: The Rev. Canon Tina Rathbone has announced her decision to leave her ministry as canon missioner at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, effective March 4, in order to pursue a call to serve with immigrants and refugees in Mexico and Central America--a new ministry that is still taking shape.

Rathbone has served at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul for 10 years and been a pastor to downtown Boston's homeless community, developing and nurturing numerous ministry programs and gatherings that combine to form the cathedral church's MANNA (Many Angels Needed Now and Always) community.
The Rev. Canon Tina Rathbone (left) and the Rev. Jennifer McCracken (right). Courtesy photos.
The Rev. Jennifer McCracken, who has been the head pastor to the MANNA community for the past two years, will assume leadership of the MANNA team starting in mid-June and will move from part-time to full-time status on the cathedral staff. Staffing provisions are in the works to ensure that MANNA's programs continue uninterrupted during the interim period. Read more here.

A celebration of Rathbone's ministry is planned for Sunday, March 3 at 4 p.m. in Sproat Hall at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Gifts in her honor, in support of MANNA, may be made payable to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, with "Thank you Tina!" in the memo line, and sent to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Attention: Kevin Vetiac, 138 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02111.
"Speed Partnering" event planned to spark global mission partnerships: The diocesan Global Mission Commission is hosting a "Speed Partnering" event on Saturday, April 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. at St. John's Church in Arlington.

This is a matchmaking opportunity for congregations and organizations with established global mission efforts to connect with other congregations and individuals who would like to join them.

Congregations with established mission partnerships are invited to come and be prepared to talk about the joys and challenges of this ministry. There will be space to display photos, handouts or other items.
For more information, contact the missioners for global partnerships: The Rev. Holly Hartman at hhartman@diomass.org or The Rev. Marilyn McMillan at mmcmillan@diomass.org
March 3 is World Mission Sunday: On World Mission Sunday--this year on March 3--Episcopalians are invited to focus on the global impact of the baptismal covenant’s call to “seek and serve Christ in all persons” ( Book of Common Prayer, p. 305). It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the many ways that the Episcopal Church participates in God’s mission around the world. Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry invites the church to observe World Mission Sunday in a video, here.
Life Together recruitment for 2019-2020 is ongoing: Know someone who might be a good fit for Life Together or another Episcopal Service Corps program? The Episcopal Service Corps online application is available at www.EpiscopalServiceCorps.org.

Life Together is a 10-month fellowship program based in Boston and surrounding areas, focused on cultivating the next generation of prayerful and prophetic leaders, through spiritual practice, social justice, leadership training and community building.

Fellows range in age from 21 to 32 and come from a diverse range of backgrounds. Housing and utilities, health insurance and a modest living stipend are provided. Learn more about Life Together by visiting www.lifetogethercommunity.org, following on Instagram and Facebook, or e-mailing apply@diomassintern.org
Summer camp registration is now open: The Barbara C. Harris Camp in Greenfield, N.H., aims to be a place where all campers feel accepted and are able to develop authentic friendships, learn important life lessons and gain new perspectives as they live and play in a community centered on Christian values. 

The Barbara C. Harris Camp offers five sessions, each six days and five nights, for 4th-12th graders. Financial assistance and summer staff positions are available.

Visit www.bchcenter.org/bchcamp for information on sessions, themes, activities and pricing. Questions may be directed to the camp registrar, Abby, at abby@bchcenter.org or 603-547-3400.
Wicked Local Plymouth: Plymouth’s mission of mercy in Puerto Rico: It was a shocking moment. Members of Team Puerto Rico stood in the ruins of what had been a youth baseball stadium, debris and trash strewn everywhere, and stared in disbelief at the bleachers that somehow survived the fury of Hurricane Maria when it struck Puerto Rico in 2017.

“It was mind-blowing,” said Kari Fillian, youth ministries coordinator at Christ Church in Plymouth, who led a team of eight students and three adults to Puerto Rico over the Christmas holiday to assist with cleanup activities.

That was just one of the many eye-opening experiences encountered by Team Puerto Rico during the week-long trip. The students and adults flew to the U.S. territory in the Caribbean Dec. 29. They visited several villages in San Juan during Three King’s Week, a major celebration in Puerto Rico between Christmas and Epiphany. Read more here.
South End News: Blackstone School and St. Stephen's build warm relationships despite frigid cold: On Monday, Jan. 21, more than 130 people from over 20 community organizations ignored the arctic temperatures, donned winter boots and made their way over to the Blackstone School for the annual MLK Day of Action.

This is the ninth year that St. Stephen's Youth Programs (SSYP) has organized the day of support for the school, along with key partners City Year, Friends of the Blackstone, Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), several Episcopal churches and the B-PEACE for Jorge Campaign. Read more here.

Bay State Banner: Rushing looks back on 36 years in the legislature: When Byron Rushing first attended a swearing-in ceremony on Beacon Hill, Tom Brady was five years old, apartheid still ruled in South Africa and you could rent a two-bedroom apartment in the South End for less than $500.

That was back in 1983, when the newly minted state representative first took office, succeeding Mel King in the South End seat he would hold for 36 years. Rushing’s 18-term run came to an end during the first week in January as Jon Santiago, who was born the year Rushing was first elected, took the oath of office to represent the 9th Suffolk District.

Rushing’s post-election plans are to “relax and retire,” he said. “I mean really retire — and that means a lot of paperwork.”

He and his wife, Frieda Garcia, the former director of United South End Settlements, own a house in Concord Square just a few blocks from the Boston Public Library, where he serves as a trustee. He plans to continue his work with the library, help revitalize the Roxbury Historical Society and do more volunteer work with the Episcopal Church, where he serves as vice president of its House of Deputies — the highest elected position of any layman in the church.

Rushing cites his faith and Jesus’s example of ministering to the poor as the most important motivating force in his work. The lack of progress in significantly relieving the economic plight of the least among us is Rushing’s lasting regret in looking back on his career.

“The biggest unfinished piece of progressive business is economics and poverty,” said Rushing, whose mother was an immigrant seamstress from Jamaica and his father a janitor from Georgia. “And the symbol for me of poverty is really homelessness. Most advocates are unwilling to assert economic rights for the poor, or even housing as a right.” Read more here.
Coming Up 
Feb 20-23 : Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes Conference, Westin Copley Place Hotel and Trinity Church, Boston

Feb 20 : Evening Contemplative Eucharist, Bethany House of Prayer, Arlington, 7:00pm 

Feb 21 : Diocesan Council Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm 

Feb 23 : Episcopal Relief & Development Disaster Preparedness Training, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am 

Feb 23 : Ordination to the Priesthood: Tamra Tucker, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 2:00pm 

Feb 24 : Evening of Italian Arias and American Songbook Selections, St. Andrew's Church, Marblehead, 7:00am 

Feb 24 : Bishop Gates visits Trinity Church in Topsfield 

Feb 24 : Bishop Harris visits St. John's Church in Saugus

Feb 24 : Black History Month Event at St. Stephen's Church in Lynn, 2:30pm 

Feb 26-28 : 2019 Clergy Pre-Lenten Retreat, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, NH

Mar 2 : Interfaith Hymn Festival, St. Mary's Church, Newton Lower Falls, 5:00pm 

Mar 3 : Bishop Gates visits Parish of the Good Shepherd in Waban 

Mar 3 : Bishop Harris visits St. John's Church in Winthrop 

Mar 6 : Ash Wednesday at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 8:30am, 12 pm, 5:30 pm

Mar 7 : "What is truth?" Lenten Preaching Series: Bishop Gayle E. Harris, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 12:00pm 

Mar 8-9 : Racial Reconciliation Formation Training Weekend, St. Andrew's Church, Framingham, 3:00pm 

Mar 9 : Youth Lent Lock-in, Trinity Church, Boston, 3:00pm 

Mar 10 : Bishop Harris visits St. Elizabeth's Church in Wilmington 

Mar 10 : Climate Change, Extreme Weather and Vulnerability: An Interfaith Summit on How to Respond, Old South Church, Boston, 1:30pm 

Mar 14 : "What is truth?" Lenten Preaching Series: Sally Haslanger, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 12:00pm 

Mar 14-16 : Province I Faith Formation Leaders Gathering, Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, Greenfield, NH

Mar 16 : Congregational Business Practices Workshop, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 9:00am 

Mar 20 : Evening Contemplative Eucharist, Bethany House of Prayer, Arlington, 7:00pm 

Mar 21 : "What is truth?" Lenten Preaching Series: Regie Gibson, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 12:00pm 

Mar 21 : Diocesan Council Meeting, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 5:30pm 

Mar 21 : Lower Merrimack Valley Collaborative Lenten Dinner Series: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" St. Paul's Church, Newburyport, 6:30pm 

Mar 22-23 : Pre-Confirmation Retreat, Barbara C. Harris Camp, Greenfield, NH

Mar 23 : Safe Church Training, Trinity Church, Concord, 8:30am 

Mar 23 : Congregational Business Practices Workshop, Trinity Church, Melrose, 9:00am 

Mar 23 : SSJE Workshop: Prayer Book Spirituality, Society of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge, 9:00am 

Mar 24 : Bishop Gates visits Emmanuel Church in Wakefield 

Mar 24 : Bishop Harris visits All Saints' Church in Belmont 

Mar 26 : Lower Merrimack Valley Collaborative Lenten Dinner Series: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" St. James's Church, Groveland, 6:30pm 

Mar 28 : "What is truth?" Lenten Preaching Series: Jonathan Cavillo, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, 12:00pm 

Mar 30-31 : Massachusetts Indaba 2019 Encounter Weekend #1 

Mar 30 : Congregational Business Practices Workshop, Trinity Church, Canton, 9:00am 

Mar 30 : Concert Series Event, Trinity Church, Melrose, 7:00pm
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