Repentance: a Lenten Reflection from Executive Director the Rev. Arrington Chambliss

"We are living in a time of deep social and spiritual upheaval. We're off autopilot, and we're reassessing everything. I believe that we as a people, and as a nation are in a season of Lent." Bob Holmes, Contemplative Monk: Intentional Spirituality Transforms Us

"For evil to triumph, what is necessary is for societies to stop thinking, to stop developing an eye for the absurd as well as the corrupt in language and action, public or private." former Archbishop Rowan Williams

These words written by Bob Holmes in the Contemplative Monk, an online resource, spark my curiosity. If he is right and we are in a figurative national Lent, a reassessing of everything that we believe, then how are faith-rooted and spiritual individuals and congregations taking responsibility to reflect on our role in this time of "social and spiritual upheaval"? And as former Archbishop Rowan Williams names, how are we developing "eyes for the absurd as well as the corrupt in language and action, public and private"?

Lent is a Christian church season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday, this year, Wednesday, March 6th and ends on the Saturday before Easter, Holy Saturday, April 20th. The word lent means lengthening of days or spring time. The forty days represent the time of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness as he prepared to begin his ministry.
Lent is a season of repentance. Repentance means turning towards God and away from sin. It is marked by a change in our spiritual and mental attitude and requires self awareness and honesty about what is keeping us distracted or separate from God, ourselves and one another. Lent is a time of focused prayer, self-examination, reflection and fast, in preparation for the coming of Easter, resurrection and new life.

This Lent I have chosen a personal, embodied spiritual practice and fast, however, the preparation for this reflection has led me to choose a public leadership Lenten practice as well. I am thankful for my colleagues, Hall Kirkham+, Holly Antolini+, Mariama White Hammond+, Liz Steinhauser+ and Mike Stevens who led me to the writing of a contemplative theologian, a philosopher and a former Archbishop of Canterbury and the witness of Memorial for Peace and Justice, Rowan Williams. Throughout the six weeks of Lent, I will have a weekly conversation with a spiritual and/or grassroots leader to learn how they are understanding the connection between healing and justice - between repentance, forgiveness and justice. I want to strengthen my leadership by hearing how others tend to or pull at the root causes of this spiritual and social upheaval which I believe is racism. And I want to discover, how is the Spirit inspiring them to turn towards God and one another in bringing about healing and justice?

I hope you will share how you and/or your community are approaching these questions of healing and justice. In this newsletter, you can learn how others are preparing the way with action, education, spiritual reflection or deepening relationships. Learn of brave conversations at St. Andrew's, Ayer about immigration; spiritual renewal and community building through spiritual practice and storytelling with lay leaders from BIJAN (Boston Immigrant Justice Accompaniment Network); and exciting accompaniment and advocacy in Bristol County; and meet leaders of Misa Aleluya, an exciting Latinx episcopal ministry in Worcester, that is a part of ECM' Prophetic Listening Project.

To read Arrington's Lenten Invitation, Click Here
Take Action with ECM
Immigrant Justice Bond Fund

The Immigration Justice Bond Fund, a partnership between ECM and San Lucas, Chelsea, Chelsea Collaborative, St. Stephen's, Lynn, and Essex County Community Organization (ECCO)  has bonded out five people who have been unjustly detained. For more information about how to be involved in accompaniment of individuals in this challenging time for our immigrant neighbors and siblings contact or click on the link for more information about  donating to the fund .
Recent News from ECM
Community members gathered at St. Martin's Episcopal Church on Sunday to celebrate the growing accompaniment network.Community members who have received rides expressed gratitude by preparing a meal for those who have offered rides.

Bristol County Update: Accompaniment Network Grows
ECM has partnered with the  Community Economic Development Center  and people of faith from Episcopal and UU parishes to launch an immigration accompaniment network in Bristol County -- an extension of the thriving  BIJAN network  in Boston. Read the blog post:  Immigration Accompaniment Network Takes Off in Bristol County

If you want to be involved with immigrant justice work in Bristol County please contact Dax Crocker, ECM's Lead Organizer at Dax@EpiscopalCityMission.Org

Brave Conversations at St. Andrew's Ayer
Parishioners grappled with moral and political questions of detention and deportation, the role of racism and xenophobia in U.S. immigration enforcement, and how our faith guides us to act in response to migration crises in our communities and worldwide. Read the Full Blog Post here.
"Prophetic Listening" at Misa Aleluya
ECM's ten-month program, "Prophetic Listening" works with parishes to deepen the parish's sense of relational culture, begin or join a community justice initiative in their community, and increase the number of people working in community engagement. Teams made up of parishioners and wider community members learn leadership practices that enable them to listen and respond to how God is calling them to love boldly and do justice.

This month we are lifting up the work of Misa Aleluya, a Latinx congregation that worships at All Saints Worcester, through an interview with the facilitators who are leading the congregation through the PLP program. Padre Jose Reyes is the Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries in the Diocese of Western MA and the Lead Pastor of Misa Aleluya. Deacon Ema Rosero is a Deacon in the Diocese of Massachusetts and has ample experience in nurturing hispanic ministries in our church. Savannah Haugh is a former life together intern who served with Padre Edwin Johnson at St. Mary's in Dorchester where they supported a vibrant Latinx ministry. ECM interviewed Savannah, Padre Jose, and Deacon Ema this week.

ECM: When did Misa Aleluya begin? And, how would you describe the congregation?
JR: Misa began in September 2016 and, since then, we have grown from an average Sunday attendance of 5 to 35 parishioners. We are a congregation that tries to embody God's love in the world: love for ourselves as children of God, which inspires us to step up as leaders in our community; love for each other, seeking the face of Christ in everyone we meet even if they look, sound and think differently from us; and loving our community by being a congregation that listens and is present in our neighborhood as an influence and an example of compassion and grace.

ECM: What motivated you to join the Prophetic Listening Program?
JR: In the past two and a half years we have been focusing internally; on growing the church and raising up new leaders. However, the work of the Church is in the community. While we will continue to work on growing spiritually and as a congregation, we are now at a point where there is energy to begin focusing on our wider community as well and we have parishioners that want to begin work with our neighborhood. Prophetic Listening is helping us to listen to the voices in our community, in our church and in ourselves to help discern what God is calling us to do and be as a congregation.

Spiritual Nourishment for Immigration Activists
On Sunday, Match 3rd in the Lawrence Room at the Cathedral Church of St Paul, 25 immigration justice advocates gathered to build community, heal and develop resilience for the work ahead. Episcopal City Mission and the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network (BIJAN/"Beyond") organized the event to support the spiritual and emotional needs of BIJAN activists. It was facilitated by Carly Margolis and Dan Gelbtuch -- ECM staff -- alongside Heather Vickery and Annie Gonzalez Milliken -- both leaders in BIJAN. Participants were led in a variety of spiritual exercises and were also given the opportunity to share stories around the ways they were struggling as BIJAN leaders and their hopes for their future involvement. The goal of the event was both to create a space of healing and spiritual sustenance as well as to begin a larger conversation around how ECM and BIJAN could partner over the long term to support the spiritual needs of immigration activists.
Immigration Task Force & Resolution Team Launch
On Wednesday, February 27th, a team of 20 people met to work on strategy for implementing the Immigrant Justice Resolution passed at Diocesan Convention in 2018. To get involved, contact 
ECM Partners
Taunton Clergy Host Immigration Workshop
The Greater Taunton Clergy Association Cordially Invite All Community Leaders To Join Us During Our Free Immigration Workshop

Thursday, March 7, 10AM-2PM

Come & Get Informed:
* How all of us are affected in some way or another, and what we can do about it.
* The latest policies and how they apply to you or someone you know.
* The responsibilities of faith and community leaders.

We will be using the facilities of
St. Thomas Episcopal Church
111 High Street, Taunton, MA 02780
Lunch will be served, please email to register at:
Immigration Action on Cape Cod
Cape Cod Coalition for Safe Communities is committed to social justice, fairness, human rights and safety for all members of our communities regardless of citizenship status. They have helped pass safe community petitions in six towns across the Cape, and are advocating for passage of the state Safe Communities Act. We want to celebrate these two recent achievements in their work.
  • Citizens of HARWICH and MASHPEE have filed safe community petitions which will come up for votes at Annual Town Meetings this spring.
  • Citizens of ORLEANS plan to file a statement of values supporting immigrants and refugees amidst toxic rhetoric on the national stage.
If you live in Harwich, Mashpee, or Orleans there are key ways for you to get involved with their work.
  • Attend your Town Meeting and cast your vote in support of the Safe Communities Act
  • Help with local outreach, education, and organizing turnout for town meeting.
Cape Cod Coalition for Safe Communities supports people to introduce a local petition in your town. They have an educational film event consisting of six short films on different aspects of immigration: enforcement, detention, deportation which we present upon request. Get in touch by emailing: or following their Facebook page. 
Conversation with DA Rachael Rollins
Tuesday, March 19, 7-9PM
Temple Israel of Boston
477 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

"We are no longer going to criminalize poverty, mental illness, and substance use disorder. We are going to end the wealth and racial disparities in our current incarceration rates."
- Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County DA

Please join us to meet DA Rollins in conversation about reforming criminal justice with Rahsaan Hall, Director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Program. This event is led by Temple Israel and joined by partners ECM, The Center for Teen Empowerment, The Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, Temple Beth Zion Brookline, Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, and St. Ignatius - Chestnut Hill, MA. RSVP to Tali Puterman at
March Update from Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester
Read the March Update from Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester for opportunities to take action this month! The next Prayer Vigil at South Bay ICE detention center in Boston will be: Sunday, March 31, 2 pm
Cosecha - Drivers Licenses For All
Please join Movimiento Cosecha and the MA community in a statewide campaign to win Driver's Licenses for all, regardless of immigrant status. There is an URGENT NEED TO ACT. Local communities have organized regional circles, including Brighton; East Boston - Lynn; Lawrence; New Bedford; Springfield; and Worcester. Each region is planning a local march this month and will come together for a statewide mobilization on April 29. And we need your support in the fight.  Please click on link to sign up.  We will also be holding a Zoom Call for interested folks on Thursday, March 7 at 5:30 (details will be sent out Thursday a.m).
Coming Soon at ECM
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Visits - April 26, 2019
The Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will be visiting Massachusetts beginning on April 26th. The Episcopal Diocese of MA, faith and grassroots leaders from Lawrence, MA, and ECM will host a conversation that afternoon about immigration justice with the Presiding Bishop. Those interested in joining the conversation contact
ECM's 2019 Annual Celebration:  Disrupting Hope
June 11, 2019 from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Boston University
This year's Annual Celebration will focus on the importance of finding hope in the now, through our actions in a place rather than focusing on a lofty intangible hope that will manifest in the future.  The featured speaker is Miguel A. De La Torre, professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at Iliff School of Theology, scholar-activist, author, and ordained Baptist minister. His books include Embracing Hopelessness and The U.S. Immigration Crisis: Towards and Ethics of Place.
Praxis Groups: Studying the work of Miguel De La Torre
Praxis is a community of faith-rooted leaders who believe God calls us all to build liberating and joyful communities. To this end, we have dedicated ourselves to dismantling oppressive cultures of racial and economic injustice, such as white supremacy and individualism, by challenging dominant systems of power.

Praxis members meet monthly in small groups to both reflect on how they are called to lead and to commit to practicing courageous leadership in their various communities. This spring, Praxis groups will be studying the work of Miguel De La Torre. If you are interested in learning more about Praxis contact Dan Gelbtuch: Dan@EpiscopalCityMission.Org.