11am in the Parish House
During COVID we will not have our annual potluck.
I am writing to encourage you all to make plans to attend the annual meeting in the Parish Hall following our 10 am service on February 13th. This meeting will be an in-person meeting. We don't have the capability to make this a hybrid meeting.
We will still have our regular Sunday services at 8 am and 10 am. The agenda for the meeting is roughly as follows;
I. Opening Prayer
II. Call to Order / Declaration of Quorum
III. Recognition of First Time Annual Meeting Attendees
IV. Review / Approval of 2021 Annual Meeting Minutes
V. 2021 Ministry Reports Reviewed and Received
VI. 2021 Annual Treasurer’s Summary Report
VII. Review of 2022 Annual Budget, as approved by vestry February 8, 2022
VIII. Recognition of Outgoing Vestry Members
IX. Election of 2022 Officers/ Vestry Members / Convention Delegates
X. Other New Business
XI. Closing Prayer
We realize COVID continues to impact people’s willingness to attend in-person events. In light of that, Current MA law requires all voting be done in person at the annual meeting, so only those in attendance may vote on the slate. Proxy votes, call-ins, drive-byes will not be allowed. Windows will be open, and all are required to wear masks.
Yours in Christ,
Being the Body of Christ
I am very proud of our innovation, our commitment to worship and our commitment to each other during these last two years of the pandemic. But recently I was challenged and prompted to rethink my understanding and pledge to continue our livestreaming platform and submission of weekly services to the Swansea Cable Channel. The challenge came from reading the Rev. Tish Harrison Warren’s op-ed for the New York Times, “Churches Should Drop Their Online Services” – January 30, 2022.
She explains: “Bodies, with all the risk, danger, limits, mortality and vulnerability that they bring, are part of our deepest humanity, not obstacles to be transcended through digitization. … Online church, while it was necessary for a season, diminishes worship and us as people. We seek to worship wholly — with heart, soul, mind and strength — and embodiment is an irreducible part of that wholeness.”
I, like many ministers and lay folk alike, have given thought and some pushback to her conclusion. I don’t think anyone would argue with Warren’s desire to have embodied wholeness. I, and many others, hear the op-ed as Warren’s limited view of wholeness. But that view also privileges a false wholeness, in a way that excludes.
The pandemic forced the church to rethink how we stay connected in Christ. That was a good thing. I think back to when I was a child and getting to church was a real physical challenge for my maternal grandmother, Elsa Hesse. She suffered with MS, multiple sclerosis. It is a disease that slowly affected her by gradually restricting her movement over time and difficulties with coordination and balance. She and my entire family were active people in the church. As her condition began advancing, the church began adapting. They would add hand railings, and then a ramp, and then finally physically lifting her wheelchair into church. These were the days before the Americans with Disabilities Act or other laws providing for the inclusion of folks with disabilities of all sorts. The church responded because of her. Where no one had even thought of handrails up the front and side steps prior, they were quietly installed. The ramps were quietly built to help her into her much-loved church. Similarly, as my grandparents aged and could no longer come to church, they would have “church” every week while listening on the little AM radio to the Lutheran Hour. This became their church, along with visits from other members of the church.
I understand Harrison Warren’s call to physically be the body of Christ in person, in the flesh, in the set-aside worship space. But I find her myopic vision excludes so many. Many of our faithful watch because they live on another continent. Some worship in North Carolina because this was the church their father served in during his time in Swansea. Some watch from Fall River, Massachusetts, Hesse Germany, Adelaide Australia, Jos Nigeria, and Thousand Oaks California…..There are so many places that are being reached because of the forced need to be the Body of Christ during a pandemic. Whatever the reason we are a people of Christ that must always be open to new and different ways to be the church. This change is not to replace a traditional church but to build up the body of Christ across the globe.
I feel we responded, as best we could, to be the Body of Christ. Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry reminded us in his Easter message, “We will not cease, and we will not give up, until this world reflects less our nightmare and more God’s dream –where there’s plenty good room for all God’s children.”
Yes, Elsa and Walter missed the hugs at church, the wonderful church coffee brewed with egg shells, and the sound of the collectively sung hymns, but they still belonged. Their participation changed, but they were still part of something much larger. They were part of something providing purpose and direction in their lives. That purpose and direction we are given by Jesus Christ can come in person, over AM radio waves, through local access, webpages, or social media.
I am quite sure God doesn’t need us at a particular location in the physical sense. What, I think, is needed is for us to be connected to the Body of Christ by any means we can find.
Well done, Christ Church. Well done being evangelists for Christ Jesus.
Blessings in Christ,
The Reverend Alan R. Hesse, 25th Rector of Christ Church
Prayer Shawl Ministry
article by parishioner
As a relative newcomer to Christ Church, I was not aware of the Prayer Shawl Ministry. Let me introduce you to two of my friends Ann and Annette. Ann and I have been friends for over 50 years and Annette and I about eight years.
Ann was back in Massachusetts (she lives in Florida because of possible need for open heart surgery. I had seen Annette in May and found out she had undergone surgery for pancreatic cancer. Ann and I went to one of the concerts under the tent. While talking to Ann, Fr. Alan found out about Ann’s pending surgery. I also discussed Annette with him, and he brought out a prayer shawl for each of them. Ann fortunately did not end up needing open heart surgery.
I knew I wouldn’t get to see Annette, so I mailed the shawl to her with a card explaining where it came from. A few days later I got a call from a very emotional Annette, thanking me for the shawl and our prayers. “Hi Gayle. This is Annette. I want you to know that my cancer has spread to my liver. I want you to know that the prayer shawl you sent has been a great source of comfort. I use it at home and bring it with me to the hospital when I get my chemotherapy treatments. Thank you for such a thoughtful gift. Bless all of you that knit these shawls. Know that they mean so much to those that receive them.”
Guest Article - From the Pews
It’s a rainy morning as I sit here starting out the window and listening to the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics .. you see the games are being held in China and I say to myself , China, why China they are one of the most feared places in the world as far as global peace… but here it is live on TV broadcasting from China with no feeling of fear.. Then you see President Putin, another feared world leader sitting in the audience calm as could be.. like everyone is best friends..
you forget about war, Covid-19’ and all the changes that it brought to us just for that moment…
I then bring my grandson to the bus stop and while waiting for the school bus we play Raindrop On The Window game and I make him giggle cause my raindrop loses .. he made my day with his little giggle and I made his day by him winning..
And I say to myself why.. why can’t we live in peace.. why can’t the world be one big game and everyone gets along…
And I say to myself, what a wonderful world… Peace everyone S.S.
Shirley Stasiowski - vestry member
Those we hold in our prayers.
We hold Lorna Gregory in prayer, following the death of her beloved husband, Jack.
Al B., Ali, Alice K., Amanda T., Ann J., Annette L. Ashley, B. Joyce D., Barbara M., Barbara P., Beverly S., Bill B., Bill T., Bob B., Bobby C., Brian B., Brian V., Bruce B., Carol A., Carol T., Charles O., Cherie B., Cheryl A., Christopher I., Claudine S., Dale D., Daniel P., David P, Debbie M., Deborah H., Desiree, Dick N., Donna T., Dorothy P., Dylan B., Ed G., Emmett, Gloria I., Hank F., Hannah L., Heather O., Helen H., Hunter., Jack D., James S., Jan G., Jan W., Janice B, Janice T., Jason S., Jeannette W., Jenny, Joan, Jo-Ann M., Jody F., John B., John C., John G., Judy B., Judy F., Julie C., Julie G., Julie S., June R., Kathleen L. Kimberly M, Kristin F., Larry W., Laurie T., Lawrence A., Lea V., Libby H., Lisa E., Manuel R., Mark A., Mark B., Mark W., Marsha G., Mary Alice M., Mary Lou, Michael F., Missie S., Nan S. Nancy B, Nancy H., Otto, Pauline G., Rachel S., Raymonde F., Raymond L., Rebecca J., Rhonda F., Richard S., Rob L., Robert H., Robert S., Robin S., Sandra B., Simona X., Simone B., Steve B., Steve C., Sue S., Terry L., Tom K., Tony F.,Vicki W., Waylon D., Will H.
*Please contact the office to add people or update our prayer list. For privacy reasons, we do not use last names.
Parish Office Hours
Christ Episcopal Church
57 Main Street
Swansea, MA 02777
Parish Office 508-678-0923
Al Deston, Minister of Music
Susan Correira, Office Administrator
The Reverend Alan R. Hesse
508-505-5668 (during business hours)
February 13 - Sunday
8am Holy Eucharist and 10am-Holy Eucharist with Livestream.
Annual Meeting to follow 10am Service. Childcare provided.
February 17- Thursday 6pm-Women AA (closed meeting)
February 20 – Sunday
8am Holy Eucharist and 10am-Holy Eucharist
February 24-Thursday 6pm-Women AA (closed meeting)
8am Holy Eucharist and 10am-Holy Eucharist
March 2nd -Ash Wednesday Service with imposition of ashes 12 &
March 3- Thursday 6pm-Women AA (closed meeting)
March 5-Saturday 8-10-Veteran’s Breakfast
8am Holy Eucharist and 10am-Holy Eucharist with Livestream.
Serving Sunday February 13
Dave McCarthy and Alan Scott, Lay Ministers
Bruce Simbro and Alan Scott, Lectors
Linda Gazard and Shirley Stasiowski, Greeters
Peggy Deston and Carol Aubin, Altar Guild
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