March 2021
We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts, that we who have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP, Collect for The Annunciation, 25 March, pg 188)
An Important Note: when registering for a ZOOM event via EVENTBRITE, please SAVE the confirmation email you get - the ZOOM link will be found WAY AT THE BOTTOM of that email.
A Word of Encouragment from your NE Region Missionary
Hello dear siblings in Christ,

I hope that this monthly Missive finds you well. I've been spending quite a bit of time listening, discerning, and reflecting with your NE Region Leadership Team. You will notice that in this month's Missive there are two new "try-ons" happening that we would like to invite you to participate in: a new social media activity and an opportunity to make a new friend via pen-pal.

I've also spent some time reflecting on my own life during this past year. I find myself reviewing what new practices I have tried on over the course of the year, which ones have worked and which ones it's time to let go of. A lot has happened in a year! I've discovered painting, assigned a higher value to silence, dedicated time each morning for dwelling in God's word (except sometimes the new puppy makes that hard!), and cooked what feels like a million meals for my small family.

I think we have all made some interesting adjustments in the past year! Are there adjustments that you've made that you are enjoying? Are there ones that just aren't working and need to be reimagined or let go of? Have your values changed any in this past year? As we move deeper into Lent, I've been thinking about values - what am I investing my energy in and what no longer requires my energy? Lent is a good time to take stock of our time - how we spend it, and how we FEEL spending it.

I recently told my Spiritual Director that Lent is like a desert place. It's uncomfortable but not unfamiliar to me. This is a place of reflection - a pause in the frenzy of to-do's and deadlines. I would invite you, during Lent this year, to embrace a feeling of reflection and rest. Walk with Jesus in this dry place, engage in some conversation, and let yourself rest here trusting that God will do what God needs to do, so that we might come back refreshed and ready at Easter. Amen.

Photo by Maggie Breen
Connecting to the Wider Body of Christ:
calendar of events

2 - NE Region Wardens Gathering, 7pm

4 - Faithful Futures, 6:30pm - click here to register

7 - NE Region Quiet Day: Lament, 2:30pm - click here to register

11 - NE Region Parish Liaisons, 6pm

13 - ECCT Leadership Gathering, 9am

15 - Crafting in Proximity, 5:30pm

15 - NE RLT Meeting, 7pm

18 - NE Region Missionary Office Hour, 4pm

19 - NE Region: The Church & The Opioid Crisis, 7pm - see below for details

20 - ECCT Mission Council, 9am

30 - ECCT Renewal of Vows, 9am

*for more detailed information on ECCT events, please visit the calendar!


1 - ECCT Faithful Futures, 6:30pm

6 - Crafting As Spiritual Practice planning meeting, 11 am

6 - NE Region Wardens Gathering, 7pm

15 - NE Region Missionary Office Hour, 5:30pm

15 - NE Region Parish Liaions, 7pm

17 - Spring Training Plenary

19 - NE RLT Meeting, 7pm

21 - Crafting in Proximity, 7pm

*for more detailed information on ECCT events, please visit the calendar!
Church & the Opioid Crisis
Did you know that 1/3 of Medicare patients are prescribed opiates? How about an opiate for that chronic cough after coronavirus? Narcotics are used to treat a myriad of illnesses and are widely used throughout our society. We will discuss what opiates are, the effects on the body, what an overdose looks like and how to help during an overdose, including using naloxone.

Naloxone (Narcan, brand name) can help during an overdose. It is easy to access and easy to administer. As more and more people are dependent upon narcotics, having naloxone on hand has become imperative in making a difference in the lives of those at risk of an overdose. 

Participation is limited and will include a hands on portion. The class begins before we Zoom. Students will need to go to their local pharmacy and pick up a naloxone rescue kit or order Narcan before we meet. Please note that naloxone is available for free or discounted prices.

Please go here to register: EVENTBRITE - please save your confiramtion email as the zoom link and homework links are at the bottom of that email.

About our presenter: Rebecca Stearns -
I’ve worked in EMS as a provider for over 15 years and an instructor for the past decade. I have seen first hand what the current opioid epidemic is doing to our communities, not only by treating patients, but first hand with my own friends and family. I have been able to work in outreaches all over the world and have been heartbroken by our approach to those in need here in the US.

Besides working in EMS, I am currently working on finishing my MPH and hope to finish my PA next. As part of my studies, I am serving as an AmeriCorps member at the Community Health Center as a Medication Assistance Treatment Outreach, providing education on treatment options to patients, their friends and family, and providers.

I am also the Mission and Outreach Chair at St. Paul’s Windham Center. We are part of a community that was brandished, years ago, by a news story labelling us “Heroin Town”. The piece never took into account the dedication of our community to each other or the fact that we certainly were not the only town in the midst of this epidemic. It’s far past time for Connecticut to not be a place known for the many aspects of the opiate crisis – from the drug companies based here, to the roads leading to large distributions hubs in surrounding states; but to become a leader in once again making people whole.

Stay Tuned:
Be on the lookout for some special NE Region Announcements with information on ways you can join with other folks from across ECCT!
Stories From Around Our Region
St. Peter's in Hebron hosts socially distant outdoor cabin fever gathering

In years past, it has been our tradition to host two events during the winter for our parishioners: The Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner and a cabin fever party to raise funds for heating the church. With the pandemic this year, we had to think "outside the box" to come up with something that would be safe and still allow us to gather together.

We had originally planned to have an outdoor celebration on Shrove Tuesday, combining Mardi Gras and Cabin Fever, in the evening. Mother Nature decided that an ice storm would be more appropriate that day, so we postponed our event until the next Sunday in the afternoon.

What a blessing that we had to move the Cabin Fever celebration to Sunday afternoon. The mild weather and having bright sun made the event more safe for everyone! We had 8 fire pits in the parking lot, and invited people to bring chairs and sit around the fires. Mask wearing and social distance were required, which did not pose any problems.

Our event planning crew went all out, having hamburgers, hot dogs, hot chocolate, coffee, and delicious, freshly made Polish Paczckis. Servers handed out food safely, while other workers tended to the fires in the firepits.

It was a great way to safely gather together as a parish, which we had not done since the late summer. The bright sun, children running around outside, excellent food and conversation were exactly what our parish needed at this time. Over 60 people stopped by, and we raised a few hundred dollars, all of which is going to a charity in need in our community.

The Holy Spirit is alive and well at St. Peter's, even amidst the pandemic and all that we have endured this past year.

Article submitted by Rob Mangiafico of St. Peter's, Hebron; Photo by Maggie Breen
St. Joseph the Carpenter
The Holy Family (5” x 7” wood panel) was one of my first icons. We all know that Joseph was a carpenter, but what else?

You will notice that in this icon he looks like a passionate young man. In others he is shown as quite old. Then, there’s the question of children. Mark 6:3 says “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us? (NRSV)”. At first glance this looks like Joseph ‘begat’ the siblings. But many in the ancient church believed that Mary lived as a virgin throughout her life. Her perpetual virginity represented her full and everlasting commitment to being the mother of Christ. You can see she has a gold ornament on her veil and on her shoulder, a third is on her other shoulder, but is hidden by the young Jesus. The three are supposed to indicate that she was a virgin (1) before, (2) during, and (3) after her pregnancy. So, whence the children?

One suggestion was the 2nd century Greek document titled the “Protoevangelium of James”, a book that never quite made it into the Biblical canon. It seems that, in a manner quite similar to Samuel, Mary was brought up in the temple from a very young age. This led her to declare that she intended to remain a life-long virgin. She was still expected to get married, so the priests had a problem on their hands. Their solution was to hold a lottery of old widowers who no longer had any interest in begetting children. Joseph, the father of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and several daughters, was the winner. This is the old man scenario.

Another theory might be similar to the following. In my pre-school years, my house was located right next to my aunt’s house. Outside of that, we were quite isolated. My aunt had a son and a daughter who were within two years of me. We dd everything together. One house was an extension of the others far as we were concerned. We could easily be considered siblings. Something like this, where cousins are considered siblings, could be the case for a younger Joseph. The Bible, itself, offers no evidence that Joseph was older than Mary. What do you think?

BTW, the “Protoevangelium of James” makes for an interesting read. It can be obtained quit cheaply on Amazon.

St Joseph is celebrated on March 19th by the Western Church.

Icon & article by David Clarke, St. John's, Vernon
Some New Ideas from the NE Region Leadership Team:
A Social Media Try-On
I'm embracing the spirit of "trying on" new things with the NE Region social media accounts! Inspired by the recent FORMA conference, I want to invite YOUR participation with the NE Region socials!

On Tuesdays I would like to feature people from across ECCT telling their stories (testimonies) or reflecting on scripture (devotional). Specifically, I want to encourage lay people to engage with this.

It's meant to be easy and fun. If you are curious or have questions, pleas reach out to Maggie at and let me know!
ECCT Pen-Pals Try-On
Do you like getting snail mail? Do you have a stash of pretty notecards just waiting to be sealed in their envelopes and garnished with a stamp? Are you feeling a little bit lonely these days?

The NE Region Leadership Team wants to connect you with a pen-pal! We are hoping that folks from across ECCT would volunteer to be a pen-pal and send notes to a new friendly stranger.

Maggie Breen, your NE Region Missionary, will randomly select pen-pal matches and introduce you to each other by email. Then, you can share your mailing addresses with each other. That way your address is only shared with your pen-pal.

If you are interested in being in the Pen-Pal Pool (alliteration for the win!), please email Maggie at and once there are enough people to match, the postal service will be back in business! So grab your fancy pens, your pretty paper, and your stamps.
Being Disciples & Apostles:
resources for racial healing & justice
If you are looking to get involved with Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation and/or Anti-Racism work but aren't sure where to start, below are a few good resources for you to check out that have been curated by either myself or the good folks involved in the Racial Healing, Justice & Reconciliation Ministry Network:

  • If you are looking to donate money for Black Lives and Communities of Color, HERE is a list of 174 ways to donate put together by New York magazine.

  • Faith & Leadership published an article back in August about how some churches are engaging with antiracism work. Are there ideas from this article that can be used in our congregations?

  • The Episcopal Church (TEC) has created a resource called From Many, One: Conversations Across Difference. I would encourage you to CLICK HERE to learn more!

  • HERE is a link to all of the meditations (to date) that the Racial Healing, Justice & Reconciliation Ministry Network have put together. I would encourage you to share these with your congregations.

Expanding Our Capabilities as Disciples & Apostles:
resources, webinars, and good information (oh my!)

  • *New* The Order of St. Luke, a healing ministry, is offering an online inner healing course. Details can be found HERE and registration ends 28 Feb.

  • *NEW* Desegregrate Connecticut has created a new resource called the Zoning Atlas that can be used to help us understand how our town zoning laws impact our communities.

  • *NEW* Ministry Matters recently publish a very brief article on revitalizing the church during a pandemic - some helpful tips that can be incorporated now and remain with us as we move forward.

  • *NEW* The Office of Public Affairs within The Episcopal Church is offering another round of Becoming Beloved Community grants! Applications are due 12 April - read more about it here!

  • Know some young people getting read for college? ECCT has some scholarships available! Click Here for more details!

  • Did you know that there is a Community Gardens Ministry Network? If you have ever been interested in starting up a Community Garden, HERE is a great How-To resource developed by Letty Naigles of St. John's, Vernon, and shared with permission!
You can find the most recent COVID-19 update from our Bishops HERE (lots of info here, with access to archived things, too)

Need a zoom tutorial? HERE IS A GREAT ONE! Also, if you look under the Livestream Resources section THIS PAGE there are other helpful links!
Let's Learn New Things Together!
Here are some things I've found interesting lately: music, projects, art, articles, etc. May they be of service to us so that we can be in service to others.

  • HERE is a great article by CNN from January called We need more "trauma-free Blackness" - here's a start and it is well worth the read! Lots of excellent recommendations for art, music, literature, social media accounts to follow!

  • I love using Google to help me find new artists to support. HERE is an article with 10 Black Artists You Should Know About!

  • I haven't shared a good TedTalk lately. HERE is one called Indigenous In Plain Sight - a brief history of Indigenous People told by an Indigenous Person. I learned many things watching this 13 minute video.

You can reach Maggie Breen, NE Region Missionary, the following ways:
PHONE: 203-639-3501 x154