July 2022
Region Missionary Musings

Dear siblings in Christ,

Welcome to Summer! This is the time in our church life where activities in our parish slow somewhat as people plan their vacations and pilgrimages. I value this time, this pause within the church, and find it's a good time for me to re-collect myself. I have a little bit more internal free space in which to sit with my thoughts and have different conversations with God.

During June I noticed a real shift in my God-conversations. I find myself wrestling with our scriptures in ways I haven't before. I find myself wondering just what the words "Good News" mean. Good News for whom? We had complicated lessons in our Gospels in June - the demoniac sent back to his hometown after being cured, Jesus extoling the dead to bury their dead and to not look behind us, and what to do when people don't welcome us in the name of Jesus. I believe that it's Good News and I also believe that the Good News means change and discomfort. It's a continual invitation to explore deeper, to ponder what it means to accept what Jesus is saying - not just what it means to each of us as individuals but what it means for the wider community.

The demoniac was healed (Good News!) but then sent back to his home town, the very community that cast him out to begin with. By him bringing his Good News to his hometown, he (and by extension Jesus) is asking the town to wrestle with their choices. The man is inviting the community into the deep discomfort and uncertainty that we all face when pondering the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus invites us to consider just what it means to always be looking forward; to take what we have learned and move forward, building the Kingdom one step at a time - one relationship at a time.

Until I see you next, be assured of my prayers for you and your communities.
P.S. There will be no newsletter in August; we will return in September.

Hebron Celebrates Juneteenth
article and photo by Rebecca Stearns,
member of St. Paul's in Windham Center

The Windham Region Interfaith Working Group (WRIWG) was invited by Hebron’s Coalition of Diversity and Equity CoDE to participate at the Juneteenth Celebration in Hebron, Connecticut on Saturday 18 June 2022. This event was not only about bringing awareness to slavery in the North, but about celebrating Black lives.

Hebron CoDE shared historical and present-day information on diversity and equity actions within their town and invited vendors and performers to the event. The Hartford Proud Drill, Drum, and Dance Corp kicked off the event and led attendees into a day filled spirit and dancing. EvaE Peart and Nia Arts as well as Connecticut State Troubadour, Nekita Waller shared history and culture through performance and music. Everyone joined in with them to dance the day away.

It was a joyous occasion as descendants of Lowis and Cesar Peters gathered to share their family history with the community. Cesar had been brought to Hebron as a child of 8 or 9 years old as Rev. Peter’s mother brought him with her to the community. She gifted Cesar to her son. Rev. Peter’s was increasingly unwelcome in Hebron as anti-crown sentiments grew in the 1770’s and his loyalty to the Church of England was not welcome in the Congregational community. When war began the State of Connecticut seized Rev. Peter’s property. Cesar and Lowis continued to live in Hebron and faced many conflicts and attempts to separate their family. In 1789, Cesar and his family were officially freed by the state of Connecticut.

Those in attendance were able to interact with this living history and consider their own relationship to the Peters family through the history of the country. It was also a reminder of why allyship is important to this day and the need to listen to our neighbors' stories.

I personally was encouraged by how many asked about the work we do as people of faith and anti-racists. Antiracism requires us to act, not simply avoid questions around racism. Members of the WRIWG recently built a website with resources to engage in anti-racism on both personal and systemic levels.

When I learned about Cesar’s story, I was impressed by how many in the community knew who he was and admired his work and yet did readily reach out a hand to him and his family. Behaviors like this are still too common, we let fear influence our actions. We are called to the Way of Love and opportunities to engage in love meet us every day.

I hope one day to attend a Juneteenth celebration that occurs when there aren’t echoes violence and racism within our communities, till then I can continue to work towards that hope.
St. Peter's Youth Hebron Part of Juneteenth Celebration: June 18, Burnt Hill Park, Hebron
Allison Forrest, Youth Group Coordinator & Ron Kolanowski, Rector at St. Peter's Hebron

The first Hebron Juneteeth event was a collaborative effort between several groups in the community organized by the Hebron Coalition on Diversity and Equity (CoDE). Some 70 family members who are the descendants of Cesar and Lowis Peters who were enslaved by St. Peter's first rector, the Rev. Samuel Peters joined us along with our Congressman Joe Courtney, state senator Cathy Osten and other community leaders. Entertainers including drumming circles and the state Troubadour provided music and dance for the day. Youth from RHAM High School gave reports on their research as part of the Hebron Witness Stone project. Any proceeds from the event went to benefit Camp Hi-Hoti in Hebron, which was founded 90 years ago in Hebron to provide a camping experience for inner city Hartford Youth. St. Peter's Episcopal Church Confirmation Class/Youth Group were able to participate in the Juneteenth Celebration. The youth sold homemade cake pops and jewelry to help support Camp Hi-Hoti.
In addition, the parish sponsored a food booth at Hebron Day which was held in conjunction with the event and attracted 2500 people.  Event organizer Rich Marzi contacted us with the an email saying, "Hebron Day went beyond all my expectations, partly because we switched the date and our collaboration with CoDE and the car show. and especially to you and St Peter's who understand the importance of getting out in to community, Thank you." Early in the day the health department closed St. Peter's food booth because a handwashing station was forgotten. However, our neighbor at Latin Flavor from Willimantic shared his professional handwashing station and the parish was able to reopen. A true testament to the community feel and a God moment. He later donated the washing station to the parish and is planning to collaborate with the parish in the future.
A Loving Sendoff to Maria Evans

In June the NE Region Leadership Team and the membership of St. John's in Vernon said "until we meet again" to our friend Maria Evans. Maria has served on the RLT for a few years and has been a faithful member of St. John's for many more years. She was celebrated and acknowledged as a gifted member of the parish, and fortified for her next adventure with a famous Cheryl Abbott quilt (a long time member of St. John's). We are sad that she's leaving the NE Region, but wish her all the best with her move South.

Photo credit: Rev. Marc Eames of St. John's.
Upcoming Events and Resources
Anti-Racism Resource

From the Windham Region Interfaith Working Group: a new resource for anti-racism work; a website called Speak Up Against Racism which has a dedicated resource page. You should check it out.

Information shared from St. Paul's, Windham Center, newsletter; picture from SUAR website
Venite App Helps with Bulletins

Did you know that there is help out there for creating your parish bulletin? If that job has fallen upon your shoulders, please go check out and set up a FREE account. Once you set up a free account, you can create bulletins for any worship service that is found in the BCP in both English and Spanish. You can also share the bulletins that you create, download them as PDFs or Word documents, and edit as needed.

ECCT Staff Spotlight: The Rev. Tim Hodapp, Canon for Mission Advancement & Coaching

As Canon for Mission Advancement & Coaching, I collaborate with Episcopalians across Connecticut to build awareness of exactly what we mean when we describe our Baptismal call to live as God’s beloved community. Both within and outside our parish and worshipping community walls, Episcopalians are inspired to step into the neighborhoods where we live and work, play and pray, in a manner that is both attentive and responsive.

In practical terms, I assist by helping church leaders, in particular clergy and vestries, assess the life of the faith community in its totality (worship, faith formation, faith-in-action ministries, neighborhood engagement, Regions, our diocese, and across The Episcopal Church) to ask the question: “What is God inviting us to pay attention to?”

You can reach Maggie Breen, NC & NE Region Missionary, the following ways:
US Mail: The Episcopal Church in Connecticut, The Commons, 290 Pratt Street, Box 52, Meriden, Ct 06450
PHONE: 203-639-3501 x154 (o) 860-214-0085 (c)