Annual Convention Special Edition 2017
Reflection on the 233rd ECCT Annual Convention
Draw us in the Spirit’s tether: For when humbly, in thy name, Two or three are met together, Thou art in the midst of them: Alleluia! Alleluia!!

As I sat in the convention choir rehearsal and heard these words and the connection to the North Central Region breakout session's Dwelling in the Word chosen passage, there was no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit would be present in my first experience at an ECCT Annual Convention. For me, music is a universal language, uniting the souls of all who open their hearts and minds to its message. The message of awareness came through for me in the Eucharist and its music, as Bishop Ahrens shared Phillip’s story of curiosity and the patience needed to listen for God’s voice ahead of our own. Being present in each moment is not always easy in a world filled with so many distractions and it is an ever changing and challenging journey we travel.

While sitting in the convention’s morning session as a visitor and observer, I received my first experience of both the spiritual and real business purposes of the annual gathering. Had I ever considered those two concepts could live side by side? I had only imagined, in all honesty, that I might feel disengaged, even impatient to get to my original purpose in being in that place as a member of the North Central Region’s leadership team and the breakout session that was to follow. During the shared reflections from the passage adapted from Acts, the same message of listening from the previous evening’s sermon spoke to me and I found myself being drawn into something mysterious. It was the grounding in spirituality, acknowledging the presence of the Divine in our midst that made movement forward in the many purposes set forth for the gathering possible. 

I carried that sense of mystery and wonder with me into the NC Region breakout session that followed. It helped me to step outside of my comfort zone and fill my role as a greeter to those walking through the doors of Mead Conference Room with a feeling of anticipation on how the Spirit might be at work. I heard stories of passion and commitment that moved me to tears from those who live God’s mission every day in so many ways. From Deacon Bonnie Matthews, a story of how her own personal experiences opened her heart to provide foot care for the homeless and under-served population in the Hartford area, also providing personal care packages, new socks, shoes, and most importantly, a compassionate ear. Passion and inspiration.

Then Rev. Suzannah Rohman’s message relayed how just 1 year ago, at the NC Region’s break-out session, St. Paul’s, Southington made known their desire to use a piece of their property to further God’s mission of feeding the hungry by starting a community garden. Just by “trying on” a community based approach, St. Paul’s Common Good Garden planted its first garden, providing hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to Bread for Life, the neighboring soup kitchen. Faith and imagination in what possibilities await when God is at work turning a dream into reality.

During a question and answer period, there was respectful, open, honest discussion that resulted in the discovery of different opportunities and ways to come together as a region, all possible through listening with an open heart and mind, the gifts of the Spirit given that morning. I left feeling filled with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to sharing God’s mission.

I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on my experience this past weekend and feel humbled at having been one of the two or three (or seventy) that met together and found God in our midst in so many ways. Alleluia, Alleluia!!

- Trish Leonard, St. Paul's, Southington & Member of the NC Leadership Team
The top left photo, above the article, of the Convention floor was taken by Allison Huggins.
All other photos are from the NC Region breakout session, courtesy of Rev. Rowena Kemp.
Convention Spotlight
At Convention this year there were six short videos played to highlight one example of ministry in each region. To the right is a one minute interview with Nancy Latif, St. John's, West Hartford. St. John's and St. James's of West Hartford are cosponsors of a refugee family (with IRIS of New Haven); Nancy talks about the gift of cosponsoring a refugee family.
From Convention to Convention: Mission Council
Mission Council Models Spirituality in Governance: This year the Mission Council has modeled intentional spiritual practices as we do the work of governance in the ECCT between conventions. Prayer started each meeting and punctuated the day. We invited spiritual Directors from Bethany House to guide us in meditation and reflection on Scripture relating to faithful leadership. This spiritual grounding surrounded our deliberations in a palpable way. We recognized and honored the gifts and contributions of each person. Reliance on the Holy Spirit has strengthened us to look at new ways that people and resources can work cooperatively across parishes and in our neighborhoods. And we are experimenting with new ways of being Church and doing God’s work in the ECCT. It is my privilege to serve on Mission Council with the faithful people from all Regions of the ECCT. 
- Rev. Kathleen Berkowe - kberkowe@gmail.com
Communications for the North Central Region
The question was raised at the North Central Region breakout session: How can we get more information about the Region and how can we become better connected? Below are a few ways to link into the Region.
* Join the North Central Region Facebook Group, a community bulletin board for the region. This is your place to share parish/community events, photos, videos and more.

* Like and follow the North Central Region Facebook Page. This is where the Leadership Team will post news of upcoming Region events, gatherings, conversations, resources, etc.

* If you want to know what your Region Missionary is up to, like and follow her Facebook Page.
* Subscribe to this Quarterly to have stories from the Region delivered straight to your inbox

* Check out the Region Calendar on the ECCT website. Submit your parish events to the Region Calendar here and they will be added to the ECCT Weekly eNews. Be sure to select 'North Central Region' under category.

* Reach out to your North Central Region Leadership Team members

Please note that all of these links can also be found on the ECCT North Central Region webpage.
God's Mission in North Central Connecticut
Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine:
Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church,
and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen. - Ephesians 3:20,21
Opportunity to Serve 600 at Dec 9th Boot Party
Parishes in the North Central Region have an opportunity to participate in a Boot Party to be held at City Hall, located at 550 Main Street, Hartford on Saturday, December 9, 2017. The Boot Party is planning to serve the needs of 600 homeless and disenfranchised people in the Greater Hartford Region. Volunteers will be distributing a morning snack, cleaning feet, and handing out lunches, socks, and personal care packages. In addition, clients will have their feet medically examined by medical professionals and they will be given a new pair of winter boots.
It is the hope of the Region Leadership Team and the North Central Region Missionary that every parish will take part in this event by committing to providing 20 personal care packages with the following travel size items: tooth brush, tooth paste, antiperspirant, shampoo, soap, hand/body lotion, Gold Bond foot powder.
If every parish in the North Central Region provides 20 packages, we will easily make our goal of 600. There are also some parishes in the Northeast Region who are willing to join our effort. Packages can be dropped off at our Cathedral at 45 Church Street, Hartford, CT 06103, Monday-Thursday from 9 am to 12 noon prior to Dec. 9.

Deacon Bonnie Matthews and the planning team are also looking for 20-30 volunteers to help out on December 9. No prior experience or medical training is necessary. Everyone who wishes to help will be trained. The only requirement is that they be willing to serve anyone. Shifts are available from 9-11 am, 11-1 pm, or all day from 9 am -1 pm.

If you wish to volunteer at the Boot Party or provide personal care packages please contact
Rev. Dn. Bonnie Matthews Deacon at bmatthews228@comcast.net
Greetings from your Region Missionary
Happy Thanksgiving! This year I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to serve you as your Region Missionary. At times the journey along God's path may seem uncertain and full of questions - Where is God calling us? How are we to be a Region? What does it look like to live fully into God's call to build a healed and whole creation together as one body in Christ? When these questions arise, I continue to trust in the work of the Spirit and to look for hope and inspiration in every encounter I have out in the Region, be it an encounter with a whole worshiping community on Sunday, or with one or two of God's faithful people in a cafe on a week day. I am also reminded by my colleagues that a region community will take time to develop, for seeds take time to grow. We need not rush; rather we ought to walk forward with purpose, one step at a time. As we shift our energies from Convention to Advent, and enter into a season of new beginnings, I invite you to pause and to wonder how God might be calling us into a new beginning and into new ways of being in our parishes, neighborhoods, region, and beyond.
Erin Flinn
NC Region Missionary eflinn@episcopalct.org
Mobile: 860-966-3742

Office Hours/Location
Fridays, Beginning Dec. 1
10 - 12 noon & 1 to 3 pm
Grant Opportunities
Episcopal Evangelism grants available for local & regional efforts
Application deadline is December 15 -  The application process is now open for the new Episcopal Evangelism Grants Program, designed to fund local and regional evangelism efforts in the Episcopal Church.  “This program will encourage our whole Church to share resources, catalyze imagination, and ultimately cultivate a network of evangelists who can learn from each other and connect with each other,” explained the Rev. Canon Susan Brown Snook, Chair of both the Episcopal Evangelism Grants Committee and the Executive Council Committee on Local Mission and Ministry. The Grants Committee will consider proposals for up to $2,000 for an individual congregation and up to $8,000 for multi-church, diocesan, provincial and other regional collaborations. Groups receiving funding are expected to make a significant financial contribution toward the project, as well. For more information click here.
Application info available for young adult and campus ministries
Webinar slated for December 7 - It’s time to start the process of discerning whether to apply for a 2018 Young Adult and Campus Ministry Grants, which provide funding for dioceses, congregations, and community college/tribal college/university campuses for an Episcopal ministry (or ecumenical ministry with an Episcopal presence). The online application will open on January 2, 2018.  However, information is now available and a webinar has been slated to assist in discerning the application process. “We hope this process is an invitation for communities to consider how Young Adult and Campus Ministry in the Episcopal Church can minister with young adults both on and off college campuses...” explained the Rev. Shannon Kelly, Episcopal Church Officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministry. The grants are for the 2018-19 academic year. A total of $138,000 is available for the 2018-2019 cycle, with a total of $400,000 available for the triennium. For more information click here .
Upcoming Events
Region Sponsored Events:
12/9 Footwear with Care's Boot Party at City Hall located at 550 Main Street, Hartford. Click here for a flyer to share.
Parish & Ministry Network Events:
every Wednesday 5:00-6:30, Old Saint Andrew's, Bloomfield

12/3 In Search of a Prophet, Lecture and Book Signing - Kahil Gibran, Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford



Has your parish completed the ECCT Database Survey?
A survey was launched in July 2017 to provide robust data on parishes, along with policies and procedures to make some of that data available for direct collaboration among parishes and worshiping communities.

Almighty God,
You have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom, BCP p. 102.
This prayer was used during the North Central Region Breakout Session at Convention as a text for dwelling in the word.
Would you like your community or event to be included in the next North Central Region Quarterly? Contact me , your North Central Region Missionary, and let's set up a time to chat so that I might hear your story and be a witness to God's work in your community. The next Quarterly will be sent out at the end of December/beginning of January.