Fall Quarter 2017
Greetings from your Region Missionary
It has been just over three months since I embarked on my journey around the North Central Region of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut as your Region Missionary, and I can say without reservation that it has been a joy and a blessing. I am grateful for the time you have so generously given to me as we chatted over coffee, exchanged stories in parish halls, and walked around the neighborhood on hot summer days.

As the summer turns into fall, I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on all that I have witnessed. To do this, I have started this North Central Region Quarterly, and rather than telling each community's story for them I have asked folks from around the Region to submit short articles and photos. My hope is that this quarterly will bear witness to the vitality of God's mission in Connecticut, and that it will spark imaginations and inspire new ways of participating in God's mission as we come together as a Region to discern where God is calling us next.
Erin Flinn
North Central Region Missionary eflinn@episcopalct.org
Mobile: 860-966-3742
If you see a story below that ignites your imagination or strikes your curiosity, I invite you to reach out to the community for more information. There are a lot of links and emails embedded in this newsletter, so getting in touch with your neighbor should be easy. Likewise, you can always contact me.

My friends in Christ, we have only just begun to walk this journey together. In the fall I look forward to meeting many more of you to worship in your communities, to talk, to preach, and to host a forum as we continue the process of getting to know each other. While it is not possible to visit every parish right away, please know that I hold all of you in my prayers and I do look forward to the day that we meet.

If you would like to follow me as I journey around the region visit my Facebook page and don't forget to join the North Central Region Facebook Group, the perfect place to share your parish and region events with the community. Lastly, if you wish to know more about my role as your Region Missionary, I invite you to read ECCT's Introduction of the Region Missionaries.

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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
Members from Around the Region Partake in Heads Up! Hartford
This summer several ECCT parishes were involved in Heads Up! Hartford , including four from the North Central Region:
St. Luke's in South Glastonbury, Trinity Episcopal Church in Hartford, Trinity in Collinsville, and Grace in Hartford.

Now entering its 15th year, Heads Up! Hartford is a faith-based group of urban and suburban teens— along with adult advisers — who get together for a week every summer and weekends through the year to celebrate diversity, develop leadership skills, and provide community service in the Hartford area. 

Each June, approximately 75 teens from a variety of different churches as well as Hartford magnet schools, live at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield where they are placed on 8-10 teams with two adult team leaders. Each day the teams go out to separate sites to do work at non-profits from cleaning, painting, and gardening to sorting vegetables to playing with preschoolers and visiting with the elderly. During the evening, the teens participate in fun and educational programs as well as a basketball tournament and a talent show. Each day ends with a worship service that includes a slideshow where they can see pictures of everyone’s work day. Weekend activities include collecting donations for local food banks at area supermarkets, building benches or picnic tables to donate to charity, fun and challenging team building activities, and an ecumenical church service designed by the youth. 

Every summer, the teens form new friendships and grow in their faith, responsibility, and commitment. More than half of our adult volunteers are former campers. In 2018, camp will meet from June 21st through June 28th. The cost of the camp is $425, but nobody has ever been turned away and scholarships are available.  

Do you know a youth that might want to be involved with Heads Up! Hartford? Encourage them to attend the Heads Up! Hartford, Super Youth Group , on October 8th at North United Methodist Church.
- Patti Cole, Member of St. Luke's, South Glastonbury
The Rev. Dr. Donald L. Hamer
Rector Trinity, Hartford
& Counselor at Heads Up! Hartford 
The Rev. Linda M. Spiers
Rector at Trinity, Collinsville
& Counselor at Heads Up! Hartford 
Changing the play for kids in Meriden, CT
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Meriden spent the summer working with a community partner to feed up to 300 hungry kids a day in our neighborhood! Our partner in this endeavor, Change the Play (CTP), is a non-profit organization that provides kids with opportunities to learn about music, fashion, entrepreneurship, science, and technology; and seeks to teach kids about total wellness and the arts, and promotes alternative career options.

Knowing that the people of St. Andrew’s love to live out our baptismal covenant by helping to feed our neighborhood, we were approached by CTP in the spring of 2016 about a partnership centering on feeding hungry kids in Meriden. CTP has been coordinating the preparation and delivery of hundreds of meals each day to kids in Meriden throughout the summer and into the fall.

Together we served more than 10,000 meals this summer, knowing that the need is even greater than we can meet at this point. The food was all prepared in our kitchen at St. Andrew’s, much of it prepared by members of our parish.

Like all good partnerships, we’ve learned a lot about each other and how we can do this work better together. Our partnership with CTP has allowed us to engage God’s mission in a new way and to make new friends along the way. It has been a team effort, an inter-generational adventure, and an incredible opportunity to build relationships outside our walls. We give thanks for the opportunity to serve and look forward to how this partnership might evolve in the future. We also learned how to make a mean BBQ chicken slaw-wich!

- The Rev. Marissa Rohrbach
Rector at St. Andrew's, Meriden
Gardening with Bread for Life
This summer Bread for Life, whose mission it is to provide food, fellowship and a sense of dignity to those in need, provided over 2,000 meals to the people of Southington, with the help of their neighbor - St. Paul's Episcopal Church. In 2014 Bread for Life, a community food program, attempted to buy land next to a school. When their request was denied by the zoning board St. Paul's approached Bread for Life with an offer to sell them some of their property. Bread for Life accepted. St. Paul's then decided to use the remaining land to grow vegetables for Bread for Life. Their first crop was planted this spring, and has flourish throughout the summer with the help of many members of the community.
 
Through the generosity of many community businesses, individuals and organizations, the garden is now growing. The community donated the plants, organic materials, shed, labor for the irrigation system, fence and composting system. The St. Paul’s Common Good Garden also received a grant of $500 from the Jack Spaeth Caring for Creation Grant and a $10,000 grant from United Thanks Offering (UTO). St. Paul’s provides the organization, and members of the parish volunteer to maintain the garden, but most of the volunteer labor, including the guidance of four master gardeners, comes from outside of the parish membership. St. Paul's found master gardeners in their community by posting a wanted ad in the local paper.
 
This garden is truly a community effort and would not be possible without community support. In partnership with the community, St. Paul’s strives to provide fresh vegetables to those who might not otherwise have access to them, create a garden that is environmentally friendly, and educate those volunteering about the gardening process. 

- The Rev. Suzannah Rohman, Rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Southington
Establishing Vital Connection through Music & Art
This summer Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland hosted its inaugural summer concert series, Vital Connections Through Music. The music series was an ideal way for us to practice our incarnational theology and promote an alternative "Kingdom" economy of being and sharing, where all win and none lose. Vital Connections offered a spectacularly rich brownstone and tiffany structure as a venue for co-creating artists who, in the sharing of their creative gifts, fed a community hungering for retreat. 

Additionally, the concerts served the community by sponsoring many community organizations with the proceeds that were raised. The proceeds were used to nourish the acute and diverse needs of our brothers and sisters in our greater community including the nourishment of many homeless and wounded veterans (Backpacks for Life) individuals who are blind (Fidelco) impoverished members of our neighborhood (Portland Food Bank) and the abused, traumatized and assaulted, especially vulnerable women and children (Sunrise Foundation and Family Promise). Every artists who participated was chosen because of their relationships in the greater Portland and Connecticut neighborhood. Likewise, each outreach beneficiary was selected because of a direct connection to someone at Trinity. 

The oikonomia of our missional identity and practice at Trinity Episcopal is incarnating a way of being community where everyone brings a dish to offer and has a place and a serving at the table of God's blessing, established and growing through the network of ways we are routinely connected with others in the world day in and day out. The Vital Connections Through Music Series was a succinct way of getting at the heart of our theology. This ministry has opened the floodgates for us to join in interceding for the dire needs of many absolute strangers in our neighborhood, and the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully in this new ministry. 

- The Rev. Philip Bjornberg, Missional Priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland

Trinity Church, Collinsville is Dressing for Success
Earlier this year Trinity Episcopal Church in Collinsville opened  Miriam’s Closet to offer assistance to those who need appropriate clothing for a job interview, the first day of work, or a special occasion. Based on the concept of Dress for Success,  Miriam’s Closet provide s suitable outfits so a person can walk into an interview or the first day of work with their head held high, confident they are properly dressed. 

The  Closet  has clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women of all ages and sizes. Using an emailed form , individuals request the type of clothing they are seeking; volunteers select the outfits and deliver the request to the individual . Miriam's Closet accepts monetary donations and gently used interview and special occasion items. All items are generously c leaned for free by a local dry cleaner. Clothing that is not interview ready, but in good condition is given to the Cathedral for Mother Rose's Boutique .

Recipients of outfits fr om Miriam’s Closet are scattered through-out the state from Canton to Manchester, New Britain, Hartford, Middletown, New Haven, Waterbury and Bridgeport. Some are homeless trying to regain their footing; others are disabled and returning to work, all are struggling to improve their lives. A clean white shirt, a pretty blouse, a nice pair of shoes has the power to lift spirits and inspire confidence. It’s a dignity thing.

- Mimi McGill, Member of Trinity, Collinsville
For more information or to donate clothing:
or call the church office  860-693-8172.
Inquiries can also be made to  mimi@letsworkct.com
Upcoming Events
Region Sponsored Events:
11/1 Learn more about the proposed
2018 budget at Trinity, Hartford
Parish & Ministry Network Events:
10/8 Heads Up! Hartford, Super Youth Group, North United Methodist Church, Hartford

10/15 Episcopal Church Women (ECW) gather for worship, followed by lunch and conversation at Christ Church Cathedral, starting at 10 am. Please RSVP to Shirley Greiman

10/27 Eric Anderson in Concert, Church of Our Saviour, Plainville


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,
We pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages.

Amen.
Excerpt from The General Thanksgiving, BCP p. 101
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.