Winter 2018
NORTH CENTRAL REGION CONVOCATION
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2018 from 9 am - 1 pm
@ The Commons : 290 Pratt Street, 3rd Floor, Meriden, CT 06450
This event is open to ANYONE affiliated with a parish or worshiping community in the North Central Region. Not sure what the North Central Region is? Visit our website. Our Convocation will feature Bishop Laura Ahrens & your fellow members of the North Central Region. This is a time for us all to gather to pray, play, and eat together as we imagine where God is calling us next. For those of you with kiddos, childcare will be provided. So mark your calendars, and come and see!

To register visit our EventBrite Page: https://northcentralconvocation2018.eventbrite.com
For a flyer you can download and share with your community click here .
Greetings from your Region Missionary
One of my favorite things about being a Region Missionary is the opportunity to witness community in action . Living into God's Mission to heal and restore creation is no small feat. At times, it can be a down right daunting task. However, I am repeatedly reminded that God has not called us into this work alone. We have each other and we need each other. We need community , for it is in community that we are able to share our stories, our hopes, and our dreams. It is where we lament and share our burdens. It is where we make space to reflect and find inspiration to move forward. Above all community is where we build prayerful relationship and practice a way of living that will ultimately usher in a more loving, more Christ like world. Community is our foundation for change. This issue of the NC Quarterly focuses on community. Below you will read about a new recovery community in Middletown, a spiritual gathering in Plainsville, and an interfaith partnership in Southington. Each community is unique and they all share one thing - they all seek to build transformative relationships. In his Mission Sunday Address, Presiding Bishop Curry reminds us that " No man is an island entire unto itself (John Dunne). Indeed, none of us are islands entire unto ourselves. We are part of a greater community..." May this upcoming Lenten season be a time of communal exploration and discernment for us all.

Erin Flinn
NC Region Missionary eflinn@episcopalct.org
Mobile: 860-966-3742

Office Hours/Location
Fri. 10 - 12 pm & 1 - 3 pm
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
Recovering-Restoring-Reconnecting in Middletown
Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Philip; make communion with all of these. But Philip said, “By no means, Lord; for I have a parish and a big steepled pile of rocks with Tiffany windows and an endowment to manage.” The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God is doing in your neighborhood, you must not call inane.” And suddenly a Eucharistic Community with twelve men and women from seven various denominations on Friday evenings became an official ministry network [ Click to continue ]

In the Fall of 2017 a group of lay and ordained Christian ministers began to meet on Friday evenings at Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland. Most in the group were in recovery themselves and all in the helping professions. It was important to these Christian leaders that they manifested strength and optimism for the people that looked to them for guidance and support. While they loved what they did it could be draining and exhausting. They desired community, and what they found on Friday evenings was a group of people that loved Jesus and carried heavy professional burdens. They discovered they didn’t have to be strong for anyone in that room. When they met together they received what they needed to go back out and serve the Lord by serving his people.

This diverse Recovery Ministry Network which began communing in early September launched a Friday night fellowship called New Life Journey on January 19, 2018. New Life Journey Recovery Ministry Network is a Christian faith-based support community rooted in fellowship, compassion, and a desire to “abide” together. The group has rented space at the First Church, 90 Court Street, Middletown so that meetings are accessible to many local folks who are un-housed and on foot. People are also shuttled from the Eddy Shelter in Middletown and Rushford's Stonehaven residence in Portland with a van provided to us by Cross Street ME Zion Church. On January 26th, almost half the twenty six co-ed residents at Stonehaven opted to be collected to attend our first public meeting.

On January 19, the attendance at the launch of New Life Journey was remarkable. Clergy from more than a dozen churches throughout Connecticut were present including four of six ECCT Region Missionaries. Our missionary, Erin Flinn, offered a Holy Spirit impassioned affirmation for the Christ witness this ministry ( to read an excerpt click here).

Going forward New Life Journey plans to create a network of faith-based recovery community homes in Meriden, Middletown and Portland to be joined with the Connecticut Coalition of Recovery Residences (CCOR). The Woods now operate a four bed women's residence in Middletown and on December 29, 2017, Rev. Bjornberg purchased a four bedroom house on Main Street in Portland which will become a faith-structured home for six to eight residents.

Recovery is not a term exclusive to substance use disorders – it is a process applicable to the vast diversity of humanity in our various stages of life. New Life Journey Recovery Ministry Network joins God's mission of restoration and reconciliation by: Recovering - Restoring - Reconnecting our right relationship with God, with Creation, and with one another.

To the read the complete call narrative of how New Life Journey came to be click here .
For a pamphlet you can download and share, click here .

-Rev. Phil Bjornberg, Missional Priest-in-Charge
Trinity, Portland 
Creating CIRCLES of Community at Our Saviour
CIRCLES, in a sentence, is a celebration of peace and love in the sharing of songs, stories, poems, crafts, food, and fellowship for all persons of all ages. We check politics and religion at the door in order to recognize those things that bring us together (rather than things that separate us). Most of us often hear the phrase "spiritual but not religious" - that is the starting place for CIRCLES
I love CIRCLEs as it is such a kind and accepting place. 
There is a sense of peace that is lacking once you step outside the doors and it safe to let down your guard and just be with a great group of people. I love that it is a place where kids can be kids and they can interact with all sorts of folks while having fun. Zachary loves that there are snacks and crafts while I delight in the music and conversation. - Amber Page Gehr,
Member of the CIRCLES community
We developed the name "Circles" from at least two sources: first, the concept from eastern and native peoples culture that life is a circle and that when one has a spiritually fulfilling life they "complete the circle" and from the Harry Chapin song " all my life's a circle - sunrise and sundown." We are children and adults, we are infants and eighties, we are all colors and creeds and no colors nor creeds. We are CIRCLES.

CIRCLES began in Fall of 2016 at Church of Our Saviour in Plainville. The idea was simply to try something different; to reach out to our community with an open celebration that would be fun for all persons of all ages. We started with a half dozen folks and have grown to gatherings of thirty or more. We have included folks from the church across the street and we have taken Circles on the "road" to meet in other locations. We begin and end each gathering with songs. In between, folks share things that they have brought with them, we have a story time for children, we have crafts for all ages, we have a time of sharing food and fellowship. We have fun with a focus on what is positive and good; a celebration of peace and love. 

Our next CIRCLES gathering will be on Sunday, February 11 at 2:00 P.M. (Church of Our Saviour, Plainville). We would be happy for you to join us. Or, perhaps, we could come to you; have guitar will travel. 
- The Rev. Link Hullar, Priest-in-Charge
Church of Our Saviour, Plainville
& St. John's, Bristol 
Crafts - Community - Stories
February, a Time to Focus on Mission
The last Sunday in Epiphany of each year is designated as World Mission Sunday – a time when the church comes together to focus on the global impact of our call to “seek and serve Christ in all persons.”

Listen to Presiding Bishop Curry speak about World Mission Sunday, celebrated this year on Sunday, February 11 .
Join in God's Mission with the Companions in Mission
The Companions In Mission Ministry Network is a fellowship of clergy and laity from various parishes and mission organizations within the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Our mission is to Inspire, Encourage, and Equip individuals and parishes for active mission engagement locally and around the world. We meet regularly for prayer, mutual encouragement, sharing of information and strategies for mission and to fulfill certain responsibilities delegated to us by our Bishop and Diocesan leadership.

Our duties include: Planning and organizing an annual mission event, usually held on the first Saturday of March • Planning occasional regional missional gatherings to focus on some aspect of mission engagement (for example: missions in Haiti, funding sources, etc.) • Discussing and approving $1,000 Travel Grants to aid parishes and individuals participating in foreign mission opportunities • Discussing and approving Sustainable Development Grants, which are distributed from .07% of the diocesan budget • Discussing and approving grant requests made to the Companions in Mission for Publishing & Communication, which are distributed from a special endowment fund. For more details click here.

All members of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut are welcome to participate.
Currently, members of the Companions in Mission are inviting individuals to meet with them for a cup of coffee to share mission stories and discuss how they might become involved with this wonderful group. If you would like to meet with a member please email their convener, Rev. Amjad Samuel
SAVE THE DATE - March 3, 2018
Once a year we put together a Mission Conference. This year the theme is: “GO”. Please plan to be inspired, encouraged, and equipped for your calling in the mission field. We will gather on Saturday March 3rd, 8:30 am – 3 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, West Hartford
St Paul’s will Rise Against Hunger on March 3rd
On March 3, St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Southington will partner with Rise Against Hunger to hold our 2nd Annual Meal Packaging Event to create 10,152 meals. We need to provide at least 60 volunteers and $2,944.08 to purchase the raw materials for the meals. This year members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Meriden will also be joining St. Paul's in their mission on March 3rd, and have committed to sending enough volunteers and funds to provide an additional 1,000 meals, bringing the daily total up to 11,152 meals! Our relationship with the Ahmadiyya community began last spring when Zayir Mannan was invited from the Muslim community to speak as part of our Adult Formation program. He gave a great presentation that was very well received by all. When Mannan heard that we would be hosting Rise Against Hunger this year he reached out to us saying that his community would like to help us and increase our meals by 1,000!! Fruit of the spirit from one small seed!!

Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization (formerly Stop Hunger Now) that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable, mobilizing the necessary resources to end hunger by 2030 by nourishing lives, responding to emergencies and empowering communities.

This will be St. Paul's second time working with Rise Against Hunger. On March 25, 2017 St. Paul’s provided 63 volunteers and donated over $3,000 to Rise Against Hunger. Our volunteers assembled, weighed, sealed, and packaged over 10,152 meals. Our meals were then added to a shipment containing 285,100 meals and sent to the Rise Against Hunger in-country partner, Islamic Relief - Distribution in Mozambique.  The meals were used for a 3-year school-feeding initiative to improve nutrition for school children and to increase enrollment and attendance rates at schools.

The March 3rd event runs from 9:30 to 11:30 at the Elk’s Lodge in Southington.
DO YOU WANT TO JOIN US?
Use our event page to register and/or donate.
Have further questions?
 Contact Tim Bottone for more information.
- Trish Leonard & Tim Bottone
Members of St. Paul's, Southington
Thank you...
Below is an open letter from Deacon Bonnie Matthews expressing gratitude to all who partook in the Boot Party on December 9th at Hartford City Hall. Her gratitude extends to all who donated and all who volunteered.

December 10, 2017

Dear All,

God is Good, All the time. God was especially good today. I was so blessed with the hard work and generosity of the 20 volunteers who came to the Boot Party at City Hall to serve the homeless. I thank you for taking a chance on driving or taking the bus with the weather that was forecast. I pray you have all arrived home safely and will be able to give witness about your experience at services tomorrow. We had extra people come and I do not have their email addresses. If you know of some please extend my heartfelt thanks to them.
 
The generosity of the North Central and Northeast Regions allowed us to hand out personal care packages to all in need. Because of the selfless giving, and a lower turnout of clients than expected, we have extra personal care packages that we will distribute through Church Street Eats and a few of the Hartford area shelters.
 
We are commanded to love our neighbors. Your care, concern and compassion for those who are homeless, demonstrates that love. Thank you for organizing care packages, distributing lunches, being hospitality hosts and hostesses, washing and massaging feet and listening with a caring heart. Please know that this could not have happened without each of you being present. 

May you be blessed with reflections of today during the remainder of the Advent Season.

Upcoming Events
Region Sponsored Events:
2/24 - North Central Region Convocation at The Commons. Anyone affiliated with a North Central Region parish or worshiping community is welcome! Click for more information and to register
Parish & Ministry Network Events:
3/3 - Companions in Mission Annual Conference, 8:30 am - 3 pm at St. John's, West Hartford.

3/4 - Celebrate Grace, Hartford's 150 years with Cookies & Characters from 1-3 pm.

3/9 - Cuatro Puntos and Christ Church Cathedral invite you to join them for music, food, and a discussion on the issue of violence in the community, 7 pm at Our Cathedral in Hartford.

3/24 - Women's Ministry Network Event, Equipping and Empowering God's Women: A Way Forward, 9 am - 1:30 pm at our Cathedral.

4/7 - ECCT Spring Training, 9 am - 4 pm at Lincoln Middle School, Meriden, CT.

5/3 - Episcopal Church Women's Annual Meeting.


Trinity Institute Conference
If you can't make it into the city for the event, there are partner sites through-out Connecticut. Click on a location for more info & to register.

Grants Opportunities
United Thank Offering Grant

Application Deadline is March 2 at 5 pm Eastern - Applications are now accepted for the 2018 United Thank Offering grants. The application forms and more information are available at bit.ly/2018UTO. The focus for the 2018 United Thank Offering grants is Becoming the Beloved Community: Racial Healing, Reconciliation and Justice. Information on Becoming the Beloved Community is available here: bit.ly/becomingbeloved. “UTO is inviting our entire church to embrace the JESUS movement and to work toward “Becoming Beloved Communities,” commented Sandra K. Squires, Ed.D., United Thank Offering Board President. “UTO looks forward to funding bold efforts to heal racial divisions within parishes and dioceses.” Known worldwide as UTO, the United Thank Offering grants are awarded for projects that address human needs and help alleviate poverty, both domestically and internationally in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. United Thank Offering was founded to support innovative mission and ministry that the Episcopal Church budget has not yet expanded to fund and to promote thankfulness and mission in the whole Church. Click here for a flyer.
Communications for the North Central 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.
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 can 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 April beginning of May.