June 5, 2021
From Rachel -
There is talk around the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church in Connecticut about Becoming Beloved Community. What a great image, a great aspirational goal: to be in our parish life, and even in our local lives -and even maybe in our country and in the world: a beloved community; where each person knows they are a beloved child of God; where each person loves God, neighbor and self fully.

I’ve just finished the Sacred Ground program put together by Katrina Browne for the Episcopal Church. I heartily recommend it. One of the images it returns to in each session is a labyrinth with four quadrants: Telling the Truth; Repairing the Breach; Practicing the Way of Love; and Proclaiming the Dream.
Each of these is presented as a crucial part of the process of Becoming Beloved Community. We have to hear the truth of each person, and the truth of our history – all the things we never learned in school. We have to work to make amends, to repair what is broken in our relationships, in our systems, in our practices. We have to practice the Way of Love -- worship, pray, turn, rest, learn, go, bless – these are the rhythm we live by each day as we walk the path to Becoming Beloved Community.

Last, but not least, we have to Proclaim the Dream. Dream? What dream? I’d have to say that this is the quadrant that I’ve been reflecting on the most as the course has come to a close. Oh, I’ve read Verna Dozier’s excellent The Dream of God. I love the image she sites of Howard Thurman naming God’s Dream as a “friendly world of friendly folk beneath a friendly sky.” 
What I am discovering is that I am oh, so prone, to let the realities of this world – of unfriendly and even malicious people and ways – stop me from believing and proclaiming the dream that God has for this world. Thanks be to God’s Spirit for this realization; for the invitation to ponder, “What is the dream that God has placed within me? How can I proclaim that, even when it is resisted by others around me?” 

What is the dream God has given you? For life in Christian community? For the place you live? For the world around you? How might God’s Spirit be calling you to proclaim this dream, as a step towards participating in the Spirit’s work of creating Beloved Community?  
Introducing: Your South Central Region Leadership Team
Diane C. Kyle: I have been the convener of the South Central Region Leadership Team for the past 2 years and have been part of the team for 4 years. I also work full time at Mary Wade as Physical Therapy Assistant. I have a bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Southern Connecticut State University. My home parish is Christ Church Guilford where I have been very active in parish life. I was also part of the Sacred Healing Team for 2 years where we were involved with the Sacred Healing Summer Film series.

What I love about our team is that we are a community who enjoy working to together. We respect each other’s strengths and weakness, and we enjoy each other’s company. The team has been very active around racial healing activities and we continue to look for our next steps

We would love to know what God is up to in your parish. Please feel free to contact me with any information on upcoming events or stories that we may can publish in our monthly newsletters:
A life-long resident of West Haven, Lisa Whitney Yarbor is the youngest of 2 daughters of the late Rev. Gladys K. Whitney and the late John B. Whitney. Lisa attended Fisk University, Nashville, TN earning her BS degree in Sociology.
Lisa has been an active member of St. Luke’s Church in New Haven for over 45 years, singing in the Chancel Choir, playing in the Performing and Liturgical Steel Bands, member of the Lectors Guild, Lay Eucharistic Minister, Lay Worship Leader, and finally serving on the Vestry as Parish Clerk since 2002. She is also active in ECCT, currently serving as the South Central Region lay representative to the Mission Council, member of the South Central Region Leadership Team, member of the Racial Healing, Justice and Reconciliation Ministry Network Core Team and the Reparations Task Force.
Lisa has been married to Wesley William Laurence Yarbor for 28 years.
The Rev. Matt Lindeman currently serving as Rector of St. Peter’s Church in Milford, was born in the South Central Region while his father was in seminary at Berkeley Divinity School. His parents were both ordained Episcopal priests in Nebraska, serving there, and in San Diego. 

After experiencing the profound love and call of Jesus, graduating from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, marrying his beloved Anna Einstein, and Peace Corps service in El Salvador, Matt matriculated at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale where he graduated in 2012. Since then he served in youth ministry at Trinity Southport, and now serves as the Rector at Saint Peter’s Milford. Matt has two children, and an abiding love of surfing, mountain biking, and fishing. When the waves are good, you’ll find him surfing in Rhode Island, or dreaming about it. Matt has a passion for collaborative ministry in the South Central Region, particularly in youth ministry.

The Rev. Heidi Thorsen is a Californian at heart, who has found a second home on the east coast in New Haven, CT. She serves at Trinity on the Green as Assistant Rector, and is an associate chaplain at the Episcopal Church at Yale. Heidi’s educational background includes studies at Union Theological Seminary (MDiv, ’17) and Yale Divinity School (STM, ’19), though her greatest education has been encountering Christ in the people around her – at Yale New Haven Hospital, as a chaplain; on the Green, as a former Chapel on the Green Coordinator; and every day, in the many ways our lives intersect with one another.

Hi, I’m Whitney Batson. I’m a long-time member of Grace and St. Peter’s Church, Hamden, where I have served on the Vestry for the last two years. I have been a part of the Young Adult Episcopals (Y.A.E.) for the better part of 3 years and have served as a part of the leadership committee for the last two years. I’m also a member of the Young Adult Task Force leadership team. My goal in joining SC Region Leadership Team is to be a part of some of the changes that are going on in our Diocese. Looking forward to seeing how I can assist!
David Rivera has been a member of the SC Region leadership team since 2015. I felt the holy spirit drawing me to this work and I love it. One of my passions is to encourage young adults (18-35) to be more involved in the church, especially in leadership positions. I have been a member of St. Paul & St. James in New Haven since 2017.
I work part time as the Sexton at Grace Episcopal Church, Hartford, and Office Assistant at The Episcopal Church at Yale. I always felt called to work in the church, serving in many different volunteer roles from a young age, including liturgical assistant and vestry member. In my free time I enjoy traveling around the state enjoying everything Connecticut has to offer, riding the train and spending time with family and friends.

Fun Facts:
I was the youngest vestry member in Trinity New Haven history (18 years old).
I am the youngest member of the SC Region Leadership Team.

Nancy Staniewicz has been a member of the SC Regional Leadership Team for three years. She is Senior Warden at Church of the Holy Spirit in West Haven and is an elected member of ECCT Standing Committee.
Murray Harrison has been attending Trinity Church New Haven since 1989 and was received into the Episcopal Denomination in 2012. Over the years I have served in a variety of lay-leadership roles. I am pleased to serve with the SCR Leadership team because this affords me an opportunity to help promote collaborative Gospel witness / ministry initiatives between parishes and other denominations throughout our regional community and beyond.  
I am particularly interested in the relevance of Biblical prophetic theology to what I believe is the Spirit’s Call to the contemporary Church through Ephesians 5:11 (and elsewhere) to develop a sophisticated understanding of “forensic” history, in order that the Church may be appropriately equipped to raise prophetic voice in proclamation of Gospel Truth to this present generation, and to also thereby bring prophetic witness against those “powers and principalities” relentless in their subversive intent to rule tyrannically over it.
At its most recent Region Leadership Team meeting, the group reaffirmed its commitment to the Vision and Mission statements it had created a couple of years ago:

Vision: To see the South Central Region of the ECCT live out the mission and calling of God in all our particular context by moving from Jesus’ ideas to Jesus’ actions. 
Mission: Our mission is to prayerfully discern the movement of the Gospel by joining Jesus in our neighborhoods, by embracing growth through training and workshops, supporting old and new ministry networks and leaning into our region's calling into youth and young adult ministries.
South Central Region Members of the Bishop's Transition Committee
Your Region Leadership Team was tasked with selecting two members of the Bishop Transition Committee. From the pool of those who offered themselves, they selected the Rev. Helena Martin (who lives in the SC Region) and Joseph Carroll.

The Rev. Helena Martin, Missional Curate, St. Paul’s, Southington
I'm honored and excited to be part of the Bishop Transition Committee. The world is changing, and so far, the church hasn’t kept up. Our consistently declining numbers indicate that we’re not meeting people where they are. We need a bishop who’s energized by that change, more than they’re scared of it. The bishop doesn’t need to be full of creative ideas; rather, they need to empower people—lay and ordained—to be nimble, try new things, and learn from failure. I look forward to this challenging work.
Joseph Carroll, parishioner, St.Luke’s, New Haven: I believe the priorities for the Episcopal Church of Connecticut should first begin with the acknowledgement of our Baptismal Covenant. We further need to hold dear and embrace God’s mission for us especially in light of the ever changing world in which we live. As Episcopalians, we are reminded that we are to love each other as Christ loved the Church. To that end, we must strive to bridge the gap between those who may have benefited from past practices of exclusion and those who have suffered as a result  thereof. I would love for our next Bishop to have an astute understanding of underserved and under-represented members not only within our diocese but also within Connecticut at large.

In addition, the following three people were selected by the ECCT Mission Council after being nominated by the Standing Committee:
Sarah Woodford, Trinity on the Green/The Episcopal Church at Yale.
The Rev. Harlon Dalton, St. Paul and St. James, New Haven
The Rev. Luk J. de Volder, Rector, Trinity on the Green, New Haven
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose those to be considered for Bishop in this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our minstries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Election of a Bishop or other Minister. BCP, p.818
A message from the ECCT Reparations Task Force
Did you know? Work on reparations is not new. The first demands for reparations were made by enslaved people before the Civil War. Several Episcopal Dioceses have already taken up the work of reparations: Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts. Below is the Diocese of New York’s definition for reparations.
Reparations is the process to remember, repair, restore, reconcile, and make amends for wrongs that can never be singularly reducible to monetary terms. The process of reparations is “a historical reckoning involving acknowledgement that an offense against humanity was committed and that the victims have not received justice.*”
*Passage in quotes offered by Bernice Powell Jackson, Executive Minister for Justice Ministry, The United Church of Christ.
What do you notice in this definition of Reparations?
Did you know…? Is an effort of the Reparations Task Force to increase awareness and engagement in the work of Reparations.
Brief factual statements will be shared and readers will be invited to respond.
At this time, we expect to offer these on a weekly basis thru the end of June. We will revisit this plan as needed.
We encourage you to share these posts in your parish communications and conversations.

Members of the Reparations Task Force from the South Central Region are: .  
Cheryl Sharp, St. Peter’s, Cheshire
Valerie Stanley, St. Luke's, New Haven
Lisa Yarbor, St. Luke’s, New Haven.

A full profile of the Task Force members may be found in the following ECCT Blog post.

Have you read the Racial Justice Audit of Episcopal Leadership?

Have you had an opportunity to discuss it with others?

You can find it here.

Food News!
I have no recipe this month: Please send your favorite thing to make and a photo and I'll include them going forward! Thanks to those who came to the SC Region Food Mnistry Network gatherings. More to come on that, but in the meantime here are a couple of resources for you!
Good News Gardens June Gathering - Garden Spirituality 
Tuesday, June 15th at 7:00 ET | 6:00 CT | 5:00 MT | 4:00 PT
In this month's Good News Gardens Gathering Jeannie Marcucci will present on "Garden Elements: Aspects to Garden Spirituality."
Jeannie Marcucci is a candidate to the Diaconate in the Diocese of New Jersey, with a September ordination planned. Jeannie has a master’s degree in landscape design from Columbia University and has practiced landscape design in the Delaware Valley for over twenty years with a focus on residential and small-scale commercial projects. Jeannie also trains DIY homeowner gardeners with in-home garden consultations and guest-speaking events with local farmers markets and community-supported venues. “Good Morning in the Garden,” a weekly blog/newsletter, is the main writing vehicle for Jeannie as “the garden evangelist.”
From the United Way of Greater New Haven

Here's a link to the curated resources from their recent Food Equity Action Challenge Week. Lots of great material here.

And coming up, they are hosting a Call to Action Week: one of the options for involvement is Grace & St. Peter's of Hamden's Dinner for a Dollar!
Tell me a story! Perhaps of youth and young adult ministry? Or of racial healing, justice and reconciliation? Or of working collaboratively to live into God's dream.

Please send any items you would like to have included by July 1, 2021:

AND, if you'd like to help me edit this enewsletter of the SC Region, please be in touch!
Got something happening in your community that you'd like the SC Region to know about? Please reach out to Rachel Thomas and/or upload it to the ECCT calendar here.
O Holy and Mighty God,
In the beginning, you created us in your image. You created us each to be a song of love, a sign of peace, and a collection of hope.
Remember your people, Creator, and bring us together in your enduring
and steadfast love.
Guide our hearts and minds to love all whom you have created, particularly those who identify as LGBTQIA+.
Stir our souls and unsettle us so that we may see injustice and respond with action.
Give to our leaders the wisdom to create a community in which all God’s people have the right to live with dignity and without fear of persecution.
May your peace and love, justice and equality, inclusion and belonging reign supreme;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer offered for Pride month by the Rev. Jenn Pilat of Seabury Life Care Center and Missional Priest in Todos los Santos, Meriden