Checking in: June 6, 2020

Guess what!

Joe Flinn, husband of the Rev. Erin Flinn, North Central Region Missionary, happened to be making lunch one day while Erin and I were talking: BLT's! Homemade sourdough bread and home-grown lettuce - and of course, I had to ask for a picture.

Thank you, Joe and Erin!

This week's BLT comes from the Rev. Ranjit Mathews, Rector of St. James', New London:

The blessings of lament

Thank you, Ranjit+
A community of Theological Imagination
The Rev. Deborah Meister, Associate at Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal,shared these reflections on the ECCT Clergy Facebook Page last week.
More food for our Theological Imaginations about the Eucharist

In the last week, I have benefited from participating in several groups and discussions about church on-line, reopening church, how and whether to administer sacraments, etc. I am deeply grateful for the hard work and clarity of thought and depth of love with which so many church leaders (lay and ordained) are engaging our work in a situation which I don't think any of us could have imagined.
Much of my own energy has gone into the Eucharist question. As a person who prefers to receive daily, I have been devastated that we are not able to celebrate it at all (in my context). But I have become increasingly convicted that this discussion itself may be a sinful diversion away from our primary call. We are expending so much energy on the Eucharist question -- whether to offer it, how to offer it, when to offer it -- when, how, and whether to offer ritual sacrifice, when we are surrounded by actual human sacrifice.
The living image of God is being sacrificed in nursing homes and in poor neighborhoods, crucified on delivery trucks and in hospitals and in Amazon warehouses and in grocery stores which expect people to work but do not give them PPE. It is being knelt on and choked to death and shot in its own living room -- and none of this, none of it, is or can be separated from the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross (the one we re-enact in Eucharist).
It may be that this time of Eucharistic fast is meant to sharpen our hunger until we can care about those broken bodies as much as we care about Christ's (which they are). But I am begging you -- if you have to have these discussions, make a careful decision quickly and stick with it, so that we, the church, can turn our full attention to what is really breaking Jesus' heart, which is not whether we can receive him in the elements, but whether we care enough to honor and protect him in the least of these.
And if we want to think about "This is my blood given for you," perhaps we can consider making a blood donation.
St. David's, Gales Ferry, will be hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive on June 9, 8:30 a.m. -6:00 p.m. Registrations and safety measures available on the Red Cross website.
Being Disciples and Apostles: work on being Anti-Racist
Note from Rachel Thomas, your Region Missionary:
I have been profoundly helped to see my own participation in White Supremacy by the reading that I have done in the last couple of years. I know we white people bristle when we hear that phrase; what has helped me dare to say it is understanding our much I have benefited from being white: I can walk where I want, go birding if I wanted to, shop where I want, move into any space and feel that I can be there. My intent may not be to be racist; but since it's in the air I breathe (like smog), I participate in it. What can I do to change that? Here are some tools and words that I am finding helpful.

Pastor Stacey Kohl of Christ Episcopal Church Norwich shared this test on "Implicit Bias". You have to agree that they can use your responses in research; then, when you do, you see an array of test options. Choose the one marked "Race."

Tom Verde of Calvary, Stonington, sent me a link to this "sermon" by Trevor Noah. I think it provides a helpful understanding of where we are. I was particularly struck by his thoughts about Amy Cooper, the dog walker who called the police on Christian Cooper, an African American birder in Central Park.
Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, released this statement on Pentecost.
In it he calls our attention to the reality that "When the cameras are gone, we will still be here."

How will we be here? Here are links to resources for responding to racist violence from the Episcopal Church.

Dr. Catherine Meeks of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing has a weekly podcast called Brave Space, as well as a three-week webinar "A Cry to God Together: Lament in the Midst of COVID-19." You can access both through their website,

In this broadcast , NPR's Michel Martin talks to Jennifer Harvey, author of  Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America , about how to talk with white kids about racially-charged events.

Sharon Pearson, longtime educator and Christian Formation guru, has these resources on teaching children to be anti-racist.
Being Disciples and apostles: Paying attention to food insecurity

Call for a Day of Giving
Food Drive for Pantries in our Region
June 20, 2020
The ECCT-SE Region Leadership team and the staff of  The Bridge  seek to set aside a particular day, June 20, to link our communities together in our call to respond to food insecurity.
Together on that day, we would like to create a wave of support for our neighborhood organizations, those organizations trying to meet the increased demand for assistance from those struggling through this difficult time.
Many of us have been working diligently to support such organizations as the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantry, the Lord’s Pantry at St. James, Norwich Interfaith Pantry, the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, our local city food lockers and food pantries, Community meal centers, Care & Share, and local community gardens. Many of these efforts have waned as we self-isolate, as we do not visit our buildings, and as we adjust to the new obstacles of getting the food to those who need it.
So, we ask that June 20 be set aside as a day to collect food. Set boxes or bins outside your building; post signs; send out requests to your parishioners to drive by and fill these containers to be delivered to local organizations.
Or request that donations be made to these local organizations on that day.  Food donations are drastically declining ; there are shortages in retail stores;  with retail and with the food industry shut down, their donations, which accounted for approximately 60 percent of the food distributed through Connecticut Food Bank, have drastically declined.
We can help. Let’s flood our neighborhood organizations with our gifts. Spread the word; join together in action; let’s work as one. 
If you need assistance – if you need to know who needs help or what they need ;  if you need help delivering food from the church to an organization ;  if you have a question – OR if you can help with deliveries, contact:
Bev Olsen, , Cell: 757-532-2347 or
Rachel Thomas, , Cell 860-316-8184
Being Disciples and Apostles: sheltering those without housing
The current pandemic has had disproportionate effects on many marginalized communities, included the un-housed population in Connecticut. However, service providers and advocates have been working hard to keep people who are homeless safe and healthy, despite difficult conditions and novel challenges. They have been resourceful, compassionate, and diligent in the face of this pandemic.

We would like to share some of what has been happening behind the scenes at the New London Homeless Hospitality Center as well as across the state. Join us on Sunday, June 14th at 1pm for a Zoom webinar featuring Cathy Zall, executive director of the Homeless Hospitality Center. Learn more about how advocates have been responding to this crisis, and how you can help, even as restrictions are beginning to ease throughout the state.

To participate in this webinar,  please register here   . The webinar is free and open to all, but you must register in advance. We hope many of you can join us for this informative and important event.
Invitation to pray at the summer solstice:
Connecting to the body of Christ, as disciples in the care of creation
Join Rachel Thomas and others in a livestream of guided meditation and prayers at the summer solstice. June 20, 5:40 pm. Find a place outside where you can put your barefeet (!) on the ground, and join us on Facebook live @SoutheastRegionECCT
Being disciples and apostles: learning, caring, sharing

The "Joining Jesus in the New Missional Age" group in St. John's, Essex, painted rocks recently.
They'll be leaving them in the mediation garden on Main St., and in "various rambles around town."

Open EfM Meeting, Monday nights 6/1 and 6/15 @ 6 PM: T he Education for Ministry group at Church of the Epiphany, Durham has openings for the September 2020 class. We invite anyone who is interested or curious about EfM to attend one of our Zoom sessions . People should call or email Victor Friedrich, our Zoombie, for the meeting ID and password, at 347-366-5048 or
Webinar on Psychological First AId
The Church Pension Group put together a helpful webinar to learn how Psychological First Aid, a World Health Organization-endorsed approach to post-crisis mental distress, may help increase our capacity to cope. Anyone can practice these strategies.
Hear a clinical psychologist share
  • ways to identify warning signs of distress
  • a perspective on why post-stress reactions are normal
  • how Psychological First Aid may help

Mike Corey, Chair of CT Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

presented a one-hour helpful webinar on "The Disaster Response and How you can help today."

It's available by clicking on the video below
Liz Harris Cannonball Road Race in Preston in on!
The race was established in 1992 in an effort to support Youth Programs offered by St. James Episcopal Church in Preston, following the untimely death of Liz Harris. Ms. Harris was known as “Aunt Liz” to hundreds of Children in the Preston community, and a faithful member of St.James’. The Program has raised around $186,000.00, used as scholarships for children to go to camp.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 29 th running of the event will be a little different this year. On June 18 th staring at 6:30 until 7:00 pm, we will be holding a “Car Parade” which will still benefit the “Kids to Camp” program. The “Car Parade” will Thank and honor pandemic front line responders, over 1,000 volunteers, the late Liz Harris (Auntie Liz), Father David L. Cannon and Race directors Tim and Kris-Anne Kane. At 6:30 PM, participants will meet at the Liz Harris Softball Field at the Preston Community Park. At 6:45 Autos will proceed to Route 2A south end of School House Rd. Preston. Autos will proceed in single file and stop near old school grounds to wait for 7:00 pm traditional race Cannon to sound off its BOOM, signaling autos to begin blowing their horns as they exit School House Road at the Route 2 north end and return home safe.
or to our Facebook page: St. James Episcopal Church. A donation may also be sent to St. James Church, 95 Route 2A, Preston, CT 06365; ATTN: LHCB on the envelope and checks can be made out to LHCB ST. James Church. Thank you!
Fed by Word and Sacraments:
Midweek opportunities for worship and study

Daily Noonday praye r:  St. James’, New London
St. Ann's, Old Lyme, 9:00 p.m. Compline

St. Stephen’s, East Haddam , 8:00 a.m. and noonday; 
St. Ann's, Old Lyme, 10:00 a.m. Morning Prayer via Zoom
St. James’, New London , 10:00 a.m. Bible study via zoom – details at
St. Andrew's, Madison , 7:00 p.m. Compline
St. John’s, Essex;   9:00 a.m  Link to YouTube channel at
Grace, Old Saybrook: 10:00 a.m. Healing prayers
St.Mark’s, Mystic, 11:00 a.m.  St. Mark’s Live - a grab bag of classes and conversations

St. Stephen’s, East Haddam 8:00 a.m. and noonday.

St. James’, New London , 10:00 a.m.  Fellowship, sharing, visiting time.

Grace, Old Saybrook , 7:00 - 8:30 p.m . : Zoom bible study of John's Gospel on 1st and 3rd Thursdays. Contact for zoom link.

St. James', Preston and Grace, Yantic, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Dwelling in the Word and Compline Join Zoom Meeting ;
password 246835 Meeting ID: 662 330 272
One tap mobile +16465588656,,662330272# US (New York)

Deacon Ron Steed is hosting a weekly, guided healing-prayer meditation on Fridays at 8:00 am on zoom."I lead you into a safe and quiet space with silence and storytelling, then guide us through some healing prayer for whoever is on your heart.We should finish in about 30 minutes with a little time for reflection." Contact Ron for the link. 
Connected to the Wider Body of Christ
Here's is a link to the "Living with COVID-19: Protocols and Directions" document developed as CT began to enter Phase 1 of opening up some public spaces.
Remember to check out all the great resources on the COVID-19 page at . You'll find resources on:
  • Finances
  • Digital and Online Communication
  • Self-Care
  • Recordings of Bishops and Wardens zooms
  • Listing of Livestream worship
  • Materials presented by Robin Hameal Urban and Lee Ann Tolzmann on Effective Leadership during Anxiety & Pandemic

Digital Office Hours with Jasree and Alli! Every Thursday, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm. What a treat! Register here .

Are you signed up for the ECCT eNews? CLICK HERE to get it delivered to your inbox! It's full of helpful information .
The Rev. Paul Carling shared these words in his recently email to the Episcopal Church at Yale; they are rooted in words written by William Sloane Coffin years ago.
The world now is too dangerous
and too beautiful for anything but love.
May your eyes be so blessed you see God in everyone.
Your ears, so you hear the cry of the poor.
May your hands be so blessed
that everything you touch is a sacrament.
Your lips, so you speak nothing
but the truth with love.
May your feet be so blessed you run
to those who need you.
And may your heart be so opened,
so set on fire, that your love,
your love, changes everything.