From Rachel…

Christians aren’t simply called to make the world a better place. That work might sound good, but it is ultimately too small. It bears repeating that Jesus did not come to make the world better. He came to make all things new. Through our ministry, we are called to bear out the reality that the world is being made new by God who has already done the heavy lifting and is simply inviting us to join the movement.  
Marcus George Halley, Proclaim!

These were among the many words in this book that caught my attention in a challenging and life-giving way. Challenging, because of the bold claims made here by Marcus, ECCT’s Dean of Formation and Missional Priest in Church of the Holy Spirit, West Haven, CT.

Imagine! God has done the heavy lifting in Jesus’ resurrection! God has made all things new – ALREADY! And God (like Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) is on the move!

Really? I mean, look around: the downward spiral of violence and killing; the forces of greed that lead to economic injustice; the hatred that infects us; the fear that makes us cling to the illusion that weapons can shield us from harm without also damaging our souls; and maybe an overwhelming sense of powerlessness at the extent of the challenges of sin: who are we against so many? 

And that’s the point. It is God who gives life; it is God who has triumphed over sin and death in Jesus’ resurrection; it is God who, by God’s grace, gives the Holy Spirit to us to move us in the direction of freedom and life for us and for others.

When I look back over my life, I can see the way that God’s Spirit has persistently nudged me to open my heart to love and grace: towards God, others, even myself; to live no longer for myself alone, but for him to died and rose for us. Alas, I do not always want to move; I want to hang on to the familiar. Can I join God’s movement in Jesus if I am not willing to move, to let go?
In his reflection for The Social Justice Bible Challenge, the Rev. Mike Kinman, of All Saints’, Pasadena, CA, wrote of where, as a 47-year old white man, husband, father and priest, he placed himself in the Exodus story (Exodus 2:23-25, 3:1-17). Once, he said, he would have seen himself as Moses or Aaron. This changed with the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri:
But now I know. I am Pharaoh. I participate in, benefit from, and actively sustain –through sins of omission and commission – political, economic, and social systems of white supremacy and patriarchy that keep God’s people in bondage, use their labor to generate wealth for the already wealthy, and beat and kill them with impunity. 
My ears have been deaf. And my heart has been hard.
I am Pharaoh. And Moses is telling me: “God says, ‘Let my people go.’”

It jolted me when I read this, to think of myself as Pharaoh. And I could see his point. I get to choose whether and how to move, and how others can move, in a way that those who are without power and privilege cannot. All the more reason for us as Church to be persistently focused on where God’s Spirit nudging us to use all we have been given to move in a direction that will bring greater life not just to us but also for the world around us.

God, who hears the cries of the people on account of their taskmasters, hear your people now as cry: No Justice. No Peace. Hands Up. Don’t Shoot. If We Don’t Get it…Shut It Down! I Can’t Breathe! Let my People Go! Comfort and deliver those of us who cry out. Convict and convert those of us who sit on Pharaoh’s throne and consecrate all of us to your dream of freedom for all your children. Amen. (The Social Justice Bible Challenge, p. 21) 

With Peace,
Rachel+
My Reflections on COMPLICITY: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery
by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang & Jennifer Frank
 By Linda Masci, Church of the Holy Advent, Clinton
 
When I first received Rachel’s email to join the summer reading program on the book Complicity, my response was an immediate “yes.” The title alone let me know that I would be learning new details about America’s original sin: slavery. While my education included the study of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow period, I never learned about the specific history of New England during this same time period. In our very first Zoom meeting, I learned that I was not alone in this! While we each have had our own educational journey, it was clear that the desire to learn about our corner of America was the bond that united us. We were open to learning truths even if they made us uncomfortable. In his teaching, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
 
While I didn’t know what I would find, the theme of the book was clearly put forth in the introduction, “The truth is that slavery was a national phenomenon. The North shared in the wealth it created, and in the oppression it required.” No mincing of words here! As I learned in excruciating detail the story of how black people were torn from their families and homes in the most brutal fashion and that same brutality continued in America, the one word that remains in my mind is horrific
While we have made progress in correcting this original sin, much remains to be done to make our constitution a reality. This reminds me that we often make progress with two steps forward and one step back. It has become so clear that the endurance of the oppressed is nothing short of remarkable, but it is no less surprising that the resistance, which began immediately on the slave ships, continues today. What I find hopeful is that this resistance is now shared by many people of diverse backgrounds, and that will hopefully produce additional progress.
 
There is also a corollary that supports the themes of wealth and oppression in Complicity, namely that capitalism without bounds produces greed and violence. The leaders, businessmen and slave traders were able to ignore the prohibition of importing slaves with impunity and were never held accountable according to the law. It is clear that wealth led to privilege that allowed the leaders and some founding fathers to view black people as inferior, and therefore not human, so the atrocities were allowed to continue. These views unfortunately exist today in the form of white supremacy.
 
As we continue our summer reading, I know that each chapter will continue to reveal additional facts that will horrify. I believe we will be challenged to identify ways in which we are complicit in perpetuating these prejudices and what we can do create the America described in our constitution...equality for all. And I pray that we follow Jesus’ words, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:39)

Saturday, October 3,
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
SE Region Convocation
Place: your choice! All of us will be together virtually through Zoom and spiritually through the
grace of God in Jesus.
Your Region Leadership Team is pleased to host Jenifer Frank, one of the authors of Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery, for our SE Region Convocation on October 3, 2020, beginning at 9:00 a.m over Zoom.

She will talk about the process of doing this research and writing about it, the response at the time, and how it changed her life. And we'll have time to talk about what all of this history has to do with us and racial injustices today.

The Rev. Stacey Kohl will be sharing a special video presentation reminding us of our baptismal vows. We need your help for this: please share photos of water in your life to this Dropbox link by September 25.

What’s going on around the SE Region to engage in the work of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation:
 
Parishes who have formed a group to focus their efforts


Saint Ann’s, Old Lyme:
“Initiative for Becoming Beloved Community”
This group is comprised of 11 members and meets regularly. Members are:
Steve MacAusland, Carol Carlson, Alden Rockwell Murphy, Kathy Kronholm, Charlie Potts, Lindsay Rockwell, Anita Schell, Jill Whitney, Todd Lefurge, Christine Carter and Kathy Rowe.  
Weekly each member will offer a "testimonial" of sorts as to why they are a part of this group.
 
St. Mark’s, Mystic:
The St. Mark's Anti-Racism Team (StART) is restarting our Mystic Conversations on Race, in partnership with the Mystic and Noank Library. We had one very fruitful session in February, and then the pandemic hit. StART has taken the past few months to rework the program into an online discussion class, utilizing Zoom and Google Classroom.
 
We encourage everyone who attended in February, as well as anyone who is now interested to attend the monthly sessions. This is a commitment - one that we believe is incredibly worthwhile to help us understand our place in building a more just and equitable society.
 For more information or to sign up for the online class please email start@stmarksmystic.org. First meeting is September 14th at 6:00 p.m.

St. John’s, Essex: new group forming from the Vestry. Weekly vigil at the corner of N. Main and Prospect (see below)
Book groups in parishes:
St. James’, New London: Adult Education continues on Wednesdays via Zoom from 5:30 to 7 PM. We are reading and discussing Ibram X Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist (RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison currently has copies in stock). If you plan to join the conversation, please email Rev. Dana (danamstivers@gmail.com) so that she can add you to the email list.
 
St. James’, Preston and Grace/Yantic: “Our Work” every other Monday, at present focused on Ibram X Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning. Email the Rev. Kim Litsey for information. 
 
St. Andrew’s, Madison:
Anti-Racism and Social Justice Book Group
How to Be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X Kendi https://www.ibramxkendi.com/how-to-be-an-antiracist-1
·   We will be reading and then discussing the book every two weeks on Zoom, Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm, beginning August 12.  
· Book Group meeting this link
·   Email any questions to Sara Raynold, sarahraynold@gmail.com

Calvary, Stonington:
Calvary Book group will be discussing White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for White people to talk about Racism, by Robin DiAngelo at a meeting in September 14, 6:00 p.m.
 
SE Region Read: Complicity
30 people from 13 different parishes in the SE Region signed up to read this; about 20 have been participating each week in a zoom discussion on Tuesday nights. Email Ron Steed or Rachel Thomas for more info. 


The 236th Annual Convention of the
Episcopal Church in Connecticut,
Call to Convention
October 14 - 18
Virtual Convention Choir

You can take part in the virtual Convention choir as a part of this year's Convention worship service! The virtual choir will be singing the anthem at worship, and is being organized by Marianne Vogel at Christ Church Cathedral. Please contact her if you are interested in participating.
Convention Art Display: We Are the Body of Christ

We need your help producing a digital mosaic art installation as a part of this year's Convention. All we need is for you to submit an image of yourself--and hopefully get others from your congregation to do the same.
All members of the Body of Christ that is the ECCT are invited to be a part of our digital art project for Convention 2020 being prepared by Stephen Hard of St. Mark’s Church in New Britain.
The Mosaic
There will be a stylized outline of Christ the Priest. His arms will be outstretched wearing the garment of the priest during the celebration of the Eucharist. Around his head will be the traditional halo with a cross. In the cross will be images of our Church leadership, Bishops Curry, Douglas, and Ahrens. Outlining the chasuble will be images of our priests and deacons who surround and serve the Church. The body of the chasuble will be images of the lay faithful of the ECCT. Decorating the orphrey will be images of our Church buildings signifying their important service.
How You Can Participate
Please send an image of yourself or, with their permission, another member of the ECCT to WeAreTheBodyofChrist2020@gmail.com. Please send only JPEG, TIFF, or PNG files. Please be certain you have the rights to any image you send. Individual images will be very small, but there will be a lot of them, so lower resolution is preferable. Head shots are preferred to minimize cropping. Clergy are asked to send a shot in clerical collar. Full color images of Church buildings, interior or exterior, are also most welcome. There is no guarantee that any particular image will be included. Images of people will have top priority for inclusion.
Deadline
Please send all images to WeAreTheBodyofChrist2020@gmail.com no later than Friday, October 2.
Solar Panels
at
St. Andrew’s Madison
Gary Naegel,
Senior Warden
It often takes a crisis or setback to start the seeds of positive change. Such was the case of the environmental stewardship impact and journey that St. Andrew’s has followed. We can date this to the last Great Economic Recession of 2007/2008, which was extremely significant, only rivaled by the Great Depression of 1929.

Our parish was in the midst of starting to call for a new Rector, and we decided to use the resources of Yale’s Divinity School library for inspiration on topics for adult discussions.At that same time, we were introduced to the first feature-length documentary film to capture the vitality and diversity of today's religious-environmental activists. From within their Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim traditions, Americans were becoming caretakers of the Earth. The research of Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-founder and co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University, along with her husband, John Allen Grim, inspired this 2008 film.

After showing the film at St. Andrew’s, we started what was labeled then as a “Green Team,” which became involved in raising environmental impact and awareness across our community. Some members also became involved with the Madison Energy and Efficiency Committee by holding periodic forums and providing display tables at various venues in the area with environmental awareness on the use of energy, switching to lower energy lighting alternatives, reducing the use of plastic disposal items and bags, and offering alternatives to landfills with “recycling.” A modest “green fund” was established with the intention of improving energy efficiency and environmental impact at St. Andrew’s.

We engaged our high school youth on a recycling demonstration project during a church Sunday School session by laying out a large tarp on the parking lot. Dressed with white lab coats, rubber gloves, goggles, forceps, and clipboards, we had them empty all of the garbage cans from the church offices and kitchen, so they could be laid out for inspection. The result overwhelmed those present; so much “landfill waste” should have been redirected to “recycling.” This project also provided metrics on excess food waste, which could be reduced by more thoughtful procurement.

One of the dreams of the Green Team was the installation of solar panels at St. Andrew’s along a stretch of the church building facing due south. However, we found ourselves again in the midst of transition of calling a full-time rector, which put this concept to the back burner, until we called the Rev. Shariya Molegoda, who also shared this interest and had an environmental degree as part of her spiritual journey.

I contacted ECCT about our interest in solar panels and requested assistance with their experiences across the state to help us on our journey. We were provided a resource and began the process of bringing in solar companies to provide estimates. Originally, the various vendors told us to look at the return on investment (ROI) on the purchase of this equipment. Some also began to look for the additional opportunities by expanding the array over the church school wing, which had a flat roof for even greater solar production. Meanwhile, I would bring these various estimates back to the vestry for review and comments.

The next phase was to ask these vendors to re-submit bids by excluding the flat roof and only using the highly pitched south facing roof on the church building, which were then brought back to vestry for review and comments. I was directed to look into the Green Bank, solar loans, etc., which had been a successful pathway for some churches in funding capital projects.

So, we evaluated those proposals, but then I introduced another variant, which was only barely touched on by the vendors: a power purchasing agreement (PPA). We went back to the vendors for their proposals with PPA’s. While somewhat variable, this option did not cost the church any money. Instead, we would hire a firm to purchase, install, and maintain the panels in return we would pay them, instead of our electrical provider, with the cost of our solar production in comparable kWh rates. Excess energy produced and not used internally is sent back to grid, hence reducing the amount we would purchase from our energy supplier. This concept found a lot of appeal with the vestry as we evaluated and compared the PPA’s with vendor solar panel proposals until we selected the final vendor. With this PPA, these panels will be given to the church after a period of years to enjoy greater savings.
This whole process, from the initial quotes, to the final approval spanned 18 months. Then there are the approvals by ECCT, the State of CT, the energy provider, and local town building, fire, and safety ordinances. It took an additional 8 months before the solar panels were installed and started producing energy in June 2019. We then added a large LCD display screen in the administrative hallway to show production results. To date, we have generated over 37 MWh of energy, which has the equivalence of planting over 433 trees and saving over 58,000 pounds of CO2.

We recently used that Green Fund to help defray the costs of replacing our ceiling fluorescent light fixtures in the church school wing with LED fixtures to reduce our energy usage, since this building is used 5-days a week with our Pre-School. Prior, we had renovated our parish hall and kitchen and replaced all of the lighting in the parish hall, choir room, kitchen, and bathrooms with LED fixtures.

There is a normal solar production curve throughout the 12 months of the year that maximizes around June/July and decreases during Dec/Jan, due to the changes in the length of days and angles of the sun to the earth. For points of comparison, we purchased 3,187 kWh from our energy supplier in August 2018, prior to the solar panels, and purchased 106 kWh in August 2020, after the solar panels were installed, so they are having a positive impact on environment stewardship.
An Added Note from St. Mark’s Mystic
St. Mark’s in Mystic just started this process. Recognizing the advantage of the flat roof over our Sunday School wing for solar panels, we have done an energy survey and formed a committee to begin the work of gathering bids. Like St. Andrew’s we see this as part of our mission to care for the earth. We stand at the beginning of this project and look at St. Andrew’s story and are inspired.

An update from St. James', New London, also in the process of installing solar panels will be included when details are finalized.
Help Wanted!
Are you curious about what is happening in other parishes and with other groups in the SE Region? Are you willing to make a few phone calls each month and report back on what you discover? If so, Beverly Olsen, Eileen Perron, and I would love to have you join us in working on the BRIDGE. We try to focus on 2 or 3 different subjects each issue, and like to plan a couple of months in advance. Please let me (Rachel) know if you're interested!
Come save some trees and/or pick up litter at one of our favorite state parks. 
 
Our fall invasive plant cleanups will be held on Saturday, September 26, 9:00-12:00 noon (rain date October 3) and Saturday, October 10(rain date 17) at Haddam Meadows State Park. The September event will be held in conjunction with the CT River Conservancy’s Source to Sea annual cleanup.
 
As required by the state and CT DEEP, those attending must register ahead of time. There will be a limit of 25 persons at each cleanup. Attendees shall remain six feet part, including family members, caretakers and household members. Masks shall be worn within six feet of those not in the same household.
 
Participants are asked to meet in the middle picnic area. Adults and youths, under 16 years of age accompanied by an adult, are encouraged to participate in removing oriental bittersweet and other invasives and/ or picking up litter. Please dress for the weather, wear waterproof boots, bring garden loppers or saw, insect repellent, sunscreen, water , snacks and first aid supplies. Snacks will not be provided. Do not bring pets. Volunteers with dump trucks and Haddam stickers are needed.
 
The event is being planned by CT DEEP Adopt -a -Park volunteers, Cherry Czuba, Mary Lou Heger, David Stiles and Jamie Burgess. Please register by emailing Cherry Czuba at cherylczuba@comcast.net

Contact for Retired Clergy

The Reverend Diana Rogers 

Clinton Church of the Holy Advent
 81 East Main Street
P.O. Box 536
Clinton, CT 06413-0536

Email: holyadvent@sbcglobal.net


 A Prayer for Returning to School and Work

Holy God, from whom all good things come,
protect us as we go back into the world,
arm us with your light and love,
and sustain in us a willing heart and an open mind,
that we may face the world with strength and courage,
learning from one another and loving our neighbor,
that we might flourish and grow in heart and mind and faith.

Beverly Olsen, St. Mark's, Mystic

The Education for Ministry group at Church of the Epiphany, Durham has openings for the September 2020 class. Please contact victor.friedrich@mac.com. We anticipate beginning the year as a Zoom class and transitioning to in-person meetings once it is safe to do so.

Remember to check out all the great resources on the COVID-19 page at episcopalct.org. 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.

 Worship in the SE Region
Check the local websites for details; most in-person times of worship require registration in some form, and may be subject to change depending on weather.

Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Spiritual Communion in the Outdoor Chapel
Sunday at 8:30 a.m. Spiritual Communion in the Sanctuary
Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Spiritual Communion via Zoom

Sunday at 8:30 a.m. Morning Prayer via Zoom
Sunday at 10:00 a.m. (weather permitting) “Worship and Wave” outdoors

Sunday at Holy Communion in person and via Zoom

Saturdays 5:30 p.m. Evening Prayer Outdoors
Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite I and 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite II
 
Sundays at 10:00 a.m. Prayer service via Zoom

Sundays at 8:00 a.m. Spiritual Communion outdoors
Sundays at 10:00 a.m. Holy Communion Livestream
 
Sundays at 10:00 a.m. Morning Prayer via Zoom

Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite 2 in person and via Zoom

Sundays at 10:00 a.m. Spiritual Communion via Facebook Live

Sundays at 9:00 a.m. Outdoor Holy Communion Livestream

Sundays at 9:00 a.m. Worship via Zoom and on Facebook Live
 
Sundays: Morning Prayer recorded on YouTube

Sundays at 8:00 a.m. Spiritual Communion outdoors
Sundays at 9:00 a.m. Spiritual Communion via Zoom
Sundays at 9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer livestream on YouTube
Sundays at 9:00 a.m. via Zoom
Sundays at 11:00 a.m.
 

Midweek opportunities for worship and study
 
Daily Noonday prayer:  St. James’, New London https://www.stjamesnl.org
 
Sundays
St. Ann's, Old Lyme, 9:00 p.m. Compline https://www.saintannsoldlyme.org
 
Tuesdays
St. Stephen’s, East Haddam , 8:00 a.m.
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 https://www.stjamesnl.org
St. Andrew's, Madison , 7:00 p.m. Compline http://www.standrewsmadison.org/online-worship

Wednesdays
St. John’s, Essex;   9:00 a.m  Link to YouTube channel at https://www.stjohnsessex.org
Grace, Old Saybrook: 10:00 a.m. Healing prayers https://www.graceoldsaybrook.org
St. Mark’s, Mystic, 11:00 a.m.  St. Mark’s Live - a grab bag of classes and conversations
 
Thursdays
St. Stephen’s, East Haddam 8:00 a.m. https://www.ststeves.org/020/03/14/covid-19-changes
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 gracechurchrector@gmail.com for zoom link.
St. Paul’s, Westbrook, 7:00 p.m. Zoom Bible Study of the book of Acts. 
St. James', Preston and Grace, Yantic, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Dwelling in the Word and Compline Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/662330272 ;password 246835 Meeting ID: 662 330 272
One tap mobile +16465588656,,662330272# US (New York)
 
Fridays
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. 
Prayer for the SE Region
Almighty God, Creator and Redeemer, in the midst of the noisy din of the world and these changing times:
We lift our prayers to you for your Church, especially for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, and for this, its Southeast Region.
Surround us with the clear assurance of your loving presence,
That we may grow confident in our faith and trust in your will;
Guide and teach each one of us to live in your word and walk in your ways,
That we may be a light of the living Word;
Expand the space in our hearts and in our lives,
That this region may be filled with your love and mercy for all;
inspire us; send your Holy Spirit upon us to fire up enthusiasm,
Create in us willing hearts and hands to serve you.
We pray for our Missionary, Rachel Thomas, that you give her the ears to hear
and the heart to discern your will for the Region.
Hear our prayer.
 We pray for the Leadership Teams to aid in your mission.
Hear our prayer.
 We pray for the priests and deacons in each of the churches in our Region and Diocese.
Hear our prayer.
We pray for each vestry and the leadership of every church in the Region.
Hear our prayer.
We pray for the Bishops and Diocesan leadership of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.
Hear our prayer.
 Almighty God, we pray that we may proclaim your kingdom in this this Region and beyond, and become ambassadors for your dream of reconciliation and healing, the gift and calling you have given us through your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we offer these prayers.  Amen
Editorial Staff

Beverly Olsen
Eileen Perron