From Rachel......

Just to be clear of my inclination from the start, November is my least favorite month of the year. March runs a close second, but at least the amount of daily light is slowly increasing, and we are moving in the direction of SUMMER, the best season there is. (In my opinion)

November does not offer that consolation. We see death all around us; we have less light to go by; it takes more effort to get outside our isolated zoom houses.

And in this year, especially, November carries a good bit of weight. An election that has continued to reveal the brokenness of our country; spiking numbers of new infections from Coronavirus; continued deaths of unarmed black men and women; economic stressors weighing on many people and parishes. I could go on and you could, too.
Instead, I would invite us to remember that even in dreary November, we are people who believe in a God who raised Jesus from the dead. We believe in resurrection. We believe that death is not the last word; that God brings new life from death. In fact, things have to die in order for new life to emerge. Ah, there’s the catch. We have to die. It’s a biological and spiritual reality, written into the fabric of creation.

Someone once said, “The church so often acts like it doesn’t really believe in the resurrection, because it is so afraid to let things die.” What if the hard work of the end of 2020 and our life as Christians is an invitation to die to our habits and traditions and expectations in order for God to raise up a new way of being, one that brings us closer to being like Jesus?

In her recent podcast episode of “Unlocking Us” with Elizabeth Lesser, Brene Brown offered these words about what they both call being “Broken Open.” It’s like “being in the messy middle and letting yourself (be there) even though you don't want to, even though you want to escape it, just like keeping yourself in it and asking, ‘what have you come to teach me?’”

Being “Broken Open” speaks to me of what God’s Spirit is inviting us into as church these days. If we can truly let go of whatever we need to in order to be more faithful disciples of Jesus in this country and world; if we can bear staying with the messy middle of not knowing what is next and feel vulnerable; if we can even then be open to what God is seeking to reveal to us; who knows what new life, beyond our imagining, will emerge?
Let’s do it: after all, we’ve longed for new life for a long time.

I asked the clergy of this Region to share with us some words of scripture or other inspiration that they have returned to time and again this year, as touchstones. I trust you’ll be as encouraged as I was in reading them. Hold onto them as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, trusting in the one who raised Jesus from the dead.


Reflections on the ECCT Convention
 Emma Palzere-Rae

As a delegate for St. James, New London, I was looking forward to attending my second statewide convention. This one had the added anticipation that goes along with ‘the first virtual’ of anything! I was surprised how well the World Cafe sessions worked in Zoom breakout rooms. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations I had in each session with these randomly assembled groups. But one conversation in particular stuck out in my mind.

A minister in one group shared that she needed to keep her involvement in the local Black Lives Matter chapter secret from her parish. That shocked me. How could some of her parishioners object to their faith-leader participating in something that, to me, is fighting for justice and supporting our brothers and sisters who struggle daily due to their race? She also said that she has to remind herself that it is her job to love everyone in her parish no matter where they stand, whether she agrees with them or not.
As a country we are divided, seemingly more so every day. There’s a lot of hate; it is painful; and I find it hard to understand how those with differing opinions can feel as strongly about their ‘side’ as I do about mine. Yet, as Christians, we are called to love everyone. Every Sunday, we pray for our local, national and international leaders. Perhaps some people’s prayers for these leaders are quite different than what others are praying. Yet, we are together praying.

On Saturday, we posted on our St. James’ Facebook page a photo showing the overwhelming support to pass the resolution Acknowledging & Confronting Systemic Racism, White Supremacy, & Anti-Black Bias. A former parishioner commented, “This is the reason after nearly 70 years that I have left St. James… I need a scripture-based non-political church.”
This comment rattled me. This person equated addressing racism with politics, distinct from the teachings of Jesus. I stewed. I thought about what comment to post. I stewed some more. Meanwhile, my fellow parishioners were responding with heartfelt, thoughtful, compassionate comments putting forth why they believe addressing these issues is doing Jesus’ work. While, perhaps, no opinions were changed, there was evidence of a loving community that was doing its work being disciples.

As a faith-community, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but I have faith that we will continue doing the work and succeed in creating “the Beloved Community” that Jesus envisioned.
St. Ann’s Old Lyme: Thanksgiving Service
Wednesday, November 25, 3 pm in the Memorial Garden
Please bring a canned good to support the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries ministry.
St. Mark’s Thanksgiving Reimagined

Teresa Norris

For many years the parishioners at St. Mark’s in Mystic have prepared about 100 Thanksgiving dinners in their undercroft (also delivering nearly 150). Not this year. When it became apparent that yet another event would be cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns, the pastor challenged them to reimagine Thanksgiving. Again, as in other cases, the pandemic forced a deeper look into the why of the ministry even though the how was deemed impossible.

With feeding people in need and connecting to community at the heart of the event, a Plan B was launched. This involved coordinating with the director of a local community food pantry that regularly distributes Thanksgiving boxes/baskets to families. Thus, a partnership with the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center (PNC) was formed; since parishioners were familiar with donating food items, it was an easy fit. A “Drive-by and Drop-off” of non-perishables (especially those typical Thanksgiving dinner items) was organized at the church parking lot, then delivery to the PNC to complete the task.

Monetary donations to the organization were also encouraged, giving parishioners another opportunity to reach out and help. With information shared through the church’s newsletter, anyone in need was instructed on the dates to pick up a box from the PNC. Hardly the grand event of years past, this Thanksgiving Reimagined kept the spirit of the ministry and kicked Covid to the curb. As Bon Jovi sings, “If you can’t do what you do, then do what you can.”
Full Thanksgiving Table Effort

Miner Vincent, Families Helping Families, Clinton, CT

"Full Thanksgiving Table Effort" was conceived three years ago by Families Helping Families. It born out of a curiosity of what was on the table on Thanksgiving day for those people who were clients of The Clinton Food Pantry. We wanted to make sure each family would have a table with plenty of food on that holiday. The question was how much would that cost?

What we did was actually go to a supermarket and see how much it would cost to feed a family of four. Luckily expensive items like the turkey and deserts are on sale at the Thanksgiving time of year. We found we could provide a table of food for $25.00. So that became the "Full Thanksgiving Table Effort." We wanted each family to receive a $25 gift card. This year with the huge increase in the number of families needing to use the pantry it became a challenge. Because of the Covid 19 virus we couldn't ask businesses and community groups to help us-they were facing their only very difficult circumstances.

So we decided to open the problem up to the entire Clinton community. WE had two plywood turkeys made and placed them at The Clinton Police Department and The Clinton Fire Department with slots to drop a gift card into a lock box. Our goal this year is to collect 250 gift cards. We are hoping this will turn into a yearly community wide effort. We know everyone wants to give a turkey at Thanksgiving but we believe this is a better more efficient way to provide for food pantry clients. It takes away all the heavy lifting a the problem of what to do with the turkeys that haven't ben given out. We understand that it will take some time to convince people to go the gift card route but in the long run it would be better for all involved 
A Virtual Thanksgiving Fellowship Event, held on Thanksgiving Day

Amy Hollis, the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantry (SSKP)

Our mission is two-fold: food & fellowship. That second word weighs like a challenge in the midst of the pandemic. Many of us thirst for connective moments. This Thanksgiving as we acknowledge there is no way to hold our community meal as we have done previously, we make a way for holiday meals-to-go to be shared. Additionally, this year, we will be hosting a virtual Thanksgiving Gathering at noon on Thanksgiving Day. All are welcome!
You are invited to an SSKP Virtual Thanksgiving Fellowship Event. The one-hour event will include greetings, gratitude, and hopefully some photos of the amazing efforts of our community. Come for a few minutes or stay for the hour. We’d love to see you. Please email for the link.
SSKP Thanksgiving Fellowship & Gratitude Event 
St. James’, New London, Our Lord’s Pantry
Chuck Sharp

The holiday season will quickly be upon us. It is our hope that we will be able to provide additional holiday foods.

If you would like to help, here is a short list of items that would be helpful;

-       Stove Top Stuffing (Chicken or Turkey)
-       Chicken or Turkey Gravy (jar or canned)
-       Cranberry Sauce (canned)
-       Roaster Chicken (3 to 4 pound)
We’ve ordered Turkey’s from Gemma Moran (United Way’s Food Bank) to be given to family groups of 3 or more. We will need Roaster Chickens for couples and seniors. Cash donations are always welcome and needed.

On an ongoing basis we are purchasing food from Gemma Moran and the Connecticut Food Bank. Here is an example of what $44.00 will purchase;

$8.40 will purchase 60 pounds of ground turkey
$2.24 will buy 24 cans of chicken and rice soup or vegetable soup
$2.70 will purchase 144 5 oz. cans of tuna fish
$4.20 will purchase 30 1-pound bags of rice
$15.12 will purchase 72 cans of pasta sauce 24 oz.
$11.34 will purchase 72 15 oz. cans of sweet green peas
$3.36 will purchase 48 6 oz. pancake mix packages
Checks can be mailed to St. James, in the memo section write “Lord’s Pantry”;

St. James Episcopal Church
76 Federal St.
New London, CT 06320

Thank you for your love, support and prayers. Together we can continue to live God’s mission to provide food to our neighbors who are hungry.
Norwich area: St. James', Preston and Grace, Yantic

Food at Thanksgiving: Apples and Water Donations Needed
CEC will be partnering with St. James-Preston, Grace-Yantic, and St. Vincent de Paul Place to provide a bagged lunch to those in need on Sunday, Nov. 22. Sr. Warden Bill Small has been coordinating this effort along with the Wardens from St. James and Grace. CEC will be providing apples and bottled water for the bagged lunch, which will be distributed through St. Vincent de Paul. If you would like to donate towards this effort, please contact Bill via email at or via phone at 860-237-0288 to arrange for socially-distanced pick-up or drop-off.

We asked our local clergy to send a reference or quote – scriptural or not – that they keep returning to during this trying year. We hope these words will be as inspiring and uplifting to you in these coming months.

The Rev. Dana Stivers, St. James, New London and Incarnation Center, Ivoryton

I've had the attached sitting on my desk for the past year. I think I scribbled it down on a particularly grumpy day last year and find myself continually grateful when I glance up to this reminder

The Rev. Adam Thomas, St. Mark’s, Mystic

"The heartbeat of racism is denial." –Ibram X. Kendi

The Rev. Linda Spiers, St. John’s, Essex
"You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind... You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Loving God and loving neighbor has come up over and over for me. –Matt 22:37, 39

The Rev. Brendan McCormick, All Saints, Ivoryton
“I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
–Edward Hale

The Rev. Anita Schell, Saint Ann’s, Old Lyme
 “Always have a plan and never worry alone” –No remembered source -but about the best practical advice i ever have received).

The Rev. Ronald Steed, St. James, Preston and Grace, Yantic
“Power without Love is reckless and abusive
Love without Power is sentimental and anemic
Power at its best is Love implementing the demands of Justice
Justice at its best is Power correcting everything that stands against Love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

The Rev. Diana Rogers, Holy Advent, Clinton
"We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.” —John Robert Lewis, Congressman

The Rev. Tony DiNoto, St. Johns, Niantic
 “The Lord is good, a stronghold in a day of trouble, he protects those who take refuge in him, even in a rushing flood.” –Nahum 1:7

The Rev. Jana M. Branson - Rector Saint David's Episcopal Church, Gales Ferry
“The important thing is not to think much, but to love much; do, then, whatever most arouses you to love.” — Saint Teresa of Ávila

The Rev. Stacey Kohl, Christ Church, Norwich:
I've been thinking about this a lot and honestly, the thing that has helped me the most over the last 7 year-months is “none of the above.” :) What's been most helpful is silence. The roar of chaos and insanity is SO LOUD it has drawn me (forced me) to retreat into silence. My favorite place is sitting in the chair in my bedroom looking out at the trees; but honestly, as much as I love the view, it was/is the silence I found/find most helpful---the stilling of my heart, mind, body, and soul. It, maybe more than anything, has sustained me.
In the time of this pandemic, when many of us are not receiving communion, the Rev. Rachel Thomas created this prayer for returning the consecrated elements to the earth. The Rev. Erin Flinn filmed this in the meadow area of her yard. We encourage you to go to to find what tribes used to inhabit your area, and include them in this prayer, in remembrance of their stewardship of the land. Text of prayer and link to the Native Lands website may be found here: 

Inter-Religious Eco-Justice Network has a YouTube channel and is beginning to place their fantastic webinars there: including ones on beginning a Pollinator Pathway, Environmental Racism, and food choices.

The Inter-Religious Eco-Justice Network (IREJN) is sponsoring a series of webinars in the next three months. More information about each of the presentations can be found when you click on the "register here" links below.

On Thursday, November 12, from 7 - 8:30 PM, a webinar on how to propagate native wildflowers and expand your native plantings inexpensively by growing them yourself from seed. Presenter is Jim Sirch. Register here:
Praying for an End to Gun Violence: A Service of Lament, Hope and Resolve

This worship was put together by the Bishops United Against Gun Violence, and includes a powerful sermon by The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Our ECCT Archivist, Greg Farr, put together this look at life in the 20’s: the 1920’s and the 2020’s. Have a read! Thank you, Greg!

November Upcoming Events

11/14 - Worship Leader Training: How to lead Morning Prayer from 10 AM - 12 PM. Our Book of Common Prayer includes the wonderful service of Morning Prayer, one of our Daily Offices. This short service for the start of each day and can be used by individuals in their homes or by congregations in parishes. Designed to be led by clergy or laity, Morning Prayer may be offered by lay leaders in a parish on those occasions when a priest cannot be present to preside at the Eucharist. In this workshop participants will experience the beauty of Morning Prayer and learn how to lead it. Click here for info & registration:

11/18 - Leading Out of Crisis from 6:30 -7:30 PM : All rectors, wardens, and parish leaders are invited to join Tim Hodapp for an information session about a new initiative designed by The Missional Network and available to all ECCT parishes and Worshipping Communities. Leading Out of Crisis is a resource that provides clergy and lay leaders a way to begin to name your new normal through discovering God’s Together, we connect our experiences in this strange time, name God’s activity among us, and discern a way forward for our parish. Learn more here.

SAVE THE DATE: November 19th, 2020 at 6:00 PM, Cathedral Poetry Night with Dr. Lindsay Rockwell, an hour of poetry, music, and dialogue, and a conversation on racial justice and reconciliation.

How to be anti-racist: Speak out in your own circles.
You can fight racism by being the change you want to see, understanding microaggressions, speaking up against racist remarks in your own circles and listening to your black friends.
Here’s an interview with Dr. Tatum that offers an image of the work it takes to be anti-racist:

The Race Gap Black - White
From birth to death, more than 150 years after slavery was abolished, Black people face systemic disadvantages in American life, in areas such as maternal health, food insecurity, educational attainment, and student loans.

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

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