From Rachel......

Remember the long way the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 8:2
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and God knows everything . I John 3:18-20
These long 40+ days of physical distancing and working from home, I have returned time and again to these words from scripture, and particularly to their focus on what is in my heart. I see the heart as the center of our desires and longings and wills as humans; our feelings as the motivating force behind whatever we seek to bring into being in the world.
And as much as I know that I fall short of truly loving God and God’s ways with all my heart, I believe that the practice of turning my heart to God is itself an act of love. That reality points to the mystery that has been in my heart these days: even in my imperfection and God’s Spirit, at the same time, saying, “You are enough because of me and my grace.”
As I think about being on this threshold of coming out of our distancing and into some kind of new space – however tentatively – I think it is crucial that we pay attention to the words of Moses: What has God’s Spirit revealed to us in this time about what and whom we truly love? What has God’s Spirit revealed to us about what and whom we care about, what we think is important? What do we need to hang onto in order to be faithful to what God has planted in our hearts?
I saw this funny signboard on social media somewhere. I laughed, because it reminded me so much of the Collect for Purity with which we often begin our worship: you know, “Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid…” My experience in most parishes is that we tend to keep the thoughts of our hearts to ourselves; it’s tough to get a bunch of Episcopalians (including me) to open up.
So if there’s one thing in my heart these days it is this: that we will have the courage and grace to share what has been in our hearts these days that we have been separated physically from one another. The good, the bad, the ugly – God knows all of us, and loves us just the same. We may not be all we want to be, but by the gift of God’s Spirit, we are enough. Brene Brown says it this way: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, change, and innovation.”
Happy Pentecost!


Pastor Adam Thomas of St. Mark's, Mystic talks about finding his voice of prayer through playing the guitar and writing songs during this time. And he plays one of his compositions for us!

Singing Together While Apart
Maryann McCary, Director of Music,
St. Stephen's, East Haddam
Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many interpretations. It includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and as such, it is something that touches us all. Many describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.
Musicians especially feel their spirituality through their music. A well-done choral piece moves the singers and their listeners as well. It is well established that music enhances worship and therefore church life. From the point of view of the choir, the total is greater than the sum of the parts. Even if you are not one of the “great” singers, when we put everyone together, something wonderful happens.
As churches began to close, we all felt a sense of displacement and loss. As social distancing and crowd avoidance became the norm, I began thinking of ways to keep St. Stephen’s singers connected. After all, choirs are basically social groups with common interests in parish and singing. At the same time, virtual choirs began popping up on social media. I was intrigued. “How did they do that?”
For the first weeks, we used soloists as we livestreamed from the church. After Easter, as the crisis intensified, Zoom Morning Prayer services became the norm. The question remained… how could we create a virtual choir to add to these services? After studying YouTube videos, my husband Thom and I had the answer. Each choir member takes his/her phone, and while listening to a backing track on a different device, makes a video singing their part of the piece. They upload it to the Dropbox folder, where Thom then collects them and assembles them into what you see and hear.
It sounds simple, but takes an enormous amount of effort and resources. Researching that wonderful virtual hymn from the National Cathedral at Easter turned up a team of 6 people who each worked 50 hours for a total of 300 hours. And that doesn’t count the time spent by the performers. Luckily, St. Stephen’s has a Dropbox account with almost unlimited storage space and a priest who is technically savvy and eager to help. By limiting the pieces to those the group already knew well, I created and sent backing tracks to each member. We then discussed the process and went over the pieces at weekly Zoom choir meetings. Importantly, these meetings also gave the group a chance to connect, and share the togetherness and laughter that are so much a part of choir rehearsal. Each week members created and uploaded their videos. 
It has been a wonderful solution short term, but will be hard to sustain. While good for keeping a sense of community and continuity, it is about triple the work for the choir members, director, and particularly for the audio/video editor. It takes upwards 15-20 hours to assemble each anthem.
Now we are looking to the future trying to discern the new normal for Church. Current wisdom says that we will be in this mode for some time. Going forward, my plan is to continue to provide choral anthems, but not on a weekly basis, filling in with instrumental music, soloists and smaller ensembles. I’d also like to start incorporating hymns, even if just as short melodic instrumental interludes. In all, this has been a challenging time to sustain our music ministry and in the greater life of St. Stephen’s. The only measure is how well the virtual choir has been received by the congregation as well as the joy and strengthening of the bonds of the choir.
Below are some of the comments from choir members:
"I enjoyed the experience of being part of the virtual choir, but I missed being together physically. I do not want this to become the new normal. "  - Madeline Fazzino
"Obviously it was very rewarding to connect with choir members. Sharing our experiences of isolation as well as enjoyment of the moments we were together was strengthening. Among several things I learned about myself, however, is that it is easier to focus on 1) the love of the music and 2) the worship when we are working (physically) together. Alone with a camera and a microphone, I get too wrapped up in what I look like and what I sound like all alone. It creates some anxiety! It has been a great antidote to that that church members seem to have expressed an appreciation for our work." - Cindy Hatchett
"I really miss the choir. It was one of the main things I was looking forward to in my retirement. The Zoom choir meetings are the next best thing. It is great to see everyone, and hear how they are doing. I like it when we all sing together, even with our microphones off, just to know that we are singing together. Thom has done a wonderful job of putting all the pieces together. I really appreciate the efforts of you [Maryanne} and Thom. It is so rewarding to see the final product and to know that I contributed. The feedback from the congregation and others outside the church has been much appreciated. I really enjoyed sharing with my family on the West Coast. I hope we can do more anthems in the future. It is sad to think that there may be no singing in church for a long time, but it will not be forever." - Ruth Vitale
"To me, under the virus circumstances, this was a way of connecting with each other, not only with choir friends but also with our parish friends.....a way to send them a musical gift, which I know they love. The down part was, for me, the technicalities." Gerry Piccola
"The rewards of seeing everyone and singing for and “with” each other far outweigh the technological troubles (at least on my end, as a singer! Thanks, Thom!!). I’ve also valued the routine. It’s easy to lose track of time and days as they all blend together. It’s been nice to have choir practice as a weekly anchor. I’m dreading summer, when I won’t have my work schedule to keep me focused and feeling productive. Here’s to many more chances to sing together!" - Mary Sawyer
"It's actually made it easier for me to join as I can just hop on from the comfort of my own basement. I do miss the feel of the harmonies live but love to be able to share the video compilations that Thom creates with my extended family and friends and to replay them at home. I also have some techie-tendencies and love being a part of this and knowing what is possible to create virtually with masterful coordination, technology, and a talented team of St. Steve singers." - Gwen Pond
International Companions in Mission Continue their Partnerships
In April, Calvary Church, Stonington, heard from “Stone” Welonde Mpelanyi of the Chain Foundation. They’ve been partners in mission for over 20 years.
Greetings from Chain Foundation, how are you doing and how is the family at this trying Corona time. We have heard over the TVs and radios that it is worse in US, please know that you have all our prayers.
In Uganda we are still in the lock down with around 100 corona cases. There is a big threat from the cargo drivers from Kenya, Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda who drive through Uganda, most of the new infections are within this category and these drivers have wives along the way.

The situation at Chain is not all that bad, as I informed you we have a around 10 staff members who are there full time taking care of children led by Auntie Bridget. Other staff members are at home and we use phones for contact. Mostly children play and do digging in the mornings.
My family is also okay, greetings from Florence.
Thank you very much for supporting us and please convey our thanks to all our friends at Calvary Church and the Ugandan Mission team that we are praying for them that they are protected during this global crisis. May the Almighty God remember all your offerings..
It was also Godly that you invited me to US last year and we were able to do a lot of things, may be, it would have been difficult this year. Barbara (Loftus, parishioner in Calvary), I remember all your sacrifice towards that trip. I am grateful beyond words.
Greetings to your daughter
Stay safe and blessed
The building in the photo is the kindergarten they run, just one part of their program.
Also in April, St. Mark’s, Mystic, heard from their mission partners in Haiti re ported by Doug Barrett of St. Mark’s, Mystic.
On April 8th I received the following communication from Fr. Yves Seme,
"During the last week of March the President released a decree announcing the closure of schools. The purchase of food for the month of April has already been made. Foods are already in the warehouse like rice, corn, peas, oil, flour, spaghetti, butter, tomato, herring, etc. For this fact, I await the instruction of the President if yes the school will open for this month or not. Also, the question what should I ask you, if the school is not working in April what should I do. My proposal is to make quits to give to the children because they are really in famine."  
Pastor Adam and I discussed Fr. Seme's proposal and decided, along with support of the Haiti committee, to continue the lunch program while the school is shut down. The word "quits" means a type of box lunch.
On March 30th there were 15 reported cases of Coronavirus in Haiti. It is strongly believed that the number is undercounted. Dozens of people have been placed under quarantine. The airport in Port au Prince has been shut down. Haiti now faces the looming pandemic and with very little available healthcare. 

Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health has stated that Haiti may actually have fewer than 30 fully functioning ICU beds with an estimated 64 ventilators in the whole country. Haiti has 10 million people. 
Please add the students and staff at St. Luc's school to your prayer list. May God Bless the people of Haiti. 

On March 9 the people of St. John's  received the tragic news from Bishop Carlos in Mozambique of a minibus accident  that occurred on Saturday, March 7. The victims of the crash were members of the diocese and were on their way to Bernard Mizaki Birth Place Sanctuary at Guambene in the Province of Inhambane. The bus transporting them had fifteen seats and had a flat tire blast, overturning several times and killing three women and one child instantly. The remaining people were all injured, and four of them were severely injured with one dying later at the hospital and raising the total number of those killed to five. Bishop Carlos and the Diocese made great efforts to bring the deceased back to Maputo. The bus belonged to one of the parishes in Maputo. Bishop Carlos and others helped the family members with arrangements for memorials and burials.
All of the injured have been discharged from the hospital except for one who remained under intensive care. The pilgrimage event drew more than one thousand participants, and all others have now arrived home safely. Please pray for their community and all those who have been affected by this loss.
In light of this tragedy, St. John’s gathered a special collection and the vestry voted to send $5,000 to help the bereaved families and those injured. Included in that gift was a donation from Bishops Ian and Laura Thank you again for your prayers and for your assistance, and we will continue to keep you posted as we receive news.
For all of these relationships and others, please pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world my persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  
Collect for Proper 24, p. 235, Book of Common Prayer

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
And when your box(es) or car trunks are full, please be sure to take a picture of it (you can even be in it!) and send it to Bev or Rachel so we can share the total offerings made on that day.

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


 Meeting the Southeast Region’s Leadership Team: Ron Steed
I operate in liminal space: that in-between place where we get a foretaste of God’s Love, Power, and Justice, but not the fullness of it. It is a hard place to stay for long. It is frustrating and joyous to me; it produces anger and euphoria. My heart urges me into it (or not) ... my ego gets puffed up by the idealized-me – made for the consumption of others, and bruised in its efforts to keep me “safe” from harm.
I serve at the New London Homeless Hospitality Center and at St. James Preston, and Grace Church, Yantic as a Vocational Deacon in The Episcopal Church in Connecticut. I find my heart breaking from the injustices of the world that systematically produce homelessness as a feature, not a bug, of shareholder capitalism in the United States ... breaking from the illnesses of people on so many levels ... breaking from the inadequacy and complicity of the institutional church ... and breaking from my own complicity in the world’s injustice. And, I find hope and “good news” in doing work that does address the needs and desires of our most vulnerable neighbors ... hope that healing, on so many levels, does occur ... hope that the church actually IS the Body of Christ sometimes ... and hope that I can live confessionally with my own complicity and learn new ways of being in the world. 
I am part of a diverse Christian community that calls itself "Love, Power, Justice." For me, Love, Power, Justice (LPJ) is a beloved community ... is like a refreshing drink of spring-water on a scorching day ... like a wholesome meal with close friends whose every word I hang onto. It gives me hope that I am immersed in the great mystery of God, united with all of creation, and celebrated by God as a beloved child ... and that when I open my heart and quiet my ego, I can be a channel for God’s Love ... God’s Power ... and God’s Justice to flow into the world. It is a place where I know that this is true not only for me, but for everyone ... and so I am called to embrace my neighbors ... to see them celebrated as beloved children too. I imagine God’s Love flowing through us into the lives of homeless neighbors ... flowing though healing prayer ... flowing through proclamations of the Gospel ... flowing through participatory art ... flowing ... flowing…. LPJ is a place where I can practice being a good ally to those who suffer from systematic oppression that I unwittingly help to sustain ... a place where I can bring Privilege into a new framework where it might do some good. It is a place where I have a voice ... a place where I can exercise the gifts given to me, and where I can receive the gifts of others ... a place where I can see all of these gifts enmeshed and actualized in community. The experience of LPJ gives me the heart-energy I need to go back ... to still my ego ... to see anger and frustration for what they are ... to feel joy and euphoria ... to be heart-centered in liminal space.
The ECCT Young Adult Task Force has good news! At our meeting last week, we decided on  one  clear and simple course of action:  focus our energies on creating a video, to be presented at Convention, that gives voice to the stories, perspectives, and ideas of young adult Episcopalians in Connecticut
If you are a young adult Episcopalian in CT,  we invite you to share your story!  Contact Erendira Jimenez ( ) or John Kennedy if you would like to participate. 
Webinar: The Disaster Response and How You Can Help, June 2nd, 12:00 pm
Mike Corey, a student in Hartford Seminary’s Master of Arts in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality program, has been on the front lines of the disaster response to Covid-19 in Connecticut.
As Chair of the  Connecticut Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster , Mike has been involved in issues from food insecurity to volunteer management to the election process.
Join us to hear how the whole community has responded and what you can do to help make a difference. Register here
June Events

SE Region Zoom meeting dates:
Thursday, June 4, 6:30 -8:00 p.m.  Region Leadership Team
Monday, June 8, 4:00 p.m. Christian Formation for Children and Youth
Wednesday, June 10, 6:30 p.m. Checking in with parishes with global mission partnerships
Saturday, June 13, 9:00 a.m . SE Region Wardens check in
St. David’s, Gales Ferry, June 9: 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m  American Red Cross Blood Drive. Due to COVID-19 precautions, volunteers will not be requested. For more information on safety measures implemented by the Red Cross or to donate, visit their we bsite here
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. Mark’s, Mystic, 11:00 a.m. St. Mark’s Live at  (On St. Mark's Live, we have a grab bag of classes and conversations.)
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
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.

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.
The 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 Monday nights 5/25, 6/1, 6/15. People should call or email Victor Friedrich, our Zoombie, for the meeting ID and password, at 347-366-5048 or . We anticipate beginning the year as a Zoom class and transitioning to in-person meetings once it is safe to do so.

Plans are underway to have a second CT Bible In Theater Vacation Bible School f or grades 2-8. The sessions will be held on line, from July 6th to July 31st, weekday mornings. Participants will spend that time rehearsing group and solo singing, choreographed movement, acting and other fun activities that revolve around specific Bible Stories. Then, using what is covered during the sessions, they will independently submit recordings of themselves performing from the comfort of their own homes. These recordings will be compiled into a Christian Musical Theater video production that will be released (for a limited audience) sometime after July 31, 2020
Space is limited to the first 20 participants to enroll and pay the registration fee. Scholarships are available if needed. Participants will also need to have access to video and audio recording devices, Wifi etc
We are also looking for High School Volunteers that are interested in audio and/or video editing, Stop Motion Animation or American Sign Language
For more details email: .

You're invited to share your reflections, a poem, song, or photos with the wider ECCT Community:

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

Here's is a link to the "Living with COVID-19: Protocols and Directions" document developed this week as CT begins 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.
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