From Rachel......

Did you know?

Somewhere between 75% & 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination. In addition to food, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clear the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support the wildlife ( 

There are people in the Episcopal Church in CT, including in the SE Region, who are working to plant pollinator gardens on the land around our parishes and our homes. This is a simple way to support the vital work of butterflies, bees, bats, birds, beetles and other small mammals. 
I love the image of a network of humans working to create a network for other creatures to do their work. It speaks to our partnership in creation, and of what our Book of Common Prayer offers so well: “may we never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil (p.134).”

Pollinators also provide me with an image of my life as your Region Missionary. I fly from place to place (well, drive, usually), looking for what is nourishing and life-giving and aiming to carry that with me to other places to share. This August I have buzzed from a conversation about homelessness along the shoreline to the story of Prudence Crandall in Canterbury to talking about the gift of theater to promote conversations over coffee in Norwich to worship and hiking in many beautiful places. 

All of these, and more, are a part of the ecosystem of the SE Region. You’re a part of that ecosystem, too, as is your parish. We may look like (and act like) 16 distinct parishes plus St. Mary’s Chapel at Fenwick. We may envy the capacity of many pollinators to fly from place to place and avoid bridges or I-95, let alone the weight of history. Still, we are one body in Christ Jesus. We are part of his ecosystem of the kingdom of God breaking into this world. 
As we look to September and the SE Region Convocation (finally!) on September 15th, I hope you’ll think about your life as a pollinator in God’s creation. Pay attention to what is good and life-giving in each place you find yourself every day; drink deeply from it; bring it with you, and share it. You are crucial to God’s garden. As we offer ourselves as pollinators, sharing our stories, we partner with God’s Spirit to create a space for growth and fruit and life that will extend throughout Southeastern CT. 

Bridging the Racial Divide

By Deacon Ellen Adams

St. James, New London was awarded a grant for Bridging the Racial Divide in the summer of 2018. We spent a year building relationships with those already doing anti-racism training in Southeastern Connecticut and building a plan a camp for young people where they could discuss identity, culture and racial justice issues. We learned a lot during this process and made adjustments as we learned new information. The two things we did not compromise on were our original goals or the plan to use the UTO funds for staffing – terms we agreed to in the grant proposal. 

This summer, twenty-seven students from six communities participated. Students from seven high schools and a home-schooler came. The training was held on July 31, August 1 and August 2, 2019 from 12 PM to 5 PM. The training was renamed Mumuration, for a flock of starlings in flight who share in the responsibility of moving the flock from one place to another. The concept that all of the participants are leaders was important to us. We wanted them to understand the power they had as individuals, and also the power they have from being part of a larger collective of people working on a common issue. We also wanted them to have an understanding of white privilege and the affect that racism still has on black and brown students. Most of all we wanted to model working through difficult situations and conversations in a safe space. 

The best thing about the training was that the participants began speaking their truth much earlier than expected, which made the whole experience more worthwhile. The participants were pleasantly surprised that highly charged issues could be raised and worked through as a community. People were held accountable for what they said, but in a loving and respectful way. 

The hardest part of the training was to discover that none of the young people feel they are being listened to when they have a problem at school. Quite often no one follows up on a complaint at all. This makes them anxious, and this is troubling as mental health issues are on the rise at these local high schools. Racism, sexual harassment, and the use of drugs are not dealt with as community problems that need to be addressed openly with all the stakeholders involved. Incidents are often dealt with in isolation with those involved being punished when restorative practices might be used to identify and resolve systemic issues. 

The participants want to form School Safety Councils at their high schools; councils made up of students, staff, and parents. We will be asking members of the parish to write letters and speak in favor of finding local solutions to the problems that are being ignored by the school systems. 

I'm Wondering... An Invitation from Rachel

As I visit different places and peoples and listen to concerns about the current state of our world, I find myself wondering: Is there an interest in people coming together twice a month to share three things.

  • Practices in prayer
  • Conversation surrounding one article or one topic that concerns us
  • Reflections on what we hear about that topic from the words of Jesus 

If you’re interested in this, please let me know. I would expect the time and place to be arranged by those who are interested in participating, but I would propose that we try it on until mid-December, to see if it is something people want to continue. I would ask that interested people make a commitment to be present during that time. The real transformation happens when we stay in relationship.

Pastoral Care Today

Often in times of clergy transition, parishes will get a sense of what their Rector or Priest in Charge really did to provide care for all the members of the parish. Suddenly, there seems to be “no one” to keep up with those who are hospitalized or those who are going through challenging emotional or spiritual times. Or, sometimes, there is the sense that “I am the one,” and the need is beyond me. 

I believe that these times of transition provide an occasion for a community of faith to grow into being a place where all the members share in the care for one another. I think often of Paul’s words to the church in Thessalonica: “You yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.” The love of God is a key ingredient no matter how many pastoral skills we have.

In the hopes of sharing some of the ways parishioners in the SE Region share the love of God with each other, we are beginning this series, highlighting a different ministry each month.

Lay Eucharistic Ministry
By Susan Kietzman

Taking communion to people who are unable to get to church can be as spiritual as a Christmas Eve service – or, I reluctantly but honestly admit, as mundane as a trip to the grocery store. Why? Well, my heart is usually committed to the visit, but my mind is less reliable. It can wander. Without warning, right in the middle of the confession, I might remember that I need butter. On the good days, I can pull myself back in quickly. On the bad days, it may take several more seconds. The disciples of Jesus, too, faced their share of distraction. And this knowledge makes me feel better about being human.
The most meaningful time I took communion to someone was in Michigan, where we lived before moving back to Connecticut. The woman I was visiting was close to death; I realized she would not be able to participate. I stood next to her bed, held her hand, and said my name and the name of our church in her ear. And then I started to whisper the Lord’s Prayer. About halfway through, her lips started moving. There was no sound, but she and I were clearly saying the same words. She helped me see that faith lies in not only our hearts and our minds, but also in the depths of our souls. It’s there, even when we don’t think we’re paying attention. On that day I knew and she knew that nothing, not even impending death, can separate us from the love of God. 


Do you love to sing? Do you love church music? Have you ever wanted to sing in an English Cathedral? Consider joining the Anglican Singers, a New London-based ensemble which is dedicated to the performance of English and American choral music in its liturgical context. The Anglican Singers sing six Evensongs over the course of the academic year, with Lessons & Carols offered in December. In late July 2020, they will be in residence for a week at Worcester Cathedral in the UK.

If you have any interest, please reach out to the Musical Director, Benjamin Straley, at
The Mission Council: Are You Called?
The Mission Council serves as a leadership body for ECCT's common participation in God's mission, using common resources, between sessions of the Annual Convention. It is responsible for financial oversight of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

There are two Mission Council members selected from each Region (one clergy, one lay). Region members do not serve as representatives but instead, they bring their local experience and wisdom to consideration of the whole of ECCT. In addition, there are nine members from different Ministry Networks in ECCT who bring their perspectives and these members are elected at the Annual Convention. ECCT's bishops, chancellor, treasurer, assistant treasurer, Secretary of Convention, and Secretary of the Diocese also serve on the Council. Terms of office begin January 1 and run three years. 
Meetings are held at The Commons in Meriden. Meetings are generally 8:30 a.m. until 3 or 4 p.m., and include Eucharist and lunch. The morning session is held jointly with members of the other ECCT Leadership Groups: Commission on Ministry, Standing Committee, and Trustees of Donations & Bequests.
September Events

Wednesday, September 4 , 6:30 p.m., St. James, New London. The life and times of Ichabod Pease (1755-1842), born into slavery, manumitted at age 39, and a faithful member of St. James for over 60 years.  

Wednesday, September 11 , 7:00 p.m., United Church on the Green, New Haven. "Simple Gifts for Mother Earth, details at:

Sunday, September 15th , 2:00 p.m., SE Region Convocation: “One Region, One Body”at Holy Advent, Clinton. There will be singing, praying, conversation, and light food. Please register to let us know you are coming – and bring a friend! Register here:

Saturday, September 21 , 2:00 p.m. Sacred Paths at Hammonassett: Rejoicing in Creation by the Sound. A collaborative offering of prayer and reflection on sound, marsh, moraine and the land’s history, put together by the Episcopal communities of Madison, Clinton, Guilford and North Branford. Light walking, with parking nearby.  Please register to let us know you are coming:

Saturday, September 21 , Grace Church, Old Saybrook: Tag sale  

Sunday, September 22 , 5:00 p.m. Anglican Singers at St Mary Star of the Sea Church, 10 Huntington St., New London

Coming in October

Saturday, October 5 , 2:30 - 5:00 p.m., All Saints, Ivoryton. Annual Tea and Silent Auction. Suggested donation of $10. 

Sunday, October 20 , 1:00 p.m., St.Mark's, Mystic. 42nd Mystic/Stonington CROP HUNGER WALK. Register online: more information call Julia Porter 536-2405 or email Julia at

Sunday, October 20 , 2:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m., St. James, New London. Reality, Hope and Action in an Age of Climate Change. Learn more at

Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28, CT Convention Center, Hartford: Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in CT.
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
Chelsea DiDonato