From Rachel......

“Ugh this is a tough month for all of us, even the people we need to talk to are too busy!”

One of our Editorial Staff members came to this conclusion as we were trying to put this month’s BRIDGE together. We were not only juggling our own schedules with changing work demands, broken copiers and a tight calendar. We were also entering into the juggling patterns of others.

I had this image of the four of us with a bunch of bowling pins up in the air coming into contact with others with more bowling pins up in the air. It could be easy to decide not to go outside lest they all fell at once on our heads.

This season is often referred to as “Stewardship” season. While many try to stress that we are stewards of time and our gifts and not just our money, the reality is that we end up filling in a form that focuses on that dollar amount. It is then whisked away to be entered into a spreadsheet so that projected budget can be created.

I suppose it is all a part of being a legal institution with needs for accountability and clarity around money, to be able to make a plan for a year. AND. I am always drawn to another image of what Stewardship is all about:

“Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries.”
I Corinthians 4:1
Or
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” I Peter 4:10

These speak to me of our role as stewards of our relationship over time with the Triune God. What have we learned? Where have we struggled? What has the Spirit revealed to us of who Jesus is, along the way? These experiences are a profound gift of the manifold grace of God; the world needs us and the church needs us to share them.

We made a nice start with this at our SE Region Convocation, when we had time for one-on-one conversations. This was a way into sharing those stories, and thus being stewards of the Gospel – the Good News – that we have each experienced. My hope is that we will continue, as a region, to practice this one –on-one model.

And I wonder, if we practice it more, will we have less need to say, “I’m too busy to talk,” because we will know that God’s Spirit shows up in those conversations, and gives us unexpected joy and rest.


Out and about in the SE Region & Beyond

About 30 people joined in the Sacred Paths: Rejoicing in Creation by the Sound at Hammonasset State Park on September 21 st . Alli Huggins blogged about it. Here’s the link if you missed it.

St. John’s Essex is one of 11 parishes in ECCT engaged in Joining Jesus in a New Missional Age. Three of their team members were able to come to a meeting with Al Roxburgh at the Commons on September 21.

St. James’ New London has a group of 7 people going to volunteer along the border of the US and Mexico, September 30 – October 8 th . They’ll be working with different volunteer groups in shelters, putting out water, and in the courtroom at a detention center. Please keep them in your prayers.

Annual Convention is October 26-27 in Hartford
Here’s where you’ll find all that you need to know about Registration, etc: https://www.episcopalct.org/events/annual-convention/2019/
There are separate Registrations required for 4 different parts of this weekend’s gathering and celebration
·        Annual Convention business and resolutions on Saturday
·        Cathedral Centennial Evensong on Saturday, with Reception following, 6:30 p.m.
·        Sunday festival Eucharist featuring The Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris as preacher, 11:00 a.m.
·        Youth at Convention for High School aged youth, 8:00 a.m. Saturday – 1:30 p.m. Sunday



Walktober in the Last Green Valley

It’s here! The  2019 Walktober guide  and contest! Maggie Breen, Northeast Region Missionary, and Rachel Thomas, Southeast Region Missionary, invite you to join in the exploration of the Last Green Valley during Walktober. 
We’re having a contest to see who in each Region can attend the most events: simply take a picture of yourself at each location and complete the attached (which can also be found online  HERE ) form to enter by Nov. 10 and win a prize.
We’ll each be attending events as we can, and invite you to join us.
A group of youth and adults from St. Andrew’s Madison are making a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago next June 27-July 7. Total cost is $2750 with an additional cost of $400 if you want to stay in hotels rather than hostels. For more information, contact Mary Merkle-Scotland at St.Andrew’s. 
 
At present, Rachel plans to attend:
·        Tuesday, October 8, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Railroad Lore along the Columbia/Lebanon Air Line trail; Pine St., Lebanon
·        Saturday, October 12, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. The Legend of Uncas Leap, 210 Yantic St., Norwich
·        Saturday, October 12, noon – 1:30 p.m. Spaulding Pond Dam Flood, 258 Broad St., Norwich
·        Monday, October 14, 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Firearm Factories of Norwich , City Hall Norwich
·        Monday, October 21, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Fall Tree ID, James L Goodwin Conservation Center

Maggie plans to attend:
·        Wednesday, October 2, 10am-Noon Take A Walk On The Wild-side At Putnam Elms, 191 Church Street, Brooklyn
·        Friday, October 4, 5-9pm, First Friday in Downtown Putnam, Main Street
·        Monday, October 14, 11:30am-1pm Where The Bison Roam, Creamery Brook Bison, 19 Purvis Rd, Brooklyn
·        Monday, October 14, 2-3:30pm Gray Ledge Tree Farm Leaf Hunt, 210 Lathrop Rd, Plainfield
·        Wednesday, October 16, 10-11am West Thompson Dam Tour, 162 West Thompson Rd, North Grosvenordale
·        Monday, October 21, 1:30-3:30pm Fall Tree ID, James L. Goodwin Conservation Center, 23 Potter Rd, Hampton

Come join us or find your own adventure!



Convocation Report

by Bev Olsen


The South East Region of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut gathered on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in September at Holy Advent in Clinton. Rev. Diana Rogers, the Priest in Charge of Holy Advent and member of the leadership team, gathered us in prayer.

We focused that day on being the church – a church that’s more than a building and a series of programs and things to get done, but the church of Jesus, a church of people, a church of relationships. Bev Olsen welcomed us to our day with these words:

I had a moment when I realized that I still saw the church as us and them, as here and there. There is here … in Connecticut … and there is, well, there … all those other states. There is us -- at my church -- and there is them – those of you all at your churches. And mostly I realized I thought of us – you know us here – the church people – and them – those who aren’t. I thought of us as the Samaritan, and them as the guy on the road or the folks that didn’t stop. I thought of us as the folks who bring food to the needy and house the homeless; and I thought of them as those folks who needed those things. There is us – and there is all y’all . Y’all are good folks; you’re just them….

[But then I had a moment when I had] a brief glimpse of a world in which it was only us.  I really connected the idea that Holy Advent, here in Clinton, is my church; as is Calvary in Stonington; and Grace in Yantic and St. Stephens in East Haddam. We are one, the one body of Christ. We are not all the same – but, I am part of all these things. We are the neighbors; we are the poor and the needy; we are diverse; we are one.
That day we were asked – the many churches -- to focus on being one church. Rachel Thomas reminded us that we do this best when we meet one another and form relationships. So we practiced being the Church. One on one we met and talked, getting to know one another and joining in conversation about RACIAL HEALING. We took the time to do what we often do not seem to have time for.

We began with partners. It was a beautiful day, and many of us wandered out enjoy the day and the beautiful gardens at Holy Advent. Prompted by four questions, we greeted one another and learned something about a new person. Later, in small groups we also shared stories, stories our relationships and meetings with the Other. Prompted by photos, Suzy Burke asked that we find ourselves, and these photos eased us into dialogues that are often difficult conversations. Between these conversations, we enjoyed light refreshments, we sang to music led by Grant Underwood and Gary Naegel of St Andrew’s, Madison and knotted together loose strands of rope into a net – kind of a net, which stands as a metaphor for our day.
When asked for a response to the day, Maren Shrober responded, encompassing the spirit of the day and the hopes of the Leadership team:

The highlight of the day for me was the one on one sharing. Because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, I felt comfortable in sharing on a deep level with a total stranger! …We had meaningful questions...good questions for sharing on a deeper level than usual in a church or Christian gathering…. I would love for us at our own individual churches to be able to have the deeper kind of sharing that helps us to really get to know each other. I am inspired to think of possible questions we might share with each other during coffee hour after church….

I like talking about growing up prejudiced or against people who had a different skin color from me. It made me really think about my own attitudes about this growing up and adult.
The whole time together seemed to be lead by the Holy Spirit! If a group of the planners prayed ahead of time for the Spirit to lead the convocation...I think that prayer was answered. The Holy Spirit was all over the area ... it is hard to pick out one or two examples...Jesus seemed to be in everything we said and did. The music was of the Spirit for sure… So the music was the work of the Lord...the prayers...  small group sharing...the knot tying...the snacks...it was all Spirit….

 
The day ended with the business of selecting two new members of the Mission Council. Asking that those called to serve, place their names in a bowl, we prayed for someone to answer the call. For three years, the Rev. Stacey Kohl will serve as the clergy member; Steve MacAusland, the Lay; the Rev. Joan Phelps, as the clergy alternate; and Bev Olsen, as lay alternate.
 
As part of the leadership team, we hope that as we know one another one on one, as we share each others stories one on one, we become more able to work together one on one, building one church across the region, all following Jesus.


CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER

by Nat Eddy

St. John's Episcopal Church - Wednesdays, 5 PM


For the last year or so, several of us have been meeting for contemplative prayer at 5:00 on Wednesday. We don't have much of an agenda other than sitting quietly in prayer. Usually, we start with a Psalm, and currently reading our way through them. Afterward, we sit together in silence for twenty minutes or so, at which point we say the Lord's Prayer, and then we leave. Often we talk for a while before or after prayer, and sometimes someone has a reading or thought they would like to contribute.

The church is open during that time, with a sign welcoming the community to come in. We've had people come in and look around, or to sit, or to pray.

At least one of us is there almost every Wednesday, and we would love other people to join us, whenever possible. Even if we aren't there, the church is almost always open at that time since our Parish Administrator, Chelsea DiDonato is still there, and you can do it even if we aren't with you in body. I sometimes feel that I'm too busy or addled and that I should skip it, but I don't, because I find it one of the most refreshing and fulfilling parts of my week. You might also. If you would like to join us, but the time isn't a good one for you, please reach out to our Parish Administrator, Chelsea DiDonato at 860-767-8095 ext. 10 or chelsea@stjohnsessex.org .

October Events


Friday, October 4, 7:00p.m. Christ Episcopal Church, Norwich:  Centennial Cole Concert: Celebrating 100 years of Nat King Cole. $10 donation requested. http://www.cuatropuntos.org
Saturday, October 5, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. St. James’, Preston:  Fall food Festival and Vendor Fair  Artisans Booths, Food Vendors, Gramma’s Attic, Bake Sale, Sit-down Luncheon, Blessing of the Animals, and much more!  Free Parking & Handicapped Accessible~
Saturday, October 5 , 2:30 p.m - 5:00 p.m. All Saints, Ivoryton:  Annual Tea and Silent Auction. Suggested donation of $10.
Sunday, October 13, 10:00 a.m. following, St. James’, New London : Bishop Jeffery and Dr. Anne Rowthorn will present from their book God’s Good Earth: praise and prayer for Creation.  
Tuesday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. St. James’, Preston : Healing Prayer Service in collaboration with St. David’s, Gales Ferry; all are welcome
Friday, October 18 & Saturday, October 19 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. St. John’s, Essex:  Rummage Sale
Saturday, October 19, 5:00 p.m. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, East Haddam:  Chicken BBQ .
S unday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. St.Mark's, Mystic : 42nd Mystic/Stonington CROP HUNGER WALK. Register online: crophungerwalk.org more information call Julia Porter 536-2405 or email Julia at julia@tvcconnect.net
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 https://hopeinanageofclimatechange.eventbrite.com
Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28 , CT Convention Center, Hartford: Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in CT.
Coming in early November:
November 2, SE Region Communications Workshop with ECCT’s Digital Storyteller, Alli Gannett – web sites in the morning, Social Media in the afternoon. More info here:  https://www.episcopalct.org/ECCTCalendar/2019/11/02/southeast-region-parish-communication-workshop-1/
November 3, 4:00 p.m. Church of the Holy Advent : Glee Wahlquist Concert Series, Canciones Espanols

Safe Church Training in the SE Region
(a complete list is available here )
Saturday, October 19, half day:  Calvary, Stonington ( link to register – requires that you complete a portion on line before the day.)  

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