Sunday, March 7, 2021:

We Remember
The Right Reverend Barbara C Harris

WELCOME to ST JAMES'
ONLINE SUNDAY SCHOOL!

Here are the readings for this Sunday:
Here's who we're wondering about:
The Right Reverend Barbara Clementine Harris
June 12, 1930 - March 13, 2020

Her name may be familiar to you because of the special place in Greenfield, New Hampshire, that we call "BCH" - the Barbara C Harris Episcopal Camp & Conference Center. Some day we will travel there (again) to enjoy camp and retreats! (See the news update from the Executive Director, below.)

Who was Barbara C Harris? Here are some quick facts, many of them found here:

  • A middle child (with an older sister & younger brother)
  • Left-handed
  • Great-granddaughter of slaves; a Black woman
  • Piano player who loved music
  • Singer - she could sing and play many songs, including hymns, by heart
  • Five feet tall (short in stature, but mighty in spirit)
  • She said about herself: “I was always the one who took risks and dared to do adventurous things."
  • She described herself as "fiercely independent".
  • She volunteered at church and in jails, orphanages, and soup kitchens.
  • She helped register Black voters in the 1960s. She knew this important work was dangerous, but that did not stop her.
  • She walked in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march with Dr Martin Luther King and many others: an important time for the  American civil rights movement, which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
  • At a time when women were not allowed to become Episcopalian or Anglican priests, she was the proud crucifer (carrier of the processional cross) at the 1974 service in Philadelphia where 11 women "irregularly" became priests (she wasn't a priest herself, yet - but she would be!)
  • A "born preacher". She said, "The gift of preaching has been given to me."
  • Also, a joke teller (although some of her jokes were funnier than others)
  • She became a priest when she was 50, in 1980 (not her first job)
  • She became the suffragan ("helper") bishop in the Diocese of Massachusetts in 1989, which was important to the whole world - because that meant that Barbara C Harris was:
  • the first Episcopalian woman bishop
  • The first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion

Barbara Clementine Harris was a leader who believed in herself, because she knew how much God loved her. She knew that God is stronger than anything, and that knowledge gave her strength!

What are your gifts? What do you especially like to do? How can you serve God by using the gifts that make you special - by loving everyone (including yourself)?
Take a quiet minute to pray & ponder this collect:

Everliving God, in every generation you cause fresh winds to renew, refresh, and refine your people and in your Word summon us to live courageously as Easter people in an often Good Friday world.

Defend us in our own day to make no peace with oppression; that boldly following the example of your servant Barbara Clementine Harris, chosen bishop in your church, we may strive not for ease or fame but gladly toil and walk with you all along our pilgrim journey; through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Amen.
There are 42 wonderful role models to meet in this exciting book, including Barbara C Harris!
"I Am Enough" (and you are, too) declares author Grace Byers. "Live a life of love, not fear!"
Listen and watch while the author reads and talks about this book. And be sure to tell someone special: "I celebrate you!"
Looking for more? Here's a list of 11 inspiring children's books to teach kids about gender equality: enjoy "ABC: What Can She Be?", "She Persisted: 11 American Women Who Changed the World"; "Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women who Changed the World", and others.

How can you, too, change the world? Follow Barbara C Harris' advice and "dare to do adventurous things" - remembering always that "The Power behind you is greater than any obstacle ahead of you"!

And if you are feeling uncertain, remember words that a wise friend of Barbara Harris told her: “God does not call those who are worthy. God makes worthy those whom God would call.” So follow your heart, do your best, and go do good things!
Update from John Koch, Executive Director of the BCH Center:
Traditional overnight camp will not be offered in 2021.
  • As an alternative, BCH plans to host Family Camp Weekends.
  • Individual families or “neighborhood pods” will be able to have their own cabin and participate as a group in traditional camp activities. The Family Camps will be staffed with BCH Camp Counselors and offer many activities including swimming, archery, arts and crafts, and hiking just to name a few. In the morning we are considering some separate adult programming and in the evening we may even be able to offer a socially-distanced campfire experience for the entire group.
We are quite excited to be able to offer this hybrid camp format this summer. It will mean we can provide a safe and fun experience for families eager to break free from the confines of the lingering pandemic. Additional information, including dates and registration instructions, will be available soon. 
The Third Sunday of Lent: purple days!
Click here for an earlier email about this season.

How is your Lenten journey going?
What obstacles are you facing?
What challenges are you overcoming?
Be strong and do not fear. God celebrates you!
(I - and others - celebrate you, too!)

Please let me know if I can be of service to you these days, or any time. We are traveling this Lenten journey together! Love - Linda