CRUX 2019
















Episcopal Church in Connecticut

The Commons

290 Pratt Street ı Box 52 ı Meriden, CT 06450

203 - 639 - 3501 ı

Publisher ı Episcopal Church in Connecticut

Bishop Diocesan ı The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas

Bishop Suffragan ı The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens

Guest Editor ı Karin Hamilton

Canon for Mission Communications & Media ı

Jasree Peralta

Design ı Elizabeth Parker, EP Graphic Design

Change of address and other circulation correspondence

should be addressed to

Episcopal Church in Connecticut

( is a community of 60,000 members in

160+ parishes and worshiping communities across the

state. It is a diocese in The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church

( is a multi-national community of two

million members in 111 dioceses and regional areas across

the United States and in 16 other nations. It is a province of

the Anglican Communion.

The Anglican Communion

( is a global community of tens of

millions of Anglicans in 40 national or regional provinces and

five extra-provincial areas in more than 165 countries.

Cover Photo: Elizabeth Parker

Photo: Ian T. Douglas

The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens celebrates the Eucharist at Wadi Qelt in the

Holy Land during the 2019 ECCT Pilgrimage.


Karin Hamilton

Why does our culture/society toss groups of people "into the

margins" and what enables some of us to see and honor God

in them? How can we see people whom our society sees as

“broken”— including ourselves and our own family members

and friends who may have mental illnesses, or are homeless or

in prison, or who are substance abusers and addicts — through

the eyes of God, as beloved, respected with dignity, the equal

of all? Especially when the behaviors often associated with

these challenges breaks hearts, hurts, goes against good

advice, or repeats patterns that continually fail. Behaviors that

get people pushed away into the margins. How can we orient

ourselves to forgive seventy times seven, as the Scriptures

say; to love those in the margins as if our life depends on it?

If we love you, God, we will take care of ourselves and each

other, even when it hurts. “Peter, do you love me? Feed my

sheep,” said Jesus. We are all one in Christ. There is no real

margin, because there is no edge to God’s embrace. How then

can we love as God loves?

In our first feature you can read about two people in Vermont,

friends to many in ECCT, who are living a life devoted to

contemplative practice. They have a mission “to support all

people to know and enter into divine life.” And while many

of us think of the Kingdom of God as something far away, or

even an idealized version of the real world right now, they lay

claim to Luke 17:21 in which Jesus says that God’s kingdom

is “already among you,” alternatively translated as, “already

within you.”

In the second feature, you’ll meet people who are working

with the mentally ill, homeless, imprisoned, and addicted,

grounded in God and making the Kingdom manifest; showing

us a way.

Elsewhere in this issue you’ll learn about others who are also

making manifest the Kingdom, from long-time leaders to

new ones. In addition you’ll be introduced to three teens who

embrace an interfaith future of peace, and a follower of Jesus

who set up summer camps for impoverished children on the

island of Hispaniola. You’ll also hear from your bishops, ECCT

staff, and others who serve God faithfully and do their best to

support you on your own journey of faith.

May the joy of the Lord be your strength. (Neh. 8:10)

Karin Hamilton served as Canon for Mission Communications &

Media for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut for 25 years before

retiring in July 2019.



Union with God:

A dream for all,

from a farm in


Karin Hamilton

Two friends of ECCT now

in Vermont talk about

the hows and whys of

contemplative living


Loving those on

the margins

Karin Hamilton

How can we love when

our loved ones' behavior

challenges us? An

introduction to a series of



Following Jesus

Frankye Regis

Following Jesus onto the

island of Hispaniola to

bring a summer camp for

children to both its nations

2 From the guest editor Karin Hamilton

18 Joining Jesus in a New Missional Age Ian T. Douglas

24 Jesus cleanses ten lepers Laura J. Ahrens

26 Seeking God in all people Barbara Curry

28 A love for ministry on the margins Ranjit Mathews

34 Profile of the Rev. Loyda E. Morales Karin Hamilton

36 Perfil de la Reverenda Loyda E. Morales Karin Hamilton

38 Profile of A. Bates Lyons Karin Hamilton

40 From ECCT

46 Connecticut diocese engages parishes in

collaboration by replacing deaneries with

Region Missionaries (Episcopal News Service)

Egan Millard

48 I am a Christian. I am Muslim. I am a Jew. Karin Hamilton

Our dream is to imagine and incarnate a sustainable way of

living that leads to wholeness of body, soul, and spirit not just

for ourselves, but for all who share this earth – including the

earth herself! We believe the only path forward is through union

with God as healer of our wounds, sustainer of the physical

world, and lover of our souls. Our souls are restless until they

find their rest in God. Without dwelling in the infinite love of

God we will always chase after finite things that will lead to pain

for ourselves, others, and the earth. We must learn to pray.

Union with God:

A path forward for all and a dream from a farm in Vermont

Karin Hamilton

Photo: Mark and Lisa Kutolowski


Here’s the dream that Mark and Lisa Kutolowski share, presented on their


Our dream is to imagine and incarnate a sustainable

way of living that leads to wholeness of body, soul, and

spirit not just for ourselves, but for all who share this

earth – including the earth herself! We believe the only

path forward is through union with God as healer of our

wounds, sustainer of the physical world, and lover of our

souls. Our souls are restless until they find their rest in

God. Without dwelling in the infinite love of God we will

always chase after finite things that will lead to pain for

ourselves, others, and the earth. We must learn to pray.

Mark and Lisa are known to many in the Episcopal Church in

Connecticut (ECCT) for leading the Connecticut River Pilgrimage

in 2017. They also led a shorter river pilgrimage in 2019 for two

ECCT Regions. On each, they served as both river guides and spiritual

directors. Bishop Ian Douglas and his wife Kristin Harris were among

those on that 2017 trip and Ian later said that he found it life-changing: as

an extrovert uncomfortable with silences, he grew to love them over the

day and weeks of their time on the river.

The couple met in 2015 and married soon thereafter. Mark is a Benedictine

Oblate, and a wilderness guide and instructor, while Lisa led campus

ministry programs, including outdoor leadership trips, then worked as

an artisanal bread baker. Mark is Roman Catholic; Lisa was raised in the

Mennonite tradition and joined the Roman Catholic Church shortly before

meeting Mark.

While leading pilgrimages is an important and an essential component

of their lives and their livelihoods, they have an even bigger, more

encompassing vision, as expressed in the quote above. They don’t want

to just preach that more people must learn to pray, they live it themselves

and truly want to help others to do that as well. They want to be midwives

of that process.


For the past two years, Mark and Lisa have been living, and praying, on a

10-acre farm in northern Vermont named “Table Rock Farm” after a glacial

rock formation on the property. They call it their homestead and it’s where

they hope to have people join them in their ongoing life of prayer.

“Sometimes we take what we are doing out on a pilgrimage and to

retreats,” Lisa said. “But more and more, we’re turning to wanting to

invite people here, where they can be served by the land, and we can be

supporting them as well.”

The view at Table Rock Farm in northern Vermont.

An old farmhouse on the homestead was beyond repair and had to be torn

down, with the help of friends. They saved many barn boards, beams, and

the fieldstones from the foundation for later repurposing. Mark and Lisa


personally live in a four-season yurt without

electricity. There is also an old barn, used

to store canoes and other equipment, and

a newer, two-story former basket-making

shop, with electricity and Internet access.

A small room in that building is used as an

office and library and they’re renovating the

shop area on the main floor to provide a

cozy gathering space. They’re also building

a bakery and guest quarters on a single slab


“[Lisa and I] have talked a lot about our

experiences on pilgrimage and also on

welcoming people here,” Mark explained.

“In both of those environments it feels very

much like our role is to support the structure

of prayer and the sort of spaciousness

that allows people to enter into this deep

encounter with the Spirit.

“We can’t give people that experience [but]

we can guard the boundaries, so to speak, to

“We’re giving space for people to encounter

this reality.”

Lisa explained it as removing distractions.

“It’s becoming more and more obvious to

me that we need to take things away – we

need to take distraction away, and we need

to take busy-ness away. There’s nothing that

we have to add to our lives to see that the

Kingdom of God is here,” she said.

The wood-fired bakery oven will

have the capacity to bake up to

160 loaves a day, as an income

producer, though they say they’ll

start more modestly.

The vista from the hill near where

these buildings stand is glorious;

the neighbors are sparse yet

welcoming; the guests few now

but anticipated next year; and

the love of contemplative prayer

deep and endless.

There are currently no additional

plans for a traditional Yankee

farm with agricultural production

for sale, though they do plan

to grow more food in coming

years. There’s no plan to turn the

homestead into a retreat center

with programming, either. Table

Rock Farm’s land is for prayer

and relationship. It is a place to

live out the Benedictine values of

prayer, study, and work.

“We’re interested in living a lay

contemplative life, and inviting

others to share in that, much the

way a monastery is not a retreat center,”

said Mark. The basic framework for guests

will be to join Mark and Lisa for prayer,

silences, meals, conversations, and various

types of physical work on the land.


Finding union with God is hard work, and so

much harder to do when you’re burdened

with the stresses and distractions of life. Yet

that’s the vision.

Personally, they pray five times a day and

include two 20-minute periods of silence,

stretched to 30 minutes in the seasons of

Lent, East, Advent, and Christmas.

The old farm house that was beyond repair and was torn down. Photo: Mark and Lisa


allow that experience to take place,” he said.

For example, he said, they asked the river

pilgrims not to speak outside the liturgy from

the time they woke up until an hour or so

into their paddling.

He said that it allowed people to be able

to stay in that space and not to have to

socialize at a superficial level, which allowed

them to be more open and present.

“And then the Spirit will speak to them

through something that wells up from

within, or something that they see, and

they’re present enough to see it and let it

touch them in a deeper way,” he said.

They know the contemplative

tradition is challenging.

“I think what is so vibrant

about Christ’s path and the way

of the cross is that once we

remove all the outside stuff then

there’s all this inside stuff that

we have to wrestle with,” Lisa

said. “We have to come face to

face with all the suffering that

we’ve experienced and with the

suffering of the world, and then

take up our cross daily.

“As soon as you turn off

everything else, then it’s the

inside you have to deal with,

which is a lot scarier.”

Yet its promise is the potential

for you to experience an intimate

connection with God.

“We don’t necessarily see that

reality of God’s Kingdom here and

now, so we have to be changed,

to be transformed, to be broken

open,” Mark said. “We need to

consciously share in God’s life, to

open the depths of our being – or we might

say – to open our heart to the presence of

God in and through everything. That is to

enter into the Kingdom of God.”


At some point in the future they may

partner with the poor, or perhaps stand

with specific “marginalized” groups, but

the contemplative life doesn’t start with

activism. Lisa admits that she still struggles

with a desire to act immediately.

“There are times when I ask myself, what

are we even doing here? There is so much

we need to be doing. We need to be out on

the streets. Jesus said to clothe the naked

and feed the poor.


Photo: Karin Hamilton

Lisa and Mark Kutolowski at Table Rock Farm, named after a glacial rock formation on their property.

“What is so interesting is that I almost come

to that place as a comfort to grab onto.

Something painful is dislodging [in prayer]

and it would feel good to my ego, like I

am actually doing something good in the

world. That’s an unhealthy savior complex.

It doesn’t mean we don’t act, but this path

we’re talking about is about seeking God for

God’s own sake. If God is leading you to that

kind of ministry, it’s not going to be about

you, and it’s going to be a lot more sacrificial.

It requires a conversion of the heart.”

She also reminds herself that “we don't

each have to be the whole body of Christ. …

The work that we're doing here on this land,

our prayer, is supportive to the whole body

of Christ,” she said.

Mark also underscored that intensity and

importance for the whole world of the work

of prayer:

“I think it’s a grave mistake to associate

going off to silence and solitude as a retreat

from the problems of the world. It’s precisely

in coming away from the exterior clamor

that you can face the problems of the world

spiritually. Our engagement with the pain of

the world is much more intense in our prayer

than it would be if we were on phones all

the time and if we were distracted and

rushing around and concerned with our

personal survival.

“[These contemplative practices] give you

a space to feel the world suffering. In fact,

to feel that at a much deeper level because

we are not just connected to God, we're

connected to every other human being

on the planet, and to the planet as well.

When you are still enough that you feel that

experientially, your prayer is a sharing both in

the fullness of God but also in the weakness

and brokenness of the human condition,

and in your own heart there's an interplay

between those two.”

When the time is right, they will be open to

more retreatants on the land. It will be open

We need to consciously

share in God’s life, to

open the depths of our

being — or we might say

— to open our heart to

the presence of God in

and through everything.

That is to enter into the

Kingdom of God.

Mark Kutolowski

to all, though they realize the contemplative

path won't be attractive to everyone. Their

dream for you, and all who share the earth,

and for earth herself, will still be the same:

“… union with God as healer of our wounds,

sustainer of the physical world, and lover of

our souls….”

“Wherever you are, if you fall deeply in love

with God, it will change you,” said Mark,

adding that "and it just might change what

you do.” ◊



Loving those on

the margins

Karin Hamilton

The Rev. Kathryn Greene-McCreight, Episcopal priest in New Haven,

theologian, and author, has written what Archbishop of Canterbury Justin

Welby has called a “brave and compassionate book” about mental

illness, responding to it, and looking for God in all of the suffering. Her book,

Darkness Is My Only Companion; A Christian Response to Mental Illness, is

based on her own experience. She writes in one section:

“My husband, Matthew, just wants to help. He keeps asking me what he can

do. He says that he feels so helpless. He is indeed helpless, and so am I. There

is nothing he can do. Yet maybe there is. I tell him not to treat me as an invalid.

When I can’t get up, when I can’t crack a smile through my plaster mask of a

face, when I can’t do anything but weep, just hold my hand. But please don’t

be in pain for me. Because then I can see that on your face and it makes my

pain worse. Just treat me in a matter-of-fact way: Kathryn is depressed again.

Or when I am hypomanic, don’t get scared of me. Don’t get mad at me just

because I talk too much, have too much energy, burst at the seams with ideas

for the garden, the house, vacations, books. It is not my fault that I swing from

one extreme to the other. I know loving me right now is a big challenge. But

that’s how I can be helped.”

Kathryn’s book next included the full hymn text of “How Firm a Foundation.”

(see sidebar). She continued:

“This hymn would always make me cry when I was depressed. I always

wondered, what did my parish think as I wept during many of the hymns?

But no one ever asked. Maybe they never noticed? Or maybe they were too

embarrassed for my sake to say anything, too polite. “That soul, though all hell

should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.” I felt entirely

forsaken, but God’s promise in Christ to me was overwhelmingly comforting.”

— Excerpt from Darkness Is My Only Companion; A Christian

Response to Mental Illness, by Kathryn Greene-McCreight,

Brazos Press, 2015, pp.68-69.

Many of us (and I include myself) love people who have mental illness, or are

addicted, or homeless, or imprisoned, or all of these — or face other challenges

that can end up with them being shunned and consigned to the margins — or

maybe we’re the ones who are facing those challenges and are marginalized.

Like Kathryn, we need to hang on to God’s promise, too. We need strength to

trust God is with our loved ones, and God is with us, as well, trying to love as

best we can.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord

is laid for your faith in God’s excellent Word!

What more can he say than to you he has said,

to you that for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Feat not I am with thee; O be not dismayed!

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to


Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,

the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;

for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials try pathway shall lie,

My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;

the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design

thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

The soul that to Jesus hath fled for repose

I will not, I will not desert to its foes;

that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I'll never, no never, no never forsake.

John Rippon (1751-1836)

There’s hope for us. Archbishop Justin Welby, in his preface to Kathryn’s book,

wrote: “The reconciliation of God, I have learned afresh from this book, is

overwhelmingly more powerful than all the brokenness of my humanity.”

Here are stories from some Episcopalians in ECCT who have chosen to work

with several of the many groups of people who are at, or in, the margins of

our culture and society. They each share how they came to the work they do,

how they pray, and how they work with the people they do in a way that offers

respect and dignity.


Loving those on the margins

Mental health should be a communal endeavor


Karin Hamilton

We must promote —

to the best of our ability

and by all possible and

appropriate means —

the mental and physical

health of all our citizens.

John F. Kennedy, address to Congress, 1963

To think it all started with gardening.

The Rev. Kyle Pedersen, M.A.R.,

an Episcopal deacon, is executive

director for a mental health center

foundation that works with people in New

Haven who are challenged with mental

illnesses. The Community Mental Health

Foundation is a partnership between the

State of Connecticut and Yale University.

Technically, he’s a Yale employee. He also

teaches at Yale Divinity School in their Office

of Supervised Ministries.

Kyle started out as a Yale student but

decided to drop out after his sophomore

year. He ended up working in the flower

business doing design and sales, both retail

and wholesale, throughout New England.

After about 10 years he moved to New

York and reconnected with a woman he’d

met at Yale, Lucile; they later married. She

was working for an agency that did case

management for people who had histories

of mental health challenges, substance

abuse, and homelessness. The agency was

completing a 20-unit HUD-funded garden

apartment complex and Kyle was brought on

board to be the garden director.

“One day, one of the case managers they

had hired quit, and so they asked if I could

just help meet with the clients while they

searched for a new case manager,” he said.

“A few weeks after that they invited me to

be the case manager. And so I said, sure.”

Kyle went back to college to learn about

mental health services, this time at the

New School in New York City, while also

getting on-the-job training. In the meantime,

he had gotten involved at Grace Church in

Brooklyn Heights and soon entered a formal

discernment process in the Diocese of Long


His next step was theological education, to

support his work.

“A core belief for me theologically is that

we are all created in the image of God. And

part of that means that we have creative

capacity, because God is creative. So, if

we think about all people, including people

who struggle with mental health issues, as

having creative capacity, that changes your

perspective on what you know people are

capable of.

“I started in mental health services by

working in the garden with people, and I

tell that story because it actually was my

entry point, and it’s still like a touchstone

for me, that my work was always about just

connecting with people as people, people

who I have an interest in, and not people as


“I learned about serious mental health

issues by meeting the various people that I

was supporting as a case manager, and that

continues to be the way I think about mental

health issues — that it is part of your life but

is not your whole life. Even people who are

struggling very profoundly have a life that

they want to live. It may be really impacted

or reduced by the mental health symptoms

that they're experiencing, but never lose

sight of that person who's there.

“I remember someone reframing this and

saying, it’s not ‘what disease does this

person have,’ but ‘what person does this

disease have.’”

Kyle was ordained in 2003 and is now

assigned to be the deacon for Trinity on the

Green and the Episcopal Church at Yale,

both in New Haven. In his role as a deacon,

as well as foundation administration staff,

he considers the systems and structures


I started in mental health services by

working in the garden with

work was always about just connecting

with people as people...

Kyle Pedersen

that need attention. He thinks about how the church can be more

responsive and supportive and suggests that offering “Mental

Health First Aid” courses might be one example; increasing basic

awareness is another, as might be changing the prayers of the

people. He also considers the intersection of race and poverty and

how it affects health outcomes. He’s trained in Undoing Racism/

Community Organizing with the People’s Institute, and passionate

about the impact of racism on health.

“We know that proportionately, you see much poorer health

outcomes in people of color, especially African Americans,” he said.

“Health exists within this much larger constellation of relationships

and access to resources.”


His work for the foundation includes raising money and also

awareness. His approach to it is reflected in his business card, which

has “be the WE” on one side. A companion infocard, with additional

contact information and some statistics, has the full quote from

President John F. Kennedy to Congress, made in 1963, urging the

establishment of community mental health centers, which inspired

Kyle’s “be the WE” slogan.

The quote reads, “We must promote — to the best of our ability and

by all possible and appropriate means — the mental and physical

health of all our citizens.”

“I was really captured by that,” Kyle said. He recalled listening to

a Jewish medical school resident talking on an NPR story, relating

Kennedy’s line to the line from the Seder, “We were slaves to the

Pharaoh in Egypt.”

“[The student] said, imagine if we brought that perspective to health

care -- that it's not about an individual problem or failing or diagnosis,

but if someone is struggling with mental health issues it's about us

and it's about our community,” Kyle recalled.

He continued: “And that's maybe what enables me to take a different

sort of view. It doesn't mean that you ignore the person in their

immediate need and struggle. But for me, as a deacon – interpreting

to the church the hopes, needs, and concerns of the world, it’s a

bigger kind of endeavor.

Photo: Karin Hamilton

Kyle Pedersen, executive director at the Community Mental Health Foundation.

“Thinking about being the ‘we’ is the perspective that I want to adopt

at all times, that it’s a communal endeavor.”

He also embraces the concept from mental health and recovery

called the “dignity to fail.”

“Dignity means you are able to accompany someone through a

process where they might fail” and you don’t protect them from that

experience, he said. “If we look at our own lives, I know it’s taught

me a lot, and if that had been taken away from me, that would have

robbed me from some of my dignity. It’s always balancing that risk.”

When asked how his personal prayer life supports his work with

people who live with mental health challenges, he said: “I’m a very

kinesthetic person, so to me that means to live in a prayerful way all

the time, to live consciously.”

Kyle has continued his gardening, tending to lots of flowers, a

“profusion of cherries,” pole beans, eggplant, herbs, and blueberries

for the birds. One could argue that gardening is also a significant

spiritual practice. It requires attention to the present, planning for

the long-term, being patient, giving, and dealing with the realities of

weather, bugs, and more.

It certainly proved sufficient preparation for a life serving others. ◊


Loving those on the margins

Respecting other's free will


Pam Dawkins

Photo: Elizabeth Parker

Addicts, and their addictions, come

in all shapes and sizes. A common

denominator for many, said Roxana

Rosario, is that a family history of addiction,

domestic violence or other trauma tilted the

scales from the start.

Roxana is a licensed clinical social worker

and a program director with the Connecticut

Department of Mental Health and Addiction

Services, in the Southeastern Mental Health

Authority. She spent the first part of her

career with the Connecticut Department

of Children and Families working for Child

Protective Services in the trauma field.

The addict is no different

from anyone else; the

disease cuts across

race, age, gender, and

economic class.

She attends the Church of the Good

Shepherd in Hartford now but traces the

beginnings of her Episcopal faith to St. Ann’s

Episcopal Church in the south Bronx. Roxana

was six or seven when she moved from

Puerto Rico to The Bronx, and four years

older when she began attending St. Ann’s.

She moved to Connecticut soon after and

attended a number of Hartford churches

— St. Monica’s, St. James, Christ Church

Cathedral — before finding Good Shepherd.

Her belief in God and that she has a purpose

helps her to work with her patients. “This is

a calling … to want to be with human beings

at their lowest of low …”


She sees that some very educated people

— she has a bachelor’s from the University

of Hartford, an MSW from UCONN and is a

Ph.D. candidate at The Institute for Clinical

Social Work — can sometimes fail to see the

humanity in addicts.

Roxana’s faith allows her to bring hope and

acceptance to the table. “I accept people for

where they’re at and who they are.”

Her religious upbringing did not give her the

tools to work with addicts, but a connection

to God and to others helps with their

recovery, whether it’s with organized religion

or a twelve-step program.

Roxana credits her own participation in a

twelve-step program for families affected

by alcoholism with strengthening her

relationship with God. Not surprising, she

said, considering that many of the 12 steps

came from the Bible — taking inventory,

making amends, being witnesses to

one another. And recovery meetings are

organized like a Mass, with a reading from a

book and sharing testimony.

“It brings you right back to God… the

unconscious collective, the consciousness of

the group. Miracles happen. It’s fascinating.”

The Episcopal Church even has a more direct

connection to twelve-step programs.

Dr. Samuel Moor Shoemaker, rector at

Calvary Church in New York from the 1920s

to the 1950s, was a member of the Oxford

Group, a Christian fellowship organization

founded in the 1920s. The Oxford Group

helped Bill Wilson (Bill W.) get sober and

connected him with Dr. Bob Smith (Dr.

Bob S.); the two later founded Alcoholics

Anonymous, adopting variants of some of

the Oxford Group’s practices.

According to a biography of Dr. Shoemaker

on AA’s website:

“Bill W. made it clear that Sam

Shoemaker ‘passed on the spiritual

keys by which we were liberated’.

The first three Steps of Alcoholics

Anonymous, the starting point for

sobriety in the A.A. program, were

inspired in part by Shoemaker. Bill

further explained that “the early A.A.

got its ideas of self-examination,

acknowledgement of character

defects, restitution for harm done,

and working with others straight from

the Oxford Groups and directly from

Sam Shoemaker, their former leader

in America, and from nowhere else.

“Dr. Shoemaker helped A.A. in

fundamental ways. Physically, he

provided refuge for alcoholics in

New York though Calvary Church. Of

greater importance was his spiritual

aid, which directly influenced the

Twelve Steps and the nature of A.A.’s

program of recovery. His long and

close friendship with Bill W. provided

support to the co-founder, and helped

the Fellowship weather its fledgling


Nearly 85 years have passed since A.A. got

its start, and dozens of similar programs now

exist. Addiction, which often goes handin-hand

with mental illness, is treated as a

disease instead of a character flaw and, as

Roxana has learned, the addict is no different

from anyone else; the disease cuts across

race, age, gender, and economic class.

There are more downs than ups in the work,

Roxana said, and nothing happens quickly.

But, “I love my job, I love what I do,” even

though it is frustrating to be powerless.

“I still do not have power over their free

will,” she said. “We have to respect the free

will of another human being.”

She has learned a lot from her clients,

including resiliency, growth and survival.

“When they heal, I heal.”

What do we know

about the opioid


Roughly 21 to 29 % of patients prescribed

opioids for chronic pain misuse them

Between 8 & 12 % develop an opioid use


An estimated 4 to 6 % who misuse

prescription opioids transition to heroin

About 80 % of people who use heroin first

misused prescription opioids

Opioid overdoses increased 30 % from July

2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas

in 45 states

The Midwestern region saw opioid

overdoses increase 70 % from July 2016

through September 2017

Opioid overdoses in large cities increase by

54 % in 16 states

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes

of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Resources & Services

In Connecticut

• Department of Mental Health & Addiction

Services (DMHAS) offer a full range of

services and resources —

• Connecticut affiliate of NAMI (National

Alliance on Mental Illness) see description

below — (check website for

local resources and groups)


• The HEAL (Helping to End Addiction

Long-term) SM Initiative of the National

Institutes of Health, offers hope for

people, families, and communities

affected by this crisis —

• Mental Health First Aid (courses to teach

people "how to identify, understand, and

respond to signs of mental health

illnesses and substance use disorders")


Pam Dawkins is a Middletown, CT based freelance writer. She is the former business

section editor of The Middletown Press and the Connecticut Post.

• NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

offers educational programs, advocacy, a

help line, and public awareness events

and activities —


Loving those on the margins

Worthy by nature


Pam Dawkins

Men and women aren’t their crime, aren’t

their prison time. “It’s not the whole book.

That is a chapter in the book.”

The Rev. Ann Perrott

Faith informs and transforms lives — those of the faithful and

those whose situations can make personal faith a challenge.

But how do the faithful harness their personal beliefs into strengths

they can share with others, particularly when those others have run

afoul of the law?

“As Episcopalians, we are lucky to have the Baptismal Covenant,”

which specifically calls for respect for the dignity of every human

being, said Deacon Ellen Adams.

Deacon Adams, 71, is president of the board of the nondenominational

New Life Ministry of Southeastern Connecticut,

which helps women who are newly released from York Correctional

Institute in Niantic.

“They come out with absolutely nothing. They have to start all over

again,” said the Rev. Ann Perrott, 68, of the women.

Ann is executive director of New Life Ministry, which provides these

women with one-on-one mentors who help them find employment

and social services like Alcoholics Anonymous. The ministry —

founded 20 years ago by Father St. Onge, a pastor of the Roman

Catholic Church of Christ the King in Old Lyme — also runs two

apartments able to house four women at a time, who pay a nominal

rent after they find a job.

Ann, who serves at Christ Church in Middle Haddam, also works

with male prisoners through the Houses of Healing program.

“We peel back the onion of a person’s life,” to discover how they got

to their current situation, she said of the 12-week Houses of Healing

program. “There’s no copping out of their crime,” she said, but she

realizes they usually didn’t get to this place in a vacuum.

“It’s the closest thing to God that I have felt in my calling,” Ann,

who spent most of her life working in social services, said. These

men and women have experienced much trauma but if she can help

one person, it may mean generations to come might not end up in

prison. “It’s all [about] God … I need you to help me.”

The Rev. Ann Perrott at her church office in Middle Haddam.

Ellen, who also works at St. Francis House, an intentional Christian

community in New London, and serves at St. James' Episcopal

Church in New London, taught school in Norwich for 35 years. She

believes she was called to be a deacon because of her involvement

with the Learn and Serve Movement, teaching curriculum through

community service. Teachers at her school asked her to consider

becoming a minister but being a deacon was the only job that

allowed her to continue teaching.

A friend brought Ellen to a Faith Behind Bars and Beyond (a ministry

of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut) meeting, which led her to

the New Life Ministry.

“We only take people that we think are ready to have a new life,”

she said. Some women turn out not to be ready; they work with

parole officers to get those women into half-way houses. Overall,

New Life Ministry has had an 88 percent success rate in 20 years.

As a mentor, Ellen said she teaches the women how to make

choices — what to eat and wear, where to work, whether to reconnect

with family. She aligns this with the Episcopal Church’s


They need to hear that they are worthy to

stand before you. There’s dignity, welcoming,

love and forgiveness in that.

Deacon Ellen Adams

“I try to be real and then the trust starts to seep in. It takes time

... it’s a beautiful, hard thing.” She tries to not learn what crime the

inmates are in prison for, because it’s not productive. Instead, “I

see Jesus Christ. Jesus is sitting there, angry, he has been sexually

abused, physically abused … he’s turned to drugs to medicate


Ellen has not experienced these traumas herself but had what she

called a “transforming experience,” which she wants to offer to

others. To get to that place, she said, it’s about respecting her clients

as human beings and listening to their stories, to earn their trust.

She offers intercessory prayers for her clients and practices

centering prayer for 20 minutes each day, which “resets that

perspective that God has on people, somehow… I don’t know how

it works but it does.”

Deacon Ellen Adams in the room used for mentoring at St. James', New London.

Catechism, which says the freedom to make choices is what it

means to be created in the image of God.

“I look at everyone as a child of God and, therefore, good,” Ellen

said, even if that goodness is not always visible at first glance. “I

have never met anyone that was a completely bad apple.”

God, she said, knows us better than we know ourselves, and loves

us in spite of it. “I figure if God can do that, I will trust God to lead

me to what I need to know to support someone.”

Ann likens the men and women’s feelings of unworthiness -

about 90 percent of them were sexually abused, and both groups

were looking for parental figures – with the Episcopal prayer that

proclaims God made us worthy to stand before him.

She was a single mother on welfare, raising her daughter and

waiting tables after her husband left, and saw what happened to

family members who were abused, so identifies a lot with their

insecurities, and not having a lot of expectations for their lives. She

listens, encourages, is kind and prays with them.

It’s more about building relationships with people than it is about

ministering to them, Ellen said. “Your perspective changes and so

does theirs.” She has become more patient and more willing to

invest time in people and relationships.

Ann believes — teaches — that the men and women aren’t their

crime, aren’t their prison time. “It’s not the whole book. That is a

chapter in the book.”

What’s important, Ann said, is the trying. “That’s God, in the trying

to get to.”

“Men and women need to hear that they are worthy to stand before

you,” Ann said. “There’s dignity, welcoming, love and forgiveness in


Pam Dawkins is a Middletown, CT based freelance writer.

She is the former business section editor of The Middletown

Press and the Connecticut Post.


Loving those on the margins

Starting with the heart


Karin Hamilton

Deacon Ron Steed works from an attic

office in New London’s Homeless

Hospitality Center. He began his

passion for this work around 2006 while

attending St. James’ Episcopal Church, and

now serves as the Center’s Deputy Director

for Housing.

The Center, less than a mile from St. James’,

opened in 2013. Its origin is tied to St.

James’ and its story began about the time

that Ron arrived at the parish.


In 2006 after the New London city council

made funding cuts to its social services, a

homeless man died outside in the woods

a week after the winter shelter closed. A

group of faith leaders in the community

insisted that this wasn’t acceptable and

vowed to work together to find ways to help

the homeless in their city. Those leaders

included the late Rev. Emmett Jarrett,

TSSF, of St. Francis House, an intentional

community; the Rev. Michel Belt, rector

of St. James’ Episcopal Church; the Rev.

Catherine Zall, pastor of First Congregational

Church; and the Rev. Carolyn Paterno,

minister at All Souls Unitarian Universalist


The group determined that St. James’ would

open its parish hall as an overnight shelter

and All Soul’s Unitarian Universalist’s building

would serve as a drop-in center for the

homeless during the day. They also vowed

to continue to push for restored funding and

permanent facilities.

Not everyone at St. James’ was happy with

the decision to locate the shelter on their

premises. Some saw it as their Gospel

responsibility; others just didn’t like the

ministry, especially on Sundays when they

had to navigate through a valley of cots in

the parish hall after worship, on the way to

their coffee and fellowship time.

Deacon Ron Steed outside the New London Homeless

Hospitality Center.

The causes of

homelessness are very

complex, and there's

no substitute for faceto-face

interaction with

each person. There's a

complexity that argues

against tough love.

Ron Steed

At about this time, Ron Steed was newly

retired from the Navy, where he had served

as Commodore of eight nuclear submarines.

He had recently returned to attending church

services and decided to join St. James’.

“I was encountering scriptures as an adult

really for the first time,” he said. He was

profoundly moved by the Gospel readings

and saw the ministry to the homeless as

exactly what they called for.

The parish hired diocesan consultant

Barbara Casey to help them navigate their

conflict and find a unified way forward. The

rector appointed a committee with people

on both sides of the debate. Following

the guidelines Barbara set up, committee

members listened deeply and respectfully to

each other and to others in the community.

After eight months, they all agreed that the

ministry could continue at St. James’. It

turned out the primary concerns had been

about establishing reasonable, safe, and

written guidelines. The cots moved down to

the basement level of the parish hall, while

the search continued for a permanent site.

Barbara Casey was impressed by the

committee’s work. “I have had experience

in conflict situations in lots of churches, and

this one was exceptional,” she said “It was

knotty and challenging, but we set up good

ground rules. And it was a good outcome,”

she added.

Ron had served as a leader in the parish

discernment process and said he learned a

lot through it.

“The causes of homelessness are very

complex, and there’s no substitute for faceto-face

interaction with each person. There’s

a complexity that argues against tough love,”

he said. “I witnessed the transformation of

people’s hearts.”


The shelter at the parish was part of a citywide

response to homelessness. The initial

faith leaders addressing the crisis had helped

to form a non-profit organization headed by

a board of directors, which continued the

search for a permanent location and secure

funding. In 2008 Ron was asked to serve

on the board, which was headed by Pastor

Cathy Zall.

The board oversaw the purchase

of the former Sts. Peter and

Paul Polish National Catholic

Church and its successful

renovations that established the

current New London Homeless

Hospitality Center there in

2013. It includes an overnight

shelter for men and for women,

daytime hospitality center,

respite center, help center with

computers and mailboxes,

and offices for staff and social

service providers.

After a decade of serving on the

board, Ron began volunteering

regularly at the shelter and in

December 2018, Pastor Zall

asked Ron to serve on the staff.

He said yes, and serves as

Deputy Director for Housing.

Ron was ordained a vocational

deacon in 2017. He serves at

the altar at both St. James’,

Poquetanuck and Grace, Yantic

as a deacon. His daily prayer

life includes the daily offices,

and up to an hour of centering prayer and

meditation each morning, which he says

helps him let go of self-criticism and other

unhelpful thoughts. His practices help him

let go of his own emotional baggage, focus

on the present, and bring the Holy Spirit into

his interactions with others.

“The Spirit of God literally dwells within us

…and people can experience God every

day,” he said. “We can sink into that heart

space anytime.”

He is passionate about his work.

“People come in with all kinds of problems,

and housing is the first piece of it,” he said.

“They might have mental health issues,

might not have a job yet, or they might have

an active substance use challenge. That’s

okay. The housing is the first piece of it.

And the reason that works is that from the

stability of a house, all these other problems

are more manageable. It doesn’t mean

they’re easy, and sometimes you have new

problems you hadn’t anticipated, but now

they’re in a position to be able to work on




Southeastern Connecticut


struggle to meet basic needs

@ the New London Homeless Hospitality Center



and seven respite beds

for those facing health issues.


served were at the shelter

less than 30 days.



2017 -













people came for help

including 540 who were

admitted to the shelter.

source: New London Homeless Hospitality Center

the other things they want to change.”




7 %

are under


years old





Ron describes the technique of “motivational

interviewing” that they use to work with

people who some might say are “making

bad decisions.” It’s about respecting their


“The core principle is seeing the person

you’re interviewing as the agent of their own

lives. They’re the ones who have to decide

if they’re going to change. Our experience is

telling us that by and large, people who end

up homeless kind of know what they need

to do to get out of homelessness, so our job

is to be midwives in a really interesting way,

to give birth to that change that is already

within them.

“They are the ones with agency, with their

own autonomy, and if there’s going to be

change, they have to be the authors of it.

Our job is to use this technique to help

them discover the words that can describe

the change that they want. And then once

they’re signed up for that, to help them get

the resources they need to do it.”

The other principle he and other staff

at the Center use is that of “harm


“This is the idea that for different

kinds of behaviors that seem selfdestructive

or harmful, abstinence

is probably not a realistic goal. But

I might be able to help a person

implement some harm reduction

strategies that would at least make

their practice less harmful.”

For example, he said, he might ask

someone with an alcohol problem

what it would be like to not have a

drink until noon. Or, someone who

uses opioids whether they could do

that in their room so they won’t fall

over in a busy street and possibly

get hit by a car. It’s not an approach

that is universally accepted.

“A lot of folks would say you’ve got

to have discipline for these people

and tell them what to do,” said Ron.

“But we’ll get nowhere if that’s our

strategy because change comes from the

heart. Our job is to help them give birth to


It requires setting aside his own expertise.

“I know a lot about many things, and I might

do things differently, and my opinion about

their behaviors might be a negative one, but

I have to set all those things aside, because

they’re the are agents of their own lives.

Change comes from their heart, and not

from mine. And that’s the place we have to

start.” ◊


follow me.

– Jesus



Joining Jesus in a New Missional Age

Developing Spiritual and Financial resources

to participate in God's Mission

Ian T. Douglas — with Timothy Hodapp and Tiffany Reed

As they were going along the road, someone said to him,

“I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to

him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests;

but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To

another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first

let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him,

“Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go

and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will

follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at

my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to

the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9: 57-60

In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus offers an uncompromising invitation

to those who wish to follow him. When some declare that they need to return home

and put their affairs in order first before coming along with Jesus, he challenges them

to join him without delay: “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit

for the kingdom of God.” These are not easy words to hear; they challenge us to move

beyond all that is known, all that is secure. Only by going forward with Jesus can we find

new life, new possibility, new hope in the mission of God.

Over the years, I have not shied away from pointing out that we in the church of the

West, particularly in New England, are living on the cusp of the end of Christendom. The

social, political, and economic privileges that came to the church as an institution when

we identified so closely with the established cultural powers and principalities over the


Developing Spiritual





• Christ Church — Easton

• Christ Church Cathedral — Hartford

• Grace Church — Hartford

• L’Eglise de l’Epiphanie — Stamford

• St. John’s — Essex

• St. John’s — Vernon

• St. Monica’s — Hartford

• St. Mark’s — New Britain

• St. Peter’s — Cheshire

• Trinity — Brooklyn

• Trinity — Torrington

Developing Financial




• Christ Church Cathedral

congregations — Hartford

• Christ Church — Bethany

• Emmanuel — Weston

• St. James' — Glastonbury

• St. Monica’s — Hartford

• Trinity — Brooklyn

last centuries are ebbing away. Today, we

Christians are moving from the center to the

margin of society, from places of privileges

to the periphery, from majority to minority


I have been at pains, however, to emphasize

that the end of Christendom is not the end

of the Church as the body of Christ. Just

the opposite! As we Christians become

less identified with the social, political, and

economic elite, we are called to enter even

more deeply into the way of Jesus; or as our

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says: “The

Way of Love.” Today, more than ever, the

Church, the body of Christ, is seeing itself as

a band of disciples, followers of Jesus, sent

into the world as apostles to be about the

“loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus”

(in the words of Presiding Bishop Curry).

At our 2018 Annual Convention of the

Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT),

I invited us to move forward and claim

our baptismal vocation as disciples and

apostles in these changing times through

a renewed commitment to God’s mission

of restoration and reconciliation in Christ

Jesus. I emphasized that we are living in

a “new missional age” and in my address

described what this new age looks like. “In

this new missional age the focus for our

lives as Christians is shifting from a primary

preoccupation of church as an institution to

a new engagement of what the living God in

Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit

is up to in our daily lives and in the wider

world. We are being called to move from

an ecclesiocentric preoccupation with the

church as an institution to a missiocentric

focus on God’s action, God’s mission, in our

neighborhoods.” Indeed we are called to put

our hands to the plough, to not look back,

but rather to move forward and join Jesus in

a new missional age.

Of course the key question is: how exactly

do we in the parishes and neighborhoods

across ECCT join Jesus in this new missional

age? Thanks be to God, literally, we have

been faithfully pursuing initiatives across

ECCT in recent years that point to God’s

future for us. In 2017 and 2018, seven

parishes participated in an experiment

called Living Local: Joining God. Along

with four other dioceses in The Episcopal

Church (East Tennessee, Maine, Newark,

and Southwestern Virginia, and with

Today, more than ever, the Church,

the body of Christ, is seeing itself

as a band of disciples, followers

of Jesus, sent into the world as

apostles to be about the “loving,

liberating, life-giving way of Jesus.”

coaching by Alan Roxburgh of The Missional

Network, our seven parishes discerned

anew — through the six spiritual practices

of listening, discerning, trying on, reflecting,

and deciding — just what God is calling

them to be about in their neighborhoods.

Alongside the Living Local: Joining God

experiment, we undertook research in 2018

into what we in ECCT needed to go forward

as we live into the vision of the Taskforce

for Reimaging the Episcopal Church in

Connecticut (TREC-CT). More specifically,

with the assistance provided by Tiffany

Reed of CCS Consulting, we undertook a

Region Needs Assessment. More than 350

Episcopalians across Connecticut were

interviewed in person and over 500 online

responses were received. The conclusion of

the needs assessment was that we in ECCT

are looking for greater:

1. Connection: To facilitate greater

communication among Episcopalians

in Connecticut.

2. Collaboration: To nurture cooperation

among people, parishes, and initiatives

within and across Regions.

3. Formation: To provide training and

experiential opportunities to form

disciples and apostles in this new

missional age, and

4. Transformation: To support parishes

that are becoming more engaged in

God’s mission.

Building on the lessons learned in both

the Living Local: Joining God experiment

and the Region Needs Assessment, ECCT

launched a pilot project: Joining Jesus In a

New Missional Age. The goal of this project

is to develop both spiritual and financial

resources in our parishes and across ECCT

that we may more faithfully participate in

God’s mission. Initially proposed at our


Photo: Allison Gannett

Young Adult Episcopalians from the South Central Region participating in the Yale-New Haven Sacred Harp community on Easter Sunday 2019.

In this new missional age the

focus for our lives as Christians

is shifting from a primary

preoccupation of church as an

institution to a new engagement

of what the living God in Jesus

through the power of the Holy

Spirit is up to in our daily lives

and in the wider world.

Annual Convention in October 2018, our

Mission Council voted to move forward

with the project in December and covered

the costs for the pilot with income from

endowments of The Missionary Society of

the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. This

past winter, parishes had the opportunity to

hear more about Joining Jesus and how they

might participate in parish-based initiatives to

develop either new spiritual resources or new

financial resources or both.

To develop spiritual resources, the services

of Alan Roxburgh of The Missional Network

were once again engaged, and the initiative

was facilitated by Tim Hodapp, ECCT’s Canon

for Mission Collaboration. In February, an atcapacity

crowd of laity and clergy met with Al

Roxburgh for an information session to learn

about the five spiritual practices (listening,

discerning, trying on, reflecting, deciding)

that individuals, teams, and parishes as a

whole might pursue in the initiative. A second

information session was scheduled, and all

told, 130 people from 29 parishes met at The

Commons of ECCT for a meal, conversation,

and practice sessions to learn more.

ECCT then offered to provide structured,

facilitated guidance to up to one dozen

parishes for an intensive, four-module,

12-month program, to introduce and

incarnate the five spiritual practices. Eleven

parishes and the congregations of our

Cathedral signed on to participate. Based on

the learnings from Living Local: Joining God,

The Missional Network developed a more

flexible and efficient model for developing

spiritual resources in parishes based on

the newly refined framework. The focus of

the first module has been on “becoming a

people of relationship rather than outcomes,”

helping team members practice small steps

to cultivate a new awareness of what God

is up to in their neighborhoods and how the

parish is connected in their communities.

Module 2 explores how to engage in simple

listening conversations with people in their

neighborhoods as an exercise in “listening

without an agenda.” The third and fourth


Joining Jesus

by the NUMBERS



attended information sessions hosted

by Alan Roxburgh and Tim Hodapp to

explore Joining Jesus Raising Spiritual




met with Tiffany Reed from CCS

Fundraising to learn more about Joining

Jesus Raising Financial Resources and

15 parishes conducted rapid studies to

consider participating in a collaborative

fundraising initiative. 248 individuals

and families were interviewed as part

of these studies to gather thoughts

about their parish’s visions, plans, and

participation in a fundraising initiative








the congregations of Christ Church

Cathedral are engaging the new

practices to develop spiritual resources


the congregations of Christ Church

Cathedral are engaging parish-based

initiatives to develop new financial




and our Cathedral congregations are

engaging both



have contributed to the ECCT-wide

Collaborative Projects

As of October 15

the Joining Jesus initiative

has received gifts and pledges

totaling more than




individuals and families

The goal of the Joining Jesus

In a New Missional Age project

is to develop both spiritual and

financial resources in our parishes

and across ECCT that we may

more faithfully participate in God’s


modules, which will be undertaken in the

months of September 2019 through June

2020, engaging the spiritual exercises

more deeply as the Joining Jesus Team

members learn to “listen to the stories of

the neighborhood” [Module 3] and more

ably “discern God’s activity and movement

toward God’s future for the community”

[Module 4].

Early reports from the participating teams

is that this initiative is already yielding the

development of new spiritual resources

through the practice of encountering

their neighborhoods through God’s eyes.

Recently, the parishes and clergy gathered

at The Commons to share stories about

how this first module has progressed, learn

about the second module, and share their

stories and excitement about joining Jesus

in imaginative and new ways across our

neighborhoods in Connecticut.

Parallel to the development of spiritual

resources is a new initiative to raise financial

resources in parishes across ECCT, led

by Tiffany Reed and her team from CCS

Consulting. To begin with, Tiffany met

with 74 parishes to determine interest in

and potential for conducting a fundraising

initiative. Parish leaders learned about the

opportunity and discerned together how the

funds raised locally might be used locally,

from new ministries and capital projects

to adding personnel and funding parish

endowments. These 74 parishes also learned

how they would be invited to contribute

a portion of money raised in their parishbased

fundraising efforts to diocesan-wide

projects proposed in response to the 2018

Region Needs Assessment. The four projects

include: a venture capital fund to resource

new undertakings in each of ECCT’s six

Regions; support for new intentional

Christian communities, such as college

chaplaincies and/or young adult services

communities in each Region; funding to

assist Camp Washington’s development

as a year-round resource for discipleship

formation; and the redevelopment of the

worship space of Christ Church Cathedral

into a flexible, multi-purpose space to serve

ECCT and the arts communities in Hartford

and across Connecticut. (see sidebar, p. 23)

Each parish participating in the fund-raising

initiative chooses which of the four projects

they would like to contribute 20% of their

new money raised. In addition, I have been

in conversation with nearly a dozen individual

Episcopalians in Connecticut who might

wish to contribute directly to one or more of

the diocesan-wide projects.

Of the 74 parishes initially approached,

15 parishes conducted rapid studies to

explore volunteer capacity, goal setting,

and fundraising plans. An additional 35

parishes indicated an interest in considering

a study at a later date. Five parishes and the

congregations of our Cathedral decided to

The real blessing of Joining Jesus

in a New Missional Age is that

we in the Episcopal Church in

Connecticut are looking forward

to the future with new hope, new

energy, and a new commitment to

God’s mission — and we are doing

this together!

From left, Region Missionaries Erendira Jimenez, George

Black, and Dylan Mello recording a Coffee Hour at The

Commons podcast. Each of ECCT's Regions has a fulltime

Region Missionary to help them “catalyze, convene,

connect, and expand capabilities”.


collaborative projects

Support for Regions

with full-time Region

Missionaries and a newly

launched entrepreneurial


Establish new intentional

Christian communities in

each Region

Transform Christ Church

Cathedral’s space as a site

for engaging the world

Photo: Enrendira Jimenez

engage a fundraising effort. Interestingly,

these parishes were all small- to middlesize

and would probably not have been

able to afford and/or lead a parish-based

fundraising initiative without the assistance

of ECCT and CCS Consulting. CCS continues

to provide weekly expertise and coaching

until all stages of the parish fundraising

initiatives are complete. We are moving

forward strongly with both our parish-based

initiatives and individual gift appeals, and we

are on track to be at or near our pilot goal of

$3,000,000, raised in just over six months of


Clearly the Holy Spirit is blessing the efforts

of our pilot Joining Jesus in a New Missional

Age project. There is excitement across

the participating parishes as they develop

spiritual and financial resources never before

imagined. The Mission Council, at their

recent September meeting, heard moving

stories of how parishes across ECCT are

raising spiritual and financial resources

to participate more effectively in God’s

mission. And, the Mission Council agreed to

contribute resources from the endowments

of the Missionary Society of the Episcopal

Church in Connecticut to discern how

many other parishes in ECCT may want

to participate in Joining Jesus in a New

Missional Age in 2020.

Our Joining Jesus in a New Missional Age

pilot project has been a success. As exciting

as it has been to witness a dozen parishes

stepping out into their neighborhoods in new

ways and the raising of close to three million

dollars in small-to medium-sized parishes,

augmented by gifts from individuals, the real

blessing of Joining Jesus in a New Missional

Age is that we in the Episcopal Church in

Connecticut are looking forward to the future

with new hope, new energy, and a new

commitment to God’s mission — and we are

doing this together! Thanks be to God.

Deepen Camp Washington’s

capacity to serve as a

resource for Christian

formation for children,

youth, and adults

The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas is Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Church in

Connecticut. The Rev. Timothy Hodapp serves as Canon for Mission Collaboration

for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Tiffany Reed is Vice President with CCS

Fundraising, where she has spent the last six years partnering with nonprofits to help

them turn their fundraising goals into mission impact.



Jesus cleanses ten lepers

Laura J. Ahrens

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.

As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out,

saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and

show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them,

when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated

himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were

not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return

and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your

way; your faith has made you well.”

NRSV, Luke 17:11-19



Let me begin by saying Thank you.

Thank you for reading this. And

more importantly, thank you for your

faithfulness. Thank you for the ways you

seek to engage with your faith. Thank you for

being curious about spirituality. Thank you for

naming what you love about Church. Thank

you for daring to wonder what God might be

creating and inviting us to join.

Thank you for the ways you seek to share

God’s caring love. Thank you for the ways

you share kindness — kindness offered,

spoken, shared with others ...with family,

friends, neighbors... shared with those you

encounter along the way. I notice those

moments all the time. Those moments

matter. You matter. Thank you.

My passion for gratitude became even more

alive for me during our ECCT Holy Land

pilgrimage this past spring. It was there

that my awareness of gratitude found its

grounding in the biblical teachings of Jesus.

There were 31 of us that traveled to our

Holy Land, a holy group of pilgrims seeking

to know our holy God and to touch this holy

land... 31 of us prayed, wept, laughed, and

reconnected to our Lord.

There are too many stories and too many

memories to share in this small article,

but I do want to say thank you to those

who traveled with Bishop Ian and myself

and those who made the trip possible. I

am grateful for the privilege of leading this

journey with Bishop Ian, and the gift of

learning from our guide, our fellow pilgrims,


and the land itself. I believe all of us feel

closer to Jesus because of this opportunity

to share in his stories and to share in the

stories of those with whom we traveled.

One day we traveled to the traditional site of

the village referenced above in Luke 17:11-

19. The story of the 10 lepers... the story

of the one who returned... the one who

returned to say thank you. Thank you.

The church of this traditional site is filled

with icons. There is one very large icon of

the healing of the 10 lepers. It is not an

icon of the one who returns, it is an icon of

the healing... Jesus offering this holy gift

to the 10. In the icon, you cannot tell who

will be the one who will return. You cannot

tell which of the lepers will be the one who

thought to say “thank you,” the one who will

be the beacon of gratitude for generations

yet to come, the one who will be a beacon

of gratitude for me.

Jesus celebrates the one who returns.

He rejoices in the one who says thank

you, raising him up as an example of faith.

Thanking Jesus, we name our faith. We

recognize the one “from whom all blessings

flow.” In this story, I see Jesus celebrating

our thank-you’s... our thank-you’s to God and

also our thank-you’s to others who see us,

notice us, and are kind to us; our thank-you’s

to those who receive our gifts and those

who delight when we nurture our gifts. I see

Jesus celebrating those who say thank you

in such a way that others are encouraged to

live into the fullness of who God is calling

them to be.

Toward the end of my summer vacation in

Canada, I received a phone call notifying me

that my mother had fallen and broken her

hip. In that moment, I could feel much of

my world reorganizing itself. I felt a shifting

in priorities. I found myself grounded in two

things: Jesus and gratitude.

Grounded in Jesus. Grounded in my prayer

for guidance, for calm, for rest and for

creative energy. Going to church, being in

Christian community, worshiping the Lord,

are all practices that help me be centered in

my relationship with Jesus.

Grounded in gratitude. I am grateful for my

friend who I traveled with who prayed with

me and cared for me as I tried to care for

my mother from afar. I am grateful to the

doctors and nurses and all of those who

tended to my mother as I traveled home.

I share this story with you because I know

many of you have similar stories, caring for

a parent, spouse, or loved one. And, I know

that you are mindful of those who support

you as you support your loved one. I share

with you in your offering of thanksgiving

for those who walk with you. The gift of

kindness through the gifts of time, care,

guidance, wisdom, counsel, and support is

a gift of grace. I thank you for walking with

those you love in their journey and sharing

your kindness with them. One healed leper

returned to say “Thank you.” Thank you.

For the past few months, I have been

keeping a journal of gratitude...a journal

of “thank-you’s” for the people who I see

helping us in ECCT live into God’s mission ...

ministry that I see is grounded in Jesus and

is offering of God’s transformational love.

I witness with an ache in my heart the

divisions in this country and the anxiety

that finds its home in our churches. Our

churches are filled with faithful parishioners

who come to find rest and to make sense

of the tensions and stresses of the world. I

hear anxiety about time and money and the

future of the church when clergy, vestries

and congregations share with me their hope

to grow their churches. They love what they

have found there and they want to share it,

and they are concerned.

I see the anxiety being addressed by faithful

parishioners who are willing to go out into

their communities not only to share God’s

love, but also to collaborate with others. They

often find they receive God’s love as they

listen and learn from those they meet. I see

their lives being transformed in ways they

never imagined because they were willing

to try something new ... to risk an idea

about “going out into the neighborhood”

and find the fruit not of church growth,

but of personal growth in one’s faith and

understanding of the breadth and depth of

Jesus’ love.

Thank you to the leadership of our

congregations, the clergy and laity, who help

to create space of prayer and possibility to

live into God’s future. Thank you for those

who have had the courage to step out into

the future and listen for God with curiosity

and wonder. Thank you to those who have

dared to and helped others to go out of our

buildings, moving to joining God’s mission

and grow the Jesus Movement in the world.

It feels faithful and it reminds me that God’s

future is going to look different from our past

and our present.

I witness our Racial Healing, Justice, and

Reconciliation Ministry Network inviting us

as a diocese to do the holy work of looking

at white supremacy and examining our

own stories and places of prejudice and

blindness. We are also called to look at

the places of power imbalance and biased

judgement within our Church as well as in

our culture and our personal lives. This is holy

and hard work. Thank you to the network for

their leadership in this holy work.

I witness persons around our diocese calling

us to be more attentive to climate change

and the ways we are negatively impacting

“this fragile earth our island home.” Thank

you to those persons who are caring for

God’s creation and for awakening in many

of us an awareness of how we might live

differently as gracious stewards.

I witness how hard we are all working to

further God’s mission. This witness has

called all of us to rethink Church. We have

been asked to examine our biases and

expand our understanding of who is our

neighbor and how we partner with them. We

have been invited to care for our planet in

new ways. Our first steps into this work can

be daunting, confusing, and unfamiliar.

And I know God is alive and present in

this work. I feel God’s joy in my heart

as we reach out to make new friends

and build good bridges to possibility and

hope. God needs us with him now for the

transformational future we are being called

to share with God and with the world.

Thank you to the faithful servants of the Lord

who shepherd this holy work.

The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens is Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.


Seeking God in

all people

Barbara Curry

As Christians, we are taught to see God in all people and to

love each and every one of them as ourselves.

The Episcopal Church invites all to come in and worship —

regardless of whom they love. That’s a bold statement that says

we as a faith community are not going to judge the stranger in

our midst. We’re not alone: Across the United States, several

other denominations have joyously taken the stance to see God

in all people. They have proclaimed their churches as open and


It wasn’t always like that in The Episcopal Church.

In 1974, Dr. Louis Crew (Clay) found himself wanting religion

in his life and not finding it. He and his partner, Ernest Clay,

were living in San Francisco, and they wanted something more

than the bar scene to meet other gay couples. He called Grace

Episcopal Cathedral nearby, because they were known to be

progressive, and asked if they could help him and his partner

meet other gay Episcopalians. The derisive laughter he heard

in response prompted him to start a newsletter to help gay

and lesbian members of the Episcopal Church support one

another in what was then a fairly hostile environment. He was

determined for every Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer

and Questioning (LGBTQ+) person to find the Love of God in our

Episcopal Church.

That effort has grown over the decades to what is now an

essential part of the Episcopal Church, an advocacy organization

called Integrity. Integrity gained strength and visibility and soon

after forming they were a presence at our Episcopal General

Convention, yet their voice was often dismissed.

In 1976 Integrity spearheaded a resolution at General Convention

to prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians. It passed,

and a year later, the first openly gay priest was ordained in the

Episcopal Church.

In 1985, Integrity urged our General Convention to speak out

against hate crimes based on sexual orientation and to encourage

federal officials to take action against such violence.

In 1988, at General Convention in Detroit, it was the Rev. Dexter

Knight Cheney, now a retired priest in ECCT, as part of his role

at the Diocese of Michigan, who was designated the Home

Secretary for the convention. He was approached by groups from

Detroit and Ann Arbor to help organize the first Integrity Eucharist

at convention.


It was a time of AIDS and there

were few if any dioceses that would

consider gay or lesbian individuals

for ordination. Still, it became

important to the members of

Integrity to have their own sacred

moment at Convention. It was a

clandestine affair only publicized

by word of mouth and personal

invitations. It was staged in a hotel

conference room with elements

cobbled together quickly. In the

end about 40 people attended that

evening, about two-thirds identified

as gay or lesbian; a majority were

gay men. Several straight clergy

and lay allies also participated. In

the shadows of the Convention

activities, this group gathered to

make their prayers known.

By 1994, Episcopal Integrity

participation at General Convention

had grown and their efforts helped

pass a resolution explicitly affirming

that gay, lesbian and bisexual people could

not be refused ordination in the Episcopal

Church for that reason alone.

Nine years later, in 2003, our Episcopal

Church elected, confirmed, and consecrated

the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson.

At his consecration, he wore a bulletproof

shield under his vestments because of the

overarching violence that was threatened

against him. Through it all, Bishop Robinson

was the embodiment of Integrity.

In 2009, I was proud to be part of the

Integrity media team at the Episcopal

General Convention in Anaheim, California

and to witness the adoption of four

resolutions addressing gender identity

and transgender individuals. The Integrity

Eucharist that year was a major event. It

filled multiple ballrooms at the hotel adjacent

to the convention center, over 1,200 people

attended — it was standing room only. The

Presiding Bishop was seated in the audience,

along with Bishop James E. Curry, suffragan

of ECCT. The sermon that night was delivered

by the Rt. Reverend Barbara Harris. The

Integrity envisions a

church where people of all

sexual orientations, gender

identities, and gender

expressions are welcomed

and affirmed. That sounds so

very righteous, yet in truth, it

is far harder to achieve than

you can imagine.

celebrant was Bishop Gene Robinson. In his

dismissal, he dismissed all present saying,

“May God bless you with foolishness,

enough foolishness to believe that we can

make a difference in this world and in this

church, so that we may do what others

claim cannot be done.”

Also in 2009, a new fledgling

companion group to Integrity —

TransEpiscopal, held their own first

Eucharist at General Convention. It was

in a hotel conference room, and again

about 40 people attended.

By 2012, nearly every resolution that

Integrity endorsed was affirmed by the

both houses of Convention.

All of this from one man’s quest to

meet others in his church that were like

him. Louie Crew Clay started Episcopal

Integrity, a true grass-roots effort

to bring lesbian, gay, bisexual, and

transgender people into communion

with God.

Integrity envisions a church where

people of all sexual orientations,

gender identities, and gender

expressions are welcomed and affirmed. That

sounds so very righteous, yet in truth, it is far

harder to achieve than you can imagine.

Personally, I have an intense sense of pride

in my Episcopal Church. For opening their

doors, and inviting me and so many others

in to share our mutual love of God, and

willingness to serve Christ. At parish after

parish in my spiritual journey, bringing me

into women’s sacred spaces. Teaching me

not only about God in my life, but more

importantly, about my life in God. My heart

is filled with fellowship in prayers and

celebrations. My pride is filled with integrity

— not only in the organization, but also in the

moral fiber in this our Episcopal community.

◊ ◊ ◊

You can hear an interview with Rev.

Dexter Cheney in a video report from

Integrity’s 2009 media coverage of General

Convention in Anaheim at

watch?v=We5fiXPnYII (the interview was

shot by Barbara Curry)

Barbara Curry is an LGBTQ+ Episcopalian who currently serves on ECCT’s Finance Committee and was formerly on its Executive Council.

She is a freelance media producer and television director; provides crews and equipment for broadcast and non-broadcast video and film

productions; and serves as a media consultant. She is a trainer with True Colors, Inc., subject matter expert for the Stonewall Speakers

Bureau, and has served as producer for the annual Fantasia Fair in Provincetown, MA.



Jesus in a girl

with leprosy

led to love for

a ministry on

the margins

Ranjit K. Mathews

I understand my

call to proclaim

Christ to the people

on the margins of our

city, because that

is where I believe

Christ would be.

The Cathedral Church of St. Philomena ı

Mysore in Karnataka, India.

Photo: mysore_Arshad.ka


experienced Jesus through a chance meeting with a young Indian

girl in the summer of 1999.

For my undergraduate degree, I enrolled in George Washington

University in Washington, D.C, and while a seeker within the

Episcopal tradition, I wanted to further explore my life in Christ at a

campus ministry.

On one particular Thursday evening in the student center, I heard

Christian music playing in a dark classroom and decided to venture

inside. I immediately saw music lyrics shown on wall through

a transparency and felt emotionally moved to join in, as it had a

catchy beat. Thus started my time with Hope Bible Study, a more

conservative, student-led group located on the campus of George

Washington University. The group served as my faith community, as

I found friends who were kind and made me feel at home. We went

to church together, hung out, and prayed together.

Throughout my journey with the group, however, I was slowly

being invited to turn away from friends who weren’t

Christian, or who went clubbing or enjoyed having

a more secular time. Some of these were people

that I deeply enjoyed spending time with. Hope

Bible Study also had some harsh things to say about

the body, and a very conservative understanding

of relationships. And so it truly felt as if I was

bifurcating myself; and came to understand which

side was quote unquote “good,” and which side was

quote unquote “bad.”

If time in college is meant to be a space that is

associated with liberty and deepening of identity, or

at least a more open understanding of one's self,

my first two years were filled with deep internal



That summer, in 1999, my family and I traveled to India on our onceevery-four

years trip to my ancestral land. As it happened, my father

was on the ordination track for priesthood, and I was discerning a

path of faithfulness to Christ.

During this vacation I sat down with my father on the veranda of

my grandparent’s house in Kottayam in the state of Kerala. He

looked at me — in only a way that a parent can — and asked me

a very poignant question, “Ranjit, do you believe that of all the

people who live in India who are NOT Christians, do you think God

will send them to hell?” To say that I was caught off guard would

be an understatement; but upon reflection, the question couldn’t

have come at a better time in my spiritual journey. I was ready for it,

because I was questioning what was being told to me at bible study,

as it didn’t sit well with my own experience of God.

I heard Jesus saying

that I... should join

him at the borders

of society and

proclaim the justice

of the

Realm of God.

Later, during that same trip, I had an experience that not only

answered that question for me forever, but transformed my life and

crystallized my vocation. I remember it now like it was yesterday.

My parents, sister, and I were in the bustling city of Mysore in the

southern state of Karnataka. One afternoon we decided to visit the

Cathedral Church of St. Philomena’s. We went downstairs without

shoes on, which is culturally appropriate for India. After exploring the

complicated history of the Cathedral under British rule, we decided

to come upstairs. My parents and sister went up first, and I lagged


As I made my way back up, at the second step before the top, I

saw a girl who was on a skateboard-like structure. She had leprosy.

I remember this moment vividly. It seems like we looked at each

other for some time; and then she took her hand and she touched

my foot, and then brought her hand to her mouth. In many parts of

Indian culture, when you do this, you are conveying respect. And

yet, for me, I felt like I was seeing Jesus in her saying to me that

I was beloved just who I was, for I didn’t need to

change anything about myself.

This was what it means to be beloved. Utterly

beloved. I heard Jesus saying that I, in my belovedness,

I should join him at the borders of society

and proclaim the justice of the Realm of God. I also

heard that I should join the leper girl in India and be

in solidarity with her.

This unambiguous, unconditional sense of liberation

set me free in wholeness to go and offer this radical

sharing of love to others, no matter where or who

they are in life. This experience of God liberated

me to share this sense of love, to whomever I

came across. In theology, we call it an ontological

change. But whatever it was, it was God and it has

compelled me to proclaim the love of God; and yet

I am drawn to share God’s love with those who find themselves at

the margins of society.

I feel drawn to the margins of our society, because I was met on

the margin of myself by somebody who was herself on the outskirts

of society. As a young girl with leprosy, she would have been

stigmatized within Indian culture; and yet I believe Jesus through

her helped me to see that I was beloved just as I am. Just as I am,

with my love of Hip-Hop music and friends who are not Christian.

With her gentle touch of my foot, she had recognized my inherent


As rector of St. James' here in New London, I understand my call

to proclaim Christ to the people on the margins of our city, because

that is where I believe Christ would be; not in any paternalistic

sense; but in solidarity and accompaniment. I pray that the Holy

Spirit, that She will continue to lead and guide me to share the

Realm of God.

The Rev. Ranjit K. Mathews is the rector of St. James', New London. In ECCT he serves on the Mission Council and works with multiple ministry

networks including those working with combating gun violence; climate and the environment; clergy of color; immigration and immigrant children;

and racial healing, justice, and reconciliation. He chairs The Episcopal Church's Task Force on Dialogue with the South Sudanese Anglican Diaspora.


Following Jesus

onto the island of Hispaniola

Frankye Regis

I wanted to create a place where children could

go and forget about their misery and develop

spiritually, intellectually, and socially.

Marc-Yves Regis

Photo: Marc-Yves Regis


Children in Camp Hispaniola in the Dominican

Republic play a game of tug of war.


Photo: Marc-Yves Regis

Campers, and inset, founder Marc-Yves Regis, at this year's summer camp in the Dominican Republic.

When faced with a moral dilemma, many people in the

1990s used a phrase that was in vogue in popular culture

— “What Would Jesus Do?”

In the Gospels, Jesus set many examples for Christians to follow.

He commanded us to love our neighbor, give to the poor, feed

the hungry, and take care of the widows and children, especially

orphans. He also commanded us to follow Him.

Marc-Yves Regis, parishioner at Trinity, Collinsville, decided to follow

Jesus and start a summer camp, first in the Dominican Republican

in 2009, and a year later in his native country of Haiti. While growing

up in the island nation, he saw Haitian farmers leaving in caravans to

go work in bateyes or sugarcane plantations across the border, and

they never returned home. He always wondered what happened

to them, and as an adult, he pursued a lifelong dream to document

their peril.

Beginning in 1994, he began traveling to the Dominican Republic

each year to research, photograph, and gather enough material

to write a book about what he witnessed. He fell in love with the

people, and instead of only documenting what he saw, he spent

more time helping them with their basic needs. He began taking

clothes and money to share among farmers — eventually they

began to feel like family.

“I stopped looking at the people as subjects for a book and began

looking at them as brothers and sisters.” Marc explained.

Eventually, after many years, he finished the book, When Freedom

Comes, about the plight of Haitian braceros (farm workers), and is

looking for a publisher.

Over the years, he noticed that the children in the sugarcane

plantations did not have any toys to play with. Nor were there any

fun activities to occupy their time during the long, hot summer. As


a newspaper photographer in America, Marc had taken countless

pictures of children enjoying summer camp while participating in

soccer, baseball, basketball, dance, music, swimming, and arts

and crafts. So he started a summer camp at a batey school in the

Dominican Republic with 100 children that first year. It has steadily


Campers, ranging in age from three to 12, are from 17 different

sugarcane plantations. Most are children of Haitian sugar-cane

cutters who are paid by the weight of the cane, and their incomes

barely sustain them. In addition to a schedule of outdoor fun and

games, campers are provided transportation to and from camp, two

meals a day, a t-shirt, and a string bag filled with personal hygiene


“I wanted to create a place where children could go and forget

about their misery and develop spiritually, intellectually and socially,’

he said.

Meanwhile in 2010, a massive earthquake struck Haiti and

devastated it. Marc desperately wanted to help and went there

with a medical mission from Connecticut. He saw many children

hanging around outside all day with nothing to do, similar to what he

witnessed in the Dominican Republic. They looked lost and bored; it

brought back memories of his childhood when he experienced the

same thing. It was at that moment he decided to start a summer

camp in Haiti and give the children an opportunity he never had. He

started the camp in an open field in the small town of Pernier, Haiti,

and invited children from the surrounding neighborhoods. Most of

their parents are street vendors who earn less than five dollars a


After expanding the summer camp to both countries on the island

of Hispaniola, Marc named it Camp Hispaniola. He is the volunteer

director of the not-for-profit organization. This year, it served a record

550 children. In the Dominican Republic, 200 campers participated,

and in Haiti, where the need is greater, there were 350. There were

a total of 60 teenage counselors, 30 in each country. About 95

percent of the counselors are camp alumni.

“I want to create future young leaders for the countries,” said Marc,

discussing why he hires local teenagers from each country. “This is

the model for Camp Hispaniola.”

He also hires local cooks who go with him to purchase the food

they serve. The Haitian economy benefits because Marc buys the

majority of food and drink from local vendors, and the camp workers

spur the economy when they spend the money they earn.

“We are grateful to our cooks who prepare meals in a makeshift

kitchen for 550 children,” Marc said. “It’s a labor of love. Most of our

cooks have been working for us for the past 10 years, and some of

their children are campers or counselors. They count on the money

each year to help them buy school supplies for their children.”

Although Marc started the camp on a shoestring budget using his

own money, many people helped make the camp what it is today.

The most ardent supporters of Camp Hispaniola are Saint Ann’s,

Old Lyme; Trinity, Collinsville; Connecticut Walks for Haiti; Windsor

In 2009, 100 campers attended the

inaugural program in the Dominican

Republic. This summer, in both the

Dominican Republic and in Haiti, 550

campers — ranging in age from three to

17— participated.

House of Worship (WHOW), which is comprised of members

from that city’s faith-based institutions and includes Grace Church,

Windsor; and Friends of Camp Hispaniola.

“I wanted to give the children something to occupy themselves, to

play, eat a healthy meal and see what it is like to have fun, despite

living in a country full of misery,” Marc said. “The earthquake

devastated a country that had already been collapsing. When I look

back at my childhood growing up in Haiti, I see myself through

them. I’m not giving back, I’m sharing my blessings from the Good

Lord. Sharing the bread of life. Sharing my love with them. Listening

to their cries. Helping some of them pay for school. Anytime I go to

Haiti or the Dominican Republic, it makes me appreciate everything

I now have. God did me a favor by bringing me to the United States.

It could be me still suffering in Haiti. Despite difficulties or problems,

it’s my duty to go back year after year to share the joy and happiness

with my little brothers and sisters in Christ.”

But following Jesus is not easy.

“Among the fun and joy, there are sad moments too,” said Marc

talking about an incident that occurred at summer camp in Haiti this

year. “I watched a little girl for a couple of days. I saw her take out a

container from her backpack and fill it with the food she was served

at camp and then put it back into her backpack. Then I saw her walk

around the table looking for leftovers and eating them. I asked her

where her food was, and she said, ‘I’m saving it for my mother.’ It

broke my heart to see this child taking on adult responsibility. This

was my saddest moment at camp this year.”

For the remaining days of camp, Marc asked for her bowl each day

and filled it with food to send home to her single mother. But he still

gave the little girl her own plate of food to eat at camp.

“What would Jesus do?”

Frankye Regis co-manages a high school learning lab where

she works as a reading and writing interventionist. She is also

a freelance writer and editor.



opens doors,

hearts, and

the mission

of Jesus

The Rev. Loyda E.


Karin Hamilton

The Rev. Loyda E. Morales outside of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

The Rev. Loyda E. Morales came to the

Church of the Good Shepherd as their

new rector this spring in part because

it was more financially stable than her prior

church in the Bronx. She has an innate

sense of how spiritual and material aspects

of life impact each other, how they both

need attention in life, and sometimes, need

adjustments to their balance.

As a Christian, especially a priest, she

didn’t want to put material things in front of

spiritual ones, but knew that when material

things get so overwhelming that you can’t

sleep at night — as they had for her — it’s

time for something to change. She decided

to look for a new position.

“One of the ‘pros’ for me coming here was

[the] endowment,” Loyda said. “I do have

responsibilities for the building. But I can

also dedicate more time to the spiritual life

of the congregation, which for me is the

most important part of my calling, to be

with the people and grow together and find

new ways to discern God’s call for us with

the community, as a family.” That’s been her

focus since arriving in May.

She’s been learning a lot about the church,

the diocese, and the neighborhood — with

particular empathy and understanding for

those struggling with the material and

spiritual challenges of poverty.

Loyda grew up in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico,

daughter of an Episcopal priest with cousins

active in other denominations. Her first

career was in banking. In the late 1990s she

was transferred to a bank position in New

York City and joined the Episcopal Church

of the Mediator. The bilingual, bicultural

community and its clergy further nurtured

her faith, encouraged her to attend seminary,

and later sponsored her for ordination to the


She was ordained by the Diocese of New

York in 2005; served as a vicar of a church

on Staten Island for a while; then took

time off to care for her mother. When her

mother was well enough again, Loyda

decided to return to work. She was called

to lead the Church of the Mediator as its

priest-in-charge in 2016. Their historic church

building, designed by Henry Vaughn and

called the “Little Cathedral of the Bronx,”

needed serious work and a diocesan

Photo: Elizabeth Parker

process to declare the church as a vulnerable

congregation became stalled.

Eventually, the declaration of the

congregation as vulnerable came through,

for which Loyda is grateful. However, by then

she had entered the search process and had

been attracted to Good Shepherd’s location,

proximity to New York, and its multi-cultural,

multi-lingual congregation. It also had an

endowment. After interviewing, they chose

her as their next rector, she accepted, and

their mutual journey started in May 2019.

Good Shepherd, also known as Iglesia

del Buen Pastor, is also a historic church.

It was built in the mid-19th century with

profits from the Colt firearms company

at the direction of Colt’s philanthropic

wife Elizabeth, a devoted Episcopalian.

“Coltsville” includes other properties from

that period and is in the process of becoming

a National Park site. A representative from

the church will have a seat on the board

of an official friends group for the planned

National Park. The church and its parish hall

are endowed from the Colt legacy.

The congregation strives to be part of the

fabric of its surrounding neighborhood. Good


Shepherd/Buen Pastor hosts community

festivals on its front lawn; rents building

space to other faith groups as well as

community, civic, and arts groups; hosts

Foodshare’s mobile truck twice weekly;

distributes donated clothing and furniture

in collaboration with other churches; and is

part of the revitalization committee for its

immediate neighborhood, Sheldon/Charter

Oak. Sermons, worship, music, printed

material, newsletters, and its website are all

bilingual, English and Spanish.

Loyda is ready to work with their existing

programs and help them reach out even


“For so many families there is no answer;

they live day to day,” Loyda said. “As I

continue learning, I hope [we move] more in

the direction of social services.” She’d like to

see them help people find housing and jobs,

for example.

She explained that most people she’s

meeting in the community don’t feel secure

about their future and don’t have enough

income to take care of basic expenses.

“They’re worried about what will happen

to their home if they get sick, or what will

happen to their children as they grow up –

whether they’ll be able to afford college or

get an apartment, or how they will be able to

raise a family.”

She thinks one component is helping people

to identify their talent – their passion, that

which brings them joy – as a way to help

them to provide a living.

“Think out of the box, be more creative, and

that way the spirit will open up minds and

hearts so they can start trusting themselves

again, and transforming the structures that

they live in,” she said.

She advocates a creative process, merging

spiritual and material, with the congregation

as well.

“Let’s focus on ways where we can find

God, doing that gospel work, recognizing

the reality that it takes to do God’s mission


She emphasizes the importance not only of

always having faith, but also of always being

kind with each other, in that work.

“Kindness is very much needed in this

world, precisely because people don’t know

about the future,” she said. “Kindness opens

doors and allows people to start working

with each other. The mission of Jesus, to

walk and find the way, to put both together,

the spiritual and the material, to work

together to build.”

For Loyda, that work reveals God’s creation,


“We also have to think of the environment.

Life depends on the Spirit, and God’s gift for

creation. We have to put those together and

be more conscientious of how our actions

affect both.”

Her prayer practices include celebrating

at the Eucharist, praying for those who

come to the altar, and working with a

spiritual director. She also listens for God in

conversations with people in the community

and to nature all around her whether on

walks or even in church.

She recalls one Sunday service when she

left time for what was supposed to be

silence, and yet, to everyone’s delight, it was

filled with the sound of birds singing.

“It’s healing, and it also brings you to reality,”

Loyda said, of her experience of being in


She knows that nature can also be harsh.

When Hurricane Hugo hit Puerto Rico in

1989, she was still living there and working

at the bank. Yet she saw the hand of God in

the storm as well, both in the way it called

people to work together before and after

the hurricane, and in the unexpected way it

scattered seeds across the island with new

greener surroundings .

“Nature spoke to us - It was like renewing

the earth,” she said.



Loyda said she’s glad to be part of the

Episcopal Church in Connecticut now and

and recognizes many of the same issues as

those in New York. She’s already involved

in ECCT’s Hispanic Ministry Network and

serves on the Leadership Team for the North

Central Region.

She knew Christ Church Cathedral’s now-

Dean Miguelina Howell from earlier work

in the church and is looking forward to

working with her in Hartford to address

common concerns. She knows of some

resources for Spanish-speaking congregants,

including retreats and video-based training;

she is hoping for more, particularly for more

documents translated into Spanish.

Asked what else she might want to share

that hasn’t yet been mentioned, Loyda is

quick to name and praise the live band that

plays for the Spanish language worship

services at Good Shepherd/Buen Pastor,

although her story turns out to be as much

about how the parish has become part of her

larger family already as about music.

As described on the church’s website, the

band plays music from South America,

Central America, Mexico, the Andes, and the

Caribbean. The multicultural ministry got its

start in 2003 with support from ECCT and

a Colt bequest. Two members of the band

Sucari plus additional musicians perform

every Sunday and include a variety of Latin

American and Andean instruments.

One Sunday, the band played a well-known

song often played at Christmas in Puerto

Rico. Loyda was very moved, she said, and

told the band she wished her father, now

retired and living in Florida, could have heard

them. They told her to call him on the phone

and they’d perform again, which they did,

bringing tears of joy and gratitude to both

Loyda and her father.

If mutual ministry is one marker of a

parish’s potential for “success” in making a

difference for God in its community, this one

is off to a great start. ◊




abre puertas,

corazones y

la misión de


The Rev. Loyda E.


Karin Hamilton

translated by Carolina Roberts-Santana

The Rev. Loyda E. Morales outside of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

La Reverenda Loyda E. Morales vino

a la Iglesia del Buen Pastor como su

nueva rectora esta primavera en parte

porque era más estable financieramente

que su iglesia anterior en el Bronx. Ella tiene

un sentido innato de cómo los aspectos

espirituales y materiales de la vida se

impactan entre sí, cómo ambos necesitan

atención en la vida y, a veces, necesitan

ajustes en su equilibrio.

Como cristiana, especialmente como

sacerdote, ella no quería poner las cosas

materiales por encima de las espirituales,

pero sabía que cuando las cosas materiales

se vuelven tan abrumadoras que no puedes

dormir por la noche, como había sido para

ella, es hora de que algo cambie. Ella decidió

buscar una nueva posición.

"Uno de los"beneficios"para mí al venir aquí

fue [el] legado financiero", dijo Loyda. “Tengo

responsabilidades con el edificio. Pero

también puedo dedicar más tiempo a la vida

espiritual de la congregación, que para mí

es la parte más importante de mi llamado,

estar con la gente y crecer juntos y encontrar

nuevas formas de discernir el llamado de Dios

para nosotros con la comunidad, como una

familia”. Ese ha sido su enfoque desde que

llegó en mayo.

Ella ha aprendido mucho acerca de la iglesia,

la diócesis, y el vecindario - con especial

empatía y comprensión para aquellos

que luchan con los desafíos materiales y

espirituales de la pobreza.

Loyda creció en Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, hija

de un sacerdote episcopal y primos activos

en otras denominaciones. Su primera carrera

fue en un banco. A fines de la década del

1990, fue transferida a un banco en la ciudad

de Nueva York y se unió a la Iglesia Episcopal

del Mediador. La comunidad bilingüe y

bicultural y su clero nutrieron aún más su fe,

la alentaron a asistir al seminario y luego la

patrocinaron para la ordenación al sacerdocio.

Fue ordenada por la Diócesis de Nueva

York en el 2005; sirvió como vicario de una

iglesia en Staten Island por un tiempo; Luego

se tomó un tiempo libre para cuidar a su

madre. Cuando su madre volvió a estar lo

suficientemente bien, Loyda decidió volver

a trabajar. Fue llamada para dirigir la Iglesia

del Mediador como su sacerdote a cargo

en 2016. Su edificio histórico de la iglesia,

diseñado por Henry Vaughn y llamado la

"Pequeña Catedral del Bronx", necesitaba

un serio trabajo y el proceso diocesano para

declarar a la iglesia como congregación

vulnerable se estancó.

Finalmente, la declaración de la congregación

como vulnerable se hizo realidad, por lo

que Loyda está agradecida. Sin embargo,

para entonces había entrado en el proceso

de búsqueda y se había sentido atraída

por la ubicación de Good Shepherd, su

proximidad a Nueva York y su congregación

multicultural y multilingüe. También tenía un

legado financiero. Después de la entrevista,

la eligieron como su próxima rectora, ella

aceptó, y su viaje mutuo comenzó en mayo

de 2019.

Good Shepherd, también conocido como

Iglesia el Buen Pastor, es también una iglesia

histórica. Fue construido a mediados del

siglo XIX con las ganancias de la compañía

de armas de fuego Colt bajo la dirección

de la esposa filantrópica de Colt, Elizabeth,

una devota episcopal. "Coltsville" incluye

otras propiedades de ese período y está

en proceso de convertirse en un Parque

Nacional. Un representante de la iglesia

tendrá un asiento en la junta de un grupo

oficial de amigos para el planeado Parque

Nacional. La iglesia y su salón parroquial están

dotados del legado Colt.

La congregación se esfuerza por ser parte de

la estructura de su vecindario. El Buen Pastor

/ Buen Pastor organiza festivales comunitarios


en su jardín delantero; alquila espacios a

otros grupos religiosos, así como grupos

comunitarios, cívicos y artísticos; aloja en las

instalaciones el camión móvil de Foodshare

dos veces por semana; distribuye ropa y

muebles donados en colaboración con otras

iglesias; y es parte del comité de revitalización

de su vecindario inmediato, Sheldon / Charter

Oak. Los sermones, la adoración, la música,

el material impreso, los boletines y su sitio

web son bilingües, en inglés y en español.

Loyda está lista para trabajar con sus

programas existentes y ayudarlos a alcanzar

aún más.

“Para tantas familias no hay respuesta;

ellos viven día a día ”, dijo Loyda. "A medida

que continúe aprendiendo, espero que

[nos movamos] más en la dirección de los

servicios sociales". Le gustaría verlos ayudar

a las personas a encontrar vivienda y empleo,

por ejemplo.

Explicó que la mayoría de las personas con las

que se reúne en la comunidad no se sienten

seguras sobre su futuro y no tienen ingresos

suficientes para cubrir los gastos básicos.

“Están preocupados por lo que sucederá

con su hogar si se enferman, o lo que les

sucederá a sus hijos a medida que crezcan,

si podrán pagar la universidad o conseguir

un apartamento, o cómo podrán formar una


Ella piensa que un componente es ayudar

a las personas a identificar su talento, su

pasión, lo que les brinda alegría, como una

forma de ayudarlos a ganarse la vida.

"Piense fuera de la caja, sea más creativo,

y de esa manera el espíritu abrirá mentes y

corazones para que puedan comenzar a confiar

nuevamente en sí mismos y transformar las

estructuras en las que viven", dijo.

Ella aboga por un proceso creativo,

fusionando lo espiritual y lo material, con la

congregación también.

"Centrémonos en las formas en que podemos

encontrar a Dios, haciendo el trabajo del

evangelio, reconociendo la realidad que se

necesita para hacer la misión de Dios hoy".

Ella enfatiza la importancia no solo de tener

siempre fe, sino también de ser siempre

amables en ese trabajo.

"La amabilidad es muy necesaria en este

mundo, precisamente porque la gente no

sabe sobre el futuro", dijo. “La amabilidad

abre puertas y permite que las personas

comiencen a trabajar entre ellas. La misión

de Jesús, caminar y encontrar el camino,

unir ambos, lo espiritual y lo material, trabajar

juntos para construir ".

Para Loyda, ese trabajo también revela la

creación de Dios.

“También tenemos que pensar en el medio

ambiente. La vida depende del Espíritu y del

don de Dios para la creación. Tenemos que

ponerlos juntos y ser más conscientes de

cómo nuestras acciones afectan a ambos ".

Sus prácticas de oración incluyen celebrar en

la Eucaristía, orar por los que vienen al altar

y trabajar con un director espiritual. También

escucha a Dios en conversaciones con

personas de la comunidad y la naturaleza a su

alrededor, ya sea en caminatas o incluso en

la iglesia.

Ella recuerda un servicio dominical cuando

dejó tiempo para lo que se suponía que era

silencio, y sin embargo, para deleite de todos,

estaba lleno del sonido de pájaros cantando.

"Es curativo, y también te lleva a la realidad",

dijo Loyda, sobre su experiencia de estar en la


Ella sabe que la naturaleza también puede

ser dura. Cuando el huracán Hugo azotó a

Puerto Rico en 1989, ella todavía vivía allí y

trabajaba en el banco. Sin embargo, también

vio la mano de Dios en la tormenta, tanto

en la forma en que llamaba a las personas a

trabajar juntas antes y después del huracán,

como en la forma inesperada en que esparcía

semillas por toda la isla con un entorno más


"La naturaleza nos habló, fue como renovar la

tierra", dijo.


Loyda dijo que está contenta de ser parte de

la Iglesia Episcopal en Connecticut ahora y

reconoce muchos de los mismos problemas

que los de Nueva York. Ella ya está involucrada

en la Red de Ministerios Hispanos de ECCT y

sirve en el Equipo de Liderazgo para la Región

Centro Norte.

Ella conocía a la ahora decana Miguelina

Howell de Christ Church Cathedral por su

trabajo anterior en la iglesia y espera trabajar

con ella en Hartford para abordar inquietudes

comunes. Ella sabe de algunos recursos para

congregantes de habla hispana, incluidos

retiros y capacitación en video; espera más,

particularmente más documentos traducidos

al español.

Cuando se le preguntó qué más podría querer

compartir que aún no se haya mencionado,

Loyda se apresura a nombrar y alabar a la

banda en vivo que toca para los servicios

de adoración en español en Good Shepherd

/ Buen Pastor, aunque su historia resulta

ser tanto sobre cómo la parroquia ya se ha

convertido en parte de su gran familia como

sobre la música.

Como se describe en la página web de la

iglesia, la banda toca música de América del

Sur, América Central, México, los Andes y el

Caribe. El ministerio multicultural comenzó

en 2003 con el apoyo de ECCT y un legado

Colt. Dos miembros de la banda Sucari

más músicos adicionales actúan todos

los domingos e incluyen una variedad de

instrumentos latinoamericanos y andinos.

Un domingo, la banda tocó una canción

muy conocida que se toca a menudo en

Navidad en Puerto Rico. Loyda dijo estar muy

conmovida, y le dijo a la banda que deseaba

que su padre, ahora retirado y viviendo en

Florida, pudiera haberlos escuchado. Le

dijeron que lo llamara por teléfono y volverían

a actuar, lo cual hicieron, trayendo lágrimas

de alegría y gratitud tanto a Loyda como a su


Si el ministerio mutuo es un marcador

del potencial de "éxito" de una parroquia

para hacer una diferencia para Dios en su

comunidad, este es un gran comienzo. ◊


Still learning about the Church

after seven decades

A. Bates Lyons

Karin Hamilton

You take charge of your

destiny, or your destiny

takes charge of you.

A. Bates Lyons

You can look up “A. Bates Lyons” on

LinkedIn and find out where he went

to college (Central State University,

Ohio; Columbia Business School, New York

City), that he’s an “independent management

consulting professional,” and yet because it’s

secular, nowhere do you find out that he’s

a cradle Episcopalian who got his start in an

historic church and has a history of increasing

engagement over seven decades in its

opportunities for lay leadership on the local,

diocesan, and church-wide levels.

“Get to know the church,” is the advice he

now gives out to those just joining, or even

to those long-time members who still don’t

realize the richness in the wider church.

A partial list: On the local level, Bates has

served as acolyte, choir member, worship

assistant, vestry member, budget planner,

and program volunteer at his home parish

of St. Monica’s in Hartford, where he’s

been since about 1975, even after buying a

house in Torrington, where he still lives. He’s

served as anti-racism trainer and facilitator

and as member of the Planning & Budget

Committee, Standing Committee, and

Convention Planning Team for the Episcopal

Church in Connecticut (ECCT) on the diocesan

level. He’s served on the church-wide level as

2018 General Convention deputy.

Bates was part of Taskforce for Reimagining

the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (TREC-

CT) the multi-year endeavor that revised

diocesan organization and governance to

be more missional, and he’s now part of a

team at St. Monica’s that is implementing

the spiritual and financial components of ECCT’s

Joining Jesus initiative. He loved serving as a

General Convention deputy and on one of its

legislative committees and will run again for 2021.

It all fits his approach to life: “You take charge of

your destiny, or your destiny takes charge of you,” he

explains. At nearly 75, he’s still marching forward side-byside

with God and looking forward to what’s next.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here in Connecticut, in

ECCT. I enjoy the people. That’s why I travel

25 miles to church and 27 miles to

Meriden. I enjoy what I’m doing for

ECCT. I’ll do it until I’m laid to


Bates was born

in Philadelphia,

Pennsylvania and

attended their public

schools. He and his

family were members

The African Episcopal

Church of St. Thomas,

originally founded by

the Rev. Absalom

Jones, first Black

priest of The

Episcopal Church.

Once he was old

enough to serve

as an acolyte, he

did. In fact, he

served twice on

Sundays. He was

an acolyte at Low

Mass, their early

service, and sang

tenor in the choir

at High Mass,

their later service.

Since he lived

only a few blocks

from the church he

ran home between

the two services to

get breakfast instead

of staying for Sunday



He earned a bachelor’s degree from Central

State University (then Central College) in

Ohio, majoring in business with a focus on

human resources. It was the 1960s and the

draft was still active. Instead of leaving his

destiny to the draft, he joined ROTC and

served for two years, then enlisted instead of

serving two years in the Army Reserve.

“I said if I was going to go into the Army, I

might as well go in as an officer,” he recalled.

Bates was sent off for training in medical

service and then sent to a hospital at Fort

Gordon in Georgia as their Property Book

Officer, responsible for purchasing and

maintaining supplies. He did such a great job

that when he was called up to go

to Vietnam, his commanding

officer blocked the

order. Eventually, after

the commanding

officer was called

up, Bates too

was sent to


He served at

an evacuation

hospital, the

last stop before



returned from


Returning to

the States, he

was offered a

job in Virginia

but had his

eye on one

in California


When that

didn’t work

out, he chose

to let his time

run out, which

was about six

months, and

retired as a


His work

career began

with positions

in the human


departments at “all the vices,” as he

describes them: ARCO (petroleum) and

Philip Morris (big tobacco) in New York; then

Heublein (liquor distributors) in Connecticut.

Along the way, he earned an MBA from

Columbia University with a focus on human

resources behavior, married, moved to

Connecticut, and became a father to three.

Eventually Bates was recruited by the State

of Connecticut to serve as undersecretary

to the office of Policy Management, having

impressed them with his work on Philip

Morris’ programs for the community.

Governors sent Bates out to help state

agencies respond to problems and challenges

with the community, such as when the state

was rationing gas and closing hospitals.

After 17 years, Bates retired and moved into

consulting as a “leap of faith,” spurred on by

a friend who hired and trained him for her

diversity consulting business. Eventually he

took off on his own.



Bates didn’t begin his deeper engagement

with The Episcopal Church until he was an

adult, living in Connecticut. It was the late

1980s. He remembers the moment: He was

at a celebration of the Feast Day for the Rev.

Absalom Jones at Christ Church Cathedral in


“I was sitting up in the Cathedral, up with the

choir, and they were talking about Absalom

Jones, and Richard Allen, and St. Thomas’,”

he said. “And I thought, wait a minute, I grew

up in a historically Black church! And decided

then that it was about time I found out about

this Episcopal faith that I’ve been part of all

my life.”

So, again following his personal directive

to take control of his destiny, he joined the

diocesan Program & Budget Committee,

eventually serving as chair. He joined the

Finance Committee. Struck by a headline

he read in another Episcopal diocesan

publication, “Is there room for Blacks in The

Episcopal Church?” he talked to then-Bishop

Diocesan Andrew D. Smith about starting

anti-racism training in the diocese. With that

support, he was trained by Jayne Oasin of

The Episcopal Church, assembled and chaired

a small team in ECCT to hone the training,

and began offering programs at parishes and

for seminarians, who were required to have

the training before ordination. He was also

part of the team that put forward a resolution

for the diocesan Annual Convention in 2009,

based on a similar one from the prior General

Convention, apologizing for complicity in the

slave trade. That team later organized an effort

to start research by parishes in Connecticut

and organized a Day of Repentance at the


“I thought maybe we’d get 20 people at

most, but it was packed,” he said.

Today, though he moves a bit more slowly

than in his earlier years, Bates keeps a

positive outlook on life and laughs easily.

He is long divorced, but still enjoys his roles

as father of three and grandfather of seven.

In addition to secular and church work, he’s

remained active in his fraternity, Kappa Alpha

Psi, since joining at Central. He also served

in various leadership roles on the Torrington

Board of Education for more than a decade.

Some years ago, Bates had a serious medical

issue. He said that he asked God to take him

if he’d accomplished what God had wanted

him to accomplish. When he survived, Bates

said he took it as a sign to keep going, which

he’s done.

For about the past five years he’s been

teaching workplace diversity to business

students UCONN. “I tell them first, they need

to deal with their stereotypes, and get rid

of those,” he said. “Go below the surface,

and find out who the individual is, and what

they can do. … the visual is only 10%, the

other 90% is below.” He also leads the future

managers in discussions about topics such as

workplace romance, religion in the workplace,

and the effect of undocumented immigrants.

He's also exploring his personal faith more

deeply, even beyond regular Bible study, since

St. Monica’s is engaged in ECCT’s Joining

Jesus initiative.

“The older you get, the closer you want to

get to God,” he said.

He also appreciates that the initiative focuses

on engagement with the community and

emphasizes collaboration, both of which are

consistent with how he’s lived his life.

“Get to know the church, and what’s going on

in the diocese, because we’re all a part of it.”

Photo: Marc-Yves Regis


from ECCT

New ECCT model policies and safe church training






139 Patterson Way

Berlin, CT

Join Episcopalians

from across ECCT

for a day of

fellowship, learning,

prayer, and fun.

All are welcome, from people in

the pews to vestry members to

parish leaders and staff.

For information on all of the

workshops being offered at this

year's event visit:




Robin Hammeal-Urban

Deepening Christian Community and

restoring right relationship is essential

to our baptismal vocation. This includes

creating a safe church and ministries for

all of God’s people.

Early in 2019, the Episcopal Church in

Connecticut (ECCT) rolled out Universal

Training and updated Model Policies for the

protection of children, youth and vulnerable

adults. Together these initiatives support our

work to recognize our differences, power,

privilege, and vulnerability, so that we can

come together in the fullness of who God

calls us to be.

Universal Training, designed

and produced by ECCT, explores

the promises of our baptismal

covenant and the often-subtle

ways we fall short of respecting

the dignity of all.

Universal Training, designed and produced

by ECCT, explores the promises of our

baptismal covenant and the often-subtle ways

we fall short of respecting the dignity of all.

Topics include: dynamics of healthy Christian

community: vulnerability as a positive

attribute in relationships and community;

sin; forgiveness; sexual orientation and the

full range of gender identity and expression;

the #MeToo movement; gender bias; racial

microagressions, and restorative justice.

Universal Training is a narrated online program

that includes videos and consists of seven

segments. It runs for about one hour when

viewed straight through and is designed

to be divided into two or three sessions

to fit the constraints of parish schedules

and programs such as adult forums. This

also allows time for individuals and groups

to consider and reflect on the discussion

questions included at the end of each


ECCT’s new Model Policies incorporates

Universal Training as the initial component of

all ECCT’s safe church training programs.

ECCT’s Model Policies are consistent

with those used throughout The Episcopal

Church and include a new level of detail to

enhance clarity for all who minister with,

and to, vulnerable populations. Each parish

is required to have policies that contain the

same standards as ECCT’s Model Policies.

Some of the highlights of the new Model

Policies include:

• A broad definition of who is a “Vulnerable

Adult” which includes anyone ministered

to in their home and those who are

vulnerable due to crisis or dependence on

a pastoral relationship;

• Best practices for ministry visits in a

private home or residential facility;

• Best practices for hotel stays when

traveling with youth;

• Best practices for social media and

electronic communications;

• Best practices for travel, which includes a

travel administrator, medical

considerations, insurance, and planning for

international travel;

Robin Hammeal-Urban is ECCT's Canon for Mission Integrity & Training and author of

Wholeness After Betrayal: Restoring Trust in the Wake of Misconduct. She chaired The

Episcopal Church’s task force that developed the new Model Policies.


Taking the next steps in clergy transitions

Lee Ann Tolzmann

What is God up to in the world of clergy transitions in the Episcopal Church

in Connecticut (ECCT)?

• A chart that shows who is required

to attend safe church training and have

background checks;

• Definitions of the full range of gender

identity and expression as well as best

practices to respect the dignity of all,

including sleeping arrangements and other

aspects of communal life; and

• Clarification that each event for children,

youth, or vulnerable adults needs an

identified sponsoring entity, the governing

body of which must grant prior approval for

all off-site events. The vestry is the

governing body for any parish-sponsored

event. ECCT’s Model Policies include a

process for prior approval for all off-site

events sponsored by a region or ministry


The purpose of Universal

Training and ECCT’s Model

Policies is to support our loving,

liberating, and life-giving

relationships with God, each

other and all of creation.

The purpose of Universal Training and ECCT’s

Model Policies is to support our loving,

liberating, and life-giving relationships with

God, each other and all of creation. These

resources are available to all members of


To access ECCT’s Universal Training please

contact Debbie Kenney at dkenney@ ECCT’s Model Policies and

safe church training schedule are available on

ECCT’s website at

A year ago, I wrote about the increasing number of parishes who have only part-time clergy

and the decreasing number of priests available for either part-time or full-time parish ministry.

Since then, these trends have continued.

Only 38% of our parishes have the capacity

to pay a full-time clergy person and 14% of

ECCT congregations have no clergy in place

because there are not enough qualified and

available to serve. The pressure to “fix”

things is very intense on leaders across the

church. Clergy are working hard, vestries are

working harder than ever, and the workload

on diocesan staff seems to be increasing

exponentially. One could argue we’re

pedaling faster and faster, only to be falling

further and further behind.

It feels like we’re wandering, with no clear

path ahead. God’s people have been in

the wilderness before,

wandering, feeling lost,

wondering if they’d ever

get out. And what our

sacred story tells us is

that sticking with God,

following Jesus, seeking

the guidance of the Holy

Spirit, is the only thing that

will get us through it. We know the ultimate

destination. All we have to do is listen to

God for the next step to take. It helps to

remember that Jesus taught us to pray for

daily bread each day, not to pray for all the

food we’ll ever need.

In the world of clergy transitions, the

traditional model is a process of gathering

information about the needs of the parish

and the desired qualities in the next rector,

advertising the details in a published profile,

interviewing a pool of candidates, and

making a choice. We have tried to move the

focus to discerning the leadership that God

needs, rather than what the parish thinks it

needs, but the process is basically the same.

For about a year, a parish is focusing on

How could a parish utilize

the occasion of a clergy

transition to grow in faith,

to grow in love, and grow in

service to God's mission?

preparing to work with their next ordained

leader, being guided by an Interim Minister.

I am now wondering if that is the best use

of a parish’s resources, particularly as, no

matter how “appealing” a parish may be,

applicant pools are decreasing drastically.

It may be time to stop trying to focus on

the long-term future (which is less and

less certain) with the goal of finding just

the “right candidate” who can help us get

there. Perhaps it would be more faithful to

simply take the next step of welcoming a

new priest, who can then immediately begin

walking with the parish, step by step, into

God’s preferred future?

We are required to work

within the existing canons

and structures of ECCT

and the Episcopal Church.

It’s not simple or easy to

make big changes, but that

does not mean we should

not try.

In the world of clergy transitions, it seems

our next step is to figure out what it means

to faithfully follow Jesus in our current

circumstances. Finding the perfect clergy

person has never been the answer, even if it

were possible. How could a parish utilize the

occasion of a clergy transition to grow in faith,

to grow in love, to grow in service to God’s

mission? I believe that we are being called to

think and pray seriously about that question.

The Rev. Lee Ann Tolzmann

serves as Canon for Mission

Leadership for the Episcopal

Church in Connecticut. She

previously served as rector of

churches in Baltimore, MD and

Riverside, CT.


from ECCT

ECCT’s Season of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation: Where are we now?

Karin Hamilton

The Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) is now a year into a

“Season of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation,” entered into last

October by vote of Convention... this was effectively a mandate from all of

ECCT to itself.

While it followed other resolutions from prior years, and some from prior decades, this effort

identified specific current goals with timetables. Here is the full text of the 2018 resolution:

How now do we get to

places where some think

racism was “resolved”

50 years ago? We need to

sit with each other. We

need to bring people to

understanding that this is

still painful for me

and others.

The Rev. Rowena Kemp,


Grace Episcopal Church, Hartford

• RESOLVED, that ECCT launch a “Season of

Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation,” to

last a minimum of two years, with the initial

goals of: introducing foundational concepts,

language, and tools to help encourage and

enable congregations to begin opening hearts

and minds; recognizing the reality of white

supremacy and bias against people of color;

and awakening Episcopalians in Connecticut

to the need for concerted action to address

the ongoing injustice of the racial divide; and

• BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the second

Sunday of February be set aside as a Day of

Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation,

during which parishes are asked to begin a

conversation about the sin of racism in our

lives and in the world by hosting a forum

on racial healing, justice, and reconciliation,

utilizing video and discussion questions from

the Joint Session on Racial Reconciliation

from the 2018 General Convention of The

Episcopal Church; and


parish includes a simple report, which will

be submitted to the Mission Council, with

their annual Parochial Reports detailing how

they have engaged in conversation, study,

and action regarding racial healing, justice,

reconciliation, and the sin of racism; and

• BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all leaders

in clergy transition processes be trained

on the impact of white privilege and the

importance of including diverse candidates

in every search, and that parishes in clergy

transition processes report the number of

candidates of color included in their process

to the Office of the Canon for Mission

Leadership; and


searches for ECCT staff positions include at

least two people of color, or one, if there are

fewer than four people in total, among the

final candidates interviewed.

Convention also authorized ECCT to hire a 10-hour/week Racial Justice Resource Coordinator,

through its new process of hosted conversations based on questions submitted by voting


Members of an expanded Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network have

energetically led ECCT-wide efforts, as have several Region Missionaries and individual parish

teams. The Season began immediately after the Convention vote, though many parishes

waited until the second Sunday in February, the designated day to begin conversations in


Please visit for the Network’s Annual

Report to Convention, which has more details.


Network members meet every three months

in person on Saturdays from 9 - 3. They

divide their work into six areas and those

team leaders plus the two overall Network

co-conveners hold monthly weekday evening

video meetings. (Details are online in the

Ministry Network section of the website.)


There is now a logo for the “Season of Racial

Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation” that can

be used by the Network, Regions, parishes,

and other groups to brand or co-brand their


ECCT elected governing leadership bodies,

at their quarterly joint gatherings, have

held book studies, watched videos, and

held discussions, with suggested content

and discussion prompts from the Network


Monthly bulletin inserts for parishes are sent

out via eNews on the last Tuesday of each

month with first-person testimonies along

with a brief list of resources and contact

info for the Network conveners; notices and

reminders are in weekly newsletters;

Workshops were offered at ECCT’s annual

“Spring Training and Gathering,” and an initial

list of trained facilitators was developed

as a “speakers’ bureau” for parishes, to

help them with programming on leading

discussions, book groups, and crafting


Four ECCT-wide pilgrimages have been held

and one is planned for November 2019; other

events have been hosted;

Research on training opportunities for

conversation facilitators is underway, as is

research on models of reconciliation and

possibilities for advocacy;

An annotated list of resources is available

with more being added all the time.


North and South Central Region Missionaries

teamed up to offer a three-part series,

“Sacred Healing,” over the summer, each

“I am truly inspired by how

many parishes and individuals

have embraced the Season

and lived into it in innovative,

authentic, exciting ways. They’re

so engaged. We have 30 people

who meet all day on Saturdays,

and 140 people on our email list.

When I hear what they’re doing,

it’s incredible.”

Suzy Burke, lay leader at St. John's, Essex

featuring a film followed by facilitated

discussion on race;

St. James’, New London received a UTO

grant for “Bridging the Racial Divide.” It

worked with existing anti-racism groups;

held a three-day training camp for students

to “speak their truth,” and are now following

up with support for the students’ proposed

solutions to problems and issues they


Individual parishes are forming groups, or

strengthening existing groups, that address

aspects of racism, white supremacy, and

related issues; they are also teaming up with

other churches and/or faith groups to hold

programs and conversations.


The bishops and the HR administrator

followed the resolution mandate regarding

hiring, resulting in more people of color hired

on staff;

Mission Communications & Media staff

included related podcasts and related

interviews on the blog, kept updates on

the website, and included related updates,

events, notices, and opportunities from

ECCT and The Episcopal Church in digital

newsletters and social media posts;

Mission Leadership and Mission Integrity

& Training staff canons teamed up to

develop and offer training in “unconscious

bias” to lay leaders in parishes with clergy

transitions, in response to the resolution;

ECCT hired Kelli Ray Douglas as its Racial

Justice Resources Coordinator in late spring.

She has been in conversation with Katrina

Brown, director of the documentary, Traces

of the Trade, about customizing a training

module offered by The Episcopal Church,

Sacred Ground, for ECCT.


Work on developing and distributing a

“simple report” for each parish to report

how it has “engaged in conversation, study,

and action,” as mandated by the resolution,

has not yet been completed. As of early

September 2019 it had not been assigned

to, or taken up by, any group, network, or

ECCT staff member. The resolution sought

this report for Mission Council, due with

parochial reports (March 1).

The Rev. Rowena Kemp, priest-in-charge

at Grace Episcopal Church, Hartford and

Suzy Burke, lay leader at St. John’s, Essex,

serve as the Ministry Network co-coveners.

They’re impressed by ECCT’s response, and

are looking for more conversations, in more

places, in the future.

“I am truly inspired by how many parishes

and individuals have embraced the Season

and lived into it in innovative, authentic,

exciting ways, said Suzy. “They’re so

engaged. We have 30 people who meet all

day on Saturdays, and 140 people on our

email list. When I hear what they’re doing,

it’s incredible.”

“For me the current challenge is having

enough folks trained to be able to go

to places where conversations are not

happening and gently usher people

into those conversations, faithfully and

authentically,” Rowena said. “Yes, many

people have been in relationship and felt

part of the process. How now do we get

to places where some think racism was

“resolved” 50 years ago? We need to sit

with each other. We need to bring people to

understanding that this is still painful for me

and others.” ◊





Allison Gannett, ECCT's digital

storyteller is excited to help folks

around the Episcopal Church in

Connecticut share their stories,

embrace social media and online

platforms to spread the Gospel,

and bring a little bit of God’s love

to this world.


Alli at


from ECCT

The office of Mission

Communications & Media



Stories and conversations to touch your heart, inspire your

ministry, affirm your faith, make you laugh and think! Plus

essential news and announcements sent directly to your



Digital Storyteller Alli Gannett travels

around Connecticut and invites

guests to The Commons to talk

with everyday Episcopalians as well

as parish and ministry leaders and

honored guests. Weekly blog entries

are posted Monday afternoons.

Visit our website,, to sign

up for ECCT newsletters. Enter your email

address and check off which newsletters

you want to receive. You can unsubscribe

and change your preferences anytime. Or

sign up by text to start with the weekly

newsletter: Text ECCT to 22828 and follow

the prompts.

Canon for Mission Communications &

Media Jasree Peralta publishes a weekly

digital newsletter with essential news

and announcements, upcoming events

and registration links, updates on ECCT

initiatives, and more. She also produces

a monthly newsletter for all clergy and

a bi-monthly newsletter for anyone

working with parish administration and



Enter your email address at the

bottom of the home page to receive

notifications of new posts by email.

Each of ECCT’s six Region missionaries

publish a newsletter with local events,

notices, and stories.

An ECCT blog post on the Armsmear, a

place that “provides affordable independent

living for women of limited income who are

60 years of age of older.”


Secretary of Convention the Rev. Adam

Yates publishes an Annual Convention

newsletter with updates, reminders, and

links to all the content and information

you’ll need.


Welcome to Coffee Hour at The Commons

— a podcast where faith meets daily

life over a cup of coffee and casual

conversations. Modeled off of the eighth

sacrament of the Church, the Coffee Hour,

your host Alli Gannett, joined by guests,

engage in a variety of topics, interviews,

and yes even discuss the occasional

sermon. Weekly podcasts are published

Fridays at noon.

Subscribe on Podbean, Spotify, Apple,

Podcast, Stitcher, or by RSS Feed.





Connecticut diocese engages parishes in collaboration

by replacing deaneries with Region Missionaries

Egan Millard

reprinted from Episcopal News Service

“The people and the parishes have

faithfully chosen to realize the truth

that the church and the world is

changing… and there’s only going

to be more change afoot... Let’s look

forward in faith and try on new ways

of being the body of Christ.”

Ian Douglas

The Rev. Erin Flinn (left), North Central Region missionary for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, talks to participants

during a “Wild Worship” outdoor Eucharist service on Aug. 21, 2019. Photo: The Episcopal Church in Connecticut

For many years, reorganizing church

structure and governance to be more

efficient and effective has been

suggested as a way to adapt to the societal

changes The Episcopal Church is contending

with. But the record of progress toward that

goal has been mixed, at least on a churchwide


The Episcopal Church in Connecticut has

taken its own action on structural reform by

replacing its 14 deaneries — which were

seen as outdated — with six regions, each

served by a “region missionary” who fosters

collaboration and engagement in the parishes

of that region.

Two years after the first missionaries were

hired, their positions have gone from part time

to full time and the program has been hailed

as a success.

“The people and the parishes have faithfully

chosen to realize the truth that the church and

the world is changing… and there’s only going

to be more change afoot,” the Rt. Rev. Ian

Douglas, bishop of Connecticut, told Episcopal

News Service. “And instead of licking our

wounds or wallowing in loss and decline, the

people of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut

have said, ‘Let’s look forward in faith and try

on new ways of being the body of Christ.’”

The traditional deanery model — which hadn’t

been adjusted since 1984 — had become

dysfunctional, diocesan leaders said. When

asked what wasn’t working about the deanery

model, the Rev. Timothy Hodapp, canon for

mission collaboration, couldn’t help but laugh.

“We had 28 participating members in what

was then called the diocesan Executive

Council, so that was two representatives

from each of the 14 deaneries,” Hodapp said.

“And of those 14, three were actually on

the ground, active, doing a lot of really great

work. The others — it would go from doing

great work on one end to not participating at

all on the other, and then kind of middling in

between those two extremes. And so you

might have your council come together and

barely get a quorum, and the work of the

council was oftentimes rubber-stamping what

bishops and canons had already done.”

Even though it was apparent to some in

the diocese that the deaneries overall were

not adding to the life of the church or the

communities they served, it took a fresh set

of eyes to make substantive changes in the

oldest organized diocese in the United States.

Douglas, who became diocesan bishop in

2010, was the first to be elected from outside

the state since the diocese was created in


“So the Holy Spirit was up to something here

in Connecticut as far as wanting change,”

Douglas said.

“There’s been a tradition, particularly in

Connecticut, that the diocese is embodied in

the bishop and staff and diocesan structures,”

he added. “What I’ve underscored in

everything that we do is the diocese is not

the bishop and staff and council and standing

committee, etc. The diocese is the united

witness of the 160 parishes in Connecticut.”

The need for a change started to become

clear during the work of the Task Force for

Reimagining The Episcopal Church in 2013 and

2014. The task force, also known as TREC,

eventually issued a report that recommended

consolidating church governance structures.

Some the most significant recommendations,

such as a unicameral General Convention,

still have not been adopted, but TREC’s work

inspired the diocese to start its own task force

in 2014.

“The good work that was begun by the

general TREC initiative, I think, was too bold

and too far-reaching for the whole church,

which is why it really wasn’t picked up at

General Convention,” Douglas said, “whereas


we in Connecticut said, ‘Boy, sure makes

sense to us. Why don’t we do it?’”

The TREC report inspired the “four C’s” that

would eventually become the job description

of the region missionaries: catalyze, connect,

convene and build capability. Redrawing the

deaneries into larger regions required the

diocese to examine how each unique corner

of the state has evolved over time, which

ultimately yielded a surprisingly familiar result.

“As we devised where these lines might be,

to siphon off which chunks of villages are

going to be in a region, we went back into

the archives and we tried several different

iterations,” Hodapp explained. “But following

the trunk highways and the river valleys, etc.,

we parsed it, and it almost matched perfectly

to 1843 archdeaconries; there were six of

them. And here it was. So we returned to our

legacy in a real sense.”

Along with consolidating the deaneries

into regions and establishing the region

missionaries, the diocesan task force also

recommended abolishing all committees

and commissions that are not canonically

required. Those were replaced with “ministry

networks,” but it’s not just a change in

terminology; in keeping with the spirit of the

task force, these new groups are organized

from the bottom up, not from the top down.

If any group of Episcopalians wants to act

together on a particular issue, they can form

a ministry network and get support from the


“There’s no application for recognition, there’s

no canonical authorization; just do it,” Douglas

said. “And if people say, ‘Well, how do we

do the work, say, in prisons? Where’s the

diocesan committee on prison ministry?’ We

say, ‘Go and do it. Organize yourself. You don’t

have to wait for us to give you authority. You

have the baptismal authority you need.’”

Two teams of about 30 people worked on the

topic over the course of two years, Hodapp

said, and when they put every committee and

commission up on a wall, they realized what

had to be done.

“What’s common to all of this?” Hodapp

said. “And why do we have it established as a

group that needs to be meeting with Robert’s

Rules of Order and taking notes when we

need to be more flexible, and we need to

network differently, and we need to be in a

world that has changed completely around


Each region gathers for a convocation at least

once a year, during which they select one

layperson and one clergy member to serve

on the diocesan Mission Council — which

replaced the Executive Council — along with a

representative from each ministry network.

The task force’s plan was adopted

enthusiastically at the 2015 diocesan

convention, and the region missionaries

were the last piece to be implemented, with

the first cohort of three priests and three

laypeople hired in 2017. Their task, Douglas

said, is not to be a stopgap to help keep

struggling churches in business, although they

do play an important role in the 67 percent of

parishes without full-time clergy. Their task is

to rethink how the churches operate in their

communities, Hodapp says.

“Who else needs to be at the table? And

that doesn’t mean just Episcopalians. But

who are our allies within this village or these

three villages? How do we really engage the

neighborhood in a meaningful way, for what it

needs for right now?” Hodapp said.

Maggie Breen, the missionary for the sparsely

populated Northeast Region, spends each

Sunday at one of the region’s 16 parishes, and

every Sunday is different.

“I have been bringing a map of the town”

in which each parish is situated, Breen told

ENS. “And I’ll indicate where the parish is in

the town, and I’ll ask people to think about

the town and tell me what things have they

noticed that break their heart and what things

have they noticed that really bring them

joy. And we map those out, and then we

brainstorm, What could we do about any of


One of Breen’s accomplishments in her region

is a lay preaching class, which had previously

been done in the Northwest Region. She

also organizes a series of “Crafting as a

Spiritual Practice” days, in which participants

– including members of other churches –

connect over their hobbies and their faith.

The North Central Region’s missionary, the

Rev. Erin Flinn, has organized a film and

conversation series on racial justice and is

working to connect wardens from different

parishes so they can feel supported and share

their experiences. She also is focusing on

enabling parishioners to start mission work on

their own.

“If you have a call, go do something,” Flinn

said. “One of the things that I think the region

[model] is great for is if you have a call to go

and do something, but you don’t want to do

it by yourself, contact me. Let me know what

you’re doing. I guarantee there’s somebody

else in the region that is doing the same


Flinn, who was ordained to the transitional

diaconate in June, said the regional model

has been particularly beneficial to the small

parishes, helping them join forces and

accomplish more together.

“We have several small parishes that are now

collaborating in new ways,” Flinn said. “The

mentality of regions and networks has really

been a lifeline to our smaller communities that

don’t have a lot of resources and only have

half-time or quarter-time clergy.”

The region missionaries have organized

and facilitated mission trips, spiritual hikes,

communication workshops, garden projects,

paddling trips, book groups and more, and

they also serve as a liaison between parishes

and the diocese.

“I spend a lot of time trying to build

relationships,” Breen said. “I frequently act as

a sort of bridge between what’s happening at

the ground level in the parish and then what’s

happening at the diocesan house, bringing

information from [the diocese] into the

parishes, and then also bringing interesting

things are happening the parishes up to [the


Breen and Flinn were both in the original

cohort of missionaries who started in 2017.

After their two-year contract expired, three

continued as full-time missionaries, while

the other three chose not to stay and were

replaced by new hires.

Hodapp says the diocese has gotten queries

from other dioceses interested in their

structural reforms. He says his vision for

the future of the regions and the region

missionaries is “to be open-minded and to

see where God is going to take us. To fan

into flame what’s working, to fan into flame

experiments, trying things on, watching things

happen and fall apart, figure out what worked

and what didn’t.”

“What I’m learning,” Flinn said, “is that our

churches are actually doing more than we

realize. We just [weren’t] good at telling

each other what we’re doing… That was the

biggest discovery.” ◊


I am a young person of faith.

Karin Hamilton

Aroub Jaber, Eli Lasman, and Nadira Baransy were in

Connecticut this summer as part of the annual Service-

Learning Institute of Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB). The

three high school students, each age 15, are all citizens of Israel; two

are Palestinian.

The interfaith program was held August 4-14 at Christ Church,

New Haven and included volunteering at local agencies as well as

pre-arranged tours and meetings in New York City and elsewhere.

On August 8 the group joined the “Interfaith Service Day” in New

Haven, organized by IWagePeace, a JPB partner. It provided multiple

opportunities for the community to volunteer on projects alongside

the JPB teens.

As described on its website,, JPB is “an

interfaith, non-profit organization with a mission to create a better

future for humanity across religions, cultures, and nationalities.

Integral to that mission is the belief that the future of Jerusalem is

the future of the world. To that end, JPB promotes transformational,

person-to-person encounters among the peoples of Jerusalem, the

United States, and the Holy Land.

“JPB’s interfaith programs focus on uniting Israelis, Palestinians, and

Americans and providing them with the opportunities, relationships,

and skills they need to become future leaders for peace in the global

community. A passion for peace drives our mission and partnerships

power our program.”

The Rev. Nicholas Porter, founder and executive director of JPB, and

former rector of Trinity, Southport, also leads programs and was in

New Haven with the teens and other JPB staff and volunteers.

“The exciting thing about the young Israeli, Palestinian, and American

teens that came to New Haven for the service learning program,” he

said, “is that they were here to grow personally; to grow as leaders;

to be agents of change at home for peace and acceptance and a

shared society. But they were also here in their own humble way to

act as a catalyst or leaven for the religious communities here in New

Haven. “Someone asked me recently, why now? Because now is the

time. It's the time in the Middle East for change. But it's also time

here in the United States as there are so many uncertainties we face.

We're becoming a multi religious, multicultural democracy and we're

proving ourselves not to be so adept at that. And these young people

have things to teach us.”


Aroub Jaber is Muslim and lives in Umm el-Fahem with her family: father, mother,

one older sister and one younger sister, and one older brother. She attends

the Orthodox Arab College-School in Haifa. Her hobbies include playing the piano, listening to music,

playing soccer, and swimming.

Q. Did you grow up in your faith and tradition? Did you have to make a decision?

A. Yes. My parents advised me and led me and told me what to do to benefit me. I chose myself but

of course I listened.

Q. What does it mean in practical terms to be Muslim?

A. There are certain rules, for example, to pray five times a day, fast in Ramadan, and for girls, to wear the

hijab. Our religion really wants peace. I am grateful and thankful for being Muslim.

Q. Can you share an example of a situation you were in where your faith guided your action?

A. Every day I want God to be with me. This is my second year here with JPB. A lot has changed and I was really worried and concerned,

but now, I’m not worried because God is beside me.

Q. What do you appreciate most about being Muslim?

A. Many things! I am happy to be Muslim. Islam means a lot to me. Our religion says we must help poor people, to give them food; to

give them a place to live; to help people as much as you can.

Q. Before you were part of JPB, did you have friends who were of other faiths?

A. Yes. My elementary school was mixed, Muslim and Christian, so I know many things about Christianity and have many Christian

friends. I have a few Jewish friends and really hope that I can get to know more Jewish people.

Q. Why did you want to get involved in this interfaith organization Jerusalem Peacebuilders?

A. I want to get to know new people, new cultures, new religions. And get more information about the religions. Also, in Palestine,

we have a conflict. I want to participate in this program to know cultures, and build bridges between two cultures, Jewish and Arab,

that will hopefully lead to peace, I know JPB talks about peace. That’s what we need back home, peace: to live in peace.


Photos: Marc-Yves Regis

NADIRA BARANSY Nadira Baransy is Christian and lives in the village of Reineh with her family:

father, mother, and two younger brothers. She attends the Almotran School

in Nazareth and has declared majors in physics and electronics. Her hobbies include playing the piano and

reading, and she reads in both Arabic and English.

Q. Did you grow up in your faith and tradition? Did you have to make a decision?

A. I grew up in it.

Q. What does it mean in practical terms to be Christian?

A. All the religions want us to live in peace with love. Not to hate any person; we have to love each other.

Q. Can you share an example of a situation you were in where your faith guided your action?

A. I ask my mother, who is like my best friend. When I have any problem, I pray for God to be with me in the problem.

Q. What do you appreciate most about being Christian?

A. I appreciate that Christianity tells us not to hate anyone because of their religion. We are all human. And also, to love our enemies.

They want us to live in peace, without violence.

Q. Before you were part of JPB, did you have friends who were of other faiths?

A. Yes of course. In our school are Muslims and Christians. Most of my friends are Muslim. The religion of my friends doesn’t matter.

What’s important is how he or she treats me.

Q. Why did you want to get involved in this interfaith organization Jerusalem Peacebuilders?

A. In our school, there are only Christian and Muslim students. So I didn’t meet lot of Jews, and thought JPB would give me the opportunity

to meet Jews — and also Americans — because I would like to learn others' opinions about the conflict, and to hear what they think.

Also so I can also meet people my age with different backgrounds and religions because I like to make different friends.


Eli Lasman is Jewish and lives in Netanya with his family: father, mother, and older sister

who’s in the army. He attends Sharet High School in Netanya and has declared majors in

diplomacy and Arabic. His hobbies include reading and he enjoys history, geography, and politics.

Q. Did you grow up in your faith and tradition? Did you have to make a decision?

A. I am Orthodox Jewish, secular, and a bit traditional. Yes, I grew up in it. I always thought about the

religion, and think this is the best for me.

Q. What does it mean in practical terms to be Jewish?

A. It depends on your secularity. For me, it means To eat Kosher, to pray at times, to accept the important rules,

to ask and know and learn more about the religion.

Q. Can you share an example of a situation you were in where your faith guided your action?

A. Today, we were at an activity, and afterwards they gave us pizza, some with meat and some without meat. The pizza with meat looked

good but I chose without meat, because my religion says we should not eat meat with dairy products. My faith guides me in a lot of

actions. There are a lot of rules — it’s a very ancient religion.

Q. What do you appreciate most about being Jewish?

A. Mostly I appreciate the rules. They are mostly about forgiveness or justice or they are ethical rules to do what God wants. Because I

believe in those values, it helps me to live them.

Q. Before you were part of JPB, did you have friends who were of other faiths?

A. I knew some, but they weren’t really friends. I only talked with them from time to time. In JPB I really met friends, like Aroub for example,

and new people from different religions. It is so nice to know people from other religions; and they’re so nice, from a human perspective.

Q. Why did you want to get involved in this interfaith organization Jerusalem Peacebuilders?

A. I wanted to develop myself and learn more about the conflict and meet new friends.


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