Archives for August 2019

All Saint’s Day Choral Evensong

Join us at 5:30 p.m. in the Chapel on Sunday, November 3.

Choral Evensong essentially is a service of reflection—of leaving ourselves open so that God may speak to us through hymns and psalms, readings and canticles, which are the core of the service. In the Anglican tradition this music finds its natural setting in the office of Evensong, a combination of the medieval offices of Vespers and Compline. As day settles into night, the Choir settles worshippers into a peaceful place of rest and contemplation.

Yet, Choral Evensong is a tiny fragment of something else: it is part of the worship which is offered to God by Christian people every hour of the day and night, in every part of the world. When you come to Evensong, it is as if you were dropping in on a conversation already in progress—a conversation between God and humanity which began long before you were born and which will continue long after your death. For a brief moment, you step into the continual stream of worship which has been offered for millennia, is being offered today, and which will be offered to the end of time. 

 

Church Leaps into Leaf Season

With the invigorating crispness of autumn in the air, Christ Church Needham returns to its regular weekly cycle of activities as the 8:15 AM, 10:00 AM and 5:30 PM Sunday services resume on September 8. The Reverend Nicholas Morris-Kliment will deliver the sermon.

The regular music program resumes simultaneously under the direction of Music Director Pamela Goody. The first adult choir practice is slated for 7-9 PM, Thursday, September 5, in preparation for a full program of hymns and anthems at the 10 AM service on September 8. Everyone is welcome to sing in our choir–no auditions are required. Lift your voice in a relaxed, fun-filled atmosphere.

Youth Choir reconvenes on Monday, September 16. Rehearsals are 4-5 PM Mondays in the chapel. Children and youth in 4th grade and up are welcome to participate in this fun and formational addition to our worship life. For information, please contact Youth Choir Director Lea Peterson at lea.peterson95@gmail.com.

Bible Study, led by Tracy Rubin, resumes Wednesday, September 18, with morning (10am-noon) and evening (7-8:30pm) class options. The focus will be on the Gospel of Matthew, in part an early immigration narrative that recounts Jesus and his family fleeing from Herod. Matthew also has much material about the role of women, demonstrated by their presence at the crucifixion, the first at the empty tomb, and the first to meet the resurrected Christ.

The Men’s Group kicks off the fall season September 20-22 with a splash and a whirr as members reel in a weekend of fishing, fellowship and prayer on their annual trip to Cuttyhunk Island (see related item below).

The church office resumes its regular schedule on Tuesday, September 3. The office is open Monday-Friday, 9 AM-2 PM.

Christ Church invites you to experience our community dedicated to loving God and our neighbors. Our communion table is open to all.

How Can We Better Love Our Neighbors?

Prayer is a not a substitute for action, but a precondition for it. In the wake of yet another season of brutal, hate-saturated killings, the understandable temptation for each of us is to imagine that there is little we can do, so why bother? Inaction is precisely the evil that we ask God to deliver us from in the Lord’s Prayer. Right here, right now, it is possible for each of us to avoid inaction and to do something in this “time of trial.” Together, if each one of us clicks on one of more of these sites to learn more about what we can do to stop this violence, we can do something. Together, let’s click and see how much we can do. Together, let’s love our neighbor in this way.

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence www.bradycampaign.org

Moms Demand Action https://momsdemandaction.org/

Everytown for Gun Safety https://everytown.org/

Join us for Celebration Sunday, 9/8!

Welcome to the start of our program year this Sunday, 9/8. Join us for our special “Celebration Sunday”. Church School Registration – 9:30 a.m.;  Church school classes begin, along with “Blessing of the Backpacks” – 10 a.m.; Sunday Service with Choir – 10 a.m.; Ice cream sundaes and bouncy house at Coffee Hour – 11:15 a.m.

 

Bishop Gates Addresses Immigration Crisis

On July 23 Bishop Gates issued a letter addressing the many troubling aspects of the national immigration policy crisis, including his personal reflections, a message from bishops in Texas, and concrete action steps concerned Christians can take.  Read on or click here for his message: The Moral Crisis in Real Time.

Bishop Gates’ Message

In these summer days, at a time when we may be looking forward to some opportunity for rest and renewal, many of us find ourselves deep in a state of agitation and distress over the ongoing crisis in our nation regarding immigration policy and practice.

When I was a child in the 1960s our family had good friends who had been among those 120,000 Japanese-Americans forcibly placed in internment camps in the United States during World War II.  With the passage of time, Americans recognized that this incarceration had been a violation

Why, I wonder, are we capable of acknowledging our national failures and sins only with the safe passage of time, and not when these failures are immediately before us?  What paralysis of leadership and fear of being labeled “partisan” prevents us, individually and collectively, from finding our way forward in the midst of such clear moral crisis?

I need not recite the evidence of this crisis.  We have all seen the reports:  infants and children separated from their parents; access to legal asylum application forcibly denied; detention centers marked by squalid conditions; a drowned toddler and her father washed up on a river bank.

That there is a crisis cannot be denied.  That there may be differing views of what political and legal paths forward should be pursued cannot prevent us from making and demanding a response.  Our Christian moral principles of compassion, of “welcoming the stranger” and of respect for the dignity of every human being allow for nothing less.  Our American ideals of opportunity, of receiving “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and of due legal process all point in the same direction.

I commend to you the powerful statement (available here ) issued by my colleague bishops in Texas, saying in part:

We call on our leaders to trust in the goodness, generosity and strength of our nation. God has blessed us with great abundance. With it comes the ability and responsibility to bless others. … This is not a call for open borders. This is not saying that immigration isn’t complicated. This is a call for a humane and fair system for moving asylum seekers and refugees through the system as required by law.

Likewise, our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has spoken powerfully, in this video message , of our moral obligation in this moment:

[The] parable of the Good Samaritan invites us, calls us, challenges us, to be neighbor to the neighbor. Some of our neighbors are at the border and some of our neighbors are those who have immigrated to this country and are living right in our neighborhood or in our city or in our community, or our state. To show compassion to them is to obey Jesus. Go and do likewise.

I encourage every one of us to respond as our abilities and conscience dictate.  A resource list accompanying this letter provides some ways we can join, support and connect with others in making a response, locally and churchwide.

I am grateful for the additional learning, networking and ministry opportunities that are emerging through the efforts of our new diocesan canon for immigration and multicultural ministries, the Rev. Dr. Jean Baptiste Ntagengwa, including an immigration educational event that is being planned for Saturday, Oct. 26 (details to come).  I invite you to call upon him with your questions and ideas at jbntagengwa@diomass.org or 617-482-4826, ext. 400.

Meanwhile, I am also grateful that in two weeks a group of our diocesan youth and their adult companions will spend a week in mission and pilgrimage at our nation’s southern border.  (Follow along via their blog, here .)  They will visit the migrant trail, meet with Border Patrol agents, visit a detention center and work with Cruzando Fronteras, a ministry of the Diocese of Arizona, which is caring for nearly a thousand asylum seekers awaiting their asylum interview. The teens will do whatever is most needed–rehabbing facilities, helping to prepare and serve meals, entertaining children–and in so doing they will explore issues of borders, boundaries, walls, bridges, paths, strangers, family, protection and hospitality.  I invite your prayers for our young pilgrims.

May God grant us the capacity to speak and act with courage, compassion and clarity.  May we do so in our own day, not requiring the passage of a generation before acknowledging and decrying those places where our moral compass has failed us.

Faithfully, in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates
Bishop of Massachusetts


For those who wish to learn of practical ways to support our church in refugee resettlement:

Episcopal Migration Ministries is an Episcopal Church ministry and one of nine national agencies responsible for resettling refugees in the United States in partnership with the government.  Episcopal Migration Ministries currently has 13 affiliate offices in 12 states.

For those who wish to translate their faith into public policy initiatives and advocacy:  

The Episcopal Public Policy Network and the Office for Government Relations provide a strong and steady voice on behalf of the church, and offer advocacy alerts, research reports, a record of Episcopal Church policy statements and a curriculum for civil discourse.

Episcopal City Mission (ECM) in the Diocese of Massachusetts encourages the work of accompaniment—learning to be a neighbor to immigrants in our communities, particularly those facing detention and deportation, by meeting their needs for bond payment, legal resources, housing and community.  ECM is the fiscal sponsor and close partner to the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network , and is involved in organizing a parallel network in southeastern Massachusetts, where allies have been providing immigrants with rides to the immigration appointments and court hearings that increase their chances of staying in this country.  For more information, contact ECM’s director for programs and engagement, Natalie Finstad, at natalie@episcopalcitymission.org or 832-454-6631.

Additional local action and accompaniment opportunities are detailed in this PDF hand-out created by the Action for Immigrant Lives coalition, including a fundraising event on Sunday, Aug. 25 for the Massachusetts TPS Committee and its ongoing campaign to defend Temporary Protected Status holders.  The Very Rev. Amy McCreath, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, will be attending and welcomes colleagues and members of our diocesan community to join her.  Find sign-up information here .

MIRA, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition , is an additional local source for information on promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees in New England.  It offers education and training, leadership development, institutional organizing, strategic communications, policy analysis and advocacy.

Action for Immigrant Lives