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Redeemer News

  • July 08, 2020 4:24 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    A Letter from the Rector

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    Over twenty years ago, the Reverend Richard Downes welcomed a young, energetic and wonderfully talented musician into the life of Church of the Redeemer. Since those early days, Michael Murray has brought artistry, passion, and a strong pastoral instinct to his ministry of music building a choral music program of blessing and renown.

    Yesterday, Michael informed me that his husband Dr. Stuart Forster was hired as Associate for Music and Liturgy by The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida. While Stuart will take up his new duties in Florida on September 1st, Michael will conclude his ministry at the Redeemer on Sunday, December 27, 2020.

    For two decades Michael has been at the heart of Redeemer’s Sunday mornings. His liturgical musicianship, consummate showmanship, and dedicated companionship have consoled us in our grief, transported us in our prayers and accompanied us in our joy. He and Stuart will be sorely missed.

    Over the next weeks a search process and committee will be assembled to take advantage of Michael’s presence with us for the next months. Michael's ministry has ensured that candidates of superb quality will seek out the Redeemer to build upon the foundations that he has laid. We will  find the right moments and means to celebrate Michael’s life-giving ministry among us.

    In Christ,


    A Letter from the Director of Music

    Dear friends, 

    Almost twenty years ago, as a young musician, I walked through those magnificent tower doors to experience Henry Vaughan’s resplendent architecture that we call ‘our church’.   

    Yesterday, after much heart-ache and gut-wrenching contemplation, I telephoned Fr. Mike to inform him that as a result of our discernment with the Church of Bethesda-by-the-sea in Palm Beach, FL, where Stuart will take up a new position in September, that I would resign my position at Redeemer to move there, be supportive to him, and look for my next calling.   Whilst Stuart will begin in Palm Beach in September, I will stay at Redeemer through the end of the calendar year, so that we may share one last Christmas together. 

    This was a decision that was immeasurably difficult to make — Stuart and I have served this diocese for more than 40 years collectively.    A nice moment, a couple of years ago, was when I realised I was now the Redeemer’s longest serving liturgical professional (longer even than any of her clergy).   Our tenures at both Christ Church, Cambridge, and the Redeemer have been long, and at times challenging, but above all so very fruitful.   We are so fortunate to have had such supportive and wonderful parishes in which to share our ministries.

    Our Redeemer family is of boundless importance to us, not only professionally, but personally.   Together, we have been there in our joys, our losses, and our everydays.   Our music has seen you and yours married, buried, baptised, comforted, and, hopefully, inspired.  We have shared thousands of hymns, anthems, meals, conversations, and, goodness knows, copious amounts of wine.   We have seen that most momentous of occasions — the installation of a truly splendid new organ — something that will surely stand as the apex of my career.    What a mountain of memories we have made together! 

    I cannot thank you enough for welcoming this rambunctious (then) young organist into the Redeemer family.   This is not goodbye, but merely the next chapter in our greater relationship.   

    I remain eternally grateful for your faith in that young whippersnapper who arrived two decades ago, but more importantly, for your friendship and your many kindnesses.   I look forward to the next few months when we will get to say our farewells, and, hopefully, share a hug.  

    With deep affection, and admiration, 

    -Michael (and his ruby slippers) 

  • June 19, 2020 3:07 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Shopping for FUEL

    FUEL is working hard to meet the increase in food insecurity during the challenges of the pandemic and is now being asked for 195 bags each week.  You would help in the following ways:

    ·       SORTING – Donations and bulk purchases are received daily and need to be sorted and shelved.

    ·       PACKING – Non-perishable food is packed in three different ways for recipients.

    ·       DRIVING – Drivers are needed to pick up donations (in Wellesley from St. Andrew’s, at Wegmans, Costco and BJ’s) and to deliver to Epiphany and St. Stephen’s. All work is done wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

    Families and individuals are welcomed and encouraged to shop for FUEL You could purchase one item, one of each item or a quantity of one item. Lighter weight packaging (e.g. non-metal) when possible is preferred to minimize total weight.  Please consider the possibilities during your regular grocery shopping or even an Instacart, Amazon or Walmart delivery directly to the church.

    Bins are located outside the office doors and bags of food are brought into the church on a regular basis.  

    Below is a list of the items FUEL puts in the bags for Newton, Epiphany and St. Stephen’s.


    Chicken (canned 12.5oz)

    Tuna (canned)

    Beans, (pinto, navy, etc.) preferably bagged

    Peanut butter (18oz)


    Applesauce (individual cups or squeeze portions)

    Applesauce (15 oz plastic jar)

    Fruit (individual cups)

    Fruit (15 oz cans of pineapple, fruit cocktail, pears, peaches or oranges)


    Cereal (10-12 oz) or cereal bars

    Crackers (10-15 oz box)

    Macaroni and cheese

    Pasta (1 lb of any type, box or bag)

    Rice  (1 or 2 lb bag or box)


    Marinara sauce (24 oz, preferably in plastic)

    Soup, hearty (10-15oz each)

    St. Stephen's is also looking to make fifty $50.00 VISA cards available each week, one per family. These cards will help with incidentals as 98% of St. Stephen's families report having lost at least one job in their household. These cards may be purchased online or in person at Shaw's, CVS or Walgreens throughout the area. These we ask to be sent to the Redeemer Parish Office or dropped off in the mail slot at Redeemer.

    FUEL Food Bags and gift cards will be delivered weekly to St. Stephen's every Thursday, as well as FUEL Food Bags for Newton and Epiphany families.

    FUEL is a mission initiative founded, funded, and executed solely by Church of the Redeemer.If you are interested in helping out or want to learn more, please contact our fearless leader Velura Perry  


    Another way to help is to provide cotton socks and underwear to unhoused men and women.

    Commoncathedral is currently in need of Multi packs of Cotton socks and Cotton Underwear Briefs for both Men and Women S, M, L & XL.

    These items can be ordered online and shipped to Church of the Redeemer, 379 Hammond St. Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.

    We have also put a donation bin at the exterior office door for those that wish to pick them up at a store and drop them off at the church.

    You can also sandwiches at home for common cathedral.

    Families, singles and couples are invited to make 50 individually wrapped sandwiches, and provide granola bars &/or fresh fruit for common cathedral. Redeemer parishioners can make them in the safety of their home and then deliver them to Emmanuel Episcopal Church (15 Newbury Street, Boston). Here is the Sign Up Genius Link to choose your day!

  • June 18, 2020 10:00 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    After extensive conversations with the Ministry Team, the Wardens, and Lee Fisher (the Redeemer's Reopening Coordinator), I have decided to postpone our public worship re-opening until Sunday, September 6th provided public health indicators and the bishop allow—and again this could be subject to change as we learn more in this continuing evolving environment. This difficult decision was made for many reasons but two in particular. 

    The first reason hinges on our collective pastoral concern for the parish. Though we could open for public worship, many of our parishioners find themselves in CDC prescribed at-risk categories. As such, public worship (as desirous as we are to gather) would be pastorally problematic to some while privileging those younger than 65 and those without pre-existing conditions. Though we know we can open, the question remains, "Should we reopen in August?" The second reason regards the dignity of our worship experience. Currently, our on-line worship consistently provides 70 to 90 households a robust worship experience at 10am on Sundays. With the extensive and required changes including entry, egress, assigned seating, staged dismissal, bathroom usage and cleaning guidelines both the on-line and in-person worship experiences would be diminished from what Redeemer parishioners currently experience and only a small fraction of our parish would be able to be accommodated for in-person worship. With these additional weeks, we can better address the required changes and the bishop’s re-opening certification process such that the experience will be better for both the online and in-person worship.

    As of today, the public health indicators continue to trend downwards across all indicators of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in the Commonwealth generally and in the cities and towns our parishioners reside particularly. If these trends continue, we might very well find ourselves closer to the bishops' Stage 3 by September which would allow us to have a more enriched worship experience that could hopefully include some of such aspects as in-person singing, Holy Communion (bread only) and even socially distanced coffee hour fellowship! These additions would offer the kind of in-person worship and fellowship experiences well worth the many changes that will confront us necessarily whenever we gather again.

    Though delayed, our reopening work will continue apace throughout the summer. Please send along your regards to Lee Fisher for his thoughtful and detailed work. This delay will allow us to concretize our processes and give more time for the public health picture to become clearer. Please note that on-line worship will continue to be part of the life of the Redeemer indefinitely. We have learned that these offerings have become a lifeline for those who travel or live far from the Redeemer. Thank you for your help and understanding in making this difficult decision. 

    If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.



  • June 18, 2020 9:24 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear friends,

    There is so much for me to be grateful for (and delighted by!) in this parish as one of your priests! Recently some of my blessings have been: watching a first-grader wiggle their tooth while staring seriously into the screen; listening to a story about jellyfish stings from a fifth-grader; talking about marriage and domestic harmony (or tension) with the wise women of Thursday Bible Study; gathering up prayers and pictures for seniors; brainstorming ideas and making plans with Barrie Rose Bliss.

    Another thing I’m grateful for is our parish’s willingness to open up new conversations around race (and racism), and for the leadership of Debby Mills and James Perry for this work, and for our rector’s willingness to make a long-term commitment to this. I know our parish is always willing to learn new things--though we tend to have a preference for academic things! The type of learning we will be doing in this group will be both intellectual (new concepts, frameworks, and historical information) as well as reflective (how does this impact my own experience? what does this suggest for my own behavior?). 

    We’ll start with a few weeks of standalone articles and short videos, before settling in to read our main book, Waking Up White by Debby Irving. (If you’re interested in joining the book group, we recommend ordering the book now.) We’ll be meeting on Thursday nights, from 7:30-8:45pm. We will begin by discussing this brief-but-thorough Smithsonian article: “Race and Racial Identity.” If you are interested in attending the Zoom discussions, please email (Rev. Emily).



  • May 27, 2020 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Sunday mornings throughout the summer (and beyond), we will offer a 10am Morning Prayer service via Facebook Live and Redeemer Youtube.

    To participate in our 10am service please click on the video on Facebook live (the easiest option), go to the  Redeemer Facebook Page. 

    1. Click on the 'More' tab at the top and then click 'Videos.' This will bring you to a page of Redeemer videos. 
    2. The newest video is always at the top left, so click that--it should have a little red tag that says "LIVE." It will have an image of Mike and Emily in the Nave.
    3. Please note: If you are using a hand-held device, the 'videos' tab appears above the map. 

    We also broadcast all of our services on Redeemer YouTube Channel, Redeemer Episcopal Media. Click here to view.

    A copy of our leaflet will be included in our Friday email. If you have a Book of Common Prayer at home, we would encourage you to use it!  We are also offering a Morning Prayer service M-S at 9:30 am and an Evening Prayer service M-S at 4:30pm via Facebook Live.

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379 Hammond Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
PHONE:  617-566-7679
FAX:  617-566-6678

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