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  • April 09, 2021 9:02 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Meet Barrie Rose Bliss (Again!)

    Several weeks ago, I had the great joy of announcing to the parish the hiring of Ms. Barrie Rose Bliss as our next Director of Children, Teens and Family Ministries. Over the last several years many of you have gotten to know Barrie through her work as a youth ministry volunteer and then as the Redeemer's Youth Minister.

    Now, as our new Director of Children, Teens and Youth Ministry, Barrie and I sat down a couple of weeks ago for an informal interview of sorts so that we might take the time to introduce (re-introduce) her to the Redeemer. Barrie brings with her many years of volunteer and professional ministry experience along with several ministry specific undergraduate and graduate level degrees. Most of all she brings a thoughtful, kind, insightful, and joyful spirit to her ministry.

    Barrie, when and where did ministry begin for you as a vocation?

    I was seventeen years old, and I had to make a hard decision of whether to pursue dance or give my life to be part of the church. I was a very serious ballet dancer as a young person,  but also desired to be deeply involved in my parish youth group. Dance demanded all my attention, passion, and focus, so I decided to quit dance in order to have more room in my life to pursue what my soul felt called to do. In my times of private and public prayer as well as my study of scripture, I felt a strong pull to serve in the church. Ministry as a vocation really arrived in a deep spiritual experience when I was 18 that overwhelmed me and convinced me to pursue a vocation in ministry.

    Could you tell us a little bit about the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee and how it shaped your understanding of ministry among young people?

    The Youth Pastor of my church had a passion for deepening discipleship among members of our youth group. This meant encouraging us to practice or devote ourselves to prayer, worship, scripture, and outreach. Through my participation in this intensive discipleship program, I led a small group of teens as a teen myself. This all took place within a Pentecostal Christian denomination known as the Church of God which was headquartered in Cleveland, Tennessee. After my undergraduate work at the Moody Bible Institute, I returned to Cleveland, Tennessee to help lead and guide our 200 youth and 200 college student strong discipleship program.

    What was it like being a church leader at such a young age?

    I wasn’t so much seeking leadership opportunities as leading was part of the natural outflow of my deepening life of faith. It was also sobering! Understanding that I was responsible for the spiritual formation of these other teens who were nearly the same age as I or nearly my age! It was a humbling experience to have that much impact on others; this led me to consider deep questions about being authentic, open and vulnerable with my peers while leading and guiding.

    What led you to study Biblical Languages at the Moody Bible Institute?

    I began studying at Lee University (Where Faye Bodley-Dangelo went to college!) in Cleveland, Tennessee, but I found myself having expanding notions of scripture, ministry and my call as a minister. So I found Moody Bible Institute which provided me a very serious educational and discernment opportunity. I felt deeply called to go there, and I knew it would both challenge me and expand my horizons. Biblical Language studies opened a deeper window into the life of Jesus and the text of scripture as a whole. There are things about the Bible which really benefit one’s study when one can read the text in its original language.

     How did you first come across the Episcopal Church? What attracted you to this new denomination?

    Throughout my time of discernment, my notions of God, the Church and ministry began to collapse under the weight of my new understandings of scripture.  I began to explore other Christian denominations to help me find a place more hospitable. The Episcopal Church grounded me in history and tradition while welcoming my whole being with all of my doubts and questions; it also gave me a deep sense of belonging. I eventually walked into St. Francis’ Episcopal Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee and immediately felt at home and welcomed.

    Could you tell us a little about your graduate work at Boston College? How has it shaped your spiritual life and your vocation as a youth minister and now director?

    I studied historical theology at Boston College beginning in the fall of 2017. Boston College provided me with an educational context that showed me that deep theological thinking and “on the ground” ministry could be united. Our hearts and heads are not divided into separate things. Boston College helped me integrate my sense of vocational call with my desire for theological investigation in a way that I had never experienced. 

    Do you have further professional goals in academia?

    Professionally, I am applying to pursue a PhD program in clinical depth psychology. Clinical depth psychology addresses the psyche, but it does so in a way that integrates history, theology, spirituality and meaning into a holistic space for healing and wholeness. In the long term, I would like to pursue further work into the intersection of spirituality and psychology.

    What excites you most about this new position, and how would you like to see your ministries develop here?

    I’m really excited to get to know, connect and love the families at the Redeemer. I’m also excited about bringing all of my ministerial, personal, spiritual and academic experience into my ministry. I’m excited to creatively address the many issues of children’s and teens’ ministry and at the same time take part in this strong and well-grounded program. This is my first full ministry leadership position as a director. As such, I am looking forward to developing experiences and spaces where families can truly and deeply connect with one another.

  • April 04, 2021 6:26 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

    The strangeness of hearing this annual call and response from the tinny tininess of a computer's speaker arrests me. Oh, to hear the voices of this parish shouting it with as one! But the difference between this Easter and last! Last year those first weeks of the pandemic cast a pall of fear and strangeness over Easter like none in my lifetime. But, this Easter offers us anticipation and joy because we might just be coming to the end of this unholy pandemic.

    What will the months ahead hold for us? What will our gradual transition back to social normalcy look and feel like? Will normal ever really return? Our faith teaches us that Easter is a sign of Divine triumph. Death, no matter how still, cold or seemingly permanent was broken of its power on Easter Day. We are no longer prisoners of death's bleak thrall. We are raised with Christ to a new life and a new kind of living even if a pandemic should last a thousand years. We Christians have both the right and the responsibility to pattern our lives in whatever new normal reflecting the Easter confidence of Christ himself; living without fear or dread of death's broken power.

    But what lessons will we bring with us? What have we learned over this last year that we should carry with us into this new season. I hope that you experienced Christ's presence amidst this year of suffering. I hope that you saw in suffering not godforsakeness, but I hope you witnessed Christ, the Sufferer, walking with us as both pattern and pioneer. Friends, suffering will find us again, perhaps not on such a universal scale, but it will find us in the days ahead. As Christ is risen indeed, so Christ suffered indeed. And as He suffered and triumphed, I hope we can see in our own suffering Christ the Sufferer and Christ the Risen Conqueror. May He be our model and our hope for whatever we meet in the days ahead.

    Mike+

  • March 25, 2021 4:14 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    We are close now. Just a few more days until we return to the city of Jerusalem. Every year, about this time, we turn our attention to the last and holiest week of Jesus' life spent within and just outside the walls of Jerusalem. The palms are green and ready. The crosses are shrouded in red, and our Lent takes a turn from the preparatory and penitential to the re-creative. We join in the mystery of the retelling of the story of Jesus and his disciples. We travel the palm-paved road to the city. We receive his commandment at the last supper. We hear the confusion and chaos of his betrayal. We see the scourge and the suffering that ends in his unjust death.

    This turning towards Jerusalem allows me the chance to pray into those final earthly days of Jesus. This year, I imagine myself on the road with all of the other pilgrims. Herod's Temple calls us from around the known world from our Diaspora to the Holy City of Jerusalem. I imagine the dry dust-clouded roads filled with other pilgrims and pack animals; these are last pilgrimages and first pilgrimages. I imagine the hardships of what it must have been like to bring my family from Nineveh or even Babylon across the desert and through the wilderness to gather with Jews of every language and many different lands.

    Did Jesus know that it would be his last journey to Jerusalem? The Gospels tell us that he did. And so, I imagine being in his band of disciples eager for the Passover and the liveliness of Jerusalem's teeming crowds. I imagine passing through the gates of ancient limestone with Jesus, purpose-driven but sad. Then as the collect reads, "...not up to joy, but first he suffered pain."

    I invite you to join me in this holy journey to Jerusalem. The Palms and Passion of this coming Sunday, Maundy Thursday's commandment, Good Friday's suffering, Holy Saturday's silence-- each of them their particular re-creation of the dark prelude to Easter's radiant triumph. 

    Mike+

  • February 16, 2021 4:07 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer:

    For the last four years, the Reverend Emily Garcia has brought her creative spirit, passion for justice, and love of children to every part of the Redeemer’s life. And so it is with sadness that we will bid her farewell on Sunday, February 28th. Rev. Garcia has been called to the clergy staff of the Church of Our Redeemer in Lexington, Massachusetts.

    Our parish has a long tradition of calling talented young deacons as curates and seeing them grow and mature as priests. Sam Rodman began his ordained ministry at the Redeemer and now serves as diocesan bishop of North Carolina. Tim Crellin’s remarkable ministry to the South End began here as well. Marc Eames served a faithful curacy and is now rector in Medfield, Massachusetts. I look forward to seeing the path that Emily’s ministry takes as well.

    While the time is short before her departure, I invite you to drop Emily a note or email letting her know how important her ministry has been to you and your family. As a customary thank you, I invite you to make a gift to a purse we will collect for Emily. Please make your checks payable to Church of the Redeemer, and we will make sure they are gathered and given in thanks and best wishes. (Please remember that purse gifts are gifts made to the recipient and not to the parish. Therefore, they are not tax-deductible donations.)

    Emily has continued to build on the fine foundation and tradition of children’s ministry here at the Redeemer. Over the next days and weeks, the Sunday School Committee, the Wardens and the officers of the Vestry will be working hard to seek out Emily’s successor. I hope to have good news on that front very soon.

    For Emily’s ministry among us, I hope you will join me in giving thanks. I include her farewell letter below.

    Faithfully and Fondly,

    Mike+

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Friends,

    It is with a heart both heavy and light that I write to tell you I will be leaving the Redeemer after the first Thursday in March. I will be taking a new role, later that month, as Assistant Rector at Our Redeemer in Lexington, serving under the Rev. Kate Ekrem. My focus there will be the same--on the Christian education and fellowship of children and teens. Many of you know how I feel called to this ministry in particular; there are very few jobs like this in our diocese, so I felt pulled to take advantage of this new chance to learn, especially under such an experienced priest.

    While I look forward to what lies ahead, it would be impossible to leave with a light step--because I love this parish so much, and I am sad to lose you. In the last few months, I’ve been wondering if you know how much I love you all. I’m wondering if sometimes my ways of showing love didn’t quite match up with how this community wanted to receive love. Omar and I chose to be married here because we love you. To be married with our beloved Sunday Schoolers in our procession, to be married in a ceremony designed and led by the wise Suzy Westcott and Michael Murray, to be married with our angelic choir and their incredible gift of leadership and song, and to be married with so many of you praying with us--all of these are eternal gifts to us.

    It’s true that my love has sometimes taken the shape of bringing up difficult topics. This is how my own family shows love--we love each other too much to let things stay unspoken! I know that I have sometimes challenged you, in sermons, in Bible Study, in committees, and in our new conversations about race. And I took these many different risks because I wanted to be able to be myself fully, with integrity, around you--because I love you.

    I know that my leaving in the middle of an already difficult time may feel to some of you like a betrayal, or at the very least a very disappointing choice. Please know that I did not do this lightly, and that Omar and I came to this choice with great care. In preparation for leaving, I’ve spent many hours of my free time compiling all the details, calendars, and materials needed for the person who follows me in directing the children’s and teens’ programs. I will also be working with the Sunday School Committee--a powerful crowd of do-ers and thinkers!--to plan for the interim. This is one of the ways I would like to show you my love as I leave.

    I hope you know that you will remain in my heart and on my mind after I’ve left. You will always be the first place that I was a priest! You will always be the community in which we were married. And you’ll be on my mind because I do think and will continue to think of you individually all the time--what would X feel about this? this story would make Y laugh so hard! I wonder what Z would make of this Bible verse? It has been a privilege to carry you in my heart. I will keep you in my prayers--and if you have a moment to spare for a prayer for me, I would be so grateful for it!

    Yours affectionately,

    Emily+


  • January 08, 2021 2:09 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer:

    The events of the last week have left me disturbed and without words. For two days I have tried to write something cogent, prayerful and hopeful about the events of January 6th. In my anger and frustration I have been unsuccessful. The violence of our fellow citizens against the heart of our democracy is inexcusable and its leaders must be held accountable for the destruction and murder they have perpetrated on our nation in the name of lies and falsehoods. Justice demands it.

    Wednesday marked for the Church the Feast of the Epiphany. It is the season we set aside after Christmas to celebrate the light of Christ shining into the darkness of the Gentiles; salvation for the whole world both Jew and Greek, so wrote St. Paul. The juxtaposition of the darkness of that violent mob and the holy light of Epiphany could not provide more profound evidence of the depth of the call that lies before us to preach peace, seek justice, and live out our call to love God and our neighbor in the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot excuse this violence, and we must confront lies and half-truths from whomever they come with righteous indignation and Gospel truth.

    Below I offer you links from both our bishops here in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. I offer them to you wholeheartedly and prayerfully. Pray for our nation. Pray for our leaders. Pray for the families that have lost those they love. Pray...And may God give us the grace and power to proclaim Christ in all that may come.

    In Christ,

    Mike+

    Bishop Alan Gates and Bishop Gayle Harris issue call to prayer

    Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Condemns 'Coup Attempt'


  • January 05, 2021 2:03 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    Many of us have so much to be grateful for this year. Despite the deepening pandemic, we have roofs over our heads, food on our tables, and gainful employment. The same cannot be said for our neighbors in the Greater Boston area. Every week we hear new stories of food insecurity, rental evictions and layoffs. Making ends meet gets more and more difficult the longer the pandemic continues.

    Thanks to our extraordinary partners in ministry at St. Stephen's in the South End and The Epiphany School in Dorchester, we can meet these needs head-on and in truly meaningful ways. For the 2020 Christmas Offering, we are asking you to consider a gift to support the Redeemer Rent, Utility, and Mortgage Initiative. RUMI will gather funds earmarked explicitly for rental, utility (heat and electricity) and mortgage assistance for families affiliated with our partners in Dorchester and the South End. The Strategic Ministries Committee will work closely with John Finley and Tim Crellin to make sure that families in need get the help they need in a timely and substantive manner.

    We hope you will give generously this Christmas. As our Lord and Savior came into this world and found no room at the inn, let us make room in our hearts to ensure that the homes of our neighbors remain their homes this Christmas season and into 2021.

    In Christ,

    Debby Hunter Mills Aaron Dunn, Strategic Ministries Co-Chairs

    Rev. Mike Dangelo, Rector

  • December 11, 2020 3:10 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Redeemer Faithful:

    It is with great joy and delight that I write to you all today announcing the appointment of Mr. Nigel Potts as the next Director of Music for Church of the Redeemer. During the last months, the Search Committee worked tirelessly and prayerfully discerning among the over eighty applicants who answered our call for resumes and recordings. Nigel's time with us over Zoom and in person demonstrated his outstanding talent as an organist and choirmaster and especially his deep affinities for music's mission at the Redeemer. Coupling these with a proven record of leading significant music programs in both Charleston and New York City as well as his affinity for the English collegiate choral tradition, the committee gave its complete support of my appointment of Nigel as our next Director of Music. The Search Committee joins me in welcoming Nigel, his wife Sarah Rose Taylor, and their two children (Sophie and Jeremy with a new baby due in February!) who will join the Redeemer sometime in mid-April.

    Nigel presently serves as the Canon Organist and Master of Music at Grace Church Cathedral in Charleston, South Carolina where he has served since 2015. There he has overseen the music programs of one of the largest Episcopal parishes in the South-East. Prior to his call to Grace Church Cathedral, Nigel served as Organist and Choirmaster of Christ and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in New York City. There he oversaw the installation of their Schoenstein & Co. pipe organ in 2008. He received his Master of Music (Organ) from Yale University in 2002 and studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, UK during the 1990's. Nigel hails from Wellington, New Zealand. Over the course of the next weeks, you will have a chance to meet Nigel over Zoom and other media.

    I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to Suzy Westcott our Director of Music Search Committee Chair and the members of our committee Barbara Beal, Lucinda Doran, Cranston Gray, John Paollela, Paula Robison, Janet Ross, and Kathy Zinger. We owe them all our thanks and appreciation for almost four months of Sunday night conversations and countless hours of videos and resumes!

    In Joyful Expectation,

    Mike+

  • November 20, 2020 11:48 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    Yesterday, clergy and wardens across the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts received a pastoral message from our bishops with updated pandemic guidance. The bishops offered gratitude to parishes for their work in responding to the deep challenges of this moment. In addition, they provided new guidelines for us including the following:

    "All churches are now urged in the strongest possible terms to suspend in-person, indoor worship.  This expectation is in effect for the foreseeable future, as steps continue to be taken across the country to curtail the dramatic rise of coronavirus infections."

    Though neither Newton nor Brookline have entered the "Red Zone" regarding transmission and infection rates, I am suspending indoor worship for the time being. We have worked so very hard these last months to create the safest indoor worship environment possible going far beyond episcopal guidelines and state mandates. To date we have received no notice from public health officials regarding COVID cases traceable to our outdoor or indoor worship services since regathering in September. However, we will return to our outdoor worship pattern for the 11:30am service beginning this Sunday, November 22, 2020.

    As I have said from the beginning and as you are all now more than well aware, the pandemic presents a fluid situation of ever-changing variables. This means balancing the call to public worship against the pastoral responsibility to keep each other safe. I am saddened to say the least, and the decision was no easy thing. So good Christian friends, bundle up Sunday morning and join us for Morning Prayer in the back parking lot at 11:30am or the Family service at 12:45pm. Please make sure to sign-up for either or both.

    Faithfully and Fondly,

    Mike+

  • November 16, 2020 3:26 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    Ministry takes as many forms as there are baptized members of the Church. Each set of gifts, given by God, serves to fortify the Body of Christ in particular and life-giving ways. Over the last nineteen years, Michael Murray's gifts (many and varied) have blessed and fortified the Redeemer and her people of all ages and walks of life. He has been a minister in so many ways.

    To honor ministry in the midst of a local parish community upon a ministers' departure, a purse is collected of freewill offerings from parishioners to honor and thank the departing minister. To that end, the Vestry has approved the collection of a purse for Michael Murray. These funds will be gathered and given to Michael before his final day with us on December 24, 2020. 

    Gifts to a purse are not tax-deductible gifts given to the church. Instead the church acts as a conduit of these gifts. Checks should be made payable to Church of the Redeemer with "Murray Purse" noted in the memo line. Online gifts through our Text-To-Give system may also be made by texting 73256 on your mobile phone. Enter REDEEMERCH in the message field and follow the link to our online giving portal. Scroll down to "Murray Purse" in the drop-down menu. As mentioned above, these funds will be released to Michael at the end of his tenure. I hope you will offer a token of your thanks and gratitude to Michael for all he has done in Christ's name for the Redeemer.

    In Christ,


    Mike+


  • October 23, 2020 2:34 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    My first video missive! Please forgive the middle-aged man trying to master technology that children have mastered! This vid-pistle welcomes Dr. Sarah Hammond to speak about COVID-19 and the work we have done to prepare the Redeemer for indoor worship. While the interview happened on October 2nd and some things have changed about infection rates and such, I hope Sarah's insights will help you and yours make the best decision about attending the Redeemer!

    For more information on safety measures undertaken at the Redeemer, please read What the Redeemer Has Done to Make Indoor Worship Safer.

    Blessings,

    Mike+

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