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Redeemer News

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  • May 23, 2022 12:29 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    I write to you this afternoon from a crossroad within my soul. On Saturday night as I was putting the final touches on my Sunday morning sermon, my phone (like yours) alerted me of the murder of ten black Americans at the hands of an angry and young white supremacist. Those murdered people just like us going about their daily routines providing for themselves and their children. Celestine Cheney, grandmother of six, was grocery shopping with her sister. Andre Mackniel was shopping for a birthday cake for his three-year-old son. Hayward Patterson was just waiting in his taxicab to pick up a shopper when he was murdered. This violence was horrific and numbingly predictable. It was that story we continue to hear about a mentally unstable young white man hatefully fueled to violence by racially charged lies and sentiments. And like all of these terrible stories, these murders were preventable. Had this young man's parents, his friends, his relatives, or his systems of education and justice acted in concert on the information they all had, these innocents would have been saved. I could not gather my soul in a way to address it, and I am still at a loss on how we might confront the sick sin of white supremacy that cancerously infects our national soul. What strikes me today is how American Payton Gendron is. Gendron hailed from Conklin, New York, a rural town on the border of New York and Pennsylvania. With a population of just over 5,000 people, Conklin's citizenry represents the kind of majority white small town America that is worlds away from the cosmopolitan and diverse worldviews of our East and West Coast realities. Relegated to the limited and narrowing economic horizons of much of America's hinterland, the positivity and possibility of upward mobility is being dragged down by factors far beyond our control. And, when the optimistic stories of America no longer move someone to hope and possibility, other narratives filled with lies and hateful sentiments begin their pernicious work of radicalizing the young and impressionable. There is no excuse for the murders committed by Payton Gendron, but the seeds of his hate were sown in the soil of isolation, watered by hopelessness, and fertilized with anger, cruelty and hate. These too were all preventable.

    What then can an Episcopal Church and its community of Christians do in light of this great field of thorns growing in our midst? Every piece of our life as the Church stands against the forces that created Payton Gendron. We are a community. Isolation is inimical to us. We are called to gather from across the panoply of the human experience breaking the divisive barriers of economics, ethnicity, education, gender, sexuality, and all of the dividing walls that keep human beings apart. We are agents of the Gospel and its message of hope. We believe that in raising Christ from the dead, God has broken the power of sin and death that drag people into hopelessness. Ours is the most hopeful story that can be told. And, we are called to love. Love is not just avoiding behaviors that are wrong, it is actively seeking out those that are alone and estranged so that they might experience God's abiding love with and through us. Through God's own Gospel story and God's own Gospel love, we can and will starve the seeds of hate planted all around us.

  • February 24, 2022 2:13 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    where there is sadness, joy. 

    O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console,
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive, 
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
    Amen. 

    --A Prayer of St. Francis

    Helpless. That is how I felt this morning when Faye woke me to the news of the invasion of Ukraine. A world away the great American enemy of my childhood, Russia, had once again made war on her neighbors. I thought of my Polish friends who still bear the scars of Russia's "influence." I thought of my distant Czech relatives on my father's side and wondered what they might be thinking. I thought of the men, women and children fleeing their homes in those eastern provinces being swallowed in Russia's reclamation of lands lost in the dissolution of the USSR. And I felt so helpless and in my helplessness I felt anger. But thanks be to God, I was reminded of the prayer that always finds me in my helplessness from the pen of St. Francis of Assisi. "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace..." 

    While I cannot bring peace or a solution to what is happening in Ukraine or Russia, I can be reminded of those things all around me which are in need of peacemaking. Hatred, injury, doubt, despair, darkness and sadness? These were here long before this morning's terrible news. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the God-given grace of my baptism love, pardon, faith, hope, light and joy are God's own weapons to meet them all. These I have in bountiful surplus! I need only pick them up, and so I am not helpless in the least.

    And when we have finally exhausted all these weapons of God towards which St. Francis has beckoned and the Holy Spirit has gifted, I am reminded of Origen's words in Contra Celcus, "He [God] makes Himself known to those who, after doing all that their powers will allow, confess that they need help from Him..." When we have exhausted St. Francis's prayer, have faith, friends, that when we turn to God for help in our helplessness, God will make Godself known. And that, friends, is all we will ever need.

    In Hope, Peacemaking and Prayer,

    Mike+ 


  • January 05, 2022 3:37 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    I saw a funny internet meme a few days before the first of January that went something like this: I was looking forward to 2022 until I realized it's pronounced twenty twenty-too!

    As we are about to enter our third year of the Pandemic, many of us are wondering out loud and often whether we are in for yet another year of divisive political rhetoric, conflicting and confusing public health advice, and long internet posts by high school friends apparently moonlighting as armchair epidemiologists and virologists thanks to extensive internet "research." I know the Pandemic is a serious matter, but when I've feared all I can fear and worried all I can worry, the last thing left to me is the impulse to laugh at it all.

    And then, unbidden, I hear the 96th Psalm ringing in my head:

    1. O SING unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the whole earth.
    2. Sing unto the Lord, and praise his Name: be telling of his salvation from day to day.
    3. Declare his honour unto the heathen: and his wonders unto all people.
    4. For the Lord is great, and cannot worthily be praised: he is more to be feared than all gods.
    5. As for all the gods of the heathen, they are but idols: but it is the Lord that made the heavens.
    6. Glory and worship are before him: power and honour are in his sanctuary.
    7. Ascribe unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people: ascribe unto the Lord worship and power.
    8. Ascribe unto the Lord the honour due unto his Name: bring presents, and come into his courts.
    9. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: let the whole earth stand in awe of him.
    10. Tell it out among the heathen that the Lord is King: and that it is he who hath made the round world so fast that it cannot be moved; and how that he shall judge the people righteously.
    11. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad: let the sea make a noise, and all that therein is.
    12. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord.
    13. For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: and with righteousness to judge the world, and the people with his truth.

    As much as our Pandemic predicament seems like a broken record in need of  constant lament, the Scriptures teach us of God's unparalleled steadfastness worthy of our attention, our proclamation, and a new song. The psalmist tells us that the whole of creation is singing God's praises and that as part of creation, we must join our song to theirs! If we get caught in yet another annual cycle of Pandemic confusion and lament instead of joining the songs of the heavens, the earth, the seas, the fields and the forests, we will miss out on knowing God. Our God's lovingkindness is louder and wiser than the confusion of the myriad would-be-wisdoms vying for our time and attention. This new year deserves a new song and so do we! Thanks be to God.

  • December 17, 2021 9:56 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    As we enter into the fourth week of the Advent season, I can say without hesitation, that this has been the most joyous and wonderful Advent I have ever had. We began with the overwhelming beauty of Advent Lessons and Carols, the remarkable and hopeful Christmas Market and Auction, an early Christmas present in the visit of our friend Bishop Dorsey McConnell, and still with so much more to come! Christmas Lessons and Carols tonight, Advent IV, the Christmas Pageant, Christmas Eve with brass and timpani, and the quiet beauty of Christmas Day all await us. What an extraordinary season the Lord has given!

    And all of this has felt wonderfully normal. Attendance has grown every week as children are vaccinated and boosters are had. Smiling faces of those we haven't seen in almost two years return to enjoy the gift of Christian community, transcendent worship and God's abiding love for the world in the coming of Jesus Christ. It has been a gift.

    But, I would like to offer a word of caution as we travel towards Christmas Eve. COVID-19 is still among us. Even with the gift of vaccines for kids and boosters, the arrival of the Omicron variant means that breakthrough cases are happening along with reinfections. I believe this is a time not for fear but for vigilance. With Christmas Eve coming and the desire of normal within so many of us, crowded worship spaces will be a reality we will soon face. So I offer here some vigilant actions we can take together specifically around Christmas Eve.

    1. If you are sick, please stay home. A sniffle might be just a sniffle, but just in case it isn't, please consider tuning in for the live-streams of our coming liturgies. I have committed the Redeemer to hybrid worship opportunities indefinitely. So if you are feeling under the weather, please stay warm and comfy and tune in on Facebook or YouTube.

    2. Be mask vigilant. Masks are the best protection we have in public indoor places. Please be vigilant with your mask ensuring it covers your nose and mouth before, during and after a service at the Redeemer. It's a small price to pay to be together in the joy of the Christmas season.

    3. Use the whole space. Beginning tonight, we are opening every pew for worshippers. Please make sure to spread out where you can. I know you love your customary seats (I love knowing where you will be from the pulpit!) but if you can, make some space between your family and others just in case.

    4. Bring your coat. Windows and doors will be open throughout the winter even as the HVAC system recirculates the air through our ultraviolet filters. This helps reduce any viral load in the space, but it can get chilly. (I will probably be wearing extra vestments!) So, please bring a coat or a sweater to stay warm.

    This Advent has been an absolute joy, and our Christmas season looks to be even better. Please remain vigilant, get those boosters, wear those masks, and join in the sacred mystery of this most glorious season.

    Warmly, Vigilantly, and Hopeful,

    Mike+

  • November 15, 2021 10:56 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Max has joined the team at Redeemer to assist with the spiritual formation of children and young people. Click here to read his bio.

  • November 09, 2021 1:12 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    We are continuing our discussions on Thursday evenings from 7:30- 9pm. This fall we are reading:

    "The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We can Prosper Together" by Heather McGhee (New York: One World, 2021)

    We welcome all to our discussions.  If you are interested in participating, please please email the Redeemer office.  

  • June 24, 2021 11:40 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Thank you to Oklahoma native, Alex Ewing, for presenting his perspective on the Tulsa Massacre. 


  • May 21, 2021 2:56 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer:

    Spring has arrived! And with this new season of sun and flowers, the pandemic appears to be on the wane. Thanks be to God! For the last 18 months we have lived under a shadow that now seems to be passing over, and our little corner of the world turns to new life and new possibilities.

    Yesterday, our bishops offered a letter to the diocese lifting most of the restrictions of the “Four Stages” document promulgated in March of 2020. Declining cases, fewer deaths and diminishing positivity rates are great news. Rising numbers of vaccinations and the governor’s lifting of restrictions mean that things at the Redeemer are set to change in earnest. Below you will find a comprehensive list of changes and dates for their implementation. Unless a date is stated specifically, the listed change will begin immediately. If you have any questions about this list or matters contained within it, please give me a call or drop me an email. I am thrilled for these welcome changes.

    In Christ,

    Mike+

    Worship

    •           Reservations will no longer be required for attendance. Beginning immediately.
    •           Restroom access will return to pre-COVID practice.
    •           Attendance will be limited to 60% of total capacity.
    •           Masks will be worn indoors for all worshippers, choir and clergy. Outdoor mask wearing is optional.
    •           The choir will be seated within the choir stalls.
    •           Congregational singing is permitted.
    •           Streaming of services will continue indefinitely.
    •          Social distancing between households should be observed when possible.
    •           The offering plates will be available at the baptismal font before and after services. We will not pass the offering plates for the time being.
    •           Physical contact at the Peace is still discouraged.
    •           Reception of communion will take place from the broadstep. Worshippers will be dismissed by rows keeping physical distance as much as possible. The cup will continue to be withheld for the time being. We are investigating other options for the consumption of the wine at communion.
    •           Service Assistant scheduling will resume for Sundays beginning Sunday, September 12, 2021.
    •          All parishioners, volunteers and staff are encouraged to be vaccinated.

    Coffee Hour

    •           Outdoor Coffee Hour consisting of lemonade and cookies will return to the Rectory Garden on Sunday, June 13, 2021.
    •           Indoor Coffee Hour will return to the Parish Hall on Sunday, September 12, 2021.

    Children, Teens and Family Ministries

    •           Outdoor Sunday School for children will be held beginning on June 27th at 9:45am continuing throughout the entire summer.
    •          Two Family Picnic Eucharists and Activity Days will take place at Lars Anderson Park on Sunday, July 25th and Sunday, August 29th from noon until 2pm.
    •           Homecoming Sunday for Children, Teens and Family programming registration will take place on Sunday, September 19th.
    •           Indoor Sunday School will return on Sunday, September 26th. An outdoor and streaming Sunday School option are being considered for the fall.
    •           Nursery care will return on Sunday, September 12th.

    Parish Offices

    •           Beginning on Monday, May 24th the offices will be open for normal business hours (8:30am – 4:30pm).
    •           On June 21st the offices will be open for summer hours (M-Th 9am– 3pm and closed on Fridays.)

    A regular in-person calendar of events, classes, fellowship opportunities and outreach activities will begin on September 12, 2021.


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379 Hammond Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
PHONE:  617-566-7679
FAX:  617-566-6678
OFFICE: 8:30-4:30 pm M-F | SUMMER:  9:00-3:00 pm M-Th
office@redeemerchestnuthill.org

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