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The Rector's Corner

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  • November 13, 2023 9:43 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    The toolbox, a mere namesake in our household, represented something quintessentially Dad – an embodiment of good intentions without the handiness to match. His approach to fixing things leaned heavily on the expertise of neighbors, handymen, or virtually anyone else. Painting? Perhaps that was within his realm, to an extent. But actual repairs, constructions, or the artful employment of tools as our Homo sapiens ancestors intended? That was a different story altogether. Yet, there it was – a toolbox in the fullest sense of the word.

    From what lingers in my memory, the toolbox was a sturdy steel Craftsman construction, its heavy lid secured by two simple clasps. Inside, a liftable tray revealed a deeper compartment, a sort of childhood cavern where myriad objects found their home. It functioned, for all practical purposes, as a portable junk drawer. Filled with spare screws, odd pipe fittings – eleven little copper elbows, with the twelfth now a permanent fixture under the kitchen sink – along with an assortment of twist ties and fasteners. However, the toolbox's real surprise lay in its sparse inventory: just two tools and both hammers. A hefty carpenter’s framing hammer and a rubber mallet. The rubber mallet's purpose remained a mystery, but the framing hammer, oh, it had its moments – a quick fix here, whack there, or a forceful adjustment to the immovable this or that.

    This very toolbox, sparse as it was, likely sparked my own tool-fixation, a drive to be at least modestly handy. Sifting through Dad’s toolbox, recognizing its ineffectiveness, was a moment of awakening. Over the past thirty years, I’ve amassed an eclectic collection in my own toolbox – planes, rabbet and block, a spokeshave, cabinet scrapers, and not one, but three distinct hammers. My toolbox is a testament to preparedness, equipped for frequent troubles and even those unlikely to ever materialize.

    Reflecting on Dad’s humble toolbox has led me to introspect about my Christian faith. I possess a broader toolset than many a believer – Greek and Hebrew, an expansive knowledge of historical periods and geographies, an understanding of theological nuances and church protocols. My spiritual toolbox is brimming. Yet, in the light of Dad’s simple, almost barren toolbox, I can’t help but question: is more really better?

    In confronting life’s vast and varied challenges, from domestic upheavals to global crises, I often reach for my metaphorical toolbox. I ponder over the countless parish tempests in the proverbial teapots. Perhaps Dad’s philosophy, albeit with a different set of tools, holds a profound truth. What if, in the grand scheme of things, love is the only tool that truly matters? When one approach fails, perhaps all we need to do is reach back into that toolbox for another iteration of the same powerful, yet simple tool. Amidst all the complexities and strategies, the Christian toolbox might just need two tools, both fundamentally the same. When one seems inadequate, we simply try the other – a continuous cycle of reaching in, grasping, and beginning anew and always with love in hand.


  • September 08, 2023 1:40 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    As you pass the vintage photograph on your way to the choir room, you are walking in the footsteps of a legacy that spans generations. Beginning with a men and boys choir at the turn of the 20th century, the baton has been passed through an illustrious array of faithful contributors. There was Craig, a teacher from the Chestnut Hill School who infused pedagogical grace; Cindy Johnson, whose keyboard artistry lifted spirits; the choral enthusiasm of Mary Reynders; Michael Murray's reinvigoration of the choristers program in 2016; and most recently, the effervescent John Meyer Spressert, who brought a blaze of youthful energy with his guitar. At Redeemer, music and youth have long been interwoven in a vibrant tapestry, each thread adding a unique hue to our community's spiritual fabric.

    In the Anglican tradition, music isn't merely an aesthetic pleasure; it's a form of spiritual language. I would argue that the Book of Common Prayer 1979 and the Hymnal 1982 are not simply books but the reverberating heartbeats of the Episcopal Church. These texts bestow words of solace, acknowledgment of our human frailty, and our hope-filled joy, while also framing our Christian journey with hymns and anthems that resonate through time.

    In my last letter, I announced the arrival of a Children’s Homily as part of our Sunday service—an endeavor that excites and, to be candid, terrifies me. But innovation doesn't stop there. We’re charting a refreshed course for music in Sunday School, thanks to Sarah Taylor (spouse of Nigel Potts). Every Sunday, towards the end of the Godly Play and Apostles classes, Sarah will shepherd our youngest from their Sunday School classes into the Children’s Chapel for a 15-minute musical journey. It will be fun, but it’s also intended to be a joyful exploration of our deeply rooted musical canon.

    Many of our senior members speak eloquently about the spiritual depth hymns add to their lives, having absorbed them in school chapels long ago. As many schools have unmoored themselves from their respective religious traditions to steer more secular courses, local parishes are the last places remaining for children to recite the prayers and sing the songs of our faith.  If we don't acquaint our children with this sacred repertoire, are we not creating a chasm between the spiritual wisdom of our tradition and the souls of the next generation?

    My ambition is to sow seeds of our hymnal heritage into the fertile ground of our children’s spirituality. And, as I am wont to believe and say more often these last years, "Faithful experiments are indeed good for the soul!"

    In Christ,


  • August 29, 2023 1:16 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    For those like me, raised in an atmosphere of fervent Christianity, the word "Jesus" is not so much a name as it is an ever-present companion, shaping the contours of life in both obvious and nuanced ways. My boyhood home was a fortress of religious piety, the kind that would send tremors of alarm through the editorial halls of The New York Times or The Boston Globe. Mention it to Twitter's legions of secular warriors, and watch how quickly you are pigeonholed into dated archetypes of religious dogmatism.

    We were the epitome of Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting attendees: resolute in our creationist convictions, disdainful of premarital affairs, and fervently expressive about our personal conversions. The Jesus of my youth was a vigilant moral sentinel, inscribed into every facet of daily life, ensuring that we continually evaluated our ethical decisions lest we stray too far.

    However, it was not until my college years and my sojourn into Episcopalianism that I discovered a different theological landscape, one that swapped the restricting moral gauntlet for an expansive meadow of divine affection. I encountered, within the pages of the Hymnal 1982 and the Book of Common Prayer, a deity whose affinity for humanity was not predicated on moral rigor, but flourished in the expansiveness of unconditional love. The God I met was less a surveillance state and more a boundlessly benevolent parent, reveling in the joys and follies of His earthly children.

    This revelation comes at a fortuitous time as we approach the commencement of the Episcopal program year—a season of renewed devotion and community that, though time-consuming, offers something uniquely invaluable. My assertion is simple, yet profound: The Church is the lone institution in your life that seeks to reveal God's boundless love to you in a deeply personal way. Yes, the cacophony of life's responsibilities is loud, and the demands on our time are ever increasing. Yet here, in this sacred community, you will find the grounding for all other aspects of your life.

    More than that, the Church could be the sanctuary that encourages you to discard what is toxic to your soul. And there, you'll find a different Jesus, not one of moralistic scrutiny or antiquated scientific beliefs, but one with arms outstretched and eyes beaming with love. He invites you in only to propel you back into the world—a world that stands in desperate need of individuals who are renewed, reconciled, and steeped in the boundless grace of God.

    In this transformative journey from zeal to grace, I am reminded that the resonance of a name can evolve, reflecting the mutable landscape of our beliefs and experiences. Yet the name "Jesus" remains, not as an overseer of a moral fiefdom, but as a symbol of eternal, undiscriminating love.

  • June 07, 2023 10:51 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    In the heart of my backyard, nestled between the grandeur of a towering maple and the vibrant hues of a blooming hydrangea, sits a gift Faye gave me for Christmas last year. It's a rocking camp chair called the Nemo Stargaze. It is simply the most comfortable chair in the world; something between a hammock and a camp chair. That chair is an invitation to rest, to slow down, to embrace the sweet lullaby of a summer's breeze. The chair, in all its humble simplicity, symbolizes for me the concept of a summer sabbath. Yet, while it whispers of restful solitude, it also reminds me of the value of community and worship, and therein lies the paradox of the Christian sabbath.

    Summer, in all its glory, tempts us to eschew routine, to embrace a life less bound by the constant ticking of the clock. It invites us to cherish sunlit mornings and languid afternoons, to find joy in life's simple pleasures – a ripe watermelon, children's laughter echoing through the neighborhood, the soothing rhythm of the ocean waves. This is the spirit of the summer sabbath; a time to rest, renew and reconnect with the divine rhythm of life.

    But, just as a tree needs both sunlight and water to thrive, our sabbath time requires a balance of solitude and communal worship. Picture, if you will, our summer sabbath as a garden, fertile and waiting to be filled. Private reflection and rest are the seeds we sow, but public worship, the gathering of our Christian community, is the rain that nourishes those seeds, encouraging them to sprout and flourish.

    Public worship is not merely an obligation to check off our spiritual to-do list. It's a vital lifeline, a time for us to come together as a parish community, to learn, to share, to uplift one another. It's where we sing our praises, voice our doubts, share our joys, and carry each other's burdens. It's in these shared moments that our understanding of God's love deepens, and we find the strength to carry this love out into the world.

    As the summer unfolds, think of the church not as a place of duty, but as a sanctuary in the midst of life's hustle and bustle. It's a place to refuel, to be reminded of God's grace, and to reignite our spiritual fervor. And just as we need the Sabbath for rest, we need the church for renewal and reconnection.

    This summer, I implore you to weave worship into your summer sabbath tapestry. Let the hymns fill your soul, let the words of scripture inspire you, let the sense of community uplift you. As we gather together in worship, we not only deepen our own faith but also help to nurture the faith of those around us.

    The Stargaze camp chair in my backyard is inviting, but so too are the doors of our church. As you find time to rest and rejuvenate this summer, remember the importance of communal worship. The sabbath is a dance of both solitude and togetherness, and it's in that balance that we truly begin to embody the rhythm of God's grace.

    You and I were created to both enjoy rest and engage in worship. Don't allow the allure of the summer sabbath to overshadow the power and purpose of shared worship. Both are critical ingredients in the recipe for a nourished and fruitful spiritual life. So, this summer, rest in your hammock but also rejoice in your church. Embrace the joy of both the silent whisper of a summer breeze and the harmonious hymn of a worshiping community.

    Rev. Mike Dangelo +

  • February 08, 2023 9:07 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    What an update I have for you all this morning! As of today, A Time to Build... has received over $467,000.00 in pledges! Amazing! What a joy and answer to prayer.

    We also learned last week that the Norfolk Street Project of Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston (our particular project if you will) goes before the Zoning Board for final approval this week! Please keep the HHGB team in your prayers. After zoning approval comes the Building Permit phase which could take up to twelve weeks, but after zoning approval, the runway is clear!

    Habitat has also helped us look ahead for build dates a little farther into the future. We now have four dates for the next four months: Friday, February 24th, Saturday, March 4th, Friday, April 21st, and Saturday, May 13th.  Signups are available now for February 24th and March 4th!

    As I will be on a family trip to see my mother on February 24th, I am hoping to find a team point person for that day. Not a lot of heavy lifting save giving the team a gathering point at the Church and coordinating rides. Easy peasy leadership opportunity!

    Once again, thank you for making this amazing project a possibility. There is a lot more to come on including children in this work. Also, we will have more information soon on Epiphany-Redeemer projects in particular. Below you will find the sign up information for theFeb 24th and March 4th dates. So excited and blessed!

    In, Christ,


    We've reserved the following dates for you all - February 24, March 4, April 21, and May 13. Your February and March dates are available for sign-up on Volunteer Hub. Below are the Build Day details. We are excited to continue this partnership and have you all on build site again soon!

    We still utilize Volunteer Hub to register all volunteers onsite, the link includes all necessary information including site location, construction staff contact info, waivers, etc. Your Volunteer Hub link is listed below and should be distributed to your organization for anyone who wants to participate in the build. Registration closes 48 hours before a build day. All volunteers must register on Volunteer Hub no later than 48 hours before your Build Day, we are unable to extend the registration period. Anyone not registered on Volunteer Hub cannot participate in the Build Day.

    Date: February 24 & March 4

    Time: 8:30 am-3:00 pm with a lunch break at 12pm. Clean-up begins at 2:30 pm.

    Site Locations: 725 Parker Street Boston MA 02120

    Online Volunteer Sign-Up

    Online Volunteer Sign-Up Deadline 1st Build Day: February 22 

    Online Volunteer Sign-Up Deadline 2nd Build Day: March 2

    Day-of Contact: Cathy Kurczak, Construction Site Supervisor (617) 515-2883


    • Dress in clothing that can get dirty and wear sneakers or work boots.
    • Food and drink for the day, including lunch, snacks, and plenty of your beverage of choice. Water will be offered. No fridge is available. Lunch is not provided.

    • Wearing a mask is encouraged by all volunteers.

    • Printed waiver only for 16/17-year-old participants via Volunteer Hub. All volunteers must be at least 16 years old to participate in a Build Day.

    Every volunteer arriving at the build site must be registered on our online volunteer platform (VolunteerHub). I also encourage you to read Frequently Asked Questions on our website.

    Please feel free to contact me via email at with any additional questions related to your BuildDay(s).In the case of inclement weather, please contact the Day-of Contact, Cathy (contact info above), before arriving on site. We look forward to seeing you on site!

  • May 23, 2022 12:37 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    From Rev. Mike Dangelo--

    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.

    From the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

    “Christ has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” ~ Ephesians 2:14

    Last Sunday’s reading from Acts explored ways in which Jesus’ followers came to understand that – in his teachings and in his salvific death and resurrection – Jesus was breaking down dividing walls of hostility and alienation. We do not need to tell you that this mission is not completed, that dividing walls endure, that distinctions are still bitter and deadly. We remain in the midst of our deep national reckoning with the dividing wall of racism, which is stubborn, systemic, and sinful. The weekend massacre in Buffalo displays yet again that toxic intersection of simmering racism, online indoctrination into white supremacist philosophies, and appallingly simple access to lethal weapons. 

    “The loss of any human life is tragic, but there was deep racial hatred driving this shooting, and we have got to turn from the deadly path our nation has walked for much too long,” said our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, in his May 16 pastoral statement. He called on us “to uphold and protect the dignity of every human child of God, and to actively uproot the white supremacy and racism deep in the heart of our shared life.” Likewise, Bishop Sean Rowe of the Diocese of Western New York – which includes Buffalo – urged prayer, “not as a substitute for taking action, but to prepare to do so. In the coming weeks, we will need to gather our resolve and raise our voices again against racism and hatred, and commit ourselves to freeing our nation from this epidemic of gun violence.” (Read Bishop Rowe's statements here and here.)

    All around us old dividing walls are being shored up and new dividing walls constructed with bigotry, vitriol, and a righteous furor. May God grant us courage and strength to resist, refuse, and combat these sinful separations.

    The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates
    The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris

    From the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

    My heart is heavy with the news that a white supremacist gunman took the lives of 10 children of God in Buffalo on Saturday. I grew up walking distance from the scene of this hateful crime, and my friends and I used to ride our bikes around the neighborhood.  Buffalo’s Black community raised and formed me. I grieve with the city and people I love.

    The loss of any human life is tragic, but there was deep racial hatred driving this shooting, and we have got to turn from the deadly path our nation has walked for much too long. Bigotry-based violence—any bigotry at all—against our siblings who are people of color, Jewish, Sikh, Asian, trans, or any other group, is fundamentally wrong. As baptized followers of Jesus of Nazareth, we are called to uphold and protect the dignity of every human child of God, and to actively uproot the white supremacy and racism deep in the heart of our shared life.

    Please join me in prayer for the shattered families in Buffalo. Please also join me in expressing profound gratitude for the intervention by Buffalo police that likely saved many other lives. Even amid tragedy, even when manifestations of evil threaten to overwhelm, let us hold fast to the good.  It is the only way that leads to life.

    The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry

  • February 24, 2022 2:15 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Here is a video of Rev. Mike's 2021 Annual Report to the Parish, click here. 

    Click here for the 2021 Annual Report. 

  • May 21, 2021 3:32 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,



    •           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.

  • February 08, 2021 11:06 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    Dear Redeemer Faithful:

    Historically, our annual meeting has been a wonderful opportunity to gather in faithful fellowship to celebrate a year of ministry gone by. This year, thanks to the pandemic, we altered our plans for this wonderful annual celebration. To comply with both our legal obligations and canonical ones, here's how things  looked:

    1. Annual Meeting was held on Sunday, February 7th beginning at 11:30am. There was be no outdoor service that day.

    2. The Annual Meeting was held online via Zoom, creating a more manageable online environment with which to hold this important event. 

    3. In Person attendance was limited to myself and the officers of the vestry only.

    4. This year we voted by our first ever annual meeting proxy.  WE NEEDED AT LEAST 25 PROXIES TO HAVE QUORUM FOR THE MEETING.

    5. Reports were made available before the meeting. In addition, video reports were also made available by committees willing and ready to create them!

    Thank you wonderful Redeemerites for being so adaptable to these strange and difficult times.

    Fondly and Faithfully,


  • November 16, 2020 3:25 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,


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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

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