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The Rector's Corner

  • May 29, 2020 10:35 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    I've started a small but helpful spiritual discipline over the last weeks that goes something like this: when I go out of the house to the pharmacy, the grocery store, Dumpling House (for the absolutely necessary weekly soup dumpling take-out) or wherever, I try a new exercise of prayer. As I drive I pray for the masked drivers in the other lanes. I pray for the people pushing shopping carts across the socially distanced parking lot. And, I pray for the cashiers and workers as I zip through the aisles.

    What I noticed in my prayer this week was an idea: work is essential for a hopeful soul. What I saw at Home Depot this week were innumerable people, previously sequestered at home, strolling the outdoor aisles of vegetable seedlings and flowering annuals. Their carts were loaded up with new hoses, sprinklers, grass seed and all the other normal implements of spring. But this time there was an intangible something about hitherto banal spring project shopping.

    It was the same inside in the paint aisle and in the lumber section. Little projects of home and garden pushing people out into the world. And as I prayed, I didn't sense burden or obligation. I sensed hopefulness. One doesn't undertake even the simplest of home repairs or projects when one feels hopeless. The very act of repairing something, building something, or even having a gallon of paint mixed carries a certain hopefulness with it; a possible future written in the act. Yes, the work will solve a practical problem, but it will also mean a perfect tomato on a sultry August afternoon, a new baby in that repainted room that's now the nursery, or a cool living room thanks to that new window AC unit that your wife asked you to buy four years ago. Work, in so many forms, is an act of hopefulness especially in this moment of COVID-19.

    Mike +

  • May 14, 2020 1:56 PM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

    For an extrovert like me, social isolation is the worst. There's nothing more energizing that seeing your faces on a Sunday morning as the procession gets underway, as I say the opening acclamation, or as I stand in the pulpit. But these days, standing in the pulpit with empty pew after empty pew and only the lens of the camera looking back at me makes it all a little more difficult. I love doing it for you all, but the experience of it is something like the sound of one hand clapping.

    Then I start thinking about the extraordinary needs that so many have. I read of the unemployment numbers, the rising death toll, and the seemingly insurmountable task of returning to some kind of new "normal" that would at least allow us to grab a bite to eat or have a cup of coffee. The whole weight of it presses down on me, and I ask myself, "Realistically, what can our little Episcopal parish at 379 Hammond Street do to confront these challenging days in a truly meaningful and impactful way?"

    That's about the moment the name Winston Churchill starts buzzing around in my brain. Now, let me be honest, having Winston Churchill whispering in your ear (even metaphorically) is a strange experience. But it makes me think of his speech to the British people and the world on August 20, 1940. That is the date when Churchill gave his extraordinary speech extolling the RAF pilots who battled back the tides of Nazi squadrons assaulting the isle. He offered this line, "Never was so much owed by so many to so few."

    Now this line of course came at a time of existential struggle for Britain, and comparing it to COVID-19 might seem a little disproportionate. But what I am after here is not melodrama...it's purpose. When we look back on these strange days, I do not want us to be known as the parish that perished. I want our friends and neighbors alike to be able to think of the Redeemer with a similar sentiment of gratitude. What did we do to further the reign of God? Everything we could...to the last full measure.


  • April 24, 2020 2:43 PM | Michael Dangelo (Administrator)

    Meeting COVID-19 Head On

    Dear Friends of the Redeemer,

    COVID-19 is challenging us all in extraordinary ways. We cannot visit those we know and love. We cannot go outside without wearing a mask. We cannot gather to pray for the world in the ways we know and need.

    Some of these challenges, let's face it, are inconveniences. For others, however, the economic disruption is catastrophic. Jobs are being lost, rent is going unpaid, and bringing food to the table is proving more and more difficult.

    After extensive conversations with our Strategic Ministries Committee and our partners at St. Stephen's, The Epiphany School and our friends in the Newton Public School system, we believe we have two ways to meet this extraordinary moment, and we need your help.

    The first is food. Whereas in years past FUEL has been able to purchase large quantities of specific foodstuffs, grocery stores and bulk food stores are now limiting the quantities of essential foods FUEL can purchase. Two of this and one of these will not meet the needs of the moment. Below is a list of the items we are asking you to consider adding to your regular grocery shopping, Instacart order, or even an Amazon or Walmart delivery order. Even if you are limited to one or two of an item, if fifty of us order one or two each, we will quickly acquire the food we need to meet our partners' needs. We will provide covered bins outside the parish offices for collection. You may also order some of these things and have them delivered directly to the parish offices. FUEL will continue to use Easter Offering funds to purchase these items every way we can, however, we need the buying power of the whole parish to meet these needs. Your generosity will make all the difference as we will be trying to fill 125 FUEL bags for delivery every Thursday. 


    1 can chicken (12.5oz) or 2 cans of tuna (5oz each) or 1 bag of beans and 1 peanut butter (28oz-40oz)


    2 cans of fruit (15oz each) [pineapple, fruit cocktail, pears, peaches or mandarin oranges] or equivalent in individual serving cups and/or 1 jar of apple sauce (48oz or equivalent in individual cups)


    1 pound pasta [any type], 

    1 bag of rice 

    1 box of macaroni and cheese (6oz each)

    1 box of cereal (20oz)  or cereal bars

    1 box of crackers (10-15oz)


    1 can or bottle of marinara sauce (24-48oz)

    2 cans soup (10-15oz each)

    The second way is through VISA gift cards. St. Stephen's is looking to make fifty $50.00 cards available each week, one per family. These cards will help with incidentals as almost 70% of St. Stephen's families report having an immediate family member out of work. 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 so that we can bring them weekly as a bundle to St. Stephen's along with their FUEL Food Bags.

    Friends, these are extraordinary times, and I believe that God has called this extraordinary parish to meet them with wisdom and compassion. I hope you will help.

    In Hope,


  • April 17, 2020 12:20 PM | Michael Dangelo (Administrator)

    Mike BaldI don't want you to worry. It will grow back. I've done this before but long before I knew anyone from the Redeemer. At first, I thought it was just me. About a week ago I started having these thoughts of taking my old sheers out of the closet and putting them to work. Snip snip and all that.

    After checking in with male friends on Facebook I could see I wasn't alone. One after another sensible if not imperfect home haircuts became flattops which became mohawks which became buzz cuts. It seems that one of the symptoms of cabin fever is doing to one's hair what one has always dreamed of doing. And it wasn't just my male friends. My female friends are trying crazy hair colors and new do's all across Facebook. Maybe we are all looking for a little something we can control in a time when everything is out of our control? Look no further than what we see in the mirror every morning for the particular canvas of choice!

    And there it is...the world is out of our control. We all sit in the not-so-splendid isolation of home school tech support, empty wine boxes (yeah we are down to the boxes now) and the limitless ignorance of "when will this craziness ever end?" If we needed the lesson before, we sure have received it in abundance: the world is not ours to control. We are at the whim of forces that are far greater than us and microscopically smaller. And here we are...stuck looking at the same selves but now with shorter hair, and maybe we are all just a little afraid.

    And so I am reminded of the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of Luke:

    Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.  (Luke 12:6&7)

    Fear is a natural thing. But, for the Christian, the love of God can be deeper than any fear. Jesus himself reassures us of God's love and care for us in our Luke passage. God's sovereign grace is greater than quarantines, tiny viruses and even international economies. We are of exceeding value to God. And, even if we shave off all the hairs on our heads, God still knows how many we have. Thanks be to God!


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Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
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