Rear wall Sanctuary gets new shingles.

IMG_20200114_103632They were very tired old shingles that came off easily.IMG_20200116_122130IMG_20200116_162328Seth Gauley did the wall around the corner a few years ago and returned to tackle this high wall.IMG_20200118_145826IMG_20200129_160237Shingle by shingle the wall turned gold.IMG_20200207_154637Finished Wednesday practically in the dark.IMG_20200207_154609Thank you, Seth.  The photographs don’t quite capture how high that peak is.

February 2020 Bishop’s message

 

Feb. 1, 2020

Dear Beloved in Christ:

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A few weeks ago, 16 youth and eight adults returned from India, having taken part in the Mission of Peace sponsored by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Youth Ministries.

These annual pilgrimages were born out of the vision cast by the late Bishop C. Dale White.

Two of the participants on the most recent Mission of Peace are from our Conference. I am thankful to all who supported, encouraged, and helped these youth and made this pilgrimage possible for them.

As I read reflections written by the youth and adults on this Mission of Peace to India, one theme stuck out: their experience of “radical hospitality” that was above and beyond what they’ve experienced elsewhere.

We have been talking about the need to practice hospitality in our churches for more than a decade. What did these youth, who are active in our churches, find that made it so new and different from what we’ve been practicing? What is missing in our churches?

I asked my colleagues on the Episcopal Team to read their statements and offer their thoughts. Discerning all our reflections, I realized when our youth talk about their understanding of radical hospitality in the context of their experience in India (where they met leaders and people of all faiths and visited homes and various institutions), they mean something more than welcoming a person into your home or church and feeding them. Radical hospitality for them is about genuinely wanting to be with someone and sharing yourself and your valuable time.

Let me share comments by my colleagues:

These young people experienced a hospitality that they had not experienced before … and so they called it “radical.” I suspect the ordinary treatment of guests that the Indian people were extending came from their tradition and out of true respect for the “other.” No one is a stranger if you recognize the divinity in each one. So, to be welcomed, even on the street by a stranger, with “Namaste,” was overwhelming to kids who have a hard time belonging in the U.S. culture that excludes and forces people to prove their worth.

They experienced hospitality in the form of gifts: roses, plaques, meals, and lots of tea … but what seemed to matter even more was the gift of TIME. Important, busy people, religious leaders, medical professionals, government officials…they stopped what they were doing to give attention, to listen, to share in conversation, to eat and drink, often in their own homes (however humble), to invest in a relationship even if the meeting would only be short-lived.

They were especially moved by those from other faith traditions who took this time and valued and respected them from across differences. They recognized that their needs and comfort were prioritized above the needs and comfort of their hosts. They wondered (and doubted) if such hospitality were possible among our Christian communities of faith in the US. And they witnessed this gift of hospitality shown among the Indian people… care offered to the outcast, the poor, the sick, despite their ability to compensate. Because of the fine facilitation and theological framing of the Mission of Peace, young people are now articulating this gift of radical hospitality as “a reflection of God’s love and grace through the people who show it.”

Among the reflections of the youth was a challenge: “…I challenge everyone here to take this radical hospitality back home and show it to people we know and don’t know in the way it was shown to us here in India. For that is the way shalom and peace is truly found in this world full of hate and greed for if you cannot show hospitality to those around you, how do you expect the world to finally be free of the bondage of hate.”

Another offered, “I can only hope that if a group of foreign high schoolers ever comes to one of our home churches, we’d be able to reflect the radical hospitality we’ve been shown here…”

It is my hope and prayer that as people of God we take time to examine our own understanding of radical hospitality.

These youth challenge us to ask ourselves: When we are volunteering at our church’s soup kitchen, food cupboard, or fund-raising dinner, do we take time to talk and build relationships with those who come through our doors?

I understand time is important. Are we willing to give some of what is so valuable so we can really talk to a stranger and, more importantly, listen to their needs, pains, and concerns?

May God grant us the power, grace, and love to prayerfully reflect on these questions.

In Christ’s love,


Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar


 

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Rolling Ridge Taize

For Christians, Advent and Lent are typically seasons of spiritual preparation.  For years, Rolling Ridge has offered an Advent Quiet Day to prepare hearts for Christmas with a core of regulars who find rest amid the holiday hustle and bustle.  Last year, we offered our first Taizé Lenten Retreat, and were so blessed by the turn-out and the positive feedback we received in preparing spirits for Holy Week and Easter.
With Lent just around the corner (Ash Wednesday is February 26th), we invite you to journey with us to the cross at our second annual Taizé Lenten Retreat from Sunday, March 1st to Monday, March 2nd.  Whether you come for the full overnight retreat, or just for one day, your heart will find that place of quiet as you sit in the stillness, walk in the woods, or read in the glow of the fireplace.  Taizé-style worship will frame the retreat, with Rolling Ridge Director, Lawrence Jay, facilitating the time of reflection and silence, and Danny Smith and Mark Bayer-Larson leading music.
With so much noise going on around us, we encourage you to unplug and find a spiritual place of peace with Christ this lenten season as you journey with us to the cross and prepare for Easter.
  
We also invite you to check out all the Day Apart Retreats we have scheduled this winter and spring.  With over 26 events on the calendar this season, there is bound to be something that calls you to come away from the busyness to find rest for your soul at Rolling Ridge.
Rolling Ridge is awakening hearts to God and transforming communities with love.  Come, connect, and discover the spiritual difference. 

660 Great Pond Rd. North Andover, MA 01845
Phone: (978) 682-8815 Fax: (978) 681-1162 Em

Bishop’s New Year’s Greeting

Jan. 1, 2020

Dear Beloved in Christ:

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The house in which I grew up in India did not have electricity until I was five years old. In fact, many homes in my village did not have electricity until I was in my early teens. A large number of households relied on kerosene lamps to provide light at night.

In those days, I was impressed by the faithfulness of people who went out every day at dusk to light lamps on the posts and then again at dawn to extinguish them. Whole communities and families relied on faithfulness to this task for their wellbeing.

The lamps saved us from the danger of falls and gave direction in the darkness as people walked from place to place. They provided protection from snakes and other creatures for those who walked barefoot. When visitors came to the village at night, they could count on someone accompanying them with a torch. Even strangers were offered this hospitality when they passed through.

When I was 10 years old, I visited a lighthouse. The lighthouse operator pointed out a huge rock in the midst of the sea. He explained that it is difficult for those who navigate the waters at night to see the rocks. His responsibility was to alert sea captains to the danger ahead and to help them navigate safely through those waters. Failure to light the way could result in shipwreck and/or the loss of life.

As we enter a new year, we are reminded that none of us knows what obstacles lie ahead. Our faith reminds us that we are given a light to guide our way.

The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

John’s gospel begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  All things came into being through him … What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:1, 3-5)

The mystery and miracle of the incarnation is this: Jesus, the Word of God, with God from the beginning, was and is manifested as the light of all people.

Yet, God’s Word is not only revealed in Jesus. God’s Word is made manifest through us and all creation. We are at once born of the light, recipients of the light, and bearers of the light. Let us live into this amazing mystery of God!

Gracious God,
who created all things —
thank you for your grace which
has brought us to the dawn
of another year —

We do not know what lies ahead,
but we do know,
you are our Creator;
we are yours,
made to bear the light
by being the light
with Jesus
in the world —

Open us to
the mystery of
your Word made flesh
in your creation,
in Jesus,
in us —

In the name of
God, the Word,
Creator of all things;
Jesus, one with God from the beginning,
Word made flesh;
Spirit, present within and through us,
now and forever.
Amen.

Prema joins me in wishing you and your loved ones a happy and blessed New Year!

In Christ’s love,

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar


 

Bishop’s Advent Message

Dec. 1, 2019

Dear Beloved in Christ:

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Someone I met in Hawaii recently shared that local drivers generally do not honk. If someone honks, they assume it is a tourist. Hawaiians do not rush; they are polite to other drivers and allow the motorist in front of them to take his or her own time.

This description of Hawaiian drivers reminded me of a conversation I had with a church leader about the way we move through Advent. In essence, he said, we rush through Advent — going from one party to another, racing to finish Christmas shopping, hurrying to put up a Christmas tree, scrambling to mail Christmas cards, stressing over preparing food for family and guests. After all these rushed preparations, we greet this joyous and important day with low spirits and fatigued bodies.

I thought further about the contrast between these two ways of navigating through life in general and Advent in particular.

Our commercialized celebrations cause us to honk our way through Advent; to act like tourists rather than residents of God’s realm — pushing our way through crowds, hurrying the motorist in front of us, rushing to be fully prepared by Christmas Day.

Sadly, and ironically, it is precisely our rushing and honking our way through our preparations for Christmas that cause us to miss it! We miss the arrival of the Christ, who has already come again in the people in front of us.

My prayer this Advent is that we cease our anxious honking and wait with anticipation – “Prepare Him come” with open hearts and see Christ where he is – here and now – in the great gift that has already arrived: It is the motorist in front of us, those around our table, and everyone we meet.

In Christ’s love,

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar

 

ADVENT PRAYER

 

Loving God made flesh —

as we rush through the days of Advent

busy about many things –

our minds full,

our hearts racing,

our bodies weary,

from the mad pursuit to prepare for Christmas,

 

slow us down

wake us up

open our eyes

to see you right here, right now

in front of us

 

in the lines of traffic

we want to rush past

 

in the preparations

we want to finish

 

in the people we want

to move out of our way

 

in order to meet you —

who has already come

to this place,

to this moment

right here

right now –

Love made flesh, dwelling among us.

 

We pray through Christ

who lives and reigns

with you

and the Holy Spirit.

Amen

 

November 26 Italian Night

Tom Ruimerman once more produced the grand finale to the Pizza Night season. (People always look awkward eating..my apologies)..but there were 4 tables of  happy eaters.DSCF0421November 26 BNovember 26 AMany thanks to Julie Flanders for fetching pizza from Rocco’s in her nifty red insulated bag for the past many Tuesdays.

Onward to 5:30 pm Tuesday “Community Suppers”.  From soup to Leg of Lamb…

(stay tuned)

The Widow and the bad Judge 10/20/19

Today’s reading from the Holy Scriptures tells of the unjust Judge. As the Parable goes there was a judge who answered only to himself, couldn’t give a rip about spiritual things and worst still did not care one hoot about or for the poor widow. Mosaic Law prescribed that the husband’s immediate family and the community of faith were primarily responsible for widows. This notion would not have been lost on Jesus’ audience that she had no one – family or faith community. The point is there was only one person on earth who could help her — the judge. The parable suggests that if even this notorious unjust Judge ended up giving the woman justice how much more would God the merciful do for those who keep asking. Remember that our God is God even of the unjust Judge and God can change the minds and attitudes of the unjust in our world.

The widow knew that this Judge was her only earthly hope, so she prattled on and on, daily waiting for the judge to arrive at his office in the morning, daily being the last face he saw as he left for his comfortable home in the evening. Her persistence in prayerfully dealing with the unjust Judge won in the end, he gave her justice. The point Jesus made was, “we must prayerfully persevere in dealing with the ungodly world and in the end we will come to know God’s justice.”

What a powerful word this is for us in a society that wants everything to come our way easily. At the first inkling of things not going our way we throw in the towel. We do not want to hear any other view but our own. We lock ourselves in silos and thus there is no cross fertilizing of ideas and actions, no holy conversations and God directed comprises. The result is that we grow progressively impoverished in character and spirituality. This is how it is in politics and this is how it is in the many church. The parable speaks loudly to us, it is time to prayerfully persevere.

Faith, patience, hope and openness be yours!

Ernest Belisle (Pastor)

Sept.22,2019 Parable of the Shrewd Manager

This introduction to the worship service gives a broad outline of the sermon themes.

Chilmark Community Church

9 Menemsha Crossroad, Chilmark, MA

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Service of Praise & Thanksgiving

Rev. Ernest Belisle, Pastor

Thought for the week:

“We live in a cheating culture, one that encourages us to focus on earthly wealth, short-term profits and worldly commissions.” What about you?

(Homiletics 9-19-04) 2

A Special WELCOME to

Chilmark Community Church!

We trust that you will be inspired by this morning’s worship service and pray that it will bring you some amount of spiritual renewal. Today’s Lectionary Reading (St. Luke 16), “the parable of the shrewd manager” (vv. 1-8a) is associated with present material wealth and future relationships (vv. 10-13).

Was the manager dishonest? At first glance it sounds like he was a card-carrying member of the cheating culture – he was charged with squandering his master’s property, and was given his marching orders – “You’re fired!”

“What will I do,” the so call shady manager asked himself, “now that my master is firing me?” He came up with a plan. In order to guarantee that he would have a safe place to land after his present job, he summoned the master’s debtors and gave them some wonderfully deep discounts. To one who owed 100 jugs of oil, he said “make that just 50.” To the other who owed 100 containers of wheat, he said, “You’re in luck – your bill is now 80!” The whole thing sounds pretty unethical and it seems as if he were running the risk of being thrown in the slammer for stealing. But the master’s reaction sounds rather odd. The master “commended the dishonest manager because he acted shrewdly,” which is an unlikely response from a man who has just lost fifty jugs of olive oil and twenty containers of wheat. The Liars’ Club

The parable teaches that the shrewd manager (steward) was willing to sacrifice short-term earnings for long-term security. Many Bible scholars believe that the manager was simply cutting out his own commission. The hundred jugs of olive oil could be broken down into fifty for the master, and fifty for the manager. 3

That explains why the master (God) was not angry. The manager was simply eliminating his own commission, knowing that he would benefit long-term from having a place to stay once he was out of work. At this level the parable is about “make friends for the future”(Luke 16:9). Its focus is on preparing for the next life after the present which was swiftly coming to an end. It is more about securing heavenly riches than about enjoying earthly gain.

May God bless you richly as we worship together!

Pastor Ernest

August 23, 2019 Union Chapel

Union Chapel 1Many familiar faces at the reading of the new script of 1854 (no longer an opera).  Front and center was Pastor Ernest Belisle as Frederick Douglas.  The Slave Song Choir with Chilmark members Corrie Stone and Lorna Andrade.  Lorna also was instrumental in the entire production.  Claire Ganz played a child.  Phil Dietterick accompanied the choir and played a great introduction on the organ.  Joe Keinan ( a sailor) and Kate Taylor (a women’s suffragette) each sang an unaccompanied solo.

D.S. Foster July greeting

Subject: Interesting quote from “God Moments: A Year in the Word”
Greetings! – I’m reading “God Moments: A Year in the Word” by The writers of Encouraging.com and wanted to share this quote with you.
“July 1 Who is the Boss of You? There is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.—1 Corinthians 8:6b

I have a nephew named Austin. He has always seemed like a little man instead of a little boy. His mannerisms are far more adult than childlike. Of twelve grandchildren in our family, Austin is the tenth. When we gathered as a family, the girls made great babysitters as the adults visited and prepared food. Later, the older boys began to also look after the younger ones. Out of the twelve grandchildren, nine of them were older than Austin and had at one time or another tried to exercise some authority over him. One day he came into the kitchen with a very disgruntled look on his face and announced to his mother and aunts, “I’m tired of everybody being the boss of me.” We all looked at him as he pointed to his chest with his forefinger and said, “I want to be the boss of me!” This makes for a fun story, but isn’t it a picture of how we can be as Christians sometimes? We accept Jesus as Savior. We say we want Him to be Lord of our lives. But so often we don’t let Him be Lord. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). It’s not a popular line of thinking today, nor very politically correct, to submit to authority of any kind. The concept of independence, doing your own thing, coloring outside the lines, seems to have taken over. But scripture teaches that it is good and necessary to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ. It brings order and protection. Most of all, it brings God’s richest blessings. Who is in control of your life…your work…your schedule…your priorities…your family…your decisions? Who is the boss of you?”
Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/8xWBiTz
Blessings upon your day!