Category Archives: News

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

Introducing Rev. Ernest Belisle

Dear Members and Friends of Chilmark Community United Methodist Church, Grace and peace to you and yours, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ whom we worship and serve as members of his Body, the Church! My name is Ernest Belisle. I was appointed to be your new pastor as of July 1, 2019, by the Rev’d. Sudarahana Devadhar, our presiding Bishop. Last Tuesday, March 19, I was taken to meet your Pastor Parish Relationship Committee by our District Superintendent, the Rev’d. Dr. Andrew Foster III. We had a very good meeting! I am a native of the country of Belize (in Central America). Before I entered full time ministry I served as a grade school teacher. I am a graduate of Drew School of Theology in Madison, New Jersey, United Theological Seminary of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, Belize Teachers, Belize City, Belize. I specialized in Christian Education and Church History. My wife Michelle is a preschool teacher. There are seven children and three grandchildren in our family. Our youngest child, Ezra (6 years old), is the only one still at home with us. We enjoy visiting and vacationing with the children, which includes walking on the beaches of Cape Cod and exploring the mountains and valleys of Vermont and New Hampshire. I enjoy music from different ages, places and varieties. I love lively singing and interactive worship and preaching. I am a soccer fan and follow European and North and South American leagues. Michelle loves walking on the beach and Ezra loves model trains and John Deere tractors and farm equipment. I am a people person and enjoy friendships. I have a passion for Evangelism and Outreach Ministries. I have worked in both suburban and inner city ministries. I began full time ministry serving two island and three mainland congregations in a circuit of churches in Bocas del Tore, Panama. I enjoy fellowship with other churches and denominations. From 1995 to 1997, I served and chaired the National Council of Churches in Guyana (South America) that included both Roman Catholics and Pentecostals. While a student at Drew, I served United Methodist churches in East Orange, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York. I have served Methodist churches in the Republic of Panama (1976-1981), Jamaica (1981-1990), Belize (1990-1993, teacher at Wesley College), and Guyana, in South America (1993-2000, District Superintendent). Here in New England, I have served churches in Oxford (2000-2005) and Framingham (2005-2011), Massachusetts and St. Paul’s in Manchester, New Hampshire 2011-2015). I am presently serving our church in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. At the District and Conference levels I served on the Central Massachusetts District Committee on Superintendency (2005 to 2011), co-chaired the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry (2004 to 2012), and was a member of the New Hampshire District Building and Locations Committee (2012- 2015). Presently I am one of the co-chairs of the Rhode Island Southern Massachusetts District Committee on Ministry. Michelle, Ezra and I look forward to meeting and working with you. Grace and peace to you and yours, Very sincerely, Ernest Belisle

Letter from D.S.

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March 6, 2019

My Beloved RISEM Clay (Clergy & Laity),

Greetings to all the faithful people of the RISEM district!

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:3-7)

I purposely withheld from reaching out to each of you as I processed what took place in St. Louis, Missouri at the Special Session of General Conference. I am reminded of the song written by Gordon Light, “Draw the Circle Wide”. This song spoke to me, particularly this line: “Draw the circle wide, draw the circle wide. No one stands alone, we’ll stand side by side.”

I know many of my brothers and sisters in the Lord are hurting and feel the circle has actually not grown wider but has become more narrower. My heart aches for the church, however, I am encouraged by the words of Dr. Charles Albert Tindley, a song in our UM Hymnal #525 – “We’ll Understanding It Better By and By”.

1.            We are tossed and driven
on the restless sea of time;
somber skies and howling tempests
oft succeed a bright sunshine;
in that land of perfect day,
when the mists are rolled away,
we will understand it better by and by.
Refrain:
By and by, when the morning comes,
when the saints of God are gathered home,
we’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome,
for we’ll understand it better by and by.

2.            We are often destitute
of the things that life demands,
want of food and want of shelter,
thirsty hills and barren lands;
we are trusting in the Lord,
and according to God’s word,
we will understand it better by and by.
(Refrain)

3.            Trials dark on every hand,
and we cannot understand
all the ways of God would lead us
to that blessed promised land;
but he guides us with his eye,
and we’ll follow till we die,
for we’ll understand it better by and by.
(Refrain)

4.            Temptations, hidden snares
often take us unawares,
and our hearts are made to bleed
for a thoughtless word or deed;
and we wonder why the test
when we try to do our best,
but we’ll understand it better by and by.
(Refrain)

As we enter the Lenten Journey toward Easter and beyond, I encourage all of us to be the body of Christ, “Resurrected People”, as we covenant with one another to “Do No Harm, Do Good and Stay in Love with God.”

I remain His humble servant-leader,

Rev. Dr. Andrew L. Foster, III.
RISEM District Superintendent

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Letter from Bishop re. General Conference

A message from Bishop Devadhar: General Conference 2019

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Feb. 26, 2019

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with tumult.

Psalm 46:1-3

Dear Beloved in Christ,

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

We have just concluded the special session of the General Conference in St Louis. During this gathering of the global church, we worshiped and prayed together and spent time in Christian conferencing, but much remains unresolved and unknown.

Though the actions of the General Conference are still subject to review by the Judicial Council, we return with a Book of Discipline that moves us further from full inclusion. This is disheartening at best and despairing at worst.

While our call as United Methodists is to do good, do no harm, and stay in love with God … I suspect we have fallen far shorter on the first two than the last. I ask that we spend time in prayerful confession of the ways our church has caused deep pain to beloved children of God, particularly LGBTQIA and their allies. No matter what plan you supported for the way forward, remember that when one part of the body suffers, so do we all – and so now we are all in need of healing.

My prayers continue for our church and for each of you in this covenantal community, for all LGBTQIA children of God and their allies, as well as for those who are listening to our words and watching our actions.

I continue to pray for a day when we can live together in the unified Spirit in a fully inclusive church. I  celebrate the beauty and rich variety of gifts that God has created, and I have faith that God will create, in and through us, a beautiful incarnation of the Body of Christ for the transformation of the whole world.

As you gather with your congregations this Sunday, I pray you will build up one another in love, caring for each other’s needs, and praying for God’s spirit to inspire you to witness to Christ’s love in your communities.

In the next two weeks, your superintendents, in coordination with our delegation to this special session of General Conference, have scheduled opportunities for you to gather for support, prayer, and “Courageous Conversations” with one another as we process the actions – and inactions – of the general church and seek a faithful response. I hope and pray these will be opportunities for us to do good and begin to heal while we stay in love with God and each other.

May our faithful God hold us in strength as we witness to the powerful love of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, for such a time as this.

In Christ’s Love,


Bishop Devadhar


 

Bishop’s Office

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar

Erica Robinson-Johnson Assistant to the Bishop/DCM Phone: (978) 682-7555 ext. 251
erica@neumc.org

Brenda Borchers
Administrative Assistant
Phone: (978) 682-7555 ext. 250
Fax: (978) 682-9555
BishopsOffice@neumc.org

Transformed by the Holy Spirit, united in trust,
we will boldly proclaim Christ to the world.

Upcoming Events in RISEM District

lease mark your calendars.    

UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE RISEM DISTRICT

  1. March 2nd [GIVING[[JESUS]]GENEROSITY] Resource Day at Osterville UMC, Osterville, Ma
  2. March 2nd and March 16th RISEM Lay Academy at Memorial UMC Taunton, Ma
  3. March 7th Courageous Conversation Meeting at Wesley UMC, Lincoln, RI 6:00 pm
  4. March 30th RISEM Clay Workshop on Committee Guidelines at Memorial UMC, Taunton, Ma
  5. May 18th Pre-Conference gathering-East Greenwich UMC 10:00 am – 11:30 am
  6. May 18th Transition Workshop for incoming pastors. East Greenwich UMC 11:30 am-1:00 pm

 

 
Remember to visit the RISEM District WEBSITE for all the latest updates!!! Go to www.neumc.org/risem

 

Steve Garnaas-Holmes at Rolling Ridge..

Has the change of seasons got you down?

Is the turmoil and chaos of our current political environment left you hopeless?

Do you wonder where God is in these uncertain times?

Have you lost your spiritual groove and would you like to get it back?

Join retreat leader Steve Garnaas-Holmes  on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 from 9:30am-3:30pm for this truly special Day Apart Retreat.

Come and be set free to discover hope and encounter the Beloved.

More information