Category Archives: News

Sept. Events at Rolling Ridge


With Labor Day weekend just days away, schools soon in session, and the calendar flipping to September, summer may be coming to a close, but Rolling Ridge is open and looking forward to a full fall schedule.  With online and onsite opportunities on the calendar, the Ridge seeks to care for your spiritual needs amid the growing uncertainties of the pandemic.

ONLINE, our Divine Friendships series on the Christian contemplative classics continues on Monday, September 13th as we look at the Cloud of Unknowing, an anonymous work of Christian mysticism from the latter half of the 1300s. The book advises that oneness with God cannot be obtained by knowledge and intellect, but by meeting God in the realm of “unknowing”, a simple but intense contemplation in a “cloud of forgetting” and a “dart of longing love” from the heart for God. Intrigued?  We invite you to step into the Unknowing.

Also ONLINE, our Voices and Stories series continues on Wednesday, September 15th as we kick-off National Hispanic Heritage Month and look at the history of this celebration which began as a week in 1966 and expanded to a month in 1988.  We will describe the difference between “Hispanic” and “Latinx”, and will be joined by Walter Mena, Director of the Merrimack Valley Project, who will share about his own immigration story from El Salvador, along with the diversity and immigration issues of the Latinx community in the Merrimack Valley today.

ONSITE, Rolling Ridge is offering three in-person Monday day retreats this month to help us find new spiritual grounding as we make sense of the past year.  Consider adding an overnight package to make it a personal retreat at the Ridge.

We begin our September “Day Together” series on Monday, September 8thSinging and Dancing the Holy, with Stephanie Rutt as we step light to journey deep and embody the sacred mantra practices from across faith traditions. Using simple circle movements, we’ll join together, hand in hand, breath by breath, footstep by footstep to journey to the center of the holy.


On Monday, September 13th, we seek to mindfully emerge from a year of change by Understanding Impermanence with Marie Radzinsky.  Our emotions have been on a roller coaster over the past year and a half.  As we face anger, grief and fear, our thoughts are still trying to catch up.  Using experiential participation and teachings, we will look through the lens of Mindfulness at Relationships we have either lost or have become difficult, through the Landscape of our Earth to see changes and movement always taking place, and within our bodies to witness the change also happening each moment of our life.


Finally, on Monday, September 20th, we invite you to Tune Up Your Spirit with Janet Kessenich by harmonizing your life to be in sync and flow. Through sound healing, self-exploration, group discussion, and musical experiences, you will deepen your connection with your soul and be inspired to live a more insightful, meaningful, and satisfying life, centered in your heart and reflecting your highest meaning and purpose in an emerging post-pandemic world.

With all that we’ve been through, and all that we continue to go through, our spirits are taking a beating.  Take some time this month to recharge, to reset, to renew. 

And don’t forget, our Season of Creation Sunday Vespers begin THIS SUNDAY, September 5th.

More ONLINE and a few ONSITE opportunities are coming in October. With a new Joan Chittister book study, a dream workshop series, a women’s rites of passage program, a generous listening series, and our autumn contemplative rhythms offerings, the Ridge is creating safe and sacred spaces to prepare our souls for whatever the delta variant may bring this next season.  We are in this together.

Through these uncertain times, we continue to be thankful for your prayers and support.  Please consider a September gift to offset our monthly expenses at the Ridge as the growing fears of the pandemic again stretch our financial sustainability.  We appreciate your donation.  Every little bit helps.  Thank you.

660 Great Pond Road, North Andover, MA 01845 978-682-8815

Spiritual Discernment at Rolling Ridge


For some, life after COVID has been like resetting a circuit breaker.  Click a switch and it is back to normal.  For others, the pandemic was a life-shattering game changer surfacing questions of why? Where?  What’s next?  No matter where you may be post-COVID, Rolling Ridge is here to help you discern the way forward with three opportunities to strengthen your spiritual life.

We invite you to join us ONLINE on Tuesday, July 27th for “Who Said That? Understanding Discernment.”  Sometimes it is difficult to hear the voice of the Spirit. Through contemplation, this workshop will help you see, hear and feel ‘signs’ that speak to our inner selves and learn to recognize who is speaking, whether our own ego or the “voice” of God.  If you are struggling with spiritual “hard of hearing,” we encourage you to take an extended lunch and join us for this 2 hour online event.

If you are looking for a more personal deep dive into discernment, we invite you to join us for a three-part ONLINE workshop this fall to consider the questions involved with what we are being called to do and to be.  “Discerning: Responding through our Vital Connections” will meet Thursday evenings, October 7, October 14, and November 4 from 6:30-8:30 pm.   Each session will address one of the vital connections involved that allow us to discern and respond to life’s questions and connect us in our personal discovery.  This series also introduces our “Rolling Ridge way” of living a contemplative life and being present to the Divine gift within and without. It’s all about being present to our connections.

Our connections are rooted in the spiritual life, and as Sister Joan Chittister will address THIS SUNDAY, July 18th, the “Spiritual Life: It’s all about relationships.”  There is still time to register for this LIVE hybrid event from 2:00 to 4:30 pm with optional dinner and fellowship.  A Benedictine sister and one of the most influential religious and social leaders of our time, Sister Joan will be offering a light to guide us through this time of contradictory values and upheavals in every major institution and within the hearts of people.  Join us ONSITE at Rolling Ridge and watch the livestream in community, and enjoy small group discussion, private reflection, and optional dinner afterwards. If you are not able to join us in-person, you are invited to watch the presentation ONLINE at home followed by small group sharing with our online Ridge community. Registration closes Friday at 2pm.

Relationships are so key to help us emerge from the pandemic and discern our call.  We hope that you will connect with Rolling Ridge as we move forward as a community into this emerging post-pandemic future.

Check out our website for other upcoming opportunities to support you in your journey.

660 Great Pond Road, North Andover, MA 01845 978-682-8815

Rolling Ridge events


Last month, Rolling Ridge launched Divine Friendshipsa new monthly series exploring Christian contemplative and devotional classics. This series title draws its inspiration from a quote by the great 16th century Spanish mystic, Teresa of Avila, who described contemplative prayer as “a close sharing between friends”. 

From the Christian perspective, divine friendships manifest themselves in at least three ways. The first is friendship within God expressed in the Holy Trinity. This is the original divine friendship out of which all the others flow. The second is friendship between God and the individual human person. The third is friendship between and among human persons united to each other through the Holy Spirit.

On Monday evening, July 12th, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, we will be exploring The Imitation of Christ, perhaps the most widely read Christian devotional book after the Bible, written by Thomas à Kempis.  A German priest who spent most of his long life in a Dutch monastery copying bibles, Thomas wrote the Imitation anonymously in the early part of the fifteenth century. The first two books counsel humility, self-denial and patient endurance as crucial to the spiritual life. The last two books take the form of an imagined conversation between Christ and the disciple focused on the contrast between the love of Jesus and the love of one’s self.

Never heard of Thomas à Kempis and the Imitation of Christ?  We invite you to join us for an insightful look as to how this Christian contemplative classic can deepen our divine friendships today.

If Thomas is not “your cup of tea”, we invite you to check out some of the other upcoming offerings at the Ridge, which include a look at the musical Hamilton, a Pray and Paddle retreat on Lake Cochichewick, and an evening featuring Sister Joan Chittister at our first in-person onsite hybrid event.

Whether through a Christian classic, a contemporary musical, an outdoor adventure, or an inspiring talk, Rolling Ridge seeks to nurture your spiritual life as you awaken to the divine friendships in you.

660 Great Pond Road, North Andover, MA 01845 978-682-8815

Christmas/Advent special services(zoom)

Christmas Announcements ALL ARE INVITED TO:

1) OUR CHRISTMAS EVE WORSHIP SERVICE of Readings and Carols at 5:00 pm.

2) Christmas Fellowship Gathering on Sunday, December 13 and 20 at 5:00 pm. Come ready to share a Christmas thought, poem or Song.

3) Christmas Week Reflections: Monday, 21st, Tuesday 22nd, and Wednesday 23rd of Christmas Week for 30 min of Reflection, Meditation and Prayer.

For all of the above events please login using the ID and PassCode or the URL below.

Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 890 298 4151; PassCode 332743 or


Update from Haiti Oct 27, 2020

Lilavois School where we help support an afternoon teacher.Haiti oct 27Churches were first to open in Haiti, about 2 weeks before the schools.  Most church buildings are reminiscent of the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs and many people wear masks to attend services. Schools then reopened in August. Political instability in the fall and then pandemic closings in the spring caused a delay in the administration of the national exams.  The required classes just sat for the the 2019-2020 national exams in mid-October and schools are on break until the new academic year begins November 9th.  Lack of widespread electricity and technology did not allow for online learning during the shutdowns.  Even learning by television was impossible.
The school in Lilavois opened in August as well.  Sr. Cadet, the principal, reports that the children were so excited to return to school and see friends and resume studies that the students lined up in perfect rows to sing the national anthem without any direction from the teachers.  It is wonderful to see the activity return to the campus! All schools were allowed to open in August and as parents became more confident of their children’s safety, the enrollment in Lilavois slowly returned to pre-pandemic levels.  The children wear masks when they are in class.  Most of the classrooms are well-ventilated and/or three-sided due to the heat and the lack of electricity for fans or air conditioning.
The classes that take the national exam have been focused on studying and reviewing material from the previous academic year since August, trying to catch up from months of closures due to political demonstrations shutting down the country in the fall, followed by pandemic closings from March until August.  As the schools were allowed to open, but the new year had not officially begun, the Lilavois students dd not need to wear their uniforms to attend class.  PeaceQuilts donated masks they made so that any student without a mask could be supplied with one. Those classes not taking the national exam finished the prior school year before beginning their new classes in September.
Officially, the new academic year will begin in November and the state was not paying teachers for August, so the students attending schools with no instructors began to demonstrate and even ransacked one of Lilavois’ sister schools in Lalue in September, damaging desks and chairs, in order to draw attention to the inequality in their education.  They did not feel they could be as prepared for the national exams as students attending private schools where the teachers were being paid and children had been learning since August.
Sr. Cadet initially combined the afternoon school students with the regular school classes for those who were able to attend since the class sizes were smaller when everyone was not back to school.  The afternoon school will begin again in November with the start of the new school year with the help of the teacher sponsorship given by the Chilmark Community Church.  Sr. Cadet sends her thanks on behalf of the school for your support.
Haiti Oct 27 3Haiti oct 27

M.V. Crop Walk

Please photograph your walk and we’ll post it here!  Collection envelopes are inside the right hand vestibule door at the church.

Walk. Give. Change the world. Join us for the 30th Annual Martha’s Vineyard CROP Hunger Walk-A-Thon, October 1 – 18, 2020! In this time of COVID, the needs of hungry people around the world, in our nation, and on Martha’s Vineyard are so much greater now– the pandemic has threatened the decades-long advances against hunger everywhere.

Sacred Ground: film and dialog on race

The churches on MV are viewing this movie, SACRED GROUND, for island discussions.Below you will find a description of the program. To register, visit:

Sacred Ground is a film (and readings) based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity. The 10-part series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories.

The series is open to all, and specially designed to help white people talk with other white people.  Participants are invited to peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day – all while grounded in our call to faith, hope, and love.

May 27,2020 MV Times letter to editor..Arlene Bodge


The very day I am starting to write this little note, my wife and I were scheduled to fly to the States, ride the bus to Woods Hole, and hopefully catch the last ferry for our yearly six-week visit to the Vineyard. Somehow, this fact has brought us to reminisce about the many experiences there, over 40 years’ worth in my case, a lifetime’s in hers. One has stayed on our minds as particularly meaningful, and as one that paradigmatically defines for us the people of Chilmark. Over the years we have come to appreciate how kind and caring the local society is, and, as a remarkable feature, how lovingly they take care of their elders.

In 1947 my wife’s grandparents bought a property in Chilmark. It included a “quaint little house” (as it is identified in “Martha’s Vineyard — A Short History,” edited by Eleanor Ransom Mayhew) that, to my city-boy’s amazement, had been moved twice before being “deposited” in its beautiful present location, on a little grassy knoll within earshot of Fulling Mill Brook. By the early ’80s, my parents-in-law had taken up full-time residence there. My wife and I, with our two young children, would strive to visit them once a year, usually in December.

Both our daughter and our son had grown particularly fond of spending the Christmas season on the Island. Grandparents’ doting, carols, a beautifully decorated fir tree with tons of colorfully wrapped toys left by Santa under it, and more often than not, snow on which to sled, build snowmen, and have snowball fights were just some of the highlights that did not exist back home, at least not with the same intensity.

My mother, a recent widow, then in her early 80s, had come along with our family of four for the 1990 visit, and was also staying with my in-laws. She spoke no English, but was having a grand time with her extended family. It was not her first visit, and she had already grown very fond of the Island.

In the wee hours of one morning, we heard her talking incoherently in her bed. She was very agitated, and could not generate any meaningful sounds. We immediately called the emergency number, from a rotary-dial phone that is still being used in the house today. In retrospect, it seems that the ambulance arrived even before we hung up the phone. Some of our acquaintances were among the crew, but there was no time for platitudes. They quickly reached the correct diagnosis (diabetic coma), and immediately took the appropriate steps. They saved her life.

She was taken to the M.V. Hospital, where she was in critical condition.

So far this story, while remarkable, is not terribly unusual. EMT volunteers routinely save a lot of lives. What happened next is what lingers in my memory as characteristic and defining of Chilmarkers. The following Sunday, at the proposal of one of the volunteers who had come to the house as part of the ambulance crew, the congregation of the Chilmark Community Church offered a prayer for her recovery, for someone they hardly knew. The following day, Arlene Bodge, Chilmark’s pastor at that time, and some members of her congregation went to the hospital to visit my mother, brought her flowers, and spent quite a while chatting with her — who knows in what language. Also, starting the very same day she was taken to the hospital, several friends, and some other people that we hardly knew, kept coming by the house and calling by telephone, offering to help in any way they could.

For many years, my mother kept coming back to Chilmark with us, and she enjoyed every minute of it.

My mother lived to be 100, and, in spite of some of the usual short-term memory problems of advanced age, she remembered this little story all her life. I still do.


David Vives
Spain (and Chilmark)