Category Archives: News

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.

 

https://www.crophungerwalk.org/marthasvineyard/

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: http://tiny.cc/sacredground-mv2020.

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.

https://episcopalchurch.org/sacred-ground

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)

April 5 ZOOM service

Please join us in zoom worship together.  April 5 was lots of fun..to see each other. The meeting number is 890 298 4151 and this week the password was 332743.   The meeting number will be the same next week, Easter, but we’re not sure about the password. Email us at chilmarkchurch@gmail.com if you need help with zoom.  We hope even more are with us on Easter.

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