Immigration and the Church

The current discussion of U.S. policy on immigration raises issues of justice and values in the church and society. In response, Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris are convening a special event for education and strategizing about the church’s response and responsibility in ministry with immigrants.

“Immigration and The Church 101: The Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land” will be held on Sunday, March 26, 4-8 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston. Guest speakers will share expertise in legal and other aspects of the issues at hand.

All clergy and lay leaders in the congregations of the diocese are invited to participate.

Refreshments will be served. To ensure that there will be enough food, seats and materials for everyone, RSVP by March 22 to Marsha Searle at msearle@diomass.org or 617-482-4826, ext. 445.

A Question for Lent – March 5, 2017

A Sermon for St. John’s Episcopal Church
Charlestown, Massachusetts
March 5, 2017
by the Rev. Thomas N. Mousin

Matthew 4:1-11

Just who do you think you are? That is a question we often ask of another when her or she is getting too big for their britches, or acting out of turn, or trying to make us do something we do not want to do. Just who do you think you are?

Of course, tone and inflection has a lot to do with what we mean by that question. I could ask it in another way, with a different inflection: Just who do you think you are? Asked that way, it becomes not an accusation or question made in anger, but instead an inquiry, an invitation to the one being asked to consider his or her identity.

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Capital Campaign: See God’s Beauty

Dear Friends,

When our vestry adopted a new mission statement last September, one of the primary statements that emerged was a call to “See God’s Beauty.” That statement emerged in part from conversations about the legacy of beautiful and historic structures that we have inherited from those who have come before us. On many occasions, a newcomer or visitor will comment to me about the spacious inviting beauty of our sanctuary, or of the quiet serenity of our garden. Yes, our buildings are beautiful.

God’s beauty shines through more than our stained glass windows, however. The vestry was also well aware that we behold God’s beauty in many other ways: we see it in a family gathered around the baptismal font as we welcome a new member into the Body of Christ,  in a 12 step recovery community gathered to support one another each week in the Parish Hall, or in our young children learning about the “ten best ways” to live in Godly Play – these are all windows as well in which and through which we behold the beauty of all that God has made.

Our new capital campaign, with a goal of $175,000 is designed to enable our parish to preserve and improve our church and parish house so that they will be places that help us to carry out God’s mission in the years to come.

I hope you will join us for one of our two remaining receptions: Wednesday, March 15 at 4 pm or at 7 pm. There you will learn more about our plans for improvements, and how you can participate. It will also provide you with an opportunity to have your questions answered and to share your thoughts. Each reception will be about an hour in length.

Together, we can do more than see – we can also help to create the spaces and community where people will continue to hear the Spirit, see God’s beauty, and act in love.

Faithfully,

Tom

 

Beholding Glory – February 26, 2017

A Sermon for St. John’s Episcopal Church Charlestown, Massachusetts
Preached on February 26, 2017
The Last Sunday after the Epiphany
by the Rev. Thomas N. Mousin

Exodus 24:12-18 Matthew 17:1-9

This week, with the gift of some extra time, I beheld Glory. I was not on Mount Sinai with Moses, where the glory of the Lord appeared like a devouring fire. Nor was I with Peter, James, and John, when Jesus was transfigured before them and his face shone like the sun. Rather, I was in the small town of Gilead, Iowa, the location of three novels by the author Marilynne Robinson. Continue reading

A Lenten Offering for Syrian Refugees

Thank you to all who contributed clothing and stuffed toys at Christmas, which St. JOhn’s Church in Beverly Farms is transporting to Syria. Their parish has invited churches throughout the diocese to support Nuday refugee camps in Syria for those who have been displaced by the civil war there.

A fourth cargo container will be shipped to Syria, and the following donations are welcome:

-Book Bags for children
-School supplies, such as pencils, markers, and notebooks
-Yarn,  Fabric and Art Supplies: the women in the camp have expressed interest in making clothes, sweaters, and art projects with children

We will have a basket at church to collect supplies each Sunday throughout Lent. Consider these donations a “giving of alms” during Lent.

A Statement from Bishop Gates and Other Leaders Regarding Restrictions on Refugees

Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, together with Bishop Douglas J. Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, have signed a joint letter from 17 church leaders, issued  by the Massachusetts Council of Churches, opposing the White House executive action suspending refugee resettlement.

You can find the statement here, along with a message from Bishop Gates addressed to all of us in the diocese.

Climbing the Mountain – January 29, 2017

A Sermon for St. John’s Episcopal Church
Charlestown, Massachusetts
Preached on January 29, 2017, The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

by the Rev. Thomas N. Mousin

Matthew 5:1-12

Today, we are invited to climb a mountain. Last week, we listened as Jesus called his first disciples, and then were told how “he went through the region of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and curing every every disease and every sickness among the people.”

So his fame spread, Matthew tells us, and great crowds followed him.  “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.”

His disciples came to him, and so do we.
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Living Stones

 

Iyad Qumri, presenting pilgrims with an overview of Jerusalem

Dear Friends,

Many of you know that I recently returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Traveling through Israel and Palestine, we saw places both ancient and modern, visiting sites associated with the stories of the Bible, all the while seeing and experiencing how this region is deeply divided.

Our guide for the tour was Iyad Qumri. Iyad describes himself as a Palestinian, an Arab, and a Christian. He is accustomed to people being surprised that he is both Arab and Christian. Our preconceptions and stereotypes are often broken apart when we travel, and that is one of the great benefits of a pilgrimage such as this.

The challenges faced by Christian communities in the Middle East has caused many Christians to leave. Many Palestinian Christians live in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and opportunities for work and freedom to travel, which we take for granted, are limited. Bethlehem, which in 1947 had a population that was 85% Christian, is now only 15% Christian.

What so impresses me about Iyad, his family, and others we met who are living under such challenging circumstances is their deep faith and resilience. Christians in the Holy Land are sometimes referred to as “the living stones.” Their faith is indeed alive, and a witness to us.

I look around us and see the divisions within our own country. I wonder if we can overcome them. And then I remember Iyad, and the way he faces even greater challenges,  faithfully bringing the Gospel alive for pilgrims with patience, confidence, and even laughter. And I am given hope.

Faithfully,

Tom