September 3, 2020 edition of The Newsletter

The Newsletter 
Saints James and Andrew
Greenfield, Massachusetts

Dear People of Saints James and Andrew,

I have come to be quite fond of the phrase that’s made its way into use in these pandemic times, “Being Church Now”.  It acknowledges that many of the experiences we’ve always understood to be “church” are not available to us during this pandemic, and recognizes that we’re broadening our vision to include new ways of “being church”.  Here at James and Andrew, we’ve tried out a variety of approaches and virtual programs, some of which have worked better than others, and we will undoubtedly continue experimenting with new ideas through which to nurture and deepen our spiritual lives, support and remain connected to one another, and serve the wider community.

One of the themes that emerged strongly in Sunday’s Church Chat Listening Session was our shared recognition of the importance of finding and maintaining community.  Participants acknowledged how hard continuing isolation has been and spoke about the importance of ongoing small groups of which they are a part, noting that companionship – whether in socially-distant outdoor meetings or on a screen, whether walking or drinking tea, whether discussing a book or just to talking about the day’s ups and downs – is one of the most meaningful ways they’ve been able to manage stress and reduce loneliness.

So, how can the parish help you find and maintain companionship and community?  We would like to help facilitate the establishment of small groups that provide fellowship for any who are interested.  We recognize that one size will not fit all:  folks will differ in preferences for ways to connect (whether physical, on screen or by phone), how many people they’d like in a group, frequency of contact, and focus for conversation.  We’re willing to provide tech instruction, suggestions for structuring time together and building community, and material for discussion.

If you are interested in joining in a small fellowship circle, we’d like to hear from you.  Please call or email the Office by Friday, September 25, including as much detail as may be helpful about what you are (and are not) looking and hoping for.  Once we know who is interested, we can figure out next steps in moving forward.  We hope this may be one experiment in “being church now” that can make a real difference!



Parish Life

“Here's to you, the Saints of James and Andrew. Whenever we start feeling sorry for ourselves because COVID-19 limits our lives, we take a deep breath of the Holy Spirit and remember:
we are blessed
we are fed
we can pay our bills
we are healthy
we are safe
we are part of a family
we have joy, and beauty,
and hope in our world. 
Have a restful summer and stay faithful.”

Rich & Diana Braman

Dear Friends of Saints James and Andrew,   

We invite you to join us in praying for students, teachers, families, and essential school employees as they navigate school during a global pandemic. We invite you to put this card somewhere in your home that will encourage you to regularly pray for our most vulnerable neighbors. 

God bless & keep you,

SsJA Clergy & Vestry



The Story of Plastic


To access password to speak to Ella Ingraham or Contact Us

The Green Team is hosting a discussion for families of the 2019 movie The Story of Plastic on Sunday, September 13 at 11:30 am.  The movie is 1 hour 35 minutes long and we think it's suitable for our younger parishioners.  We're asking that families and COVID bubbles watch the movie before the September 13 discussions.  This movie is a fantastic overview of the human-made crisis of plastic pollution and how it affects the health of our planet and all of God's creatures living here. It ties together major themes we face such as economic and environmental justice.

The movie is available online.  We have watched it on Prime for a small additional fee.  It's also available on DiscoveryGo, Apple TV and on Xfinity video-on-demand.   Download the viewing guide (see below) to go deeper. 

- Ella Ingraham for the Green Team
Digital Blessing of the Animals:  Please send us a picture of your beloved creatures, whether they be stuffies, pets, or farm animals by September 30.  We will be putting together a digital blessing of the animals, and will release the video on our website and facebook on Sunday, October 4, better known as St. Francis Day. You can send us your pictures by email at or by mail.  
-Rev. Heather

Notices and Announcements

Summary of Church Chat Working Group

August 30, 2020 at Noon

View a recording of the Church Chat

We opened the church chat by checking in with folks and asking congregants if they had any questions, comment or concerns about the current church service protocols in place.  

Views that were expressed included sadness over not being able to see fellow church members while also understanding that it’s important that we continue to be socially distant from one another. Many people volunteered to help when the time comes that we can re-open. A couple of times there was concern about members of our church who do not have access to technology, so we want to do something to make sure we are connecting with them. And it was expressed that it would be really good to have more activities for children, perhaps a Sunday school or something like that because we need to engage them differently.

It was shared that perhaps the church is being too scared, feeling into the paranoia and we should open up. 

The majority of views expressed were that the virus is still out there and as much as we want to get back to church, and as sad as that is, we just can’t right now.  In light of these times we shared our owns ways to keep hope alive during this hard time.

Some of the ideas to keep hope and faith alive included finding something beautiful everyday so that you never feel like you wasted a second; be aware of the Lords creation and get outside when you can; appreciate our pets; read an inspiring book by Christian authors; join a Bible study group that the church hosts; look for Bible passages that are helpful; sit outside or go for walks with fellow church members; connect and reach out whenever you can; play music; take a ride somewhere nice in the car; and be real about how you’re feeling and share those feelings with someone else.

A couple clarifications were that the church retreat for next year has not been canceled, just the monastic retreat. And the food pantry is not accepting contributions right now.

Heather and Molly were asked what other churches in the community and other Episcopal churches are doing. The answer is that most Episcopal churches in the Diocese are currently in the same stage that we are, with Worcester county being in an earlier stage, and Episcopalians are feeling cautious. Some smaller parishes are having outdoor services because it’s much easier for a small congregation to do that.

Locally it varies by denomination. Those that hold similar values as us tend to be more cautious. The Catholic Church has reopened. And it looks like the Alliance Church is holding outdoor services.

We also discussed the possibility of having small groups of parishioners meet outside. 

Look for more information on this coming up. 

Reopening Status

All COVID-19 & Reopening Updates (view here)

Creation Season 2020

The Diocese has once again designated from September 1 to October 4 for the observance of Creation Season: "We observe this special season in the hope that caring for Creation will increasingly be woven into every aspect of congregational life. Through preaching and prayer, and in sacrificial acts of generosity and bold public witness, we hope to strengthen our Christian response to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

Creation Season reminds us of our relationship to and responsibility for the non-human parts of creation that God loves just as God loves us.  During the Sundays of Creation Season our Sunday liturgy – both Spiritual Communion and Morning prayer – will include creation-themed prayer.  We also encourage all members to view “The Story of Plastic” and take part in the Green Team-sponsored discussion of the film on Sunday, September 13 at 11:30 AM.
- Rev. Molly

Here's another exciting Creation Season resource:  The Northfield Authors and Artists Festival is sponsoring a series of speakers next year, in February 2021, on the theme of Honoring Nature, including several addressing the intersection of nature and faith.  In preparation for the Festival there is a free online reading group meeting monthly beginning this Sunday, September 6.  You can find details at

August-October Forward Day by Day is a booklet of daily inspirational meditations reflecting on a specific Bible passage, chosen from the daily lectionary readings.  We typically have these booklets available for free at church. During this time of social distancing, here are some ways you can still access this rich resource. 

Mission and Ministry

The Survival Center Food Pantry is accepting one bag per person on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The donations are isolated for 3 days before distribution. Donations are needed now more than ever!”
-Ella Ingraham 
Please donate plastic and paper grocery bags.   Our to-go food and pantry ministries need donations of clean, sturdy plastic or paper shopping bags. You can place them in the marked bin near the parking lot entrance to the parish hall on Sundays between 10:30 and 12:30 or Mondays between 3:00 and 6:00.  No produce bags please.  Thank you!  
-Maggie Sweeney and Doris MacLeod for the Mission Team
SsJA Outreach Programs

Sunday Sandwiches Program:
Each Sunday four volunteers (who are not experiencing any cold like symptoms) prepare bagged lunches to be handed out from the takeaway window in the Whiteman Room from 12-12:30 PM.  Three Ways to Help: 

  1. Donate items:  individually-wrapped granola bars, trail mix, plastic sandwich bags and brown paper lunch bags--which can be dropped off at a bin near the elevator in the parish hall  between 11 and 12:30 on Sundays.

  2. Volunteer:  To help with preparing, distributing and cleaning up from Sunday Sandwiches, contact Nancy Maleno and she will add you to the schedule (413) 772-0678  or

  3. Donate money:  You can send donations to the church with a note marking it for ‘mission’.

Weekly Bible Study:
Join us on Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to whenever we finish, usually 8: 15 p.m. 
Via Zoom.
Call Charlie at 413-522-7914 to get on the notification list.

Second Helpings To Go:
On Mondays starting at 4:30 p.m., our volunteers package and distribute a nice hot meal for our neighbors in need! Our “customers” respectfully keep social distance as they pick up their dinner at the Whiteman take-out window.
-Contact Maggie,  or Erin, for more information.

Weekly Spiritual Reflection:
Join us on Fridays from 7:00 p.m. to around  8:15 p.m. 
Via Zoom.
Call Charlie at 413-522-7914 to get on the notification list.

Whitney’s Pantry:
From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m, on the last Monday of the month, a dedicated group of volunteers pack bags of personal essentials for our neighbors in need. The bags are then distributed free of charge at our Whiteman take-out window to very grateful recipients.
-Contact Doris for more information.
Around the Diocese
The Wider Church

Click HERE to view the complete calendar of events on our website.

Prayer List:  Names are on the list for 4 weeks, then removed. Feel free to add a name again.
Charlie, Rebecca, Donna, Tammy, the Clark/Perry family, John, and Anne.

Contribute to The Newsletter:  by emailing the office by Monday, August 31, 2020. Published on the first and third Thursdays of the month. 

Our Mission:  
We believe God is calling us to cultivate a community of love, joy, hope, and healing. Jesus is our model for a life of faith, compassion, hospitality, and service. We strive to be affirming and accessible, welcoming and inclusive; we seek to promote reconciliation, exercise responsible stewardship, and embrace ancient traditions for modern lives.

Vestry Contact Information

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Copyright © 2020 The Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew, All rights reserved.

Virtual Office Hours:  
Monday - Friday:  9 am-12 pm
Closed on Holidays

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