August 20, 2020 edition of The Newsletter

The Newsletter 
Saints James and Andrew
Greenfield, Massachusetts

Dear People of Saints James and Andrew,

Many of us have hoped that we might be able to reopen for some level of in-person worship soon, while also recognizing some of us will not be comfortable returning until restrictions have eased and a vaccine is widely available.  We want to provide you with a comprehensive update on the status of reopening and our plans for moving forward. Please note that our diocese is using the language of ‘stage’, whereas the Commonwealth is using the language of ‘phase’.  Diocesan stages are generally more conservative than the Commonwealth’s phases.  Please see the chart below outlining some of the public health indicators of the diocesan stages.

In May, we outlined a Process for Moving Forward (view here).  We have made great strides in nearing the completion of this process. SsJA leaders have worked tirelessly to give serious consideration to each aspect of the diocesan guidelines for reopening, keeping in mind the unique aspects of our buildings, demographics, and ministries. 

The working groups have established a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which we hope will answer the most important questions of what reopening will look like in Diocesan Stage 3. View them here, or further in the newsletter.  

The Church Chat Working Group has scheduled a Zoom Church Chat Listening Session on Sunday, August 30 at 12 p.m. The purpose of this informal virtual gathering is to give the Vestry an opportunity to check in with church members about the ongoing pandemic and how it has impacted our church community. Specific topics will include the continued suspension of in person worship, growing our faith during a pandemic, and holding onto hope in uncertain times. It will be an opportunity for questions and answers, and if you are unable to attend, we invite you to call or email the office with your questions.  A recording of the meeting will be sent out to the congregation in a newsletter following the church chat. Information on how to join the meeting by phone or video may be found in the announcement further down in the newsletter. 

We also plan to provide an update of the Reopening Status, using this image in each newsletter, in order that everyone may know what steps remain before we can safely resume some kind of in-person worship. Please note, we are quite close to being able to submit our application. At the same time, our building will remain closed until all four conditions outlined in the image below are met. 



Finally, when we are near being able to reopen we will send out a survey to
worship leaders and the entire parish, soliciting volunteers for the many
responsibilities that support our shared worship. Some jobs will be
similar, while others, such as ushering, will look drastically different
and will require a good many more volunteers each week to safely carry out
our reopening plan. In the survey, we will ask that anyone who is already a
worship leader will let us know whether they feel comfortable returning in
Diocesan Stage 3, while also welcoming new participants into these roles.

Most importantly, we want to thank each of you for ensuring SsJA continues
to live into our mission of cultivating a community of love, joy, hope, and
healing--even during these strange times. While our buildings remain
closed, our hearts and hands for serving our neighbors remain open and as
loving as ever.


Rev. Heather & Rev. Molly

Frequently Asked Questions

View our entire Application to the Diocese and Additional Notes from the Working Group.

  1. When are we reopening the buildings?

The SsJA Vestry is committed to reopening our church for in-person worship for those who would like to attend in Diocesan Stage 3 on the following conditions:

  • We have completed the SsJA Process for Moving Forward the Vestry adopted and communicated to the parish in May. 

  • Our application to the diocese has been approved. 

  • The diocese has announced we have entered Stage 3. 

  • We have an adequate number of volunteers to safely carry out our reopening plan.

We will reopen for other activities when most limits on gatherings are lifted and physical restrictions eased, per diocesan guidelines.  In the meantime, most ministries will continue to meet virtually .   We will continue to provide updates on the Diocese’s determinations regarding the Stage we are in via the newsletter.

  1. Could we worship together outside?

We considered this at length and developed a model for how we could safely worship outdoors, but the Vestry concluded that the number of volunteers and effort required would not be justified by the number of people who, according to our survey, would be interested in attending.

  1. Will there be limits in the number of people that can attend worship? 

Yes, required spacing for safety and limits on gathering size, required by both the Commonwealth and Diocese, necessarily limit how many will be able to gather for worship, at least until health statistics are much improved.

  1. How do you determine who can attend worship?

We’ll have signups for worship each week, either online or by calling the office.  If there are requests beyond the number who can be accommodated in a given week, those people will be given priority in subsequent weeks.

  1. Will I be safe if I choose to come to worship?

Nothing we can do can guarantee perfect safety, but we are doing as much as we can to make it as safe as possible.  We’ll require wearing masks and provide hand sanitizer, designate seating to ensure physical distancing, and depend heavily on an expanded group of ushers to manage and assist with traffic flow.


       What is going to happen if we discover someone is sick? 

Lists generated by worship signups will serve to allow contact tracing, and the CDC provides detailed protocols for deep cleaning and disinfecting that we would follow.

  1. What will we have for music in the service?

Diocesen guidelines don’t allow singing at this time, but we will have instrumental music provided both by our Parish Musician and by other talented musicians from the congregation.

  1.  Will we have eucharist? 

The Diocese has provided us with guidelines for safe administration of the eucharist.  When we’re ready to begin in-person worship we will initially continue with Morning Prayer and Spiritual Communion for a few weeks while we get used to new routines for worship before we add in physical administration of communion.

  1.  If I plan to come, how can I help? 

It’s going to take a village!  Shortly before we return to in-person worship we will send out a survey requesting volunteers for all of the jobs that will need to be done in leading and supporting our worship, and we hope that both those who have served in the past AND new volunteers will step up to help us move forward into our new ways of “being church”.

  1. If I am a ministry leader and need to to complete a task in person, inside, are there safety procedures to follow?

We are asking that as we each use church spaces, we sanitize after ourselves;  disinfecting wipes are provided in our bathrooms and other common spaces, and signs direct us that “If you touch it, you wipe it!”

  1. What are we doing about cleaning and sanitizing?

At this point our Sexton is covering routine cleaning of common spaces with special attention to high touch surfaces, and as individuals use the space,  “you touch it you wipe it.”  We’ve learned that spaces only used once a week (such as the sanctuary) are safe with this routine cleaning.

  1. Are small groups and gatherings allowed inside the facility?

Parish groups and gathering will continue on a virtual basis until most limits on gatherings are lifted and physical restrictions eased, per diocesan guidelines, and we will, likewise, not be providing indoor meeting space to outside groups.  We have approved two outside groups to use our lawn space under specific health precautions, and may approve others in the future.

  1. When will our outreach ministries (2nd Helpings, Whitney’s Pantry, etc.) be able to take place in our buildings?

Again, these outreach ministries will continue to operate on a “to go” basis until most limits on gatherings are lifted and physical restrictions eased, per diocesan guidelines.

  1. How has the pandemic affected us financially?

We have been fortunate.  Thanks to most members’ ability to fulfill their pledges, to additional contributions received, and to the assistance of the Payroll Protection Plan funds provided by the Diocese, we are in better shape than we might have been, given our loss of “loose plate” and property use income.  We currently project ending 2020 with a deficit of about $12,618. Depending on the course of the virus with, in particular, its impact on property use income and fundraising.  Planning for 2021 will be critical, and challenging. 



You are invited to a 'church chat' listening session: 

On Sunday, August 30 at 12 p.m., the Vestry will be hosting a “church chat” on Zoom. The purpose of this informal virtual gathering is to give the Vestry an opportunity to check in with church members about the ongoing pandemic and how it has impacted our church community. Specific topics will include the continued suspension of in person worship, growing our faith during a pandemic, and holding onto hope in uncertain times. It will be an opportunity for questions and answers, and if you are unable to attend, we invite you to call or email the office with your questions.  A recording of the meeting will be sent out to the congregation in a newsletter following the church chat.  We hope to see you there.

To join Zoom by Video: 

To join Zoom by Phone:  +1 (646) 558-8656 US (New York) 

Meeting ID:  864 8322 3392


Parish Life

“Sunday Morning Chapel” at the McAvoy’s.

Vestry Points

  1. We have nominated Elle Morgan for postulancy to the priesthood. 

  2.  Our annual audit went well, and we’re grateful for financial support. We encourage folks to please send in their pledges as able. 

  3. Church Chat on August 30 @noon


The Green Team is hosting a discussion for families of the 2019 movie The Story of Plastic on Sunday, September 13 at 11:30 amThe 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.   
- Ella Ingraham for the Green Team
Diocesan Loving the Questions

God has planted within each of our hearts a way of being and seeing the world that only we can bring. When we offer the fullness of who we are, we give this world an irreplaceable and priceless gift: our very selves. How do I offer the fullness of who I am? How do I live my best life? What form does this take? These are the questions, we seek to wrestle out in Loving the Questions as we seek first and foremost to live into our baptismal covenants. If you find yourself wondering or wrestling with these questions, your presence, like your presence to this world, would be a gift to us all. We will love and live our way to the answers together in community. 

Loving the Questions is a discernment space that honors the Spirit’s call to both lay and ordained individuals, and aims to enable you to:

• Know and understand your unique giftedness
• Understand what God is calling you to do
• Identify the tools you will need for your ministry; and
• Develop a plan of formation for ministry

To learn more or apply, click here. Applications due no later than September 1, 2020.

Notices and Announcements

The Franklin County Hunger Task Force Belly Bus is cancelled.  Please join the Hunger action Week In September:

Franklin County Hunger Action Week, September 20-26th: The COVID19 pandemic is shining a light on increasing food insecurity in Franklin County. We need to support Franklin County’s many food access programs and support systemic change that addresses inequality and the root causes of food insecurity. Current plans for the week include:

  • Media and social media campaigns to appreciate and support the work of the many food access programs that serve our neighbors in Franklin County

  • Opportunities to support Franklin County food access programs

  • Educational workshops about addressing root causes of food insecurity,

  • Concrete actions we can take to address root causes of food insecurity

  • Educational and action opportunities for children

If you’d like to be part of planning for the Hunger Action Week, please contact us:

Justin Costa and Mary McClintock

Co-Chairs, Franklin County Hunger Task Force,

About those plastic bags….
After a long effort to say good-bye, the plastic bags came roaring back!  And now you have some and don’t know what to do with them.  The answer, of course, is to donate them to Whitney’s Pantry.  We are still functioning every month and we use plastic bags to pre-pack the items we distribute and then hand them out the window to those in need of personal care items – like the food being handed out the other window by the Second Helpings volunteers.  So sort out the good “handles” grocery bags, minus the produce bags, etc. and hang on to them until we can announce a way that we can receive your donations.  Thanks!
-Doris McLeod, for the Whitney’s Pantry Team
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 

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

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 6:30 p.m. to whenever we finish, usually 7:45 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 6:30 p.m. to around  7:45 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



VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR, Sunday, 10:45 a.m.





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.
Donna, Rebecca, and Charlie.
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

Quick Links

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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