Dear Grace and St Peter’s,
Last Sunday, we completed the first part of our Covid-19 communal worship journey—a journey that has taken us to some of the most beautiful and most important sites in Hamden. Thanks to Allison Batson and Aldon Hynes’ technological handiwork, we were able to broadcast services from The Keefe Center, Town Center Park, Edgerton Park, Lake Wintergreen (ah, the international Zoom collapse), Sleeping Giant State Park, York Hill and our own sanctuary and front yard. It was an impressive journey that reminded me of what an amazing town Hamden is. No wonder this town where we live, work and worship regularly ranks among the most desirable communities in the country.
That said, there is much to be done to help Hamden reach its full potential as a community that offers equity, opportunity and safety to all of its citizens. I realize that most of us, if we had our preference, would simply carry on with the quiet, comfortable, unobtrusive lives that we lead among our family and friends and nearby parks and backyard gardens. Unfortunately, due to societal structures and systems that we did not create, but with which we—mostly unwillingly and unwittingly—collaborate, their are those in our town who do not have the luxury of quiet, comfortable lives. If these unjust structural imbalances and the lives they impact are to change, I’m afraid we, as individuals and a community, are going to have to exert some effort and take some risks.
To that end (and this in only a beginning),
1) I have started a conversation with the Hamden Black History Committee—the group from which we won a community service award earlier this year—about establishing a Grace and St Peter’s Academic Scholarship. This scholarship would be funded by the Priest-In-Charge’s discretionary fund, Dinner for a Dollar and contributions from the parish and/or individual parishioners.
2) As I said on Sunday, we will be initiating a discussion group to address questions of race within ourselves, in our relationships and in our communities. In this group, we will read and share stories, we will support and pray for each other, we will allow ourselves to be healed and transformed by one another and by the God who loves us. I will keep you informed about both of these initiatives as they develop.
Now, having completed part one of our Covid-19 journey, part two begins this Sunday as we resume in-person worship. Yay! Our morning prayer service this Sunday will take place at St John’s, North Haven at 9:00 am, and will be officiated by both Father Joseph and me. Health protocols will be observed: masks will be worn, there will be no congregational singing, family groups will be asked to sit at a safe distance from each other, etc. It may not be quite the grand reunion celebration with trumpets, hugs, and a hundred voice choir that some of us may be looking forward to, but it will be fun to see each other live, to share greetings, and to worship and pray together in one place. Please join us if you are able. If you do not feel safe venturing out, we will continue to Zoom and live-stream this service just as we have been (but, this time, without any technical mishaps!)
On Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm, there will also be a memorial service for longtime parishioner Richard Beck in Victoria Carpenter’s backyard. Please let the parish office or Gretchen Pritchard know if you plan to attend as space is limited. As I said last week, I will not be able to be there, but the Rev. Julie Kelsey has offered to officiate in my place. I’m sure it will be a lovely and meaningful service.