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Rev. Bob’s Weekly Message, September 11, 2020

Hello Grace and St Peter’s,

I hope you all had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend. Perhaps you were able to get to the beach or the mountains or at least a backyard barbecue—socially distanced, of course.

Just before the weekend, we received some good G&SP news about a couple of our community ministries. First, our second Hamden Black History Committee scholarship recipient was named. Antony Naquib was an honor student at Hamden High School and is now a student at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Antony is a Coptic Christian who experienced persecution—even violent persecution—in Egypt before moving to the United States. He is planning to become a doctor in order to better advocate for the underserved. Antony has been deeply involved in school, church and community activities. To name just a few of these: he was the president of Hamden High’s Red Cross Club and a basketball team captain; he has been a diocesan representative for his church, a Yale New Haven Hospital volunteer and a participant in the Saturday morning Sandwich Run to the New Haven Green. We wish Antony all good things in his studies!

Second, our initial scholarship recipient, Mareshah White has become something of a celebrity. Mareshah recently began a campaign to raise scholarship funds for her Hamden High classmates. She received a $15,000 grant from AT&T to get her started and is looking for more donors to increase that amount. Perhaps our scholarship to her was something of an inspiration for this effort. Check out these stories about Mareshah on News 8 and in the New Haven Independent!

Third, the Hamden Black History Committee informs me that any scholarship awards that we fund in the future will be given in memory of Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray who, in 1977, was the first African American woman and second woman to be ordained to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church. Reverend Murray was also a lawyer, and a civil rights and women’s rights activist. Reverend Murray served as parish priest in Washington, D.C. and, as you may know, Yale University—where Reverend Murray was the first African American to earn a Doctor of Juridical Science degree—named its newest residential college for her. It is an honor to be associated with her.

Finally, last Friday, NBC CT broadcast a segment on the Keefe Center and its new community food garden. Our friend, Adam Sendroff, Hamden’s Community Development Manager, made sure that the television crew did not leave without having a look at the Swords To Plowshares tools that are being used in the garden. Neither G&SP nor Swords to Plowshares were mentioned by name in the news story, but our tools did appear in the story at 5:30 accompanied by a brief narrative explaining where they came from. (Unfortunately, the video on this link is from the 4:30 version of the broadcast that did not include the visual of the tools.)

From all this and from all I have observed of G&SP recently, it is evident that we continue faithfully fulfill our varied call to communal ministry even in the middle of a global pandemic. We care for our own and each other’s souls through our very pleasant (even if we can’t sing or receive communion) outdoor worship at St John’s, North Haven; our Faith Study discussions of scripture; our Jesus’ Kingship of Kinship racial justice conversation; our phone, email, zoom and in-person-but-at-a-distance outreach to one another; and more. And, as exemplified above, we are interacting with and serving our community in ways that begin to make us seem increasingly like the brightly lit city on a hill that cannot be hidden evoked by Jesus in Chapter 18 of the Gospel of Matthew. Keep at it G&SP!



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