Diocesan Cycle of Prayer 1 Advent 2022–Last Pentecost 2023

The 2022-2023 Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is available for congregations to use in their weekly intercessions. Each congregation is prayed for during the week which includes their Feast of Title.

Morning Prayer is offered in the chapel at Diocesan House daily at 9:30 AM.  You are welcome to attend Morning Prayer — mindful that the office is closed on holidays and some days specific to the Diocesan House (e.g., the Monday after Diocesan Convention!).

Diocesan Cycle of Prayer 1 Advent 2021–Last Pentecost 2022

The 2021-2022 Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is available for congregations to use in their weekly intercessions. Each congregation is prayed for during the week which includes their Feast of Title.

Morning Prayer is offered in the chapel at Diocesan House daily at 9:30 AM and includes prayer for the clergy and clergy widow/ers of the diocese. Here is the prayer cycle they use: Diocesan Clergy Prayer Cycle. You are welcome to attend Morning Prayer — mindful that the office is closed on holidays and some days specific to the Diocesan House (e.g., the Monday after Diocesan Convention!).

Church profile: St. Matthew’s, Jamestown

St. Matthew’s is blessed in so many ways, including its location in the heart of a lovely island village, a striking sanctuary, and a wonderful choir and congregation. In addition, since the beginning of June we have been blessed with the arrival of a new rector, the Rev. Christa Moore-Levesque, and her family. She has a strong background working with children and youth, and has already proved to be an inspiring preacher and smart manager of church affairs.

St. Matthew’s provides space for a multitude of programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous, the Community Band, the Rotary Club, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts. However, our thrift store is perhaps the heart of our community outreach. Consider: it brings nearly $40,000 a year. But that is only one measure of its success. The recently expanded store is truly ecumenical. Many of the dedicated staff are not members of the church, and it brings in folks from all over on Tuesday and Saturday mornings to browse its kitchen and dining supplies, clothes, toys and books. 

On July 20, St. Matthew’s hosts its annual Summer Fair, which typically raises about $15,000.

St. Matthew’s, 87 Narragansett Ave.; 401-423-1762; the Rev. Christa Moore-Levesque, rector. Bishop’s visitation July 14. website

Social services resources

Is someone you know looking for help with housing, food, healthcare, or other human services?

The internet search engine of your choice is your best way to find things, but here is a short, partial list of commonly-consulted organizations and resources specific to Rhode Island.

United Way of Rhode Island 211 directory: this webpage explains the “Call 211” resource. Calling 211 reaches a United Way employee who can help you find the resources you need.

Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless resources. This page includes links to the regional”Street Sheet” trifold brochures in English and Spanish listing food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other resources. Every priest or parish administrator should print out a stack to have on hand at your congregation’s reception desk and tract rack.

Crossroads RI Homeless Shelters. Also includes a domestic violence shelter component.

Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Includes directory of food sites.

Free medical clinics, etc.: RI Department of Health listing.

Mental health emergencies : Butler Hospital.

Blackstone Valley Community Action Program (BVCAP)

Anchor Recovery Services: alcohol and drug recovery support.

Sexual assault treatment and helpline: DayOne RI.

Domestic violence shelter and resources: Sojourner House.

Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence: helpline and resources.

Church profile: Holy Spirit, Charlestown

Church of the Holy Spirit is a warm, vibrant church community with a strong sense of mission. We laugh a lot, try to treat each other well and look forward to time spent together in worship, prayer and study.

Located in the historic district of Charlestown, we serve a community consisting of rural farms and beach cottages. We offer spiritual direction, the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, a book group, faith-sharing groups, gentle yoga and retreats. We seek to become contemplatives in action. Prayer and mission are priorities here. In 2017, ChurchWoods came about when the diocese, our congregation and the town of Charlestown partnered to offer affordable housing to qualified area residents 55 and older. ChurchWoods offers attractive duplexes adjacent to the church grounds.

We host a summer farmers’ market weekly on our church grounds sponsored by the Charlestown Land Trust, and we hold a monthly pancake breakfast to raise money for homeless families. We support four other local agencies to joyously serve all sorts and conditions of God’s people.

 Check out our Facebook page or, even better, come meet us in person. Join us!

Church of the Holy Spirit, 4150 Old Post Rd., Charlestown; 401-364-6368; the Rev. Eileen Lindeman, priest-in-charge; Bishop’s visitation July 7. 

Church of the Holy Spirit, Charlestown

Warning: Email and text message scams targeting church members by impersonating clergy

If you receive an email that appears to be from the Bishop, or your clergy person, asking you to take some kind of unusual action – click a link or download an attachment you didn’t request, wire money to a specified account, purchase gift cards and reply with the serial numbers, or simply to reply quickly, watch out – it could be a form of email “phishing” known as “whaling.”

Whereas “phishing” involves sending a fraudulent email to a large group of people in the hope that a few will respond, “whaling” involves forging communications that look like they’re from the “big fish” in an organization, i.e. the “whale.” For us, this usually means the Bishop or a clergy person, although it could be someone else in authority.

The message will give some explanation of why the leader needs your help immediately. They may include some story about another person in dire circumstances whom the bishop or priest is trying to help. But instead of helping a needy person, if you respond you will actually be turning over money and possibly your identity information to a scammer.

Because these emails are usually crafted more carefully than your standard “phishing” email, they can be more difficult to detect.

We here at Diocesan House have received multiple emails claiming to be from Bishop Knisely. Sometimes, the clergy and other members have received them as well. A few people have even received fake text messages purporting to be from the Bishop. There have also been instances of emails sent to church members purporting to be from their own clergy.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to stop these “whaling” attacks. The email accounts in question have not been hacked. Instead, they are being “spoofed” – that is, a fraudulent email account is cleverly configured to look at first glance like a legitimate one. Even if you block the fraudulent email, they’ll just use another. Same thing with text messages from fraudulent phone numbers. It’s like playing “whack-a-mole.”

You can’t stop the senders of “whaling” emails, but what you can do – which is entirely free – is educate yourself and other potential recipients. Here are two simple guidelines to help potential recipients avoid being tricked:

Verify the “from” email

The malicious actors behind “whaling” attacks are counting on people springing into action as soon as they see an important name on an email. You can outsmart them by looking beyond the name and checking the “from” email address to see if it matches what you know the alleged sender’s email to be.

If you only see a name, you can cause the “from” email address to be displayed by hovering the cursor over the name.

Bishop Knisely is always Nicholas@episcopalri.org. No other variation of his email address is official.

Confirm requests with a conversation

Even if the email or text seems legitimate, if a request seems even remotely “off,” don’t act on it until you confirm it with a phone call or face-to-face conversation.

In the case of an alleged message from the Bishop, you may want to reach out to a member of the bishop’s staff, using their contact info in the staff directory. DO NOT reply to the suspicious email or text. Likewise, if a member of your parish staff is asking you to do something unusual, confirm with a phone call.

Observing these two steps will go a long way in identifying and avoiding “whaling” attacks before they get their hooks in you.

(Thanks to the communications staff in the Diocese of Newark for composing a version of this email and allowing other dioceses to use it.)

Rumford pilgrims explore life with Christ

A group of pilgrims at Epiphany, Rumford, has completed an eight-month journey — through a series of books. All 46 participants “graduated” at a Pentecost celebration at Epiphany June 9.

They participated in a Pilgrim Series program, based on a series of short books from Church Publishing that help both long-time and new Christians “explore what it means to travel through life with Christ.” The first four books focus on how to be a follower; the second four explore how to grow into that identity.

“We wanted to help form disciples,” explained the Rev. Jennifer Zogg, Epiphany’s rector. “Our members had tired of Christian formation in an episodic approach. The Pilgrim Series helped us find something more consistent that can deepen our spiritual formation.”

Continue reading “Rumford pilgrims explore life with Christ”

Church Profile: St. James, Woonsocket

Founded in 1832, St. James is in the heart of the city of Woonsocket, both geographically and in our mission.

Seven days a week, our doors are open and something is happening, whether it’s a worship service, Alcoholics Anonymous® meeting, Bible study, choir rehearsal, social service agency staff meeting, baby shower, birthday party or any of a host of other activities. Fellowship meals and congregational dinners happen several times a year, including our annual May Breakfast, which just saw its 98th celebration.   

Most of our major ministries are conducted in partnership with other churches and community organizations: Referrals for the Prescott Beach Memorial Food Bank and the Coat of Many Colors clothing ministry come from the Community Care Alliance, while City Camp Woonsocket is a summer day-camp run in partnership with the Episcopal Conference Center and in consultation with the Woonsocket School District.

We’ve recently established an ecumenical covenant partnership with St. Mark Lutheran church to share clergy and other resources, combine ministry efforts, and worship and pray together more regularly. St. James is defined by our desire to serve our neighbors and invite them to share the work of the Gospel.  

St. James, 24 Hamlet Avenue, Woonsocket; 401-762-2222; the Rev. Peter Tierney III, vicar; Bishop’s visitation was June 9. Facebook page

St. James Woonsocket parishioners on Easter Sunday, 2019

Deacons from across country tour our Cathedral

The Association for Episcopal Deacons, the churchwide organization for vocational deacons, are holding their triennial conference in Providence this week. Most of the sessions are at a local hotel, but they all visited our Cathedral and the Center for Reconciliation, along with their keynote speaker, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

Ten Ways to Care for Creation as a Congregation

Ideas for your congregation, compiled by the Creation Care Task Force of Diocesan Council

The Creation Care Task Force is a group appointed by Diocesan Council for the purpose of responding to 2018 General Convention resolutions on the priority of creation care in all our churches. As a start, we’ve developed a list of 10 ways (well, 10 plus one more) your congregation can care for creation. Look for more information as our mission develops.

  1. Recycle everything possible!
  2. Have a free energy audit done on your building (Contact National Grid or RISE — the regional program administrator for National Grid’s EnergyWise home energy services in Rhode Island.).
  3. Eliminate disposable/single use items. Use china, glassware, silverware and ceramic mugs for coffee hour instead.
  4. Treat your church’s lawn with organic fertilizer, and use environmentally friendly cleaning products in your church (see EWG.org for a list).
  5. Make all meetings paperless (Send documents in advance by email and project others on a screen.).
  6. Create a seasonal worship bulletin template with a weekly changeable insert to save paper on printing.
  7. Designate one Sunday a month as “Carpool Sunday” when church members are encouraged to share rides, build fellowship and save gasoline.
  8. Replace all lightbulbs with long-lasting, energy-efficient LED bulbs.
  9. Start a vegetable garden (use compost from coffee hour) or a flower garden (for prayer).
  10. Install programmable thermostats to regulate energy use in times of limited occupancy.
  11. Install solar panels, electric car charging stations or rain barrels — they all help maximize natural resources.