A New Home

Photo: Cecelia Lynch

It’s no accident that the Rev. Jack Lynch and the people of San Jorge, Central Falls chose the first Sunday in Advent as the day they would become San Jorge, Pawtucket. When 92 members of the Spanish-speaking congregation gathered for their first worship service at the building they will now share with St. Luke’s, Pawtucket, they were focused not on the building they were leaving behind in Central Falls, but on new opportunities and ministry ahead. “Yo voy a empezar algo nuevo, y ya he empezado a hacerlo,” read the congregation’s Facebook page. “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

“We have more visibility in a community that is growing more diverse while continuing to serve Central Falls,” Lynch said of the move to the building at 670 Weeden Street in Pawtucket. “It is a real opportunity for evangelism.”

Last year diocesan leaders, in concert with the leaders of San Jorge, determined that the building in Central Falls where San Jorge had worshipped for decades could not adequately be repaired. Collaboration with St. Luke’s, Pawtucket, located less than a mile away, ensued, and on Sunday, the leaders of St. Luke’s welcomed the people of San Jorge warmly, with good spirits and extra signage in Spanish. The congregation includes people of 14 different nationalities, including many immigrants from Central and South America and a number of second- and third-generation Americans.

“We are excited to work with other Episcopalians in the community,” Lynch said. “Together, we can explore new ways of doing things together in a part of Rhode Island that is changing rapidly.”

Although Lynch describes response to the new location as “very, very positive,” he knows that maintaining the congregation’s longstanding holiday traditions will be even more important this year. On Saturday at 7 p.m., San Jorge will host La Fiesta de las Velitas, a traditional Colombian celebration of the Virgin Mary’s conception. The evening will include worship and a reception with hot chocolate and sweet bread, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Good Idea! Covid Conversations at St Luke’s

One of the newest “Good Ideas!” in the diocese is “Covid Conversations” at St. Luke’s, East Greenwich.

The occasional conversations — likely to be once or twice a month — began in late May, prompted by a newsletter article written by Senior Warden Mike Grady, about the experience of being “alone together.”

“I thought that so beautifully captured what we are dealing with,” said the Rev. Tim Rich, rector. “So I wanted to create an experience that highlighted our togetherness. I also felt like there’s all this talk about the pandemic but little of it in the context of faith, so I wanted to create a container of sorts where we could have faith and God as the backdrop to our experiences.”

The first conversation was a big success, with 26 participants and a duration that lasted well beyond the scheduled 90 minutes.

“People shared both their struggles and their experiences of good fortune,” Rich noted. “At one point we went down an interesting road, talking about how this virus has forced us to change — and in some ways for the better.”

For churches considering similar programs, Rich said there were no real surprises in that initial conversation: “Just be prepared for peoples’ deep desires to share their stories.”

“Soup for the Docks”

“Soup for the Docks” supports a crucial part of our community

It can be cold and windy in Galilee. Yet on almost every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, a small band of volunteers faithfully sets up stations, in two places, to serve a simple, hot noonday meal of soup and crackers to the members of the local fishing fleet, its dock workers and others working in the adjacent fish processing plants.
In fact, those volunteers served 1,861 cups of soup in 2019, during 471 volunteer hours — an average of 22 cups of soup served per day.
The volunteers for this project — lovingly dubbed “Soup for the Docks” — come from four organizations: the Galilee Mission in Narragansett, the Chapel of St. John the Divine in Saunderstown, Church of the Ascension in Wakefield and the GFWC Women’s Club of South County.
“The port of Galilee houses largest the fishing fleet in Rhode Island, and the men and women working there are an important part of our community,” said the Rev. Rob Travis, head pastor at Ascension and St. John the Divine. “Our churches have historically been, and remain to this day, deeply connected through family ties to the fishing industry. So our support with this meal is an extension of that familial love, and an expression of the neighbor love that Jesus calls us to offer.”
The Galilee Mission originated the project 16 years ago, as a way of giving back to the South County community, which has been supporting the nonprofit’s activities since its founding in 1984. The mission offers residential, outpatient and court-ordered treatment, and recovery housing for individuals dependent on alcohol and/or illegal substances.
The ingredients for the soup and serving supplies are funded by the Galilee Mission, and the soup is made by the chef at the mission twice each week.
St. John the Divine was the original source of the volunteers serving the soup and has been involved ever since. Now volunteers from the two local churches and the GFWC Women’s Club come together in shifts of two or three, covering most weeks each month, weather permitting, through the entire year.
—    Kim A. Hanson

St Martin’s Church

Retail thinking benefits church thrift shop

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted the creation of all kinds of innovative online worship, but some church ministries have had to go on hiatus. When our buildings re-open, the shuttered ministries will re-open as well. What about using the down time to take a fresh look at what our ministries could look like in a post-coronavirus world? Here’s one example — a thrift shop revamp that St. Martin’s, Providence, undertook a couple of years ago that’s been a big success.

When’s the last time your thrift shop had a revamp? The Thrifty Goose at St. Martin’s had a fresh start two years ago, and the results have been impressive.

The shop, which has a 50-year history, has a new purpose, a new look — and new reactions. Income from sales has increased significantly, and the shop is attracting new customers.

“The Thrifty Goose and its companion ministry, The Cloak, are important in two ways,” said the Rev. Mark Sutherland, rector. “The Thrifty Goose enables us to participate in the re-purposing of high-quality clothing, and The Cloak gives us a way to channel items not salable in the shop for outreach and support to the homeless.”

The changes began with the appointment of Brigit Timpson as manager. Timpson had extensive retail experience in New Zealand, including ownership of a consignment shop. She and the volunteer team she leads began bringing retail thinking to the Thrifty Goose.

“With the appointment of a manager who brings retail and thrift shop experience, our volunteers are becoming more skilled in assessing real value and pricing appropriately,” Sutherland said.

Timpson explained that after beginning her new role, she and the volunteer team looked through the existing merchandise and “discovered we had many high-quality items in our inventory.

“We started increasing prices for those items, and we started to ‘show off’ the appealing items with different merchandising techniques,” she said. The merchandising is immediately visible in the shop, with items hung on the walls, multi-tiered table displays and lots of manikins modeling clothes.

“We try to create a pleasant, attractive atmosphere that looks and smells inviting, and do this through sound, scent and attention to detail,” Timpson explained.

The team also discovered a new product category that’s creating strong sales: men’s clothing. They expanded the product selection significantly and displayed the clothes like in a high-end men’s store.

“We’re selling lots of men’s clothes,” Timpson said. “We also sell lots of vintage clothes — young adults and students especially like them.”

Selling through other channels also has been highly successful. The team uses eBay extensively; one set of china sold for $1,200 — in one day.

Timpson said the team has worked hard to build relationships with its customers: “We remember what they bought last time and ask them about it, and we find things we think they would like and would go with recent purchases — just like a boutique would do.”

The shop has outfitted people going to weddings with everything from shoes, to dresses, jewelry, coats and bags.

“People really trust our judgment and come to us first now, rather than to any other shop,” she said. “But what I think is really the key to our success,” she concluded, “is that we ‘start dressing rooms’ for people, we take their things on the counter for them and we act like we are Nordstrom’s!”

And through all the retail-related changes, St. Martin’s has continued to donate as much or more to people in need through The Cloak. Regular donations go to five shelters around the Providence area. The rejuvenated shop and continued commitment to outreach are providing a successful combination for the ministry of St. Martin’s.

“Perhaps of greatest significance in the operation is the wonderful evangelical opportunity provided by the Thrifty Goose ministry,” Sutherland noted. “It offers an invitation to members of the community to visit our campus and to experience our friendliness and the openness of our engagement with the wider community around us.”

Church Profiles

We have collected stories about many  of our congregations and their ministries, from stories in our eNews. Take a closer look using the links below.

Holy Trinity Church,  Tiverton
St Mary’s Church, Portsmouth
St Augustine’s Church, URI campus, North Kingston
S Stephen’s Church, Providence
Holy Cross Church, Middletown
St Elizabeth’s Church, Hope Valley
St Matthew’s Church, Jamestown
Church of the Holy Spirit, Charlestown
St James’ Church, Woonsocket
St Michael’s Church, Bristol
St Luke’s Church, East Greenwich
Emmanuel Church, Cumberland
Christ Church, Lonsdale
St James’ Church, North Providence
St Paul’s Church, Pawtucket
Church of the Epiphany, Rumford
All Saints Church, Pontiac (Warwick)
St Thomas’ Church, Greenville
St Paul’s Church, Portsmouth
Church of the Transfiguration, Cranston


Worship at Home

We Are the Church

As we are unable to attend worship services in person, here are a few suggestions for worshiping at home.

If you are looking for information regarding putting your congregation’s service online, start here. There are additional resources here, and here. Regarding the use of music online: OneLicense. A list of hymns available under public domain is here. Additional information regarding copyright is here.

The National Cathedral in Washington, DC will be live Sundays at 11:15 am.

Most congregations are holding worship services in person and online, please contact the parishes directly to learn more about their specific offerings. Search for a church in your area here.

Our parishes – online

Are you looking for a service to attend this Christmas?

St Matthew’s Church, Jamestown 24-Dec 4pm Zoom ID 401 423 1762 Passcode 196944 Family service with Pageant
St Matthew’s Church, Jamestown 24-Dec 5pm Zoom ID 401 423 1762 Passcode 196944 Carols and Lessons

During this moment of social distancing, we are seeking new ways of being together for prayer and fellowship. Below is a list of online worship services. It will be updated as often as possible.

Bristol St Michael’s Morning Prayer Tuesday March 17, 9am Morning Prayer
Cranston Trinity Church Holy Eucharist Sunday, 9 am https://www.facebook.com/trinitypawtuxet/
Jamestown St Matthew’s Daily Offices recorded https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYfdKoA8TVOH9JS-THnm47Q
Narragansett St Peter’s by the Sea Holy Eucharist Sunday, 8 am and 10:51 am https://www.facebook.com/St-Peters-by-the-Sea-Episcopal-Church
Pawtucket St Paul’s Daily Offices Morning and Evening https:www.facebook.com/StPaulsPawtucket
Providence S Stephen’s Evening Prayer Monday, Wednesday 5:30 pm https://www.facebook.com/sstephensinprovidence
Providence S Stephen’s Low Mass Monday, Wednesday 6:00 pm    archived video at www.sstephens.org/sermon-archive
Providence S Stephen’s Noonday Prayer Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 12:00
Providence S Stephen’s Low Mass Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 12:30 pm
Providence S Stephen’s Morning Prayer Saturday, 9:30 am
Providence S Stephen’s Low Mass Saturday, 10 am
Providence S Stephen’s Solemn Mass Sunday, 10 am



Parish Profile – Holy Trinity, Tiverton

The Trinity Trader Thrift Shop is the signature ministry of Holy Trinity. The church is located along the beautiful Sakonnet River between great wealth to the south and great poverty to the north. The Trinity Trader Ladies are the backbone of the church who serve both rich and the poor. The poor can come to the Trinity Trader with no money and are given the items they need free of charge. The Trinity Trader Ladies are angels because the poor always leave the Thrift Shop with their dignity and pride intact.
Holy Trinity, 1956 Main Road, Tiverton, 401-624-4759; the Rev. John Higginbotham, rector; Bishop’s visitation March 22. website

Parish Profile – St. Mary’s, Portsmouth

“A community of Christian worship, well-being, and service” is the mission statement at St. Mary’s. And members are reminded through worship that God’s love and Jesus’s teachings are for their spiritual well-being and a model for service.
In 2019, St. Mary’s adopted “Invite Welcome Connect” as a way to share our mission with others. It’s not a program, but a way of shifting our church culture toward a focus on evangelism, hospitality and empowering the laity for ministry. We have done things from putting up a new sign, flying a rainbow flag alongside our Episcopal Church flag and improving our website, to hosting community-wide events like “Trunk-or-Treat” and Sacred Ground, a race and faith series. We have retrained our greeters to welcome members and guests, with special invitations and welcome bags for first-time guests. We have worked hard to find opportunities for current and new members to engage in our community. Leaders listen carefully for members’ needs and gifts. New and seasoned members come together in ministry — whether in Bible study, race-and-faith dialogue circles, the soup kitchen, children’s ministry, the altar guild or almost anything we do.
St. Mary’s, 324 East Main Road, Portsmouth; 401-846-9700; the Rev. Jennifer Pedrick, rector; Bishop’s visitation February 23. website

Church Profile: St. Augustine’s, Kingstown

St. Augustine’s, on the edge of the University of Rhode Island (URI) campus, was formed as a mission to the URI community in the 1950s. College ministry continues to be at the heart of our mission today. We host a monthly Feed a Friend event for students. Begun by former Chaplain Jan Grinnell a few years ago in part because students said they missed home-cooked meals, this has become a great opportunity for St. A’s members to engage with and get to know students better. And we get to show off our culinary skills! Deacon Rob Izzi is a volunteer coach for the URI Rams football team, so we also have opportunities to befriend, pray for and support the football team members.
We also house the Rhody Outpost, the student food pantry. Sadly, what we know is that across the country at our state universities, 35 percent of the student population is challenged by food insecurity. Rhody Outpost aims to reduce the impact of food insecurity at URI, and is open twice a week. This year, we opened a student Coffee Lounge, which welcomes both Outpost participants and students just wandering in for a cup of free freshly made coffee.
St. Augustine’s, 15 Lower College Road, Kingston; 401-783-2153; the Rev. Beth Sherman, vicar; Bishop’s visitation March 1. website