Hello, Saints James and Andrew youth and families!
My name is Reynolds Whalen, and I’m copying Julie Carew on this email. Julie and I are the new Youth Ministry Co-Leaders for our church! We are excited to begin having regular activities and building a fun and dynamic youth group.
To kick things off, we will be hosting several events this summer. But we need your help! Please fill out this short survey to let us know what you’re interested in doing.
Oh, and below is a bit about us so you can get to know us better!
Looking forward to seeing you soon,
Reynolds and Julie
Dear People of Saints James and Andrew,
We are overjoyed that in this Eastertide, as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, conditions will soon allow us to resume limited in-person worship. The last year has been hard in many ways, but despite the challenges we’ve faced, we have demonstrated resilience as a faith community. We have all learned much more than we ever thought we might need to about navigating technology in order to participate in virtual worship, coffee hour, and the like.
Many of you will remember having difficulty hearing when attending worship in the main sanctuary prior to the pandemic. Others will remember what difficulty we had with sound as we began to livestream our worship from the chapel and main sanctuary during the early days of the pandemic. The clergy and vestry have spent considerable time and energy trying to resolve these issues over the last year; our investigations have brought us to the conclusion that we must look to the future and invest in an entirely new and comprehensive sound and video system.
Vestry Members Andy Levchuk and Reynolds Whalen took on leadership of the project and met with two vendors as we explored our options, and we were immediately taken by the outstanding work Small Town Sound and Photo has done with other area churches, including St. Francis Episcopal Church in Holden, Massachusetts. (If you want to get an idea of what our new livestream worship will look and sound like, we encourage you to watch a service of St. Francis’ here.) The Vestry has voted to accept Small Town Sound’s proposal to install a new system costing $15,000; it’s our hope that the installation work will begin soon.
We feel called to undertake this large scale capital improvement in order to provide a quality livestream worship experience long after the pandemic fades away. We have come to understand live streaming to be an important way that we can include those who for various reasons are not able to worship with us in person: we see it as a tool for pastoral care and for spreading the good news of God’s love well beyond Franklin County.
This project will enhance the worship experience of both those who are gathered in person and those who are watching from home. We are drawing from our savings accounts to initially cover these expenses.
We invite parishioners and friends of the parish to prayerfully consider making a special one-time gift to this project, in thanksgiving for God’s blessing as we resume in-person worship. It is our goal to raise $15,000 and replenish our savings during this year in which we are already facing a deficit budget.
If you are moved to make a contribution, we encourage you to send donations earmarked for ‘sound/video’. We also can accept donations through our website.
You will find a video from Vestry member Reynolds Whalen on Facebook, who will help lead a new team of Digital Ministers, explaining this project in a bit more detail. We encourage you to watch it to learn more.
Thank you for your faithfulness throughout this past year, and for your generosity as we seek to invest in the future ministry and worship of our faith community.
Clergy & Vestry of Saints James and Andrew
A sock ministry that has grown out of a gift from Bombas
By Doris McLeod, Whitney's Pantry
This does not seem to be the year to experience abundance. Most things seem diminished, lacking, scarce. But I did have an unusual experience of abundance that I want to share with you – I unpacked 1000 pairs of socks! And not for the first time, and not for the last – which is even more amazing. SsJA has been approved for the third year to be a giving-partner for Bombas socks. And they don’t do “small donation” – it means 1000 pair, or more.
Bombas is a trendy sock company that advertises a lot on the internet and sells a lot of socks. But they have an unusual business plan – giving away a pair of socks for each pair sold. The socks that they give are not left-overs, unpopular colors, etc., but socks specifically designed for folks living on the margins of our society. The company consulted with shelters in the design – quick-drying synthetic, all black, comfortable, stretchy, and very sturdy. They must be given, not sold or raffled or whatever.
Whitney’s Pantry offers them every month and Steve Houghton fills his backpack when he goes out on the street, but 1000 pair is a lot of socks. So this year we have reached out to other agencies to offer bags of socks for them to distribute to folks we will never see. We are the only giving-partner in Franklin County, so I contacted the food pantries in West County – Shelburne Falls, Charlemont, and Ashfield. Then Montague Catholic Social Ministries and the Survival Center in Turners Falls.
Then our downstairs neighbors at Tapestry and the Wells St. Shelter and the Living Room. All were surprised (“new socks?”), and very grateful. And when this year’s shipment comes, we’ll do it all over again! Hallelujah!
You may regard your socks as a very minor concern, but that assumes that you have plenty of socks as well as shoes and boots that don’t leak and keep your feet warm.