October 2, 2019

Belonging with Purpose – Annual Convention Eucharist Invitation

Dear Clergy Companions in Christ: We are looking forward to our 235th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut this October 26-27 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. The Convention will include an ECCT-wide Eucharist on Sunday, October 27 beginning at 11:00 a.m. with a wonderful diocesan-wide breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. We are calling our time together on Sunday, “We’ve Come This Far By Faith.” This celebration marks both our common life as the Episcopal Church in Connecticut over the centuries as well as the work we have accomplished in the first year of our Season of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation.

Gracing us at our Convention Eucharist on October 27 as our preacher will be the Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, Resigned of the Diocese of Massachusetts. As you know Bishop Harris was the first woman ordained to the episcopate in the Anglican Communion; and this year we celebrate with her the 35th anniversary of her ordination as bishop. Bishop Harris is an inspiring and engaging preacher who will call us to live the loving, liberating, life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“We’ve Come This Far By Faith” is an exciting opportunity for us to gather together as a united diocesan Body of Christ for faithful and inspiring worship. This celebration is free and open to all in ECCT and beyond. It is our hope that there will be participants in this joyful celebration from every parish and worshiping community across ECCT. If every parish and worshiping community sends 12 people, we will quickly fill all two thousand available seats. Please register for “We’ve Come This Far by Faith” at: https://conventionworship2019.eventbrite.com 

Some clergy and lay leaders across ECCT are inquiring how to handle services in their local congregations for those who will not be attending our worship in Hartford. After discussing the matter with the Convention Planning Team, we suggest the following possibilities. It is up to you in your own contexts and congregations to decide the best way forward.

Morning Prayer

As many of us recall, previous to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Morning Prayer was the principal service in most congregations on Sunday mornings. If a clergy person will not be available to your parish because of attendance at “We’ve Come This Far By Faith” a layperson could lead Morning Prayer. To this end, Bishop Ian offered a workshop for laity at Spring Training on how to lead Morning Prayer. With a little preparation, a layperson or a team of laypeople are easily empowered to lead Morning Prayer, and deliver a sermon or homily for those gathered.

Early Morning Eucharist

For those of you within a one-hour drive of Hartford — which is more than half of our parishes — another option is to hold an early morning Eucharist for those who will not be joining us in Hartford. (We appreciate that many ECCT parishes hold an early morning Eucharist already so this would not be an additional service.) This option allows enough time, after worship, for clergy to drive to Hartford for the 11:00 a.m. Eucharist at the Convention Center.

Live-Streamed Worship

Our Convention Planning Team will have a live video stream of the worship service on Sunday morning. After holding a worship service (whether Morning Prayer or an early morning Eucharist), parishioners might gather together to watch the worship service as it unfolds in Hartford. Bishop Harris’ sermon is sure to inspire. While the distribution of communion in the local context is not a part of this viewing, it is an excellent opportunity to gather together with other parishes nearby to watch the service and share fellowship. The service bulletin will be made available for people to follow along and join in prayer. This is a great collaborative option and we recognize that not all churches or parish halls are technically equipped for projecting a live video stream. If you are able to live-stream the service, please provide the Rev. Adam Yates, Secretary of Convention, with your contact information so that we are able to communicate this option to all of the people in ECCT. We encourage you to reach out to you others in your Region as well. If you have questions about Convention and its worship service on Sunday, October 27, please be in touch with the Convention Planning Team by contacting Adam Yates (ayates@episcopalct.org) or either of us. We look forward to celebrating with you on October 27! Please do everything in your power to attend “We’ve Come this Far By Faith.” It is an important opportunity both to worship together as the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and to be inspired by one of the great and historic leaders of the Church: Bishop Barbara Harris,

Faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas         The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens

Bishop Diocesan Bishop Suffragan

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