March 2018


Thursday, March 29, 2018                                


Message from Kelly


Journeying through Holy Week


Dear friends: Today is Maundy Thursday, and we are in the middle: Holy Week is leading us, alongside Jesus and his disciples, right to the foot of the cross.


We are well into the task we took on at Palm Sunday, when we prayed:


Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Today, we worship at 10 am in Ashland: We recall Jesus’s mandate (that’s where “Maundy” comes from) to love one another. We celebrate his gift of Eucharist/Holy Communion/the Lord’s Supper. And we strip the altar, in preparation for the desolation of Good Friday.


On Friday, we’ll say Morning Prayer in Ashland at 9:30, and hold the Good Friday Liturgy of the Word at noon in Plymouth, in Griswold Hall.


If these daytime services are out of sync with your work or other obligations, here’s a thought: about half an hour up Interstate 93, our sisters and brothers at the Church of the Messiah in North Woodstock will be worshipping at 7 pm both days.


Or—right from a computer, tablet, or smartphone—the Brothers of the Society of St John the Evangelist (SSJE) offer a way, day by day, to pray your way through Holy Week, with selections of music, sermons, videos, and photographs: click here to view.


You might be asking yourself: Is it worth the trouble, getting through that much church on the way to Easter?


Walking that road is the only way to find where it will take you.


Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Blessed Easter, when it comes.




Thursday, March 22, 2018


Message from Kelly


Entering Holy Week


This Sunday, Palm Sunday, marks the start of our walk with Jesus and his disciples, into Jerusalem, to the table at the Last Supper, to the cross, and to the tomb. Easter will come, but not right away. Let the week take as long as it takes, and take each day as it comes.


There are opportunities to worship together on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the coming week, before Easter comes. (See the schedule elsewhere in this email.) If those times can’t fit into your timetable, consider making time to read the scripture appointed for each day of Holy Week. The Lectionary Page (click here) makes those readings easy to find. Forward Movement offers Daily Prayer services at


And even if you’ve managed to keep a Lenten practice since Ash Wednesday, it can be very tempting to let Easter sneak in early…especially so if there are guests expected (including the Easter Bunny), or a special meal that needs attention. Be patient. Pay attention to the rhythm and pace of Holy Week; watch and wait and pray. We’re nearly there. Don’t rush past these last days in the wilderness, even if shortcuts tempt. As the order for Morning Prayer invites us to pray every Friday:


Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.





Thursday, March 15, 2018


Message from Kelly


As I write this on Wednesday morning, I’ve just returned from Plymouth Regional High School, to stand (with about a dozen other supportive adults) alongside the many, many students who walked out into the falling snow at 10 a.m., for 17 minutes, one month after 17 teenagers died in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.


Speaking to their peers at PRHS, students acknowledged that humanity is violent…and yet they had the wisdom to set alongside that sad fact the truth they have been learning together since preschool: It’s better to “use your words.” And they voiced their deep aspirations to act in love, to create community, and to not merely dream of a world where the next generation could learn and grow without fearing for their lives…but to act. A young woman sang “God Bless America,”  and they went safely back into school, to learn, to care for each other, and to plan.


And all the while, as these young adults spoke with passion and sincerity of the better world they will create, the joyful sounds of elementary students playing outside drifted over to where we stood. That’s what we want, for all children, whether they’re 7 years old, or 17: to grow up, knowing they are safe and loved.


On Tuesday, 7,000 pair of children’s shoes were placed on the lawn of the Capitol in Washington, DC. Each pair held the place of a child killed by gun violence since 20 children and 6 adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Yes, we can pray for God to bless this nation. But God calls us to bless each other, too. Not to wield power over each other, but to bless, and lift up, and love each other.


If all this brings you to a place where you feel called to act, the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire has many resources on the diocesan website about resisting gun violence. The March e-news from the Diocese has information about participating in a March 24 "March for Our Lives." And by clicking here, you can read a “Lament for a Culture of Gun Violence” written by Bishop Rob. I’ve been praying it daily, and invite you to do the same.


In the lament, +Rob offers this petition: “O Blessed God of the prophets, if we cannot shout in the streets in our agony and rage, guide us to have the honest difficult conversations about what truly drives our fears.” As our walk with Jesus through Holy Week draws closer, we will need to hold fast to our faith that darkness and violence will not triumph, that God’s love is stronger than death, and stronger than all our fears. But (as the Prayers of the People have reminded us each Sunday in Lent) we do have fears. Holy Week, when it comes, invites us to gather in community, to look our fears in the face, and to give them over to God, in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection.





Thursday, March 8, 2018


Message from Kelly+


Snow is falling all over New England as I write this Wednesday night. Even after living in New Hampshire for more than a decade, some part of me still expects March to be “spring.” A Virginia spring, that is, with the crocuses already over and daffodils well on their way.  Some part of me (even though I’ve seen serious April snows these past years) is surprised to be shoveling and scraping and sliding through snow this time of year. Spring snow, I’ll admit, can try my patience.


And what is it that makes this sort of weather feel off-kilter, even though I know it’s not? Which cluster of expectations might I shift? Do I practice thinking that “March is winter,” so that March snow stops feeling odd to me, just more “winter” weather in a “winter” month? March is full of so many other things that say “spring,” though, not the least of it is the returning light. Perhaps I’d be better off letting it finally sink in that snow can be “spring” weather in this part of the world.


Of course, the snow is going to keep falling (in March, and probably in April, too) no matter what I tell myself. Although I’ve managed to be cured of the Southern habit of stockpiling bread and milk at the first sign of a flake, I may well never stop being surprised by spring snow. And I doubt I’ll ever get used to waiting as long as we do around here for the spring flowers to arrive.


But arrive they will, just as Lent is moving on towards Easter, slowly but steadily. We’re not out of the wilderness yet…and that’s ok. If you’ve lost touch with the intention you set for yourself this Lenten season, it’s not too late to pick it up. Stick with the process,

and we’ll find ourselves singing “Alleluia” again, not a moment too soon.






Thursday, March 1, 2018


Message from Kelly+


Last Sunday’s weather turned our principal service in Ashland into a very select gathering.

The snow storm got to Concord first, keeping organist Ash and his family safe at home.

Some quick work on the altar guild’s part (Thank you, Jean Murphy) re-arranged the

worship set-up into the pattern we use at the Thursday morning healing Eucharist at

St. Marks, with a small altar set directly across from the choir pews. The 15 or so folks

who gathered to worship took seats in the choir and the next two pews…and for almost

everyone, that meant sitting somewhere (and next to someone) new.


The same thing happened after the service: lured by warm coffee and warm lemon sauce

(for Jean’s blueberry cake), folks found new table-mates at coffee hour.

And sitting beside someone new generated, I’m sure, some fresh conversations and

budding connections. (Folks who worship at Griswold Hall on Sunday mornings have already

experienced the furniture re-arranged for Lent, and the changed perspective that’s bringing.)


There’s nothing wrong with having a favorite place to sit in worship. Nothing at all. In fact,

I suspect that I could tell you roughly where I sat in every church I’ve been a member of,

from my childhood Lutheran church in Charlottesville, Va. onwards.


I invite you, though, especially now in Lent, to find a way and a reason to sit somewhere new,

and to sit beside someone new, at church. That may mean coming to worship during the week,

in our new chapel space in the CLC, or at St Mark's. It may make taking a seat at the table

for the Lent study Deacon Maryan is leading on Tuesday mornings. Why? Well, quite literally,

doing so will more than likely give you “a fresh perspective. ” And who knows what insights

that might bring.