Prayer Vigil for Dreams on Monday, March 19, 2018: Notice from Council of Churches

Prayer Vigil for Dreamers on Monday

Notice from Council of Churches

Monday, March 19, 12-1pm
Grace Episcopal Church
106 Lowell Street, Manchester, NH 03104

President Trump will visit Manchester on Monday, March 19 to visit our excellent Safe Station locations that treat people with opioid addiction.

While he's in town, join us at Grace Episcopal Church, 106 Lowell Street, for a Prayer Vigil: we will pray that the President will find it in his heart to take strong action to protect all our Dreamers, including the 400 who live right here in NH. We also pray that the President will extend support to all our hard working immigrant neighbors who contribute so much to our economy and our well-being as a nation.

Please share this email with your church, your community and anyone who might want to come. Alternatively, you can share or invite your Facebook friends with this link.

As usual we will hold our Jericho Walk prayer vigil on Tuesday, March 20 at 8:30am at the Norris Cotton Federal Building at 275 Chestnut Street in Manchester.


Lament for a Culture of Gun Violence

A Lament for a Culture of Gun Violence

Written by the Right Reverend A. Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop of New Hampshire

Most holy God, source of all being, of all hope, of all life. We confess our worship of unholy things fashioned not by you, but by our own hands,

Have mercy on us

We confess our fascination with guns and weapons that have for far too long claimed the lives of the undefended, the vulnerable, and especially children who have been wounded and killed in acts of random terror in a nation founded on the promise to protect life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Have mercy on us

We confess our attachment to the means of violence and bloodshed claiming that they alone can protect and save us (from) those who wish us harm.

Have mercy on us

 We confess that we have not kept our eyes from watching what is worthless, allowing the imagination of our hearts to be misshapen by media, film, and games that glorify violence and trivialize the dignity of human life.

Have mercy on us.

We confess our lack of courage and clarity in public policies that too often weigh individual rights over the common weal

Have mercy on us

We confess how we have too often appealed to your name and that of the name of Jesus to justify our right to defend and protect, even when you gave up your defenses and even died on the cross to rise and again, destroying the powers of sin and death.

Have mercy on us

We confess how we have allowed the gods of merchandising and consumerism to drown out the cries of the injured and the grieving.

Have mercy on us

 We confess how the epidemic of gun deaths among blacks in our society is mostly overlooked or ignored, even accepted, and do not result in the same outcry and outrage as the slaughter of white children.

Have mercy on us.

We confess that we have ascribed to the facile lie that “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” when what we need are more loving households, more caring neighbors, better funded and equipped schools, and hearts that hear your Gospel message of love and forgiveness.

Have mercy on us

O Blessed God of our deliverance, unfetter us all from the grip of the unholy trinity of poverty, racism, and guns.

Good Lord, deliver us.

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.

Good Shepherd, lead us

Dear God of Holy Community, teach us to find that the only weapons we truly need are the swords of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation. 

Holy One, defend us.

 Dear God of Resurrection, show us that by peacefully and boldly dwelling in your Holy Name of I AM, the militias of hatred and fear will step back and fall to the ground.

O Christ, hear us and raise us

Give us courage for the facing of this hour and to your honor and glory.



Statement by Bishop A. Robert Hirschfeld, February 16, 2018


On the evening of Shrove Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting with the Vestry of St. James’, Keene.  Afterwards we shared desserts as a way of celebrating “Mardi Gras” in advance of our Lenten fast.

During that time of fellowship, I had a chance to speak with Dr. Rudy Fedrizzi, Director of Community Health Clinical Integration at Cheshire Medical Center.  Rudy has been doing amazing work to promote health and wellness in Cheshire County through Healthy Monadnock Champions.

Rudy showed me a pamphlet that advertised a new initiative for gun safety that represents a partnership among St. James’ Social Justice Ministry, the Police Chiefs and departments of 15 area towns and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an organization that has long supported gun rights and happens to be located in Newtown, Connecticut.  This unusual, even unlikely partnership, promotes gun safety by making safety kits and gunlocks available at police stations, “no questions asked.”

I was impressed and amazed to see the list of these partners working for the safety of children.  A collaboration between a gun rights group and St. James’ Church, the home of the martyred Jonathan Daniels, for the sake of children represents a thin but important thread cast across one of the great chasms in our society.

And then Ash Wednesday in Parkland, Florida.  We saw the searing image of a mother holding another mother as they waited to learn if their children had escaped the carnage of yet another mass school shooting in America.  On the mother’s forehead was the distinct cross of ashes where she was earlier told, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”  On Thursday, I was told that members of Canon Kevin Nichols family knew those killed as classmates and teachers.

I join with the survivors of this mass shooting for a call to courageous action and resolve for change in our hearts and in the laws of our nation, blood soaked by these acts of massacres.  A statement from my sister and brother Bishops Against Gun Violence is attached.

May Christ, the Prince of Peace, give us courage to meet the challenges of this present age.


Here is a link to the statement by the Bishops Against Gun Violence:  HERE

Becoming Beloved Community - Day 1 of Lenten Series

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire is honored to partner with the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire to offer a collection of short readings on little known historic figures from New Hampshire’s African American community for the Episcopalians’ 2018 Lenten Program, beginning Ash Wednesday, February 14.  To read today's first story, click HERE.



Announcement to the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire

February 8, 2018

Dear Friends in Christ,

The Holy Spirit is often a disruptive force in our lives.  Today we are greeted with the announcement of the inclusion of the Rev. Canon Kevin Nichols on the slate of nominees for Bishop in the Diocese of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Below please read Kevin's message to us.

As Kevin is fond of saying, "this is a moment."  Indeed. It is a moment that calls for our prayers and support of Kevin, Patti, and their family, as well as for the Diocese of Bethlehem as they seek to listen and follow the Spirit's bidding.  May God supply them, and all of us, with the grace to meet the months ahead with the openness and courage to follow Jesus, in the knowledge that Jesus accompanies and guides us into peace and freedom.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,


A Message from the Rev. Canon Kevin D. Nichols

Dear Fellow Servants of the Church of New Hampshire,

This morning the Diocese of Bethlehem, PA announced their slate of candidates for their 9th Bishop. I am humbled and honored to find my name on that list. The Electing Convention will be April 28, 2018. For more information about the Diocese of Bethlehem Bishop search click here

A respected colleague who knows my strengths and hopes for the Wider Church stated to me this past August - "if you have any sense of call to be a Bishop - you need to consider the Diocese of Bethlehem."  I responded that I love my work as Canon for Mission Resources in the Church of New Hampshire.  Yet, throughout my life - just when I have become comfortable and sure of God's plan - I have been thrust into new moments of mission and ministry.  I then read their Profile.  The invitation be a part of "building something that we cannot see or know" brought me immediate curiosity and excitement.  What followed was more reading, reflection, prayer and checking in with Bishop Rob and others whom I trust and respect.  An emerging sense of call to this process grew deeper and more profound.

Perhaps God is calling me to use my gifts to serve the Church as the next Bishop of Bethlehem. I would be equally honored if I am called to continue to serve as COO / Canon for Mission Resources here in the Church of NH.  Whatever the outcome, the process has been a spiritual journey of great learning and growth.

I invite you to join me in praying for the Diocese of Bethlehem and all of the candidates who have offered themselves during this time of discernment.

In God's Love,



GUEST BLOG: Lenten Study, Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John

GUEST BLOG by Br. David Vryhof, Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE)

As we prepare for our Lenten journey, and the launch of our offering Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John, I am pleased to share with you a theological reflection by my brother Keith Nelson: Behold What You Are: Seeing Jesus & Ourselves in the Gospel According to John.

In this profound and personal reflection, Br. Keith traces how reading and praying with John’s Gospel can allow each of us to see the ordinary, challenging, and even painful events of our lives as signs imbued with meaning. 

"In John’s prologue, we hear whispers of Christ’s cosmic role: ‘All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people’ (Jn 1:3-4). This suggests that meaning is literally hidden in plain sight, and that Life and Light are never far beneath the surface of things. This is part of what makes John an especially illuminating path toward seeing Jesus and seeing ourselves as we read and pray with the Fourth Gospel. John wants to give us the Rosetta Stone to decipher that divine language, to make us light-bearers and life-revealers in a world hungry for meaning and thirsty for grace."  Read more >

We hope this reflection will whet your appetite for reading and praying with John's Gospel together over Lent. Click here to read more and to download the free pdf article.

For more information on the six-week offering, Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John, click here.

The Rev. Gail Avery: Our New Canon for Transition and Community Engagement

Bishop Rob Hirschfeld is pleased to announce the Rev. Gail Avery will be our new Canon for Transition and Community Engagement in The Episcopal Church of New Hampshire. He announced this new role, saying, "Gail's passion for building communities of love and justice is evident. She enjoys the admiration of the clergy of this diocese and brings the right assortment of gifts to carry the Jesus Movement forward in New Hampshire. We're looking forward to the bright energy she will bring into Diocesan House."

From the onset, the Rev. Gail Avery has been immersed in ministries that have crossed cultural, religious and economic barriers—expanding the boundaries of parish reach and giving voice to the most vulnerable in our midst. 

Gail earned her M.Div. at the Episcopal Divinity School with special competency in Anglican, Global and Ecumenical Studies and was noted by the Boston Theological Institute for her excellence in International Mission and Ecumenical Engagement.  Subsequently, she spent sevens years as maritime chaplain, bringing her face-to face with the daily struggles of seafarers far from home who frequent our New England ports. 

Gail has served three parishes in New Hampshire and spent the past three years as interim rector at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Dover.  Since 2008 she has acted as the Diocesan-appointed clergy delegate to Province One.  She also chairs the Reconciliation Commission that supports statewide social outreach and the Angola Committee spearheading parish partnering with on-the-ground global need within the diverse Anglican Community.  She was elected to the 2018 General Convention clergy deputation and serves as president of the board for William Lawrence Camp in Center Tuftonboro, NH. 

Throughout her priesthood, Gail has shared her work in the wider community, modeling a ‘coming alongside’ approach that she believes is intrinsic to all successful ministries.  Working inside and outside the institutional church, Gail has expanded her understanding of what it means to be church and deepened her love of what church is becoming.  She brings this perspective to her new appointment as Canon for Transition and Community Engagement as she creatively engages with congregations and wider church community.

Gail grew up in the Boston area and received her B.S. in Business Administration and Family Services from the University of New Hampshire.  She is married to Kirk Trachy, and they have three grown sons Samuel, Miles and Todd, and two young grandchildren Noemi and Lincoln.  Miles and Todd are serving in the United States Air Force based in San Antonio, Texas and Fussa, Japan, respectively.  An avid runner for the discipline it instills, a strong advocate of daily prayer for the guidance and wisdom it brings, and a lover of travel for the broader perspective on self it provides, she is committed to innovating the role church can play worldwide, starting locally.