CT House Passes Historic Police Reform Bill

The state House of Representatives passed a sweeping police reform bill by an 86-58 margin Friday morning after a long and passionate overnight debate. The state Senate is scheduled to debate the bill next week. The wide-ranging bill covers government immunity for police, justified use of deadly force and would give more power to civilians to review police actions.
Republican legislators put forth an amendment that would have stripped the governmental immunity change from bill from the final draft, but it was defeated in a tie 72-72 vote, with seven legislators not voting. 
Prior to the passing of the bill, Connecticut faith leaders and communities have been amplifying support for police accountability, including the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Check out this article here.

We Cannot Be Silent

Statement from the Bishops
of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut
Thursday, May 28, 2020
God, who can turn our worries into wings of joys and our sorrows into songs of thanks, let not our hearts be so troubled by the tragedies of this life‘s moment that we lose sight of the eternal life in your kingdom. Give comfort and solace to our companions who suffer almost unbearable losses every second, minute, and hour in our nation and world. Strengthen our resolve to replace hatred with love, tension with trust, and selfishness with caring and community. Heal, O God, all our children so that those who hate and those who are hated, those who hurt and those who are hurt, may grow up in an America and in a world of peace, opportunity, and justice. Amen.
Marian Wright Edelman, Guide My Feet, Prayers and Meditations for Our Children,
p. 142 (modified)
Dear Companions in Christ,
As we continue to live into all of the challenges that the global COVID-19 pandemic has added to our lives, we find our emotions are heightened and our resilience is being tested. The Church Pension Fund in their presentation on The Emotional Life-Cycle of a Disaster highlights that we are in the stage when feelings of sadness, grief, despair, and disillusionment consume our lives. In this difficult time, we are also witnessing that those who are marginalized and oppressed in our society are being further pushed to the margins as social, economic, political, and racial divisions become exacerbated.
Racism and the resulting violence against people of color perpetrated by those who have power in our nation and state has led recently to the tragic and inexcusable deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, Jose Soto in Connecticut, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Such violence is unacceptable and contrary to the will of God and the promise of justice and freedom central to our country’s ideals. We must not let the realities of COVID-19 distract us from speaking out against, and working to dismantle, the forces of racism and white supremacy that continue to infect our lives and our nation. It is that very inaction and silence that feed into the legacy of white supremacy. Silence is complicity and we must not participate in the forces of evil that divide us.
The Episcopal Church in Connecticut is committed to the work of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation. For us to be the Beloved Community in Jesus that we are committed to becoming, we must act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). To be the Beloved Community, we must believe and act in a way that recognizes that every person is created in the image of God. It also means that we will speak out when we see the dignity of another person being disrespected. And it means that we will do our personal work to address our own places of both privilege and prejudice. ECCT is in the beginning stages of planning an offering related to this work and will have more information to share in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, we encourage you to explore important opportunities for us to become the Beloved Community God calls us to be in our neighborhoods and our nation, such as those provided by the Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. As we live into this time of heightened emotions, we invite you to pray and reflect on who God is calling us to be and then recommit to dismantling the racism manifested in our midst.
The injustice against people of color we have seen in recent weeks is not tolerable. It is contrary to the will of God and our Christian witness. We must speak up. We must work for change. And we must repent for the ways we are complicit in the ongoing violence in our society. We do this work together. We do this work for God. And we do this work so that all God’s people may know safety, hope, and love.
In Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens Bishop Diocesan Bishop Suffragan

Medical Equipment Lending Program

Elliott Sloyer is working on starting a volunteer run “lending library” for Durable Medical Equipment (DME) called Wheel It Forward.  
DME includes things like wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, crutches knee scooters etc… The average piece of DME has a lifespan of 5-10 years but is only used for 4 months. Also, out of pocket expenses for DME are very high assuming that insurance medicare or medicaid would even cover it, which they often do not.  
Elliott has secured some donated warehouse space for our launch in June (pandemic permitting) and he asks if any of the Interfaith Council churches, mosques, or synagogues might have space where he could run the day to day operations from. 
He would likely need between 1500 – 2500 square feet. The space does not to be “finished” but access to water and electricity would be necessary. Elliott’s contact number is below.  He has been running this out of his garage for roughly 5 months and the ability to make a significant impact in our community (and beyond) is compelling.  
Elliot Sloyer’s phone number is: 203-705-1600
Thank you! 

COVID-19 Letter from the Director of Public Safety, Health & Welfare, City of Stamford​

Good Morning Everyone, With the number of positive COVID-19 cases on the rise here in Stamford we are asking for your assistance in ensuring that our messages and COVID-19 information is disseminated throughout the community.  There is a lot of COVID-19 information available on the City of Stamford Website  https://www.stamfordct.gov/   Please take the time to review the site as there is a lot of important information. As the Director of Public Safety, Health and Welfare is am asking that we work together on putting the proper messaging out to the community.  We need you to be in contact with your direct groups. Residents who want an appointment to get tested in Stamford – including those without health insurance or a primary care physician – can call the City’s dedicated COVID-19 Testing hotline at 833.508.8378. This hotline is operated seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are no issues regarding immigration status and lack of insurance to access treatment. If you need non-emergency assistance related to COVID-19 or have questions residents can dial 203-977-4050. Please refer to the City of Stamford website and take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the services and information. https://www.stamfordct.gov/covid19  If there are any questions/or concerns please reach out to me through Kathy Ruther at kruther@stamfordct.gov who will bring issues to my attention. I am available 24/7 however, at this time this is the best way for timely contact. You can also call me in the office at 203-977-4151 or on my cell 203-424-4354.  Please again be aware that we are dealing with many issues and I may not be available to pick up immediately. However, I will follow up asap. Let’s keep working together as a community.  We cannot be everywhere or see everything.  We do rely on our community partners to identify issues that need to be addressed. Thank you for joining together in supporting the Stamford Community at large during this horrific health emergency. Thank you.Respectfully,Ted JankowskiDirector of Public Safety, Health & WelfareW 203-977-4151

Sunday Eucharist Is Canceled

Sunday Eucharist Is Canceled

St. John's Church
Dear Parish Family:
Given the ever changing landscape connected to the spread of the Coronavirus, and upon the recommendation of our Bishops in the ECCT, the Vestry and Clergy of Saint John’s Church have canceled all worship services until Sunday March 29th. In addition to this, the parish office will be closed for the foreseeable future, and most of our staff will be working from home. All group activity at Saint John’s Church is canceled until further notice; this also applies to outside groups and ministries using our facilities. Social distancing is being encouraged for everyone, in order to curb the spread of COVID -19. 
Fr. Sandy, and I will be available should anyone need urgent pastoral care, and support. I will be working with Fr. Sandy, and Sean Jackson, to explore media options to keep us all connected in prayer, and faithful service to our Lord. This is a new experience for all of us, but we are a people of faith, the Body of Christ, and during this time of Lent, we will make our desert journey with our eyes placed on the time of Resurrection to come. We will get through this worldwide pandemic sustained by our faith, and prudent choices. 
During this time of uncertainty, please check our FB page, website, and E-Blasts, for updates. E-Blasts will be forthcoming with updated news. For those who can only be reached by telephone, we ask that you make this known by calling Ms. Kathy McBride, our Parish Administrator, at the church. The parish telephone number is (203) 348-2619. If no one is available to answer your call, please leave a message, we will get back to you. 
Let’s all keep ourselves in prayer. The following prayer is most appropriate:
Dear God:
In this time of uncertainty and fear, help us be love, mercy, and peace for ourselves and for others as we face coronavirus in the Unites States and around the world.
Help us hold close in our hearts those who have died, and their loved ones who mourn them.
Those who are sick or are trying to seek medical care.
Those who don’t have paid sick leave, benefits, or job security.
Those whose schools have closed and don’t have access to food, safe homes, or technology.
Those can’t travel to be with loved ones who are ill or dying.
Those who are facing discrimination and harassment because of their ethnicity.
Those who are struggling with loneliness during this time of social isolation.
Those who are frightened and losing hope.
Help us find joy, however small it seems.
Help us remain hopeful.
Help us remember that “All shall be well, for there is a force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go.” Amen.
In closing, I have every confidence that we as a parish family will get through this pandemic, reflecting the ever shining face of the Christ. God’s grace, mercy, and peace be upon us, as we face this challenging time.
In the Love of our Lord,
The Rev. Wilfredo Benitez
The Rev. Wilfredo Benitez
Priest In Charge (PPIC)
Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Stamford, CT.
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received–only what you have given.”
~ Francis of Assisi
“My life is but a fraction of a nanosecond in Eternity, and even that’s an illusion.”
~ Wilfredo Benitez