Church of Our Saviour

21 Marathon Street | Arlington, Massachusetts | 781-648-5962

Reflections of your Rector

In June, I went to Grace Episcopal Church in Salem to check out a monthly worship service called, “The Young and the Restless.” I was impressed and excited. Designed for young children and their families, this service was 25 minutes long, and included singing, a simplified Bible story, the peace, and an opportunity to receive Communion or a blessing. In short, it gave toddlers an age-appropriate introduction to the Eucharist. But more importantly, it helped children AND their families develop positive associations with spirituality. Librarians and parents know the value of library story hour. Listening to a story while cuddling in a parent’s lap helps children build associations between reading, feeling loved and having fun. Likewise, when children sit on a parents lap and sing and hear Bible stories together, the whole family develops positive associations with worship. A worship service like this can help children associate worship with being loved and held and valued.

I think Arlington would be a brilliant place for a worship service like the one they have in Salem. In our town, library sing-a-longs and story hours are so popular that you need to come early enough to get a ticket. There are strollers everywhere in Arlington, but not a lot in our church…yet. This year, I’ve been dreaming of a way to draw many more children and their families to our church.

Our faith is an enormous gift. I want people in Arlington to know that a relationship with God is joyful and life-giving. I want people in our town to know the blessings of being part of a faith community. I want people in Arlington to know you can be smart and progressive and questioning AND connect deeply with Christianity.

Before I came to Church of Our Saviour, you had already been working on plans for intentional growth. I think reaching out to young children could take your dreams for growth to the next level. Little children can’t get to church unless someone takes them. By reaching out to young children, we get to reach out to another generation at the same time: their parents. We also
reach out to siblings, and sometimes grandparents and other caregivers.

I dream of starting a monthly service for toddlers and their parents. But that is only the beginning. I dream of having a more robust program for welcoming new people. I dream of having more adult education opportunities so we can ALL deepen our relationship with God. I dream of making the outside of our building more beautiful so that our outside appearance better reflects the beauty I see inside our community. I dream of fixing the leaks and cracking stucco so we could give our church a fresh coat of paint. I see so much good in this parish, and so much potential.

Our vestry has been talking about a practical way of implementing these dreams. A three year plan could be helpful in turning these dreams into reality. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I am looking to talk with families with toddlers and babies. I would like to invite them (and you!) to help imagine what a service for young children might look like at COS. Please let me know if you have friends or neighbors who might be willing to talk with me. No commitment necessary!

Yours in Christ,

Malia

P.S. I want to tip my hat to the people of Church of Our Saviour for the amazing outpouring of generosity to the diocesan TogetherNow Campaign. We were challenged to raise $30,000. You blew me away by surpassing this goal… before we even had a chance to “pass the plate” on Commitment Sunday! All together, we raised over $41,000, which will support diocesan
initiatives too big for any one parish to do on its own. These include raising money for green grants, and replicating in areas of Massachusetts beyond Boston successful initiatives for youth and young adults like the B-SAFE program and Life Together Young Adult Intern program. Thank you for your amazing generosity. I hope this success will give us confidence for how much
we can accomplish together. May the Holy Spirit embolden us to become a brighter beacon of God’s welcome, love and justice in Arlington.

Our parish administrator, Helen Maxwell, is taking a much needed vacation. She will  be away from August 3 until August 22. The parish office will be closed those days. In case of administrative emergency, please contact our wardens, Chris Wilbur or Rose Udics,  or our rector, Malia.

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