Exploring Massachusetts

Ellen Stuart Kittle writes for the Diocese of Massachusetts:

At the building that once housed the Church of the Holy Spirit in Wayland, one chapter has ended and another is just beginning. The closed church has been sold to a Coptic Orthodox congregation, and Bishop Gayle E. Harris represented the Diocese of Massachusetts at the transfer of ecclesiastical authority on Feb. 24.

The Coptic Orthodox service incorporated Episcopal hymns and prayers, and was attended by more than 200 people, including many former members of the church, members of Diocesan Council and of the wider community. Harris, who officially read the transfer of ecclesiastical authority at the service, said that it was a moving experience to see the building passed to another community that would care for it.

“I spoke with a founding member of Holy Spirit, Wayland, who came up to me with tears in her eyes, and she said, ‘This is so beautiful. I was so sad, but now I see how much [the Coptic Orthodox congregation] loves this church, and I don’t feel bad anymore. Yes, I miss my church, but it’s going to be loved,’” Harris said.

… Hanna and the local Coptic Orthodox community hope to continue an ecumenical relationship with the Diocese of Massachusetts, Harris said. “They want us to keep being in touch with them. It’s not just an exchange of money or real estate, it’s an indwelling with each other,” she said. She called the transfer one of the highlights of her ministry.

“This is when we are at our best, when we recognize Christ in each other and are living out our baptismal vows,” she said. “We say, ‘Will you seek and serve Christ in every human being?’ and I can say in this service, the vow, the mission was accomplished. This is the way all things should be, and they’re often not, but in this moment we got a glimpse of what it can be.”

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