Category Archives: rowena

Who Is He?

December 20, 2015

This week I share with you a poem to ponder as we make ready to celebrate God’s gift of love to us.

It was a stone manger,
That place where he lay;
Not a fine oaken cradle,
But a box filled with hay.
His mother sang to him
Suckling her breast,
While shepherds came kneeling
At angels behest.
Is this the Messiah?
Not a king, but a child?
Just like our children
In a world just as wild.
Does God really want us
To follow this boy?
Can he be the Saviour
Who has not one toy?
The hopes of the world,
Invested in pain,
Will not bring another;
There’s nothing to gain
In pining and searching,
In warring and strife;
For God’s gift of love
Came in that helpless life.

Rev. John Shearman
Christmas 2003


The Kingdom Come!

November 13, 2015

The past few weeks have been troubling on many levels……a suspected terrorist attack on an airliner, a suicide bomber’s attack in a marketplace, strained economies and relations amidst an escalating refugee crisis in Europe, more school shootings here in the US, deadly road rage, student protests on university campuses nationwide, and more recently an increasing awareness of poverty and homelessness in our own community.  This is the kingdom on earth in which we live, and yet we are called to so much more:  to love each other, to serve each other and to seek first the kingdom of God.  Perhaps, R.S. Thomas’ vision of the kingdom can give us a glimpse of what together we should strive to attain until Christ returns.

The Kingdom by R. S. Thomas (1966)

It’s a long way off but inside it
There are quite different things going on:
Festivals at which the poor man
Is king and the consumptive is
Healed; mirrors in which the blind look
At themselves and love looks at them
Back; and industry is for mending
The bent bones and the minds fractured
By life. It’s a long way off, but to get
There takes no time and admission
Is free, if you purge yourself
Of desire, and present yourself with
Your need only and the simple offering
Of your faith, green as a leaf.


Feast of Francis of Assisi

October 4, 2015

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Francis of Assisi with the Blessing of the Animals and Choral Evensong at 5pm on Sunday, October 4th, 2015.  Below is an excerpt from Holy Women, Holy Men that tells us some of Francis’ story.  Enjoy!

“Francis, the son of a prosperous merchant of Assisi, was born in 1182. His early youth was spent in harmless revelry and fruitless attempts to win military glory.

Various encounters with beggars and lepers pricked the young man’s conscience, and he decided to embrace a life devoted to Lady Poverty. Despite his father’s intense opposition, Francis totally renounced all material values, and devoted himself to serve the poor. In 1210 Pope Innocent III confirmed the simple Rule for the Order of Friars Minor, a name Francis chose to emphasize his desire to be numbered among the “least” of God’s servants.

The order grew rapidly all over Europe. But by 1221 Francis had lost control of it, since his ideal of strict and absolute poverty, both for the individual friars and for the order as a whole, was found to be too difficult to maintain. His last years were spent in much suffering of body and spirit, but his unconquerable joy never failed.

Not long before his death, during a retreat on Mount La Verna, Francis received, on September 14, Holy Cross Day, the marks of the Lord’s wounds, the stigmata, in his own hands and feet and side. Pope Gregory IX, a former patron of the Franciscans, canonized Francis in 1228, and began the erection of the great basilica in Assisi where Francis is buried.

Of all the saints, Francis is the most popular and admired, but probably the least imitated; few have attained to his total identification with the poverty and suffering of Christ. Francis left few writings; but, of these, his spirit of joyous faith comes through most truly in the “Canticle of the Sun,” which he composed at Clare’s convent of St. Damian’s. The Hymnal version begins:

Most High, omnipotent, good Lord,
To thee be ceaseless praise outpoured,
And blessing without measure.
Let creatures all give thanks to thee
And serve in great humility.[1]

Join us this weekend to celebrate the blessings of Creation but especially our furry companions!

[1] The Church Pension Fund.  Holy Women, Holy Men.  2010. Pg.622.

New Beginnings

August 30, 2015

Excerpt from New Beginnings by Gertrude B. McClain

Although the cares of life are great
And hands are bowed so low  
The storms of life will leave behind  
The wonder of a rainbow.  
The years will never take away  
Our chance to start anew  
It’s only the beginning now
 So dreams can still come true.

It is a beautiful day in New Haven. The trees seem a bit greener and the sky much bluer as people hurry along. The city is bustling with activity! Why? Yale is welcoming the class of 2019 and the coffee shops, restaurants and the Green are filled with more excitedly expectant people than usual. In fact, we have had our fair share of guests touring the sanctuary and checking out the art exhibit! It pays to keep those red doors opened!

Perhaps, this is a metaphor for us and our relationship with Christ – being opened and available for the Spirit to come in, even in the midst of such busyness. Who knows what could happen or where we might be led! I pray that as we all prepare for an exciting fall at Trinity with many opportunities to deepen our faith and relationship with Christ and each other, that we will all have the courage to join God at work in this community in a new way.


Practice Resurrection

August 16, 2015

In honor of my first trip to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a poem by Kentucky farmer and poet, Wendell Berry, that challenges all of us to live the counter-culture life we are called to as Christians.  What would it mean for each of us to partner with God and practice resurrection rather than only believe in the resurrection?

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Blogger Questions

August 2, 2015

As I have mentioned previously, every morning I read a number of blogs from colleagues and friends across the church.  Today I was struck by five questions posed by the blogger on the RevGal Blog.
These questions, though simple, tugged at my inner core and challenged me to go just a little deeper.  They challenged me to reflect on my joys, my disappointments, my sorrows, my longings….the things that make me alive and human in community!  How do they resonate with you?  Do they challenge you to seek a deeper relationship with Christ or your neighbor?  Share your thoughts with me on Sunday or by email, if you wish.

Here are the questions:

 What is one thing bringing you joy today?

What is a disappointment you are experiencing today?

When you think about the past six months, when did your soul feel most awake?

When did you experience a sorrow or regret?

For what is your soul most longing?


Happy Birthday America

July 5, 2015

This weekend we celebrate two hundred and thirty-nine years of independence from Great Britain and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. There will be parades, fireworks, barbecues, family gatherings and even worship services giving thanks to God to celebrate this day.

This year we give thanks to God for the Supreme Court’s decision to honor the dignity of LGBT persons and their right to marry, as well as honest conversations about race and the symbolism of the Confederate flag, and the historic vote by our church to elect its first African-American Presiding Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry.

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into our united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [1]


[1] BCP pg. 820 Prayers for National Life.

Giving Thanks for Dad

June 21, 2015

Did you know that the first celebration of Father’s Day was in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910?  It was not until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day.  Therefore, on this Father’s Day weekend, let us celebrate and give thanks for our fathers, whether biological, adopted or step fathers.  Let us thank God for their love, support, guidance and even discipline.  Let us pray and ask God to change the hearts and minds of those who have been unable to fulfill their fatherly duties for whatever reason so that they may be reconciled with their children and families.

Loving God, Heavenly Father, we thank you for fathers. We thank you for biological fathers, adopted fathers, and fathers in spirit. We thank you for fathers who love and nurture children who are not their own, who teach us to be upright and courageous in adversity and make us strong enough to go out into the world.

We thank you for fathers who work hard every day to help fulfill the needs of their families, who fix broken things and teach us how to do it ourselves, who embrace us and guide us, who love us even when they don’t understand us. We know they reflect and embody your love for us as our heavenly Father.

Comfort those of us who miss our fathers this day, and strengthen and bless those fathers who work so hard to love, protect, and nurture their families this day and every day.  Amen.[1]



If You Lose Your Way in the Fog

June 6, 2015

On any given day I read numerous blogs and I thought I would share this one with you as we all go about our lives doing just one more thing in the fog of busyness.  Enjoy.


  • If the worst happens, and the fog gets so thick that you really can’t move an inch, try using these tactics:
  • Tell God, and maybe a human friend, how you feel, and ask them to pry you away from the negative force fields, even though you really want to stay where you are, in isolation.
  • Force yourself to make contact with other people; go to town, walk around the market, make yourself a meal, phone a friend, even though you don’t feel like doing any of these things.
  • Do just one thing that needs doing (perhaps some small practical task), and then enjoy the satisfaction of having done it. Give yourself a pat on the back; then look for the next “one thing.”
  • Make a deliberate effort to reach out to the need of another person, maybe someone with similar difficulties, even though you really don’t want to know about anyone else right now.
  • Pick up a project that really fired your imagination when you were in consolation. Let it refresh you with positive energy, even though you don’t actually want to do anything at all.
  • Stay with the decisions you made, the dreams you dreamed when in consolation, even though you really feel like giving up on life.
  • Remember moments of consolation when God seemed close to you, and reenact them in your mind, even though you are tempted to dismiss them.

– Excerpted from Inner Compass by Margaret Silf
– See more at:

The Rev. Rowena J. Kemp, Assistant Rector

The Rev. Rowena Kemp came to Trinity in November 2014 from the Middlesex Area Cluster Ministry (St Andrew’s, Northford; St James, Higganum; and Emmanuel, Killingworth) where she served as a Presbyter for the past year. Sponsored for ordination by Trinity St Michael’s in Fairfield, CT, Rowena was ordained a transitional deacon in June 2013 and a priest in December of 2013 by Bishop Ian Douglas.

A native of Nassau, Bahamas, Rowena received her BS from the College of Mt St Vincent in Biology, her MS in Clinical Research and her MPH in Health Policy & Management from the New York Medical College School of Health Sciences & Practices. She graduated with a Master of Divinity and Diploma in Anglican Studies from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in May 2013. While in seminary, Rowena served as a seminarian at Trinity Episcopal Church in Collinsville and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Newhallville.

Besides her ministry in the Middlesex Area Cluster Ministry, Rowena served as the Biorepository Manager for the Program of Applied Translational Research at the Yale School of Medicine for the past six and a half years and is currently the chaplain for Girls’ Friendly Society USA.

Rowena comes to us with an open heart and mind; eager to learn and share in Trinity’s ministry. Reflecting on this new ministry, Rowena notes, “I don’t know where this path will take me, but I know God will be with us, and I pray together we will continue to encounter the Risen Savior.”