Notes From Calvary


Liturgies this Sunday, December 23, 2018

Holy Eucharist, Rite I, at 8 AM
Holy Eucharist, Rite II & Christmas Pageant,  at 10 AM

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Dear Friends, 

As we enter the last Sunday of Advent, we are lifted to a place of rare spiritual courage through the song of Mary—The Magnificat. This glorious song comes from an unwed pregnant girl in an oppressive patriarchal society. It is outside our post-modern minds to truly appreciate the dire circumstances Mary embraced in her willingness to bear the Son of God in her womb. Mary’s courage, her strength and her joy within such a personally dangerous situation is truly the sign of God’s incarnation in a darkened world. 

What is God trying to say to us in putting Mary in such a vulnerable place? I believe, the perceived power of all our man-made rules, traditions and visions of the perfect life gets seriously challenged in Mary’s song. Her song tells us of an extraordinary vision she saw, it tells us of the freedom she felt from the power of oppressive rules and traditions, it proclaims courage found instead of fear, it proclaims joy found instead of sadness, It proclaims hope found instead of anxiety, and it declares that she truly understood love and mercy to be at the core of God’s nature.

The ramifications of The Magnificat cannot be heard or understood in one sitting. It needs to be chewed word by word, savored, inwardly digested and the process to start all over again for us to even scratch the surface of God’s sense of justice and mercy poised to transform everything as Mary understood.  Claims of The Magnificat are revolutionary and nothing less than miraculous. In it we see the realization of justice, mercy and welcome for and from those who have been relegated to perpetual insignificance giving rise to a new world that magnifies the Lord.

This is genuine courage and true faith—to be able to proclaim the glorious vision of The Magnificat by one on the brink of being ostracized. Let our hearts be filled with gratitude enough this Christmas to declare, “May soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

In Christ, 
Ajung Sojwal
December 21, 2018

We look forward to seeing you here at Calvary on Sunday!  Abundant blessings & best wishes.


Dear Sisters & Brothers at Calvary Church,

On the fourth Sunday of Advent this year, we are told the remarkable accounting of Mary's visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. Mary greets Elizabeth, and the child leaps in Elizabeth's womb. Elizabeth, overcome with joy, praises Mary's faithfulness exclaiming, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!" We know these words also in the prayer Ave Maria (Hail Mary), and in response Mary recites an astonishing song of praise, (Luke 1:46-55), “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . .”

The Latin word for ‘[he, she, it] magnifies’ is magnificat. Hence, we speak of Magnificat Sunday. And you likely know that innumerable composers have set that text to music. Maybe the most famous is Bach’s monumental, multi-movement setting, unsurprisingly called Magnificat. Have you ever wondered why there are so many musical settings of that text? Mary’s song is a prescribed text, sung as a canticle (a hymn or chant, typically with a biblical text, forming a regular part of a church service) at each Vespers (Evensong) service in the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican traditions, And for centuries, Vespers was (and still is) sung every single day in monasteries and cathedrals! That’s a lot . . . of Magnificat. And great composers responded to the need for new musical settings to break up the monotony of daily recitation or chanting of the same text.

This Sunday we hear the Magnificat in three distinct genres:

1) the organ prelude by Hamburg organist and composer Heinrich Scheidemann (1595-1663) offers two musical settings that were meant to be played in place of the odd verses of the chanted Magnificat text at Lutheran Vespers in the 17th century. The choir, or schola as they were called, would chant just the word Magnificat. Then the organ would play a verse based on the same tune to represent the next bit of text, followed by another bit of chant, and then organ, and then chant, until the end of the text was sung. The idea was to spice things up and develop new ways of presenting a chant that was repeated day after day after day. As a result, there are thousands of organ verses (called 'versets') for the Magnificat and hundreds upon hundreds of choral settings.

2) The next presentation of Mary’s song is during the Service of the Word, in place of the psalm. We will hear a plainsong, or chanted setting with a modern organ accompaniment by the late Alec Wyton, one of the chief architects of our Hymnal 1982; and

3) lastly read as the day's Gospel scripture.

Further, as Elizabeth praises Mary with words found also in the Ave Maria text, I thought it fitting that the choir should sing an Ave Maria setting by Malcolm Archer (b. 1952) at communion.

You would again hear Mary’s song if you were to attend our Solemn Epiphany Evensong and Organ Recital on January 6th in celebration of the Rev's Alfred Tisdale and Alan Murchie, and the one-year-to-the-day anniversary of the dedicatory recital of our magnificent (hmm, that word root again!) Richards, Fowkes & Co. pipe organ. At that time, the magnificat canticle will be sung by our amazing treble choristers in an ebulient, challenging setting from 1964 by British conductor and composer Christopher Robinson (b. 1936). Stay tuned for more information about that day’s musical offerings.

Matthew Provost
December 21, 2018

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Save The Date!


January 6, 2019 from 5-6:15 p.m.

Organ Recital & Solemn Choral Evensong at Calvary Church

All are invited to an Organ Recital by Dr. Matthew Provost celebrating the One-Year Anniversary of our Richards, Fowkes & Co pipe organ dedication, followed by Solemn Choral Evensong to bless and dedicate new kneelers offered in thanksgiving for the ministries of The Rev. Dr. W. Alfred Tisdale, Jr. and The Rev. Alan Murchie, both of whom will attend. 

Reception to follow in the Parish Hall.

Mark Your Calendars!

Annual Parish Meeting: January 20, 2019
After the combined service at 9 am

Advent is Here!



Mark your calendars!

December 24th, 2018

 Holy Eucharist & Service of Lessons and Carols
5 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.

December 25th, 2018

Christmas Day Eucharist at 9 a.m.



Baptismal Font Update

Thank you to all who have contributed to making our Baptismal Font more safe. It is now safer to move for the Altar Guild and Sexton as and when needed for special occasions. Please know that only the Altar Guild and Sexton can move the font to ensure safety for all.



Calvary Sunday Brunch Bunch

We had a lovely time with new friends who found us on our website (see above picture!).

Anyone who is on their own or without family are invited to gather for lunch at Breakwater @ 11:45 on Sunday, January 13, 2019. No reservations necessary. Good food, good company and good conversation. This is being sponsored by the Prayer and Care Team

Please contact Barbara Loftus @ or 

860.599.5732 for more details.

All are welcome.


Youth Group Update!

The Youth Group is a new formation to offer kids more opportunities for service, fellowship, and christian education. All kids are invited to participate in whatever aspect of this group appeals to them. They are welcome at any time at any event! Please let me know if you will be able to help with any of the above projects.

Thank you.

Contact Brenda Hultgren for additional information,

Calvary Church Ministry
of Spiritual Formation

Discovering a closer relationship with God

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

asks Mary Oliver... 

She is a past poet laureate who challenges us to be curious, to understand our purpose and to explore ideas that sometimes scare us a little. You are invited to join us in a year of spiritual exploration that we hope will lead us to a more intimate understanding of God. This is an opportunity to keep our faith journey ongoing. 

Three small groups  meet once a week for an hour and leadership is rotated.  Topics are determined by each group.  We just completed studying Gift of the Spirit by Christopher.  Our next books are  Mary Magdelene by Cynthia Bourgeault,  Into the Silent Land, the Practice of Contemplation by Martin Laird and /or The Gifts of Years, Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittester.

You are invited to join a group. For more information please contact Karen McGee at

Ministry Team

Carole Barnard, Juliet Hodge, Julie Dowd Straub, Louise and Bill Hoffman, Bob Martin, Karen McGee and led by Rev. Ajung Sojwal.l.



Refreshment Hour is a great Opportunity for Fellowship 

Thank you to all who signed up for the refreshment hour. There are still Sundays when you can volunteer to host this gathering.

All that is required is set-up, some snacks, coffee and tea. A sign-up sheet and take home instructions are located on the kitchen door in the Parish Hall or contact Evelynn Lyons at 860-535-3286 or at

Calvary Film Festival


Tuesday Evenings at 7pm

As part of the Adult Christian Education program, Calvary Church offers carefully curated films to be shown in the Parish Hall (unless otherwise noted), free of charge.

Next film: January 8, 2019

The Breadwinner: In this animated tale based on Deborah Ellis' best-selling novel, life under Taliban rule in Afghanistan is already hard for 11-year-old Parvana, but with her father in jail, she's forced to don male clothing and become the family breadwinner. 

Please stay tuned for further 2019 offerings!

Last Things

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The second printing of "Last Things" is available now in the church office. 

The booklet is a guide to help individuals and families exchange honest conversations about end of life desires and needs. It is both practical and spiritual. It is our hope that you will complete the pages at the end and share the information with your family, place a copy with your will and share with your church leaders. The booklet was written for Calvary Church members. If you have any suggestions or additions for the next printing please let us know. In the fall there will be a discussion of "Last Things".  It will be held after church in the Parish Hall. The booklet is in the church office, and we ask for a donation of $10 for the booklet to help defray expenses. 

Thank You


Thank you to all who have "joined the mission" to preserve the Stained Glasses of Calvary for posterity by purchasing the book Meditations on the Stained Glasses of Calvary. 

Jim and I report to the congregation that the amount of $6000 has been donated to date to the window fund from the purchases of the book and associated donations. As already reported, one hundred percent of the proceeds from the book sale go to the church if bought through us - we absorb the state sales taxes. The church requested checks for the purchase of the book be made to Bette M. Collins to simplify its accounting. Accordingly, Jim and I set up a business account in the State of CT. Our donation tax advantages will also be calculated and donated to Calvary for the window fund.

So thank you all. 

Bette MacGregor Collins, Author, Meditations on the Stained Glasses of Calvary.

Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center


Pawcatuck Neighbor Center's Food Pantry Update

The Food Pantry is currently in need of pineapple, soups (chicken, beef, and vegetable), jelly, Spam, clam chowder, pasta noodles, and spaghetti sauce in cans. 

Their Daily Living closet is always in need of dish soap and laundry detergent. Items can be brought to the PNC. They are always available to stop by and pick up food as well. 

Thank you so much for your constant support!!

Kind regards,
Susan Sedensky, Executive Director.

Blankets for the Homeless


Just a reminder:
We still collect blankets even during the summer!


Blankets continue to be needed by the Center, and we've had more donations. When sleeping outside, blankets are always a priceless gift no matter what the thermometer says. So far, we've received 46 blankets so keep us in mind as you clean closets, basements, and attics! Drop your donations in the back of the church or at the church office any time. If you have questions, just contact Phyllis in the office at 860-535-1181 or at Thank you for helping to keep someone more comfortable in the name of Christ.

Sunday Service from a Distance

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If you are unable to be physically present at worship:

You can listen to our second Sunday service from a distance. Here are directions: Participants should dial 1-857-957-1130 (toll free). Following the voice prompt, enter the access code of 215 866 948#.

Did You Know?

Calvary directories are published quarterly. 

There are copies available in the back of the church and in the office. As you leave church, take a look and if you notice a new color (new yellow copies are in the back of the church), please help yourself. It's helpful to be able to contact friends with phone numbers and email addresses when needed.   

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Whoever you are, from wherever you have come,
you are welcome here.

Lori Taylor