Please keep Rev. Tom Callard and his family in your prayers. They had a bad house fire this morning(Sunday Sept. 6th). They are all safe and OK.
“First convert me and then comfort me.”
It was as if my life suddenly went from being in the leisure of slow Summer months to suddenly being filled every moment with activity and things to do. It happens every September/October, but this year, even more so. It reminds me of a prayer I heard once, where the petitioner prays to God, “First convert me and then comfort me.” I don’t remember asking that of God, but it feels like God is doing it right now, converting me, with the promise that somewhere down the road I will also be comforted.
Conversion is first. It is the first thing that God demands of us, whether we are awakened to a new reality in life, or called to envision a new insight about ourselves, or molded into a new shape. Conversion is the difficult part, the part that is painful and annoying at times, because it is the work of growth, and growth is almost never easy, especially if it’s true growth. Conversion is first. But then, also, mercifully, comes the comfort. I rejoice in that, we can rejoice in it, that the God who converts us also comforts us in equal measure.
I wonder with a new Priest-In-Charge at the Cathedral what you have experienced of this process of change, what the changes have meant to you with letting go of one way of doing things and one steady voice and a priestly presence, and finding yourself with another one that is different. Perhaps it’s been a moment of discomfort or conversion. Perhaps not. In any event, I invite you, whatever this experience has been, to know that all of us will also find comfort in time.
We pray today for all who are, right at this moment, through your care, in the difficult process of conversion. For the sick and the dying. For those letting go of things or people, and those in transitions in their life. For those being converted, unwillingly, through the events of their lives. And for those who are being converted happily through your grace. May all soon find comfort in your presence. In Christ,
UPDATE FROM Fr. Tom 9/11/2015
Thank you all for the outpouring of support
and love, and for your prayers. My family and I are fine. Despite this huge
disruption of our lives we have no doubt that we will be able to rebuild our
house and resume things more or less as they were. Physically we are all
Here is the short version of what happened
- on Saturday night shortly after we fell asleep I smelled smoke. Thanks be to
God it woke me up. We tried to put the fire out, but it advanced quickly. We ran
out of the house just with the clothes on our back and my daughter's cell phone.
She called 911. We moved the cars out of the driveway. The Fire Department
arrived shortly after that, and for a few hours they worked to put out the fire
and stop it from spreading to the neighbors.
The Red Cross helped by putting us up in a
hotel and the next day we began the work with the insurance company. The house
cannot be saved. The roof is gone, and there is tremendous damage from the fire
and the water. Most of our possessions are also gone, except for some clothing
and everything in the garage - tools, bicycles, a hammock, etc.
We are blessed that insurance will allow us
to re-build the house, and will take care of giving us temporary housing,
furnished, until we can move back into Oregon Street. They will also cover the
contents of the house that were lost. The claims process is a long one, I am
told, but slowly it is beginning. We are in the process of getting computers,
phones and clothes. All of the rest will come with time.
Next week we will start to move back to our
routines and the children will return to
school. I plan to do some work next week but to not really begin work again
until the 20th, and then return to the office officially on Tuesday the
People have been really amazing and
gracious with offers of help. If you would like to make a donation to the
recovery fund of the Cathedral, that would be the best way to help. We plan to
use what we need to get back to where we were, and then to maintain a fund
through the Cathedral for others who pass through similar
In the past few days I have met God's
angels again and again, people with whom I have shared the faith. People have
shared their testimonials about passing through difficult times. Folks have also
given me the blessing of being able to receive, which is sometimes even harder
than being able to give. I feel the love and the prayers of the community, our
friends, my neighbors. I feel it in a way I never have before. It is amazing
that when you go through something like this, you find just how blessed you
Thank you all,
Financial donations; an especially helpful gesture at this time. You may use Paypal by selecting the button below or checks can be made out to Christ Church Cathedral with the words 'Recovery Fund' in the memo line and can be mailed, dropped off or put in the offering plate. Contact Susan Forrest at email@example.com.
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Announcement from the Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher
House Fire: The Rev. Tom Callard
Many of you have seen the news coverage of the devastating house fire in Springfield that began late Saturday night. The home of the Rev. Tom Callard, Priest-in-Charge of Christ Church Cathedral, and his family was completely destroyed. I thank God that Tom, his wife, Sagrario, and the two children at home that night were unharmed. There is, however, undeniable grief for what was - a home lovingly filled with the everyday and the irreplaceable. Even as we feel relief and gratitude for the safety of our dear friends, we offer our prayers and our love to them as a sign of God's abiding presence in both joy and in suffering.
How You Can Help
The Callards' home was fully insured. In the next day or so, they will be receiving funds to rebuild, refurnish and begin again. I am using the 'Bishop's Discretionary Fund' to help with immediate needs. The family has been offered fully furnished homes to stay in until they can decide about their next long-term plans. The people of Christ Church Cathedral have been organizing their efforts to help. They have established the 'Callard Family Recovery Fund.' If you'd like to make a contribution, please contact Burt Hansen by email or phone (413) 636-3768.
Although this house fire is a tragedy, our brother, Tom and his family are safe. The Church is responding with love and generosity. I've even heard from other bishops who wish to assist us with prayer and support. Blessed be God who at work in us can do infinitely more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts
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Christ Church Cathedral is the Cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.
Hello, on behalf of Christ Church Cathedral, welcome. We are happy to share our ministry with you and certainly hope you will join us in person. Our Cathedral is a house of prayer for all people and you are welcome here. We are in historic and diverse downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, feet away from the Doctor Seuss Museum and the Quadrangle. Our ministries are guided by our love for Jesus Christ and our desire to seek and serve Him in our neighbors and ourselves. We strive to serve Christ through our worship, study, service and fellowship, and please see our website for more information. Again, welcome and please join us.
Hola, bienvenidos a la Cathedral de Cristo. Somos una catedral Episcopal: Catolicos pero no Catolicos Romanos. Somos Anglicanos. Estamos felices a compartir nuestros ministerios contigo y esperamos que nos vas a visitar en persona pronto. Nuestra Catedral es una casa de oracion para todos, y estas bienvenido y bienvenida aqui. Estamos en el centro de Springfield, un lugar historico y diverso, bien cerca del museo de Dr. Seuss y el Quadrangle. Nuestros ministerios son basados en el amor de Jesus y en el projimo. Tratamos de buscar a Cristo y servirlo en el projimo. Nuestras misas, estudios, programas de servicio y todo lo que hacemos son ofrecidos para ti y tu familia, y les esparmos pronto. Bienvenidos.
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Gathered Transformados Sent
Reunidos Transformed Enviados