Revival Beginnings in Western Massachusetts
“The Great Awakening (1730’s-1740’s) … reinvigorated religion in America at a time when it was steadily declining and introduced ideas that would penetrate into American culture for many years to come.” 
Central and Western Massachusetts played a substantial role in the Great Awakening. Almost 300 years later, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is encouraging a new awakening in the form of Episcopal revivals. It was the hope of our diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Douglas Fisher, that the Diocese of Western Massachusetts would, once again, play a role in enlivening faith and hope in American culture.
[Interested in learning more about Episcopal revivals? Visit our page here.]
After finding a date for the Presiding Bishop’s visit as part of our revival – October 21st, 2018! – the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Stewardship of Creation, and Carrie Boren Headington of the Good News Initiative began a partnership with us to plan a revival. A discernment team of a dozen people from around our diocese began to meet.
We asked where we saw God at work in our lives, and what in our lives and communities needed revival. Our work together and our deepening fellowship were the seeds of revival as we prayed and talked and wondered together. After lots of conversation, a focus for our revival emerged: Rekindling Hope, Sharing Light, Loving Jesus.
We quickly realized several things. First, that Bishop Curry’s visit with us was a part of revival – not the only event. Second, that the first year of our revival planning was about being revived ourselves to be God’s people in the world—to be the Jesus Movement, moving forward into the second year and beyond. And finally, that the different areas of our diocese called out for different kinds of events.
[Learn more about the congregations of Western Massachusetts at the Episcopal Asset Map!]
What emerged were two events: a Eucharistic gathering in the Berkshires, the western part of our diocese, and a prayer and preaching event in the east. Lots of driving for us and for Bishop Curry! As always happens with large events, there are lots of moving pieces – and the events became much larger once Bishop Curry preached at the royal wedding! Free tickets sold out within days for both venues.
I write this as we approach Bishop Curry’s visit. Already, preaching has revolved around these themes, and several studies have focused on reading Bishop Curry’s book, Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus, learning to tell our stories of faith, and exploring The Way of Love: Practices for Jesus-Centered Life. The Jesus Movement is alive and well in our diocese and we pray to be further inspired and invigorated to be people of faith and the body of Christ in the world.
The Rev. Pamela J. Mott
Canon to the Ordinary
The Diocese of Western Massachusetts