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    A Loving Brother and Friend to All

    Brian Murdoch

    A loving brother and friend to all he met, Brian touched the lives of many people inside and outside of the Mission.

    From Brian's obituary:

    MURDOCH, Father Brian J.P. April 3, 1954–October 16, 2016.

    In a very short two years, Father Brian Murdoch cut a wide swath of joy and grace offering the experience of deep spiritual engagement on Sundays at Grace Episcopal Church on Martha's Vineyard, as well as every day where he extended the ministry of Grace Church beyond its walls into the island community where he became well-respected and deeply loved. Fr. Brian died peacefully at his Vineyard Haven home October 16.

    Father Brian's first vocational assignment was as Priest of St. John's Episcopal Church in Charlestown, MA from 1985 – 1990. Beginning in 1991, and for the following ten years, Fr. Brian was the Director of Recovery for the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston. He then founded and directed the Malcolm-Garrison-King House, a recovery-centered community in Boston until 2014. During that time, he also served as interim director of St. Paul's Church in Hopkinton, MA for a year. From 2002 – 2006, Fr. Brian was an Adjunct Professor in Sociology, Psychology, and Group Dynamics at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, MA. Between 2004 and 2011, Fr. Brian was Priest-in-Residence at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in West Roxbury, MA, and then served as Chaplain at the Barbara McInnis House in Boston. In 2011, Fr. Brian took a position as House Staff Agent for Boston Rescue Mission's Safe Haven Homeless Veterans' Program in Boston. The following year, he worked as Street Priest for Common Cathedral in Boston where he bore a ministry of presence on the Boston Common to un-housed and poor people to help sustain their hope and dignity. In 2014, Bishop Alan Gates of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts appointed Fr. Brian Priest-In-Charge of Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard where he was currently serving when he died.

    Brian grew up in the midst of a great Irish-Catholic clan of aunts and uncles and thirty-three first cousins who all lived in seven houses on Connors Road in West Peabody. As a high school student athlete, he was privileged to receive a full scholarship to Boston College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree and was a linebacker and defensive lineman for the BC Eagles for several years. A year abroad in Ireland and the Middle East brought Brian a variety of experiences in ministry. On his return to Boston, Brian co-founded Many Mansions, Inc. and continued work there as Cafe Manager.

    Brian's spiritual journey took him on a quest to deepen his personal faith which had grown out of a conversion and profound commitment to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, whom he followed with all his heart for the rest of this life. This led him to the General Seminary in New York City where he earned a Masters of Divinity. Gregarious and engaging, his upbringing in a crowd of loved ones set the stage for his life-long dedication of creating communities of support. His spiritual guidance was infused with humor, offering everyone he met his undivided attention, and lifting them up with his uncanny ability to resonate with them. As a result of his embodiment of the light of the Gospel, Fr. Brian lived his life espousing the joys and hard work of grace, and in grace he carries on.

    He is survived by six siblings and their spouses, Bill (Sally), Kevin (Gail), Kate (Tom), Donna, Karen, and Maureen (Chris), fourteen nieces and nephews, seven grand-nieces and nephews, and numerous cousins, and by John Bradley, and his life-long best friend, Philip Mangano.

    Visiting hours were held at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 138 Tremont St., Boston, on Fri., Oct. 21 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, and a Funeral Service was celebrated on Sat., Oct. 22 at 4:00 pm at the Cathedral. Contributions and gifts in lieu of flowers can be sent "In Memory of Fr. Brian Murdoch" to the Fr. Brian Memorial Fund, Grace Episcopal Church, PO Box 1197, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Contributions may also be sent to the Father Brian Fund at Boston Rescue Mission, PO Box 12009, Boston, MA 02112, or go online to donate at brm.org.

    We are all very grateful for your kindness and remembrances of Brian.

    Safe Haven gets Landscaping Makeover

    Safe Haven

    We're always amazed at how much "a little goes a long way" when it comes to volunteers.

    At a place like Safe Haven that doesn't have a dedicated groundskeeper, simple outdoor maintenance can be challenging enough. So when the spring comes, and weeds and grass sprout up and want to take over, the yard can quickly turn unsightly. Add some downed trees to the mix and we were so grateful for the volunteer crews that helped beautify the house for our veterans.

    On three different days, we hosted the First Parish Federated Church of South Berwick, Maine, the First Church UCC of Lombard, IL and the UCC Community Church of Wapping CT. Crew members painted railings, cut and removed downed trees, pulled weeds, mowed the lawn, planted flowers, and did some general cleaning around the area. What used to be a thick tangle of encroaching vegetation is now a clear path around the side and rear of the house. The flowers in front add a nice finishing touch.

    Safe Haven landscaping

    Thanks so much to our helpful volunteers for sprucing up our Safe Haven house!

    Northeast Chapters of FCSI & MAFSI Host 43rd Annual Golf Outing Benefiting Boston Rescue Mission

    FCSI-MAFSI golf outing
    photo courtesy of Dana Siles

    The Northeast Chapters of Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) and Manufacturers Agents for Foodservice Industry (MAFSI) celebrated their 43rd annual golf outing and reception on June 6, 2016. The charitable event, held at Andover Country Club in Andover, MA welcomed 134 participants, an additional 21 dinner attendees and 81 tee sign sponsors, generating a total of $16,550 for the Boston Rescue Mission.

    Working in partnership with Feeding Our Neighbors, an initiative of the New England chapter of the National Association of Catering & Events (NACE), the monies will help to outfit Mission vans with safe and reliable refrigeration to allow an expanded radius of food rescue in and beyond the city. Additional funds will help the Mission to purchase an upgraded food transport van. “Knowledge is power”, said the event’s chief organizer, Jim Whiffen, FCSI Golf Committee member and President of Fountainhead Foodservice Group in Burlington, MA, “Over 130 people will leave here today aware of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act; information that has the power to change many people’s lives”.

    The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, signed into law on October 1, 1996, provides national liability protection to citizens, businesses and nonprofit organizations that act in good faith to donate, recover and distribute excess food.

    The Mission is grateful to the kind folks at FCSI and MAFSI for helping give back to the neediest of our neighbors in downtown Boston.

    Bombas and Northeastern Students Bring Comfort to Homeless Feet

    This year, a group of Northeastern students, working with Bombas, partnered with Boston Rescue Mission to spread the company’s mantra, “Bee Better” and give back to the community. By spreading awareness around Northeastern campus through special events and social media, the group was able to raise and collect hundreds of pairs of socks to donate to homeless shelters around the Boston area.

    The word Bombas is derived from the Latin word, bumblebee. In order to make the hive a better place, bees work together. Revolutionarily and truly inspirational, Bombas is a company committed to the betterment of the community. After discovering that socks were the number one most requested clothing item in homeless shelters, Bombas decided that for every pair of socks purchased, they would donate one pair as well. Their socks are unlike any other, designed for comfort and athletic performance. Created from a mission to give back and make the community a better place, Bombas has donated over 950,000 socks.

    Thanks to Northeastern and Bombas for bringing comfort to lots of homeless Boston feet!

    2016 Campaign of Thanks Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

    Long-time Mission volunteers gather for a lunchtime celebration

    An interesting thing happens when a bunch of long-time volunteers gather for lunch at the Mission--everyone wants to serve each other!

    This time, Mission staff cooked a well-deserved meal for regular volunteers, some spanning 20 years or service! Attendees traded stories, heard testimony from clients, laughed, and shared priceless fellowship. Special thanks to Ralph, Nancy, Dennis, Joe, and Nicole for bringing this event together, and Tselha, Fabianne, and Mauricia for their support.

    We're so grateful to all of our volunteers, one-time and long-time, for their service to people in need. In our 2016 Campaign of Thanks, we hope to continue to communicate our appreciation to all of those who help bring transformation to our neighbors who need help.

    Wear Hope on Your Sleeve!

    The long-awaited new batch of Mission t-shirts is here!

    You asked for 'em. We got 'em. New Mission t-shirts!

    We kept the same great classic designs on the front and back for a simple, understated look. This time we added two new colors - a royal blue and an Irish green in addition to black and orange.

    Shirts are $10 apiece and available in sizes small through 2XL. Contact Mauricia at (617) 338-9000 ext. 1230. or volunteer@brm.org. Pickup only please.

    Healing via Relaxation, Expression, & Creativity

    Attendees follow a painting activity in a monthly R.E.C. event at the Mission.

    Recovery is serious business. Focused, intensive work can leave program memmbers depleted.

    When case worker Abner Maldonado wanted to bring art therapy to Mission program members, he scheduled one evening per month devoted to relaxation, expression, and creativity for the community. Dubbed R.E.C. for short, the program brings in volunteers from local churches and colleges to lead programs of cooking, music, art, dance, and more.

    Many evenings, easels come onto tables and attendees will follow a painting or drawing suggestion, be it a still life, portrait, emotion, or abstract pursuit. After a break, a full band usually appears, running a gamut of genres from classical to jazz, rock to hip hop. Poetry, spoken word and storytelling are welcome, and spiritual exploration is common. Activities can center on individuals, small groups, or the entire group, and volunteers are trained beforehand to interact with guests in a therapeutically positive manner.

    You can help to sponsor an evening of R.E.C. programming! Drop a line to info@brm.org and we'll make sure your contribution brings healing to our guests.

    Mission Staff Member Wins Veterans Administration Award

    From left to right: Jim Chaplin, VA Social Worker, Ed Cannon and Tim Smith, CADC

    Earlier this spring, our own Tim Smith joined Ed Cannon at the Veterans Administration (VA) campus in Bedford to receive the VA Friends of Social Work award. While social workers do much of the heavy lifting in the veterans care field, this award celebrates those workers on the larger team that support VA social work departments and veterans, including staff members of Safe Haven programs.

    Tim Smith, Co-Director of Programming at the Mission, has watched over veterans at Safe Haven since its inception 5 years ago. During the event, Jim highlighted Tim's calming presence in a sometimes volatile world of veteran care. He also expressed appreciation that veterans can wake up on Christmas morning to presents under the Christmas tree. Tim clarified that others actually provide the presents, including his sister!

    Congratulations to Tim and Ed on a job well done!

    2016 Campaign of Thanks Kicks Off with Church Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast

    It takes a village to care for the poor, vulnerable, and needy among us.

    Ministry to the homeless is not a solitary endeavor, but a collaborative effort from people with a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Whether rich or poor, student, working, or retired, from homes or institutions, the hearts and hands of volunteers bless our residents and guests every day of the year.

    An overwhelming number of volunteers come to the Mission either inspired by the church ministry or on behalf of their churches. Since 1899, we've helped connect people of faith to those in need.

    On Thursday January 28th, the Mission hosted a breakfast event for greater Boston church members who volunteer their time and talents to homeless men and women. As part of our 2016 Campaign of Thanks, the breakfast event was a chance for church representatives to share food, fellowship, volunteer experiences, and opportunities to serve. Through this campaign, we hope to strengthen existing church relationships and build new connections with church members pursuing social justice. As a part of this campaign, we also look forward to hear suggestions from church representatives about additional volunteer opportunities that they would like to see offered at the Mission.

    If you would like to volunteer with members of your church or group, please contact either (617) 338-9000 ext. 1230 or volunteer@brm.org. We would love to see you!

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