Friends, A half dozen years ago New England had two back-to-back storms each of which dumped a foot of rain into our area. We became familiar with the work of helping families recover from flooded basements, homes, streets and lives. It was a long road as we partnered with other denominations and non-profits to clean out mud, reverse the growth of mold and return homes to livable condition. As we watch the news of the floods in Louisiana, even with our memory of the impact here, it is hard to...
Friends, Each season of the year has its own possibilities for disasters. We are about to enter the peak of the hurricane season. While this is predicted to be normal year, hurricanes Sandy and Irene taught the impact of storms in even normal years. With much of our region and many of our churches centered in coastal areas we know how vulnerable our congregations and communities can be. Our Governor has sent along some information that would be helpful for you, your family and your church to...
If yours is like most mainline Protestant churches in Southern New England, you've spent a lot of time and energy wondering how you can get those 20- and 30-somethings to come to your church. What if I told you they are quite literally at your doorstep.
August 2016—Volume 24, Number 8 Copyright @ 2016 by Cynthia Woolever “We’re not sure how to do it but we believe we should become a multicultural congregation,” the pastor said. “How can we move from our dreams to a plan that achieves results?” Multiculturalism in the United States Here are the realities that any effective multicultural-congregation strategy must take into account. Assume that the U.S. will continue to attract about one million foreign-born adults each year, an annual ...
In the wake of yet more shootings that raise questions and awareness of the racial divide in our country AND with a significant source of that strife stemming from white privilege, what can our churches do?
There is nothing to say on this day that will change anything. There is much that we can – we must - do to begin to shift the stone of racism that threatens to destroy us
Imagine there is a fire in your house. What do you do? What do you think about? You do whatever you can to try to put out the fire or exit the house. You make a plan about how you can put out the fire, or how you can best exit the house. Your senses are heightened, you are focused like a laser, and you put your entire self into your actions. You enter emergency mode. These are the opening lines of a fascinating essay that every climate activist and every faith leader should read. “Leading the...
July 2016—Volume 24, Number 7 Copyright @ 2016 by Cynthia Woolever Is it possible that our best intentions can do more harm than good? Sadly, relief organizations tell us that well-meaning people don’t think before they give. Some involved in humanitarian work after a natural disaster call the deluge of unwanted donations “the second disaster.” Juanita Rillig, director of the Center for International Disaster Information, described what happened after the Indian Ocean...
by Rev. Andrea Ayvazian Haydenville Congregational Church Friday, June 17, 2016 On Monday evening, our church in Haydenville held a service in response to the shootings in Orlando. There were readings, prayers and much weeping. After a time of silence, Pastor Chris Mereschuk passed around a basket filled with 49 strips of paper, each with the name of someone who was killed in Orlando written on it, and their age. We took the strips of paper as the basket was passed through the pews, and ...
Since we awoke yesterday, we have all had heavy hearts. Our Sunday worship services offered many of us an opportunity to lift up to God’s compassion all who have been personally touched by the most horrific mass killing in American history.