UCC Disaster Response Depends on Wider Mission Giving

Don Remick


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...

Preparing for Hurricane Season

Don Remick


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...

Millennials are - literally - at your doorstep

Tiffany Vail


Rattata, spotted in front of Edwards House at the Mass. Conference office 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. Right now. In case you haven't seen it on the news or in your social media feed, there is a new social phenomenon - Pokémon Go. This is a free game that you download ...

Multiple Roads to a Multicultural Congregation

The Parish Paper


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?”[1]   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 ...

What do we DO now? An invitation

Wendy Vander Hart


Editor's note: While Conference Minister & President Jim Antal is on sabbatical, senior staff are rotating as "Conference Minister in charge" between now and mid-October. Wendy Vander Hart is currently acting as Conference Minister. Yesterday, in my weekly office hours at Panera, I was meeting with a pastor who is new to the Conference.  In the course of conversation about his on-boarding process he told me about his first sermon at First Church.  In it he reminded the congregation of their ...

Words Don't Matter - Black Lives Matter

Kelly Gallagher


Again we mourn the death of black men at the hands of police officers with no apparent threat beyond skin color. Again we look to one another wondering what can be said, what can be done? Outrage and pain are the order of the day. Again the black and brown community is traumatized and re-entrenched in the reality that there is no way to be safe – no way to be actually legal in a world where doing things that white people do every day can get you killed if you are not white. There is nothing to ...

What roles can faith communities take on in a time of crisis?

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas


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...

When Charity Brings Anything But Relief

The Parish Paper


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...

A place of anger as well as grief

Andrea Ayvazian


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 ...

The Orlando Shootings - A Pastoral Letter from Jim Antal

Jim Antal


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.  Here is a prayer offered at Old South Church Boston.  Here is a statement by the UCC Open and Affirming Coalition and the UCC's National Officers.   I was with our UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer on Sunday morning when we got news of this ...

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