Millennials are - literally - at your doorstep

Tiffany Vail

7/12/2016

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

7/11/2016

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

7/8/2016

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

7/7/2016

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

7/3/2016

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

7/1/2016

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

6/29/2016

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

6/13/2016

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 ...


Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

6/12/2016

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, June 12, 2016. Delivered by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Ashfield, MA. 1 Kings 21:1-21a Psalm 5:1-8 Galatians 2:15-21 Luke 7:36-8:3 “Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The LORD forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.’” (1 Kings 21:3) What a blessing to be with you today!  Thank you, Eliot, for welcoming me as preacher and celebrant for this special service that brings together the congregations of St. John’s ...


Standing in Prayer with My Hands Behind My Back

Rob Mark

6/6/2016

by Rev. Rob Mark Pastor, Church of the Covenant, Boston At the end of most worship services at Covenant, I tend to stand with other worship leaders at the back of the sanctuary while Tom unfurls another spirited postlude on the Welte-Tripp. And most often I find myself standing with my hands behind my back, stole dangling in front, lovingly looking over the gathered community and giving thanks. This past week on May 25, I stood also with my hands behind my back and stole dangling in front, ...


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