the weekly emailing
Conference Leaders Issue Letter in Response To Anti-Islamic Propaganda
The following letter was released by leaders of the three southern New England Conferences of the United Church of Christ::

Recently, many of our churches received a mailing from an organization called "ACT for America." In a letter and accompanying brochure, the organization asks the question "Should Christians speak out against Islam as a religion which promotes violence and human rights abuses?" 

As leaders of the United Church of Christ in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, our response to their question is a resounding "No!"

Read the entire letter, signed by leaders of the three southern New England Conferences, including Massachusetts Conference Minister & President Jim Antal.
Sitting in the Tomb and Practicing Resurrection: An Easter Theology for the Formation of the CT-RI-MA UCC
By Kaeley McEvoy
A member of First Congregational Church of Woodbury, CT

Let's be honest: if congregationalism were thriving in New England, we would not be thinking about dissolving three conferences and forming a new one. From my vantage point of a young seminarian who was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, I see it everywhere: our churches are dying, our pews are emptying, our seminaries are closing, and our budgets are dwindling.
However, I offer this harsh critique for an important reason, and actually for a theological reason: Good Friday is my favorite Christian holiday.

... Before making a commitment to forming a new vision for the United Church of Christ in New England we first need to take an honest look at why our churches are experiencing this death.

Lazarus, come out! A Christian Response to the Climate Crisis
By The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care

The climate emergency is not just a quote-unquote "environmental" problem. It's not just about polar bears and coral. It's about people in Southern Africa, where rains have failed, crops are withering, and starving families are  "reduced to eating cactus and even rocks or ashes."   It's about Pacific islanders whose homelands are already flooding. It's about impoverished people here and abroad who are hit first and hardest by a changing climate, who have the fewest resources to adapt to it, and who are the least responsible for causing it. It's about coastal communities and great cities the world over, including Boston, which face rapidly rising seas.

April is Healthcare Decisions Month!
The MACUCC is pleased to be an Alliance Partner with Honoring Choices in Massachusetts.

Every competent adult, 18 years old and older, can direct their health care choices and write down their choices in a personal health care plan. It's easy to do. The "Getting Started Tool Kit" has everything you need to appoint a Health Care Agent in a Health Care Proxy, and give your Agent and family instructions about the care you want in a Personal Directive. The kit also includes a handy discussion guide to talk with your doctors and care providers to match quality care to your goals, values and choices.

You can download the free tool kit for you and your family, or host a group activity where you work, live or gather. Let us know how you are celebrating and we'll post your activity on the Honoring Choices Event's Calendar. Or, you can invite us to your church for a discussion! 

Small is Big Again: Reclaiming Small Church Ministry
The Parish Paper
April, 2017 Edition

While the church's larger mission continues to be carried out by many small worshiping communities, small churches may get locked into self-criticism. However, more congregations are embracing the strengths associated with their small size. As one congregation proclaims: "We're not just any small church. We're the small church that's here!"

Synod Delegates to Consider Proposed Amendments to UCC Constitution and Bylaws
Delegates to General Synod 31 in Baltimore June 30 - July 4 -  will be asked to consider amendments to the United Church of Christ Constitution and Bylaws. The detailed amendments to these governing documents along with supplementary guides on the process and amendments themselves are available online.

Nominations Wanted for Haystack Justice Award
The Justice & Witness Ministry Council is requesting nominations for the 2017 Haystack Awards.

The Haystack Award of the Massachusetts Conference UCC was created to encourage participation in charitable and social justice ministry. Any individual, group or institution affiliated with the Massachusetts Conference, UCC is eligible for consideration.

Deadline for receipt is May 2.

Upcoming Conference events
April 27 - 28
First Congregational Church of Billerica
Two-day boundary awareness training for clergy.

May 10 - 11
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham
This chaplaincy training is based on the National Disaster Interfaiths Network Disaster Spiritual Care training course, which trains and credentials faith leaders, spiritual care providers and institutional  chaplains to volunteer as disaster chaplains or spiritual care workers in mass-care settings, or to serve their house of worship or local community during times of crisis. 

June 7 - 8
Miramar Retreat Center, Duxbury
This overnight  retreat, led by Matt Carriker and Susie Allen, is intended for people in all stages on the spiritual path (clergy and lay).  Whether you feel like a beginner, or a long-time traveler, you will find nourishment here for your soul. 

June 16 - 17
Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT 
The historic first joint Annual Meeting of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences. With UCC General Minister & President John Dorhauer as keynote speaker.

June 30 - July 5
Baltimore, MD
This event is for young leaders ages 13 to 18 who want to experience the vibrant diversity of the wider church.  Registration now open!

Application deadline: Sat., June 10
Event: Nov. 13 - 19
Warren Conference Center, Ashland
Join author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove in a writing workshop focused on both the craft of writing and the vocation of tending to words for the sake of faithful social change.

See more at:
The Rev. Dr. Richard Aubin-Fischer died peacefully on Friday, March 31, 2017 in Westport, MA surrounded by his loving family.

He was a United Church of Christ minister for 50 years, receiving his Doctor of Ministry at Andover-Newton Theological School, and a longtime member of Smith Mills Christian Congregational Church in North Dartmouth, MA.  He helped many people throughout his life as a psychologist, minister, pastoral counselor, preacher and teacher. 

His life will be celebrated at a Memorial Service at Smith Mills Congregational Church, 11 Anderson Way, North Dartmouth, MA, on April 29, 2017 at 11 AM.

The Rev. Dr. Bruce O. Breuer died on Saturday, March 25, 2017 from complication of Parkinson's Disease, at home surrounded by his family.

Bruce was the senior pastor at Foster Memorial Church, UCC, in Springfield from 1976 to 2006 and very involved in the Greater Springfield area. His first parish was at Russell Community Church in Russell, MA from 1965 to 1969, and from 1969 to 1976 he was the pastor at United Riverside Congregational Church in Lawrence, MA where he was also the Protestant Chaplain at Lawrence General Hospital. For many years he served the greater United of Christ on the Church and Ministry committee. 

A Memorial Service was held at Foster Memorial Church on April 1.

The Rev. Mr. Tadanori Yamashita
, a longtime member of the faculty at Mount Holyoke College in the department of Religion, passed away Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at the age of 87 in Hopkinton, following a battle with cancer.

A service was held today at the First Congregational Church of South Hadley,

Other Events of Interest
"From Bricks to Mortals": A Workshop on Innovative Building Use @ Andover-Newton
May 5 - 6
Andover Newton Theological School, Newton
Because so many New England churches were constructed long ago, in a different era - when worshiping congregations were larger and infrastructure wasn't so expensive to maintain - we may find ourselves wondering whether/how they can serve contemporary spiritual needs. The BTS Center is pleased to present this 9-hour workshop,which will be led by the Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper.  
May 1, 6:00 PM
Church of the Pilgrimage, Plymouth, MA

 NOHO Pride Parade
May 6, 11:00 AM
Hampton Ave., Northampton

May 9, 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
The Epicurean Room,  Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, Marlborough  
May 25, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
South Congregational Church, Springfield

49th Annual Secretaries Gathering - Craigville
June 11 - 13
Craigville Retreat Center

Mass. Convention of Congregational Ministers Summer Barth Session for Pastors 
June 12 - 13
First Church and Parish, Dedham

July 9 - 12 
Simmons College, Boston
The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ