the weekly emailing
The Church Marches
By Wendy Vander Hart
Associate Conference Minister 

Politics and religion do not mix. This may be wise at holiday tables, legal for certain kinds of communications and polite upon meeting someone new.  But politics and religion do  mix when it comes to envisioning and building the realm of God on earth.

Our holy texts are full of prophets railing against the unjust practices of kings, rulers and governors.

So, when a contingent of United Church of Christ members gathers in Boston on January 21 to join the Boston Women's March for America we are soberly mixing politics and religion all in fidelity to Being the Church.

UCC contingents to take part in Women's Marches in DC, Boston, Greenfield

People from all over the Massachusetts Conference are planning to take part in the upcoming Women's March on Washington, as well as in sister marches in Boston and Greenfield.

What You Can Do
Seven Ways to Jump-Start Your Advocacy in 2017
"The time is always right to do what is right."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoken decades ago, are as true today as they ever were. Moving into a new year, one that holds tremendous challenges and opportunities, your faithful advocacy is now more important than ever. 

The United Church of Christ is here to partner with you, to support you, struggle with you, celebrate with you and share your story as we work for justice and peace in 2017 and beyond. 
Baby Jesus: Refugee?
Our reading of the holy family's escape to Egypt in Matthew 2:13-15 is very brief. We know little of their escape and nothing of their reception. We do not know where they settled in Egypt or how they survived when they were there.  We are left to our own imagination.

But our imagination is not uninformed, we do know that the life of a refugee is not easy.  Find out how your church can help modern day refugees with a gift of toiletries.

Last Day to Credit 2016 Gifts Approaches
Attention Local Church Treasurers

All gifts and dues for this year must be received no later than January 17, 2017 to be credited to 2016. This includes United Church Mission, Our Church's Wider Mission Basic Support, Fellowship Dues and special offerings and directed gifts.
Harper To Take Part in Courageous Conversations Event
Jan. 14, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
United Parish in Brookline

Massachusetts Conference Racial Justice Associate TJ Harper will be one of the speakers at this event, hosted by City Mission. The event  is designed to empower participants with the tools to have brave conversations around the issues of race.

Upcoming Conference events

Jan. 14,  9:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Adam Hearlson
Adam Hearlson, Assistant Professor of  Preaching and Worship at Andover Newton Theological School, will discuss how the rich and sometimes ignored worship traditions of the past might be unearthed and renewed for our current worshiping communities.

Jan. 18, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham
A workshop for clergy, spouses, treasurers and trustees with Forrest "Al" Eaton, principal of Faith Financial, LLC and a leader of this workshop for many years.

Feb. 10 - 11 Prindle Pond, Charlton
Mar. 10 - 11, Prindle Pond, Charlton
Mar. 17 - 18, Berkshire Outdoor Center, Becket
These retreats are offered for confirmation classes and their leaders.

Feb. 25, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Centre Congregational Church, Lynnfield
Mar. 25, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Edwards Church,  Northampton
An opportunity to focus on four foundational theories of religious education while creating one's own personal theory for use in the church setting, and acquiring the tools for adapting, revising, and using these theories in local church programming, community life, and for forming the faith. Part of the CE Certification Program, this workshop is open to all.

March 3 - 5
Craigville Retreat Center, Craigville
Teens grade 6-12 are invited to join us for a weekend retreat as we journey to the heart of Lent.  Through art, music, writing, and movement, we'll explore how we can use this season to grow in love for ourselves, our loved ones, our enemies, the earth, and God. 

Brian McLaren
Super Saturday!
March 18, 8:00 AM - 3:45 PM
Minnechaug Regional High School, Wilbraham, MA
A full day of workshops and networking. Keynote speaker will be author, storyteller, and theologian.Brian McLaren.

March 29, 5:30 - 8:00 PM
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham
A day of covenant for those clergy engaged in specialized ministries.

Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry Step Two: The Work of the Congregation
April 3 - 7
Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center, Framingham
For those who have taken step one of the Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry Training.  

See more at:
The Rev. Mr. Edward J. Bernard
, former pastor of  Second Congregational Church of Plymouth and Halifax Congregational Church, passed away on Jan. 4. He was 69.

A memorial service will take place Saturday, January 14, 2017, 10:00 AM at Halifax Congregational Church, 503 Plymouth St  Halifax, to celebrate Edd's life and mission.

Ms. Rose Levonian, remembered fondly from when she worked at the Massachuetts Conference managing the camping programs and Craigville, died on Jan. 2. A memorial service was held on Jan. 8.

The Rev. Ms. Liza Knapp 
Called to First Church of Deerfield as Settled Pastor
Left Belchertown United Church of Christ as Designated Pastor
Effective: Jan. 8, 2017

Local Buzz
WWLP: Addicts have new place to seek help in Northampton

The Northampton Recovery Center at Edwards Church is open to recovering opiate addicts, as well as their friends and family, as a safe and supportive space.

Other Events of Interest
Leadership for Growing Resilient Congregations
Feb. 10 - 11
UCC Congregational Church of Boxborough

Dedicated to "inoculating" communities with greater resilience in order to respond to conflict and adversity in life-giving ways, this day-and-a-half workshop is designed for teams of pastor and lay leaders. Led by the Rev. Karen Nell Smith.
The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ