Ever Flowing Streams 2013

April 2018 

by Lee Gagen
Fundraising and Development Specialist

While it may be difficult for many of us to admit that Jim Antal will be retiring from his position as Minister and President in just a few short months, this time has proven to be a moment of reflection. For the past twelve years, Jim has been a source of faith and guidance for UCCers in Massachusetts and beyond. He has embodied the MACUCC's commitment "to support a more just, compassionate and peaceful world that honors all of God's creation" long before his tenure as Minister and President.

Whether he is taking a knee or sitting in, Jim is and has always been devoted to a more just world. With this in mind, the Massachusetts Conference staff and Board of Directors have imagined a variety of ways to recognize the profound impact of Jim's work. During a recent discussion with Jim regarding funding, he pointed out that when money grows short, it is justice initiatives that often suffer. And to that point Jim concluded by saying, "Money should not constrain us when it comes to doing justice." 
In response to and in honor of Jim, the Massachusetts Conference Board of Directors has voted unanimously to rename the Justice and Witness Fund to the Jim Antal Fund for Justice and Witness Ministries.  What a fitting tribute!   Read more

Climate Church, Climate World 
How People of Faith Must Work for Change

Massachusetts Conference Minister and President Jim Antal's new book, "Climate Church, Climate World" is garnering attention outside of traditional church settings, most recently in an article in the Chicago Tribune.
"Do you believe in God? Then you have a moral duty to fight climate change, writes Jim Antal" is the headline on the 
Chicago Tribune article
, which outlines Antal's argument that Americans are failing to address climate change because it is such a long-term problem.  Read more
Pray and Act to Protect God's Creation

As people of faith, scripture calls us to protect, restore, and rightly share God's glorious Creation. This year Earth Day falls on a Sunday. This is an ideal time to reflect, pray and act on behalf of the earth and our neighbors.  Here are three ways to act:


Celebrate Creation through Prayer and Worship - Earth Day Sunday only happens once a year, but there are opportunities to praise God for Creation through prayer, liturgy, or sermon throughout the year. Our partners at Creation Justice Ministries have created materials for Earth Sunday on the theme "Sense of Place."

Despite mayor's objections, city council votes to support sanctuary, Massachusetts church

ACM Kelly Gallagher and other clergy stand vigil at South Congregational Church. Boston Globe 
by Connie Larkman
United Church of Christ

The City Council of Springfield, Mass., is offering strong support to a local United Church of Christ congregation providing sanctuary to a mother facing deportation and separation from her family.

Meeting Monday evening, April 9, council members directed the city to leave South Congregational United Church in peace, passing an order that prohibits Springfield from interfering with a house of worship's provision of sanctuary.

South Congregational, offering refuge to  Gisella Collazo and her two American-born children, has already been  subject to inspection for code violations at the insistence of Mayor Domenic Sarno, who objects to the UCC church's sanctuary ministry. The council order, which passed unanimously, could become law without the mayor's signature.
If you or your church would like to show support to the sanctuary churches in the Massachusetts Conference (two at the present time), we invite you to donate to the Sanctuary Churches Fund.    Donate  here

New! Racial Justice Podcasts
There are times when voices outside of congregations, associations, and the Conference can have a different perspective and shed new light on the call to racial justice.  Thus far, we have two podcasts available with two experts in the realm of racial justice.  We hope that you tune in for these conversations to hear about the stories of these two leaders in academia and the faith context.  Please, listen to these podcasts individually or within your congregations; spread the word; and share any helpful insights.

What is the Church's Call to Racial Justice in the 21st Century? ~ Rev. Dr. Velda Love
Rev. Dr. Velda Love and Racial Justice Associate TJ Harper discuss steps congregations can take to be more involved in racial justice and create sustained, positive change such as addressing institutional racism, while also teaching members about the Intersection of race and spirituality. Rev. Dr. Love also shares her personal story and life journey within the UCC, and the importance of using our experiences to affect our mission.

Difficult Conversations on Race in Church ~ Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum explains the importance of using congregations to address racism, and why this work must be spearheaded by faith leaders. Dr. Tatum and Racial Justice Associate TJ Harper discuss the psychological impacts racism has on individuals and on congregations; the need for racial reconciliation in our society; and what actions can be taken to make churches more racially inclusive.
This week, the campaign unveiled a Declaration of Fundamental Rights and Poor People's Campaign Moral Agenda that will guide the movement through its upcoming 40 days of nonviolent direct action and beyond. Those 40 days will include nonviolent moral fusion direct action at the Massachusetts State Capitol in Boston.   Read more

Annual Meeting Resolution on Bullying for Massachusetts and Connecticut Conferences
Be sure to look out for a proposed resolution at the MA and CT Annual Meetings this June. The CT Conference ONA Ministry Team created the resolution and graciously shared it with the MA Conference ONA Ministry Team for its consideration. The MA team decided to propose it, adding education and training components to support churches' ability to address and prevent bullying of all kinds.  

MORE from the ONA Ministry Team: Get Involved NOW to Save Transgender Rights in Mass. this Fall: Celebrate our New ONA Churches; ONA Churches: What is Your Job? Part 2.   Learn more


Here's a way to honor them! The Justice & Witness Council is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Haystack Awards.  The Haystack Award of the Massachusetts Conference UCC was created to encourage participation in charitable and social justice ministry.   Read more here.
The application deadline is May 1. Awards will be presented at the  219th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference in Springfield, MA.

Access selection criteria here.  

New this year:  submit your nomination online here
Alternately, you may  download an application here and email it to  methotk@macucc.org or mail to:  MACUCC ~ 1 Badger Road ~ Framingham, MA  01702 ~ Att: Karen Methot      

The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ