Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter
We are a Spiritually Progressive,
Open & Affirming, Sanctuary Congregation
as a Compassionate Community,
extravagantly welcoming EVERYONE,
celebrating diversity, cultivating awe & wonder,
and seeking Peace with Justice for all Creation!
Join us for our Intergenerational
Faith Community Celebrations
Each Sunday at 10:00 AM
Back in the Church,
with optional masks and physical distancing,
and zoom option as well!
Watch for weekly e-mail notices,
Here it is--Volume 6, Issue 3 of our e-mail Newsletter!
FEATURED IN THIS NEWSLETTER
Worship & Music Ministry News
- Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in March
- Spiritual Formation News for our Children, Youth, & Families
- Celebration of the Rev. Gregory Marshall as our Minister Emeritus!
- Music and Ministry Notes
- Mid-week Lenten Prayer and Community
- Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
- Into God’s Hands
Welcoming and Caring Ministry
- Invitation to Join our Church Caregiving Ministry Team
- Call for Hospitality Ministers
MARCH CALENDAR of EVENTS in the Life of our Spiritual Family
Spiritual Formation for Adults
- "Reel Soul" Women's Herstory Month Film
"Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story"
- "Restoring the Kinship Worldview" Study
MCC Administration & Finance News
- Report of Projects done in 2022 and planned for 2023
Report of the Assistant Treasurers
- COVID-19 Task Force Update
March Birthdays & Anniversaries
Poem of the Month--"Viriditas, gift of God" by Nancy Fierro,
Based on the thoughts of Hildegard of Bingen:
Growing a Just World for All
LISTEN Community Dinner & Claremont Soup Kitchen
Dartmouth Student Union Success
Support for the PRO Act
Social Justice—Democracy Film
Immigrant Justice—Monthly Vigils at the ICE Building
March Ways to Care for Creation
Community Power Programs
New Time for Black Lives Matter Vigils
“Racially Charged” Film
“Unsettling Truths” with Mark Charles
Equal Justice Initiative Racial Injustice Calendars
Invitation to join Windsor County NAACP
Legislator Contact Information
“O most honored Greening Force,
You who roots in the Sun;
You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel
that earthly excellence fails to comprehend.
You are enfolded
in the weaving of divine mysteries.
You redden like the dawn
and you burn: flame of the Sun.”
– Hildegard von Bingen, Causae et Curae
One of our favorite images for Lent is this season’s invitation to “green our souls.” This imagery comes from the visions and writings of the twelfth century German mystic, Hildegard von Bingen. Living her entire life in the lush valley of the Rhine River is thought to have inspired Hildegard’s association of nature’s greening energy with the greening power of the Divine. As medieval abbess, physician, philosopher, poet, composer, artist, naturalist, author, theologian, linguist, and Doctor of the Church, Hildegard’s extraordinary spiritual path began at the age of three when she experienced her first vision which she later termed, “The Shade of Living Light”—described as her life-long awareness of seeing “all things in the light of God” through the five senses of hearing, taste, smell, sight, and touch. Her mystical insight into the presence of the Divine, pervading every aspect of the natural world, led her to vast exploration and creativity, including the composition of seventy-three musical works with original poetic texts and nine books on the scientific and medicinal properties of plants, stones, fish, and animals—not to mention one treatise on the human body exploring the causes and cures of disease. One of the most well-known of Hildegard’s concepts linking the physical and the spiritual world is that of “viriditas,” simply translated as “the greening power of God.”
Hildegard believed this “greening power,” while rooted in the Divine, is innate in every part of nature, including the human body. But the greening within us needs to be nourished and cultivated especially when we begin to feel its opposite--ariditas or dryness. Hildegard devoted much of her life, through her spiritual, scientific, and medical practices, to helping others restore the flow of greening power in their bodies and souls.
As we prepare for the sorrow of Holy Week and the joy of Easter Sunday, Lent offers us the invitation, with the help of our greening God, to green our souls: to prune the weeds of distraction, egoism, self-hate, addiction, impatience, selfishness, and any other arid behaviors or beliefs and to nurture the God-given green within us, from the smallest seedlings to the nascent buds to the flow of greening power through our love, compassion, and courage. What are the places of dryness in your own soul? Where are you longing for your soul to grow greener? How can these days of Lent help to restore the flow of God’s greening power within you? What spiritual practices for the body, mind, heart, and spirit nourish your green soul? Time devoted to meditation, prayer, exercise, service, nature, justice, peace, silence, reading, music, intentional conversation, breaking bread together, making amends, self-forgiveness, gathering as a church family, creativity, and caregiving, for example, are simply a few of the many ways we can spiritually practice greening our souls! What greens your soul?
May this Lent be a greening time for all of us,
even and especially in the midst of our sorrows and joys.!
We are so grateful to be on this journey with you,
Susan and John
“Transforming Lives as a Compassionate Community:
Growing Spiritually as an Antiracist Church”
OUR SUNDAY FAITH COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN MARCH
(In-Person and on Zoom,
in the Sanctuary,
with masks optional)
MARCH 5th @ 10:00 AM
Second Sunday in LENT
Join us as we begin this Women's H(er)Story Month with our International Women's Day Celebration of Communion on this Second Sunday in the Season of Lent!
MARCH 12TH @ 10:00 AM
Third Sunday in LENT
Spring Forward an Hour!!
Come gather with us to celebrate the Sacred Feminine within and among us all, with special attention to the ways in which women continue to bless and enhance the life we all share together!
MARCH 19th @ 10:00 AM
Fourth Sunday in LENT
Celtic Spirituality Celebration
What better way to celebrate this beginning of Spring than with a Celtic Prayer Service in the Spirit of St. Patrick?
MARCH 26th @ 10:00 AM
Fifth Sunday in LENT
Taize Prayer Service
Come join us for this simple service of song and prayer.
we gather to continue our Lenten journey together!
APRIL 2nd @ 10:00 AM
Come celebrate with us as we begin our journey through this Holy Week, remembering both the excitement and hope of the people as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and the foreboding of trials and troubles to come on the way to Easter's resurrection JOY. In addition to our regular offering, we shall also be invited to give generously in support of One Great Hour of Sharing.
Whoever you are,
Whomever you love,
Wherever you are on
YOU are WELCOME to
share in all our
Spiritual Family Services, Celebrations,
SPIRITUAL FORMATION NEWS FOR OUR CHILDREN,
YOUTH AND FAMILIES!
Peaceful greetings to all our children, youth and families! And welcome to the Season of Lent--these forty days before Easter when we think about how we can grow our Love--of God, ourselves and one another! How do you wish to grow YOUR Love during Lent?
During Lent, we look forward to our Sunday morning messages especially for our children, youth and the child within us all. We are so grateful to our Spiritual Formation Coordinator for Children, Youth, and Families, Kelsey MacNamee, for offering many of these special inter-generational messages.
And twice a month, our preschool and elementary school children are invited to join Susan after school for a special church school time! We had fun on March 2nd and look forward to our next church school gathering on Thursday, March 16th (4-5pm in the parish house)! All children (and parents too!) are welcome!
Our Faith Odyssey (7th and 8th grade) youth will gather on Sunday, March 12 (4:00-5:30pm) and again on Sunday, March 26 with their mentors (2:30-5:00pm). And Kelsey will be gathering our High School Senior Seekers (as schedules allow) for conversation and snacks!
And you won't want to miss a doubly fun opportunity for children and parents in March (date to be determined) when once again Kelsey offers her NONO (Parents' Night Off/Night Out!). This modestly priced event, offering supervised play for children 3-12, is open to all families in our church and wider community. If you know of families who might be interested, please spread the word and encourage them to reach out to email@example.com. Happy March!
Join us on the
Camp Ministry Team!!
We invite YOU to help us support our church's AMAZING Summer Day Camp program--
The Meriden Community Camp
20th Season in 2023!
--by joining our Camp Ministry Team!!! This energetic Team provides the year round administrative support for the camp including oversight of policies and programming, advertising, fundraising, hiring (the most amazing counselors!),
and so many of the other essential aspects of operating a community camp that has offered hundreds of children over the years a fun, safe and meaningful summer experience. Whatever your interests, talents and skills, there is a place for YOU on this Team which promises to bless you ten-fold as you join your heart with ours! Please let Susan, Cindy Griffin, Kelsey MacNamee or Rosa Sousa know if you are interested or if you have any questions! We so look forward to welcoming you to this ministry of JOY!!!
Many, many thanks to everyone for your continued commitment to our beloved Church as we pledge our financial support for 2023! Thus far we have raised an unprecedented 98% of our goal! What a feat and testament to the love we share for the Meriden Congregational Church. THANK YOU. Every gift is a blessing.
Sincerely, Jill Marshall, Vice Chair for the Leadership Team
Celebration of the Rev. Gregory Wayne Marshall
As our church’s Minister Emeritus
at our 242nd Annual Meeting on
January 29th, 2023
WELCOMING and CARING MINISTRY
Mardi Gras was a great success!! After two years of not serving Pancakes on Mardi Gras (also known as Shrove Tuesday) we had 38 people take advantage of our pancakes made expertly by Susan Sanzone and Scrib Fauver! They were delicious. Other cooks and helpers were Anne Cragin, Kathy Wright, Bill Chappelle, Thom Wolke, Kevin Moore, Steve and Donna Beaupre and our Faith Odyssey Helper, John Rendahl. The flavorful syrup was from Steve Taylor and the ham was from the Garfield's Smoke House. Thanks to all-- it would not have been possible without you!!
There was a wonderful Memorial Reception after the Service for Flora Kenyon last month. Thanks to Ed and Laura Cousineau, Erin Rogers, Nora Kells Gordon, Anne Cragin, Elaine Lenz, Donna Beaupre and Kathy Wright who provided food for this event. Many hands make light work. Thanks to Lee Oxenham, Christine Heins, and Sue Richards who provided food for coffee hour. Thanks also to the many people who volunteered to clean up afterward. Maybe you can help in March!
For our services in the Church we need ushers. Thanks to Ed Cousineau, Penny Arcone, Martha Zoerheide, Evan Oxenham, and Nora Kells Gordon for ushering in February. I may be contacting you to help. Please say yes. It takes many people to build the community and to make our fellowship strong. If you would like to help with any of this please contact Kathy Wright at (603) 469-3235 or at home at (603) 675-5989.
HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US IN MARCH!!
Kathy Wright, Coordinator of the Welcoming and Caring Ministry
Do you find a deep sense of
joy and gratification
in reaching out and helping others?
If so, Please join our
Church Caregivers Team!
Even if you have only a few minutes a month to write a short "thinking of you" or "get well" card, your loving care will be so appreciated by members of our church community. If you would rather make occasional phone calls or in-person home visits, there is a place for you on the Caregivers Team, too!!! Everyone is welcome to offer gifts of care with no effort ever too small! Our Team meets quarterly with the loving guidance of our Chair, Kathy Wright. If you are interested in joining or talking further, please contact Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan (email@example.com). We warmly welcome you to join in the very meaningful ministry of this small group with a BIG HEART!
Music and Ministry
Lent is the gateway to Easter
The Meriden Congregational Church Leadership Team has spent a lot of time and effort in the month of January carefully and thoughtfully crafting a Church Spending Plan (aka budget) for 2023. The budget, as presented, at our Annual Meeting on 1/29 was unanimously approved by the congregation.
This Month the choir will be singing on Sunday March 12th and next month for Easter. It is wonderful to hear them sing together again.
On March 19th there will be a celebration of Celtic Spirituality as part of the Church Service.
So now, let’s all take a long deep breath and set our sights on the waning Winter and the coming of the Easter Season.
for Music and Ministry
“During the Season of Lent,
we are invited to fast
from the ego’s fearful thinking,
and fill ourselves instead with Faith”
-- Joan Borysenko
For Lent this year, what will you fast from…….
So that you can feast on……..
Fast from negativity; Feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from criticism; Feast on appreciation.
Fast from despair; Feast on joy.
Fast from self concern; Feast on compassion for others.
Fast from resentment; Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from fear; Feast on love.
Fast from self-doubt; Feast on trust.
Fast from discouragement; Feast on hope.
Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
Fast from selfishness; Feast on service.
Fast from helplessness; Feast on empowerment.
Fast from apathy; Feast on activism.
Fast from differences that divide; Feast on unity in diversity.
Fast from apathy; Feast on wonder.
Fast from hostility; Feast on non-violence.
Fast from perfectionism; Feast on belovedness.
Lenten Midweek Prayers & Community
By way of reflecting upon and sharing our Lenten journeys together, we are invited to gather virtually each Wednesday evening during the Season of Lent at 7:00 PM for a time of prayer and reflection, at this zoom link:
To join the Zoom Meeting using a computer, tablet or smartphone, click on the link below:
(Passcode, if requested: 979891)
For regular phones:
call 1 929 205 6099 US (toll call to New York),
or 1 312 626 6799 (toll call Chicago)
and enter the Meeting ID 898 0968 2070,
followed by # and then # again.
Into God's Hands
Throughout these bleak mid-winter days, our hearts have been saddened with the loss of many dearly beloved friends and relatives of our faith community.
Our prayers are with the many friends and family members of Flora LaPan Kenyon, whose long and full earthly life ended on Saturday-- February 11th , 2023, at the age of 95.
Our church family is aching with the unexpected death of our beloved Shepherdess, Anne Tracy, on Friday—February 17th , 2023. Few people were more faithful in their weekly attendance at our Sunday services than Anne. We will always feel her presence in the pew she graced for so many years.
In the evening of Friday—February 17th, 2023, another long-time and beloved member of our church and wider community passed from this life. Our hearts go out to the family members and many friends of Don Garfield, following his courageous and gracious witness to living with cancer.
And we extend our heart-felt sympathy to Susan, Rich, Annie, and Lindsay Pullen and their extended family members, especially Sue’s Mother, Julie, as they grieve the loss of Sue’s deeply beloved father and Annie and Lindsay’s Papa, David McLeod Rand, on Tuesday—February 21st, 2023.
Likewise do we mourn with our Co-Pastors Susan and John, Kalin, Ian and Erin as they grieve the loss of Susan’s dear friend, family friend, and Kalin’s Godmother, Suzanne Nolan, whose valiant struggle with health issues ended on Tuesday—February 21st , 2023. We especially hold her husband, Chris, in our prayers.
So too do we grieve with Nick & Meg (Fauver) Shafir, Susan Sanzone Fauver, Scrib Fauver, Olivia Fauver and Jeff Nicholson, and Nick’s entire family upon the sudden death of Nick’s sister, Stephanie Shafir at the age of 28 on Sunday—February 26th , 2023. Stephanie lived her life with courage and grace in the face of challenging health issues. Our prayers are with Steph’s family through this difficult time.
And our hearts are with Reed Brozen, Andrea Brown, Isabel Brozen and their family upon the loss of Reed’s mother, Andrea’s mother-in-law, and Isabel’s grandmother, Lee Brozen, on Wednesday—March 1 st 2023. Thankfully, Reed was able to be with his mother as she passed, following a stroke two days prior. Our love is with Reed, Andrea, and Isabel.
As each of these dearly departed ones have returned to the source of Love from which all life comes, may their families and loved ones be comforted with Love’s healing embrace in the midst of this time of mourning.
“Feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression. Therefore, it is necessarily a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels, as well as a commitment to reorganizing society so that the self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material desires.” ― bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center
Maranatha Indonesian Celebration
The Rev. Sandra Pontoh (pictured below upon this same occasion 2 years ago) has graciously invited us all to join our Indonesian friends for their Church Anniversary Celebration, which will be held on Sunday afternoon--March 126th at 1:00 PM at Madbury Town Hall (13 Town Hall Road Madbury, NH 03823). The service will be filled with Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) songs, music and culture, with lots of amazing Indonesian food to feast on thereafter. What a powerful and inspiring way for us to be in solidarity and community with them, many of whom have travelled to “retreat” with us in the past.
One Great Hour of Sharing is the refugee, relief and development offering of the United Church of Christ, transforming lives through health, education, agricultural, and emergency relief initiatives in 138 countries. Every year at this time, members and friends of our congregation open our hearts to reach out with love, faith, and compassion to people all throughout our world with our gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS). Our contributions to this effort will take place this year on Palm Sunday—April 2nd, when we will join Christians from nine other denominations in uniting to generate funds for healing work across the globe.
This year’s offering theme is “It’s Time to Share!” When we participate in the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, we are able to be present for the long term in disaster recovery, as together we build “a just world for all!” Our gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing support water and other sustainable development all throughout our world.
In our interconnected world, what is good for our neighbor is good for us, and what harms anyone harms everyone. Each time a gift is given, a connection is made. Every single offering builds another bridge and tears down another wall. Each donation to One Great Hour of Sharing, no matter how large or small, embodies our commitment to “transforming lives as a compassionate community.” Through this ecumenical effort, we connect visibly, effectively, efficiently, and powerfully as God’s Beloved Community. Let us therefore give generously, so that our Love our sharing may help build the Kin-dom of God here on earth! Make a secure online gift today at: https://support.ucc.org/donate-nowgenerously to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.
MCC Movie Night: Reel Soul
In keeping with our theme this year of “Learning to Love” as an antidote to all those ways we so tragically “otherize” those whom we have not yet learned to love, and in celebration of this Women’s Herstory Month, ALL ARE WELCOME to join us for the next film in our Reel Soul movie series:
“Revolution of the Heart”
View trailer at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRQLnJJZnCo
Faith Odyssey for Adults!!
“Restoring the Kinship Worldview:
“Indigenous Voice Introduce 28 Precepts
for Rebalancing Life on Planet Earth”
- Wahinkpe Topa (Four Arrows) & Darcia Narvaez
Continuing on Thursday—March 9th, 2023
at 1:00 PM at the home of Selden & Jan Lord
27 Serenity Drive, Cornish, NH
And on zoom here:
Following on the heels of our multi session exploration of what Sikh activist Valerie Kaur calls “Revolutionary Love,” we have decided to delve more deeply into the kindship worldview at the heart of most Indigenous spiritualities, using the book noted above as our guide.
Contending that Indigenous worldviews, and the knowledge they confer, are critical for human survival and the wellbeing of future generations, Editors Wahinkpe Topa (Four Arrows) and Darcia Narvaez emphasize our deep need to move away from the dominant Western paradigm--one that dictates we live without strong social purpose, fails to honor the earth as sacred, leads with the head while ignoring the heart, and places individual “rights” over collective responsibility. Restoring the Kinship Worldview invites readers into a world-sense that expands beyond perceiving and conceiving to experiencing and being, rooted in an Indigenous vision and strong social purpose that sees all life forms as sacred and sentient--that honors the wisdom of the heart, and grants equal standing to rights and responsibilities.
The book is available on Amazon for around $20.00, and hopefully at local libraries as well. When we next gather, we hope to have already read the Introduction and the first 2 chapters, and all are welcome to join us! If interested, but unable to join us for this next session, please let us know so that we can adjust accordingly.
MCC ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE NEWS
Report from Buildings and Grounds of MCC Administration
The following news was taken from the Annual Report of Administration and Finance
Projects Completed and Planned
A) 2022 was a year for John and Susan to have their sabbatical. As a result of
them not being at the parsonage for the summer, it triggered a discussion
around security. We determined it made sense to install wireless security
cameras the end of June.
B) Dane Gautreau was hired to do a few painting projects over the summer. All
the church windows and window trim were newly painted that were
accessible with a standard ladder. The cathedral style windows on the front
are left to be done this summer 2023. Dan also painted the exterior of the
doors and the two entrance roof trims and some of the ceilings before the
cold weather arrived.
C) We were hoping to get the slate roof repairs started. The slate roof
contractor Leon Shabbott was working locally in Enfield at the Shaker
Museum and was hoping to take advantage of having his hydraulic man lift in
the area and do a beginning portion of the repairs that will need to be done
in the next year or two. In the end, we were not able to get enough days
available for him to do that early portion of the proposed repair. We are on
his list for early spring. We expect the total repair to be around $ 20,000 this
D) The concrete entrance steps to the Parrish House were able to be temporarily
repaired to get us through the winter. We have agreed to hire Paul Sousa
(mason) from Cornish to do the permanent repair – rebuilding in April 2023.
E) A privacy door was installed in late summer at the top of the stairs going
from level 1 to level 2 of the Parrish House as requested by John and Susan.
A pane of glass needs to be installed and the new walls and trims still need to
be painted. That work is scheduled to be done in February
Co-Chair of Administration and Finance
REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS
Considering what we have received in this month as of February 28th, we have received $32,035 in Pledge payments. We have also received $706 in Plate payments. The total this month is $32,741. We also received $187 in donations for Mardi Gras/Pancake Supper.
So far this year our total of pledge payments is $35,885. Our total of plate payments is $891. So our Grand Total of payments thus far is $36,776. Often people pay all their pledge at the beginning of the year which accounts for this high total.
Some other funds which may have been contributed through stocks may not be noted here.
John, Paul, George and Ringo are still on the charts
Like that Beatles’ song says…”You’ve got to admit it’s getting better…better all the time!” Not that Covid’s gone away completely but we’ve all gotten a lot better at protecting ourselves, our families and our communities. Think of the lessons we’ve learned together over these last
thirty-six months. Our Covid vigilance has replaced panic and fear with solid preventative practices and an understanding of the interdependence of health policy and prevention across international boundaries and within our nation and our locality. While there’s talk that the national emergency is winding down, please keep up these familiar basics:
-Masks remains optional in our church with N95/KN95 and surgical grade masks available at the doors.
-Maintain careful and reasonable distances.
-Use good hand sanitation on a regular basis.
-All who are able should be vaccinated and boosted.
-If you are feeling unwell, then simply staying home is the right course of action.
While these practices are now well ingrained, we specifically remind members and visitors that they are key elements to staying healthy.
For the MCC Covid-19 Task Force
3/1 Rosa Sousa
3/1 Eloise Hampton
3/1 Scott Zenz
3/1 Darrell Beaupre’
3/1 Tabor Chichakly
3/1 Beth Houde
3/2 John McGovern, Jr.
3/2 Sam Lappin
3/2 Margaret Smallwood
3/3 Steve Sheehan
3/3 Caroline Sheehan
3/4 Jennifer Bliven
3/5 Valerie Stender
3/7 Amelia Good
3/8 Anne Cragin
3/8 Anna Wolke
3/11 Anthony Arcone
3/11 Josh Johnson
3/11 Ian Oxenham
3/12 Karen Rogers
3/12 Karen Jameson
3/13 Ray Webb
3/13 Mike Anikis
3/13 Harper Custer
3/13 Katie Chakoien
3/14 Alexander Good
3/15 Jeffrey Taylor
3/16 Ashley Brooks
3/16 Julia Salsbury
3/16 Miranda Guaraldi
3/16 Fiona Greenough
3/16 Grace Perotti
3/17 Aaron Franklin
3/17 Stephanie Smarsik
3/17 Karen McArthur
3/17 Audrey Perotti
3/18 Joan Burch
3/19 Joachim McClellan
3/20 Debbie Griffiths
3/20 Vernon Braswell
3/20 Frank Perotti
3/22 Kathleen Raynak
3/22 Michelle Chamley
3/24 Jessica Giaccone
3/24 Tucker Williams
3/25 Indigo Kopp
3/25 Kaitlyn Johnson
3/25 Tom Chellis
3/27 Kalin Gregory-Davis
3/27 Matthew Houde
3/27 Henry Wilbur
3/27 Theodor Heaton
3/29 Hugh McGraw
3/29 Liam Cook
3/30 Susan Turner
3/30 Nancy Franklin
3/30 Phoebe Garfield
3/30 Tim Goodwin
3/30 Lillian Mary Ratliff
3/31 Charlotte Sirlin
3/4/72 Christine and John Brooks
3/16/74 Arthur and Linda Perkins
MCC Poetry Page
“The Fate of the Poet is to fall in Love with Life”
In honor of Women's Herstory Month, we offer this poem by By Nancy Fierro, Based on the thoughts of Hildegard of Bingen:
Viriditas, gift of God
Health, wholeness and holiness
Igniting the world into being
Illuminating all creatures,
Giving them color and vigor.
Root of growth
Proliferation of spring
Making grasses laugh
And flowers blossom.
Joy of youthfulness
Zest of the aging
Energy of the heart loving
And the imagination creating
Fragrance of a life lived with compassion and justice
Green sap of the tree of life, drenched in the sun
Exuberant fountain flowing from the Living Light
Bright power of the Luminous Word born from the greenest branch
Grace and healing tonic of the Holy Spirit
Divine Wisdom’s sweet exhalation.
Dr. Nancy Fierro is a noted pianist, recording artist and educator. Performing nationally and internationally, she is a specialist in the life and work of Hildegard and author of the book “Hildegard of Bingen and her Vision of the Feminine”.
All poets among us, of all ages and abilities, are likewise invited to share your poems with us so that we may in turn publish one each month as a way of helping all of us to fall ever more deeply in love with life in all its wonder, pathos, and beauty!
Outreach, Peace, and Justice Ministry Teams
News for March 2023
"The way to heal the soul of the nation is to pass policies
that heal the body of the nation.
It’s the just thing to do.
That’s how we as a nation can move forward together."
~Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, Break the silence!
Listen Community Dinners Meriden Congregational Church has offered the commitment to prepare and serve dinners the FIRST Thursdays of the odd numbered months. The next date is March 2nd due to training. If you know of anyone, including the broader community, who would be interested, please text, phone or email Shideko Terai. 603-252-7898 Sign up on our unique page on the volunteer hub website http://meridencc.listen.volunteerhub.com/
Claremont Soup Kitchen Bill Chapelle continues to lead volunteer participation at the Claremont Soup Kitchen on the fourth Saturday of every month and this slot covers the hours 2-5:30 PM. No cooking experience necessary. March 25th is the next opportunity. “We always have a lot of fun. You begin your Saturday night with a good feeling you have given nice people a delicious meal.” ~Bill Chapelle
"The Quest for Worker Justice" continues as this New Year begins. See below for a report Arnie Alpert on the success of the unionizing efforts of the Dartmouth Student Collective. And stay tuned for news of a NH visit from the former UCC Economic Justice Minister, the Rev. Dr. Edith Rasell, to share more about her informative and timely book, "The Way of Abundance." This was one of John's favorite sabbatical reads, and are excited about bringing Edie to NH this spring to share more with us about her research and her call to action.
"There are millions of poor people in this country who have very little, or even nothing, to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they...(and we) will be a new and unsettling force..."
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"Voices of Faith" continues to bring moral witness and concern for those most marginalized into the legislative and budget deliberations determining how justly we commit to our common wealth and well-being as a state and nation. See below for invitation to view important film documenting the real and present dangers to our democracy.
The first Tuesday of each month NH Immigrant Solidarity Network (NH ISN) meets. Organizations include GSOP, AFSC, and clergy. It is interfaith and non-partisan. This month's meeting is on Tuesday--March 7th. Please contact John or Shideko if you would like to learn more.
Lee Oxenham has been alerting us about informative events and presentations connecting us to becoming more engaged in climate justice. Please contact Lee to find out the latest ways to be involved. See below for "March Ways to Care for Creation." And check out this award winning climate newsletter: Scientists Again Call for Civil Disobedience To Spur Climate Action, Saying ‘Time is Short’ - Inside Climate News
Racial Justice /Antiracism
A few years ago our church formed a Racial Justice Ministry Team that has been guiding us in learning about the ways in which systemic racism and white supremacy undergird so much of our history and identity. Now, in keeping with the call of our denomination, the United Church of Christ, to become an antiracist church, our Racial Justice ministry team has evolved our name to become the Antiracism Ministry Team.
Our weekly BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigils continue on Wednesday afternoons, now from 4:30 to 5:00 PM, in light of the gradually lengthening days, and all are welcome to join us anytime.
See below for 2 opportunities to deepen our understanding of the challenges facing our BIPoC friends and neighbors, and learn more about what we can and must do as people committed to dismantling white supremacy.
In solidarity and hope,
Shideko Terai (she/her), Outreach, Peace & Justice Coordinator
text or phone 603-252-7898, email firstname.lastname@example.org
52 ways to
Care for Creation
What affect is climate change having/going to have in your community? Learn how your church can be a hub for climate resilience by watching our webinars on Creation Justice Ministries' YouTube channel!
First Day of Spring
This is the season of rebirth. Pay attention as buds appear on the trees, seedlings sprout, and animals are born. When you come across these signs of spring, say a blessing (aloud or silently) for God's new creation.
Write To Your Elected Officials Write to your members of congress or local elected officials, asking them to support an environmental issue that you care about. How does the issue you've chosen relate to racial justice? Include this information in your letter or email.
Women's History Month Learn about women making environmental change! Some inspiring creation justice heroes include Dr. Vandana Shiva, Sister Dorthy Stang, and Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai.
Register to view this film at:
"The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy"
The Case of the Stolen Election
Rainbow PUSH Edition
A Film by Greg Palast
Friday—March 10th, @ 7:00 PM
In the Parish House,
with refreshments and discussion to follow
Follow investigative reporter Greg Palast (BBC, Rolling Stone) as he busts the New Klux Klan – the billionaire bandits that purged one million voters of color that stole the White House. With Palast’s inimitable style and cartoons by the man who drew “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” this is not just a documentary – it is a non-fiction, real life, high stakes detective mission. Palast, says Jim Hightower, is “[a] cross between Sam Spade and Sherlock Holmes” and this investigation shows just how true that statement is.
Plainfield Community Power is Coming to Plainfield at the end of April!
Plainfield is one of four towns in the Upper Valley and one of ten towns in New
Hampshire that will be launching Community Power at the end of April.
What is Community Power?
Community Power, authorized under NH RSA 53-E, democratizes energy governance by empowering towns, cities and counties to choose where their electricity comes from on behalf of their residents and businesses, work with utilities on local energy infrastructure upgrades, and provide electricity supply rates and services to all customers participating in the program.
Community Power programs serve as the default electricity supplier within the municipality and are self-funded through the revenues received by participating customers.
Local electric distribution utilities continue to own and operate the "poles and wires", and deliver electricity to all customers in the municipality.
Community Power programs may also offer innovative services and rates for customers on an "opt-in" or "opt-up" basis, such as 100% renewable premium products, time-varying-rates and Net Energy Metering generation credits for customers with solar photovoltaics. Unfortunately, this will not be possible at the launch of Community Power as the utilities still need to upgrade their systems to support these services as required by the PUC rules governing Community Power.
Expanding Customer Choice
Prior to launch of a Community Power program, all eligible customers are mailed notifications and provided the opportunity to opt-out or opt-in to the program, depending on whether they currently take service from a Competitive Electric Power Supplier or are on default service provided by local electric distribution utilities:
- Customers currently on utility-provided default service will be notified, providing the opportunity to decline participation, and transferred to Community Power if they do not "opt-out". These customer notifications will include the initial fixed rate for the program’s default service compared with the utility default service rate, be mailed to customers at least 30 days in advance of program launch, and provide instructions for customers to decline participation (for example, by return postcard, calling a phone number or using a web portal).
- Customers who previously chose to take service from a Competitive Electric Power Supplier will be notified and may request to "opt-in" to the program. Before choosing to opt-in these customers must ensure that their contract term with the Competitive Electric Power Supplier has ended.
Any new customers that move into the municipality in future will be automatically eligible to receive default service from the Community Power program and will be sent a notification in the mail.
All customers supplied with electricity from Community Power programs are free to switch back to the utility-provided default service, or to take service from a Competitive Electric Power Supplier, by opting-out of the program and switching suppliers in advance of their next billing cycle.
The Power of Joint Action
By joining together, Members of the Coalition create economies of scale and innovation in procuring services and managing power procurement risks, gain administrative efficiencies in terms of expert staff oversight, and strengthen their voice at the Legislature and Public Utilities Commission — all while maintaining local control and community values.
The Coalition has already proven able to coordinate municipalities to speak with one voice — and be heard — at the Legislature, with the “Early Legislative Victory” on HB 315 to protect and expand Community Power authorities.
In terms of achieving an economy-of-scale, the customer base of the Coalition’s founding members is forecasted to be approximately equivalent to Liberty Utilities (in terms of default service accounts and electricity procurement). Given the high degree of awareness and interest expressed by other municipalities in joining the Coalition to-date, the agency may expand to procure more electricity than Unitil does within the 2022-2023 timeframe.
Mailer and Community Power Public Information Meeting
Watch for the mailer notifying you of the start of Plainfield Community Power.
There will be a Community Power public information meeting
at Singing Hills on Tuesday--March 28th at 7:00 pm.
Come to hear more and have your questions answered.
Divisive Concepts Language
Doesn’t Belong Anywhere
in NH Law !
America has a history of banning Black studies. We can learn from that past (Derecka Purnell, The Guardian) - “This history is important because it helps us realize that today’s book banning efforts belong to a broader political backlash to the current Black liberation movement that started with the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012. The ideas and demands that Black people, and all people, deserve freedom from police violence, deserve quality housing, deserve universal healthcare, deserve a world that has different problems from what Dr. King identified as the triple evils of racism, capitalism and militarism. It is no accident that these ideas are found in the very same books that prisons ban, including mine. Prison officials, politicians and rightwing pundits target knowledge found in critical race theory because they know that theory leads to action for people who care about love, liberty and justice. They want to stop people from being inspired to fight for better lives.”
Notes from our Worker Justice Minister—
Dartmouth Student Workers Success!
This month's news comes to us from Arnie Alpert, who is a retired activist, organizer, and community educator long involved in movements for social and economic justice. Arnie writes an occasional column Active with the Activists for InDepthNH.org, and shares here with us the great news about the Dartmouth College Student Union success!
"Thirteen months after student dining hall workers at Dartmouth College formed a union to win improvements in pay and working conditions, the Student Workers Collective at Dartmouth (SWCD) has won an agreement with the college that includes a $21 an hour base wage....The union, most of whose members are international students, undocumented students, and first-generation college students from working class families, voted last week to authorize a strike if Dartmouth would not agree to their wage demand….
SWCD had its birth in the fall of 2021, when student workers organized a union because college officials were ignoring their concerns about low pay and disrespectful treatment. When the college refused to recognize the union, the SWCD won unanimous support in an NLRB-supervised election. In a statement released Saturday, the union said, ‘We now have a tentative agreement on the full package proposal with the College,’ including a $21/hour base wage, annual wage increases tied to the cost of college, and mental health and sick pay. Students working as area managers in the dining facilities covered by the contract would be included in the bargaining unit, a demand the college had previously been reluctant to accept.”
2023 History of
Racial Injustice Calendars
Equal Justice Initiative challenges racial and economic injustice and provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in jails and prisons. Their 2023 Calendar is a full-color wall version that includes hundreds of historical entries and 12 short essays highlighting historical events and issues in our nation's racial history. Available in the church office or by request.
Co-Pastors with the Chair of our Conference Antiracism Ministry, Harriet Ward.
"Now, more than ever,
the illusions of division
threaten our very existence...
We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us.
But in times of crisis
the wise build bridges,
while the foolish build barriers.
We must find a way
to look after one another,
as if we were one single tribe."
- Black Panther
Steve Beaupre' faithfully rings our church bell
each Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 PM as a clarion call to
our Community BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigil
Thank you, Steve!!
We are continuing our Showing Up for Racial Justice BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigils each Wednesday afternoon, now happening from 4:30 to 5:00 PM (note later time due to longer days) on the SouthWest corner of the intersection of Rte 120 & Main Street (at the blinking traffic light). We have “BLACK LIVES MATTER” signs available for folk to hold, but please feel free to make and/or bring your own signs.
Come join us in “showing up for racial justice,” and Standing for LOVE, and AGAINST racism, white supremacy, hatred, and violence, here in our community and beyond! Together, let us publicly declare that we will NOT be complicit in white terror, and let us call our friends and neighbors to rise up with us in our resolute affirmation of the inherent and sacred value of us all within Beloved Community.
Invitation to join the
Windsor County NAACP
A group of residents in Windsor County are working to form a Windsor County NAACP Branch. For certification as an NAACP Branch we need to enroll 100 new NAACP members on our Membership forms. Members may be from any geographical location. All members 18 and older will be voting members of the Branch with only Windsor County residents eligible for elected leadership positions (as defined in Constitution).
The NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, established in 1909 is our oldest and largest civil rights organization. It was started in New York by white and black activists partially in response to violence against African Americans, particularly lynching. Today it has over 2000 Branches and half a million members worldwide.
According to the NAACP Constitution it was founded on the beliefs embodied in the Constitution of the United States of America.... (its) vision and mission (are) to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights and there is no racial hatred or racial discrimination and to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
To become a member contact Rayann802@gmail.com; for more information contact email@example.com.
John Gregory-Davis Speaking at the Budget Protest in Concord, NH-- June 24, 2021
Legislator Contact Information
Rep. Annie McLane Kuster
137 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5206 (Washington)
18 North Main Street, Fourth Floor
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-226-1002 (New Hampshire)
Sen. Maggie Hassan
330 Hart Senate Office Building .
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3324 (Washington
1200 Elm St. Suite 6
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: 603-662-2204 (New Hampshire)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
506 Hart Senate Office Bdg
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-2841 (Washington)
2 Wall St #220
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: 602-647-7500 (NH)
Rep. Margaret Drye
1136 Rt. 12A
Plainfield, NH 03781
Rep. Bill Palmer
Sen. Suzanne Prentiss
Legislative Office Building, Room 102
33 State Street
Concord, NH 03301
The UVHS & The Plainfield Community Resource Room have teamed up to help all Cat & Dog Owners in our area.
Every Month on the 3rd Saturday
when the Resource Room & Food Pantry is open
the UVHS will be present to provide
FREE Cat & Dog Food.
For more information
please contact Stephanie at 469-3201.