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 5 of our e-mail Newsletter!
FEATURED IN THIS NEWSLETTER
PASTORAL PONDERINGS--"From Otherizing to Motherizing"
Worship & Music Ministry News
- Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in May
- Spiritual Formation News for our Children, Youth, & Families
- Music and Ministry Notes
- 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
MAY CALENDAR of EVENTS in the Life of our Spiritual Family
Spiritual Formation for Adults
- Restoring the Kinship WorldView Study
- Reel Soul Film, "Boycott"
Administration & Finance News
- Report of Projects done in 2022 and planned for 2023
Report of the Assistant Treasurers
- COVID-19 Task Force Update
May Birthdays & Anniversaries
Poem of the Month--"I am Not Separate From You"
Growing a Just World for All
LISTEN Community Dinner & Claremont Soup Kitchen
"Worker Collective Action" Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney, Worker Justice Minister
Dinner Conversation with Dr. Edie Rasell on "The Way of Abundance"
Support for the PRO Act
Immigrant Justice—Monthly Vigils at the ICE Building
Earth Summit Keynote by the Rev. Jim Antal
Community Power Programs
Recording of Mark Charles Presentation:
Continuing Black Lives Matter Vigils
Invitation to join Windsor County NAACP
Legislator Contact Information
“In industrialized societies today, everyone is suffering from not enough Mothering, degraded over millennia because women’s power to mother was taken away—by ideology, work, culture. Despite increasing neurobiological evidence for its importance, quality mothering has been increasingly dismissed by a technological, mechanistic, capitalistic, patriarchal worldview”
- Darcia Navaraez
Those of us sharing in our current “Faith Odyssey for Adults” study of the provocative book, Restoring the Kinship Worldview, continue both to grieve and to wonder at the discrepancies between what the authors call the “Dominant” and the “Indigenous” worldviews. And especially since we are all so schooled in the “dominant” worldview of our European/western culture that it may never have occurred to us that it was not the only way to view our world, we are finding our hearts opened, our minds expanded, and our spirits enlarged, through being invited to envision another worldview, one with actually a much longer history, or perhaps we should say “her”story, than the patriarchal worldview predominant in our lives, and even in much of our spirituality.
Thus as we prepare once more to celebrate Mother’s Day, or what we call Mothering Sunday in our church, it has felt especially timely to be reminded not only of the extensive pedigree of a matriarchal worldview in the life of our world, but also of the ways in which recovering such a perspective might be healing and restorative for us today as well. For whereas a patriarchal worldview tends to promote a hierarchy of values, toxically insisting that some of us are worth more, while others are worth less, across a wide range of distinctions, such as gender, age, and race, a matriarchal worldview “does not refer to ‘ruling over’ but to egalitarianism and freedom for both genders through complementary functions” thus resulting in “economic mutuality and a gift economy, matrilineal nondomination kinship, egalitarian consensus, and sacred cultures of the divine feminine.”
Wow—how different our lives might be if this were the worldview guiding us! In a nation so torn asunder by those deluded into thinking that their value depends upon devaluing “others” rather than mutually valuing everyone, how desperately we need re-mothering to heal the wounds within us dividing us from each other, and even within ourselves. Indeed, the obsession with achieving and exercising political and economic power so intrinsic to our society may well be increasingly sowing the seeds of our own destruction, or at least disconnection. For as Dacher Keltner revealed in their book, The Paradox of Power, “research shows that when humans have more power than others, they lose empathy for the less powerful and treat them as inferior.” Can we not all think of examples wherein we have seen this phenomenon play out, whether in the behavior of prominent, powerful individuals, or perhaps even at times within ourselves?
From whence comes the pain within us that makes us vulnerable to “otherizing” as a means of feeling good about ourselves? Might it be that the Mothering love that values us not for who we are over and against another, but truly and fully just for who we are ourselves, has been too long denied and denigrated in a culture driven more by competition than cooperation, more by hierarchy than by mutuality? Clearly Jesus recognized this vulnerability within us when he repeatedly asked us not to seek positions of prestige, but rather to endeavor to serve, and to ensure that no one was left out or considered to be worth less than anyone else.
For if the bad news is that most if not all of us do indeed suffer from not being “mothered” well enough, whether in our own homes, or in the communities and/or society from which we receive daily messages at to who matters and who does not, then perhaps the good news is that we can choose to re-mother, to “motherize” ourselves and each other in ways that transform the artificial walls dividing us into the spiritual bridges connecting with and for each other. Thus may this Mother’s Day find us seeking out and embracing, whether in new or re-newed ways, that mothering love that is at heart of the one whose life we bear, and who seeks ever to motherize the love we share, in our quest for collective liberation and Beloved Community!
Praying for Mothering Love to bless us all, everyone,
Your devoted Co-Pastors,
John & Susan
“Transforming Lives as a Compassionate Community:
Growing Spiritually as an Antiracist Church”
OUR SUNDAY FAITH
COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN MAY
(In-Person and on Zoom,
in the Sanctuary,
with masks optional)
MAY 7th @ 10:00 AM
Fifth Sunday of Eastertide
Founders' Day Sunday!
Join us for a virtual celebration of the 243rd Birthday of the Meriden Congregational Church! Our Intergenerational Communion Service will feature highlights of our life and ministry together.
MAY 14th @ 10:00 AM
Sixth Sunday of Eastertide
Join us as we explore and reflect upon scriptural images and prayers that lift up the mothering qualities of our Creator God, while giving thanks for all those who have "mothered" us in so many loving ways.
MAY 21ST @ 10:00 AM
Seventh Sunday of Eastertide
Come join our Worker Justice Minister, the Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney, as she leads this celebration with us, while our Co-Pastors are away for a wedding.
May 28th @ 10:00 AM
Pentecost Sunday celebrates the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, blessing them with courage and inspiration in their continuing ministry of liberation and transformation. Hang on to your hat and be ready for the Spirit to blow within and around us, filling us and blessing us once again on this Sunday!
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 during this ongoing Season of Easter, that goes all the way to the Day of Pentecost (May 28th)!
During this Season of Easter and, particularly, in the month of May, we look forward on Sunday mornings to our intergenerational messages 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 opportunities for relating our faith to our everyday life.
And twice a month, our preschool and elementary school children are invited to join Susan after school for a special church school time! Our dates in May for these fun times are Thursdays, May 11 and 25 (4:00-5:00pm at the parish house)! All children (and parents too!) are welcome! On May 11 we will be going on a scavenger hunt in the Bird Sanctuary and on May 25th we will be going to Zoe Rodriguez' farm to see the new born chicks! (Many thanks to Donna and Steve Beaupre for our fun time at their farm on April 27th seeing their new born lambs, chickens, and horse, and playing on the grass and in the brook!)
Our Faith Odyssey (7th and 8th grade) youth will gather with their mentors on Friday, May 11 (meeting at the parish house at 5pm) for our trip to the Roth Center for Jewish Life at Dartmouth College for their Sabbat Service and Community Dinner. Then on Sunday, May 21 (4-5:30pm), we will meet at the parish house and welcome a Muslim couple we know who will share with us all about their practice of Islam. And for our High School Senior Seekers, Kelsey will be gathering you, as schedules allow, for conversation and snacks!
And you won't want to miss a doubly fun opportunity for children and parents in May (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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
And keep your eyes out for OWL (Our Whole Lives--Sexuality and Spirituality) programs for our children and youth in the fall and spring of next year! We are so excited to be bringing back programs for our kindergarten and first graders, our fourth through six graders, and our seventh through ninth graders! More to come! Happy Days in this Merry Month of May!
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
WELCOMING and CARING MINISTRY
Thanks to Diane Walker, John and Susan Gregory-Davis, Kathy Wright, Penny Arcone, Ed and Laura Cousineau, Jerry Judd, Erin Rogers, Karen Jameson, Christine Heins, Marianne and Hugh McGraw and others who provided food for Coffee Hour and Easter Breakfast. We will need more volunteers in May. Some people who attend the church service on zoom even come over to in-person Coffee Hour for the refreshments and fellowship. You are invited!
For our services in the Church we need ushers. Thanks to Ryan McGraw and Beau, Anne Cragin, Jerry Judd, Glen Greenough and John Rendahl and Nora Kells Gordon for ushering in April. 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 MAY!
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 email@example.com or Susan (firstname.lastname@example.org). We warmly welcome you to join in the very meaningful ministry of this small group with a BIG HEART!
Music and Ministry
(The good news is that Cindy Marx-Wood is home
from the hospital and continuing her recovery)
The Easter Services were Outstanding This Year!
Easter Sunrise Service, Easter Breakfast and the 10:00 am Service were joyous and well attended. The special service, featuring Martin Toe from the Granite State Organizing Project was inspiring. Earth Day was celebrated next. We are continuing the Easter Season with the Good Shepard Sunday which will be in memory of Anne Tracy who was our shepherd for many years. We give thanks for her gentle presence amongst us.
In May the Easter Season continues with Carole Hartman back at the Piano. We love her musical additions to the service. Mother's Day may offer a Mother/Daughter duet. As the church year approaches its close, there are many opportunities to consider the state of our world and our part in it. As we build from Founders Day to Pentecost we acknowledge our debts to our founding organizers and the importance of the church community.
The joy of the Spring Flowers is upon us--daffodils, hyacinths, forsythia, tulips. The sounds of birds in the early morning and peepers singing their woodland song cheer up on.
(Kathy Wright for Cindy Marx-Wood)
for Music and Ministry
Martin Toe from Granite State Organizing Project 4-16-23 at Meriden Congregational Church
Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
As we journey throughout this Eastertide Season of rejoicing in God’s resurrection power to heal even our deepest sorrows, we give joyous thanks for the caring and sharing which make this community of faith such a welcome home for all of us. So too do we celebrate with all those bearing new life, and pray with those yet hoping to conceive, or seeking to adopt. a beloved child of God, even as we also pray for our friends in Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe, and all those living in such troubled lands as Ukraine, Haiti, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea, Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan, and the Congo. We pray too for all immigrants & refugees seeking sanctuary & welcome throughout our world, that we may be among those who offer an oasis of hospitality & compassion within the kin-dom of God’s heart. And we pray for our BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) friends and neighbors, seeking to build with them a world wherein “Black Lives Matter!”
Likewise do we pray for Rosemary Mills; Angie Hinton’s friend, Margaret Maxham; Dr. Jim Bell; Connie Kousman’s grand-nephew, Graham; Steve Taylor; Verna Svensen, mother of Cindy Griffin & Susan Borchert; Melanie Henry’s husband, Terry; Larry Wolkin; Gina Marzilli-Ericson’s mother, Paula; Amy Lappin’s mother, Sheila Spence; Co-Pastor Susan’s mom, Betty Davis; Robyn & Bob Carpenter; Karen Sutton’s husband, Robert Sutton, as well as Karen’s friend, Amber Howard; Patricia’s parents; Laine Gillespie’s friends, Josh & Perry; Eric Heaton; Greg Marshall; Betty Walker; Penny Arcone’s friend, Dick Slubin; Connie Kousman’s sister, Joyce and her husband, Dick; Beth Kopp’s father, Jim Kane; Allyson Wendt; Linda Perkins; Jody Schubert’s brother, Rick; Jim Schubert’s sister, Martha; Joan Burch; Suzanne Lenz; Carol Hartman’s daughter-in-law, Michelle; Judy Croitoru; Chris Dye; Linda Perkins’ friends, Dorothy, Barbara, Albert, & Doug; Caren Saunders’ father, William Homeyer; Rod & Barb Wendt’s granddaughter, Ada Jane; Susan Turner’s cousin, Buddy Stevenson, and Sue’s friend, Barbara Zenker; and Odile Clavier’s mother, Marie-Claire, as well as Odile’s niece, Amelie Marie.
So too do we pray for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Amaia Leach (18 month old daughter of Abraham & Maria); Cindy Marx-Wood; Angie Hinton’s friend, Mickey LaHaye; Martha Zoerheide’s neighbor, John; Vicki Ramos-Glew’s mother, Carole Spencer; Juliette Hampton’s teacher, Melissa Thaxton; Bill & Laine’s neighbor, Barbara Gifford; Becky Luce; Shideko Terai’s Uncle, Ted De Luca; Laura Cousineau’s brother-in-law, Eric; Cecilia Hampton’s best friend Victoria’s mother, Bev; Sue Turner’s brother, Kurt, as well as Sue’s sister-in-law Bev, and Bev’s step-daughter, Sarah; Connie Kousman; Gail Kinney’s brothers, Charles & David; Linda Perkins’ friend, Linda Stone; Suzanne Lenz’ brother, Bob; Bailey Sibert; Ed Foltyn; Jo Evarts, as well as Jo’s sister, Jingles; Robert Bryant; Jeff McNamara; Lauryn Moeller’s daughter-in-law, Lisa Rae Moeller; and Kevin Ramos-Glew’s nephew, Duncan.
If you or someone you know would like a name to be added to our Prayer List, please let us know. In an effort to keep it as up-to-date as possible, please also let us know when you would like a name removed. Occasionally, we carefully remove a name to make room for others, but if you would like a name restored, please simply let us know and we will be happy to do so. Thank you for praying for these members of our Church Family.
Into God's Hands
As gradually warming weather leads us to yearn for the new life of spring, so too have our hearts ached with the loss of dearly beloved friends and relatives of our faith community.
Our prayers are with Christine Heins and her cousin, as they mourn the unexpected death of her cousin’s son, Josh Hamilton, on Thursday—March 30th, 2023.
Our hearts ache with Linda Perkins, as she mourns the loss of her husband, Arthur Perkins, on Wednesday—April 12th, 2023. Linda & Arthur have been friends of our congregation for many years, and we shall always remember Arthur’s words of blessing whenever we said good-bye, “God Bless You—I love you!”
And we extend our sympathy to Susan Turner and her cousin, Jessie, upon the death of her cousin’s husband, Ron Letterchio.
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.
New Child of God ☺
We celebrate with Shawn & Erin Rogers the birth of their first grandchild, John “Jack” Richard Morton! Born on Friday--April 21st, baby “Jack” weighed in at 8 pounds, 15 ounces, and measured 21.5 inches long. In joyful company with his delighted parents, Kaylee Rogers and Josh Morton, and his proud grandparents, we enthusiastically proclaim,
WELCOME to our World,
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
Julia Ward Howe (27 May 1819 – 17 Oct 1910) was a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet most famous as the author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Her “Mother’s Day Proclamation” was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States. Written in 1870, it was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.
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—May 11th & 25th, 2023
at 1:30 PM at the home of Selden & Jan Lord
27 Serenity Drive, Cornish, NH
And on zoom here:
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.
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 April 23th we have received $7955 in Pledge payments. We have also received $630 in Plate payments. The total this month is $8,585. We also received $382 in One Great Hour of Sharing funds and $200 collected for the Steppin' Up to End Violence Walk for Turning Points Network.
So far this year our total of pledge payments is $60,900. Our total of plate payments is $1,827. So our Grand Total of payments thus far is $62,727. Often people pay all their pledge at the beginning of the year which accounts for this total.
Some other funds which may have been contributed through stocks may not be noted here.
COVID Statistics Quiz for Spring 2023
How many new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the US last week?
[Answer: 133,521 new cases, with about 511 of them here in NH]
How many US residents died from Covid-19 last week?
[Answer: 2,060 deaths]
How many folks are hospitalized today with Covid-19 in the US?
[Answer: 2,445 folks—that’s around 14,956 hospital days each week.]
US Totals for the entire Pandemic – 103,957,053 cases/1,123,613 deaths
NH totals for the entire Pandemic – 379,971 cases/3,017 deaths
Sources -- CDC.gov accessed 27 March 2023 and
Covid-19.NH.gov accessed 28 March 2023
It’s still out there! It’s still here! Without thoughtful prudence and careful precautions YOU could still add yourself and others to these statistics.
If you fell unwell—just stay home.
Stay “boosted” and “current” as best you can.
Consider a mask when you’re in a crowd.
Wash your hands frequently.
For the MCC Covid-19 Task Force
5/1 Cayden Van Dolah
5/1 Mike Van Dolah
5/1 LouiseFiliault 5/1 Thembi Muhlari
5/3 Kate Brady
5/4 Adam Perotti
5/4 George Butler
5/4 Lauren Lenz
5/4 Hadley Pensgen
5/4 Hank Ruppertsberger
5/4 Maia Garfield
5/4 Patrick Duany
5/5 Kurt Shaffert
5/5 Brian Garfield
5/6 Harrison Daniel Jeschke
5/6 Sylvia Clark
5/6 Samantha Clerkin
5/7 Nicole Annis
5/7 Miles Saunders
5/9 Susan Sanzone
5/9 Grace Bradley
5/10 Rob Constantine
5/10 Zeda Wolf
5/10 Marianna McKim
5/11 Alyssa Packard
5/11 Nancy Wightman
5/12 Ian Cattabriga
5/13 Stephanie Harding
5/14 Kristen Wendt
5/16 Phil Crowell
5/17 Owen Winslow
5/18 Melanie Elliot
5/18 Molly Jean Elizabeth Kells
5/19 Richard Swett
5/19 Audra Bucklin
5/19 Corinne Tomlinson
5/20 Doug Carver
5/21 Rigel Cable
5/21 Amira Chichakly
5/21 Haddie Houde
5/21 Ryan McGraw
5/22 Linda Perkins
5/23 Elizabeth Todd
5/25 Greg Castell
5/25 Steve Beaupre”
5/26 Gretchen Cherington
5/26 Joe McClellan
5/26 Rangi Keen
5/26 Oliver Herfort
5/26 Des Tolentino
5/26 Suzanne Lenz
5/27 Sawyer Constantine
5/27 Sue Richardson
5/28 Katy Sheehan
5/31 Pam Miller Custer
5/31 Richard Miller
5/4 Lee Walker and Evan Oxenham
5/10 Selden and Jan Lord
5/15 Robyn and Bob Carpenter
5/18 Nancy and Kurt Filiault
5/18 Laura Packard and Paul Churchill
5/26 Karen and Doug Heaton
5/26 Rick and Heather Hildebrant
5/29 Rachel and Robert Stoddard
5/30 Diane and Mark Walker
5/31 Maura Hart and Frank Perotti
5/31 Leslie MacGregor and Dalton Winslow
MCC Poetry Page
“The Fate of the Poet is to fall in Love with Life”
This month's poem comes to us from Dr. Kamand Kajouri, an author, poet, and educator who was born in Tehran, raised in Dubai and Toronto, and currently lives in England. Her latest book of poetry, from which this poem comes, is entitled, "God, Does Humanity Exist?" All of the royalties from her book sales are donated to children’s charities in Iran. And with every book sold (paperback, eBook, or Audiobook), Kamand donates to have a tree planted in Sub-Saharan Africa to help provide families with food, income, and a sustainable way of life. 1,920 trees have been planted to date.
“I am not separate from you, my neighbor.
If you are my enemy,
then I am my own enemy.
If you are my friend,
then I am my own friend.
Today, I have stripped off my masks
and come to know myself.
I am Christian. I am Jew.
I am Muslim and Hindu.
I am European and African,
Asian and South American.
I am man. I am woman. I am two-spirit.
I am gay. I am asexual. I am straight.
I am abled. I am disabled.
I am all these things because you are,
and you are all these things because we are.
I exist in relation to each of you—
this is what gives my being meaning.
Why must I label myself like a bottle of wine?
When I am the bottle, the wine,
Why must I label myself at all?
When I am the flesh, the light, and the shadow.
When I am the voice, the song, and the echo.
Tell me why I must label myself
when I am the lover, the beloved, and love.
I am not separate from you, my neighbor.
And you are not separate from humanity.
We are all mirrors,
reflecting one another in perpetuity.”
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 May 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 dates are: May 4, July 6, Sept 7, Nov 2. If you know of anyone, including the broader community, who would be interested, please text, phone or email Shideko Terai. 603-252-7898 The director, Larry Lowndes has discontinued the use of the volunteer hub; therefore, Shideko will send out a notice a week beforehand to seek volunteers. Many thanks to Ed Cousineau, Anne Cragin, Martha Zoerheide, and Linda Leone for volunteering in March.
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. May 27 is the next opportunity. “We always have a lot of fun. Your Saturday night begins with a good feeling that you have given nice people a delicious meal.” ~Bill Chapelle
Please read Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney’s article below. And plan to join us on Sunday evening--June 11th for a dinner conversation here in our Parish House with the Rev. Dr. Edie Rasell about her new book, "The Way of Abundance!"
Legislative advocacy continue for bills that protect the freedom to vote and oppose bills that pick apart voting procedures which have proven records that there is no voter fraud in NH; oppose bills that threaten women’s reproductive rights, threaten trans rights, threaten the unhoused, and tear apart laws that protect the environment and seek climate justice. Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney publishes actions to be taken. Also check AFSC, Kent Street Coalition, and League of Women Voters NH.
"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...will be a new and unsettling force..." - Martin Luther King Jr.
The first Tuesday of each month NH Immigrant Solidarity Network (NH ISN) meets. MCC s a member of NHISN. Organizations include GSOP, AFSC, and clergy. It is interfaith and non-partisan. Please contact John if you would like to get involved.
Lee Oxenham has been alerting you about informative events and presentations connecting us to how we can become more engaged in climate justice. View Earth Summit Keynote Presentation by the Rev. Jim Antal here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPfx7lACSYM. And stay tuned for word about our annual Church Clean-up Day! Please contact Lee to find out the latest ways to be involved.
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.
For a recording of the provocative and informative presentation by Navajo activist and scholar, Mark Charles, go to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDvLlRurXtk
Our weekly BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigils continue on Wednesday afternoons, from 4:30 to 5:00 PM, and all are welcome to join us anytime.
In solidarity and hope,
Shideko Terai (she/her), Outreach, Peace & Justice Coordinator
text or phone 603-252-7898, email email@example.com
Workers Are Drawn to Collective Action for Reasons
of Fairness, Decent Treatment & Respect
by Gail Kinney, Worker Justice Minister
There appears to be an explosion of collective worker action at Dartmouth College these days. First, the undergraduate dining services student workers -- mostly students from low income families, including many students of color and from other countries -- undertook a textbook unionization campaign (with visible support from members of our congregation) and now have an important collective voice and a $21/hour wage to show for it.
As the undergrads were successfully challenging seemingly calcified management negotiators, Dartmouth's talented and invaluable graduate teaching and research assistants were forming their own union. In a mid-April election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, 89% of the voting grad student workers said "Union Yes." Despite the overwhelming grad student support for a union, again the administration's response was what I consider to be shameful as it challenged the rights of over 50% of the graduate student workforce to be part of the union because they weren't really "workers."
In a recent news article, journalist (and activist) Arnie Alpert captured the sentiments of a graduate student union leader who recently has been in the news for his research on the nexus between baseball and climate change. Arnie wrote: "Chris Callahan, one of the union’s principal organizers, [commented that not only is he a worker but his work matters to Dartmouth.] He made national news recently for research demonstrating a link between climate change and home runs in Major League Baseball. The college’s news bureau put out a news release on the story. 'I made headlines for Dartmouth, and they told me I wasn’t a worker,' Callahan said." (See https://indepthnh.org/2023/04/13/dartmouth-grad-students-win-union-vote/ and https://www.thedartmouth.com/article/2023/04/abbott-graduate-students-protest-revised-union-voter-list.)
As the graduate teaching and research assistants were taking collective action, Dartmouth's librarians announced their own unionization effort! "All labor has dignity," said the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ALL labor has value and deserves respect. All labor, whether momentous or unseen, contributes in some way to the fabric of beloved community. There is a reason so many Dartmouth workers (and many others throughout the state -- from Starbucks workers to NH Public Radio "content creators") are seeking to come together collectively to form unions and exercise a unified voice on the job. When workers feel undervalued or disrespected or unheard, the importance of coming together to create a strong and effective voice is magnified.
Not long ago, I stumbled over the writing of a "management type" who was trying to explain why workers organize. He said, in part: "A labor union is an organization of workers that bargains with employers over wages, hours, and working conditions. Workers join labor unions for many reasons. Some workers join unions because they want to have a voice in their workplace. They may feel that their employer does not listen to them or that their employer is not treating them fairly. Other workers join unions because they want to make sure that they are paid a fair wage. Still other workers join unions because they want to have better working conditions, such as safer working conditions or more paid vacation days. Whatever the reason, workers who join unions are more likely to have a voice in their workplace and to receive better wages and benefits than workers who do not join unions." As good an explanation as any!
May our congregation continue to stand in faith-filled solidarity with all workers in our communities in their quest for dignity, respect and fair treatment.
The Fourth Annual Nakba Remembrance Ceremony to be held on Monday--May 15th, 2023 at 1:00 PM, hosted by Combatants for Peace and co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Conference United Church of Christ Peace with Justice Advocates Mission Group, brings together Palestinians, Israelis, and the international community to remember, honor and acknowledge the Nakba, when more than half a million Palestinians were displaced from their homes in 1948. Translated from Arabic as ‘the Catastrophe’, this experience is central to Palestinians’ collective memory and to the history of the wider conflict.
Combatants for Peace (CfP) understands that for Israelis and Palestinians to end the occupation and find a solution to the conflict, we must first acknowledge the truth of history, listen earnestly to each other’s stories, and compassionately behold each other’s humanity. The Joint Nakba Ceremony will carry us—Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals—to past traumas and their lingering legacies, then to the present, in order to build a just, peaceful, and equitable future with dignity and human rights for ALL.
Join us as we shine a light and amplify the stories that must be told. Together, we are collectively healing and uniting to end the violence. To join us please register at: 2023 Joint Nakba Ceremony
View trailer at:
“Anti-boycott laws are a Pandora’s Box that could be used to silence voices of dissent on a whole range of issues.… Boycott lays bare what is at stake for everyday American citizens. It also shows the power of courageous individuals who are taking on great risk to stand up for the rights of all.” — Julia Bacha, Director, Boycott
What does solidarity look like? How does solidarity—with oppressed peoples—shape faith in action in 2023? In Boycott, award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha pulls back the curtain on a movement of conservative legislators and lobbyists in the United States who are succeeding in curtailing free speech. A legal thriller with “accidental plaintiffs” at the center of the story, Boycott is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation and an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech, sounding the alarm as to how the right to free speech could be redefined and restricted across US society for generations to come.
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.
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.