Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter APRIL 2020

We are a Spiritually Progressive,
Open & Affirming, Sanctuary Congregation 
dedicated to 
Transforming Lives
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
VIA ZOOM ONLINE

MCC’s Recurring Zoom Meetings
Use the same login every time for the same meeting!
(All Worships the same, all Koinonias the same, etc.)

To sign-on with a computer, tablet, or smartphone –
feel free to join us a bit early!
Worship (Sundays, 10:00 AM): https://zoom.us/j/195433536
Worship “Test Drive” (Saturdays, 4:00 PM): https://zoom.us/j/890757273
Koinonia (Wednesdays, 6:30 PM): https://zoom.us/j/586329251

To call in with a “dumb” phone (toll call) – call in a little early!
Dial 929-205-6099 (New York) or 312-626-6799 (Chicago)
Enter Meeting ID, followed by #, then # again
Worship (Sundays, 10:00 AM): Meeting ID: 195 433 536
Worship “Test Drive” (Saturdays, 4:00 PM): Meeting ID: 890 757 273
Koinonia (Wednesdays, 6:30 PM): Meeting ID: 586 329 251
Here it is! Volume 3 Issue 10 of our e-mail newsletter





Revs. John and Susan Gregory-Davis,
Co-pastors
Meriden Congregational Church
603-469-3235
“Two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. . .[But later] when he was at table with them, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him” [in the breaking of the bread].          – Luke 24:13-16, 30-31


Looking toward Easter feels very different this year, doesn’t it, friends? With necessary physical distancing to help lessen the spread of the Coronavirus, we will not be able to engage the same way in the many beloved services and events that are so special to our church family’s observance of Holy Week and celebration of Easter Sunday. We will miss the children’s Palm Sunday Processional as we sing and wave palms to the triumphant strain of “All Glory, Laud and Honor.” We will miss our annual visit from Eeyore! We will miss our collective anticipation of Holy Week as we strew the palms over the floor of the church at the end of our Palm Sunday Service. Those who join us for our Maundy Thursday Service will miss the hauntingly beautiful notes of “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” along with the clarinet, flute, piano and choral melody that graces this service’s telling of Jesus’ last days, Last Supper and last hours on the cross. 

Some of us will miss our annual pilgrimage to the Weston Priory for the monk’s poignant Good Friday service, followed by our traditional supper together in Ludlow. And all of us will miss our joyful Easter Sunrise Communion Service, festive Breakfast and breath-taking Easter Sunday Celebration at 10:00 with glorious trumpet, choral anthems, Easter flowers and the proclamation that “Christ the Lord is Risen Today!” (And, of course, the children’s Easter Egg Hunt afterwards!”). 

Yes, our church family’s celebration of Easter will feel different to us this year. It wil l be different. It is important to acknowledge this. There is grief in all that we will miss. Honoring our grief helps us to acknowledge what we love and value about our faith traditions and thus enables us to embrace a healthy and faithful perspective on this time we are living through.   Yes, we love all the beautiful and meaningful ways we traditionally celebrate Easter, AND this year we will be invited to see and experience Easter with “new eyes” in light of all that our community and world is going through. Like the disciples on that ancient road to Emmaus, our eyes will be opened to recognize God’s Love in new ways--in the breaking of the Bread we will hold in our hands this very Easter season. 

In many ways, it feels as though Easter has already come. Already we are experiencing every day the signs of new life born of people recognizing in one another our common humanity. Neighbors helping neighbors, neighbors helping strangers, songs being sung across balconies, music being shared from doorsteps, global choirs singing in the key of hope, health care selflessly provided, masks sewn at home, food filling pantry shelves, groceries delivered. . . Alleluia, Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen, indeed! Alleluia!  And, yet, in other ways, it feels like we are rather somewhere between Good Friday and Holy Saturday, as we read about the unspeakable horror and grief of virus epicenters in cities and communities abroad and now in our own country.

Here in the Upper Valley, we watch and wait, anxiously preparing and hoping to prevent a similar fate, while being wholly uncertain as to what the future will bring. Perhaps where we really are, friends, in this Holy Story is simply walking along that faithful road to Emmaus with Jesus’ disciples who, grief-stricken over his death, are primed to experience the most life-transforming experience of their lives—that is, seeing their lives and the world from the totally new perspective of God’s Love right in their midst!  When fear, uncertainty and grief remove from us all that is familiar--our traditions, our comforts, our defenses—Love has room to enter in to be resurrected once again. This Easter, we are invited to see with new eyes what is right in our midst —the wonder of each person’s life, the joy of having people and animals to love, the utter beauty of the natural world, the hope that comes from reaching out to ease, even in a small way, one person’s day, the peace that comes from trusting in the promise of God’s-Love-with-us-always. 

So, let’s WELCOME Easter into our hearts in a new way this year as we journey throughout this Holy Week.  Join us on ZOOM this coming Sunday for our simpler Palm Sunday Service. Find a small tree branch on the ground and wave it in remembrance of Jesus--atop a donkey--entering into Jerusalem. Bring some bread and juice to our “at-home” Palm Sunday Celebration of Communion. Then join us on ZOOM for our Maundy Thursday (6-7 pm) Agape (love) Family Meal in the spirit of Jesus’ Last Supper. Good Friday will likewise draw us together by ZOOM for a quiet evening of prayer and reflection. (7-8 pm). And as Easter Sunday morning dawns upon us, get up early and watch the sunrise from your east window or yard, make a special Easter breakfast and then, later in the morning (10 am) join us by ZOOM for a different but joyous, musical and meaningful celebration of Resurrection JOY! (Followed by your own Easter Egg Hunt!) 

For friends, EASTER WILL COME IN ALL ITS GLORY! Let’s behold every glimmer of it! And allow our eyes to be opened this Easter to all the new ways God is inviting us to recognize the sacred in each human being, each wonder of nature, and each experience revealing to us that Love is always being resurrected!  
A joyous and blessed Easter to you, dear friends,
Your Virtually loving Co-Pastors,
Susan & John
   
COVID-19 Pastoral Caregiving--
Please let us know how we can support you
 through this time of Coronavirus dis-ease!

Dearly Beloved Spiritual Family & Friends,

Peace and comfort to you through these very concerning times. We wish you to know that your Co- P astors--Susan and John, your Church Caregivers Team, and your Church Family are here for you, your loved ones , and our wider community as together we reach out and support one another in whatever ways are needed to help us all manage physically, emotionally , and spiritually in the very healthiest ways we can during these troubling days. Please call Susan and John (469-3235) or email us ( susan@meridenucc.org or john@meridenucc.org ) to let us know how we can best support you. No concern or request is too large or too small! Call us if you simply wish to talk or pray, call us if you are worried, call us if you desire pastoral and spiritual support, call us if you have concerns either about yourself, a loved one or a neighbor, call us is you need errands run, groceries delivered or have any other need. 
In addition to Co-pastor support, we also have our COVID-19 Caregivers Team that is ready to be of emotional, spiritual and practical support, as well. These team members will be calling many of you (especially those living with higher risks) to check-in weekly and ask how they can be of support to you. These COVID-19 Caregivers Team members ( Fiona Greenough, Elaine Lenz, Suzanne Lenz, Kelsey MacNamee, Jody Schubert, Shideko Terai, Kathy Wright, along with Susan and John) will be in very close contact with our Co-pastors for effective and faithful coordination of care.  Additional COVID-19 Caregivers Team members ( Steph Berman, Joan Burch, Amber Castell, Jo-Ellen Courtney, Connie Kousman, Jill Marshall, and Sean Teehan ) will be sending cards, running errands, coordinating grocery drop-off and/or even offering to walk your dog!

So, please do let Susan and John or Kathy Wright (675-5989, secretary@meridenucc.org ) know how we can help you and your family—at any time—manage through this time as best as possible. Together as a community of faith, let us pray for one another and all our kin--locally and throughout the world—as God’s people love and support one another through this difficult time. If you yourself would like to be part of our church’s Caregivers Team there is a place for you in the circle of our church’s care for one another.

Blessings of peace to you and your loved ones!
Faithfully, Susan and John
OUR SUNDAY FAITH COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN APRIL
(All on Zoom, as noted above)

April 5th @ 10:00 AM
Intergenerational Communion Service!
Palm Sunday Celebration
Join us for our virtual Communion Celebration 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.

April 12th @ 10:00 am
EASTER SUNDAY JOY!!
We hope to have our Zoom Lens back in our Sanctuary for our virtually glorious Celebration of the Easter Story of God's never-ending Love! This year, perhaps more than ever, we eagerly look forward to the Easter Blessing offered by the loving (virtual) presence of each and all of us!  Please do plan to join us, and invite your friends, family, and neighbors too!!

APRIL 19th @ 10:00 AM
Earth Day Sunday
Loving and Honoring, Healing and Restoring our Planet Home!  Join us for this Inter-generational Service as we celebrate Earth Day, recommitting ourselves to taking essential care of our generous yet fragile earth.   How is our faith community called to  be  faithful stewards of God's Creation in this critical time?   Immediately following this s ervice will be a Special Meeting to vote on our Green New Deal Resolution.

April 26th @ 10:00  AM
Third Sunday of Easter
 Join us for this opportunity to gather (virtually) in prayer, music, and reflection as we ponder together how we are weathering the challenges of these uncertain days, while likewise deepening our connections with each other, and with that heartbeat of LOVE pulsing within us all, and throughout creation!


Whoever you are,
Whomever you love,
Wherever you are on
life's journey,

YOU are WELCOME to
share in all our
Spiritual Family Services, Celebrations,
and Activities!
SPIRIT SUNDAYS
IN APRIL

  We hope to stay together and connected during this new and different time of our lives. I look forward to maintaining and building relationships with the youth of our community in the following ways:

Weekly Zoom chats on Thursdays from 11 am to noon. We hope your children can use an iphone, tablet, or computer to log in and catch up!

A Zoom Senior Seeker get together Saturday, April 4 from 5:30-6:30!

And weekly Children’s Messages during our Sunday morning Zoom services at ten am.

We are very eager to begin offering more ways to connect and come together soon... please stay tuned!

Stay safe and healthy,
Kelsey MacNamee 

--
Kelsey MacNamee
Spiritual Formation Coordinator
Meriden Congregational Church
(603) 504-4257




  Maundy Thursday Agape Meal Celebration 
Thursday—April 9th, beginning at 6:00 PM

a.  We will open for link-in at 5:45 PM . Link in a little early so you are ready to go at 6:00 PM!
b For computers, smart phones, or tablets  with Zoom software installed, go to  https://zoom.us/j/519568592. If you need the Meeting ID, it is  519 568 592 Join using your computer audio & video.
c.  For regular phones  call 1-929-205-6099 (toll call to New York) and enter the Meeting ID  519 568 592   followed by  #  and then  again.

Join us for our Good Friday Evening Prayer Service
Friday—April 10th, beginning at 7:00 PM

a We will open for link-in at 6:45 PM . Link in a little early so you are ready to go at 7:00 PM!
b For computers, smart phones, or tablets  with Zoom software installed, go to  https://zoom.us/j/793938980  If you need the Meeting ID, it is  793 938 980.  Join using your computer audio & video.
c.  For regular phones  call 1-929-205-6099 (toll call to New York) and enter the Meeting ID  793 938 980  followed by  #  and then  #  again.
Celebrate Easter with us on
Sunday—April 12th @ 10:00 AM
By Computer, Smart, or Regular Phone

a.  We will open for link-in at 9:30 AM . Link in a little early so you are ready to go at 10:00 AM!
b For computers, smart phones, or tablets  with Zoom software installed, go to  https://zoom.us/j/195433536   If you need the Meeting ID, it is  195 433 536.   Join using your computer audio & video.
c.  For “regular" phones  call 1-929-205-6099 (toll call to New York) and enter the Meeting ID  195 433 536   followed by  #  and then  #  again.
Worship and Music Ministry News


A Frame for this Easter’s Challenges

Mary Magdalene always pops up in the Gospels at uniquely important moments. In the Gospel of John she is like a frame surrounding the story of Jesus’ death—there is a quirky first encounter right before he goes to up to Jerusalem and less than a week later a second amazingly gentle Easter morning encounter with him in a garden immediately after his Resurrection.

Don’t get me wrong: There are just too many Marys/Miriams/Mayams in the Gospel books! Usually I can keep them straight, but not always. Plus there’s the persistent confusion about a repentant woman converted by Jesus’ kindness, or that woman at the well, or another woman who was almost stoned for adultery, or the one who washed and dried Jesus feet – according to the story that was the first use of a “hair dryer” recorded in the Bible. (Sorry, I’ve been cooped up inside for too long.)

Truthfully, though, that last one is the Mary Magdalene I want to cite for our Easter 2020 consideration. She’s got the something we need. Just take a look at these two extraordinary encounters with Jesus. In a time of necessary social distancing we need an antidote to callousness and coldness that sometimes seem to be closing in on us. Whatever you may call it—the vulnerability, the pity, the trust, the compassion--that intimacy between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is palpable and personal and gives them both life.  

The energy goes from Magdalene to Jesus first. The expensive aromatic spice (perhaps Myrrh) she used was reserved for burial, but she used it to morn him while he was yet alive. Her prescient sentiment of his approaching death seems to be the very first intimation of his approaching doom that any of the apostles and disciples saw. She saw it first and acted. Jesus calms an angry follower who has shouted—“That money should have been given to the poor. What a brazen and wasteful woman!” Instead, Jesus likes the attention: It answers some deep need he had as a human. Maybe some deep divine need too.

In actuality, I wonder if that disciple wasn’t really upset that a woman had become so personally close to Jesus that she would touch him like a kinswoman lamenting a dead child. Letting her hair down indicated she was treating him alive as a kinsman’s dead body would be washed, perfumed and cared for within a home. She dried his feet with what was available and practical—the veil that had wrapped her head and covered her hair outside the home had been removed inside. Mary Magdalene realized what needed to be done—but it shocked those around her.

Jesus trusted her touch and in return opened up his own vulnerability.

Look how the scene on Easter Sunday just after sunrise reverses the first. Tables turned: Jesus gets the edge on Magdalene this time. It’s Mary Magdalene who, according to John’s version of the story, first encounters Jesus, not one of the men. And just as in the other Gospel versions Jesus is not initially recognized by those who see him.   

When she sees an empty tomb, Magdalene is distraught, confused and probably not paying particular attention to a garden workman raking leaves. (Remember that Sunday was the beginning of the work week then.) She stammers out “Uh, pardon me sir, sorry to bother you, but, uh, well, have you any idea at all, uh, where…”   

Just one astonishing word and the shattered pieces of an entire world come back together anew: “Mary.”  

Jesus’ energy flows in like a lightning bolt into Magdalene. His touch struck her straight through. Instant intimacy and empathetic openness are re-established. Jesus’ first utterance to humanity after his Resurrection—one single word-- is spoken to this Mary of Magdala. It’s hard to say much more. The worst religious cataclysm of the Bible is reversed in a single word. Wow. Imagine.

To repeat myself : “Whatever you may call it—the vulnerability, the pity, the trust, the compassion--that intimacy between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is palpable and personal and gives them both life.“ 

Seems like that’s precisely what we need right now inside ourselves and within our communities. What single “Word” do you need to hear today to heal and to restore hope? Pray that together we find it this Easter.  

Ed Cousineau





 
Welcoming and Caring Ministry

The good news is that the budget deficit has been made up due to the support of our members and friends. Also the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper was a success.
We planned for 60 people. We were pleased that 33 friends came out and enjoyed the wonderful pancakes that Scrib and Susan Sanzone Fauver provided for us. Thanks Scrib and Susan! Thanks to the Faith Odyssey young adults who served!
The challenging news is that our Welcoming and Caring Ministry of Coffee Hour, Ushering and Potlucks have been put on hold indefinitely by the Corona Virus visiting our state. Since Sunday March 15 we have been meeting remotely by way of Zoom technology. There has been no in person meetings at the Church. There has not been any Midweek Coffee gathering on Wednesday morning at 10:00am. There have been phone calls and cards sent by our Caregiving Covid 19 committee. If you would like to be on the list of people being called reach out to us at 603-469-3234.

There is also a Mid Week Worship and Check In Via Zoom on Wednesdays at 6:30pm. Call 603-469-3235 if you would like to be notified of this meeting and given the log in number. I am thankful of the opportunity of meeting people online even as I miss seeing people in person. Hoping that you and your family are getting all the help and food that you need. Please contact me at kathywright@myfairpoint.net if you need anything!!

Kathy Wright, Coordinator for Welcoming and Caring Ministry
Our Micah Honorees--Jan and Selden Lord
Friends,

This year we honored Jan & Selden Lord as our Micah Honorees at UVIP’s Micah Celebration on Sunday, October 27 at the Claremont Senior Center (5 Acer Heights Road in Claremont). Doors opened at 2:00 PM for refreshments and socializing, and the ceremony itself was from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. 



Rod Wendt
Chair, Leadership Team
Meriden Congregational Church
603-469-3190
MCC ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE NEWS
Administration and Finance News - April 2020

Our sexton, Sue Richardson has begun painting the Parish House basement nursery room, one of the renovations to improve the Parish House for Sunday school and summer camp activities. Home Partners had planned to begin the other renovations on March 10, but they have not yet begun and we are waiting for an updated start date.  

While waiting on that new start date leadership needs to decide whether it is still appropriate to have renovations performed in the Parish House in light of the coronavirus social distancing guidelines, so these renovations may need to be deferred.

We are happy to report that our co-pastor Susan has a new computer. This was long overdue considering the difficulties that she had with her old computer.

Submitted 
Evan Oxenham.


Adult Faith Odyssey Book Study—
Mondays @ 7:00 PM ,
Beginning on Monday—April 27 th , 2020
By Computer, Smart, or Regular Phone

a.  We will open for link-in at 6:45 PM. Link in a little early so you are ready to go at 7:00 PM!
b For computers, smart phones, or tablets  with Zoom software installed, go to  https://zoom.us/j/ 482787109
If you need the Meeting ID, it is  482 787 109.  Join using your computer audio & video.
c.  For “regular" phones  call 1-929-205-6099 (toll call to New York) and enter the Meeting ID  482 787 109 followed by  #  and then  #  again.
Legislator Contact Information
 FEDERAL
                                                                                 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)
Its. 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)
STATE

Rep. Lee Walker Oxenham
92 Methodist Hill Road
Plainfield, NH 03781-5415
Phone: 603-727-9368

Rep. Linda Tanner
PO Box 267
Georges Mills, NH 03751-0267
Phone: 603-763-4471

Sen. Martha Hennessey
Legislative Office Building, Room 105
33 North State Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-3067

Rev. William Barber in Nashua
Outreach and Social Justice Ministry News by Shideko Terai

LOCAL OUTREACH IN THE COMMUNITY--Local Dinners have been suspended because of the Covid-19 emergency. Listen and the Haven are accepting money donations. The MCC church is collecting canned goods for the Claremont Soup Kitchen. Bring your donations to the Sanctuary in the Church.

The budget for Outreach includes financial contributions to Listen Community Services, Claremont Soup Kitchen, Upper Valley Haven, Good Neighbor & Red Logan Clinics, Wise, and Turning Points Network. See below for details.

RACIAL JUSTICE efforts continue with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) BLACK LIVES MATTER vigils continuing to meet on Wednesdays throughout the year. It is worth making the statement for racial justice for just a short half hour at the blinking light in Meriden. And more people would definitely help to make the issue more visible. You are probably wondering how does it matter? I think the majority of people in the cars that pass by with waves and honks are thinking, “I’m glad to see that this issue is not being ignored. I wish I had the time to do it and I’m glad these people are there representing our values.” Do you want to be added to our email reminders? There are some interesting resources worth reading. Send an email to Rev. John Gregory-Davis john@meridenucc.org .

One of the most recent social justice events took place in Nashua. It is called the Poor People’s Campaign. The theme that has been traveling with Dr. Rev. William J. Barber is the acronym, M.O.R.E. in preparation for the 2020 elections: Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering people to vote, and Educating people about local candidates and presidential candidates. We would like to organize buses to travel from the United Valley to Washington, DC to march and rally on June 20, 2020. Maybe you would like to join us or help fund such an effort!
REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS
     

   
For the month of March we received $12,600 in pledges for a year to date total of $29,750. We received $351 in plate donations for a total of $781 for the year. We also received $1,116.72 for the sale of stock and $700 toward the pledge challenge. The pledge challenge total so far is $2,800 received. 

I have found a new source for pledge statements, but the project to try to computerize all donations will have to be set aside until it is safe to engage in face to face contact again.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard Atkinson
Jim Lenz



Coffee & Cocoa products are featured from Equal Exchange! Please contact Shideko Terai if you would like to order Coffee, Decaf, Hot Chocolate or Chocolate Bars. These products are delicious and promise a reasonable return for the growers and farmers who produce them! K-CUPS are also available!
Cool weather! Fine chocolate. Or hot chocolate anyone?

Shideko's e-mail is mary.n.boyle@gmail.com.
Shideko Terai, Coordinator of Outreach, Peace and Justice Ministry


  As we transition from Lent to Easter , we give joyous thanks for the caring and sharing which make this community of faith such a welcome home for all of us, even as we fervently pray for all those affected in any way by the Covid 19 pandemic.   We celebrate with all those bearing new life and hope with those yet trying to conceive or seeking to adopt a beloved child of God, and we pray for our friends in Bolivia, Mexico, Indonesia, Uganda, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe , as well as our friends and neighbors in such troubled lands as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Yemen, North Korea, Burma, & Tibet. We pray with special concern for all immigrants & refugees seeking sanctuary & welcome throughout our world, that we may be among those whose open arms and doors reveal that there is always room within the inn of God’s heart. And we pray too in solidarity with our African-American friends and neighbors, seeking to affirm with them that “ Black Lives Matter ”, not more, but certainly not less than, all lives.  
            
            So too do we pray for Susan Reetz; Glenn Griffin’s uncle, Buzz; Karen Jameson’s mother , Tish;  Cindy Griffin’s and Susan Borchert’s uncle , Arthur, as well as Cindy’s cousin, Rob & his partner, Tracy’s, 18 year old son currently very ill with Covid 19 ; Judy Croitoru ; Jim Lenz’ friend, Jim ; Joan Burch ; Bob & Robyn Carpenter;   Joan Dumont; Chris Dye ; Tecla McCann ; Linda Perkins , as well as her friends, Dorothy, Barbara, & Doug ; Caren Saunder’s father, William Homeyer Greg Castell’s father; Scot Zens; Rev. Jed Reardon;  Carol Hartman’s daughter-in-law , Michelle; Allyson Wendt, as well as her daughter, Ada Jane; Greg Marshall; Larry Burch’s parents, Bill & Olive, as well as Larry’s brother, Charlie;  Susan Turner’s cousin, Buddy Stevenson , and Sue’s friends, Barbara Zenker & Jane Miles ; Maura Hart’s father , William; Vicki Ramos-Glew’s mother, Carol Spencer; Bill Chappelle’s friend, Mel; Susan Sanzone’s aunt Rita; Odile Clavier’s mother, Marie-Claire , as well as her niece , Amelie Marie .

Likewise do we pray for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Susan Reetz’ father, Dean Bensly : Bailey Sibert; Becky Luce; Ed Foltyn; Sue Turner’s cousin Jessie’s husband, Ron Lettrechio : Caren Saunder’s mother, Betty Homeyer ; S elden Lord’s brother-in-law , Edward ; Jan Lord’s former daughter-in-law, Michelle; Chuck Chamley’s mother, Joan Chamley; Laura Cousineau’s brother-in-law, Eric; Judy Houde-Hardy’s cousin , Michael Morin; Hunter Townsend; Jo Evarts , and her sister , Jingles; Robert Bryant; Cynthia Howe; Penny Arcone’s brother, Stuart Hills, & Penny’s friends, Dick Slubin and Gail Graham; Joan Dumont’s stepbrother, Lowell Toof; Jeff McNamara; L auryn Moeller’s daughter-in-law, Lisa Rae Moeller ; and  Kevin Ramos-Glew’s nephew, Duncan.



          
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.

We extend our sympathy to Arthur & Linda Perkins, upon the recent loss of their friend, Lenny.

Likewise do we mourn with Jim Borchert and his family, the loss of Jim’s sister, Ellen Bahr , on Friday—March 13 th , 2020
.
We enfold within God’s healing care Laura & Ed Cousineau upon the loss of Laura's mother , Laura Keener Kreis ; on Monday—March 16 th , 2020.

So too do our hearts ache with Alan & Sue Reetz, as they grieve the sudden death of Alan’s brother, Garin Reetz , on Sunday—March 22 nd , 2020.
And our prayers are with Andrea Brown and her family, as they give thanks for and mourn the end of the 101 year long and full life of Andrea’s beloved grandmother, Virginia Lee Brown, on Monday—March 30 th , 2020.

            As God has welcomed each of these dearly departed ones back into the realm of God’s eternal embrace, may their families and loved ones be comforted with God’s healing presence in the midst of this time of mourning.



           
The UVHS & The Plainfield Community Resource Room have teamed up to help all
Cat & Dog Owners in our area. Every Month on the 3 rd  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.
APRIL BIRTHDAYS
4/1  Beckett Eastman
4/2        Marcia Copperswaite
4/2        John Yacavone
4/2        Cindy LaFlam
4/2        Taylor Williams
4/6        Jed Wilber
4/6        Zoey Houde-Crane
4/7        Natalie Ruppertsberger
4/7        Reed Brozen
4/7 Virginia Sraeel
4/11       Graham Brooks
4/12       Bryden Nugent
4/13       Noah Herfort
4/13       Rodney Wendt
4/13       Warren Calderone
4/15       Bobby Annis
4/15       Johanna Schafer
4/16       Harold Clark
4/17       David Carver
4/17      Yesenia Araya
4/17       Bob Bucklin
4/18       Betty Pardoe
4/19      Alexandra Parsons
4/20       Mike Schafer
4/20       David Sneiderman
4/20      Michelle Sneiderman
4/21      Elaine Lenz
4/21      Caitlyn Howell
4/22     Andile Muhlauri
4/22      Betsy Beck
4/22      Carter Williams
4/23       Austin James Currier
4/24       Lisa Elder
4/24       Macsen Elkouh
4/24      Hunter Townsend
4/25       Jasmine Hardy
4/25       Jan Timmons
4/25       Lindsay Anikis
4/25       Becky Luce
4/26       Christina Robinson
4/26       Susan Yacavone
4/27       Deborah Chapman
4/27       Kaylee Rogers
4/28       Annamay Chapman
4/28       Ursula Herfort
4/29 Karyn Swett
4/30       Alyssa Reetz
4/30       Svia Araya Russman
    
APRIL ANNIVERSARIES
 

4/8     Shawn and Robert Phelps
4/15   Andrea and Brandon Feid
4/20   David and Michelle Sneiderman
4/20   Bob and Carla Bucklin
4/21   Carol and Mike Hartman
4/25   Susan and John Yacavone






Milk with Dignity Campaign Action
Demand that CEO of Hannaford, Mike Vail,
  get on board with the
Migrant Justice
Milk with Dignity program
  
      The Milk with Dignity Program brings together farmworkers, consumers, farmers and corporate buyers in support of dignified wages and humane labor and housing conditions in the dairy industry in the Northeastern United States. The principal goal of the Milk with Dignity (MD) Program is to foster a sustainable Northeast dairy industry that advances the human rights of farmworkers, the longterm interests of farmers, and the ethical supply chain concerns of retail food companies and consumers.  

           Farmworkers throughout the United States are denied basic labor protections and are among the lowest-paid workers in the country. Vermont’s dairy workers are no exception, with many working long hours without rest, for below minimum wage, suffering high rates of injury, and living in substandard housing.

      These conditions have caused dairy workers to create the  Milk  with  Dignity  program , to ensure protection for human rights and to win respect, dignity, and power in the workplace. The program is a proven success, benefiting farmworkers and farmers alike.
       
Migrant Justice has invited supermarket chain Hannaford to join in this success by adopting the  Milk   with Dignity  program in its supply chain. To date, the company has refused to take responsibility and protect the rights of dairy workers.

Especially given our church’s Sanctuary commitment to immigrant justice, supporting this campaign feels like an especially appropriate and meaningful way for us to embody our theme this year of “Love in Action!”  Many of us signed postcards after church on Sunday--February 23rd to CEO, Mike Vail, urging him to follow Ben & Jerry’s in signing Hannaford on to the Milk with Dignity program on behalf of migrant dairy workers throughout New England, and we have lots more postcards left for anyone who might still wish to sign one. Just stop in the church office and sign a postcard any time.

           To see how this program has already helped migrant farm workers, watch one or both of these videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgV64aETk1w&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUxTQb4Q2kc&feature=youtu.be

Below is some information about Hannaford
in relation to migrant farm workers:
 
● With nearly 200 stores, Hannaford is one of the largest supermarket chains in the Northeast and an important buyer of dairy products
● Hannaford is owned by Ahold Delhaize [del-HAY-zee], a multinational corporation with $75 billion in global sales, mostly from U.S. supermarket chains like Hannaford. Through its Responsible Retailing Program, Ahold has committed to sourcing practices that respect human rights.
● Hannaford brand milk comes from farms where workers are suffering severe human rights abuses, working in dangerous conditions for below minimum wage and living in substandard housing
Migrant Justice has invited Hannaford to join the Milk with Dignity program but has so far yet to receive a reply
● We urge Hannaford to take advantage of this opportunity to join the Milk with Dignity program, the only program that can provide the company with a guarantee that its dairy products will be produced free from human rights violations
Notes from
Our Worker Justice Minister
 
RANDOM THOUGHTS FOR APRIL FROM THE WORKER JUSTICE MINISTER

I know we could all come up with our own heartfelt prayer for workers during these unprecedented times, but the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference offered this not long ago, so here it is:



A Prayer for Healthcare Workers 
during this time of the Coronavirus COVID-19

Loving God,
we place into your care
all our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers.
Give them courage of heart
and strength of mind and body.
Keep them safe from harm.
May they know our deep gratitude
for all they are doing
to heal and help those affected by
the coronavirus.
God of all consolation
may they know your protection and peace.
Bless them in these challenging days
and bless their families.
Amen.


In this time of Easter and with a nod to poet Maya Angelou,
let us remember: Together, we will rise!
Gail Kinney, Worker Justice Minister




CELEBRATING OUR 240 th   Birthday!




  HONORING OUR PAST / EMBRACING OUR FUTURE
Sunday--May 3 rd , 2020

                Recalling that our church was founded on May 2 nd , 1780, and remembering how meaningful it has been to do so these past few years, we shall once again celebrate our Annual Founders’ Day Communion Service on Sunday—May 3 rd , 2020!

For some time now, by way of reconnecting with the Communion that our founders shared together in the very earliest days of this faith community, we have used communion cups dating back to more than a century of our past. But since this year’s service will very likely still be on-line rather than in person , we are trying to think creatively about what this may mean for us.
 
Thus are we envisioning not just a virtual Communion celebration, much like we will already have done for this coming Palm Sunday, but also a virtual 240 th Birthday Celebration!  We’ll have a small cake here in church with candles somehow symbolizing our 240 years, and maybe many of you will have some form of birthday cake in your own homes to share as well. 
But either way, especially in this time of missing being able to gather physically in our beautiful church, let’s have a virtual Birthday Party! , sharing and rejoicing with each other in the many gifts that we have offered and received through our connection with our “brave little church” here on the Meriden hilltop, as well as the beautiful gifts we are for each other, and in anticipation of that grand and glorious day when we shall be able to re-gather in person here in our sanctuary.  Both because this Sunday also would have been the date of our annual Silent Auction fundraiser, and as a way of sharing the JOY of our church, let’s also offer generous “Birthday” gifts in support of our church’s ministry!
We’ll send out a reminder as our church birthday celebration draws nigh, but let’s start thinking now about memories, stories, treasures, hopes, and dreams we might wish to share with each other as we gather on-line from far and near for our church’s 240 th Birthday Celebration, both in thanksgiving for all that we have already been as a faith community, and likewise to envision all that our Beloved Community may yet become!  

DECLARING SUPPORT FOR THE GREEN NEW DEAL AND AFFIRMING THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF CLIMATE JUSTICE WITH ALL JUSTICE ISSUES

A Resolution of Witness
Submitted by: Meriden Congregational Church, Meriden, NH

SUMMARY:  
This resolution provides Meriden Congregational Church with the opportunity to declare its support for the Green New Deal Resolution (H. Res. 109) released by Congress on February 7, 2019.

By declaring its support, Meriden Congregational Church will proclaim the intersectionality of climate justice with all justice issues and offer a path of action and hope by which humanity can address the defining moral issues of our time.

BACKGROUND:

With the release of the Green New Deal Resolution on February 7, 2019, Congress created an opportunity for the United States to commit to goals and projects that are consistent with the UCC’s historical advocacy for racial, economic and environmental justice. The Green New Deal aspires to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, provide for a just transition to clean and renewable energy and secure clean air and water.
 
Recognizing that climate change threatens the safety, health, and dignity of ordinary people, the authors of the Green New Deal have made environmental justice the heart of the resolution. The Green New Deal specifically names the “systemic injustices” that disproportionally affect “frontline and vulnerable communities” and provides a list of such: “indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth.”

Indeed, the genius of the Green New Deal resolution is that it identifies and seeks to address two interrelated crises: a climate crisis and a socio-economic crisis of wage stagnation and growing inequality.

BIBLICAL, THEOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL RATIONALE
 
As people of faith, we recognize that the earth is the Lord’s… Nevertheless, Creation, God’s great gift – the context in which all life seeks fulfillment – is in crisis. The scientific consensus is unambiguous. Climate change is real, it’s caused by human activity, it’s already happening, and it’s accelerating. The scale of Creation’s demise is dramatically expanding beyond our comprehension.

The Green New Deal addresses this urgent crisis by offering America a comprehensive vision that, if implemented, can save millions of lives even as it addresses economic inequalities, environmental racism and other manifestations of climate injustice.

Our generation still has the power to bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice by reviving creation. Indeed, by acting with the urgency and on the scale of the Green New Deal, we may still have time to avoid the worst consequences of climate change as we seek to preserve God’s great gift of creation.

TEXT OF THE MOTION
 
WHEREAS, the Green New Deal is rooted in the scientific findings from the October 2018 Special Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which declares that carbon emissions must be reduced by about fifty per cent before 2030 and completely phased out before 2050 if global temperature rise is to be limited to 1.5°Celsius;

WHEREAS, humanity is already contending with changes on a scale we can hardly comprehend, such as:

 Rainfall from big storms is now measured in feet - not inches (e.g., Houston received five 70 feet (61”) of rain from Hurricane Harvey).

 The Earth's temperature is already well into the range that existed during the Eemian period, 120,000 years ago, when sea level was 20 to 30 feet higher than it is now.

 The cost of catastrophic, unprecedented flooding in the Midwest in the spring of 2019 is well over $3 billion.

 Not since World War II have more human beings been at risk from disease and starvation than at this very moment. Climate change is the primary cause of droughts, which are increasingly rendering areas in Africa uninhabitable.

 Recognizing that the sixth mass extinction in geological history is now underway, biologists are using the term “Biological Annihilation” as species are going extinct at least 100 times the normal rate;

WHEREAS, the urgency of the climate crisis is accelerating faster than anyone imagined. For example:

 In January, 2019, scientists learned that the oceans are warming 40% faster than they had previously thought.

 As the oceans absorb CO2, they are becoming more acidic at a frightening rate in excess of any change the world has seen in 300 million years;

WHEREAS, climate change multiplies and accelerates injustice by hitting the poorest people and people of color first and worse because it’s the poorest people and people of color who typically live in areas most likely to flood, most prone to disease, and most subject to the droughts, heat-waves and various diseases that are now migrating on account of climate change.

WHEREAS, climate change is creating and accelerating a health crisis in our inner cities that gets worse each summer, especially as rising temperatures create urban heat islands responsible for more and more cases of asthma that are disabling – and killing – children and elderly people of color.

WHEREAS, those most affected by climate change have not caused it and are powerless to stop it. For example, the farmers in parts of Africa who are losing their lands either to drought or to unprecedented flooding have a carbon footprint that is virtually 1/200th the carbon footprint of the average American;

WHEREAS, the people and institutions who actually caused and are causing climate change aren’t being held accountable for the catastrophic damage climate change is already causing;

WHEREAS, the Green New Deal acknowledges the necessity of assuming moral responsibility for intergenerational harm caused by failure to act on climate change and the urgency of taking action on a comprehensive scale to reduce the catastrophe future generations will inherit;

WHEREAS, on March 15, 2019, more than 1,400,000 young people in 128 countries, in over 2,200 cities and towns, and on every continent (including Antarctica) walked out of their schools on a school strike for climate action – the biggest day of global climate action ever – insisting that, in the words of 16-year old Greta Thunberg, initiator of the school strike for the climate and Nobel Prize nominee, “We need a whole new way of thinking…we need to start cooperating and sharing the remaining resources of this planet in a fair way”;

WHEREAS, Yale researchers say 81% of the voters they polled support a Green New Deal to create jobs and work toward renewable energy;

WHEREAS, scores of scientists have spoken out in favor of the Green New Deal, including Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson, whose research demonstrates that each of the 50 states can establish a zero-emissions economy by 2035 and who says, "Right now, we have about ninety per cent or ninety-five per cent of the technology we need…. We don't need a technological miracle to solve this problem. The bottom line is we just need to deploy, deploy, deploy";

WHEREAS, the Core Purpose of the United Church of Christ states (in part): “… we serve God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world as made manifest in the Gospel of Jesus Christ”; and

WHEREAS, this historic moment provides Christian communities with a powerful opportunity to bear witness to the sacredness of God’s Creation and the urgent call to preserve it, and responding to this call expresses the new mission initiative of the UCC known as the three great loves, one of which is love of creation;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED , that the Meriden Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ, recognizes the scale and immediacy of the climate crisis, the urgent need to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and the moral obligation to embrace the unprecedented socio-economic changes that we must effect and engage as opportunities to create fair paying jobs, secure clean air and water, redress manifestations of environmental racism and pursue a just transition to clean and renewable energy.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED , that the Meriden Congregational Church endorses the Green New Deal Resolution (H. Res. 109) released by Congress on 167 February 7, 2019.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED , that the Meriden Congregational Church calls upon the whole of the congregation to accept the moral responsibility that comes with living “at such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) by: 

 Standing up for the critical role science must play in understanding the challenges that now pose an existential threat to life as we have known it on this planet;

 Continuing to learn from scientifically informed sources about the new realities and new solutions that are emerging every day;

 Discussing climate change with increasing frequency at church, at home, at work and in our social encounters, emphasizing how it threatens things we all value while noting that we already have all the technology we need to achieve the goals of the Green New Deal;

 Incorporating into our worship life and community leadership an awareness of climate change, its consequences (especially for vulnerable, frontline communities), and the opportunities we still have to make the changes science says we must and technology says we can;

 Helping our communities to be more prepared for extreme weather events and more resilient to a changing climate in the long term;

 Lifting up the reality that many people, regardless of their political affiliation or allegiance, support the Green New Deal because it addresses not only climate change but also numerous forms of injustice;

 Paying attention as federal, state and local agencies develop and propose new policies that impact our environment and engaging those agencies as advocates for policies and legislation that advance the goals of the Green New Deal, including its commitment to address the “systemic injustices” that disproportionally affect “frontline and vulnerable communities”;

 Maintaining a commitment to compassion and fairness by advocating for a just transition for those workers and communities most dependent on fossil fuel energy so that they, too, have opportunities for clean, healthful and family-supporting jobs that heal our planet.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Meriden Congregational Church calls upon the whole congregation of the church to accept that it is up to us to pour ourselves out to bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice, with joy in our hearts, beauty in our sights, and hope for the children.

FUNDING
Funding for the implementation of this Resolution will be made in accordance with the overall mandates of the affected ministries and the funds available.

IMPLEMENTATION 
The Leadership of the Meriden Congregational Church , in consultation with appropriate ministries, will determine the implementing body.
Y