Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter JANUARY 2021

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 ONLIINE

Watch for weekly e-mail notices,
and/or contact
john@meridenucc.org or
susan@meridenucc.org
for the Zoom Links and/or phone numbers
Here it is! Volume 3 Issue 10 of our e-mail newsletter
FEATURED IN THIS NEWSLETTER
 
Pastoral Ponderings
Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in January
January Calendar of Events in the Life of our Spiritual Family
Stewardship
Worship & Music Ministry News
  • Traveling Light--Story of the Christmas Season
  • "The Stable Awaits" Story by Donna Beaupre
  •    Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
  •      Into God’s Hands
  •    Christmas Eve Flowers
Covid 19 Update
Call to VISION Sunday Annual Meeting--February 7ith, 2021
MCC Administration & Finance News
·      Legislator Contact Information
·      Report of the Assistant Treasurers
Welcoming and Caring Ministry
  •  January Birthdays & Anniversaries
  • Christmas Smiles Gifts were Gathered and Delivered
Just Peace Resolution between Israel and Palestine
United Valley Interfaith Project
  • "Life on our Planet" by David Attenborough and January Discussion
Peace & Justice Ministry Coordinators Report
  • Racial Justice Ministry Team Report
  • New Racial Justice Book Study "How to be an Anti-Racist"
  • "Raising White Kids" Book Study
  • Martin Luther King Events through Dartmouth
  • Equal Justice Initiative Racial Injustice 2021 Calendars
  • Valley News Letter to the Editor
  • Worker Justice News
  • Climate Justice News January 2021
  • Immigrant Solidarity
  • Immigration Pathways
  • Communities NOT Cages
  • Free Them All!
  • Poor Peoples Campaign
  • Black Lives Matter Vigils


Revs. John and Susan Gregory-Davis,
Co-pastors
Meriden Congregational Church
603-469-3235
 PASTORAL PONDERINGS

“This year, this year, let the day arrive
when Christmas comes
for everyone,
everyone alive!
-      Shirley Erena Murray



          If hindsight is 2020, then let us hope that we learn from this past year of “perfect vision” what a younger sibling once said about an older sibling, that they had learned from them what not to do. For to look back upon this year just ended is to see rampant dis-ease, suffering, violence, and heart-wrenching loss of life, whether through a global pandemic ruthlessly exploiting our refusal to see and act upon our inherent interconnectedness within the web of life, or through the even older and more virulent terror and dis-ease of white supremacy so endemic to the life of our nation. Both of these plagues would have caused much suffering even under the best of circumstances. Yet both were significantly worsened by the intentional stoking of fear, distrust, hatred, and divisiveness across our land and within all of our communities. Not only has it been the worst of times in so many ways, but many have sought to make the worst of it as well. 
No wonder so many of us are desperately hoping for better times as this New Year begins. Indeed, as these 12 days of Christmas conclude yet again, do not our hearts resonate with the prayer of songwriter Shirley Murray to “let this be the year when Christmas comes to everyone alive?!” Of course, as much as I love all the décor of Christmas (much to the chagrin I fear of anyone who may wonder whether our tree and Christmas lights will ever come down!), the “Christmas” to which this prayer refers is not only more about the “reason for the season,” but also even deeper and more universal than the Christ in Christmas might imply. For as Kermit sings in “The Christmas Wish,” what matters most about Christmas is not so much whatever we may believe about Jesus, but that we “believe in Love,” that deep, universal, boundless, revolutionary Love that is embodied in the Christmas affirmation of Emmanuel, the inherent worth and blessing of each and all of us.
So YES, let This be the day as a new year dawns upon us when Christmas, i.e. Love, comes to everyone alive! Yet to pray for the Beloved Community truly to be known “on earth as it is in heaven,” is not a spectator prayer, wherein we eagerly await what God will do for us, but rather a participatory prayer wherein God yearns for us to choose what Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calls “the Way of Love” with and for All beings. Suggesting that Love is God’s GPS, Curry argues that the opposite of Love is self-centered, me (America?) first individualism, so that Love redirects us “from me to we.” As Curry points out in his inspiring book, Love is the Way, “Loving is not always easy, but like with muscles, we get stronger both with repetition and as the burden gets heavier.” 
Especially as a faith community who has embraced “choosing Love” as the heart of our ministry of “transforming lives as a compassionate community,” this Christmas prayer beautifully expresses the best of who we hope to be. And the horrors of this past year have revealed just how much our world needs the Love in whose embrace there are no “others,” the Love that dismantles all forms of supremacy and hierarchy, and counters all heretical designations of worth-less-ness, with the divinely resounding affirmation of mattering infinitely. This Good News is that even at their worst, the living nightmares of the ways in which the empire seeks to terrorize, dis-ease, and divide us against ourselves and each other, are always vulnerable to our awakening to God’s dream of “peace on earth, and good will toward all.” 
Thus, as this New Year begins, so that Christmas may indeed come to everyone alive, let us embrace what African-American poet, mystic, pastor, and prophet Howard Thurman calls the “work of Christmas,” as sung by our choir on Christmas Eve, and then again this past Sunday, “to find those who are lost, to heal those who are broken, to feed those who are hungry, to release all who are imprisoned, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace throughout all creation, and to make music in our hearts.” And as we look forward to celebrating again the wisdom and witness of one of our nation’s most courageous and compassionate prophets, may we affirm with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, that when we embrace “the redemptive power of love, we will be able to make of this old world a new world, for Love is the only way.”

Praying that God may bless us everyone,
All throughout the New Year just begun,
Your faithful Co-Pastors,
Susan & John
John and Susan from Christmas Eve Service 2020
OUR SUNDAY FAITH COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN JANUARY
(All on Zoom, as noted above)

January 3rd @ 10:00 AM
An Intergenerational Service for All Ages celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany and sharing Communion together.

January 10th @ 10:00 AM
First Sunday of Epiphany
The Baptism of Jesus
Join us as we reflect on the words Jesus heard at his Baptism--these words we all long to hear, "You are my beloved child with whom I am well pleased!" How might our lives, and our world, be different, if all that we say and do were guided by this liberating affirmation?!

January 17th @ 10:00 AM
Second Sunday of Epiphany
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday!
Come be inspired once again by the prophetic and pastoral message of Dr. King who continues to call us, as people of faith, to be the Beloved Community! Come join us as we reflect on the timeless message of this prophet of our time.

January 24th @ 10:00 AM
Third Sunday of Epiphany
Join us on-line as we reflect upon who and how we are called to choose love in our relationships with all God's people.

January 31st @ 10:00 AM
Fourth Sunday of Epiphany
Come reflect with us upon what what it means to be prophetic in our day and time.

February 7th @ 10:00 AM
Fifth Sunday of Epiphany
2021 Vision and Annual Meeting Sunday! Come join us in cyberspace for this special Sunday when we gather to give thanks to God for the blessings God has entrusted us with in the year past and in the new year to come! Directly following our service, everyone is warmly invited to remain for our church's 240th Annual Meeting! We look forward to "seeing" you there.
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!
Happy New Year from MCC! As the new year begins, we are busy planning fun youth programming opportunities that allow us all to stay safe and healthy. We will continue with our book group for middle school students, choosing a new title focused on racial justice education. We are soon wrapping up the book, This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell currently, and many wonderful conversations have taken place so far. I will also continue to deliver weekly Zoom Children’s Messages during our church services. The Spiritual Formation Ministry Team and I are excited to share more safe and engaging programming for the new year. Please stay tuned for more information coming soon! 

Be well,

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




Stewardship
Worship and Music Ministry News

Traveling light—Notes from the road

It stinks,” said Joseph to Mary, “new parents just don’t get any breaks, do they? First, you’re pregnant, then this miserable, ill-timed census trip. Next the smaller donkey comes up lame right after we leave Nazareth, then we could not find a room when we got to Bethlehem. Those first couple of nights in the stall with the baby really got to me. I almost walked away. At least the sheep and the goats kept you and the baby warm.”   

Mary smiled her quirky smile as Joseph carried on. Sometimes Joseph could prattle more aimlessly than the child, so Mary saved her special wry smile for times like these. A guest room in Joseph’s second cousin’s house had finally come open a week after she had given birth. That small miracle had occurred just in time for the two of them—no, now--for three of them. They had been going a little crazy, what with the new baby, the shepherds, the soldiers and the officials.   

But at this very moment the endless diaper changes were getting to both of them. The room was tiny and the single window even smaller. The ragged swaddles need a thorough rinsing, boiling in the laundry vat and then had to be hung out on the tree branches for drying. Oh for Nazareth: there she would have had cousins to help with the laundry and sage aunts to help open the mysteries of motherhood. And there would have been bigger windows in Nazareth. Instead she kept all these things to herself—treasure them now when she was alone, and share them later when she got back home.

“I mean it, this really stinks with all these dirty diapers and blanket changes,” mumbled Joseph to no one in particular. He had not slept well. And he was already cross, although it was only mid-morning. The nightmares must be back. Joseph put much stock in a good night’s sleep and would be particularly disturbed when a dream or vision interrupted it. This was not the first time.

At mid-day they sat down for a moment and Joseph blurted out his confusion. The foreign travelers last week had brought small gifts, “I know what to do with the gold coins for they can help secure the future for us when we’re back in Nazareth. I don’t know what to do with the spices. Do you?” Mary looked at him and her eyes twinkled, “Well, they’re not for cooking! They’re medicines and perfumes. They make us rich in a different way. They are very useful, easily portable and light to carry.” To prove her point she opened the cask with the tree resin and waved her hand over it to waft a sweet fragrance in his direction. “At least it helps overcome the diaper stench” he frowned half-jokingly, “it just stinks differently.”

The Joseph turned serious. “Mariam, dearest, the bright messenger came again last night. I could not get back to sleep. I just don’t understand why the messenger comes so many times. I am afraid to close my eyes at night….”

“The tidings are not so good—not good at all. It’s the wilderness toward Egypt, I mean we’re to leave here and shelter there in the wilderness for some reason. All around the bright messenger I dreamt of a threatening cloud over Nazareth and a darkness enshrouding our home.”

Joseph thoughtfully paused for a moment, summoned his courage and then resumed his monologue. “I think the travelers sensed something frightening when they left so quickly. Remember their strange caution about avoiding the sword in Nazareth?” Joseph became silent and had a far-away look in his eyes. At times like these Joseph almost resembled the messenger Mary herself had seen last year, the very messenger she had struggled to describe for Joseph so many times since.   

“Let it be so, then,” said Mary. “We should prepare for our journey southward to the wilderness. I’ll pack the diapers while you wrap the travelers’ gifts in this old scarf. They’re small gifts and easy to carry and may be useful as we wander farther from home.”

So, Joseph and Mary and the child left for the wilderness and there they lived among the Coptic tribes. Joseph found work building waddle walls for granaries much as the enslaved Hebrews had done in lower Egypt generations before. They lived there for some time before returning to Nazareth as a family.


Ed Cousineau for the Worship Team

THE STABLE AWAITS
Verse and Hooked Rug
by Donna Beaupre’ 2020

Enjoy this beautiful poem shared with our Church School Children and now with each of you--reminding us of the importance of Christmas kindness, compassion and creativity the whole year through!

A crow flew through the opening, cawing loudly as he came --- arousing all the animals. Wake up, he did proclaim.

I have for you a message of a brightly shining star. [He had “heard” was most important and ‘twas traveling from afar.]

Its rays, he called, were glowing, were beaming toward this shed --- which, again he’d “heard”, were destined to light up this manger bed.

The cat, crow said, must vacate from that box of straw and hay, --- for there soon would be a child born who’d need that crib today.

The cat spoke up quite clearly. I’ll move all right, she said, --- but at the very last minute --- to keep warm the baby’s bed.

The mouse now had some well-chewed threads to make a lovely nest, --- wherein her babes [of more than ten] might warmly sleep & rest.

Now learning of the treasure that this gleaming star foretold, --- she pulled some fluff from her own nest that this child not be cold.

The camel, young, had been asleep, was wakened from a dream, --- where he’d carried a small child, with care, through desert and by stream.

He had walked beside a donkey gray, from whom this tale was told --- how the donkey was, in fact, the one, the beast to be extolled.

See the cross imprinted on my back, its significance is great, --- for I was always there, you see, to befriend and accommodate.

The donkey in the stable brayed, a low sound and off-key. I, too, have dreamed of carrying them to a cave --- as refugees…

where our spider --- from that rafter --- deftly tucked herself inside --- of the child’s wooly blanket. That is where she would abide.

So, on a flight to Egypt where the youngster must be hidden, --- within a deep and darkish cave, where people were forbidden…

the family entered none-the-less to save them all from dying. They felt much fear from soldiers near and prayed God’s care abiding.




The spider then did use her craft, her web the opening covering. No one's inside, the soldiers thought so they quit their quest. Abandoning.

A spider’s web that’s so intact means no one has passed through. We’ll now check other likely spots --- this family to pursue.

The cow then not to be upstaged, but, not with vanity, --- lowed gently, almost to herself, in true humility.

I’ll give the milk I’m making now to the mother of this child, --- my devotion blessing her. May she be a mother mild.

No longer could the hens refrain from raucous squawks and cackles. They disrupted and unsettled all, sounding not like hens, but grackles.

We’ll ‘ave sum eggs tamarra for dem dat’s comin’ ‘ere, --- and yaah, dey’ll all be tasty. Mighty large uns. Neva fear.

In the rafters cooed the dove-ling. She’d been rarely from the loft. I can sing in jubilation. I can coo in verses soft.

All this time the goat was thinking, what can I give to this child? I’m so jumpy, bumpy’ awkward, squirmy, wiggly, just plain wild!

Yet, that is just what’s needed when this babe becomes a boy. I’ll amaze, astonish, cheer him. Be his playmate to enjoy.

The ewe had long been listening to the stable’s occupants. I can soothe him if he’s anxious, not with reggae, nor with chants…

but by using, very softly, my own special birthing voice, --- that is used the first day only when in lambs, I do rejoice.

Also, too, I’d give so gladly wool for wrapping, wool for love. I agree he’ll need our comfort as has said the dove above.

All the creatures looked about them only one had yet to speak. She’d been waiting, calmly thinking, ever shy and ever meek.

Downy feather make fine pillows --- worthy of the grandest king. To this baby in the manger, such down feathers I will bring.

Thus, those folks from crow to mouse-ling spoke of actions they would bring --- in that stable, to that baby. Kindnesses were blossoming.

You and I can join that stable, through community nearby. All the help they pledged that evening, --- we can do --- and magnify.
Happy Christmas Days to you!

The donkey’s dream is of the upcoming flight away from King Herod into Egypt. He and the Family hide in a deep cave where the spider spins a protective web across the entire cave’s opening --- causing the pursuing soldiers to think that no one has entered.
 [The Cobweb Curtain by Jenny Koralak]
Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
           
          As this New Year dawns upon us, we remember with gratitude the blessings of family and friends, food and shelter, love and life, which make this community of faith such a WELCOME home for us all, and we fervently pray for all those affected in any way by the Covid 19 pandemic, especially all front line teachers, heath care deliverers, and other “essential workers.” So too do we celebrate with those bearing new life, and we pray with those yet trying to conceive or seeking to adopt, even as we also pray for our friends in Bolivia, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe, and all those living in such troubled lands as Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea, Yemen, South Sudan, the Congo, Iraq, & Iran. We pray 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 too 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 Rich Pullen; Joan Burch; Clare Louzier; Selden Lord’s sister, Sharon Hammond; Suzanne Lenz; Jo Ellen Courtney’s friends, Chickie Pero & Maureen Knight; Laura Cousineau’s colleague, Gaitri Ann Xavier, as well as Laura’s nephew, Thomas; Gail Kinney’s friend, Josh Lloyd; Glenn & Cindy Griffin’s niece, Gracie Svensen; Arthur & Linda Perkins; Laine Gillespie’s cousin, Becky, as well as Laine’s friend, Perry Allison; our Sexton, Sue Richardson; Jo Keiller; Pat McNamara; Carol Hartman’s granddaughter, Ella, as well as Carol’s daughter-in-law, Michelle; Karen Jameson’s mother, Tish; Cindy Griffin’s and Susan Borchert’s uncle, Arthur; Judy Croitoru; Jim Lenz’ friend, Jim; 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; Scot Zens; Rev. Jed ReardonAllyson Wendt, as well as her daughter, Ada Jane; Greg Marshall; Larry Burch’s mother,  Olive, as well as Larry’s brother, CharlieSusan Turner’s cousin, Buddy Stevenson, and Sue’s friends, Barbara Zenker & Jane Miles; Susan Sanzone’s aunt Rita; Odile Clavier’s mother, Marie-Claire, as well as her niece, Amelie Marie.

We pray also for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Shideko Terai’s friends, Melanie & Paul; Laine Gillespie’s friend Kyle’s husband, Rodney Beebe; Michelle Chamley;  Bill Nugent; Bailey Sibert; Ed Foltyn; Sue Turner’s cousin Jessie’s husband, Ron Lettrechio; Caren Saunder’s mother, Betty Homeyer; Selden Lord’s brother-in-law, Edward; Jan Lord’s former daughter-in-law, Michelle; Laura Cousineau’s brother-in-law, Eric; Jo Evarts, as well as Jo’s sister, Jingles; Robert Bryant; Cynthia Howe; Penny Arcone’s brother, Stuart Hills, & Penny’s friend, Dick Sluben, as well as Dick’s sister and brother-in-law, Maureen & Bill MacKenzie; 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.
 
 
Into God's Hands 

As we give thanks for the blessings of this past year, so too do we mourn those who passed away toward the end of this year.   

           Our hearts ache mightily for the more than 350,000 lives already lost to COVID 19 in this country alone, along with all other pandemic-related deaths throughout our world.
 
So too do we extend our sympathy to Jeff Bradley, whose beloved uncle, Dr. Jeffrey Eckardt, returned to the heart of God on Friday—November 13th, 2020.
 
Likewise do we reach out to Thom Lappin and his family, upon the loss of Thom’s dad, “Papa” Jim Lappin, who passed peacefully on Sunday-- November 29th , 2020 at the age of 92.

          And our hearts go out to Emily (Robbins) & Jeff Bradley,  as they mourn the untimely death of their daughter Grace’s Godmother, and their dear friend, Sister Denise Turcotte, CSC, on Saturday—December 12th, 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.




Our Christmas Eve Flowers
 Were given by:


                      ED AND LAURA COUSINEAU
                                     IN LOVING MEMORY OF
                                     LAURA KEENER KREIS
          OUR PARENTS IN THE KREIS AND COUSINEAU FAMILIES
                     
                                 EVAN AND LEE OXENHAM
                                    IN LOVING MEMORY OF
JACK AND PHYLLIS OXENHAM

SHIDEKO TERAI
IN HONOR AND LOVING MEMORY OF 
                                  ALL MOTHERS OF THE WORLD
 
JOHN AND SUSAN GREGORY-DAVIS
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
PATRICIA MacDONALD GREGORY (John's mom)
JAMES ROBERT DAVIS (Susan's dad)

December 2020 COVID-19 Task Force Update

The MCC COVID-19 Task Force met via Zoom in early December 2020. This followed the Thanksgiving weekend but occurred before the mid-December post-Thanksgiving record surge in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the nation. At the end of December reported statistical totals were setting new records for the pandemic on an almost daily basis.

Our Task Force group considered the coming availability of vaccines from several manufacturers over the next six to seven months, weighed many issues related to holiday and cold-weather gatherings indoors and reviewed plans for a “virtual Christmas Eve” service. An outdoor tree lighting and caroling service was approved for December 20th, although plans for serving hot beverages and holiday finger snacks were set aside so that all participants could remain masked. Luminaria would be (were) used to signal where households could stand at a safe physical distance.

By general consensus of the Task Force, planning to resume regular indoor Worship activities –even with limited attendance--was not deemed to be feasible before the summer. Eastertime appears to be the earliest we might re-gather for OUTDOOR Sunday worship in spring 2021. Masks would be worn even outdoors for these celebrations until no longer advised by NH public health authorities.

The MCC COVID-19 Task Force will continue to collaborate in 2021 and will provide updates through the monthly MCC newsletter and via special emails to the MCC “spiritual family” list as required.
.  
Ed Cousineau
Convener, COVID-19 Task Force
2021 VISION SUNDAY!!
CALL to ANNUAL MEETING
           
               Members and Friends of the Meriden Congregational Church are hereby called to meet after church on Sunday—February 7th, 2021 at 11:30 AM in the Estabrook Room of the Duncan Parish House for our 240th Annual Meeting to act upon the following subjects: 

1.   To hear reports from our Co-Pastors, Officers, Boards, and Committees
2.   To elect New Church Leadership Team Members
3.   To adopt a Ministry Spending Plan (Budget) for 2021
4.   To act upon any other business that may legally come before the meeting
Signed, Jan Lord,  Clerk

       Committee Chairs--Please note that Committee Reports must be submitted to the Church Office no later than Friday--January 15th.
MCC ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE NEWS
December 2020

As we come to the end of 2020, the Administration and Finance team would like to highlight the improvements that were completed this year despite the challenges of working while complying with COVID-19 precautions.

Parish House Basement Nursery Room

The Parish House basement nursery room was one of the renovations prioritized by the Camp Ministry and the Admin and Finance Ministry. Drew Reed led the team in a redesign of the nursery so that it better meets the needs of our youngest children. 

The camp Ministry team and our wonderful Sexton, Sue Richardson, worked hard to remove old unneeded toys and equipment; perform deep cleaning; and organizing, labeling and storing materials, toys and equipment to get the area ready for the renovations.

Sue Richardson, Drew Reed and Kelly Callahan repainted both the former senior room behind the nursery room and the nursery room itself, the back room with cream walls and the main nursery room with a light blue above dark blue on the walls. The main nursery room has a new grey tiled floor that complements the blue of the walls, and new ceiling tiles. Once the floor and painting were complete Drew put in many hours to arrange the existing furniture, and provide new furniture and toys to meet the needs of the children. Drew has created a wonderful space that is truly inviting!

Parish House Basement Church School Room

Home Partners replaced the ceiling tiles and the floor tiles in the church school room. They also repaired the dry wall that was damaged by a plumbing leak in November 2019. Sue Richardson repainted a large part of this room, but was forced to stop due to ill health before she could complete the painting. We hope that Blue Sky painters can complete the painting in early 2021.

Tree and Brush Trimming

In February Gallagher Tree Service of Cornish removed and trimmed trees and brush on church property. The small maple tree on the east side of the sanctuary that was dying was cut down. Several dead branches on the larger tree at the corner of the church’s north driveway and Chellis Road were removed. Also brush and small trees that were encroaching on the white wooden fence that borders the south of the Parsonage were removed to preserve the integrity of the fence.

Upgraded Internet Service in The Parish House

With COVID-19 highlighting the need for better communications we switched our internet and phone service to Comcast so we now have download speeds of 300 Mbps and upload speeds of 30 Mbps, which is a significant improvement on the 15 Mbps provided by TDS. 
 
New Arborvitae Tree Next to Sanctuary Building

In October a group of volunteers, Selden Lord, Paul Goewey, Ed Cousineau and Evan Oxenham, moved a small arborvitae tree donated by Tecla McCann from the front of her apartment to the church. The team planted the tree on the east side of the sanctuary building, near the ramp, but far enough from the building to avoid snow fall from the roof.

 Many Thanks to All Who Helped with
the Work of the Admin and Finance Team

First a big thank you to Selden Lord, who is stepping down from his position as a coordinator of the Administration and Finance ministry. Selden has been part of the Administration and Finance ministry, and before that the Trustees since 2015. He was always willing to step up to help with maintenance projects around the church grounds, supplying mulch for the trees, wood chips for the playground and working with contractors to complete painting and maintenance projects. He was a thoughtful contributor to leadership meetings. He will be sorely missed!

Thank you to our church secretary Kathy Wright, without whom the work of the Admin and Finance team would be far more arduous.

Thank you to our treasurer Cindy Griffin, who has automated most of our billing payments this year and who obtained COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Plan money to counter the decrease in our income this year caused in particular by the cancellation of the Meriden Community Camp.

Thank you to our assistant treasurer Richard Atkinson for tracking pledge contributions from members of the congregation and for depositing these contributions in the bank.

Thank you to Suzanne Spencer for taking care of the bookkeeping and preparing the monthly financial reports that allow us to monitor our income and our spending.

Thank you to our sexton Sue Richardson for the cleaning and painting that you do to help maintain our buildings.

Thank you to Steve Beaupre for ensuring every week that the humidifiers in the sanctuary building have enough water and for ringing the church bell at the start of each Black Lives Matter vigil.

Evan Oxenham
For the Administration and Finance Ministry



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)

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)
STATE

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

Rep. Brian Sullivan
642 Olde Farms Road
Grantham, NH 03753-3124
PHONE 603-381-7889


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


REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS


Through December 20th we received $5100 in pledge payments and $1,630 for plate donations. The yearly totals are $116,640 for pledges and $7,864 for plate donations. We have also received $1,350 in prepayments of 2021 pledges. For miscellaneous donations we received our annual donation from the town from the Ward Christmas fund in the amount of $38 and $70 for the Christmas Smiles program. 
 
If people still need to write a check for their 2020 pledge you can send a check dated in the year 2020 to the church. I will check on Sunday the 10th for any more checks for 2020 pledges.
 

On a personal note, Sue and I intend to be moving to a retirement community in Pennsylvania with-in the next year. I will continue to serve as an Assistant Treasurer until that time. However, a replacement for my position will have to be identified before then. If you feel this is a service to the Church you could fill please consider it. I would of course work with anyone who steps forward to assume this position to ensure a seamless transition. Anyone taking this on would also have support from the other people who serve as Assistant Treasurers, Jim Lenz and Rod Wendt. There is some work that does take some time, but on a week to week basis it is not too time consuming. 

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
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.
Welcoming and Caring Ministry


This Holiday Season was challenging because of the need for social distancing. There were several events that made it all worthwhile. The lighting of the Christmas Tree which was donated to the Church by Tecla McCann was one such event. About 20 people, masked and social distanced came to the side of the church for the lighting, sang carols, and held lighted candles while masked. It was a magical afternoon. The Christmas Eve Service broadcast on Zoom was special because of the music and readings from many of the church faithful. The music included singing from our choir and bell choir all mixed and presented with pictures of the choirs from previous years. Many thanks are due to Michael Hogan, Melanie Henry and Jim Lenz who masterminded this wonderful music. The Christmas Eve Service is available to see anytime thanks to Evan Oxenham and Dropbox recording.

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 have been three in person meetings on the Green in front of the Church which have been enthusiastically attended. 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 committee. If you would like to be on the list of people being called reach out to us at 603-469-3234.

Call 603-469-3235 if you would like to be notified of Worship 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



JANUARY BIRTHDAYS


1/1        2021
1/4       Ben Saunders
1/4       Anna Borchert
1/5       Christine Greenough
1/7       Catherine Norbury Mackey
1/8         Thom Lappin
1/8       Selden Lord
1/9        Charlotte MacNamee
1/9       Birgit Ruppert
1/10     Steve Arcone
1/11     Anna O’Leary
1/11     Lucas Jameson
1/12     Meg Fauver
1/12     Gedeon Rodriguez
1/12     Lucas Rodriguez
1/13     Pam Annis
1/13     Terry Dewey
1/14     Susan Borchert
1/14     John Custer
1/14     Holly McGovern
1/14     Jeff Good
1/15     Karim Chichakly
1/15     Mary Kardel
1/15     Ella MacLean
1/16     Bill Chappelle



 


1/17     Johanna Ruppertsberger
1/17     Andrew Duany
1/17      Jillian Williams
1/18      Hanna Foston
1/18     Allyson Wendt
1/23      Alexys Wilbur
1/23     Greg Marshall
1/24     Olivia Taylor
1/24      Liv Townsend
1/24     Blake Wendt Hennessy
1/25     Maura Hart
1/25 Sawyer Custer
1/27      Kyra Russman-Araya
1/29     Andrew Forbes
1/29      Kassidee Rogers
1/29      Eileen Williams
1/30      Isabella Dill
1/30      Audrey Elder
1/30     Jess Kilgore
1/30     Cedric Elkouh
1/30     Carol Hartman
1/31     Debbie Foltyn
1/31     Samantha Heaton




 
JANUARY ANNIVERSARIES
1/28/65         Roberta and Donald Garfield

 

Christmas Smiles
Christmas Smiles 2020
This year there was an outpouring of support for our neighbors in Plainfield, Cornish and Claremont with our Christmas Smiles Gift buying. The Elves packed up the clothes and wrapping paper for each family and delivered the packages in Early December. Thank you to the Elves and all who bought gifts for this community effort.
Meriden Congregational Church to Sponsor “Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel” resolution at UCC General Synod, July, 2021

On December 29, 2020, your Leadership Team unanimously voted to become a sponsor to bring a resolution “Declaration for a Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel” developed by the UCC Palestine Israel Network, to be considered by the UCC General Synod meeting in July, 2021.

Resolutions submitted to the UCC General Synod for consideration require sponsorship of at least six UCC congregations across the country. Sponsorships must be in place by the January 2, 2021 deadline for submitting the resolution. Because the opportunity to become a sponsor was not brought to us until early December, quick reflection was required on our part. Your Leadership Team considered whether or not to become a sponsor in our December 5 meeting, and again in special meetings on December 28 and 29. We were joined in our December 28 meeting by Rev. John Thomas, a key player in the UCC Palestine Israel Network that drafted the resolution, and former General Minister & President of the United Church of Christ nationally. His input was very helpful in getting your Leadership Team to “yes” the following night.

Being a “sponsor” does not mean we agree with every word of the resolution, or that we are experts on the issue – by no means. Rather, it means we believe this issue is important enough, and urgent enough, to warrant consideration and robust discussion at the General Synod meeting in July, 2021. It also does not mean we will attend the General Synod meeting (our NH delegation will represent us as it always does). It does mean we are committing to learn more about the issue between now and General Synod, and much of your Leadership Team’s discussion on December 29 was how to do that. Stay tuned!

A copy of the resolution is available here if you wish to delve into it. Essentially, it decries actions of the government of Israel in oppressing Palestinians in many ways, and actions by the United States in supporting the government of Israel in that oppression. It decries the United States for declaring anything challenging Israeli policies or actions to be antisemitic, and for limiting freedom of speech in support of Palestine and Palestinians on college campuses. It affirms the rights of the Palestinian people, rejects new Israeli laws that enshrine one type of person in a privileged position over another, and rejects ideologies that claim one group’s divine right to the land at the exclusion of others. It further asks that UCC churches commit to hearing the voices of Palestinians, learn about the history and dynamics of this complex issue, and advocate for restoration of US funding to the UN and decrease of US funding to Israel until Palestinian rights are restored.

While not specifically in the resolution, we hope that we Christians, and specifically we UCC Christians, will find common cause with people of all faith traditions in the Middle East, who, like us, seek a fair and just peace for both Palestine and Israel. This is about governments – Israel and the United States – acting badly and oppressing the rights of the Palestinian people of all faith traditions. All faith traditions must call it out for the injustice it is!

We will keep you apprised as we move closer toward the UCC General Synod meeting in July, 2021.
Thanks!
Rod


United Valley Interfaith Project


Dear UVIP Member Groups and Friends,

As this season of solstice celebrations and religious meaning approaches, we send you all an invitation to join us in preparations for our future. Check out this trailer for Sir David Attenborough’s new movie, A Life on Our Planet. It is our hope that we may all view his entire film with our families remotely or in person during this holiday season. This film is inspiring, and it will help to inform our listening and decision-making opportunities in the coming months.

The world around us has been in turmoil and we have been called to reckon with the cumulative effects of our rapid technological and environmental changes. We are now challenged to spiritually catch up with the needs and opportunities confronting us in our world.

We think Sir David has some insights to launch us into our new normal in this coming New Year. We send you all of our gratitude for the region-wide community we have together and for the growth possible for us in the new year with the help of each of you, our faith communities, the United Valley Interfaith Project, Granite State Organizing Project, and the Vermont Interfaith Alliance.

View “David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet.” On Netflix

Then please Join us on January 21, 2021, 7:00 to 8:00 pm
to discuss David Attenborough’s story and our stories. Register here.

The Racial Justice Ministry Team has been meeting twice a month to learn and converse about racial justice. We come from a variety of backgrounds and experience in this field and value learning from one another. Each member also does research between each meeting and shares with the rest of the team while together. Some readings discussed include My Grandmother’s Hands, Waking Up WhiteHood Feminism and many articles, documentaries, and podcasts. Members of this team also continue to participate in Black Lives Matter vigils in Meriden, but sometimes also in Plainfield, Claremont, and Sunapee. Outside of the team gatherings, many members participate in various other forms of activism for racial justice. The team is currently focusing on how we can continue to move toward making our own church more inclusive and knowledgeable in this area. 

Thank you,

Kelsey MacNamee
Spiritual Formation Coordinator
Meriden Congregational Church
(603) 504-4257
New Racial Justice Book Study Begins Sunday, January 24, 7:00 PM

Join Rod Wendt as we take up a third book on our journey to racial justice, How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. The first meeting will be Sunday, January 24, 7:00 PM by Zoom. We will agree on a going-forward meeting day/time in that first meeting. All are welcome! Add yourself to the list to get a Zoom link by emailing rwendt@meridenucc.org.

Rod has been facilitating these book studies because he, too, wants to grow in his understanding of racial injustice and what we can do to dismantle it. He counts on the shared wisdom of the group discussion to enlighten us all. The format will be the same as other recent book studies Rod has led – everyone reads the assigned chapters, and our time together focuses on YOUR thoughts on what you have read. All wisdom is welcome! No Rod lectures here!

Please read the introduction and Chapter 1 – about 23 pages – before the first session

Books are easily available in print or Kindle form at Amazon or perhaps your local bookstore.

Join us!

“Raising White Kids:
Bringing up Children in a Racially Unjust America”
by Jennifer Harvey

Our book study on this deeply engaging and informative book for parents and guardians, care- givers, teachers and adults who care for and interact with white children
continues to be a great experience for those of us involved. We have two final Zoom sessions (January dates TBD). If you haven't been able to be part of this book study this time around, but are interested in reading Harvey's book and/or participating in a future study of this book, please contact Susan Gregory-Davis (469-3235 or susan@meridenucc.org). We would love to hear from you and and together discern future opportunities and resources for supporting the healthy racial development of white children, children who--in the words of author Harvey--are “comfortable in their own skin but function appropriately in racially diverse environments; neither ignoring nor pretending not to notice the racial identities of others and not making assumptions about people based on their race; and having strong moral commitments to interrupt and challenge racism when they witness it.” Please let us know if you are interested in future opportunities for conversation and study!  
Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration 2021
"Collective Freedom Dreaming"
A radical embodied dialogue to imagine shared liberation

Conversation meets movement in this powerful keynote experience by Dr. Shamell Bell. A mother, community organizer, dancer/choreographer, documentary filmmaker and original member of Black Lives Matter, Dr. Bell introduces us to street dance activism, which deploys dance for grassroots political action. Through discussion and physical exploration, she guides us in a moving exercise of reflecting, breathing, moving our bodies and gathering freedom dreams together.

Monday--January 18th at 7:30 PM
This free event is hosted on the Hop's YouTube channel,
and it is open to the community.
Our local and global communities have faced several hard truths this year. As we come together to advocate for change, overcome a pandemic, protest systemic inequities, and so much more, we should be inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s immortal words: "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."

2021 MLK Multifaith Celebration
"Why Believe?
Hope and Action through
Art and Spirituality"

Sunday--January 24th, 2021 @ 3:00 PM (Virtual)

A multifaith service featuring speaker Dr. Tricia Rose, diverse student voices and music by the Dartmouth Gospel Choir followed by a live interactive discussion with Dr. Rose.
 Dr. Tricia Rose is Chancellor’s Professor of Africana Studies and the Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. Rose is an internationally respected scholar of post-civil rights era black U.S. culture, popular music, social issues, gender and sexuality. She is most well known for her groundbreaking book on the emergence of hip hop culture. Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America is considered foundational text for the study of hip hop, one that has defined what is now an entire field of study. She is currently working on a project called How Structural Racism Works. RSVP is required and a link will be provided.

For more information, contact: Lina Papandreou
603 646 3780
2021 History of
Racial Injustice Calendars

Equal Justice Initiative challenges racial and economic injustice and provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in jails and prisons. Their 2021 Calendar is a full-color wall version that includes hundreds of historical entries and 12 short essays highlighting historical events and issues in our nation's racial history. Available in the church office or by request for $3.00 each.  
The following letter was published in the Valley News on Friday October 30th--Thanks Shideko and Gail!!


The title is
“We must not remain silent in the face of hate”


U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ final farewell, he said, “If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.”

Does this quote stir you emotionally? Lewis’ recent death came at a time of far too much division and violence. We’ve seen the unmistakable video footage of brutality, murder and hate aimed at Black people. We’ve heard the litany of victims’ names. In the face of this reality, the Black Lives Matter movement has grown as more people decry a hierarchy of human value based on skin color. But this threatens some.

We are seeing displays of hate in our own commnities and we must call them out — right here, right now. Public manifestations of racial hatred are a reality as it reaches across our region, from Claremont to Plainfield and, most recently, to Springfield and New London. As just one example, an individual has been attempting to terrorize others in our area by driving around in a pickup truck with symbols and words of race-based hate that promote violence.
Using Lewis’ words, and with true concern for this individual, we wonder “what has taken root in his heart” that prompts him to delight in causing hurt and alarm in the community? Such incidents should challenge us to reaffirm and proclaim our shared humanity. Let’s recognize the spiritual dimension we harbor and look to it for guidance. We must not remain silent. Even our children know this is wrong.

It is time to claim accountability and become allies of those who are being hurt. Talk about this to your friends, families and neighbors. Invite difficult conversations about these deliberate assaults of hate. Let us find the courage and confidence to speak up in order to reclaim our sense of beloved community. If not us, then who? If not now, when?

SHIDEKO TERAI and JAN LORD
Cornish
THE REV. DR. GAIL KINNEY
Canaan
THE REVS. SUSAN and JOHN GREGORY-DAVIS
Meriden
The writers are members of the Meriden Congregational Church. This letter was endorsed by 19 other members of the Meriden Congregational Church Racial Justice Ministry Team.
Paying Attention to Worker Dignity and Justice in 2021
   Well, we – and the workers who keep our communities and schools and stores and post offices and health care facilities going – have put 2020 in the rear view mirror. Thank goodness!
  
 As we go forward in 2021, let’s just remember that the essential workers in our midst are still essential. They still richly deserve our recognition in all the creative ways we can convey our gratitude and appreciation.
  
 The NH Legislative Session is slated to start up on January 6 in the most inauspicious of ways. Apparently, elected House of Representatives members, including our own beloved Lee Oxenham, are being called to gather in a parking lot in their cars and to listen to speakers on a dedicated radio channel, with a microphone brought to their car window if they wish to speak. Public access be damned. The Senate is committed to conducting their sessions remotely where public access is possible, but the House leadership, as of this writing, is refusing to consider crafting rules and procedures for such an option, even though the Supreme Court has said it is permissible.
  
 Meanwhile, there is a profusion of proposed bills in 2021 – some good but many extremely troubling – that will affect our public schools and teachers and that will impact workers and worker rights in hugely troubling ways. At the same time, our ability to bear witness in person or to have a voice as legislation is debated is in serious jeopardy. Thus, worker justice advocates will need to be both innovative and persistent. In this moment, I don’t think anyone really knows how this will all unfold. So, stay tuned. And thank a local worker today (and every day).
   
Here’s to a better and kinder and more just 2021!
   Gail Kinney, Worker Justice Minister
Climate Justice Ministry News – January 2021

In April 2020 the congregation of the Meriden Congregational Church approved the Meriden Congregational Church Resolution Endorsing the Green New Deal. With the election of President Biden and his stated intention to provide an economic stimulus package to the nation, the leadership of MCC has sent a letter to Congresswoman Kuster, Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan urging them to include in any stimulus package specific projects that support the goals of the Green New Deal. This is letter is consistent with one of the commitments in our resolution to “engage federal, state and local agencies as advocates for policies and legislation that advance the goals of the Green New Deal”. We are hopeful that our concerns will be heeded.

The various justice ministries of MCC, including climate, economic, immigrant and racial are cooperating in a joint justice ministry. We began this cooperation at the end of 2020 with an initial focus on providing reading lists and presenting “justice moments” during one service each month. 

For those interested in climate justice the book “Climate Justice” by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy on Climate Change is an excellent introduction to the topic. The book is available on Amazon and will be available from the Plainfield library. If you are interested in reading the book let me know and I can ask Mary King to request copies.

Submitted
Evan Oxenham
Immigrant Solidarity
The power of prayer and our faith in God… good news! Eliazar has been asked to check-in at ICE on June 22, 2021! In last month’s newsletter the check-in was rescheduled from December 19 to February 2021 so this is amazing turn of events. ayalalegalfund@gmail.com  (for Eliazar). OH! And another way to help detained refugees and other immigrants being held at the Strafford County jail in Dover NH: Look for Immigrant Bond & Support Fund on UCC website:  https://www.eservicepayments.com/cgi-bin/Vanco_ver3.vps?appver3=oo37DPDB_IkRvUYRT4XYFRYSLkeAY30iWl4jNLjDjUeOAdImOK-IyzQ3ujo0OPkjeoSXEqEXXY8qenpcazz9bfX65YgDdKBwT10nPYSexOuNX8CpjcrNEdTvXSA-xiU4 and the UU https://www.uuactionnh.org/nh-bail-fund  As far as housing for asylees, Nancy Pierpont remarked that there are ways to help by having these funds ready to pay for rent to those seeking release from detention as they must show that they have the necessary support in place.

The Meriden Congregational Church signed on as members of the NH Immigrant Solidarity Network on October 25, 2017. There was an inaugural launch event in Manchester on Sunday, October 29, 2017. Since then, several members of the MCC congregation have attended vigils and monthly meetings in Manchester in the basement of a Catholic church. Rod Wendt, Ed Cousineau, John Gregory-Davis, and myself participated in these (I apologize if I may have left out others). We worked on many projects since then. The most significant of which is becoming one of three Level 1 physical sanctuaries in NH. Jill Marshal was instrumental in managing the organization of the local Upper Valley Immigrant Solidarity Network as Rod and Jill worked on organizing the pieces of the puzzle to prepare for the possibility of somebody or a family that might seek sanctuary at our church. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the present situation to offer the Parish House for sanctuary, consideration has been made to offer accommodation to asylum seekers once it is safe to do so. Another important relationship is that of the United Valley Interfaith Project of which we are paying members. Many of those member churches have had vital participation in these immigrant solidarity actions, projects and events. 

P.S. There is an action organized by the Poor Peoples Campaign-NH on Saturday, January 9, 2021 at 10:15 AM in Concord the purpose of which is to march on the walls of justice to amplify the voices of the disenfranchised people of NH. These people include our immigrants, the impoverished, and the unhoused as well as many others who have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please join me. Please RSVP by clicking here and for more details: https://actionnetwork.org/events/ppc-jericho-car-avan?source=email& 

Shideko Terai (she/her)

Action in Concord 1/9 - March on the walls of injustice to amplify voices of NH disenfranchised people

Folks,

I'm attending an event called PPC (Poor People's Campaign) Jericho Car-Avan in Concord at the State House on Saturday, 1/9/2021 at 10:15 AM. Can you join me? Please RSVP by clicking here and for more details: https://actionnetwork.org/events/ppc-jericho-car-avan?source=email& 

Recently, the Proud Boys et al have snatched the narrative, they have/are threatening elected officials. They are propagating a hatred so pervasive and so terrorizing that Governor Sununu has cancelled all public events surrounding his inauguration. 

In the midst of this, I hope we can acknowledge some blessings of 2020. Covid-19 has shone a bright light on the inequities that have surrounded us for decades. Our country is hungry. Millions of our people are still without healthcare. There are many unhoused and soon to be unhoused people. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us our inhumane prisons and immigration policies. We have a lot of work to do. The work that we must do was begun by Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Shirley Chisholm, and Fannie Lou Hamer. Rosa Parks had the strength to sit down, so that I might stand. Sojourner Truth fought for women's rights so my voice would be heard. Harriet Tubman freed the enslaved so I might be liberated. Shirley Chisholm showed all the little Black girls (and Brown women like me) we could be anything we wanted to be. Even when people thought we were second class citizens. However, Fannie Lou Hamer showed us with grit and determination we could win if we organized. I feel their fear and anger. I cannot imagine running for my life across fields to freedom. Yet having the strength to return again and again to liberate others.

Now, imagine you are one of several ordinary, everyday men and women sitting in church basements, around kitchen tables and meeting on your college campuses. After being trained, you would sit at lunch counters, get on Freedom Buses (to register Black voters in the South) and cross the Edmund Pettus bridge. Each knew they would be beaten up and some would not be returning home. They still sat, rode the bus, and crossed the bridge.

 “And we won’t be silent anymore!”

There are some among us that believe that we should lay-low until the present danger is distanced again; I say we cannot back down. Yes, these are scary, unstable times that we are living through, and we cannot back down. We have got to fight for justice, equity and freedom anyway. Remember, the STRENGTH that flowed in the veins of those who have gone before us.
 
 We won’t be silent!

Our first action of 2021 will be on January 9th in CONCORD at the state house; this will be a joint effort with the Colorado Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Our folks know the story about the walls of Jericho. Both states will march on the walls of injustice. In New Hampshire we will be fighting for Crisis of Care Plans in hospitals. A disabled person may present at their local Emergency Room with symptoms of COVID pneumonia and be sent home to die, because a frazzled doctor, beyond addressing his/her unconscious biases, faced with myriad sick, determined that their “apparent” quality of life didn’t merit care in the face of so many seemingly more worthy. Yes, this is happening. I am asking for all of you to SHOW UP and
 lift up our collective voices. Let the sound of the shofar ring out to bring down the walls of injustice.

Can you join me? Click here for details and to RSVP: https://actionnetwork.org/events/ppc-jericho-car-avan?source=email& 

Thanks!
In solidarity and peace,
Shideko (she/her)
In honor of the #DefundHate campaign,
Rev. Maren Tirabassi wrote this poem:

It costs money – to tear children from their parents.
It costs money – to put people in unsanitary jails,
and in detention centers where so many die.

More than anything,
it costs our nation the abundant gifts of the future
which could be given
in art and music and science,
 in medical care and poetry,
 in food and dance,
 to all our communities by those who come here
from around the world.

Hate is expensive –
be fiscally responsible, Congress,
Choose love!

Please call upon Congress to defund the billions Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CPB) receive every year to jail, abuse and deport immigrants.
Join the call to #FreeThemAll
In this pandemic, we must get people out of prisons, jails, and detention centers—and move toward a future without incarceration. Take part in our National Days of Action Dec. 10-18!


We want a world with everyone at the table! Everyone deserves dignity and justice. But in the United States, 2.3 million people are locked away in prisons, jails, and detention centers, where they are subject to civil and human rights violations and a lack of access to adequate health care. Ten months into the pandemic, the dangers of incarceration continue to multiply exponentially, making every cell and cage a potential death chamber.

This holiday season, we know that people on the inside, and their families and loved ones, are feeling the pain of separation. And that those with incarcerated loved ones are acutely aware of the people who will be missing from their dinner table. Together, let's recommit to building a world where everyone has a seat at the table.

Join AFSC, partners, and communities across the U.S. for our National Days of Action to #FreeThemAll from Dec. 10 (International Human Rights Day) to Dec. 18 (International Migrants Day).

Tell your governor, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP):  Protect incarcerated people from COVID-19 in prisons, jails, and detention centers! 

Steve Beaupre' faithfully rings our church bell
each Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 PM
as a clarion call to our Community BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigil
Thank you, Steve!!
 With protests happening throughout our nation in response to the continuing "lynching" of Black and Brown bodies, we are continuing our Showing Up for Racial Justice BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigils each Wednesday afternoon, now happening from 3:30 to 4:00 PM, on the SouthWest corner of the intersection of Rte 120 & Main Street (at the blinking yellow light, with parking available at Poor Thom's Tavern). We have “BLACK LIVES MATTER” signs available for folk to hold, but please feel free to make and/or bring your own signs.

Come “Show Up for Racial Justice,” and Stand With us for LOVE , and AGAINST racism, white supremacy, hatred, and violencehere in our community and beyond! Togetherlet us publicly declare that we will NOT be complicit in white terrorand 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