Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter JULY-AUGUST 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
Summer In-Person Services
in the Parish House!

Watch for weekly e-mail notices,
and/or contact
john@meridenucc.org, susan@meridenucc.org
or secretary@meridenucc.org
Here it is! Volume 4 Issue 1 of our e-mail newsletter
FEATURED IN THIS NEWSLETTER
 
Pastoral Ponderings--"Rooted in Love" General Synod Events

Worship & Music Ministry News
  • Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in July -August
  • Community Readings of Frederick Douglas July 4th Speech
  • Summer Worship Schedule During Our Co-Pastor's Vacation
  • Horton Center All-Church Retreat, and Summer Camp Registration
  • Music and Ministry Notes
  •  Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
  •  Into God’s Hands

July-August Calendar of Events in the Life of our Spiritual Family
  • Stewardship Update
  • 2021 Graduates

MCC Administration & Finance News
  • Report of the Assistant Treasurers
  • COVID-19 Task Force Notice For July-August

Welcoming and Caring Ministry
  • July-August Birthdays & Anniversaries
  • Equal Exchange Coffee

Growing a Just World for All
  • Just Peace Resolution between Israel and Palestine
  • "Gaza Fights for Freedom" Film and Discussion
  • Joint Nakba Day Ceremony

Peace & Justice Ministry Coordinators Report
  • Racial Justice Ministry News
  • "Policing and White Supremacy" Webinar
  • Black Lives Matter Vigil
  • Worker Justice News
  • The Just signed NH Budget is destructive to Community
  • Legislator Contact Information
  • Climate Justice News
  • Immigrant Solidarity Actions
  • Ending Immigrant Detention
  • Understanding ICE and CBP Funding
  • SHARe Housing for Asylum Seekers
  • Poor Peoples Campaign


Revs. John and Susan Gregory-Davis,
Co-Pastors
Meriden Congregational Church
603-469-3235
john@meridenucc.org
susan@meridenucc.org
 As we prepare to begin our annual Sabbath renewal time away, we are grateful for all the ways in which we our lives are finally beginning to emerge from the pandemic cocoons in which we have been hibernating for all too long, even as we mourn and pray for those still suffering the ravages of this disease. We especially rejoice to be gathering together more frequently now in person, while likewise being thankful for all the “together, separately” virtual gatherings that have kept us connected throughout this past year. Although our church doors will remain closed throughout these summer months, as noted elsewhere in this Newsletter, we have discerned that we can safely gather in person for our summer services in our Parish House, or even outside on occasion. 
           
           With this coming Sunday being July 4th, we have chosen to give us all a day of Sabbath rest and renewal, with no service happening here our church this holiday weekend.  Please feel free to use this Sunday holiday for travel and/or visiting with family & friends from near and far, and/or perhaps to attend, either virtually or in person, another church of your choosing. Another option for observing and reflecting upon the meaning of our nation’s Independence Day from the perspective of the interdependence at the heart of Beloved Community would be to attend the local community reading of the provocative and profound speech delivered by Frederick Douglas back in 1852, “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?” at 11:00 AM on Sunday morning—July 4th in the Colburn Park in Lebanon. 
           
           Were we not still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, UCC folk would be travelling from all across our nation to gather somewhere for our denomination’s bi-annual General Synod. Whenever we have had the privilege of attending this dynamic event, we have been reminded of the wondrous diversity, social justice commitment, and abundant spiritual blessings of the United Church of Christ, even as we have wished many of you could share this experience with us. So if the bad news is that this year’s General Synod will be virtual for the first time ever, so too is this Good News in that this year’s theme of being “Rooted in Love” will be embodied through being virtually available to and through all the branches of our church family tree. 
           
           In the words of our denominational leadership, “a virtual General Synod presents a significant opportunity for this body of Christ to join together in full participation at General Synod. This is an exciting opportunity for those who have always wanted to attend General Synod, or those curious about this gathering of members of the UCC. Thousands of people can join in full virtual participation. We look forward to welcoming you across the miles.” 
 
           Thus it is that we enthusiastically encourage all of us to “taste and see” at least some of the many offerings of this spiritual feast. Whereas in the past, General Synod has been a very full and long weekend of workshops, worship, business, and resolutions, this year’s activities will occur mostly in the late afternoon and evenings of the week of July 11th through July 18th. As always, there is a plethora of opportunities offered throughout this time for those able to register for full on-line access.
 
            Especially since one aspect of this year’s deliberations will be the discussion and vote on the Just Peace Between Palestine & Israel Resolution which our church co-sponsored, we hope at least some of us will be able to pay the $100.00 registration fee to gain access to this conversation, and so much more.  To learn more about all that General Synod entails, and/or to register, go to United Church of Christ General Synod 33 General Synod 33. So as to make access to the Resolution discussion as accessible as possible, we hope to find some way for those who might wish to gather and view it together, so stay tuned for more details about this as we learn them.
 
           But regardless of whether anyone chooses to register for the many events of General Synod throughout that second week in July, we are delighted to report that the three amazing General Synod worship services will all be open and free to everyone choosing to tune in to experience them.  The Opening Worship will be televised at 5:00 PM on Sunday—July 11th, and will feature preaching by civil rights activist, the Rev. Ben Chavis. The mid-week service will happen at 8:00 PM on Wednesday—July 14th, with the Rev. Michelle Higgins preaching. And the closing worship will happen at 6:00 PM on Sunday—July 18th, featuring our Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries, the Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson. 

           All three services will be guided by the overall General Synod theme of being “Rooted in Love,” and each will reflect the context of the past year, from the global pandemic to uprisings against racism. There are few more exciting and dynamic ways to experience the multicultural, multiracial, expansively inclusive heart and joy of our denomination than the worship service created for General Synod. Online worship services will be available to the public as well as to those who have paid to register for the Synod. People wishing to sign up free, for the worship services only, can learn more about how to do so at the General Synod website, and/or hopefully view the services at this link: Meet.ucc. A live option to gather for prayer and reflection will be offered in our Parish House on both Sunday—July 11th, led by Rev. Gail Kinney, and Sunday—July 18th, led by Kathy Wright, but we also urge everyone to tune in for these evening services if at all possible. 
 
With prayers and blessings for many moments of
Sabbath renewal and re-creation this summer,
Your faithful Co-Pastors,
Susan and John                             
                                                                                                      
For a sobering perspective on “Independence Day,”
A Community Reading of Frederick Douglas Speech,
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Saturday,--July 3rd 
Broad Street Park, Claremont, @ 6:30 PM
Sunday—July 4th
Colburn Park, Lebanon, @ 11:00 AM
 
Learning about Black history helps us to see the evils of racism and white supremacist culture that continue to create a caste system in America today. When we begin to understand the insidious and pervasive nature of racism, we can begin to make the changes necessary to create a community that is welcoming, inclusive, just and equitable for all. Douglass, who escaped from slavery at the age of 21, was one of our nation’s greatest orators and a life-long, devoted abolitionist. He delivered this speech by the invitation of the Rochester New York’s Ladies Anti-Slavery Society on July 5, 1852, at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?” asked Douglass.  
He exhorts us to extend the freedoms and liberties fought for in our War of Independence to all people. The strength of his address brought the audience to their feet in resounding applause. Douglass’s speech remains as powerful and as thought-provoking today as it was then. His words from 1852 enter directly into our contemporary discussions on race and citizenship, and on what it is to be human. They open our awareness of the role that slavery and race continue to play in our history and in our modern-day institutions, government and social structures, and national discourse.
 
Excerpt from Frederick Douglass speech, July 5, 1852

“I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn…”
 
Especially if unable attend one of these readings, we encourage either reading this still challenging speech at: The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro by Frederick Douglass (historyisaweapon.com), or listening to Ossie Davis reading "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July" - YouTube.

Save this September Date!!!
 
COME, LET US REJOICE
IN THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S CREATION
 AS WE PRAY AND PLAY ON THE MOUNTAIN!!!
 
Saturday, September 25th – Sunday, September 26th
 
ALL MEMBERS OF OUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY
 ARE WARMLY INVITED TO OUR
TENTH ANNUAL MUCC ALL-CHURCH RETREAT
AT HORTON CENTER ON PINE MOUNTAIN, GORHAM, NH
 
COME ONE, COME ALL
FROM THE YOUNGEST TO THE ELDEST AMONG US
FOR A FUN-FILLED CHURCH RETREAT!
 
ENJOY THE GORGEOUS VIEWS OF THE WHITE MOUNTAINSAND THE FRIENDLY COMPANY OF
YOUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY!!!
 
Stay tuned for more information!

New Hampshire Conference
Outdoor Ministry
 
It’s not too early to plan for summer!

The NH UCC offers a multitude of
summer camp opportunities for all ages.

·       Registration is now Open!!
·       Financial aid is available (Please apply early)
·       Programs for kids of all ages, 
families and couples.
·       A full program with camp descriptions is available online at www.hortoncenter.org.
·       Activities include: Hiking, Backpacking, Canoeing, Climbing, Archery, Kayaking, Camping, Swimming, Biking, and more
·       Opportunities are available for you to become a Unit Leader (cabin chaperone) for a week.

Questions/Registration
Tim Hughes
Executive Director of Horton Center
603-225-6647
Our outdoor Farewell Celebration for Rod & Barb Wendt!

OUR SUNDAY FAITH
COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN JULY-AUGUST
(In-Person in the Parish House)

JULY 4th @ 10:00 AM
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Although this is a Sabbath Holiday at our church (no service), we invite and encourage you to attend at 11am in Lebanon (Colburn Park) the reading of Frederick Douglas' July 4, 1852 Speech, a stirring indictment on the state of racism in this country--then and now.

JULY 11th @ 10:00 AM
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, with Carol Hartman offering her lovely piano music.

JULY 18TH @ 10:00 AM
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Poetry Celebration
Kathy Wright will lead worship in the Parish House, inviting us to explore and reflect upon poetry. You are invited to bring your favorite poems to read (or have someone else read them). The joy of the word to share from many sources.

JULY 25TH @ 10:00 AM
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, accompanied by Carol Hartman sharing her gift of music.

August 1st @ 10:00 AM Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Richard Atkinson will lead worship in the Parish House, with Carol Hartman offering her lovely piano music.

August 8th @ 10:00AM
11th Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, accompanied by Carol Hartman sharing her gift of music.

August 15th @ 10:00AM
12th Sunday after Pentecost
Come welcome home our Co-Pastors as they return from their Sabbath time of renewal and re-creation, either on our Church Green or in our Parish House, depending upon the weather.

August 22nd @ 10:00AM
13th Sunday after Pentecost
Susan and John will lead worship in the Parish House or on our Church Green.

August 29th @ 10:00AM
14th Sunday after Pentecost
Come celebrate women's Equality Day with us, either in the Parish House or on our Church Green, depending upon the weather!
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!

NEWS FROM THE
MERIDEN COMMUNITY CAMP!

We at Meriden Community Camp are ecstatic to be back up and running for the summer of 2021. We missed all of our camp families and campers last summer and look forward to seeing you all again on campus.

MCC will have a lightly different look this summer to help keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible but our mission of having a quality homegrown summer camp experience is still our main goal.

Our local environment has so much to offer us here at MCC and we plan to make the most of it during our three camp sessions. With some old faces returning to MCC staff and new faces joining the team, we are looking to make this summer as fun and safe as possible! 

The Website for camp is Here

Micah Dewey
Camp Director
Summer Worship Schedule
Music and Ministry Notes
Music and Ministry
July-August 2021

A short note this month to share plans for worship while John and Susan are on a well deserved time away. Services will be held in the Parish House. Masks will be required inside as a conservative measure and to be in solidarity with our children under twelve who are not yet eligible for vaccination at this time. Communion will not be served over the Summer in the interest of Covid safety.

The schedule for the remainder of June, the month of July, and the beginning of August is as follows:

Sunday, July 4th : No worship service. Enjoy a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 11: Gail Kinney will lead in person-worship in the Parish House

Sunday, June18: Kathy Wright will lead an in-person poetry based participatory service. Bring a favorite poem to share. Alternatively, the Sunday service presented as part of the UCC General Synod will be available to view via the internet. John will be providing details re time and access instructions.

Sunday, 7/25: Gail Kinney will lead in-person worship in the Parish House.

Sunday, August 1: Richard Atkinson will lead in-person worship in the Parish House.

Sunday, 8/8: Gail Kinney will led in-person worship in the Parish House.

Realizing that this is a lot to remember we will be sending reminder e-mails each week to remind everyone what is happening.  

Wishing everyone a safe and restorative Summer,
Cindy Marx-Wood for Music and Ministry
Poetry Celebration
July 18th 10:00AM In the Parish House
with Kathy Wright

Every Summer I dip into the Poetry Books in the House. I look up my favorite authors and sample new ones. In this service I invite people to bring a favorite poem to read. It may be one you yourself wrote. If you are too shy to read there will be people to read it for you. The Summer is filled with the joy of the trees and flowers. Let us celebrate the wonder of the words which can capture this beauty and also the struggles of us all. Join us and let's Celebrate.

Kathy Wright



John and Susan at Rod and Barb Wendt Service 5-16-21

Blessing of the Animals Service June 13th--
Beckett Condon and John Gregory-Davis
Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
           
        As we journey throughout this Summer, we give joyous thanks for the all that makes our faith community such a welcome home for all of us. We continue to pray for all those affected in any way by the Covid 19 pandemic, and we celebrate with those bearing new life, as well as those yet trying to conceive or seeking to adopt a beloved child of God. So too do we 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, Hong Kong, Yemen, Nigeria, Burma, 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 we pray for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Jim Lenz’ friend, Jim; Sue Turner’s dear friend, Linda Armstrong; Laura Cousineau’s brother-in-law, Eric; Linda Perkins’ friend, Linda Stone; Shideko Terai’s friends, Melanie & Paul; Suzanne Lenz’ brother, Bob; Michelle Chamley; Bailey Sibert; Ed Foltyn; Sue Turner’s cousin Jesse’s husband, Ron Letterchio; Caren Saunders’ mother, Betty Homeyer; Selden Lord’s brother-in-law, Edward; Jan Lord’s former daughter-in-law, Michelle; Jo Evarts, as well as Jo’s sister, Jingles; Robert Bryant; Cynthia Howe; Jeff McNamara; Lauryn Moeller’s daughter-in-law, Lisa Rae Moeller; and Kevin Ramos-Glew’s nephew, Duncan.
So too do we pray for Beth Kopp’s parents, Elaine & Jim Kane; Rosemary Mills; Allyson Wendt; Linda Perkins; Kathy Wright’s sister, Carolyn Youtz; Cindy LaFlam; Christine Heins’ sister, Rosalyn Braeunig; Jody Schubert’s brother, Rick: Laine Gillespie’s cousin, Becky, and Laine’s friend, Perry Allison;  Jeannie Hines’ father, Joe McClellan; Joan Burch; Clare Louzier; Selden Lord’s sister, Sharon Hammond; Suzanne Lenz; Carol Hartman’s daughter-in-law, MichelleCindy Griffin’s and Susan Borchert’s uncle, Arthur; Judy Croitoru; Bob & Robyn Carpenter;  Joan Dumont; Chris Dye; Linda Perkins’ friends, Dorothy, Barbara, Albert, & Doug; Caren Saunders’ father, William Homeyer; Scot Zens; Rod & Barb Wendt’s granddaughter, Ada Jane; Greg Marshall; Larry Burch’s brother, CharlieSusan Turner’s cousin, Buddy Stevenson, and Sue’s friends, Barbara Zenker & Jane Miles; Susan Sanzone’s aunt Rita; and Odile Clavier’s mother, Marie-Claire, as well as her niece, Amelie Marie.

If you or someone you know would like a name to be added to our Prayer List, please let us know. In an effort to keep it as up-to-date as possible, please also let us know when you would like a name removed. Occasionally, we carefully remove a name to make room for others, but if you would like a name restored, please simply let us know and we will be happy to do so. Thank you for praying for these members of our Church Family.   


Into God's Hands 
    
As the new life of spring turns into the fullness of summer, we are especially mindful of both the wonder and the fragility of life, as we mourn the loss of dearly beloved friends and relatives of our faith community!!
 
           We extend our sympathy to Jo-Ellen Courtney, upon the loss of her dear friend, Maureen Knight, on Saturday-June 5th, 2021. 
 
           And our hearts go out to our colleague at the Durham Community Church, Rev. David Grishaw-Jones, upon the loss of his mother,  Linda.
      As God has welcomed each of these much beloved daughters 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 remembrance and grieving.


Stewardship Update
Dear Friends, 

Many thanks to everyone who has been able to celebrate the 241st birthday of MCC with a financial gift over the past few months. Fortunately, we have met our goal to replace the Auction revenue of $5,500, a needed part of our 2021 budget.
Thank you!

We have also raised about $3,000 to fund pressing maintenance needs ahead of us. That said, we have decided to postpone the painting of the front of the Parish House this year because we have been unable to secure a painting company. This project remains a priority, and we plan to address this need in 2022. In the meantime, please keep this project in mind -- the cost is expected to be about $20,000. Again, thank you to everyone for your generous support of MCC today and always.

Have a safe and joy-filled summer.

Sincerely, Jill Marshall, Vice Chair for the Leadership Team

If we have missed any other graduates among us, please leave a message on the church phone (469-3235) accordingly, and we will look forward to recognizing you or your family member as well! Our sincerest apologies for anyone who has been inadvertently omitted!  

MCC ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE NEWS



REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS

Through June 20th we have received $17,005 in pledge payments. The reason for such a large figure this month is one large pledger paying their total pledge for the year in one lump sum payment. The total received year to date is $87,858. We received $182 in plate donations for a yearly total of $3,208. We have also received $2,951 in birthday/maintenance fund donations and $26.30 from the Cornerstone Fund. $40 was also received for OGHS. 

Respectfully submitted,

Richard Atkinson
Jim Lenz






Personal Note from Richard Atkinson



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
Richard Atkinson "roasting" Rod Wendt, with great humor, and much appreciation!
Hot fun in the summertime—Open up those windows
COVID Summer Update

Our church COVID-19 Task Force firmly believes in open windows—"wide open windows”!

Over the next several weeks our church will gather for limited, summer Sunday worship in the parish house. Because summertime attendance is lower than at other times of the year, the Co-Pastors have requested that small groups be able to meet in the parish house for Sunday worship. This will done with more than a philosophical nod to the wide open windows noted above. The windows in the church sanctuary do not currently allow good air exchange.

Summer Sunday worship will necessitate that windows (and doors) be flung wide open in the large meeting room for good cross ventilation. The Co-Pastors have asked that all attendees be masked. This is to be done to provide a supportive example for younger children and those who cannot be immunized. In addition the COVID-19 Task Force urges the following practices:

     --Chairs (without tables) would be arranged in a wide circle.
     --Piano or stringed instrument as the only live music--no live singing.
          --Softly voiced group prayers.
     --Hand sanitation for all..  
     --No indoor food service. (Yes, this will preclude any coffee hour except on deck) 

Please be aware that while full immunization substantially reduces the risk of death and hospitalization, a risk of illness does remain. The “delta” variant is exceedingly virulent and is circulating across the country, especially within non-immunized groups and communities. While some masking and social distancing protocols may be relaxed in our local communities, many of us will still exercise some of the “prudence” we have acquired during this pandemic. And of course, any local surges of the virus may require us to alter or cancel these plans.

Our “open-window-worship” bodes well for a return to the sanctuary building sometime later this fall, although in-person choral music will probably be the last pre-pandemic aspect of our MCC worship to be reintroduced into Sunday worship.

Meanwhile, be sure to have “fun in the summertime!”

Ed Cousineau for the COVID-19 Task Force



Ed Cousineau, Convener
MCC COVID-19 Task Force


Penny Arcone Celebrating Barb Wendt as our "Gardening Angel"
WELCOMING and CARING MINISTRY


Happy Summer. I am thrilled to be off School for two months! In addition to John and Susan Gregory-Davis' vacation in July and the beginning of August, we will start to have live in-person services in the Parish House. Starting on July 11 and continuing on July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8, Rev. Gail Kinney and Richard Atkinson (Aug. 1st) will provide for Worship in the Parish House. On July 18th, I will be leading a Poetry Service when people are asked to bring a favorite poem to share. During these in-person services, the plan is to have the windows wide open and requesting everyone to mask indoors. Of course if we move outside to the deck we may have some refreshments and take off our masks. I will have masks at the door if you forget yours. Don't forget to use sanitizer as you enter.

Last month our Blessing of the Animals Service was appreciated. Thanks go to Andrea Brown for providing refreshments and Evan Oxenham for helping with set up. He also took some adorable pictures (see below).

This summer the Meriden Community Camp will be back in session. The campers will be using tents and using the outside space as much as possible. They will also be masked as many are too young for the vaccine as yet. Little by little we are returning to "normal".

If you would like to offer refreshment for one of our in-person Sundays please Contact me. I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of our regular Welcoming program.



Kathy Wright, Coordinator of the Welcoming and Caring Ministry
Anne Tracy & Co-Pastor John at the
Blessing of the Animals Service June 13, 2021




JULY BIRTHDAYS


 
7/2         Heather Hildebrant
7/2         Sarah Lappin
7/2         Donna Beaupre’
7/3         Christine Brooks
7/3         Erin Gregory-Davis
7/3        Jan Kilfeather-Mackey
7/4         Lion Herfort
7/4         Becky Van Dolah
7/4         Eveline Georgia Wood
7/5         Nancy Chapman Elliot
7/6        Robin Kilfeather-Mackey
7/6         Finn Kopp
7/6        Mahlon Ward
7/7         Lea Castell
7/7         Galen Moynihan
7/8         Jane Fielder
7/9         Sarah Calderone
7/9         Greg Hardy
7/9         Alex Jameson
7/10       Kayla Sneiderman
7/10 Deb Lewis
7/11       Sierra Rogers
7/12       Sawyer Grace Kells
7/12       Lee Walker Oxenham
7/14       Ben Cherington
7/15       Emily Dewey
7/15       Meredith Finch
7/16       Alex Arcone
7/16      Gianna Marzilli-Ericson
7/18       Wally Caswell


 



7/19       Nicole Guaraldi
7/19       Jenny Lenz
7/19       Adara Greenstein
7/20       Allen Winslow
7/21       Aaron Luce
7/21      Conor Zuberi LaVoie
7/22       Elaine Calderone
7/22      Jaine Perotti
7/22       Laura Franklin
7/23       Jeff Robbins
7/23       Ethan Wright
7/23       Sarah (Pensgen) Sirlin
7/24       Rex Miller
7/24       Sophia Filiault
7/25       Sarah Stender
7/25       Carla Bucklin
7/26       Andrew Taylor
7/26       Thom Wolke
7/27       Laura Borchert
7/27       John Borchert
7/27       Rosemary Mills
7/27       Kelsey Hardy MacNamee
7/28       Conor Beaupre’
7/28       Mike Jaeger
7/29       Matthew Taylor
7/29       Laine Gillespie
7/30       Bill Clerkin
7/30       Jayden Foster
 
JULY ANNIVERSARIES


7/4/82          Steve & Sharon Zuckerman
7/5/86       Debbie & Jim Griffiths
7/6             Dale & Bob Cunningham
7/6/13          Natalie Ruppertsberger & Noah Lynd
7/7/07          Robin & Jan Kilfeather-Mackey
7/9/05         Keith & Gianna Marzilli-Ericson
7/10/04        Mike & Becky Van Dolah
7/11/98        Beth and Brian Garfield
7/15/95     Pam & Bob Annis
7/15/95    Susan Turner & Richard Atkinson
7/21/18       John Custer & Pam Miller
7/20/91     Liz & Bill Taylor
7/22/61     Gwen & Rob Fuller
7/25/86     Jan & Keith Timmons
7/27/91     Glen & Christine Greenough

 
AUGUST BIRTHDAYS
8/1         Brendan Fadden
8/1        Emma Healy
8/1         Kevin Marshall
8/4         Peter Elder
8/5         Shideko Terai
8/6         Nathaniel Custer
8/8         Kurt Filiault
8/9         Dawn Forbes
8/9         Vicki Ramos-Glew
8/10       Brandon Feid
8/13       Allan Reetz
8/13       Tori Constantine
8/13       Larry Wolkin
8/17       Juliette Hampton
8/18       Sandy Ouellette

 
 
8/18      Jack Chamley
8/18       Sean Evarts
8/20       Charles Hildebrant
8/21       Connie Bosley
8/22       Abigail Saunders
8/24       Flora Kenyon
8/24       Jill Marshall
8/24       Eric Russman
8/24       Jeff Sraeel
8/25       Samantha Harding
8/26       Virginia Torrey
8/27       Matthew Mills
8/28       Terri Crane
8/30 Phineas Custer
8/31      Cecilia Hampton
8/31      Becca Cattabriga 
AUGUST ANNIVERSARIES
8/2/03       Catherine Garfield & Peter Legare
8/4/12          Garret Heaton & Brinker Ferguson
8/4/84       Linda & Jeffrey Wilkinson
8/5/78       Cynthia Howe & Murray Dewdney
8/12/89     Susan & Jim Borchert
8/15           Karen & Allen Rogers
8/17             Eric & Yesenia Mesen
8/19             Joan & Larry Burch
8/23/14       Nick Custer & Kate Walrath
8/28             Amber & Greg Castell
8/28/71     Jody & Jim Schubert
8/28/93        Amy & Cory Healy
8/29/81    Shideko Terai & Bill Cable
8/29/15        Lily (Borchert) & Austin Powell

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

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!

More to come soon as our UCC General Synod delegates debate and vote on this resolution sometime in mid-July.
“Gaza Fights for Freedom” Film and Panel Discussion-- Join AFSC and Voices from the Holy Land’s online panel discussion of the new documentary “Gaza Fights for Freedom.” The film takes an in-depth look at the protest movement in Gaza, including the Great March of Return. Register for the event, and you will receive a link to watch the film for 10 days at your own convenience. Then join us on July 11 @ 3:00 PM for our online panel discussion. Register Great preparation for discussion and vote on General Synod resolution which our church co-sponsored! 
Joint Nakba Day Ceremony
 
Join us for a Joint Nakba Day Ceremony on Monday—July 12th @ 1:00 PM for this moving expression of our belief that reconciliation, freedom, and respect for both sides in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict involves a sincere reckoning with history. Together, as Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals, we recall the horrors and pain of the year 1948; the year that marked a significant milestone in the history of the Palestinian people. More than 700,000 Palestinians became refugees as they were expelled from their homes and their villages and cities were destroyed.
But the Nakba is more than just one moment in time, the pain continues today as the occupation continues. The ceremony will commemorate this grief, and our hope for a better future, through an online broadcast.
The history of marginalized populations is often omitted, if not altogether erased, from mainstream narratives. This event aims to emphasize and amplify the storied history of the Palestinian experience, a history which is so frequently prevented from being shared. Personal testimonies from everyday people will replace political statements, providing an in-depth and emotional account of historical events. Acknowledging and honoring this pain the only path to forging a peaceful future with true equality, freedom and dignity for all.
The Ceremony will navigate across the past, present, and future.
The past cannot be undone. But our acknowledgement and understanding of it in the present can be a source of healing – and can lay the groundwork for creating a different future, free of occupation, war, violence and suffering. NH Peace Action is a cosponsor of this free event. RSVP HERE.
Policing and white supremacy--White supremacy and policing have been intertwined since the days of slave patrols. Join our online conversation on Thursday, July 8th, @ 8:00 PM to examine the impacts of this connection and how we can work to end it. This event is part of the webinar series “Community Safety Beyond Policing.” Register here: Policing and white supremacy | American Friends Service Committee (afsc.org)
Divisive Concepts Language
Doesn’t Belong Anywhere in NH Law !
Many throughout out state are frustrated and angry that our Legislature and Governor have chosen to embrace this deeply
mis-guided and dangerous form of censorship:(

Steve Beaupre' faithfully rings our church bell
each Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 PM as a clarion call to
our Community BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigil
Thank you, Steve!!
 We are continuing our Showing Up for Racial Justice BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigils each Wednesday afternoon, now happening from 5:00 to 5:30PM, on the SouthWest corner of the intersection of Rte 120 & Main Street (at the blinking traffic light). We have “BLACK LIVES MATTER” signs available for folk to hold, but please feel free to make and/or bring your own signs.

Come join us in “showing up for racial justice,” and Standing for  LOVE , and AGAINST racism, white supremacy, hatred, and violence, here in our community and beyond!  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


The Just-Signed NH State Budget is Destructive to Beloved Community
By Gail Kinney, Worker Justice Minister

     A horrified NH State Representative called it “the worst budget in NH history and…a flaming dumpster fire that is nothing short of a disaster for anyone who cares about reproductive freedom, free speech, or helping our children think critically when it comes to our nation’s shameful history of racism.” When the NH House Majority Leader, one of the “Free State” architects of the budget, called the budget “a transformational symphony of reforms,” the horrified Representative noted that it is “much closer to a symphony of sorrow and depravity.” 
     A veteran state house reporter says the state budget signed into law a week ago by Governor Sununu has “significantly changed the direction of the state and you could say its traditional philosophy. …It is no longer live and let live [in NH], it is live the way I tell you to.”
     We of the Meriden Congregational Church who profess to follow the moral and spirit-filled commandments to love our neighbors (near and far) and to care for the stranger and “the least of these” surely will be aghast as the full impact and the sheer mean-spiritedness of the 2021-2023 biennial NH budget become clear. 
     It is not just that the state budget for the next two years is typically “NH stingy” – that it puts a limit on the number of Health and Human services workers, no matter what the needs are for the most vulnerable in NH – that it denies dental benefits to adults on the Medicaid program – or that it reneges on education funding responsibilities to the most financially-challenged school districts, etc. What makes this particular state budget particularly morally horrifying is that the budget policy bill, HB 2 (often referred to as the “budget trailer bill”), that accompanies the state budget “numbers bill” (HB 1) became not just a bill about budget policy but also a convenient repository for calamitous pieces of legislation that likely never would have succeeded as separate bills. 
     Legislators who would like nothing better than to dismantle public education altogether, who deny that racism is a matter of public concern or that it even exists (unconsciously or otherwise) in NH, and who would deny women the privacy to make the most difficult of medical decisions about their own bodies, prevailed in inserting a variety of extreme measures right into the “budget trailer bill” even though the added bill language had absolutely nothing to do with budget policy. This was a calculated move to make certain pieces of dreadful legislation impossible to defeat because they had been inserted into an “essential budget bill.”
     So now my thoughts turn to the many workers who will be impacted by the NH budget and budget trailer bills. To identify just a few, my heartfelt concerns go:
To the educators in every struggling school district whose work and workplace resources will be directly impacted by diminished state support for public education and by the most sweeping and consequential school voucher program in the nation that has been designed intentionally to draw funds away from local public schools.
To the health and human services workers and other public sector employees whose value and importance are ignored. 
To the staff of every women’s health or family planning facility in the state whose workplaces are now subjected to time- and money-consuming “audits” meant solely to harass and undermine these essential health care providers.
To the now-muzzled state, county, municipal, school district, law enforcement, (etc.) public employees who – thanks to the “divisive concepts” language inserted into HB 2 –face sweeping prohibitions on their ability to address and educate about the realities not just of past racism and white supremacy but also present-day existence of unconscious or implicit but still-very-real racial (and other) biases in our midst. 
To every ultrasound technician who is now required to carry out an invasive “obstetric ultrasound examination” that might well be against a pregnant woman’s will in order for the woman to access certain reproductive care.
To every gynecologist or other doctor who faces the threat of a Class B felony criminal charge if he or she dares to provide certain care for a woman facing a reproductive crisis who might be 24 or more weeks pregnant.
And on and on and on….
     The appallingly heartless and destructive biennial NH budget is, plain and simple, an assault on the common good. Even if it takes years (and an election-cycle or more) to turn things around, let us be part of a growing resistance to the new New Hampshire. Let us heed the call of our better angels to build back and protect the beloved community that this present budget seeks to dismantle.   
John Gregory-Davis Speaking at the Budget Protest in Concord, NH-- June 24, 2021
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. Suzanne Prentiss
Legislative Office Building, Room 102
33 State Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-3092
Climate Justice Ministry News –

MCC Climate Justice – TALK IT UP!
         Earth Day, celebrated on Saturday, April 24, turned out to be a lovely, relatively warm day – just shy of picnic weather. A small but intrepid group gathered on the church grounds and proceeded to weed-whack, rake, and generally spruce-up the grounds. Special thanks to Ann Tracey for her bounty of cookies and for Penny Arcone whose wit and ingenuity made the afternoon fly by.
         If you missed last week’s Earth Day service – do yourself an enormous favor and check it out on the web. Beautiful imagery, uplifting hymns and an outstanding sermon from our fearless pastoral leaders. We are the Earth, we are her children, and the time is now to revere and protect our Mother.
         The Biden administration marked Earth Day as well, with an ever more refined explanation of their commitment to stewarding resources and mitigating the climate crisis. We can all help by TALKING IT UP. On the phone. or on zoom, or in a line waiting to be served. Talk about how great it feels to have folks in office who are knowledgeable and taking positive action. Who could have imagined a goal of conserving a third of our lands and oceans? Having climate represented in the cabinet? Or throughout the many federal departments and agencies.
         Talking to family, friends and neighbors about our changing climate has never been easier or timelier, and getting a positive, action message out can help build critical support.
  Submitted
Lee Oxenham
Immigrant Solidarity
Meriden Congregational Church is a member of NH Immigrant Solidarity Network or NHISN. There is plenty going on. The next monthly meeting is Tuesday--July 6th at 10 A on zoom. And in the spirit of immigrant solidarity we recommend these educational opportunities offered by our friends at the American Friends Service Committee:

Breaking Open Cages from the Ground Up--Spotlighting local campaigns to end immigrant detention: On Wednesday--July 14th, @ 7:30 PM, AFSC staff and partners will discuss local organizing and advocacy to free detained people, stop policies that promote detention, and shut down these facilities for good. This panel-style conversation will highlight the value of consistent advocacy that is rooted and developed in partnerships with leaders and members of impacted immigrant communities. Come learn practical tips on how we can collectively push back against immigration detention in the U.S. Register
Understanding Congressional Funding for ICE and CBP- For decades, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have separated countless families, caused the deaths of people seeking refuge, and terrorized our communities. Stopping the flow of money to these agencies is an important step to ending systems of cruelty against immigrants. Join our training on Tuesday--July 20th, @ 7:30 PM to learn more about how Congress funds ICE and CBP with our taxpayer dollars—and how you can advocate to defund these agencies. Register
Introducing SHARe –
“Supporting and Helping Asylees and Refugees”

UVIP Immigration Support Network (ISN) is now SHARe-- Over the past two years, dedicated volunteer work and generous financial contributions to the United Valley Interfaith Project’s Immigrant Support Network (ISN) helped local asylum seekers struggling to establish a home in the Upper Valley. While that work continues, it is transitioning to a new Upper Valley nonprofit: Supporting and Helping Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SHARe). Organizers include members of the Upper Valley Refugee Working Group and UVIP. While SHARe will continue the service work and financial support of the ISN, UVIP’s immigration organizing efforts are transitioning to the Granite State Organizing Project and Vermont Interfaith Action. 

Back when our church was first discerning whether to become a Sanctuary Church, many of us wished we could open our homes as well. Although legal issues complicated offering “sanctuary” in our homes, there are no such problems with hosting asylum seekers. And since asylum seekers are legally required to have host homes in order to live freely among us, SHARe provides this profound opportunity for their needs and our hearts to align.


As this new year begins,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.
 
 Forward Together!

Thanks!
In solidarity and peace,
Shideko (she/her)
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.