Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter June, July and August 2022

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
In church on June 5th,
and then in the Parish House
with masks and physical distancing,
and zoom option as well!

Watch for weekly e-mail notices,
and/or contact
secretary@meridenucc.org
Here it is! Volume 4 Issue 7 of our e-mail newsletter
FEATURED IN THIS NEWSLETTER
 
PASTORAL PONDERINGS--Sabbatical for our Co-Pastors

Sabbatical Coverage Contacts

Worship & Music Ministry News
  • Prayers for Ukraine
  • Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in June, July, & August
  • Meriden Community Camp & Faith Formation
  • Music and Ministry Notes
  • Co-pastors' Sabbatical--June, July, August 2022
  • Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
  • Horton Center Retreat: September 17-18, 2022
  • Horton Center Summer Camp Opportunities
  •  Into God’s Hands

Summer Calendar of Events in the Life of our Spiritual Family

A Spiritual and Mental Health Summer Camp
  • Rev. Mellen Kennedy Schedule and zoom link
Spiritual Formation Opportunities
  • "Stolen Focus" Book Study with Rev. Mellen Kennedy
  • Gift of "The Whole Language" Book to our Church Library

Graduations

MCC Administration & Finance News
  • Buildings and Grounds Initiatives for 2022
  • Report of the Assistant Treasurers
  • "Rooted in Love" Stewardship Update
  • COVID-19 Task Force Update

Welcoming and Caring Ministry
  • JUNE, JULY AND AUGUST Birthdays & Anniversaries

Growing a Just World for All
  • Peace & Justice Ministry Coordinator's Report
  • Turning Points Network Stepping Up Fundraiser Walk
  • LISTEN Community Dinner & Claremont Soup Kitchen
  • Economic Justice
  • Poor Peoples March in Washington on June 18th
  • Report from our Worker Justice Minister
  • Support for the PRO Act
  • Racial Justice Ministry Team Becomes Antiracism Ministry Team
  • Rev. Dr. Velda Love on Buffalo Shooting
  • Juneteenth Celebration at Lyman Point Park
  • Continuing Black Lives Matter Vigils
  • Social Justice
  • Actions to End Gun Violence
  • Immigrant Justice
  • Climate Justice
  • Legislator Contact Information

Transforming Lives as a Compassionate Community:
Rooted in Revolutionary Love”
As the war and suffering in Ukraine weighs on our hearts, we are so grateful to our friend and colleague, pastor, artist and writer, the Rev. Kurt Shaffert, for this prayer for the people of Ukraine and all our world. May this prayer be continually on our lips and in our hearts through these days and weeks to come.
Ukraine Emergency Appeal
The United Church of Christ is appealing for support for refugees who have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries and for elderly and other vulnerable people who are displaced within Ukraine and unable to leave. Mail a check made payable to the United Church of Christ PO BOX 71957 Cleveland, OH 44194. Please be sure to note “Ukraine Relief Fund” on your check in the memo section. For more information, and/or to donate on-line, go to ucc.org.


Revs. John and Susan Gregory-Davis,
Co-Pastors
Meriden Congregational Church
603-469-3235
john@meridenucc.org
susan@meridenucc.org

“Jesus said to them,
‘Come away with me.
Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.'”
Mark 6:31a
 
Dear friends,
        As we, your co-pastors, enter into a time of Sabbath over the next three months, we are so grateful to our church family for this time of rest and spiritual renewal. In addition to spending time with family in Massachusetts, we look forward to many hours of reading and reflection, enjoying the beauty of nature, and exploring some events and places such as Washington, D.C., where we will participate in the Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington on June 18th, (see article and promo video below) and possibly Montgomery, AL, where we hope to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum. We are so thankful for these three months (June 1-August 31) to renew our bodies and spirits—in both quiet and meaningful places—and look forward to our late-summer return to you, our church family, for our continued ministry and shared life together here at the Meriden Congregational Church!

        In the meantime, our congregation is deeply blessed to have two very inspirational and seasoned pastors leading worship on each of our summer Sundays. Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney, our church’s Worker Justice Minister, will be leading worship on June 12 and 19, July 17, 24 and 31, and August 14 and 21. And Dr. Mellen Kennedy, a local Unitarian Universalist Pastor and Sufi Minister, will lead services on June 5 and 26, July 3 and 10, and August 7 and 28. You won’t want to miss any of these services which will be held in the parish house (with the exception of June 5 in the church sanctuary). Gail and Mellen each bring unique and deeply thoughtful perspectives on the spiritual life. Their services will weave together many opportunities to reflect on the essential value of nourishing our inner emotional and spiritual wellbeing so that together—with the support of the Holy Spirit--we can continue building the Beloved Community, a community of love, justice and peace enfolding and cherishing all of God’s people and Creation. Embrace these summer services as Sabbath time for your own bodies and souls. We are so deeply grateful for the wisdom, compassion and inspiration with which Mellen and Gail will gift our church family with during these summer months!

        In addition to our church’s worship services this summer, we pray that you and your loved ones will experience many moments of spiritual renewal and rest these next three months. Whether in the beauty of nature, among family and friends, in quiet moments and in meaningful places—at home or wherever you may roam, we hope you will be well in body, mind, and spirit. We look forward to seeing you in September! And, in the meantime, we will be holding you ever close in our hearts and in our prayers. 

With love and gratitude for our shared journey together,
wherever we may be,
Your faithful Co-Pastors,
 Susan and John        
Sabbatical 2022 Leadership Coverage
Points of Contact for Leadership Areas
June 1-August 31, 2022
 
Administration: Kathy Wright, (Church Leadership Team)
Church email: secretary@meridenucc.org; church office: 469-3235;
email: kathywright@myfairpoint.net; home phone: 675-5989
           
Sunday Worship: Shideko Terai, (Church Leadership Team)
Email: shideko.terai@gmail.com; cell phone: 603-2527898
 
Sunday Worship Leaders: 
Rev. Gail Kinney—email: uniongale@aol.com; cell phone: 603-381-7324 
(Gail is our Church’s Worker Justice Minister)
Rev. Mellen Kennedy—email: mellenken@aol.; cell phone: 802-377-2999 (Mellen is a Unitarian Universalist pastor & Sufi Minister & has been a guest preacher at our church)
 
Pastoral Coverage: Rev. Gail Kinney
Email: uniongale@aol.com; cell phone: 603-381-7324
Available for emergency and ongoing pastoral care needs
Kathy Wright will contact Gail as needed
If you have a pastoral care need (or know someone who does), please contact Kathy Wright—
Church email: secretary@meridenucc.org;
Church Office: 469-3235; email: kathywright@myfairpoint.net;
Home Phone: 675-5989
 
Building & Grounds: Shawn Rogers, (Church Leadership Team)
Email: straightedge-arch@comcast.net; cell phone: 603-790-8040                              
Financial Transactions: Cindy Griffin, Church Treasurer
Church email: treasurer@meridenucc.org;
cell phone: 203-209-0922
 
Meriden Community Camp: Cindy Griffin, Camp Ministry Team
cell phone: 203-209-0922
Camp Director, Micah Dewey (camp@meridenucc.org,
micah.dewey89@gmail.com, 603-219-2035)
Assistant Director, Kelsey MacNamee
(kelsey@meridenucc.org, 603-504-4257)

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OUR SUNDAY FAITH
COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN JULY-AUGUST
(In-Person in the Parish House, with masks & zoom option)

We will update you weekly via email as we closely monitor the Covid/Omicron risk which may affect our ability to safely offer In-person services. All services will continue to be offered via Zoom.

June 5th @ 10:00  AM
PENTECOST Sunday
Pentecost Sunday celebrates the  day when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, blessing them with courage and inspiration in their continuing ministry of liberation and transformation. The Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy will be leading our celebration on this first Sunday of our Co-Pastors' sabbatical.

June 12th @ 10:00 AM
Trinity Sunday
Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, accompanied by Carol Hartman sharing her gift of music.

JUNE 19th @ 10:00 AM
Fathering Sunday /
Juneteenth Celebration
Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, on this Fathering/Juneteenth Sunday, accompanied by Carol Hartman sharing her gift of music.

June 27th @ 10:00 AM
Open & Affirming /
LGBTQIA+ Pride Sunday
Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy will lead this Second Session of her "Spiritual Summer Camp" worship series in the Parish House, on this Open & Affirming / Pride Sunday, accompanied by Carol Hartman sharing her gift of music.

JULY 3rd @ 10:00 AM
In(ter)Dependence Sunday
Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy will lead Part 3 of her "Spiritual Summer Camp" worship series in the Parish House, on this holiday weekend, accompanied by Carol Hartman sharing her gift of music.

JULY 10th @ 10:00 AM
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Come join Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy for this fourth session of her "Spiritual Summer Camp" worship series, in the Parish House, with Carol Hartman offering her lovely piano music.

JULY 17th @ 10:00 AM
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, with Carol Hartman offering her lovely piano music.

JULY 24th @ 10:00 AM
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, accompanied by Carol Hartman sharing her gift of music.

JULY 31st @ 10:00 AM
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, .with Carol Hartman offering her lovely piano music.

August 7th @ 10:00AM
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Come join Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy for Part 5 of her "Spiritual Summer Camp" worship series, in the Parish House, with Carol Hartman offering her lovely piano music.

August 14th @ 10:00AM
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, with Carol Hartman offering her lovely piano music.

August 21st @ 10:00AM
11th Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney will lead worship in the Parish House, accompanied by Carol Hartman lovely piano music.

August 28th @ 10:00AM
12th Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy will conclude her "Spiritual Summer Camp" worship series this Sunday, in the Parish House, accompanied by Carol Hartman sharing her gift of music.

SEPTEMBER 4th @ 10:00 AM
Labor Day Sunday
Come welcome home our Co-Pastors as they return from their Sabbatical time of renewal and re-creation, either on our Church Green or in our Parish House, depending upon the weather, followed by an outdoor reception in our lovely Sunken Garden!
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 2022. We look forward to welcoming back many returning campers, and to welcoming new ones too!

As part of our goal of providing a quality homegrown summer camp experience, we will continue working to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.

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 awesome and fun for everyone!

The Website for camp is https://camp330.wixsite.com/website

Micah Dewey
Camp Director

FAITH FORMATION AND
CHURCH SCHOOL NEWS!

Happy Summer to all! We so look forward to resuming our church programming for our children and youth in the fall! This will include: Sunday morning Children's Messages, offered by Kelsey MacNamee, our Coordinator for Children, Youth and Families, in-person, Church School twice per month for our elementary school aged children, Faith Odyssey twice per month for our sixth through seventh graders, and Senior Seekers for our high school students. We also look forward to offering the OWL Program to our Grade 4-6 and Grade 7-8 children during the 2022-2023 church year!

Love to you all! --The Spiritual Formation Ministry Team (Odile Clavier, Cathy Rodriguez, Kelsey MacNamee, and Susan Gregory-Davis).



Music and Ministry Notes

Music and Ministry
June, July and August 2022

One last service in the Church will be on June 5th with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy, and after that the rest of the services will be in the Parish House, with a simplified Zoom option available as well. Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney, our Worker Justice Minister, will be providing Pastoral support for the church as well as preaching more than half of the Services. Rev. Kennedy will be preaching the rest.
Although we are still masked in church and at the Parish House, we are cleared to sing hymns and Carol is back from her vacation so we will have more live music.

John and Susan are away this summer on a well deserved sabbatical during the months of June, July, & August.  

Wishing a blessed and happy Summer to everyone!.
Cindy Marx-Wood for Music and Ministry


Tenderly Held in Our Hearts and Prayers
As we journey throughout these Summer months, we give joyous thanks for the all that makes our faith community such a WELCOME home for all of us. We fervently pray for the safety of the people of Ukraine and for an end to the war being waged against them, even as we likewise pray for the families of the many lives still being lost to COVID 19 in this country and all throughout our world, and for all those affected in any way by this continuing pandemic, especially all front line teachers, heath care deliverers, and other “essential workers.”  

So too do we celebrate with all those bearing new life, with special concern for Judy & Dan Croitoru’s daughter, Rachel & her husband, James,  and pray with those yet hoping to conceive, or seeking to adopt. a beloved child of God, even as we also pray for our friends in Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe, and all those living in such troubled lands as Haiti, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea, Hong Kong, Yemen, Nigeria, Burma, South Sudan, the Congo, Iraq, & Iran.  We pray too for all immigrants & refugees seeking sanctuary & welcome throughout our worldthat we may be among those who offer an oasis of hospitality & compassion within the kin-dom of God’s heart.  And we pray for our BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) friends and neighbors, seeking to build with them a world wherein Black Lives Matter!”

Likewise do we pray for Anna Borchert’s mother, Kathe Robbins; Patricia’s parents; Laine Gillespie’s friend, Perry; Larry Burch; Glenn Greenough; Cindy Griffin’s friend, Heidi; Greg Marshall; Juliette Hampton’s friends, Mikka, & Elizabeth; Betty Walker; Penny Arcone’s friend, Dick Slubin; Connie Kousman’s sister, Joyce; Joan Dumont; Beth Kopp’s father, Jim Kane; Allyson Wendt; Linda Perkins; Jody Schubert’s brother, Rick; Jim Schubert’s sister, Martha; Jeannie Hines’ father, Joe McClellan; Joan Burch; Suzanne Lenz; Carol Hartman’s daughter-in-law, Michelle; Judy Croitoru; Robyn Carpenter;  Chris Dye; Linda Perkins’ friends, Dorothy, Barbara, Albert, & Doug; Caren Saunders’ father, William Homeyer; Rod & Barb Wendt’s granddaughter, Ada Jane; Susan Turner’s cousin, Buddy Stevenson, and Sue’s friend, Barbara Zenker; and Odile Clavier’s mother, Marie-Claire, as well as her niece, Amelie Marie.

We also pray for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Chris, a dear friend of Andrea Brown & Reed Brozen; Carol Hartman’s nephew, David Busch; John’s friend, Peter; Shideko Terai’s Uncle, Ted De Luca; Laura Cousineau’s friend, Lee Willard; Ben Griffin’s cousin, Arianna; Cecilia Hampton’s best friend Victoria’s mother, Bev; Sue Turner’s sister-in-law, Bev, and Bev’s step-daughter, Sarah, as well as Sue’s cousin Jesse’s husband, Ron Letterchio; Rosemary Affeldts’ husband, Dan; Connie Kousman; Gail Kinney’s brothers, Charles & David; Laura Cousineau’s brother-in-law, Eric; Linda Perkins’ friend, Linda Stone; Suzanne Lenz’ brother, Bob, as well as Suzanne’s nephew, Billy; Bailey Sibert; Ed Foltyn; 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.
 
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

Horton Center 2022!
Have you always wanted (or at least thought about wanting) to join our church on the 3rd weekend in September for our annual Horton Center Retreat? Or have you been among those faithful outdoor enthusiasts who WOULDN'T MISS this weekend for anything? Either way, 2022 is the year to join us, whether this will be your first time, your twentieth time or anywhere in between!

September 17-18!
at
Horton Center--
New Hampshire Conference of the U.C.C.'s gorgeous Outdoor Ministry Center in the White Mountains (Randolph, NH), where we relax and enjoy the spectacular views, lovely walks and nearby hikes in the fall foliage, fun games for the kids (tether ball, soccer, ropes course, etc.), reading in the Adirondack chairs, worship on Chapel Rock, great meals we prepare, comfortable cabin accommodations (hot showers, electricity, restrooms) and the best of company!!! We hope you will join us for a peaceful and renewing weekend in the mountains for church members of all ages!!!

Unfortunately, due to waning interest in the past few years, we are having to evaluate whether we will be able to continue offering this wonderful weekend AFTER this coming fall. Unless there is renewed interest this year, 2022 may be the last year we will go to Horton Center as a church! We hope this won't be the case, but it depends on you--members of our church family to join us this year! The cost (with financial assistance readily available) is $25/person.

To help us with gaining church momentum for this special weekend, please let us know if you can join us (even if your interest is tentative) by May 15th. And please let us know if you have any questions! We look forward to being with you on the mountain!
Your camping Co-Pastors, Susan and John
  Summer Camp Fun at the Horton Center on Pine Mountain

As described above, our church hosts a retreat weekend each fall at the Horton Center on Pine Mountain, to which all are enthusiastically invited. 
 
And the Horton Center is such a beautiful place to be in the summer, especially for 3rd to 12th grade Campers, that we gladly share this promo from their Summer Camp program for any and all who might like to enjoy a fantastic week of Fun, Faith and Friendships. We are ready for another safe, healthy camp season at Horton Center.
 
Check out what is on offer Week 5 (July 24-30):
 
·        Hogwarts on the Mountain (for rising 4-6th graders). This imaginative, exciting, magical camp week will amaze and delight - muggles and wizards alike! Check it out: https://hortoncenter.org/summer_camp_sessions/hogwarts-on-the-mtn/
 
·        Mysteries on the Mountain (for rising 7 - 9th graders). Who knows what puzzles, treasure hunts, mysteries and fun await you this week? Join us and find out! Check it: https://hortoncenter.org/summer_camp_sessions/mysteries-on-the-mountain/
 
·        Adventure Camp Sr. (for rising 10-12th graders). If you like adventurous activities and being outside, this camp is for you. Check it out: 
 
Come to Horton Center this summer. Sign up today at: www.HortonCenter.org

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 grieve with incomprehension and anguish the more than 1,000,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in this country alone, as well as all other pandemic-related deaths throughout our world, even as we likewise mourn all the lives lost to the war in Ukraine, and in wars in so many other parts of our world.  
          
So too do our hearts ache and our minds reel with the tragic murders of children and their teachers in Uvalde, TX, and African-Americans in Buffalo, NY, as we surround and enfold their families with our prayers and our renewed commitment to ending the pandemic of gun violence wreaking havoc on our nation.

And in recognition of how much special animals can mean to us, we grieve with Jan Lord the loss of her beloved horse, Magic.

As God has welcomed these much beloved 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 remembrance and mourning.
“Stolen Focus:
Why You Can’t Pay Attention and How to Think Deeply Again”
Book Discussion Group
Facilitated by Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy
 
In his new book (January, 2022), “Stolen Focus”, Johann Hari artfully explores in a comprehensive and captivating manner one of the most pressing contemporary problems today. Let’s face it – most of us have a hard time focusing. Attention is everything. What we pay attention to is what comprises our life and creates our reality. This overwhelming and timely topic is a profound spiritual issue. We are each a child of God, our life is precious, we’re here for a sacred purpose. And if we can’t focus long enough to pause and listen to Spirit, we end up squandering our one wild and precious life, missing out on life’s beauty and not offering our unique gifts. 
 
I love this book. It’s one of the most important and intriguing volumes I’ve read in recent years. The author shares in a sometimes-humorous style, his own journey of recognizing his inability to focus, his addiction to media and devices, his personal efforts and experiments to free himself (including 3 months on Cape Cod without a phone or internet!) and his many aha moments as he puts the pieces of the puzzle together.
 
What I especially love about the book is that Johann Hari looks not just at the individual level, but also at the systemic causes. Hari interviewed more than 200 experts from around the global and each offered a piece of the puzzle about what has happened to our ability to focus and to our lives as a result. It’s unsettling. We tend to blame ourselves and see the problem as a personal moral failing. But it’s more complicated than that. “We live in an attentional pathological environment.” Hari enumerates a dozen causes of our fractured attention including stress, sleep disturbances, diet, increased speed, continual interruptions and disruption of flow, of course, technology. Hari is like Toto in the Wizard of Oz, pulling back the curtain and exposing what’s happening behind the screens of our devices. And it’s not pretty! Concerning technology, the devices were designed on purpose to addict us, schemed by highly skilled people to capitalize on our weaknesses as humans, and manipulate us.
 
It's both a hopeful and a challenging book. Hari provides concrete examples of what the experts recommend and what he himself has done to get his life back. He also challenges the status quo and offers a cogent analysis of the situation. Hari suggests what we can do personally and collectively to restore our ability to focus and live more meaningful, enjoyable, balanced, productive, peaceful lives. Important stuff! I think that just about all of us could benefit from reading it. You might also find it helpful to watch one the interviews of Hari concerning the book that You can find on-line including: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCkd7daaij4 (about 16 minutes) and
 
So, let’ read “Stolen Focus” together, have time to digest it, share our experiences and support each other in taking back our lives. You’re invited to join a Zoom discussion group of the book facilitated by myself, Rev. Mellen Kennedy. I will preach on the topic on Sunday, June 26. The book group discussion will begin a few days after that. The group will meet every other Friday at 12:00 noon beginning on July 1st. We will meet for five sessions: 7/1, 7/15, 7/29 8/12 and 8/26. For the first session, we’ll read the Into, and Chapters One and Two. The Zoom link is below. Our sessions will also include a brief meditation to give us some practice at re-learning how to focus. I hope You’ll join us for a shared journey of seeking truth and leavening hope. The group will be limited to 12 participants. Please email me to register at mellenken@aol.com.
With Love,
Mellen
Rev. Mellen Kennedy
 
Topic: "Stolen Focus" Book Discussion Group
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83300040916
 
Meeting ID: 876 5114 1883
Passcode: 482017
One tap mobile
+16465588656,,87651141883#,,,,*482017# US (New York)

Newest Book in our Church Library

Any of us who have had the opportunity to read either or both of Father Greg Boyle’s first two books—“Tattoos on the Heart,” and/or “Barking to the Choir,” both of which are available in our church library, will be delighted to read his newest book, “The Whole Language,” as noted above, as will even those just encountering the transformative wisdom of this amazingly kind and wise man. Father Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit priest who founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. 

Each of these books is filled with stories of love, humor, and transformative insight into what the author calls “boundless compassion, radical kinship, and extravagant tenderness.”  And we are so blessed to have received a signed copy of this book as a gift to our church from Suzanne Spencer, who has likewise shared the two previous books with us. Father Gregory Boyle is part of Suzanne's extended family, and she graciously shares that connection with all of us as well. Please feel free to borrow one or all of these books, and this gifted story-teller to open your mind, expand your heart, and bless your soul. And Thanks so much, Suzanne!!
Joyful Anticipation of the Sun's Rising as Easter dawns anew!
Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney
Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy
WORSHIP SCHEDULE
DURING OUR CO-PASTORS’ SABBATICAL

Our Co-Pastors will be away on Sabbatical from June 1st – August 31st.  During this time, Sunday service leadership will be provided by two valued colleagues—UU/Sufi Minister, the Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy, and our Worker Justice Minister, the Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney, who will also be providing pastoral coverage. Please do not hesitate to contact either the church office (469-3235), or Gail (381-7324) if you or someone you know has a pastoral need while our Co-Pastors are away.
 
Sunday services during the summer at our church offer a special time to gather, often more intimately. One last fully hybrid service (in-person and on Zoom) will be offered in the church on June 5th. The remaining summer services through August 28th will be in-person and held in the Parish House (with the possibility of an occasional outdoor services). Please check your email for the weekly communication from Kathy Wright that will give all the details about the upcoming service. 
 
Services held in the parish house will also be available on Zoom (Kathy will provide the recurring Zoom link—the same one as always) but please note that this will be much less sophisticated than the Hybrid services we can provide in the church. It should be possible to see and hear the service leader, as well as to hear others present in the Parish House, though being able to see them is less likely. We hope that this simplified Zoom connection will still provide some accessibility for those wishing to worship with us from their homes. Also, please note that Communion will not be offered during the summer months of June, July, & August, but will resume upon the return of our Co-Pastors in September.
 
Clergy on Call:              Rev. Gail Kinney (603-381-7324)
        
Service Leaders/Preachers:
 
June  5th Pentecost Sunday w Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy
(Fully Hybrid Service in the Church)
 
June 12th             Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney  
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
June 19th             Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney  
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
June 26th             Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy     
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
July   3rd  Interdependence Sunday w Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
July 10th               Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy      
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
July 17th             Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney  
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
July 24th             Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney   
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
July 31st             Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney   
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
           
August 7th           Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy      
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
August 14th          Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney  
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
August 21st          Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney  
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)
 
August 31st       Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy        
(Live, in Parish House, with zoom option)


Our SUMMER MINISTERS' PROGRAMMING FOR THIS SUMMER starting June 5th.

Worship Leadership
During June,
July, & August
 
How fortunate the Meriden Congregational Church is to have the promise of some richly spiritual healing explorations during summer Sundays with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy and faith and community exploration with Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney. As we continue to explore love as our faith foundation and to live into our stated mission and vision of...

* being a compassionate community
* being intentionally inclusive
* being openly searching
* serving others joyfully
* promoting God's justice and peace
* supporting God's work cheerfully, and
* following in the ways of Jesus by doing justice,
loving kindness and walking humbly

...we cannot do these things fully if we feel broken or if we are deeply affected by the brokenness around us.
 
So, this June, July and August we will experience a time of "both/and" as we have Sundays of exploration of our mental and spiritual health and well being (see Mellen’s description below) combined with Sundays where we consider how our wholeness and wellness can energize and empower us to come together to build beloved community. On June 5th, we will still be in the church sanctuary, and as of June 12th, we will gather in the Parish House. All are invited to come as you are at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays for these informal yet worshipful moments of shared exploration and inspiration.
 
Spiritual leader Pastor Mellen will be with us on June 5th, June 26th, July 3rd, July 10th, August 7th and August 28th.
 
Our own Worker Justice Minister Pastor Gail will be with us on June 12th, June 19th, July 17th, July 24th, July 31st, August 14th and August 21st.


"Finding Our Way Home:
A Spiritual & Mental Health Summer Camp"
Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy
 
We're in the midst of a mental and spiritual health crisis as we witness challenges in our world and stresses mounting up inside of us. And yet, spiritual and mental health is an inside job! We can find our way home to more peace, ease, contentment, and even joy. You are not alone and at the mercy of the disturbing events in the world. You can learn to develop, access, and activate your internal skills and in so doing, live a happier, healthier, more spiritually grounded life.  
 
The stressful situations we’re facing are too numerous to name them all and yet include the virus situation, social isolation, political factions, supply chain disruptions, shortage, food insecurity, unemployment, gun violence, the war in the Ukraine, climate instability, environmental toxins, rising cancer rates, rampant fear, the imposition of technology and social media in our lives and so much more! And with these stresses, we’re witnessing an unprecedented increase in depression, anxiety, drug addiction, sleep disorders, phobias, and suicides and with it a demand on our mental health system beyond the capacity of the system to respond. Folks who are needing help in coping, including children, are on long wait lists or being housed in temporary situations in ERs. And naturally with all of this, the caregivers and practitioners themselves are overwhelmed.  
 
It's time to draw on our inner spiritual and mental health resources. This summer, over the course of six Sundays at the Meriden Congregational Church in NH, we'll explore practices and sacred texts from the world’s religions that help us center, learn how to calm ourselves and face our challenges with equanimity and support. Topics will include meditation, facing trauma, breath work, prayer, gratitude and appreciation, and reclaiming our stolen focus caused by social media and technology. The body of research is now voluminous which demonstrates the effectiveness of these approaches for our mental and spiritual health challenges.  
 
Let’s look at a few examples. The practice of gratitude and appreciation now has dozens of studies showing the positive impact on us including: psychological and emotional, social, personality, career and health. As was stated by that great spiritual teacher, Br. David Steindl-Rast, originator of gratefulness.org: 
 
“In each of us there is a spark that can reverse the trends of violence and depression spiraling within us and in the world around us. By setting in motion the spiral of gratefulness, we begin the journey toward peace and joy.”
Gratitude and appreciation are even helpful for addition and weight loss! 
 
Likewise, there are hundreds of research studies showing the power of meditation and prayer to help us attain the wellbeing we desire. Mindfulness meditation reduces stress, increases attention span and self-awareness, controls anxiety, improves sleep, can help with addition, depression and chronic pain and so much more!  
Check out these resources. https://buddhaweekly.com/10-benefits-meditation/  
There is plenty of research indicating the efficacy of prayer as well.
 
Corrie ten Boom was a Christian, Nazi-resister and concentration camp survivor. She challenges us with the question, “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” In the course of the summer, we’ll explore and experiment in making these spiritual practices including prayer, not just something that we call on in desperation like a spare tire, but the foundation that guides us like a steering wheel to live the happy, healthy, harmonious, compassionate joyful lives we long for. 

We hope You'll join us in person or on zoom. This is an inclusive, interfaith adventure and all are welcome. Dates for the series will be June 5, June 26, July 3, July 10, August 7 and 28 at 10 AM.  

It is my honor and pleasure to sub for Revs. Susan and John Gregory-Davis, Co-Pastors of the Meriden, NH Congregational Church, while they are on sabbatical. The Church, situated in the village of Meriden, New Hampshire, is a Spiritually Progressive, Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. Founded in 1780, it has been a beacon of faith in this small community through the generations since. As an Open and Affirming congregation, we welcome people of all ages, races, lifestyles, and sexual orientation. 
 
As an interfaith Universalist and Sufi minister as a well as a community psychologist, I am informed by the wisdom of the world’s great spiritual traditions, psychological research and common wisdom. I have a passion for helping folks connect with their inner wisdom and resources. My presentation style includes storytelling and speaking extemporaneously without a text. It’s time for our spiritual communities to continue stepping up to the plate and help us address the crises we’re in the middle of and to find our way home to spiritual and mental wellness. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to do this with the Meriden Congregation this summer. 
 

Co-Pastors' Sabbatical this Summer of 2022
(June, July and August)

We, Susan and John, are deeply grateful to our church for the opportunity to take a sabbatical leave from our church responsibilities during the summer of 2022. The United Church of Christ recommends that congregations grant their pastors three months of sabbatical leave every five years. The Meriden Congregational Church has been very generous to us by supporting this recommendation. Though we haven't taken sabbaticals on this particular time schedule, we are so thankful for the previous sabbaticals we have enjoyed during our tenure here--in 2006 and 2014. This summer we will continue the tradition of clergy sabbaticals by engaging in time for professional and personal reading, spiritual renewal, and relaxation.

Please see elsewhere in this newsletter more information about our summer Sunday services during the next three months (with many thanks to the Revs. Drs. Gail Kinney and Mellen Kennedy!) and about our Church Leadership coverage while we are away (with many thanks to our Leadership Team!)

Again, our thanks go to you--our church family--
for supporting this sabbatical time. We are deeply grateful.

Peace and blessings to all, Susan & John
Congratulations to our Graduates!!

HIGH SCHOOL
Zoey Houde Crane
Phoebe Garfield
Delia Hart
Indigo Kopp
Piers Legare
Caroline Sheehan
                                        
COLLEGE
Kaitlin Chamley, Marist College
Jay Cogan, Boston University
Alicia Goodwin, University of Maryland
Fiona Greenough, University of Rhode Island
Cecilia Hampton, New College of Florida
Ben Healey, Tufts University
Patrick McGlone, University of New Hampshire
Taylor Sheehan, University of New Hampshire
 
GRADUATE SCHOOL
Kalin Gregory-Davis, MD, UVM Larner College of Medicine
 
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
Building and Grounds Initiatives for 2022 as reported in the Annual Report



REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS

Through May 26th we received $6,818 in pledges for a total of $77,836 in pledges for the year 2022.. Also we received $305 in plate contributions for a total of $9,9,516 for 2022 so far. So the grand total of Pledge and Plate Donations for the year so far is $87,352. This number does not reflect stock donations and some other funds.

This is a high total because many people choose to pay their whole pledge at the beginning of the year.
Since I , Cindy Marx-Wood, Steve Beaupre and Evan Oxenham have been voted in as assistant treasurers at the Annual Meeting, we will try to meet these new obligations with respect for all of you and a gratitude for your trust.

Kathy Wright
Cindy Marx-Wood

News from the COVID Task Force


Three Summers in a row: Covid-19 still shapes our months ahead.

Can you believe, it’s been a full month of months? By summer’s end we will have recorded the thirtieth month of masks, physical distances, vaxes then boosts, and nearly obsessive hand-washings. Covid-19 marks our calendars in ways never expected, yet in other ways has now become so much an unforgettable and conditioned part of our psyches.

There is a strange, ironic comfort in knowing that most have survived all this, that most have come through it without—at least for now—too many longer-term injuries. But wait, not all of us have been so fortunate.

Over a million family members, friends, and strangers have died earlier than their normal lifespans in the U.S. alone. Millions more world-wide. Countless others still struggle with “long Covid’s” lingering effects. The immune-compromised remain justifiably cautious for their very lives still depend on it. Millions of essential workers and millions of medical and public safety personnel have worked tirelessly for those thirty months, often with minimal time off, excessive fatigue and mental stressors beyond what could ever have been expected. Funny to think, but most folks don’t count stress as an important part of the actual costs of Covid: I think it is! 

The summer months of June, July and August 2022 in our Meriden Congregational Church family will see us continue masking during worship, continue to practice physical distancing in our alternate pews or seating arrangements, continue to request that the sick or unvaccinated stay home and “zoom” with us whenever it may be practical. As a church we will continue to do what we already know works.

Yes, there is certainly a bit of relaxed interaction that we can resume. Groups are meeting with caution but trying to use outdoor setting whenever possible. Some groups mask and some groups do not mask. Some individuals mask and some do not.

Our church-sponsored Meriden Summer Camp will open this year continuing to follow the careful protocols used this past year in our local elementary schools in Plainfield and Cornish—or is that “Corn-field” and “Plain-ish?” During the 2021-2022 school year, best practices continued to evolve and even permitted the children to carefully return to some pre-Covid physical interactions in our schools. Our summer camp will meet the “community standards” followed in our schools for their all-day interactions.

During the co-pastors’ summer sabbatical, the clergy who lead Sunday worship and the church staff will use their own discretion. In general, preachers will mask from the pulpit unless they have recorded a negative rapid test earlier that morning. Congregation singing will be at the discretion of the worship leaders. Seven-day (Covid) test positivity rates will be shared with the worship leaders, the camp leaders and the members of the COVID-19 Task Force on a weekly basis. Certain increases in the positivity rate may necessitate more restrictive measures. Indoor services may need to be cancelled if new and more virulent variants arise. The camp may need to revert to some of the precautions previously employed during the summer 2021 sessions.

The COVID-19 Task Force will convene via Zoom or telephone if new challenges arise and need immediate address. The “Spiritual Family” email list will be used for necessary and urgent communications across our church family.


Ed Cousineau, Convener
MCC COVID-19 Task Force
WELCOMING and CARING MINISTRY


With June Summer has begun!

We Get to Gather Together
In the Church, or on Zoom, one more time on June 5th. After that We will move to the Parish House, with a simplified zoom option available

The Thank You and Best Wishes for your Sabbatical Reception for John and Susan Gregory-Davis on May 15th after church was a great success. The weather was wonderful and most people chose to meet outside on the Deck. Thanks to Anne Cragin, Lee Oxenham, and Kathy Wright for providing and coordinating the food.

Thanks go to Jim Lenz and Juliette Hampton for master-minding the Zoom portion of our services and running our multi-media show in the last few months. This summer they will get a needed rest and our zoom services will be less interactive as we move to the Parish House for our services.

Masking is still required at church services in the Parish House. After church we will still have a coffee hour but it will be simpler and focused on the deck. I figure that the danger of gathering is about as great as going to a restaurant to eat a meal. Choose to manage your health risks, accordingly.

Most Sundays, Coffee Hour is offered indoors in the Parish House. Contact me if you would like to volunteer to provide food for some Sunday.

If you know of someone who could use Caregiver services (meals, rides or support) please contact me this summer--secretary@meridenucc.org or 603-469-3235 or 603-675-5989.

HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US IN JUNE, JULY AND AUGUST!!!
Kathy Wright, Coordinator of the Welcoming and Caring Ministry





JUNE
BIRTHDAYS
6/2         Dalton Winslow
6/3         Daffodil Mumuli
6/3         Beth Kopp
6/3         Linda Wilkinson
6/4         Estyn Elkouh
6/4         Rick Hildebrant
6/4         Rob Johnstone
6/5         Gwen Fuller
6/6         Annie Pullen
6/6         Jeff Cook
6/6         Amy Lappin
6/7         Garrett Wilkinson
6/7        Owen Warren
6/8         Emma Greenough
6/10       Karen Heaton
6/11       Kaitlyn Elliot
6/12       Jeff McGlone
6/12       Luke Bradley
6/13      Odile Clavier
6/13       Brenda Caswell
6/13       Larry Burch
6/13       Steve Taylor
6/13       Cora Wedgwood Finch
6/14       Jean Strong
6/14       Lauren Anikis
6/14       Sheila Cragg-Elkouh
6/15      Ben Griffin
 

 
6/15       Liam Moynihan
6/15      Betsey Pensgen
6/15       Don Parsons
6/16       Rob Grabill
6/17       Charlie Houmard
6/17       Dylan McGraw
6/18       David Seabolt
6/19       Charles Muhlari
6/19       Owen Johnstone
6/19       Betty Walker
6/21       Michael O’Leary
6/22       Alison Moynihan
6/23       Connie Kousman
6/24       Cynthia Winters
6/24       Angie Hinton
6/25       Betty Clark
6/25       Bette Stockwell
6/25       Bob Phelps
6/26       Taylor Sheehan
6/26       Otto Hildebrant
6/26       Cindy Svensen Griffin
6/26       Bob Carpenter
6/27       Roberta Garfield
6/27       Jon Schafer
6/28       Ed Cousineau

 
 
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
7/31       Denise Thorburn
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
8/6         Diane Walker
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
8/17       Loel Callahan
8/18       Sandy Ouellette
8/18      Jack Chamley
8/18       Sean Evarts
8/20       Charles Hildebrant
8/20       Heather Hinson
8/21       Connie Bosley
8/22       Abigail Saunders
8/22       Mark Walker
8/22       Duncan Zuckerman
8/24       Flora Kenyon
8/24       Jill Marshall
8/24       Eric Russman
8/24       Jeff Sraeel
8/25       Samantha Harding
8/27       Matthew Mills
8/28       Terri Crane
8/30       Phineas Custer
8/31      Cecilia Hampton
8/31      Becca Cattabriga 
JUNE ANNIVERSARIES

6/2/99          Naomi & Tim Goodwin
6/14/69     Barbara & Rodney Wendt
6/14/14        Harrison & Melissa Currier
6/15/19        Ryan & Chentel McGraw
6/16/62     Donna & Steve Beaupre’
6/16/13        Phelan Brady & Jennifer Doyl
   6/21                 Lisa & Bruce Elder
6/21             Andrea & Rangi Keen
6/22           Nancy & Jess Kilgore
6/25/94     Amy & Darrell Beaupre’
6/28/97     Katy & Steve Sheehan
 



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
7/25/20 Olivia ( Fauver) & Jeff Nicholson
7/27/91     Glen & Christine Greenough
 
 

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

Outreach News


THE APRIL 30TH STEPPIN' UP MARCH TO SUPPORT
TURNING POINTS NETWORK WAS A SUCCESS
Our church raised over $500 for the March.
Thank you to all the contributors! Kathy Wright and Shideko Terai joined the throngs of people who walked under sunny skies.
Shideko was even lucky enough to win a raffle prize.
It was a great day!
Outreach, Peace, and Justice Ministry Teams
News for May 2022 

"The way to heal the soul of the nation is to pass policies
that heal the body of the nation.
It’s the just thing to do.
That’s how we as a nation can move forward together."
~Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, Break the silence!

OUTREACH
Listen Community Dinners Many thanks to Anne Cragin, Ed Cousineau, & Larry Wolkin for joining me on March 3rd. Meriden Congregational Church has offered the commitment to prepare and serve dinners the FIRST Thursdays of the odd numbered months. The next dates are: May 5, July 7, Sept 1, Nov 3. If you know of anyone, including the broader community, who would be interested, please text, phone or email Shideko Terai. 603-252-7898 Sign up on our unique page on the volunteer hub website http://meridencc.listen.volunteerhub.com/
Claremont Soup Kitchen Bill Chapelle continues to lead volunteer participation at the Claremont Soup Kitchen on the fourth Saturday of every month and this slot covers the hours 2-5:30 PM. No cooking experience necessary. May 28 is the next opportunity. “We always have a lot of fun. You begin your Saturday night with a good feeling you have given nice people a delicious meal.” ~Bill Chapelle

PEACE
Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. As of April 2, CNBC reports that Ukraine “has regained control of the capital city of Kyiv, while chances appeared better for peace talks ahead.” And what about the people of these nations? According to India Today, more than 3M refugees have fled Ukraine. 7K Russian soldiers have been killed, 14K injured; nearly 3K Ukrainian soldiers have been killed, 3.7K injured, 572 captured. War is still not the answer. As we continue to practice peace within our communities of family, neighbors, and spiritual friends: we radiate kindness and compassion with the intention of clear seeing, seeking justice, and refraining from doing harm. Contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing will be used to help the people of Ukraine. Also, you can mail a check made payable to the United Church of Christ, PO Box 71957, Cleveland OH 44194 & memo line: Ukraine Relief Fund.

JUSTICE
Economic Justice 
Please read Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney’s article, and see below to learn about the Poor People's March on Washington that our Co-Pastors will be attending.
"There are millions of poor people in this country who have very little, or even nothing, to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they...(and we) will be a new and unsettling force..."
- Martin Luther King Jr.


Racial Justice /Antiracism
A few years ago our church formed a Racial Justice Ministry Team that has been guiding us in learning about the ways in which systemic racism and white supremacy undergird so much of our history and identity. Now, in keeping with the call of our denomination, the United Church of Christ, to become an antiracist church, our Racial Justice ministry team is evolving our name to become the Antiracism Ministry Team. See this link for a powerful witness from our UCC Minister for Racial Justice, the Rev. Dr. Velda Love, in response to the Buffalo killings: https://jointhemovementucc.org/jtm-news/honoring-sacred-souls-the-shooting-in-buffalo-and-the-image-and-likeness-of-god/?inf_contact_key=34b033cb812ac85d42232faab085acb97e470d92
Our weekly BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigils continue on Wednesday afternoons from 5:00 to 5:30, and all are welcome to join us anytime.

Social Justice 
Legislative advocacy continue for bills that protect the freedom to vote and oppose bills that pick apart voting procedures which have proven records that there is no voter fraud in NH; oppose bills that threaten women’s reproductive rights, threaten trans rights, threaten the unhoused, and tear apart laws that protect the environment and seek climate justice. Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney publishes actions to be taken. Lee Oxenham also lists bill to watch for. Also See below for Gun Safety Actions suggested by both our denomination and our own Juliette Hampton.


Immigrant Justice
The first Tuesday of each month NH Immigrant Solidarity Network (NH ISN) meets. This month, both Rev. John Gregory-Davis and Shideko plan to attend as representatives of MCC which is a member of NHISN. Organizations include GSOP, AFSC, and clergy. It is interfaith and non-partisan. Please contact John if you would like to get involved. Agenda topics for May include: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – delays; Stopping HB 1266 (preventing localities from non-cooperation with immigration enforcement; Maggie Hassan recent statements of which we must hold her accountable. 

Climate Justice
Lee and Evan Oxenham have been alerting us about informative events and presentations connecting us to becoming more engaged in climate justice. Please contact Lee to find out the latest ways to be involved.

Many thanks, 
Shideko Terai (she/her), Outreach, Peace & Justice Coordinator text or phone 603-252-7898, email shideko.terai@gmail.com



It is NOT just a day of action. It is a declaration of an ongoing, committed moral movement to
1) Shift the moral narrative;
2) Build power; and
3) Make real policies to fully
address poverty and low wealth from the bottom up.”
—Bishop William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
 
Any nation that ignores nearly half of its citizens is in a moral, economic and political crisis. There were 140 million people who were poor or one emergency away from economic ruin before the pandemic. Since March 2020, while hundreds of thousands of people have died, millions are on the edge of hunger and eviction, and still without health care or living wages, billionaire wealth has grown by trillions.

There are abundant resources to meet our needs, and we march to summon the political will to do so. America must have a moral revolution now. It is time to nonviolently disrupt, protest, shake up and alter the direction of our nation towards a moral agenda of love, truth, justice and equal protection under the law.
 
On June 18th, 2022 the Mass Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls will be a generationally transformative and disruptive gathering of poor and low wealth people, state leaders, faith communities, moral allies, unions and partnering organizations. We are building power for an agenda that lifts all people by challenging the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism! On June 18th, 2022, hundreds of thousands of poor and low-wealth people will join with moral allies both in-person in Washington, DC, and online, in a declaration that the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, denial of health care, militarism and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism are killing all of us – and we can’t, we won’t, we refuse to be silent anymore!
 
As part of our sabbatical journey, we your Co-Pastors will be at this event, and welcome you to join us in prayer, or in person! There will be strong UCC presence there, and Shideko Terai is organizing a bus for folk to travel down from NH. If interested in joining us, contact shideko.terai@gmail.com, and either way, view this promo video to get fired up and inspired to move “Forward Together—Not One Step Back!” RSVP NOW: Mass Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly & Moral March on Washington & To the Polls - YouTube
“Be the Change You Wish to See”
GUN VIOLENCE DONATION/ HELP RESOURCES
compiled by Juliette Hampton
 
Everytown for Gun Safety: 
 
Brady Campaign: 

Newtown Action Alliance: 


Sandy Hook Promise: 

John Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Research:

GunPolicy.org:

Gun Violence Archive:

Prevention Institute:

Children’s Defense Fund:

Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence: https://giffords.org/action/support-our-work/

UCC Link to Demand Immediate Action to End Gun Violence:
https://p2a.co/tRyhd61?inf_contact_key=d9a759a92ee828e3a0ac539ecb3aea66b7af0999dac2af6212784c39e05d2aef

Divisive Concepts Language
Doesn’t Belong Anywhere
in NH Law !


     
"We Are Not Alone!"
Notes from Worker Justice Minister, Gail Kinney
 
When leaders and congregants at the Meriden Congregational Church openly advocate for the fair and decent treatment for all workers – for a minimum wage that even comes close to a “living wage” in the Upper Valley – for the rights of Dartmouth student workers to form a union – for active support of public school teachers and librarians who are now toiling in much of NH (and elsewhere) with a target on their backs – we sometimes hear derisively or dismissively, “oh those people are just radical leftists.”

Well, NO! Recently my friend Arnie Arnesen called my attention to a 2019 post by author and former Methodist pastor John Pavlovitz that she thought read like a prayer and needed to be shared as such. (Arnie herself once thought about becoming a Methodist pastor!) These words from the blog titled “Stuff That Needs To Be Said” are indeed worth sharing, cherishing and internalizing:

Certain people call me the “radical Left” all the time.
I never considered myself radical before. I just thought I was normal, ordinary, usual.
I thought equity was important to everyone.
I imagined America was filled with people who took that Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness stuff seriously—for all people.
I thought the Golden Rule was actually mainstream.
Recently I took an inventory of my positions, screening for the extremism:
I believe in full LGBTQ rights.
I believe we should protect the planet. I believe everyone deserves healthcare.
I believe all religions are equally valid. I believe the world is bigger than America….
I believe whiteness isn’t superior and it is not the baseline of humanity.
I believe we are all one interdependent community.
I believe people and places are made better by diversity.
I believe people shouldn’t be forced to abide by anyone else’s religion.
I believe non-American human beings have as much value as American ones.
I believe generosity is greater than greed, compassion better than contempt, and kindness superior to derision.
I believe there is enough in this world for everyone: enough food, enough money, enough room….
I grew up being taught [that these beliefs] were just part of being a decent human being.
I grew up believing that loving my neighbor as myself, meant that I actually worked for their welfare as much as my own.
I was taught that caring for the least in the world, was the measure of my devotion to God.
I thought that inalienable rights of other people were supposed to be a priority as a decent participant in the world.
I don’t think I’m alone….


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 5:30 PM, 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

May Day Alert on International Worker's Day
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/pro-act/

Watch this brief video for more information:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeLj79DK6wk

The House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act last year, but anti-worker legislators in the Senate blocked it. Undeterred, working people fought to elect pro-worker lawmakers to the Senate, House and White House. And we won.

Lawmakers gave us their word they would make the PRO Act a top priority. It’s time for them to keep that promise. The House passed the PRO Act for a second time on March 9, 2021, sending the bill to the U.S. Senate.

The PRO Act is the cornerstone of the AFL-CIO’s Workers First Agenda. If it passes, it would: Empower workers to organize and bargain, Hold corporations accountable for union-busting, and Repeal “right to work” laws, which were created during the Jim Crow era to keep White and Black workers from organizing together. Stronger unions mean higher wages, safer working conditions and dignity for all people who work. Passing the PRO Act will be our first step to getting there. 
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
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.