Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter March 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
Back in the Church,
with masks and physical distancing,
and zoom option as well!

Watch for weekly e-mail notices,
and/or contact,
Here it is! Volume 4 Issue 7 of our e-mail newsletter

Worship & Music Ministry News
  • Prayers for Ukraine
  • Virtual Ash Wednesday Prayer Service
  • Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in March
  • Music and Ministry Notes
  •  Leadership as Elected at the Annual Meeting on January 30, 2022
  • Co-pastors' Sabbatical--June, July, August 2022
  • Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
  • Horton Center Retreat: September 17-18, 2022
  •  Into God’s Hands
  • New Children of God
  • Lenten Study

March Calendar of Events in the Life of our Spiritual Family
  • "Revolutionary Love" Study Circle Continues in March

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

Welcoming and Caring Ministry
  • March Birthdays & Anniversaries

Growing a Just World for All
  • Peace & Justice Ministry Coordinators Report
  • Equal Justice Initiative Racial Injustice 2022 Calendars
  • LISTEN Community Dinner
  • Turning Points Network Stepping Up March
  • Support for Twin Pines Housing
  • Raise Up NH Call for Minimum Wage Increase
  • Black Lives Matter Vigils at 4:30 PM each Wednesday
  • Worker Justice News
  • PRO Act Support
  • Legislator Contact Information
  • Immigrant Solidarity
  • Monthly Immigrant Solidarity Network Meetings
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.

Revs. John and Susan Gregory-Davis,
Meriden Congregational Church

 “Create in me a loving heart, O God;
and renew a steadfast spirit within me"
- Psalm 51:10
Dear friends, greetings of peace to you during these late winter days. Earlier today, as I snowshoed in the Bird Sanctuary, the snow was falling ever so gently. When I paused on the trail to take in the quiet of these blanketed woods, not a sound was to be heard except for the light brush of snowflakes on my jacket and, in the distance, the caw of a crow. I couldn’t help but reflect in that moment on the stark contrast between the utter peace in these lovely woods and the heart-wrenching conflict now enveloping the homes, neighborhoods, cities and woods of Ukraine, less than five thousand miles away, where our courageous kin are actively defending themselves, whether armed above ground or huddling in subterranean bunkers, sheltering in place or on the move as the world’s most recent tide of refugees—all seeking to protect themselves from Russian assault. Such egregious aggression; such needless suffering in lives already beset with human hardship.

Yet, tragically, this is what unchecked power does; how political and economic greed manifests; bigger empires attempting or succeeding in decimating smaller nations, peoples, lands or species. Our country and many others all over the world are well practiced in this crime against humanity and the planet, in this abuse of power that is so completely counter to our faith and any sense—religious, spiritual or philosophical—of the rights and dignity of human persons and other living creatures. We humans with access to too much power too often succumb to its temptations—the desire and then “need” to acquire more and more, subjugating others in the process. This was the nature of temptation that Jesus himself faced during his forty days in the wilderness and that we, too—those of us who follow in Jesus’ Way of Love--seek to recognize, resist, and transcend--especially so during this forty day season known as Lent. 
This year, we enter Lent deeply grateful for so many blessings--a gradual lessening of the Covid-19 threat, small signs of a slow but steady reckoning with our country’s racialized past and present, a growing commitment from grassroots organizations and communities, worldwide, to strategize, collaborate, and address climate change--these among many others we experience personally. And we enter Lent also deeply concerned for the state of our nation and world, as well as for the personal challenges, fears and grief we hold in our hearts and lives. These forty Lenten days between Ash Wednesday (March 2) and Easter Sunday (April 17) are a spiritually rich time humbly and intentionally to examine our personal and collective temptations, addictions, habitual behaviors, and unconscious biases that cause us to regress in our willingness and ability to love as individuals and as a society. In the language of the wise Twelve Step practices, what amends do we need to make to others and ourselves that we may continue on the path of authentic spiritual growth? As a white culture, what reparations to our black and brown kin are essential for the honesty, healing and future of our society? As a nation, how do truth, reconciliation, justice, and compassion call us to be humble and life-giving neighbors in our global village? No less significant is this recommitment to intentional loving in our world's wilderness today, than was Jesus’ loving resistance in his own wilderness two thousand years ago.
Whether in the public square, small communities, at work, in school, through church, or around the family table, we each have unlimited daily opportunities to cultivate love and resist the powers of evil. May our Lenten journeys be a time to engage in our practice of love, wherever we are, in ever deepening ways. Join us on Sunday mornings (in-person or on Zoom) during these next six Lenten Sundays as we pray, inspire and support each other on this most important spiritual journey. Let’s walk this pilgrimage not alone but together, as spiritual companions, encouraging one another along the courageous and compassionate way. May we seek to be sojourners in solidarity and Spirit with our kin--in this country, in Ukraine, and around the world—kin who, like us, need support to help bring about God’s realm of justice and peace. We look forward to this humble, loving, transforming journey with you through this season of Lent.   
With our deep gratitude for your faithfulness and love,
And with our prayers for you--ever abiding,
Your faithful Co-pastors,
Susan and John

Join us on Ash Wednesday--March 2nd
for a Virtual Evening Prayer Service
                     to begin our Lenten Journey!

             We’ll gather in cyberspace on Zoom from 7:00 to 7:30 PM for this time of reflecting and beginning to prepare ourselves for the special opportunity that the Season of Lent offers to nurture the life of the Spirit dwelling within and among us. 

Come with your hopes and your hurts,
your wonder and your wounds,
and let us commune together
as spiritual companions
along our shared journey
toward Easter’s healing joy!!

Hybrid with both In-person (masks & physical distancing) and Zoom.

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.

MARCH 6th @ 10:00 AM
First Sunday in LENT
Communion Celebration
Join us as we begin this Women's H(er)Story Month with our Intergenerational Celebration of Communion on this First Sunday in the Season of Lent!

MARCH 13TH @ 10:00 AM
Second Sunday in LENT
Spring Forward an Hour!!
Come gather with us to celebrate the Sacred Feminine within and among us all, with special attention to the ways in which women continue to bless and enhance the life we all share together!

MARCH 20th @ 10:00 AM
Third Sunday in LENT
Celtic Spirituality Celebration 
What better way to celebrate this beginning of Spring than with a Celtic Prayer Service in the Spirit of St. Patrick?

MARCH 27th @ 10:00 AM
Fourth Sunday in LENT
Laetare (Rejoice!) Sunday
Come join us as we gather on this Joyful day to continue our Lenten journey together!
Whoever you are,
Whomever you love,
Wherever you are on
life's journey,

share in all our
Spiritual Family Services, Celebrations,
and Activities!

We are so excited to be providing fun and meaningful programming for our children and youth--in safe and engaging ways--such as through Sunday morning Children's Messages, offered by Kelsey MacNamee, our Coordinator for Children, Youth and Families, in-person, "Church School in the Woods!" twice per month for our elementary school aged children, and "Faith Odyssey in the Woods" twice per month for our sixth through seventh graders.

Kelsey also holds regular supportive in-person gatherings (twice per month) for our high school students.

And during the months of March and April, we will be offering the OWL Whole Lives (OWL) program for our 10th through 12th graders. We wish our children, youth and families a wonderful month of March (Spring is coming!!!).

Love to you all! --The Spiritual Formation Ministry Team (Odile Clavier, Susan Gregory-Davis, Kelsey MacNamee, and Cathy Rodriguez) and the OWL Ministry Team (Susan Gregory-Davis, Karen Heaton, Kelsey MacNamee, and Susan Sanzone Fauver).
MCC Leadership as Elected at the
Annual Meeting on January 31st
Music and Ministry Notes

Music and Ministry
March 2022

Even though the temps are in the single digits and the landscape is covered in white the Easter Season is coming soon. The Music and Ministry team is working to plan for the season and to look at creative ways to provide music for our services while Carol is away.

Covid-19 seems to be loosening its grip on us slightly. The Covid Task Force will be meeting soon to look at updating our Covid policies. Stay tuned for possible changes to our in-person services.

Cindy Marx-wood
For The Music and Ministry Team

During the Season of Lent,
we are invited to fast from the ego’s fearful thinking,
and fill ourselves instead with Faith”
 -- Joan Borysenko

For Lent this year, what will you fast from…….
So that you can feast on……..

Fast from negativity; Feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from criticism; Feast on appreciation.
Fast from despair; Feast on joy.
Fast from self concern; Feast on compassion for others.
Fast from resentment; Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from fear; Feast on love.
Fast from self-doubt; Feast on trust.
Fast from discouragement; Feast on hope.
Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
Fast from selfishness; Feast on service.
Fast from helplessness; Feast on empowerment.
Fast from apathy; Feast on activism.
Fast from differences that divide; Feast on unity in diversity.
Fast from apathy; Feast on wonder.
Fast from hostility; Feast on non-violence.
Fast from perfectionism; Feast on belovedness.  
Tenderly Held in Our Hearts and Prayers
During this Women’s HerStory Month, we give thanks for all the women through whom God has so wondrously enriched our lives, even as we grieve the ways in which women throughout our world continue to be oppressed by physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and distorted societal expectations.  
And as we journey together throughout the Season of Lent, we give joyous thanks for the caring and sharing which make this community of faith 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 raged 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 those bearing new life, and we pray with those yet trying to conceive or seeking to adopt, even as we also pray for our friends in 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 for all immigrants & refugees seeking sanctuary & welcome throughout our world, that we may be among those who offer an oasis of hospitality & compassion within the kin-dom of God’s heart. And we pray too for our BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) friends and neighbors, seeking to build with them a world wherein Black Lives Matter!”

Likewise do we pray for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Cecilia Hampton’s best friend Victoria’s mother, Bev; Sue Turner’s 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; Shideko Terai’s friends, Melanie & Paul; Suzanne Lenz’ brother, Bob; Bailey Sibert; Ed Foltyn; Caren Saunders’ mother, Betty Homeyer; 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.

We also pray for Greg Marshall; Juliette Hampton’s friend, Mikka; Betty Walker; Penny Arcone’s friend, Dick Slubin; Jean Strong; Connie Kousman’s sister, Joyce; Joan Dumont; Penny Arcone’s friend, Bill Kmon; Beth Kopp’s father, Jim Kane; Allyson Wendt; Linda Perkins; Christine Heins’ sister, Rosalyn Braeunig; Jody Schubert’s brother, Rick; Jim Schubert’s sister, Martha; Jeannie Hines’ father, Joe McClellan; Joan Burch; Clare Louzier; 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; Susan Sanzone’s aunt Rita; and Odile Clavier’s mother, Marie-Claire, as well as her niece, Amelie Marie.
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!
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

Into God's Hands 

 Throughout these bleak mid-winter days, our hearts have been saddened with the loss of dearly beloved friends and relatives of our faith community.

        Our hearts ache for the nearly 950,000 lives already lost to COVID 19 in this country alone, along with all other pandemic-related deaths throughout our world.
So too do we extend our sympathy to nossos amigos brasileiros, Heleno, Eveline, & Davi, as they mourn the loss of Eveline's avo' (grandmother), Antonia Isabel Cordeiro dos Santos on Sunday—February 27th, 2022.

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

New Children of God!!
We delight with Betty Pardoe in the birth of her first great grandchild,  Riley Ann Pardoe!!  Born on Sunday—November 21st, 2021, baby Riley weighed in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces, and measured 20 inches long, and is the daughter of Jeremy & Megan Pardoe. In grateful company with Riley’s proud parents, grandparents, and great grandma, we joyously proclaim,
WELCOME to our World, Riley Ann!!
So too do we rejoice with Larissa & Bob Pyer in the birth of their son, Ross Conrad Pyer!!  Born on Friday—January 14th, 2022 at 6:56 AM, baby Ross weighed in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces, and measured 19 inches long. We are so thrilled for Mama Larissa & Papa Bob, and with them we joyously proclaim,
WELCOME to our World,  
Ross Conrad!
And we celebrate with Jeff Robbins the birth of his fourth grandchild, Miles Donahue Bradley!!  Born on Monday—January 31st, 2022 at 4:16 AM, baby Miles weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and measured 19.5 inches long, and is the son of Emily (Robbins) & Jeff Bradley. In grateful company with Miles’ brother Luke, and sister Grace, his delighted
parents, & his proud grandpa, we joyously proclaim,
WELCOME to our World,
Miles Donahue!!
Lenten Study Guides Available
"A Grounded Faith:
Reconnecting with Creator and Creation in the Season of Lent"
 Inspired by Randy Woodley’s book, "Becoming Rooted: One Hundred Days of Reconnecting with Sacred Earth," EcoFaith Recovery designed a Lenten devotional which invites participants to reconnect with our Creator and with Creation as a core dimension of Christian practice. Randy Woodley is a recognized Cherokee descendant, writer, professor and co-sustainer of Eloheh Farm and Indigenous Center for Earth Justice in Yamhill, OR. Seven authors from diverse backgrounds will lead readers through the 40 days of Lent with Scripture, excerpts from Randy’s book, reflections, and suggested practices. 

  We have ordered print copies of the “Grounded Faith” booklet, as described below, and would love to share them with anyone who requests one. We also have the electronic version of this resource available for those who might prefer that.  
"Lent of Liberation
Confronting the Legacy of American Slavery"

This Lenten devotional invites readers to learn more about the brutal institution of slavery and its impact on Black people in America and recognize how its evolution and legacy continue to harm their descendants in the United States today. Each of the forty devotions includes the testimony of a person who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad, a Scripture passage, and a reflection connecting biblical and historical themes to challenge modern readers to work for liberation. Reflecting on Lenten themes of exodus, redemption, discipline, and repentance, readers, both Black and white, will be empowered for the work of racial justice.

The “Lent of Liberation” booklet does not appear to be available electronically, but we have already received a few orders for this, and would be happy to order more as well.

“The work of revolutionary love belongs to all of us. . . . We all have the ability to participate in this great love story. Imagine the stories we tell, the institutions we will build, and the lives we will lead when we affirm that every person is a person. Imagine the world we will birth when we see no stranger!”           - Valerie Kaur
Faith Odyssey for Adults!!
“Revolutionary Love for our Times”

Friday—March 4th, 2022 @ 11:30 AM
At the Home of Selden & Jan Lord
(27 Serenity Drive, Cornish)
and at this Zoom Link:

    Those of us who shared in the recent Revolutionary Love Study group were so inspired and impressed that we have decided to continue exploring and delving into the principles and practices of what Sikh activist, Valerie Kaur, calls “revolutionary love.”  This time we shall engage in a 10 session course designed to help us dive deeper into the principles and practices we have already explored, guided by Valerie, and supplemented by nearly 30 other visionary leaders. Valerie believes our nation to be at a pivotal turning point, a time of choosing whether we shall devolve into chaos, division, and violence, or evolve into a nation that has never been, but is yearning to be born, “a nation that is truly MultiFaith, multicultural, multiracial, where we strive to ensure the dignity of every person.” 
           There is no advance reading required for this course, as we will be gathering to view and listen to presentations on each principle, and then be able to discuss them further among ourselves, as inspired by the various speakers’ reflections. Nor is having participated in our first “Revolutionary Love” study a requirement for sharing this one with us.  Our plan is to reconvene this coming Friday morning—March 4th at 11:30 AM, both in person at the home of Selden & Jan Lord (27 Serenity Drive in Cornish), and on line at the above zoom link, with future meeting dates yet to be decided upon.  And we would love to have you join us!   If interested, but not available at this time, do let us know, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your schedule.
How is it with your Soul?

An invitation to women in our community to explore and share your journey with other spiritual companions!

If you are interested in meeting monthly with other women in our church as we support one another on our spiritual journeys, please let Susan know. We welcome you to join one of our Spiritual Companions groups and look forward to the blessing you will be among us!

Do you long for quiet time in our church?
Just let us know!

Only since the beginning of the pandemic has our beloved church had to be locked (due to the computer equipment in the sanctuary). If, during the week, you would ever like to have some quiet time in the church, please just let us know and we will unlock the church for you. Our church continues to be a sanctuary of peace and comfort for you. We look forward to making it available whenever you would like.
--Susan and John
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.

Since we will be away during this time, we are working closely with our church's Leadership Ministry Team to plan for Sunday worship and pastoral coverage through these three months. As with our past sabbaticals, we are confident that this coverage not only will be forthcoming but will offer spiritual refreshment to our church family as well. We will keep you informed as this sabbatical coverage develops.

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
Building and Grounds Initiatives for 2022 as reported in the Annual Report


Through February 23rd we received $12,230 in pledges for a total of $43,740 in pledges for the year 2022.. Also we received $521.75 in plate contributions for a total of $1021.75 for 2022 so far. So the grand total of Pledge and Plate Donations for the year so far is $44,761.75. 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
Stewardship Update

Dear Friends,

Thank you to everyone for your incredible generosity in support of our shared Meriden Congregational Church ministry for this new year. Without loyal support from members and friends, we simply could not be offering the ministry we do to our church family, our community, and the world beyond. As of February 26, 2022, we have met 92% of our goal to raise $150,000 to support our operations in 2022. This includes pledges committed total $138,430 from 61 individuals or families.

It is not too late to make a pledge for 2022! We still need your support. At the Annual Meeting in January, those members present agreed to approve a deficit budget (by $24,043) for the Church this year. Right now, the plan is to address this shortfall by using some of the Paycheck Protection Program funds we received as a loan from the government in 2021 (~32k). However, we will not do so until that loan has been forgiven, which we hope will be approved this year.

We are fortunate to hopefully have these funds to fall back on this year. That will not be the case for much longer in the future. Any additional pledges made for this year will mean that we can expect to draw down less from this pot of funds in 2022.

As a result of this deficit budget and some mounting capital expenses that we must address in the next year or so, the Leadership Team is assessing our current financial position to determine how we can improve our financial outlook now and into the future. Please watch for updates from us. I'd like to thank Evan Oxenham and Jim Lenz for also volunteering their time for this year-long effort (despite no longer being on the Leadership Team).

Lastly, I distributed the Minutes from the 241st Annual Meeting earlier in February. I have been notified of one edit needed. Please review the report and minutes and let me know of other changes.

Thank you for all that you do for our MCC Community,
Jill Marshall, Vice Chair & Stewardship Chair

Notes from the COVID Task Force

It ain’t over till it’s over! —a COVID Meditation for March 2022

"No one wants to actually be done with the pandemic more than disabled, chronically ill, and immunocompromised Americans. We just don't have the luxury of pretending the pandemic is over when it isn't. And it clearly is not."
--CNN on-line post by Christina Maxouris on 20 February 20, 2022, “'We're doing everything we can to survive': As the US looks to move on from Covid-19, high-risk and disabled Americans feel forgotten”

The elderly, the imprisoned, the homeless, the institutionalized, those with physical or intellectual differences, the chronically ill, the poor, the immuno-compromised, the children too young to be vaccinated all remain at some risk even as this pandemic appears to be taking a pause. Is this the final curtain of the drama, or is there a second act yet to follow after an intermission from a tediously long, gloomy and protracted first half of this world-wide tragedy?

From the outset, our church’s COVID-19 Task Force has respected the truism that only the virus itself will dictate its own conclusion, not the whimsical human pronouncements of an illusory victory.  Historically, human crises tend to fall first and hardest on the most vulnerable among us: This current pandemic has proven no different. Those who cry out the loudest for the reinstatement of their individual freedoms conveniently forget about the vulnerable.

Over the coming month or so the Task Force may decide to loosen some church-wide precautions. But any future easing of current practices needs a studied scientific approach, careful enactment and close monitoring of our state’s evolving pandemic. The Task Force will meet virtually in late February/early March to consider appropriate next steps—can we sing while masked?...can we meet in larger groups for Lenten and Eastertide worship? …might we, perhaps, sometime soon even “dare” to eat together seated at indoor tables?

Just as the on-line article above observed that those are truly vulnerable remain at risk for the Covid-19 virus, our church discussions have to address the fullest range of those who remain at high risk. That’s the simpler part of our task.

But it seems that there is an even more critical question we should be asking ourselves based on our sense of the core of the Christian Gospel—aren’t the groups expanded and cited in the opening paragraphs above those to whom the Gospel asks us to extend care, understanding and --dare I suggest—respect? Jesus’ preaching, healing miracles and public mission were lived among these groups. As a local church, what is our obligation and duty to the vulnerable among us? Is it now equal or greater than our mutual obligations towards one another in Sunday Worship?

Wait…you don’t really have to answer that last thought! Wasn’t it simply a “casual rhetorical device.” Or is it a broader and deeper claim we must make upon one another to follow the true path of justice, mercy and humility?

Ed Cousineau, for the COVID-19 Task Force



We Get to Gather Together This Month
In the Church And on Zoom!!

Thanks to Cindy Marx-Wood, Kathy Wright and Donna and Steve Beaupre who have ushered during our Church Services. Thanks to John Gregory-Davis for providing brownies or candy for after church and to Kathy Wright for providing snacks after church.

Continuing in March we will still be indoors in the Church Sanctuary! And the amazing part is that we will also be broadcasting our service on Zoom. Most recently due, I Think, to the Omicron Variant, there have been fewer people in church and more on Zoom. Thanks to the wizardry of Jim Lenz and Evan Oxenham and Juliette Hampton, those wishing to stay home can still attend church!!!

Coffee Hour is now offered indoors in the Parish House. I figure that the danger of gathering inside is about as great as going to a restaurant to eat a meal. (The other danger of overeating may be more certain) Please use your judgement as to whether you are willing to accept the risk.

If this were a normal year, I would be recruiting people to help with the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper! Unfortunately we are not yet ready to gather in large groups and eat together in the Parish House. I'm hoping that this will change in the near future. Ash Wednesday is March 2nd. That means that Mardi Gras is Tuesday March 1. Please find a way to celebrate this month--Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day, Woman's History Month and hold your loved ones close.

Kathy Wright, Coordinator of the Welcoming and Caring Ministry

3/1      Eloise Hampton
3/1      Scott Zenz
3/1      Darrell Beaupre’
3/1      Tabor Chichakly
3/1      Beth Houde
3/2      John McGovern, Jr.
3/2      Sam Lappin
3/2      Margaret Smallwood
3/3      Steve Sheehan
3/3      Caroline Sheehan
3/4      Jennifer Bliven
3/5      Valerie Stender
3/7      Amelia Good
3/8      Anne Cragin
3/8      Anna Wolke
3/11    Anthony Arcone
3/11    Josh Johnson
3/11    Ian Oxenham
3/12    Karen Rogers
3/12    Karen Jameson
3/13    Ray Webb
3/13    Mike Anikis                            
3/13    Harper Custer
3/13    Katie Chakoien
3/14    Alexander Good
3/15    Jeffrey Taylor
3/16    Ashley Brooks
3/16    Julia Salsbury
3/16    Miranda Guaraldi

3/16   Fiona Greenough
 3/16  Grace Perotti
 3/17   Aaron Franklin
 3/17   Stephanie Smarsik
 3/17  Karen McArthur
 3/17   Audrey Perotti
 3/18   Joan Burch
 3/19   Joachim McClellan
 3/20   Debbie Griffiths
 3/20   Frank Perotti
 3/22   Kathleen Raynak
 3/22   Michelle Chamley
 3/24   Jessica Giaccone
 3/24   Tucker Williams
 3/25    Indigo Kopp
 3/25   Kaitlyn Johnson
 3/25   Tom Chellis
 3/27   Kalin Gregory-Davis
 3/27   Matthew Houde
 3/27   Henry Wilbur
3/27    Theodor Heaton
 3/29   Hugh McGraw
 3/29   Liam Cook
  3/30  Susan Turner
 3/30  Nancy Franklin
 3/30   Phoebe Garfield
 3/30  Tim Goodwin
 3/31   Charlotte Sirlin 

3/4/72           Christine and John Brooks
3/16/74         Arthur and Linda Perkins
3/31/94         John and Corinne Tomlinson
Outreach News

Nora Kells Gordon is leading the Meriden Congregational Church Team
It will be an in-person March to Cap Off our Fundraising
To support this worthy Cause.
You may send checks to the church for Turning Points Network or send in a check for MCC with Turning Points Network in the memo line

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

         Notes from the Worker Justice Ministry
by Gail Kinney

Economic Inequality Kills

         An immense expression of gratitude to those in the MCC who, through physical presence or spiritual solidarity, are sending thoughts of support to the Dartmouth dining services student workers now undertaking a robust unionization campaign. As these student workers provide essential services for the Dartmouth community, their quest is to secure the dignity and the respect - plus livable wages, a safe and healthful workplace, and other working conditions - that make for a decent job.
         With thanks to the global organization Oxfam, for this month's contemplation I also want to expand our lens to a world view of the economic inequality that feeds into worker injustice everywhere. Oxfam fights inequality and focuses on ending poverty and injustice through both crisis interventions and advocacy, with the goal that all may thrive, not just survive.
         In a January 2022 report titled Inequality Kills, Oxfam economic researchers summarize their report findings this way:
"The wealth of the world’s 10 richest men has doubled since the pandemic began. The incomes of 99% of humanity are worse off because of COVID-19. Widening economic, gender, and racial inequalities—as well as the inequality that exists between countries—are tearing our world apart. This is not by chance, but choice: “economic violence” is perpetrated when structural policy choices are made for the richest and most powerful people. This causes direct harm to us all, and to the poorest people, women and girls, and racialized groups most. Inequality contributes to the death of at least one person every four seconds. But we can radically redesign our economies to be centered on equality. We can claw back extreme wealth through progressive taxation; invest in powerful, proven inequality-busting public measures; and boldly shift power in the economy and society. If we are courageous, and listen to the movements demanding change, we can create an economy in which nobody lives in poverty, nor with unimaginable billionaire wealth—in which inequality no longer kills."
         Hold the thought "This is not by chance, but choice" in your MCC heart. As we emerge (I hope!) from Covid-19 and with elections ahead of us -- from our town meetings to NH's September primaries to November's general election, I believe it is our moral duty to know what the people asking for our vote really stand for and what policies they will choose that will impact (for better or worse) fairness and equality within the beloved community.

2022 History of
Racial Injustice Calendars

Equal Justice Initiative challenges racial and economic injustice and provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in jails and prisons. Their 2022 Calendar is a full-color wall version that includes hundreds of historical entries and 12 short essays highlighting historical events and issues in our nation's racial history. Available in the church office.
Steve Beaupre' faithfully rings our church bell
each Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 PM as a clarion call to
our Community BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigil
Thank you, Steve!!
 We are continuing our Showing Up for Racial Justice BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigils each Wednesday afternoon, now happening from 4:30 to 5:00 PM, 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

Watch this brief video for more information:

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
                                                                                 Rep. Annie McLane Kuster
137 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5206 (Washington)
18 North Main Street, Fourth Floor
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-226-1002 (New Hampshire)

Sen. Maggie Hassan
330 Hart Senate Office Building  .
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3324 (Washington
1200 Elm St. Suite 6
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: 603-662-2204 (New Hampshire)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
506 Hart Senate Office Bdg
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-2841 (Washington)
2 Wall St #220
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: 602-647-7500 (NH)

Rep. 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
Immigrant Solidarity

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.