Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter
We are a Spiritually Progressive,
Open & Affirming, Sanctuary Congregation
extravagantly welcoming EVERYONE,
celebrating diversity, cultivating awe & wonder,
and seeking peace with justice for all Creation
Join us for our Faith Community Celebrations
Each Sunday at 10:00 AM
with Church School & Nursery Care Provided
Here it is! Volume 3 Issue 1 of our e-mail newsletter
Back in 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote a song that continues to express and inspire a vision for our world almost fifty years later. The Beyt Tikkun (House of Healing) Synagogue-Without-Walls in San Francisco includes this beloved song in their Haggadah (the telling of the Passover story) with these original and additional words:
“Imagine there’s all goodness, it’s easy if you try.
No hell below us, above us only sky.
Imagine all the people, living for today.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one.
Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger, a sisterhood of man.
Imagine all the people, sharing all the world.
You may say I’m a dreamer. . .
Imagine love is flowing, no scarcity of care.
Holiness surrounds us, the sacred everywhere.
Imagine awe and wonder, replacing greed and fear.
You may say we’re all dreamers, but we’re not the only ones.
Tikkun and Spirit soaring and the world will live as one!”
The Christian season of Eastertide (the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost Sunday) is a time for imagination--not only for opening our eyes and stretching our hearts and minds to discover anew the presence of the Risen Christ in our midst and all around us, but also—and in a related sense--for envisioning new possibilities and ways to help heal our relationships with one another, our planet and our world. And, even more so,
truly believing this can and will happen
when we are intentional about embracing the work and joy of radical healing.
Our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers are also engaged in this holy work of healing at this time of year, with the recent celebration of Passover (April 19-27) and the upcoming observance of Ramadan (May 5-June 4). Easter, Passover and Ramadan—key holy days within our respective faith traditions—share at their heart a commitment to building a world of justice, compassion and peace. Yet, this past month alone has seen tragic assaults by extremists on synagogues, mosques and churches and the faithful children, youth and adults who were worshipping therein. It seems at this time, of all times, it is critical that we join our kin across the religious, cultural, political and economic spectrum as together we seek to build bridges of understanding and healing.
The Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls, guided by Rabbi Michael Lerner, offers these steps as examples of how we can work together in humanity’s struggle for true healing and liberation for all:
*”Recognize each other as allies in this struggle and supporting each other even though we see each other’s flaws and inadequacies as well as our own.
*Pouring out love into the world, even when we don’t have a good excuse for giving that love to others and even when it seems corny or risky to do so, thus breaking down our own inner barriers to loving others and to loving ourselves.
*Rejecting the cynical view that everyone is out for himself or herself, that there is nothing but selfishness and—instead—allowing ourselves to see that we are surrounded by people who would love to live in a world based on love, justice, and peace if they thought that others would join them in building such a world.
*Taking the risk of being some of the first ones in public to articulate an agenda of social change based on love—even though being those people may mean risking economic security, physical security, and sometimes even the alienation of family and friends.
*Allowing ourselves to envision the world the way we really want it to be—and not getting stuck in spiritually crippling talk about what is ‘realistic.’”
This Eastertide, let us be an Easter-People-Without-Walls imagining our personal relationships and those within our wider community and world to be what we hope them to be: informed, inspired and enthused with God’s Holy and Healing Love.
A Blessed Eastertide to each of you!
Your faithful Co-Pastors,
Susan & John
OUR SUNDAY FAITH COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN MAY
MAY 5TH @ 10:00 AM
Third Sunday of Easter
Join us for the 239th Birthday of the Meriden Congregational Church! Our Intergenerational Communion Service will honor our Wise & Wonderful Elders,
those church members and friends who have blessed us with forty or more years of church membership and/or seventy or more years of faithful living and loving! Following our celebration, we will enjoy a huge birthday cake and our annual
All Church Auction!!! Come bid on over 60 exciting items in support of our church's mission and ministries!!!
MAY 12TH @ 10:00 AM
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Mothers' Day Celebration
This Sunday we will be treated to preaching and worship led by our Worker Justice Minister, Gail Kinney, graciously offering her gifts while Susan and John are away with their family this weekend. All are warmly invited to our Hospitality Hour directly following worship.
MAY 19TH 10:00 am
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Sunday!
Join us as we read and sing some of our most beloved scripture readings and hymns lifting up the imagery of God's shepherd-like love for us all!
Hospitality Hour to follow!
MAY 26TH @ 10:00
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Join us for our monthly Taize Service offering us a time to replenish and renew our souls through a peaceful rhythm of silence, scripture and song. Treat yourself to this time of spiritual nurture. Hospitality Hour to follow.
No matter who you are,
No matter whom you love,
No matter where you on
YOU are WELCOME to
share in all our
Church Family Services,
Asma Elhuni came to our church on March 24th to talk about her faith, Islam
MAY IN CHURCH SCHOOL
I'd like to share a few reminders about our youth programming as we approach the sunny month of May:
Please join us for our annual big camp clean up on June 22nd from 9 - 2 pm. From working in the garden to moving couches to cleaning cabinets, any and all help will be much appreciated!
We have several wonderful Spirit Sundays planned this month. We'll continue with our workshop rotation of yoga, cooking, story time, and intergenerational services; stay tuned for weekly emails about these offerings.
Lastly, don't forget to check out our Facebook page, "Meriden Congregational Church Youth," for more information and updates about our youth programming!
Thank you all, and happy Spring!
Spiritual Formation Coordinator
Meriden Congregational Church
Sanctuary in Grief
Offering Companionship INSIDE
the Grief You’re Living
Every Other Friday—May 10th, May 24th
@ 2:00 PM in the Parish House
Upstairs in t
he Parish House
“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken.
There’s a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables…”
The miserable ones
Welcome to a safe, private community - a community of grievers, a place where we hope all can find sanctuary. Through mutual respect and compassion we seek to bear witness to each other’s pain, and to support and hold each other as we try to find our way in the unbearable, unimaginable world of deep grief and loss.
Everyone is welcome to this community. It does not matter what your religious views are or even if you have no religion. Maybe you are looking for a spiritual path, or maybe you are so mad at God you don’t even want to think about that path.
While we shall focus primarily on grief as a result of death, we hope you will find refuge and respite if you are facing imminent loss, such as a terminal illness of a loved one or even yourself. If you are grieving the death of a loved one, it doesn’t matter how long ago it was. Grief has no time limit or expiration date.
We will not pass judgment on your grief or loss, nor your reaction to it. We shall not try to fix you or tell you how to “move on” or “get better.” As Megan Devine, author of
“It’s OK That You’re Not OK
” tells us,
“Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.
Worship and Music Ministry News
Here Comes EASTER FEVER:
We are born story-makers and story-tellers. Once again our Meriden congregation will tell the Easter story over the next several weeks of April. It is part of our Christian faith journey to recount it annually, always incorporating our most recent life experiences and the most vivid of our hopes. We weave a bright spring-time tapestry from the myriad threads of our individual and communal lives.
We dramatize this death-to-life holy story in different ways—a Palm Sunday procession, a Maundy Thursday tableau supper, a Friday of dark shadows, and then a sunrise Easter circle to witness the miraculous dawning of more than just the sun. (We do the same at Christmas time with our children’s pageant, Christmas Smiles and our evening candlelight service re-enacting the Christmas story from a panorama of angles.) Our Beloved Community is constantly combining and recombining the timeless New Testament story elements to gain extra insight and new healing in our contemporary moment.
Lent and Easter are linked inseparably with the spring’s renewal. Though the snows and mud still remain in New Hampshire, I am writing in late March from Tennessee and Illinois where the spring flowers, budding trees, earthy smells and warm sunshine make me impatient for spring to arrive when I get back home to New Hampshire. There are seeds to be started indoors, last year’s garden beds to be turned and new landscape plantings to be established. Actually, today I can’t wait to mow the grass—though, admittedly, even that will revert back to being a grudging chore by mid to late Summer. By then beds will need weeding, the squirrels will have sampled some tomatoes and the deer will have snacked on the best of the variegated Hosta leaves. The recurring cycles of life and nature await us.
There’s the same seasonality reflected in our lives and in our beloved faith community. Lent is a good time to get back to basics, Easter and the successive months carry a message about enthusiastic renewal. The spiritual landscape matures over the summer months and settles into autumn colors. Long winter celebrates the Christmas Dawn of Light in late December and then soon the days lengthen and the wondrous cycle begins once again.
Easter faith and Easter fever should be contagious. Hope you catch them this year: There are Easter Hallelujahs yet to be sung!
Ed Cousineau for Worship and Music
Welcoming and Caring Ministry News
Our Ministry provided ushers and Coffee Hours for the services in April including Easter Breakfast, thanks to Glen Greenough, Steve Beaupre, Larry Burch, Ed Cousineau, Cindy Griffin, Rod Wendt, Evan Oxenham, Jill Marshall, Susan Sanzone, Kathy Wright, Anne Cragin, Laura Cousineau, Donna Beaupre, Jerry Judd, Richard Atkinson, and Shideko Tirai. Thanks to you for your wonderful service.
In June on June 1st the Welcoming and Caring Ministry will help host an event (in addition to providing ushers and Coffee Hours after church in May). It will be a potluck dinner on Saturday June 1st at 6:00pm. Main dishes of Lasagna and roasted chicken breast will be provided. Please bring a side dish, salad or dessert. All are welcome!
Kathy Wright, Coordinator for Welcoming and Caring Ministry
Church Number 603-469-3235; Home Number 603-675-5989
Yes, miracles do happen! Just a week before our Leadership Meeting on March 12, our budget “gap” for 2019 stood at $6,718 in our budget of $214,533. But several people came forward in that last week, and walking into the meeting the gap stood at $1,218. Within a few minutes it shrank to $818. Your Leadership looked at one another, and Treasurer Cindy Griffin said, “In the scheme of a $215,000 budget, $818 is just 0.4% of the total — almost a rounding error! We could look all through this budget for $818, or we could acknowledge that our actual spending will move around somewhat over the year and likely cover this very small gap…I suggest we call this ‘close enough’ and accept this very small gap.”
And with a unanimous vote, smiles on our faces and great appreciation to YOU the members and friends of our beloved little church, we did. No cuts were made to the budget.
This miracle occurred because you, the members and friends of MCC, stepped up and almost closed the “gap". We left Annual Meeting with a “gap” of $22,294. About half of that — $11,100 — was pledged by 8 donors to “match” another $11,200 to be donated by the rest of the members and friends of the church. All told, 26 members and friends made $21,476 in increased pledges or 1-time gifts to get us to the place were we could say, “Close enough!”
God is good — all the time!
Your Leadership Team
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)
Its. Jeanne Shaheen
506 Hart Senate Office Bdg
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-2841 (Washington)
2 Wall St #220
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: 602-647-7500 (NH)
Administration and Finance Ministry News
We are preparing for the mini-funding campaign that we need to fund two maintenance items that we absolutely need to complete this year. These are the church ADA ramp and the painting of the back of the parish house. We have begun detailed design work on the replacement for the church ADA ramp. A local architect has volunteered his time and is preparing the drawing that we will need to submit for a building permit. We are also checking that the estimate for painting the parish house is still current.
Upcoming fun events include the Church Auction on May 5 after church and our Rubber Ducky race. There are some really good deals available at the auction including the ever-popular vacation destinations. Make sure that you are there to bid!
The Rubber Ducky race is May 19 after church at the
on Bloods Brook (
near the Plainfield Elementary School). This time there should be a lot of water in the brook, so we should see some real Rubber Ducky action!
For the Administration and Finance Ministry.
REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS
Happy season of Easter to all. We received the following through three weeks in April. Pledge-$16,645 for a yearly total of $51,370, Plate-$1,370 for a yearly total of $4,687. Other income includes $3,700 for the pledge challenge and $2,631.70 from the Annie Duncan Fund.
Coffee & Cocoa products are featured from Equal Exchange! Please contact Shideko Terai if you would like to order Coffee, Decaf, Hot Chocolate or Chocolate Bars. These products are delicious and promise a reasonable return for the growers and farmers who produce them! K-CUPS are also available!
Cool weather! Fine chocolate. Or hot chocolate anyone?
Shideko's e-mail is email@example.com.
Shideko Terai, Coordinator of Outreach, Peace and Justice Ministry
, we remember with gratitude the blessings of family and friends, food and shelter, love and life, which make this community of faith such a
home for us all, we delight with those bearing new life, and pray with those yet trying to conceive or seeking to adopt, even as we also pray for
friends in Bolivia, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe
, and all those living in such troubled lands as
Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea, Yemen, South Sudan, the Congo, Iraq, & Iran.
We pray with special concern 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 African-American sisters and brothers, and for the courage and compassion to affirm with them that
Black Lives Matter
not more, but certainly not less than, every life
Likewise do we pray
Larry Wolkin; Tecla McCann
as she struggles with ALS and wishes us to know that this is affecting her voice and speech;
Caren Saunder’s father,
; Suzanne Lenz’ nephew,
Zachary; Joan Dumont; Selden Lord;
Kathy Wright’s sister,
Christine Greenough’s father,
Gianna Marzilli Ericson’s dear friend,
; Karen Jameson’s mother,
Letitia; Greg Castell’s father; Becky Luce; Scot Zens; Rev. Jed Reardon; Bob Carpenter;
Carol Hartman’s daughter-in-law
Jim Schubert’s niece
, Wendy; Suzanne Lenz; Erik Heaton;
Len Saunders’ mother,
Laura Cousineau’s mother,
Laura Keener Kreisl; Allyson Wendt; Tony Wellhaven;
Sue Pullen’s nephew,
Jaime; Greg Marshall;
Larry Burch’s parents,
Bill & Olive,
as well as
; Linda & Arthur Perkins;
Glenn Griffin’s nephew,
Susan Turner’s first father-in-law,
as well as
Sue’s aunt & uncle,
Jane & Ralph Nupp;
Andrea Keen’s father,
Max Bueno; Tim Timmons;
Maura Hart’s father
Allen Roger’s father,
Vicki Ramos-Glew’s mother,
Bill Chappelle’s friend,
Odile Clavier’s colleague
, Jim Barry,
as well as
and Odile’s niece
, Amelie Marie;
Susan Sanzone’s parents,
Norma & Sal Sanzone,
& Susan’s aunt
So too do we pray for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Caren Saunder’s mother, Betty Homeyer; Selden Lord’s brother-in-law, Edward; Jan Lord’s former daughter-in-law, Michelle; Chuck Chamley’s mother, Joan Chamley; Laura Cousineau’s brother-in-law, Eric; Judy Houde-Hardy’s cousin, Michael Morin; Hunter Townsend; Suzanne Lenz’ sister, Marlene, as well as Suzanne’s friend’s father, Tom Martin; Jo Evarts, and her sister, Jingles; Robert Bryant; Dawn Forbes; Cynthia Howe; Penny Arcone’s brother, Stuart Hills, & Penny’s friends, Dick Slubin and Gail Graham; Joan Dumont’s stepbrother, Lowell Toof; Jeff McNamara; Lauryn Moeller’s daughter-in-law, Lisa Rae Moeller; and Kevin Ramos-Glew’s nephew, Duncan.
Although our spirits are lightened by the sun and warmth of this beautiful month of May, our souls also ache with the recent loss of dearly beloved friends and relatives of our faith community.
Our prayers are with
Laine Gillespie & her family,
upon the loss of
on Thursday—April 4, 2019, followed so soon thereafter by the death of
Laine’s uncle, Paul Gillespie,
on Saturday—April 27, 2019.
So too do our hearts go out to
as he grieves the premature death of
his dear friend,
on Monday—April 22, 2019.
We likewise extend our sympathy to
Rangi Keen and his aunt Marjorie
, upon the recent death of
, in Adelaide, Australia.
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 remembrance and sorrow.
The UVHS & The Plainfield Community Resource Room have teamed up to help all
Cat & Dog Owners in our area.
Every Month on the 3
Saturday when the Resource Room & Food Pantry is open the UVHS will be present to provide
Cat & Dog Food.
For more information
please contact Stephanie at 469-3201.
5/1 Cayden Van Dolah
5/1 Mike Van Dolah
5/1 Louise Filiault
5/1 Thembi Muhlari
5/2 Maria Helen DeMaggio
5/3 Kate Brady
5/4 Adam Perotti
5/4 George Butler
5/4 Lauren Lenz
5/4 Hadley Pensgen
5/4 Hank Ruppertsberger
5/4 Maia Garfield
5/4 Patrick Duany
5/5 Brian Garfield
5/6 Sylvia Clark
5/6 Emma Lewis
5/6 Samantha Clerkin
5/7 Nicole Annis
5/7 Miles Saunders
5/9 Susan Sanzone
5/10 Rob Constantine
5/10 Zeda Wolf
5/10 Marianna McKim
5/11 Alyssa Packard
5/11 Nancy Wightman
5/12 Ian Cattabriga
5/13 Stephanie Harding
5/14 Kristen Wendt
5/15 Kurt Shaffert
5/16 Phil Crowell
5/17 Emma Porrazzo
5/17 Caitlyn Porrazzo
5/17 Owen Winslow
5/18 Melanie Elliot
5/18 Molly Jean Elizabeth Kells
5/19 Richard Swett
5/19 Audra Bucklin
5/19 Corinne Tomlinson
5/20 Doug Carver
5/21 Rigel Cable
5/21 Amira Chichakly
5/21 Haddie Houde
5/21 Ryan McGraw
5/22 Linda Perkins
5/23 Christy Trudo
5/23 Elizabeth Todd
5/25 Greg Castell
5/25 Steve Beaupre”
5/26 Gretchen Cherington
5/26 Joe McClellan
5/26 Rangi Keen
5/26 Oliver Herfort
5/26 Des Tolentino
5/26 Suzanne Lenz
5/27 Sawyer Constantine
5/27 Sue Richardson
5/28 Katy Sheehan
5/31 Pam Miller
5/31 Richard Miller
5/4 Lee Walker and Evan Oxenham
5/10 Selden and Jan Lord
5/15 Robyn and Bob Carpenter
5/18 Nancy and Kurt Filiault
5/26 Karen and Doug Heaton
5/26 Rick and Heather Hildebrant
5/29 Rachel and Robert Stoddard
5/31 Maura Hart and Frank Perotti
5/31 Leslie MacGregor and Dalton Winslow
Dear Meriden Spiritual Family,
It has been a busy month for us readying our Sanctuary effort. We continue to determine the logistics that will allow for us to house immigrants without documents with the help of several faith communities and other friends across the region.
I want thank everyone at MCC who attended and/or organized our 6/3 information session and/or our 6/10 potluck training session. We have made major strides to organize how we will communicate with volunteers and ensure they know our facility, each other, and John and Susan.
If you have not yet signed up, and would like to volunteer to help, here is the web address for a brief online form where you can indicate which concrete tasks you are willing to do. Could you take 5 minutes to fill this out?
Perhaps you could bring food or donate a gift card or participate in a few of the 10 ways or so we expect to need support?
Most importantly, as of today, we are in great need of volunteers who are able to work in shifts to be in the Parish House when we have person(s) without documents onsite. We must have at least one U.S. citizen here at all times. Our greatest need is to find more people who would be willing to spend 4-6 hours during the day and/or spend the night when we have someone(s) in Sanctuary. Might this be you?
Thank you so much. Please reach out if you have any questions.
In gratitude, Jill
-Jill E. Marshall
Rev. Gail Kinney, Worker Justice Minister
May 1 Is International Workers Day
In the 1880s, U.S. workers who toiled under oppressive and unsafe working conditions came together across trades, classes and ethnicities to demand an end to their oppression and to long work days.
At its 1884 national convention in Chicago, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1, 1886." This was the beginning of a prolonged nationwide movement of worker solidarity and struggle which is now marked by
International Workers Day
on May 1 of each year.
This year, on Wednesday May 1 at 12:00 noon, outside the NH State House in Concord, our own co-pastor John will emcee an event in which Faith and Labor allies plan to come together with prayer, song, and the spoken word to mark
International Workers Day 2019
. We'll be standing in solidarity with NH State Employees who are foundational to the creation of beloved community in our state. These dedicated workers, yet again, are facing a prolonged and demoralizing contract struggle with the State. We'll also be lifting up the dignity and worth of all work and workers in NH (and beyond) as we recognize the public school teachers in multiple NH communities who are pleading for respect -- and the low wage workers and allies who are fighting for a NH minimum wage that will lift a full time worker out of poverty -- and all workers who simply want to be respected, fairly compensated, and afforded basic rights and safety as they go to work.
Join is on May 1 at noon outside the NH State House!
And, even if you can't be with us, consider using May 1 as a day when you intentionally acknowledge the workers you encounter -- in a school or a library or at a store checkout counter or someone patching a pothole or performing any one of a number of valuable services in the community that we too often take for granted or never really "see" -- and simply say "Thank you. I value what you do."
Our Showing Up for Racial Justice BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigils continue each Wednesday afternoon from 5:00 to 5:30 PM, on the SouthWest corner of the intersection of Rte 120 & Main Street
(at the blinking yellow light, with parking available at Poor Thom's Tavern).
We have “Black Lives Matter” signs available for folk to hold, but please feel free to make and/or bring your own signs affirming such sentiments as “showing up for racial justice,” “standing on the side of LOVE,” and/or our commitment to disarm hate, and to affirm our solidarity with women, as well as our Native-, African-, Latin-, & Asian-American, as well as our immigrant & GLBTQIA, Jewish, & Muslim sisters and brothers, and all those feeling unsafe and insecure in light of recent terrors plaguing our nation.
Come “show up for racial justice,” and Stand With us for LOVE , and AGAINST racism, white supremacy, hatred, and violence
here in our community and beyond!
let us publicly declare that we will NOT be complicit in white terror
and 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 the Beloved Community