Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter May 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
  • Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in May
  • 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
  • Baptism of Ross Conrad Pyer
  • Marriage of Shawn Rogers & Erin Cartier

May Calendar of Events in the Life of our Spiritual Family

Spiritual Formation Opportunities
  • "Revolutionary Love" Study Circle Continues in May
  • Gift of "The Whole Language" Book to our Church Library
  • Mother's Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe

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
  • May 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
  • Racial Justice Ministry Team Becomes Antiracism Ministry Team
  • Third Annual "Nakba" Ceremony on May 15th @ 1:00 PM
  • Claudia Rankin on "What Makes a Good Citizen?"
  • Social Justice
  • Immigrant Justice
  • Climate Justice, including "Youth v Gov" film
  • Worker Justice News
  • Report from our Worker Justice Minister, Gail Kinney
  • PRO Act Support
  • 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

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

“When Jesus was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to the two disciples.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus, and he disappeared from their sight.  The disciples asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‘It is true! Jesus has risen and has appeared to Simon Peter.’  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.”         - Luke 24:30-35
         During this season of Eastertide (these fifty days between Easter and Pentecost), we often lift up Luke’s joyful story of the two disciples who encountered the Risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Although they did not recognize this “stranger” initially, later--in the midst of a shared meal—they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. This story reminds us all of the joy we experience in sharing meals together with family, friends, and strangers-becoming-friends. And it highlights a human truth: when we sit down together and truly take the time to get to know one another, we are more readily able to experience and celebrate the divine light in each other! In our rapidly-paced world and busy lives, it is all too easy to lose sight of this. We turn to fast foods, quick bites to eat, and snippets of conversation. Don’t we all long for the leisurely time to break bread together and discover (or rediscover) the joy of simply being human together? 
         Eastertide invites us to do this! This fifty day season bids us to behold the gifts of divine love all around us--resurrected and discovered anew--sometimes in very unlikely and surprising places and most often when we intentionally take the time to open our eyes and hearts to this presence of holy love. Where would you like to be more open to discovering or rediscovering Resurrected Love in your life this season of Eastertide? With whom could you share a meal (or a cup of coffee/tea), breaking open the bread of New Life with one another? How can time be “slowed down,” even a little, so that you can allow yourself to recognize previously “unrecognizable” gifts of love in those with whom you share meals? 
         John and I will always remember the leisurely meal times and extended conversations we were blessed to have during our first sabbatical (2006) when we sat at table with families we visited, for example Odile Clavier’s parents—Alain and Marie-Claire—in France, our exchange student Anna Font’s parents—Pacqui and Jean—in Spain, and our host family in Bolivia—Jenny and Leo. Breaking bread together, especially across diverse cultures and traditions, opens our eyes to the tremendous gifts of our human diversity and commonalities. Similarly, we will always appreciate so fondly the mealtimes we have shared with our exchange students who’ve likewise become part of our family over the years—Christian (Argentina), Aya (Japan), Emma (Finland), and Daffodil (Kenya). And most recently, we’ve rejoiced in the mealtimes these past seven months with our Brazilian friends—Eveline, Heleno, and Davi—who many in our congregation have had the chance to break bread with--whether through shared suppers or Sunday coffee hours. (And fortunately, these friends have moved just down the road in Lebanon, so we look forward to continued friendship and meals!).   
          Then there are all the many times we as a church family break bread together during our monthly Communion celebrations and various other meals we share either here at in the parish house or in our homes. Each time we do this (hopefully more and more so as the pandemic wanes!), we re-enact that holy moment when the disciples walking on the road to Emmaus invited Jesus back to their home, broke bread together, and in doing so recognized the presence of Risen Love.  
         Whether over a meal, a cup of coffee, a conversation, a chance encounter, or even an awkward moment, may we embrace the invitation of Eastertide to recognize the sacred in the presence of one another--both the ones who are already known to us and the ones who are “strangers” (who, in the words of Valarie Kaur, are “the part of [us] that [we] don’t yet know,” See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love).
         A joy-filled and peaceful Eastertide to each of you and to all our church family! May you be blessed with many opportunities to break bread together and behold the presence of Risen Love right in your midst!                                 
 Faithfully your Co-Pastors,
Susan & John

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.

MAY 1st @ 10:00 AM
Third Sunday of Eastertide
Founders' Day Sunday!
Join us for a virtual celebration of the 242nd Birthday of the Meriden Congregational Church! Our Intergenerational Communion Service will also feature a celebration of the transition of our Brazilian immigrant family's to a new home in Lebanon!

MAY 8th @ 10:00 AM
Fourth Sunday of Eastertide
Mothering Sunday Celebration
Join us as we explore and reflect upon scriptural images and prayers that lift up the mothering qualities of our Creator God, while giving thanks for all those who haver "mothered" us in so many loving ways.

MAY 15th 10:00 AM
Fifth Sunday of Eastertide
Good Shepherd Sunday
 Join us for this opportunity to pray, sing, and reflect upon what it means to be held in and to embody the love of our Good Shepherd God, with and for ALL the sheep of God's pasture. Followed by a Sabbatical Send-off Reception for our Co-Pastors!

MAY 22nd @ 10:00  AM
Sixth Sunday of Eastertide
Come join our Worker Justice Minister, the Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney, as she leads this celebration with us, while our Co-Pastors are away celebrating Kalin's graduation from the UVM Medical School.

May 29TH @ 10:00 AM
Animal Blessing Service
All God's Critters got a Place in our Service" today so bring your four-legged, winged and finned friends, along with any special stuffed animals who would also like a blessing and, of course, photos of beloved pets who have already crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Come one, come all!!!

June 5th @ 10:00  AM
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.
Whoever you are,
Whomever you love,
Wherever you are on
life's journey,

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

Happy May to all! 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 twice per month for our elementary school aged children, Faith Odyssey twice per month for our sixth through seventh graders, and Senior Seekers (schedules permitting) for our high school students.

This past month, our Church School enjoyed a trip to the Beaupre's farm to meet their newborn lambs!

We are so grateful to Kelsey and to Susan Sanzone Fauver and Karen Heaton for offering the OUR Whole Lives (OWL) program for our 10th through 12th graders this past March and April. Five of our students took advantage of this tremendous program. Thank you, Susan, Kelsey and Karen!

We look forward to offering the OWL Program to our younger children during the 2022-2023 church year!

We wish everyone a lovely May with the weather getting warmer, encouraging even more time outdoors! Please let us know how we can support you and your children, as you navigate the challenges of parenting, childhood and adolescence. We are here for you!

Love to you all! --The Spiritual Formation Ministry Team (Odile Clavier, Cathy Rodriguez, Kelsey MacNamee, and Susan Gregory-Davis) and the OWL Ministry Team (Susan Sanzone Fauver, Kelsey MacNamee, Karen Heaton and Susan Gregory-Davis).
Music and Ministry Notes

Music and Ministry
May 2022

There were two well attended glorious services on Easter. There was our traditional outdoor Sunrise Service early on Easter morning as well as the ten a.m. service in the sanctuary. The Choir sang anthems under the direction of Dalton Winslow, there was hymn singing in the church as well as a rousing Hallelujah Chorus.
Although we are still masked in church, we are cleared to sing hymns and Carol is back from her vacation so we will have more live music.

In addition, we are planning for worship services while John and Susan are away this summer on a well deserved sabbatical during the month of June, July, & August.  

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

Tenderly Held in Our Hearts and Prayers
As we journey throughout this Eastertide Season of rejoicing in God’s resurrection power to heal even our deepest sorrows, 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 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 Patricia’s parents; Laine Gillespie’s friend, Perry; Larry Burch; 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: 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; 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.
If you or someone you know would like a name to be added to our Prayer List, please let us know. In an effort to keep it as up-to-date as possible, please also let us know when you would like a name removed. Occasionally, we carefully remove a name to make room for others, but if you would like a name restored, please simply let us know and we will be happy to do so. Thank you for praying for these members of our Church Family.   

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
  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:
·        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:
·        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:

Into God's Hands 

As gradually warming weather leads us to yearn for the new life of spring, so too have our hearts ached with the loss of dearly beloved friends and relatives of our faith community.

We grieve with incomprehension and anguish the nearly 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 we extend our sympathy to Don Garfied and his family, and all those who knew and love Don’s beloved wife, Bobbie Garfield, who died peacefully in her home on Friday—April 29th, 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 remembrance and sorrow.

Affirmed as God’s Beloved Son 😊
We rejoice with Larissa & Bob Pyer upon the baptism of their son, Ross Conrad Pyer, on Palm Sunday—April 10th, 2022!! Born on Friday—January 14th, 2022, baby Ross drew a larger congregation than we have had in the past two years, thanks to his wonderful extended family.      

How delighted we are to WELCOME you, Ross Conrad, into our community of faith as a cherished member of our spiritual family!!  

Joined Together in God's Love
We celebrate with Shawn Rogers & Erin Cartier
(And with their lovely daughters,
Kaylee & Kassidee Rogers, and Natalie & Nikayla Cartier)
their marriage on Earth DayApril 22, 2022!

Congratulations Shawn & Erin!!
We wish you deep joy and all God’s blessings
          throughout your life together!!   
“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”

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 are engaging 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 gather 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.  We have only just reconvened, with our next gathering scheduled for Thursday--May 5th @ 4:30 PM, 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, do let us know, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your schedule.
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!
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

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe (27 May 1819 – 17 Oct 1910) was a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet most famous as the author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Her “Mother’s Day Proclamation” was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States. Written in 1870, it was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.

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 April 24th we received $8,610 in pledges for a total of $71,018 in pledges for the year 2022.. Also we received $7,937 in plate contributions for a total of $9,211 for 2022 so far. So the grand total of Pledge and Plate Donations for the year so far is $80,229. 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 MCC Friends,

As of April 29, 2022, we have met 93% of our goal to raise $150,000 to support our operations in 2022. This includes pledges committed for a total $139,770 from 63 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 pool 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. 

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

News from the COVID Task Force

Our church's Covid-19 Task Force continues to monitor closely the course of the pandemic through the ups and downs of infection rates in our area. Our Task Force membership is composed of our co-pastors, a clinical nurse specialist, a retired hospital laboratory supervisor, two physicians, a veterinarian with an added degree in public health, a school teacher and a retired hospital administrator. We have a significant amount of health care wisdom and experience to bring to our discussions.

At this point in the spring, the Task Force is continuing to advise these guidelines for the safety and well-being of all:

1. Congregational singing in church has resumed, as of March, with all participants masked (as below, #2). 
2.  The church is providing N-95 masks and encourages (but not requires) their use on Sundays. If not N-95 masks, then other suitable masks must be worn by attendees at all times. Please note: N-95 masks protect the wearer’s health by sealing more tightly around the face during inhalation.
3. If they are asymptomatic and otherwise healthy, our co-pastors may use Sunday morning rapid testing and preach from the pulpit without masks if they test negative on that day. They will wear masks during the service if not at the pulpit. The co-pastors are already using N-95 masks.
4.   Our co-pastors do not anticipate large indoor events at the parish house this spring. Outdoor events/receptions may occur as the weather turns warmer.
5.  Some small groups are meeting either via Zoom, at the parish house and/or in private homes. Continued masking is urged in these settings whenever possible. 
6.   The Meriden Community Camp will be held this year. Practices will again parallel those of local public schools and will be somewhat updated from the stricter protocols used last year. The entire group of campers will probably be considered a single cohort. In general, counselors should be up-to-date on their immunizations. The Task Force and the Camp Ministry Team will continue to be in close communication as preparation continues for the camp season.

Lastly, but importantly, the Task Force understands that our co-pastors move across many groups in the church and in our wider communities. Protecting their health and taking steps to assure that they themselves do not become inadvertent spreaders of infection to others—both those of us who are vulnerable and those of us who have been immunized--remains a key concern in our Task Force discussions and the recommendations we have made above.

Thank you to all for your careful consideration and compliance with these guidelines. We will keep you informed as our church's Covid-19 guidelines are adjusted to reflect changes in virus activity and/or public health recommendations in our state and county.

(With gratitude to Ed Cousineau, Chair of the Covid-19 Task Force, for this article previously printed; adapted for this May Newsletter by Susan Gregory-Davis)


Spring has Sprung!!

We Get to Gather Together
In the Church, And on Zoom

Thanks to Cindy Marx-Wood, Jill Marshall, Evan Oxenham, and Kathy Wright 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 food for the Breakfast after the Sunrise Service. Thanks also go to Jim Lenz and Juliette Hampton for master-minding the Zoom portion of our services and running our multi-media services.

This May 15th, after Church, we are planning a small reception for John and Susan in the Parish House (and on the deck, weather permitting) to wish them well as they go off to their Sabbatical at the end of the month. I figure that the danger of gathering inside 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.

Kathy Wright, Coordinator of the Welcoming and Caring Ministry

5/1        Cayden Van Dolah
5/1         Mike Van Dolah
5/1         LouiseFiliault                   5/1         Thembi Muhlari
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       Kurt Shaffert
5/5         Brian Garfield
5/6        Harrison Daniel Jeschke
5/6         Sylvia Clark
5/6         Samantha Clerkin
5/7         Nicole Annis
5/7         Miles Saunders
5/9         Susan Sanzone
5/9         Grace Bradley
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
5/16       Phil Crowell
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       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 Custer
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
5/18  Laura Packard and Paul Churchill
5/26   Karen and Doug Heaton
5/26   Rick and Heather Hildebrant
5/29   Rachel and Robert Stoddard
5/30   Diane and Mark Walker
5/31   Maura Hart and Frank Perotti
5/31   Leslie MacGregor and Dalton Winslow

Outreach News

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!

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
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

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.

Economic Justice 
Please read Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney’s article.

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. Stay tuned for notice of the first meeting of our newly renamed Antiracism Ministry Team sometime within the next few weeks, and come join us to learn more about the new UCC “Join the Movement” Toward Antiracism campaign. 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. 
"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.

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

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….

In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd,
Some of us viewed a premier screening of the
Climate Change Superhero movie:

View trailer at:
           YOUTH v GOV follows 21 young Americans suing the world’s most powerful government to protect their constitutional rights to a stable climate. Armed with a wealth of evidence, these courageous youth leaders file a ground-breaking lawsuit against the U.S. government, asserting it has willfully acted over six decades to create the climate crisis, thus endangering their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. If these young people are successful, they will not only make history, they will change the future.
           Anyone who missed last month’s screening, and/or would like to view this inspirational film again, is encouraged to check it out on Netflix, where it just became available.
           And much more information about this film is available at the film website:
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
The Third Annual Nakba Remembrance Ceremony to be held on May 15, 2022 at 1:00 PM, hosted by Combatants for Peace and co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Conference United Church of Christ Peace with Justice Advocates Mission Group, brings together Palestinians, Israelis, and the international community to remember, honor and acknowledge the Nakba, when more than half a million Palestinians were displaced from their homes in 1948. Translated from Arabic as ‘the Catastrophe’, this experience is central to Palestinians’ collective memory and to the history of the wider conflict.
On May 15, 2022 at 1:00 PM, we will mourn and bear witness together and by doing so, we aim to create a better future for all. To join us please register at:
In the Joint Nakba Ceremony, personal testimonies from everyday people will replace political statements, providing an in-depth and emotional account of historical events. Honoring this reality and sharing in it is the only path to forging a peaceful future with true equality, freedom and dignity for all.

An Evening with Claudia Rankine:
What Makes a "GoodCitizen?
Thursday, May 26th @ 5:00 PM
What do we expect from our fellow citizens? How do our identities shape the ways we are perceived as citizens? And, perhaps more importantly, what are our obligations to each other as members of society?
We invite you to join us as we explore these questions with poet and scholar Claudia Rankine. Rankine will discuss what it means to be a “good” citizen today, at a moment when the rights and responsibilities of citizens are not universally understood or shared.
For virtual attendance via Zoom starting at 5 pm,
click here:

This event is free and open to the public;
pre-registration is required.

May Day Alert on International Worker's Day

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
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.