Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter October 2021

We are a Spiritually Progressive,
Open & Affirming, Sanctuary Congregation 
dedicated to 
Transforming Lives
as a Compassionate Community,
extravagantly welcoming EVERYONE,
celebrating diversity, cultivating awe & wonder,
and seeking Peace with Justice for all Creation!

Join us for our Intergenerational
Faith Community Celebrations
Each Sunday at 10:00 AM
Back in the Church,
with masks and physical distancing,
beginning on October 3rd,
with zoom option as well!

Watch for weekly e-mail notices,
and/or contact
john@meridenucc.org, susan@meridenucc.org
or secretary@meridenucc.org
Here it is! Volume 4 Issue 5 of our e-mail newsletter
FEATURED IN THIS NEWSLETTER
 
PASTORAL PONDERINGS--"How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place!"

Worship & Music Ministry News
  • Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in October
  • Music and Ministry Notes
  •  Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
  •  Into God’s Hands
  • All Saints Sunday
  • Neighbors in Need Special Offering

October Calendar of Events in the Life of our Spiritual Family
  • "Revolutionary Love" Study Circle begins on October12th
  • NH UCC Annual Meeting--October 16th
  • The Crop Walk -- Weekend of October 10th

MCC Administration & Finance News
  • Report of the Assistant Treasurers
  • Stewardship Update
  • Book Study "Talents Revealed"
  • COVID-19 Task Force Notice For October

Welcoming and Caring Ministry
  • October Birthdays & Anniversaries
  • Equal Exchange Coffee

Growing a Just World for All
  • Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Just Peace Resolution between Israel and Palestine

Peace & Justice Ministry Coordinators Report
  • Racial Justice Ministry News
  • Combating White Supremacy Book Study
  • Black Lives Matter Vigil
  • Worker Justice News
  • Pro Act
  • Raise the Wage Rally and March on Thursday--September 9th
  • Legislator Contact Information
  • Climate Justice News
  • Immigrant Solidarity Actions
  • Poor Peoples Campaign


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

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O God! 
Our souls long, indeed pine, for your house.
Our hearts and flesh sing for joy to you,
our living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young
in your dwelling place, O God.
Happy are we who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.”
Psalm 84: 1-4

           “How lovely is your dwelling place, O God!” These words from Psalm 84 have been spoken, sung and prayed through the millennia as witness to our joy whenever we find ourselves truly “at home” within the very Source of our being. Often this divine “home” is pictured as a religious place—our synagogue, church, mosque or other house of worship. Each of these are indeed sacred homes! And sacred, as well, are the home-boughs of willow and spruce and other wonders of nature where sparrow and swallow make their nests and nurture their young. “How lovely is your dwelling place, O God” wherever you dwell—which is everywhere!
                                                                                                                    
           After worshipping this past summer in God's dwelling place on the church green and in the parish house, we are excited to begin re-gathering in our church building on October 3rd -- the FIRST Sunday in eighteen months that we will have the option to worship in-person in this beloved dwelling place known as the sanctuary of the Meriden Congregational Church! Throughout the pandemic (and on-going), our church’s COVID Task Force has been monitoring and advising our Church Leadership on precautions to help keep our congregation and community as safe and healthy as possible. After much careful and informed thought, the Task Force has deemed it reasonable—at this time--to re-enter our sanctuary for Sunday worship—with the appropriate COVID precautions (please see below) and the awareness that this decision may change depending on the course of the Delta variant through the upcoming fall and winter months. Recognizing that, as a congregation, we have differing health concerns and levels of comfort related to gatherings, we are also offering the option of joining our Sunday services virtually--via Zoom. Please choose whichever mode of participation is most comfortable for you. We are enormously grateful to our church member, Jim Lenz, for his tremendous expertise, time and energy that is making this hybrid technology possible. (And kindly bear with us as we continue to refine this complicated hybrid technology in the weeks to come!).
                                   
So, especially for those who are able to join us in-person in the church sanctuary, it will be such a joy to be together again in this way. We greatly look forward to welcoming you home! May your home-coming be blessed as you enter the church and take in the familiar scent of seasoned wood and lit candles, the delightful sight of stained glass and colorful banners, the beautiful sounds of the church bell and piano, the combined feelings of all the experiences you most cherish within our beloved sanctuary and, most meaningfully, the comfort and joy of seeing and being in one another's presence in this holy place.
 
But, if there is one thing we have all learned in the last eighteen months, it is that we can be (indeed, we ARE!) church WHEREVER we are—whether from home on a screen, in the sanctuary, at a vigil, in the woods, at the Statehouse, working, volunteering, studying, or playing. . .And if there’s one other thing we’ve all learned, it is that we really need each other to survive and thrive as healthy, compassionate, joyous, faith-filled people committed to ministries of justice, love and peace. So, join us for worship this month either in-person or virtually as we continue our journey of revolutionary love. With the essential and steadfast help of God, we will seek to offer each other comfort, companionship, courage, strength and inspiration for this journey.  
 
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O God!” Thank you for being in all our dwelling places, Spirit of Love, and for inviting us to co-create with you sanctuaries of new life wherever we are. May we be awake to these opportunities to be a blessing each and every moment. Amen.
 
With enthusiasm and great excitement for this journey we share,
Your grateful Co-pastors,
Susan and John 

COVID Precautions for our in-person Sunday Worship Services:  
In recognition that the health and safety of our congregation and community are of utmost importance during this continued time of the pandemic, the following COVID precautions will be implemented for our in-person worship services during the month of October (and are subject to change depending on the course of the Delta variant in our geographical area). With respect for those who are not comfortable with the extent of these precautions, there will continue to be the option to view our worship services virtually, via Zoom. The link will be sent out to our Spiritual Family each week. Thank you for your assistance with helping our church family navigate these challenging times.

These are the precautions at this time for in-person worship in the church sanctuary:

  1. Wearing masks that fully cover the mouth and nose--required of everyone
  2. Pews appropriately cordoned off for physically distant-seating
  3. Windows open; please wear an extra layer!
  4. No choral or congregational singing, pending further consideration
  5. Monthly Communion shared outdoors following the service
  6. Coffee hour held outdoors, weather-permitting
  7. Please remain home if feeling ill
  8. The Meriden Congregational Church strongly encourages COVID vaccination for all who are eligible to receive it

Thank you again for your assistance with these precautions!!

                                                               
Transforming Lives as a Compassionate Community:
Rooted in Revolutionary Love”
Our outdoor Farewell Celebration for Rod & Barb Wendt!

OUR SUNDAY FAITH COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN OCTOBER
(Back in church,
with masks & physical distancing
still with zoom option too!)


OCTOBER 3rd @ 10:00 AM
World Communion Sunday! Join us for this long-awaited return to our beloved sanctuary, as we rejoice in our comm-union with the full and wondrous diversity of our friends and neighbors, both near and far, throughout the whole wide earth!

OCTOBER 10TH @ 10:00 AM
Celebration of Indigenous Peoples Sunday! Join us as we delve into and are blessed by expressions of Native American spirituality, such as Prayer to the Four Directions, ancient smudging, and readings that share the wisdom of Native American peoples. Following our service will be a Conversation with Richard Atkinson about his book, "Talents Revealed." Then join us for the CROP Walk in Lebanon!

OCTOBER 17TH @ 10:00 AM
Loving Farewell to
Richard Atkinson &
Susan Turner
Come join us to bid farewell to Richard Atkinson & Susan Turner as they prepare to move to Pennsylvania! This intergenerational service of Sabbath prayer and celebration, will also feature highlights from the previous day's NH Conference Annual Meeting!

OCTOBER 24TH @ 10:00 AM
Come share with us in this observance of United Nations Day, as we renew our commitment to embracing the unity in diversity which we are so blessed to enjoy with our neighbors near and far!

OCTOBER 31ST @ 10:00 AM
Reformation Sunday at the Meriden Congregational Church, featuring the return of our Handbell Choir.! Join us as we explore what it means to be a reformed and reforming community of faith, ever responsive to our Still-Speaking God!

NOVEMBER 7 @ 10:00 AM
All Saints Day Inter-generational Communion Service! Join us for this beautiful service in which we remember and give thanks for our loved ones who have died in the past year, lighting a candle, tolling the bell and speaking their names as our Saints of God.

Whoever you are,
Whomever you love,
Wherever you are on
life's journey,

YOU are WELCOME to
share in all our
Spiritual Family Services, Celebrations,
and Activities!
FAITH FORMATION AND
CHURCH SCHOOL NEWS!

We so look forward to reconnect- ing this month with our children and youth of all ages! We will continue to offer engaging Children's Messages during our Sunday services and interactive, in-person, OUTDOOR Church School for our elementary school aged children! We are calling this "Church School in the Woods!" So, stay tuned for more information as we plan to explore the wonders of nature and the spiritual gifts of the trees and rocks, plants and animals in our own backyards! We will also be offering "Faith Odyssey in the Woods" for our sixth through eighth graders, as well as gatherings for our high school Senior Seekers (maybe outdoors as well!!). We will be in touch! And we wish all our children, youth and families a renewing fall in the midst of the often hectic rhythm of school, work and all the other fun activities of autumn! Looking forward to seeing you soon!!!
Music and Ministry Notes
Music and Ministry 
October 2021



I wish I could write that everything is back to normal and we would be returning to in person worship without restrictions. But….the reality is that the pandemic is still in our midst. The Music and Ministry group has been working with John and Susan and the Covid Task Force to evaluate risks, process the information available to us and apply it to our facility and our congregation. It’s a bit like trying to hit a moving target. Cold temperatures are pushing our return to the sanctuary. At this time, we are moving inside with multiple safety measures in place. These include: social distancing with seating in every other pew, masks required, no singing and windows open (dress warmly!). Only those who are fully vaccinated should gather for indoor worship. Those who cannot or choose not to receive the covid vaccination are encouraged to talk with John and Susan. And of course, if you are not feeling well / have symptoms of Covid-19 please stay at home and take good care of yourself. We are SO fortunate to have Carol providing piano music through all of this. This is the plan at the current time.  

For the near future we are hoping to provide a hybrid service, meaning there will be in-person worship available as well as the option to view the service electronically from your home. Many thanks to Jin Lenz who has worked very hard to bring this to fruition. We are also looking into the use of “singing masks” to enable us to have small group or solo choral performances. Thanks to Elaine Lenz for her work on this. The Bell Choir is reconvening and will ring on a regular basis, maintaining a safe distance apart by using multiple tables. 

We continue to monitor the ever-changing Covid infection rates, hospitalizations and guidances from the CDC, the State of NH and the NH UCC Conference and stand ready to make changes as necessary. Our goal is to move forward while honoring our main priority of keeping everyone as safe as possible. Stay tuned!!

Cindy Marx-Wood
for Music and Ministry

John and Susan at Rod and Barb Wendt Service 5-16-21
Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
           
        As Autumn colors enfold us within the beauty which makes this community of faith such a WELCOME home for us all, we fervently pray for all those affected in any way by the continuing Covid 19 pandemic. So too do we celebrate with all those bearing new life, and hope with those yet trying to conceive or seeking to adopt a beloved child of God, and we pray for our friends in Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Indonesia, Uganda, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe, as well as our friends & neighbors in such troubled lands as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Yemen, North Korea, Burma, & Tibet. 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 BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) friends and neighbors, seeking to build with them a world wherein Black Lives Matter!” truly and fully. 

So too do we pray for Nora Kells Gordon’s brother-in-law, Jim Hanna; Joan Dumont; Dalton Winslow; Jerry Judd, as well as Jerrry’s son, James; Penny Arcone’s friend, Bill Kmon; Jim Schubert; Bill Chappelle; Laine Gillespie; Beth Kopp’s parents, Elaine & Jim Kane; Rosemary Mills; Allyson Wendt; Linda Perkins; Cindy LaFlam; Christine Heins’ sister, Rosalyn Braeunig; Jody Schubert’s brother, Rick: Laine Gillespie’s cousin, Becky, and Laine’s friend, Perry Allison;  Jeannie Hines’ father, Joe McClellan; Joan Burch; Clare Louzier; Selden Lord’s sister, Sharon Hammond; Suzanne Lenz; Carol Hartman’s daughter-in-law, Michelle; Cindy Griffin’s and Susan Borchert’s uncle, Arthur; Judy Croitoru; Bob & Robyn Carpenter;  Chris Dye; Linda Perkins’ friends, Dorothy, Barbara, Albert, & Doug; Caren Saunders’ father, William Homeyer; Rod & Barb Wendt’s granddaughter, Ada Jane; Greg Marshall; Larry Burch’s brother, CharlieSusan Turner’s cousin, Buddy Stevenson, and Sue’s friends, Barbara Zenker & Jane Miles; Susan Sanzone’s aunt Rita; and Odile Clavier’s mother, Marie-Claire, as well as her niece, Amelie Marie.

Likewise do we pray for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Nora Kells Gordon’s brother-in-law, Peter Savage; Jim Lenz’ friend, Jim; Sue Turner’s sister-in-law, BevLaura Cousineau’s brother-in-law, Eric; Linda Perkins’ friend, Linda Stone; Shideko Terai’s friends, Melanie & Paul; Suzanne Lenz’ brother, Bob; Michelle Chamley; Bailey Sibert; Ed Foltyn; Sue Turner’s cousin Jesse’s husband, Ron Letterchio; Caren Saunders’ mother, Betty Homeyer; Selden Lord’s brother-in-law, Edward; Jan Lord’s former daughter-in-law, Michelle; Jo Evarts, as well as Jo’s sister, Jingles; Robert Bryant; Cynthia Howe; Jeff McNamara; Lauryn Moeller’s daughter-in-law, Lisa Rae Moeller; and Kevin Ramos-Glew’s nephew, Duncan.



Into God's Hands 
    
Like the brilliantly colored leaves falling all around us, the loss of dearly beloved friends and relatives has made this a bittersweet time.

We extend our sympathy to Des Tolentino and her family, as they mourn the loss of Des’ nephew, Jose Nevarez, on Wednesday—July 28th, 2021

So too do we grieve with Susan Turner the loss of her dear friend, Linda Armstrong on Saturday—September 4th, 2021.

And our hearts go out to Carol & Mike Hartman, upon the recent loss of Mike’s mom, Pat Hartman on Tuesday—September 21st, 2021.

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.


 
















“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!!
Beginning Tuesday—October 12th, 2021
Zoom Meeting @ 7:00 PM
 
To join the Zoom Meeting click on
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81786936550?pwd=c1BLQnYxMytTcnVEY3hyWFc2RE50Zz09
 
 Building upon the success of both our previous adult faith odyssey study programs, as well our more recent racial justice book studies, we are excited to offer this opportunity to explore more deeply our theme for this year of being Rooted in Revolutionary Love.” This is an 11 session deep dive into the principles and practice of what Sikh activist Valerie Kaur calls “revolutionary love” which she defines as “the choice to enter into labor for others, for our opponents, and for ourselves in order to transform the world around us. It is not a formal code or prescription but an orientation to life that is personal and political, rooted in joy.”    

As noted in last month’s newsletter, 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.” Anyone wishing to learn more is encouraged to check out this website: https://valariekaur.com/revolutionary-love-project/  and/or to join us on Tuesday—October 12th for our introductory session. Reading Valerie’s book “See No Stranger” along this journey would be helpful, but is not required.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
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

New Hampshire Conference, UCC 2021 Annual Meeting
Saturday--October 16th, 2021
via Zoom Webinar, & YouTube Livestream
  
THEME: This year we will explore the theme “Building Beloved Community” as inspired by the words from Lamentations 3:22-23 “YHWH’S favor is not exhausted, nor has God’s compassion failed. They rise up anew each morning, so great is God’s faithfulness.”.

FEATURED SPEAKERS: The Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, who serves on the National Staff of The United Church of Christ as the Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice, and the Rev. Chad Abbott, Conference Minister of the Indiana-Kentucky Conference United Church of Christ, will share the keynote address at this year’s meeting. As we transition to a post-pandemic world, they will help us understand the impact of having spent time in isolation and the role of faith in rebuilding our beloved community. Drawing on her work with liberation theology, Rev. Dr. Lund will speak to the power of story and testimony in creating resiliency and hope. She will share tools that facilitate bringing about justice and transformation through faithful, loving relationships that build beloved community. Rev. Abbott brings a wealth of experience from his writings and work in contemplative practices. 

REGISTRATION: Please visit 2021 Annual Meeting | New Hampshire Conference United Church of Christ | NHCUCC for up-to-date Annual Meeting Resource Materials and a link to the registration website – which officially opens September 7, 2021. This year all registrations will be processed online on or before Monday, October 4th at 11:59 PM. Each participant will incur a registration fee of $25.00.
The Crop Walk is on October 10th

Join our Meriden Congregational Church Team and be part of the fun! The Crop Walk raises money to end hunger locally and around the world! Through Church World Service food is distributed in other countries. Locally, the Haven and Listen receive funds. To join our team go to https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2021/event/lebanonnh
and join the Meriden Congregational Church team!!

We will also be taking a collection in church so you may make your checks out to CWS/Crop and put them in the collection plate.


MCC ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE NEWS
Painting Activity around the Parish House

Those of us who have visited the Parish House recently may have noticed some significant changes to the front of the building – the lower part of the building has been painted! Lee Oxenham began the work of painting the ceiling and walls of the entrance to Kathy’s office, and Richard Atkinson volunteered to help. The two of them did a great job on the entrance, then Richard then decided to paint all of the exterior walls in the front of the building that he could reach with an eight-foot ladder. He has now completed the work and the building is transformed! Thanks to Richard and Lee for the really sprucing up the Parish House.

At about the same time Shawn Rogers employed Alan Buckley to paint the picket fence that runs along the Main Street side of the Parsonage. Alan is still working on this, but already we are seeing a transformed fence. Thanks to Shawn for organizing this paint job.

Evan Oxenham



REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS


For four weeks from August 23 through September 19 we received $6,910 in pledge payments and $502 in plate collections. The yearly totals to date are $109,393 for pledges and $4,257 for plate collections. We also received $40 for the fundraiser for my book. Have you sent in a check for your copy of the file with the book yet? You will want to have it soon in order to read it before the after-Church discussion on October 10th. When you mail a check be sure to write “Book” on the memo line. I will be serving as Assistant Treasurer until mid-November. We will be moving to Pennsylvania at the end of November.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard Atkinson
Jim Lenz






Stewardship Update


Dear Friends, 

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

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

Hoping everyone enjoyed a safe and joy-filled summer.

Sincerely, Jill Marshall, Vice Chair for the Leadership Team
Personal Note from Richard Atkinson

On a personal note, Sue and I intend to be moving to a retirement community in Pennsylvania with-in the next year. I will continue to serve as an Assistant Treasurer until that time. However, a replacement for my position will have to be identified before then. If you feel this is a service to the Church you could fill please consider it. I would of course work with anyone who steps forward to assume this position to ensure a seamless transition. Anyone taking this on would also have support from the other people who serve as Assistant Treasurers, Jim Lenz and Rod Wendt. There is some work that does take some time, but on a week to week basis it is not too time consuming. 

Richard Atkinson

Book Study "Talents Revealed"


Were you in Church on recovenanting Sunday or the following Sunday? If not you missed two readings by Richard Atkinson from his recently completed book, “Talents Revealed”. Would you like a chance to read this book? Richard will make it available to anyone in the Church family who would like to read it. However, he is turning it into a fundraiser for the Church. If you wish to receive a copy of the file with the book simply make a donation of at least $10 to Meriden Congregational Church and he will send you a copy of the file. When you send a check to MCC at PO Box 187 Meriden, NH 03770 be sure to write “Book” on the memo line. After you have read the book be sure to come to Church on October 10th for an after-Church discussion of the book with the author! You will be able to ask Richard any questions or make any comments about the book that you wish. 

Notes from the COVID Task Force



COVID just keeps on hanging on…
            So we should just keep hanging in….

Of course “hanging on” and “hanging in” are neither new nor profound. Shouldn’t this major inconvenience be over and done with by now? This all is “so old” after more than 18 months! 
 
Church Leadership, accepting advice from the MCC COVID-19 Task Force, is working to open wide all sanctuary windows, obtain small “boxed” exhaust fans, and is making inquiries about whether the venerable furnace blower can accept and handle the mechanical air flow needed for HEPA filtration of our forced warm air furnace. These steps will permit some Sunday indoor worship in the autumn months and they may even allow some modified indoor worship during the colder winter months when all the windows cannot be opened.  

However, if these steps cannot be taken or prove to be insufficient, the church also looking at ways to broadcast live Sunday worship (with some increased in-person attendance in the sanctuary) in a hybrid, with combined in-person and more passive video viewing. It appears that the trade-off made may be in having fewer interactive opportunities for digital viewers. Additional audio-visual equipment is on order to “broadcast” our Sunday services with greater technical ease. 

These days it’s important to remember that the “common good” of our church and civil communities has to be uppermost in our minds and actions. Many youth and children are not currently eligible for vaccination, some elders may not be able to be vaccinated, or our administered and received vaccines may not have produced sufficient or long-lasting antibodies. Despite our eagerness and/or need to resume old and familiar activities, the “common good” of each and all of us means that the necessary communal precautions should continue to be taken despite our individual wishes or personal weariness.

Keep in mind that the months ahead will still necessitate masking, distancing, and hand-sanitation. This will inevitably alter our in-person Sunday worship, and may at times, change our celebrations in ways that will be uncomfortable or seem to be sadly diminished. No choirs, no soloists, no congregational singing when indoors, no wind instruments. A risky and crowded Christmas Eve service could, perhaps, be replaced by two simpler services. Piano and guitar music would remain the rule, along with some uses of pre-recorded music and videos. An open and inviting church may have to consider how to place some limits on its usual lavish hospitality.

Our children and youth education programs, book clubs and some spiritual support groups are now and will be in the future conducted mainly on-line. Small groups of six to eight distanced and fully masked participants may be able to meet indoors where and when proper air circulation can be assured.

COVID-19 is hanging on tenaciously—we have to hang in there too. Let’s do it communally.

Ed Cousineau for the MCC COVID-19 Task Force

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


We Get to Gather Together This Month In the Church!!


This September 12th was the beginning of our Church Year! With the weather's blessing, we met outside and then had a Cook Out. Those of us who were there were glad of the inspirational service by John and Susan. We were thankful to Richard Atkinson for providing the hot dogs and hamburgers we enjoyed. Thanks also go to Cindy Marx-Wood for providing the chips and cookies and candy snacks which went along with it. It was good to get started again in this enterprise of fellowship and love of neighbor.

Starting this Sunday October 3rd we will again be indoors but this time in the Church Sanctuary!!! And the amazing part is that we will also be broadcasting our service on Zoom. Thanks to the wizardry of Jim Lenz and Evan Oxenham those wishing to stay home can still attend church!!! I'm hoping that the bugs will be ironed out before the service!!

As far as Coffee Hour goes we will be dependent on good weather because our snacks and coffee will be consumed out of doors for now. The deck of the Parish House will be our venue for socialization after church with coffee in hand.

HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US IN OCTOBER!!!

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




OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS


 
10/01  David Weidman
10/02  Jim Borchert
10/03  Edward Foltyn
10/03  Laura Cousineau
10/03  Jan Lord
10/03   Andrea Brown 
10/04  Rick Cunningham
10/05 Catherine Sensenig
10/06  Linda Darlington
10/06 Augustin Ramos-Glew
10/07  Erik Heaton
10/07  Nicholas Custer
10/08  Alicia Foster
10/08  Arthur Perkins
10/09  Benjamin Reetz
10/11  Micah Dewey
10/11  Mikki Jaeger
10/12  Karen Lenz
10/12  Kuda Muhlauri
10/12  Susan Pullen
10/13  John Houde
10/13  Evan Oxenham
10/13 Suzanne Spencer
10/15  Sean Elliot
10/15  Allison Foltyn
10/15  Teagan Goodwin
10/16  Susan Nugent



10/18  Grayson Davies
10/19  John Brooks
10/19  Tinashe Muhlauri
10/20  James Fadden
10/20  Steve Gordon
10/20   Carl Sandin
10/21  Jennifer Phelps
10/21  Susan Gregory-Davis
10/21   Marian Zens
10/22  Hallie Zens
10/22  Michael Hogan
10/24  Marianne McGraw
10/24  Fiona Davis-Walsh
10/24  Jen Williams
10/26  Jim Griffths
10/26  Jaden Giaccone
10/26  Telemos Tomlinson
10/26  Francesca Marzilli-
          Ericson
10/27  Elizabeth Church
10/27  Jeffrey Wilkinson
10/27  Molly Beaupre’
10/28  Daniel Beaupre’
10/29  Susan Reetz
10/29  Shawn Phelps
10/31  Mark Pensgen
10/31  Charlie Williams







OCTOBER ANNIVERSARIES


10/01 Don and Lindsay Parsons
10/02 Nancy and Paul Franklin
10/02 Nora Kells Gordon & Steve Gordon
10/03 Glenn & Cindy (Svensen) Griffin
10/04 Tom and Lyn Lord
10/04 Susan and John Gregory-Davis
10/06 Ross and Beth Wood
10/10 Jeannie and Rick Hines
10/12 Brenda and Wally Caswell
10/16  Rigel Cable and Cam Lee
10/21 Anne and Alan Grover
10/24 Laine Gillespie and Bill Chappelle
10/25 Mark and Betsey Pensgen
10/26 Michele and Chuck Chamley
10/30 Laura and Ed Cousineau


 
Coffee & Cocoa products are featured from Equal Exchange! Please contact Shideko Terai if you would like to order Coffee, Decaf, Hot Chocolate or Chocolate Bars. These products are delicious and promise a reasonable return for the growers and farmers who produce them! K-CUPS are also available!
Cool weather! Fine chocolate. Or hot chocolate anyone?

Shideko's e-mail is mary.n.boyle@gmail.com.
Shideko Terai, Coordinator of Outreach, Peace and Justice Ministry
Celebrating Resilience
in Indian Country
Monday—October 11th @ 7:00 PM
 
Join speaker Jehann El-Bisi for a discussion about some contemporary issues, within an historical context, for Native America. Dr. El-Bisi will discuss some aspects of settler colonialism, using the legacy of that history, (including the role of Native American boarding schools in genocide, the role of pipelines in eco side, environmental racism, “sacrifice zones” and will highlight and focus on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. She will also lay out a path to a better future, with common sense solutions, (which includes remembering the history of genocide against the native people of the land we occupy) and success in Indian Country resilience.

Dr. Jehann El-Bisi is a multiracial (Black and Indigenous identifying Egyptian-Sudanese -American born), independent peace maker, educator, writer and mixed media artist who has an earned doctorate in Language, Literacy and Culture, from the University of Massachusetts, at Amherst. She is a single mother and trauma survivor. She is the adopted daughter of Joan Tavares Avant, Deer Clan Mother, and through her, has tribal affiliation, with the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation, and through Lenny Foster, Diné, River Edge Clan, and was recently named “Tó éí iiná,” water is life) in Diné, or “she listens to the water.”
 
Full details and registration information may be found at: https://nhpeaceaction.org/events/

Meriden Congregational Church Sponsored “Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel” resolution passed at UCC General Synod, July, 2021!!

On December 29, 2020, your Leadership Team unanimously voted to become a sponsor to bring a resolution “Declaration for a Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel” developed by the UCC Palestine Israel Network, to be considered by the UCC General Synod meeting in July, 2021. We are delighted to report that this resolution was passed as hoped by our General Synod this summer!!

This Resolution essentially decries actions of the government of Israel in oppressing Palestinians in many ways, and actions by the United States in supporting the government of Israel in that oppression. It decries the United States for declaring anything challenging Israeli policies or actions to be antisemitic, and for limiting freedom of speech in support of Palestine and Palestinians on college campuses. It affirms the rights of the Palestinian people, rejects new Israeli laws that enshrine one type of person in a privileged position over another, and rejects ideologies that claim one group’s divine right to the land at the exclusion of others. It further asks that UCC churches commit to hearing the voices of Palestinians, learn about the history and dynamics of this complex issue, and advocate for restoration of US funding to the UN and decrease of US funding to Israel until Palestinian rights are restored.

While not specifically in the resolution, we hope that we Christians, and specifically we UCC Christians, will find common cause with people of all faith traditions in the Middle East, who, like us, seek a fair and just peace for both Palestine and Israel. This is about governments – Israel and the United States – acting badly and oppressing the rights of the Palestinian people of all faith traditions. All faith traditions must call it out for the injustice it is!
Divisive Concepts Language
Doesn’t Belong Anywhere in NH Law !
Many throughout out state are frustrated and angry that our Legislature and Governor have chosen to embrace this deeply
mis-guided and dangerous form of censorship:(

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

Come join us in “showing up for racial justice,” and Standing for  LOVE , and AGAINST racism, white supremacy, hatred, and violence, here in our community and beyond!  Togetherlet us publicly declare that we will NOT be complicit in white terrorand let us call our friends and neighbors to rise up with us in our resolute affirmation of the inherent and sacred value of us all within Beloved Community

"Me and White Supremacy" Circles
 
Join other SURJ Upper Valley members for a 28-day process to unpack white supremacy on a personal level. Throughout October, we'll read and discuss ‘Me and White Supremacy’ by speaker and racial justice advocate Layla F. Saad:
"Me and White Supremacy leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. The book goes beyond the original workbook by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and includes expanded definitions, examples, and further resources."
          Over 4 weeks in October (dates/times tbd!) participants will engage in reflective dialogue and journaling prompts from the book. We'll meet once per week to discuss our hurdles and our learning using the Circle Way, a non-hierarchical dialogue and facilitation method founded by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea. In order to set up an intimate and productive space, this process can hold up to 12 participants. Folks at any point in their anti-racist journeys are encouraged to participate–– especially beginners!
 
To learn more and/or to register, go to:
https://forms.gle/sTdG6cbpbFurXFys7
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/pro-act/

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

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

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

The PRO Act is the cornerstone of the AFL-CIO’s Workers First Agenda. If it passes, it would: Empower workers to organize and bargain, Hold corporations accountable for union-busting, and Repeal “right to work” laws, which were created during the Jim Crow era to keep White and Black workers from organizing together. Stronger unions mean higher wages, safer working conditions and dignity for all people who work. Passing the PRO Act will be our first step to getting there. 
John Gregory-Davis Speaking at the Budget Protest in Concord, NH-- June 24, 2021
Legislator Contact Information
 FEDERAL
                                                                                 Rep. Annie McLane Kuster
137 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5206 (Washington)
18 North Main Street, Fourth Floor
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-226-1002 (New Hampshire)

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

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

Rep. Lee Walker Oxenham
92 Methodist Hill Road
Plainfield, NH 03781-5415
Phone: 603-727-9368

Rep. Brian Sullivan
642 Olde Farms Road
Grantham, NH 03753-3124
PHONE 603-381-7889


Rep. Linda Tanner
PO Box 267
Georges Mills, NH 03751-0267
Phone: 603-763-4471

Sen. Suzanne Prentiss
Legislative Office Building, Room 102
33 State Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-3092
Immigrant Solidarity
Climate Justice Ministry News –

MCC Climate Justice – TALK IT UP!
         Earth Day, celebrated on Saturday, April 24, turned out to be a lovely, relatively warm day – just shy of picnic weather. A small but intrepid group gathered on the church grounds and proceeded to weed-whack, rake, and generally spruce-up the grounds. Special thanks to Ann Tracey for her bounty of cookies and for Penny Arcone whose wit and ingenuity made the afternoon fly by.
                 The Biden administration marked Earth Day as well, with an ever more refined explanation of their commitment to stewarding resources and mitigating the climate crisis. We can all help by TALKING IT UP. On the phone. or on zoom, or in a line waiting to be served. Talk about how great it feels to have folks in office who are knowledgeable and taking positive action. Who could have imagined a goal of conserving a third of our lands and oceans? Having climate represented in the cabinet? Or throughout the many federal departments and agencies.
         Talking to family, friends and neighbors about our changing climate has never been easier or timelier, and getting a positive, action message out can help build critical support.
  Submitted
Lee Oxenham

As this new year begins,I hope we can acknowledge some blessings of 2020. Covid-19 has shone a bright light on the inequities that have surrounded us for decades. Our country is hungry. Millions of our people are still without healthcare. There are many unhoused and soon to be unhoused people. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us our inhumane prisons and immigration policies. We have a lot of work to do. The work that we must do was begun by Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Shirley Chisholm, and Fannie Lou Hamer. Rosa Parks had the strength to sit down, so that I might stand. Sojourner Truth fought for women's rights so my voice would be heard. Harriet Tubman freed the enslaved so I might be liberated. Shirley Chisholm showed all the little Black girls (and Brown women like me) we could be anything we wanted to be. Even when people thought we were second class citizens. However, Fannie Lou Hamer showed us with grit and determination we could win if we organized. I feel their fear and anger. I cannot imagine running for my life across fields to freedom. Yet having the strength to return again and again to liberate others.

Now, imagine you are one of several ordinary, everyday men and women sitting in church basements, around kitchen tables and meeting on your college campuses. After being trained, you would sit at lunch counters, get on Freedom Buses (to register Black voters in the South) and cross the Edmund Pettus bridge. Each knew they would be beaten up and some would not be returning home. They still sat, rode the bus, and crossed the bridge.

 “And we won’t be silent anymore!”

There are some among us that believe that we should lay-low until the present danger is distanced again; I say we cannot back down. Yes, these are scary, unstable times that we are living through, and we cannot back down. We have got to fight for justice, equity and freedom anyway. Remember, the STRENGTH that flowed in the veins of those who have gone before us.
 
 Forward Together!

Thanks!
In solidarity and peace,
Shideko (she/her)
The UVHS & The Plainfield Community Resource Room have teamed up to help all Cat & Dog Owners in our area.
Every Month on the 3rd Saturday
when the Resource Room & Food Pantry is open
the UVHS will be present to provide  
FREE Cat & Dog Food.
For more information
please contact Stephanie at 469-3201.