Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter SEPTEMBER 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 social distancing,
beginning on September 19th!

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--"Rooted in Revolutionary Love"

ReCovenanting Celebration and Cook-out on our Church Green!

Horton Center Church Retreat on Pine Mountain

Worship & Music Ministry News
  • Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in September
  • Celebration of our Meriden Community Camp Summer
  • Music and Ministry Notes
  •  Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
  •  Into God’s Hands
  • Thanks to those who Led Services This Summer

September Calendar of Events in the Life of our Spiritual Family
  • NH UCC Annual Meeting--October 16th

MCC Administration & Finance News
  • Report of the Assistant Treasurers
  • Stewardship Update
  • COVID-19 Task Force Notice For September

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

Growing a Just World for All
  • Non-Violence Movie and Discussion Sept 7-9
  • Just Peace Resolution between Israel and Palestine

Peace & Justice Ministry Coordinators Report
  • Racial Justice Ministry News
  • Racial Justice Ministry Team--September 15th @ 7:00 PM
  • 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
  • Immigrant Solidarity Walk from September 23 - 25
  • SHARe Housing for Asylum Seekers
  • Poor Peoples Campaign


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

Revolutionary Love
is the call of our times.
Revolutionary love is
when we are brave enough
to see no stranger.
To look at anyone and think
 ‘you are a part of me I do not yet know.’

So when we flood the streets in our grief and our rage
and fight for justice and insist on the humanity of our opponents,
we are birthing the world to come--
A world that leaves no one behind”
-      Valarie Kaur

  How is it with your soul, dear friends, as we begin this new church year? Many of us had hoped that the pandemic that has ravaged our lives in so many ways throughout this past year would have been sufficiently under control by now that we could lay aside our masks, and return to open gatherings in person. Alas, even as we give thanks for how few in our community have been directly dis-eased, we nonetheless reluctantly acknowledge that we cannot yet let our guard down, and thus must only cautiously begin to re-gather in church, under the guidance of our Covid Task Force, as detailed elsewhere in this Newsletter.

          Yet for many of us, this is only one source of anxiety and frustration, in some ways overshadowed by the divisiveness and contempt for anyone considered somehow less worthy, openly promoted by too many of our so-called political and religious leaders, not to mention the outright denial of both science, whether with regard to climate change or even the wisdom of pandemic protections and vaccination, as well as history, in a mis-guided attempt to protect “white” people from the discomfort of acknowledging and dismantling the system of white supremacy still so toxic for us all. Further threatening the democracy ideals we may have mistakenly assumed we all shared, are both the extensive efforts to restrict voting rights, as well as the shift in the Supreme Court now already tacitly endorsing a distressing and historic reversal in women’s rights to reproductive choice. 
       These are indeed difficult and frightening times which have us pondering how best to respond so as to not lose Hope, what Bryan Stevenson calls our “superpower” in the face of suffering and injustice. As we did on our first Sunday back from our vacation, one place to which we often return is the wisdom of our Celtic tradition, so much in sync with much indigenous spiritualty, reminding us that “the crises that we are in the midst of today, whether ecological, political, or societal, stem from the fact that we treat the earth and one another as less than sacred.” These are the words of one of the most eloquent teachers of Celtic spirituality today, John Philip Newell, as shared in his most recent book, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul, as a spiritual antidote to what African-American Studies Professor, Eddie Glaude, calls our “values gap” leading us to treat some as worth more, and others as worth less, to help us “remember that our soul, the very heart of our being, is sacred. What is deepest in us is of God. Every child, every woman, every man, and every life-form is in essence divine.”

              So too have we been en-couraged by renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer, Valeri Kaur, founder of the Revolutionary Love Project, whom we quoted at the beginning of these ponderings. There are multiple ways to imbibe Valerie’s deep wisdom and infectious joy, not least of which is the keynote presentation Valerie offered at this summer’s UCC General Synod. Perhaps some of you were able to view it then, as we did, and it’s available for all of us to enjoy now at General Synod 2021 - Keynote 1 - Valarie Kaur on Vimeo (beginning at 37:35).  In this scintillating presentation, Valerie observes that we are in the midst of a demographic transition. Will we continue to teeter on the brink of civil war? Or will we begin to birth a nation that has never been, a nation that is truly MultiFaith, multicultural, multiracial, where we strive to ensure the dignity of every person? The nation that is longing to be born? What we need now is a love without limit, what I call revolutionary love.”
 
           Building upon the General Synod Theme of being “rooted in love,” and inspired by Valerie, we have thus chosen as our theme for this church year:  “Rooted in Revolutionary Love.”  This both reminds us of the holy ground on which we stand, rooted in the sacred soil of our belovedness, as well as calling us to “Rise Up in Revolutionary Love,” as so many awesome people of faith and hope pledge and invite us in a brief video on The Revolutionary Love Project web site: The Revolutionary Love Project - Valarie Kaur
 
           In addition to the energizing testimony of so many of these revolutionary lovers who have already committed themselves to “declaring love for all in harm’s way—refugees, immigrants (with or without documents), Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, queer and trans people, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, Asian Americans, Latinx people, women and girls, differently abled people, and working class and poor people—in the quest to birth a new future,” this web site, from which we plan to draw extensively throughout this church year, also includes the “Revolutionary Learning Hub,” as well as a reader’s guide for Valerie’s “Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love—See No Stranger” book, as well as a more extensive curriculum, which we hope to offer soon. Another easy way to learn more about Valerie and her revolutionary vision for our world these critical times is through her TED talk as: TED - Valarie Kaur
 
           One of the readings we shared at our wedding, now 35 years ago, and which John frequently quotes at the end of many of his rally speeches, includes the affirmation of lesbian Episcopal priest, Carter Heyward, that “to say I love you is to say, let the revolution begin—God bless the revolution!” So as we begin this new church year, although we still need to exercise precautions in our gatherings, we do enthusiastically invite one and all to join us for our Annual Intergenerational  Recovenanting Sunday Service on Sunday—September 12th.  
 
           With the weather looking good at this point, we hope to be outside on our church green for a service celebrating our being “Rooted in Revolutionary Love” featuring our Annual Blessing of the Backpacks (this year including all varieties of bags—backpacks, briefcases, purses, etc), and a reading from Richard Atkinson’s recently completed book, “Talents Revealed.”  (Learn how to obtain a copy of the book to read on your own. Then, be sure to attend Church on Sundays October 3rd and 10th to engage in a discussion about the book after Church with the author!) Please invite friends and neighbors to join us, both for our fun and interactive service, as well as for our cook-out picnic afterwards! We’ll provide the food, beverages, and paper/plastic utensils, though all are welcome to bring their own as well.  

In the solidarity and hope of revolutionary love,
Your faithful Co-Pastors,
John & Susan   
                                                                
Transforming Lives as a Compassionate Community:
Rooted in Revolutionary Love”
RECOVENANTING SUNDAY 2021!
SEPTEMBER 12th
AS WE RE-GATHER FOR OUR
CHURCH YEAR 2021-2022!!!
 
10:00 AM Intergenerational Celebration
(Outside on the Church Green--weather permitting)

Featuring a reading from a book
by our own Richard Atkinson
and our annual
Followed by
A Light Lunch & Cookout Celebration!
(Please bring your own utensils—food provided!)
Save this September Date!!!
 
COME, LET US REJOICE
IN THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S CREATION
 AS WE PRAY, PLAY and RELAX ON THE MOUNTAIN!!!
 
Saturday, September 25th – Sunday, September 26th
 
ALL MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF OUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY
 ARE WARMLY INVITED TO OUR
EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL ALL-CHURCH RETREAT
AT HORTON CENTER ON PINE MOUNTAIN, GORHAM, NH,
THE OUTDOOR RETREAT CENTER OF OUR NH UCC CONFERENCE
 
COME ONE, COME ALL
FROM THE YOUNGEST TO THE ELDEST AMONG US
FOR A FUN-FILLED AND RELAXING TIME!
 
ENJOY THE GORGEOUS VIEWS OF THE WHITE MOUNTAINSAND THE FRIENDLY COMPANY OF YOUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY!!!

$25/Youth, $30/Adult,
Financial assistance available!
Please let Susan & John know of your interest in joining us by September 17th!
You will be so happy you treated yourself and your family to this renewing time
for your bodies and spirits!!!

Our outdoor Farewell Celebration for Rod & Barb Wendt!

OUR SUNDAY FAITH COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN SEPTEMBER


SEPTEMBER 5th @ 10:00 AM
Join us in our Parish House on this Labor Day Sunday to enjoy one last service in the round for our shared reflections on the sanctity of work and our shared solidarity as a human community, followed by an outdoor reception in our newly re-landscaped Sunken Garden!

SEPTEMBER 12th @ 10:00 AM
Physically Distanced Outdoor ReCovenanting Service on our Church Green, weather permitting! Join us for our Annual "Blessing of the Bags" (backpacks, briefcases, purses, etc) and to hear Richard Atkinson read excerpts from his recently completed book, “Talents Revealed”. Learn how to obtain a copy of the book to read on your own. Then, be sure to attend Church on Sundays October 4 and 11 to engage in a discussion about the book after Church with the author!

SEPTEMBER 19th @ 10:00 AM
International Just Peace Sunday! Join us as we return to gathering in person in our church to reflect upon God's call to be channels of peace, justice and love in our world!

SEPTEMBER 26th @ 10:00 AM
Whether you join us for Sunday morning prayer and celebration here at our church OR at Horton Center in the White Mountains (for our annual all-church camping weekend--ALL are invited!), grant yourself the gift of this Sabbath time to renew and replenish your spirit!

OCTOBER 3rd @ 10:00 AM
World Communion Sunday! Join us for this Intergenerational Service in celebration of the Feast of St. Francis, 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!

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 FORATION AND
CHURCH SCHOOL NEWS!

We so look forward to reconnect- ing this month with our children and youth of all ages! Plans are still in the works as to how we will be able to regather, so please stay tuned! We will at least be gathering over Zoom and/or outdoors as much as possible! We wish all our kids and families a smooth return to school and all the other fun activities of the fall! Looking forward to seeing you soon!!!
NEWS FROM THE
MERIDEN COMMUNITY CAMP!

Our 18th season of the Meriden Community Camp was a wonderful success!!! From July 6 to August 20, children between the ages of 5 and 12 were treated to a safe and fun time on the grounds of our parish house and neighborhood! All the preparation and training to ensure a Covid-safe experience paid off! Thanks to the exceptional leadership of our Camp Director, Micah Dewey, and Assistant Director, Kelsey MacNamee, the camp was able to serve approximately twenty-four children each of the three 2-3 week sessions. We wish to give tremendous thanks to Micah and Kelsey, our camp counselors (Lee Cogan, Preston Hewett, Zoey Houde Crane, Anthony Perriello, Anya Rendahl, Elana Robb, Marcus Roper and Chloe Thompson), Charlotte Richardson (our camp sexton), members of the Camp Ministry Team (Cathy Rodriguez [Chair], Cindy Griffin, Karen Heaton, Beth Kopp, Jill Marshall, and Evan Oxenham), and the COVID Task Force (Ed Cousineau [Chair], Andrea Brown, Reed Brozen, Jim Lenz, Cindy Marx Wood and Cathy Rodriguez) for all their hard work. Also special thanks to Thom's Tavern, the Meriden Library, KUA, and the Plainfield School, as well as our many local businesses and foundation donors who made this season financially possible! And last but not least, we wish to thank our church members and friends who helped erect and take down the camp tents--Richard Atkinson, Erin Cartier, Micah Dewey, Alex Jameson, Jerry Judd, Evan Oxenham, Gedeon Rodriguez, Lucas Rodriguez, and Shawn Rogers. It takes a village to offer a safe and fun community camp! Thank you one and all!!!
Music and Ministry Notes
Music and Ministry
September 2021

The Music and Ministry group is meeting soon to work on planning for the coming months. With in put from the Covid Task Force we are planning to resume in-person worship with precautions in place, including masking, social distancing and open windows. At this time there will be limited to no singing. The leadership group is also working on providing a hybrid service which will offer the choice of in-person or Zoom attendance. We will also be looking at options for music which don’t require singing or wind instruments. The Covid situation is still rapidly evolving and we are trying to keep up.

Our Recovenenting Service will be September 12th, outside on the green (if the weather cooperates). We are hoping to follow the service with a simple picnic with grilled burgers, hot dogs, chips and cookies. Hoping to see you there.

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 the beginning of our new church year brings us back into this community of faith which is such a WELCOME home for us all, we fervently pray for all those affected in any way by the continuing Covid pandemic. So too do we delight with those bearing new life, and we pray with those yet trying to conceive or seeking to adopt, even as we also pray for our friends in Bolivia, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and ZimbabweSo too do we pray 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 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!” 
So too do we pray for Jerry Judd’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, MichelleCindy Griffin’s and Susan Borchert’s uncle, Arthur; Judy Croitoru; Bob & Robyn Carpenter;  Joan Dumont; 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 we pray for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Jim Lenz’ friend, Jim; Sue Turner’s dear friend, Linda Armstrong, as well as Sue’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 
    
As the days of summer shorten, we are especially mindful of both the wonder and the fragility of life, as we mourn the loss of dearly beloved friends and relatives of our faith community!!

We especially enfold within our hearts and prayers Christine Heins and her family, as they grieve the sudden death of Christine’s daughter, Melinda Ann Heins, on Friday—August 13th, 2021.

So too do we offer our prayers for Megan Hartman and her friend, Rick, upon the loss of Rick’s mother on Saturday—August 28th.  
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.


Thank you for your Works of Love !!

We give joyous thanks for all those who ministered to our Church while our Co-Pastors were away, while our Co-Pastors were away, especially our on-call PastorRev. Gail Kinney; our Service Leaders/PreachersRev. Gail Kinney;  Kathy Wright, & Richard Atkinson; our Pianist--Carol Hartman; and our incomparable Church AdministratorKathy Wright!!

Each of You is deeply appreciated by us all!!


September Calendar
Latinx Heritage Month
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.

MCC ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE NEWS



REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS

For the months of July through August 22 we received $12,820 in pledge payments for a year to date total of $102,483. We also received $547 in plate donations for a total of $3,755. During those two months we also received $4,500 for the birthday/maintenance fund. The pledge update forms will be mailed during the first week of September. They will show the total you have donated through August 22. Any checks received at the Church after that date will be counted on the first Sunday of September. 

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
Richard Atkinson "roasting" Rod Wendt, with great humor, and much appreciation!
Recent COVID-19 Task Force Discussions

Members of the church’s COVID-19 Task Force met via Zoom on August 31st to consider our communal activities in the coming months.

Based on the success of the MCC Summer Day Camp, task force members were agreeable to a request from a local Girl Scout troop of about ten youth and two adult leaders. The members are students at the Plainfield Elementary School (PES). The school’s 2020-2021 protocols were used for the MCC day campers. The scouts will meet on a biweekly basis in the parish house. Masking, distancing and hand sanitation practice will mirror those of PES. Leaders will monitor and disinfect surfaces after the evening sessions. Any snack items eaten will be consumed at a distance.   

Scouts will also follow the school illness protocols, with scouts who have missed school due to illness expected to refrain from attending troop meetings. Ed Cousineau and church administrator Kathy Wright will be checking back with scout leaders in mid-October.

The majority of the meeting was spent discussing modes of communal Worship—Zoom, outdoor, indoor and hybrid Zoom. In late August the New Hampshire Conference (NHCUCC) issued some cautionary guidance for resuming indoor worship. Local churches were asked to monitor Covid test positivity rates, assuring that local rates were below a 3% threshold before gathering for indoor worship services.   

Over the summer Sunday worship was conducted for small groups in the parish house with windows and doors opened, masked attendees, distanced seating, and recorded music. When weather permitted, light snacks were served outdoors following worship.  On average 12 to 16 attendees participated weekly.

Our task force’s discussion recognized that everyone is eager to return to in-person Sunday gatherings in the sanctuary. However, that hope needs to be tempered with caution. Gathering in our church sanctuary is problematic at best. Even if we were to open all church doors and all windows (removing the existing storm windows on many) and use fans to exhaust air, we would still have to limit seating and establish fixed distances in pews, continue to use of masks and avoid choral and congregational singing. We would be limited to stringed instruments and recorded music. It would be impractical to heat the building during cold weather services with windows and doors wide open. The furnace could not keep up. It appears that we cannot retrofit our old furnace blower with high efficiency HEPA filters.  

The cautionary guidance from the NHCUCC, the ever evolving Delta variant, the apparent reduction in antibodies being observed months after initial immunizations, the need to protect youth and those who are not (cannot be) immunized were each recognized. Additionally, gathering outdoors, hybrid simultaneous Zoom casting indoors with in-person worshipers each pose technical and logistical challenges for the congregation. In the end regular Sunday Zooms may be best for the cold winter months.  

We also noted that monthly communion Sundays may be deferred or modified. Consumption of food and drink—the communion bread and cup of juice--is not feasible as it would require unmasking in the sanctuary. An alternative using a family bread brought to the church for a blessing and consumed upon returning home was mentioned. Other options could also be considered

Youth spiritual formation sessions will continue to be held virtually. Zoom meetings were actually preferred by many discussants at this time. Some small adult groups may choose to meet indoors while observing mask and ventilation protocols.

Task force members serving in Leadership will bring these observations and considerations to the September Leadership meeting. The task force will meet again later October to consider relevant facts in this ever dynamic array of health and safety challenges.

Ed Cousineau, Convener
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!!

Our time to gather together again has arrived! Sure there will be some precautions when it comes to Covid Delta Illness but we can meet again to begin with outside! And then we plan to be in the church again beginning on Sunday--September 19th, with a zoom option hopefully available by World Communion Sunday--October 3rd.

This September 12th is the beginning of our Church Year! With the weather's blessing, we will meet outside and then have a Cook Out. Please bring your own plates and utensils, and we will have hamburgers and hot dogs, chips and cookies, coffee and juice. Bring yourselves and your family!! It will be good to see you again!

Thanks are due to John and Susan for providing snacks for us in addition to their words and prayers on the past few Sundays.
If you would like to help set up for Sunday the 12th, give me a call (603-675-5989). Thanks.

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




SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS


 
9/1         Olivia Jameson
9/2         Amanda Arcone
9/2         Glenn Griffin
9/3         Murray Dewdney
9/3         Amber Castell
9/4         Dorothy Mori
9/4         Laura Dintino
9/4         Sebastian Keen
9/4         Matt Catabriga
9/6         Richard Atkinson
9/7        Megan Hartman
9/7         Allen Rogers
9/7        Cooper Williams
9/7        Tobias Marzilli-Ericson
9/8         Len Saunders
9/9        Bailey Sibert
9/9         Lindsay Pullen
9/10       Ryker Beaupre
9/10      Tyler Cooper Gammen
9/11       Calvin Ramos-Glew
9/11       Ashley Inman
9/12       Kevin Filiault
9/14       Jim Taylor
9/14        Bill Cable
9/15       Julie Haskell
9/15       Karen Anikis
9/16 Scrib Fauver
 



9/17       Emily Robbins
9/17       Jim Ouellette
9/18       Kate Evarts
9/20       Steve Bishop
9/20       Delaney Croke
9/21       Doug Chapman
9/21       Dan Dewey
9/22       Nicholas Robbins
9/22       Anya Rendall
9/23       Alieke Feid
9/23       Kaitlin Chamley
9/23       Cory Healy
9/24       Liz Taylor
9/24       Tyler Dewdney
9/24       Greg Stender
9/26       Morgan Dewdney
9/27       Mara Castell
9/27       Anne Tracy
9/28       Lily Borchert
9/28       Judy Houde Hardy
9/28       Nancy Filiault
9/28       Cynthia Howe
9/28       Ross Wood
9/28       Andy Inman
9/30       Cooper Hardy
9/30       Jackson Davies
9/30       Alicia Goodwin










SEPTEMBER ANNIVERSARIES


9/1                Kevin and Vicki Ramos-Glew
9/4                 Susan and Lewis Greenstein
9/6                Judy Houde Hardy and
Gregory Hardy
9/6                 Wendy and Ken Johnson
9/11               Clara and Kevin McNamara
9/12               Susan and Richard Pullen
9/17               Terry and Dan Dewey
9/19               Heather and Brian Giaccone
9/20               Sandy and Jim Ouellette
9/21               Sarah and Mert Hastings
9/22               Jerry Judd and Lourdes Tolentino
9/23              Len and Caren Saunders
9/24               Susan Sanzone and
Scrib Fauver
9/27             Jeff and Jordan Sraeel
9/28               Karen and Stephen Jameson
9/29             Hilarie Schubert and Jeremy Warren
9/30               Susan and Allan Reetz

 
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


A Non-Violent Way of Handling Conflict
on the 20th Anniversary after 9/11
View Trailer at--https://thirdharmony.org/watch-trailer/
 
Join us to mark the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies through a group discussion of the film The Third Harmony which tells the story of nonviolence, humanity’s greatest (and most overlooked) resource. The film also delves into the important role that nonviolence plays in the wider struggle to develop a new theory of human nature, how every one of us can add to our personal growth and fulfillment while benefitting society through the use of this time-tested power.
 
View film at your convenience on 9/07or 9/08.
With Discussion on Thursday—September 9th @ 7:00 PM
 
Free, with a suggested donation of $5 - $20 to cover costs and support NHPA's nonviolence work. Registration is required and gives you access to the video which can be viewed (at your convenience) September 7 and September 8 between the hours of 09/07/21 12AM to 09/08/21 11:59PM. Then join us for a discussion on Thursday, September 9, 7-8:30 PM Eastern via ZOOM. You are more than welcome to watch the film for free, please email doreen@nhpeaceaction.org and she will send you the link. The system does not allow for free tickets.
 
Full details and tickets, REGISTER HERE!:
https://actionnetwork.org/ticketed_events/film-the-third-harmony/?link_id=0&can_id=e0391d73b3961fefe67b127d9c473009&source=email-news-events-for-august-27-2021&email_referrer=email_1278176&email_subject=news-events-for-september-3-2021

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!

Racial Justice Ministry Team Meeting
Wednesday—September 15th @ 7:00 PM
 
           Following a summer break from meeting, our Racial Justice Ministry Team will reconvene on Wednesday—September 15th @ 7:00 PM by zoom, with zoom link soon to follow. Everyone is welcome to join us!
 
Among the Agenda items we will cover are:
 
·       * The Conference Resolution in opposition to the recently passed NH bill banning teaching of so-called “divisive concepts,” a resolution put forth by the UCC Church in Dover, which our Leadership Team recently voted to co-sponsor;  

·       *  An update on the work of our Plainfield Elementary School Racial Equity and Inclusion Committee;  

·        *And potential books/studies through which to further and share our continuing antiracism education and action. 
 
Please come and share your ideas and questions with us, as well as whatever you have been reading, listening to, and/or reflecting on since last we met.

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

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. 
Raise the Wage Voter Rally & March
Thursday, September 9th, 12:00-1:30pm
Facebook event link - https://fb.me/e/15JiCt7sT

Event Description - Join us as workers, business owners, and concerned voters rally outside the offices of Senators Hassan and Shaheen in Manchester to urge them to step up and lead in the fight to pass One Fair Wage this year! We will also visit the office of Congressman Chris Pappas to thank him for voting in favor of the Raise the Wage Act earlier this year.
Agenda: We will meet at 12pm at Senator Hassan’s office (1589 Elm Street), then march (10 minute walk) to Senator Shaheen’s office (2 Wall St), before finishing with a visit to Congressman Pappas office (889 Elm St).

RSVP at this link:
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
NH IMMIGRANT SOLIDARITY Walk
Thursday, September 23--Saturday, September 25, 2021

Participants will walk to Dover over the course of these three days and are welcome to join us! The walk begins in Manchester at Centro Latino (at St. Anne-St. Augustin Parish, 189 Spruce St). We will gather to get organized, review safety procedures and fellowship. From Centro Latino we will process to the plaza outside the ICE offices at the Norris Cotton Federal Building at 275 Chestnut St for a vigil and prayer. Afterwards, we will drive (or be shuttled) to our drop-off point for the first day of walking. The three-day walk will end at the Strafford County Jail in Dover, where ICE jails people slated for their deportation. 

Each day participants will walk 8-10 miles and stop in towns along the way. In the evenings we will hold educational, prayerful or discussion-focused events open to the public. This event will allow for safe social distancing, and masks will be provided to anyone who wants one.

Email Sarah Jane with any questions:
sjknoy@granitestateorganizing.org

Introducing SHARe –
“Supporting and Helping Asylees and Refugees”

UVIP Immigration Support Network (ISN) is now SHARe-- Over the past two years, dedicated volunteer work and generous financial contributions to the United Valley Interfaith Project’s Immigrant Support Network (ISN) helped local asylum seekers struggling to establish a home in the Upper Valley. While that work continues, it is transitioning to a new Upper Valley nonprofit: Supporting and Helping Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SHARe). Organizers include members of the Upper Valley Refugee Working Group and UVIP. While SHARe will continue the service work and financial support of the ISN, UVIP’s immigration organizing efforts are transitioning to the Granite State Organizing Project and Vermont Interfaith Action. 

Back when our church was first discerning whether to become a Sanctuary Church, many of us wished we could open our homes as well. Although legal issues complicated offering “sanctuary” in our homes, there are no such problems with hosting asylum seekers. And since asylum seekers are legally required to have host homes in order to live freely among us, SHARe provides this profound opportunity for their needs and our hearts to align.

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.