Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter

 September2022


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

In the Parish House

with optional masks and physical distancing,

and zoom option as well!

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81926350993?pwd=eDJPeU5UQmtpaGxxRm5rWlZrcTRkZz09


Watch for weekly e-mail notices,

and/or contact

secretary@meridenucc.org


Here it is! Volume 4 Issue 7 of our e-mail newsletter

FEATURED IN THIS NEWSLETTER

 

PASTORAL PONDERINGS


ReCovenanting Celebration and Cook-out on our Church Green!


Sabbatical Gratitude


Welcoming and Caring Ministry

  •      Re-gathering Picnic on Sunday--September 11th
  •      September Birthdays & Anniversaries


Worship & Music Ministry News

  • Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in September
  • Meriden Community Camp & Faith Formation
  • Music and Ministry Notes
  • Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
  • Horton Center Retreat: September 17-18, 2022
  •  Into God’s Hands
  • New Child of God


Spiritual Formation Opportunities

  • Gift of "The Whole Language" Book to our Church Library
  • "Revolutionary Love" Study Circle Resumes on Friday--September 23rd


SEPTEMBER CALENDAR of EVENTS in the Life of our Spiritual Family


Report of MCC Summer Camp


NH UCC Conference Annual Meeting


MCC Administration & Finance News

  • Buildings and Grounds Initiatives for 2022
  • Report of the Assistant Treasurers
  • COVID-19 Task Force Update


Growing a Just World for All

  • Peace & Justice Ministry Coordinator's Report
  • LISTEN Community Dinner & Claremont Soup Kitchen
  • Economic Justice
  • Report from our Worker Justice Minister
  • "The Way of Abundance" by the Rev. Dr. Edith Rasell
  • Support for the PRO Act
  • Racial Justice Ministry Team Becomes Antiracism Ministry Team
  • Next Meeting on Wednesday--September 28th @ 7:00 PM
  • Bryan Stevenson Talks on September 21s and 22nd
  • Continuing Black Lives Matter Vigils
  • Social Justice
  • "No Way to Treat  a Child" Webinar on September 13th
  • Immigrant Justice
  • Climate Justice
  • "Inside Climate News" award winning Newsletter
  • Legislator Contact Information
Transforming Lives as a Compassionate Community:
Rooted in Revolutionary Love”

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 ucc.org.
Visit our website



Revs. John and Susan Gregory-Davis,

Co-Pastors

Meriden Congregational Church

603-469-3235

john@meridenucc.org

susan@meridenucc.org

secretary@meridenucc.org 

www.meridenucc.org

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me

           Fluttering from the autumn tree." 

- Emily Bronte

   Welcome, dear friends, to our new church year! Just as September rings the school bell for our young people and educators to return for new adventures in learning, so too does the Meriden Congregational Church bell ring out--calling our family of faith to regather for a new year of spiritual transformation and growth! Over the summer, many of you have enjoyed the wonderful weekly worship services offered by our sabbatical pastors, Rev. Gail Kinney and Rev. Mellen Kennedy (thank you, Gail and Mellen!); others of us (including your co-pastors!) have been away from our church these past couple of months. Whether you’ve been here or elsewhere, September is our time to ring out a joyous welcome to one another as we regather for our 2022-2023 church year! We, your co-pastors, greatly look forward to reconnecting with you, hearing how you and your loved ones are, catching up on the events of your summer days, and listening to your hopes for the fall. We look forward, too, to sharing about our summer sabbatical time which continues to bless us with its rich gifts of renewal, reflection and rest—all of which has made our cup of gratitude runneth over! So let’s regather--beginning with our annual Recovenanting Sunday Service when we recommit to the joy of being church family--on September 11th at 10am, outside on the green--weather-permitting—followed by an all-church cookout (see notice elsewhere in this newsletter for more details about the Service and cookout!). 

              

   Just as the start of a new school year invites our young people and educators to reflect on their hopes and learning goals for the year to come, so too we at MCC are invited to consider intentionally the lifelong spiritual growth we long for and are called to, individually and as a church family. Since we envision our church as a “School for Love”--deepening and expanding the ways we practice loving in our world—we are each encouraged to think about and share with one another our hopes for this church year to come. How do we wish to grow in Love through our personal interactions with those in our smallest circles of relationship? Sometimes these can be the most challenging of all! What aspects of deeper Love for self and others do we especially need to explore and practice in these relationships? Who in our church family and wider community can help support us in this endeavor? Also, how do we wish to grow in love with those in our increasingly larger circles of relationship—those within our school or other workplace, town, state, nation or world? Particularly in the public sphere, how are we called to love? What does it mean to put our love into action in the face of blatant harm, injustice or abuse of power? And how are we, as people of faith, called unequivocally to speak the truth in love as we act in solidarity with people and policies defending and protecting human and planetary rights? The depth and breadth of these and so many other opportunities for growing in authentic, faith-filled Love remind us why learning in the “School for Love” is a lifelong spiritual practice!

 

   So, let’s get ready for the spiritual growth that awaits us in this new church year, beginning on Recovenanting Sunday! In addition to joyfully welcoming and reconnecting with one another, singing, sharing and praying together, blessing our backpacks, satchels, purses (and whatever bags we carry through our days!), we will recovenant to be a church family seeking to live in the Way of Justice, Love and Peace, as Jesus taught. We will be invited to share our hopes and longings for spiritual growth in these months to come and also introduce our church theme for the year: Transforming Lives as a Compassionate Community—Growing Spiritually as an Anti-Racist Church, in tune with this critical issue of our times. And what could be more fun after worship than barbequing? So come ready for an awesome church family reunion on Sunday, September 11th—to start off our new year together! We can't wait to see you then! 

 

With deepest gratitude for the joy

of sharing in this journey of life and faith with you,

Your Co-pastors,

Susan and John

       

Transforming Lives as a Compassionate Community:

Growing Spiritually as an Antiracist Church”


RECOVENANTING SUNDAY 2022!

SEPTEMBER 11TH

AS WE RE-GATHER FOR OUR

CHURCH YEAR 2022-2023!!!

 

10:00 AM Intergenerational Celebration

(Outside on the Church Green--weather permitting)

Followed by

A Picnic Lunch & Cookout !

 (Please bring a dish to share--Grilled Food provided!)

OUR SUNDAY FAITH

COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN SEPTEMBER

(In-Person and on Zoom,

in the Sanctuary or Parish House, with masks optional)


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. 


SEPTEMBER 4th @ 10:00 AM

Labor Day Sunday

Come welcome home our Co-Pastors as they return from their Sabbatical time of renewal and re-creation, in our Parish House, followed by refreshments and conversation.


September 11th@ 10:00 AM

Recovenanting Sunday

Join us for our joyous regathering Sunday as we recommit to being a church family in this year to come! We will begin with worship on the church green, followed by an all-church barbeque! Come join in the fun and reconnect with friends old and new!   


September 18th @ 10:00 AM

Worship in the Parish House with Rev. Greg Marshall!  

and 

Horton Center Worship

for those who can join us!

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!


September 25th @ 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!


October 2nd @ 10:00 AM

    World Communion Sunday!

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 FORMATION AND

CHURCH SCHOOL NEWS!


Happy Fall to all! We so look forward to resuming our church programming for our children and youth this month! This will include: 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 for our high school students. We also look forward to offering the OWL Program to our Grade 4-6 and Grade 7-8 children during the 2022-2023 church year!


And watch for exciting info about NONO--"Parents Night Off and Night Out!"--a fun time for children in our church and community to engage in supervised play here in our parish house while parents enjoy a much needed break!   


If you love supporting children, youth and families, you are so warmly invited to join us on the-- Spiritual Formation Ministry Team! (Odile Clavier, Cathy Rodriguez, Kelsey MacNamee, and Susan Gregory-Davis).


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!

 Sabbatical Gratitude!


   How blessed we are to be your Co-pastors! Not only did you generously gift us with extended Sabbath time these past three summer months, but so many of you--including our most wonderful sabbatical pastors, Rev. Gail Kinney and Rev. Mellen Kennedy--gifted our church family during this time with engaging, creative worship, lovely music, loving pastoral care, support for the Meriden Community Camp, personal cat and plant care, and every other manner of administrative, building & grounds, and general church ministry that ensured the smooth functioning of the Meriden Community Church while we were away! We could not be more grateful to each of you both for our own time of rest, reflection and renewal and for your supportive love during these summer months. 


     Special thanks to Rev. Gail Kinney and Rev. Mellen Kennedy for your creative, thoughtful and renewing worship services; and also to Gail for her pastoral care and support of many church members; Carol Hartman, Church Accompanist, for her beautiful piano playing each week; Kathy Wright--our Church Administrator--for attending so competently and lovingly to every church detail; Shideko Terai and Cindy Mark-Wood for supporting our church services; Jill Marshall, Vice-Chair of our Leadership Team, for chairing and facilitating the Leadership Team and its summer projects; Cindy Griffin, Treasurer and Camp Team member, for chairing the Camp Team; Shawn Rogers, Building & Grounds Coordinator, for overseeing the summer's restorative building projects; Sue Richardson and Eveline de Araujo Santos for their cleaning ministries both for church and camp; Ed Cousineau, Chair of our Church's Covid Task Force, for keeping our community abreast of current Covid concerns and updated safety practices; and Eloise Hampton, Elaine Lenz, and Kathy Wright for taking such good care of our kitty, Rosie, and our plants! 


   Plus there are undoubtedly many others of you who helped out in equally helpful and meaningful ways from behind the scenes! Thank you to one and all! We are so blessed to be part of this family of faith! 


 Our cup of gratitude runneth over!

        Susan and John

WELCOMING and CARING MINISTRY

Welcome Susan & John Home

With an Outdoor Cook Out

on Sunday--September 11th

After Church!!


    Throughout June, July and August many of gathered in the Parish house for Worship. Thanks to Rev. Gail Kinney and Rev. Mellen Kennedy for sharing their knowledge and wisdom. Each Sunday we also enjoyed Coffee Hour. Some people chose to go the the service by zoom and then came later to join the in person fellowship. Thanks to Kathy Wright, Shideko Terai, Cindy Marx-Wood and Lee Oxenham for helping to provided food and helping with clean up


   Our Co-Pastors, Susan & John Gregory-Davis, are now back home in Meriden! We are planning a gala re-gathering picnic on Sunday September 11th after church. We will provide hamburgers (beef or vegetable) and hot dogs. Ed Cousineau and Evan Oxenham will be the grill masters. Please bring a chair, your appetite and a salad or dessert to share. If you would like to help with the set up please contact Kathy Wright at (603)469-3235


HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US

SEPTEMBER 11TH!

Kathy Wright, Coordinator of the Welcoming and Caring Ministry

Music and Ministry Notes


Music and Ministry

MCC

September 2022


As much as I am clinging to Summer the signs are all there. Autumn is fast

approaching. The wonder of Nature’s steadfastness came to my attention during the Covid-19

pandemic when everything in our human lives was turned upside down.

We were isolated, we were afraid, we were making our way through uncharted territory. During

all of this turmoil the seasons continued to change from one to the next without hesitation or

consideration for the plight of Earth’s human pandemic dilemma. For me this was a sort of

mooring which provided grounding and comfort at a time when everything was so unpredictable. So, even though I am reluctant to accept the end of Summer, Thank-you Mother Nature for your dependability and faithfulness. In return we must support our planet and learn to live in harmony with her.

Sunday, 9/11/22 will be our Recovenanting Sunday service to formally begin the Fall

Season of our church. After the service there will be a picnic on our lawn. We will grill beef burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers. Please bring a dish to share, either a salad / side dish or a dessert. Please come!!

John, Susan, Elaine and I will be meeting soon to work on planning for the up-coming services (and hopefully a choir!). Stay tuned for what’s to come.


Wishing a blessed and happy New Season to everyone!.

Cindy Marx-Wood for Music and Ministry



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  the safety of the people of Ukraine, and for an end to the war being waged against them, even as we likewise 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 ZimbabweWe pray as well for 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 Karen Sutton’s friend, Amber Howard; Patricia’s parents; Laine Gillespie’s friends, Josh & Perry;  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; 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 HomeyerRod & Barb Wendt’s granddaughter, Ada Jane; Susan Turner’s brother, Curt Turner, as well as Sue’s cousin, Buddy Stevenson, and Sue’s friend, Barbara Zenker; 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: Cynthia Howe; Becky Luce; Carol Hartman’s nephew, David Busch; John’s friend, Peter; Shideko Terai’s Uncle, Ted De Luca; Laura Cousineau’s brother-in-law, Eric, as well as Laura’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; Connie Kousman; Gail Kinney’s brothers, Charles & David; Linda Perkins’ friend, Linda Stone; Suzanne Lenz’ brother, Bob, as well as Suzanne’s nephew, Billy; Bailey Sibert; Ed Foltyn; Jo Evarts, as well as Jo’s sister, Jingles; Robert Bryant; 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

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!

at

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  by September 9th. And please let us know if you have any questions! We look forward to being with you on the mountain!

Your camping Co-Pastors, Susan and John


Into God's Hands 



            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 extend our sympathy to the family and friends of David Quimby, as they mourn his death on Tuesday—June 7th, 2022.

 

           And especially since she was so looking forward to moving up north to be closer to her son, Mark, we are all so sorry to have lost our dear Joan Dumont on Wednesday--June 8th, 2022. Our thoughts and prayers are with her sons, Mark and Roland, and their families, many of whom shared with us in a lovely celebration of Joan’s vibrant life. 

 

           Through our involvement with the United Valley Interfaith Project, many of us have come to know and love Rosemary Afeldt and her husband, Dan Afeldt, who died on Thursday—June 9th, 2022, following a valiant battle with cancer. Our hearts go out to Rosemary as she transitions to life without her beloved Dan. 

           

            Earlier this year we welcomed our neighbors, Diane & Mark Walker into official membership within our church. And thus it that we especially hold them tenderly in our hearts and prayers as they grieve the loss of both Diane’s father, William Riefenstahl, on Saturday—July 2nd, 2022, with special concern for Diane’s mother, Sally, followed too soon thereafter by the loss of Mark’s sister, Corinne Sterling on Friday—August 19th, 2022, at the end of her courageous struggle with cancer. 

 

           So too do we offer prayers of consolation to Melanie & Terry Henry, upon the loss of Terry’s mother, Pauline Henry, on Thursday--July 7th , 2022.

 

           Our hearts go out to Andrea Brown & Reed Brozen as they grieve the loss of their dear friend, Christine Klein on Thursday--July 21st, after a stoic journey with cancer. Chris had been part of the Riverbend Veterinary practice for many years, and was much beloved by many people, and critters, throughout our community.

 

         We likewise grieve with Betty Walker and all those within our community who knew and loved Betty’s dear friend, Shirley Sullivan, whose earthly life ended on Thursday—July 28th, 2022.

 

         And most recently, many of us who remember when Christy Trudo & David Ladwig were active members of our congregation years ago, are sorry for the loss of Christy Trudo following open heart surgery on Wednesday—August 10th, 2022.

           

          As God has welcomed these much beloved 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 mourning.

New Child of God :)

               

       We celebrate with Judy & Dan Croitoru the birth of their third grandson, August Arthur Lannigan!  Born on Wednesday—July 20th, at 7:14 PM in Pittsburghbaby August weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and is the son of Rachel & James Lannigan.   In grateful company with August's delighted parents & proud grandparents,  we joyously proclaim,

WELCOME to our World,  

August Arthur!


“The work of revolutionary love belongs to all of us. . . .

We all have the ability to participate in this great love story.

Imagine the stories we tell, the institutions we will build,

and the lives we will lead when we affirm that every person is a person.

          Imagine the world we will birth when we see no stranger!”           - Valerie Kaur


Faith Odyssey for Adults!!

“Revolutionary Love for our Times”


Friday—September 23rd,  2022 @ 10:00 AM

At the Home of Selden & Jan Lord

(27 Serenity Drive, Cornish)

and at this Zoom Link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82446465480?pwd=eHVobGdUM203RG92eWpjY0lSZnIydz09


    Those of us who have been sharing in the  "Revolutionary Love" Study group have inspired to continue exploring and delving into the principles and practices of what Sikh activist, Valerie Kaur, calls “revolutionary love.”  In the spring of this year, we began  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.  Our plan is to reconvene this coming Friday morning—September 23rd at 10:00 AM, both in person at the home of Selden & Jan Lord (27 Serenity Drive in Cornish), and on line at the above zoom link, with future meeting dates yet to be decided upon.  And we would love to have you join us!   If interested, but not available at this time, do let us know, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your schedule.

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!!

MCC CAMP THIS SUMMER WAS A SUPER FUN TIME!!!!

MCC Summer Camp had a Good Year

The Meriden Community Camp celebrated its 19th summer this year, much thanks to the care and support of the Meriden Congregational Church. Over the course of seven weeks this summer, an average of 30 kids per week from six towns enjoyed full days of hands-on exploration, quiet and active times, games, and plenty of outdoor time together. Highlights for participants this year included hiking, swimming, gardening, cooking, arts and crafts, and bonding time with our top-notch counselors. 


We are grateful to the staff, including Director Micah Dewey, Assistant Director Kelsey MacNamee, and their excellent team of counselors, who dedicated their summer to caring for our community's children. This is never a small feat, but perhaps particularly challenging this year due to the toll the pandemic has had on too many children's social emotional development.


Families always look forward to our community camp because it provides a powerful and fun learning environment. Campers are challenged every day as they exercise their creativity, collaboration, and communication. They build social and problem-solving skills and take a break from technology over the summer with plenty of outdoor play. And what do the campers say about MCC? They enjoy joy-filled days with new friends and caring counselors in a traditional camp experience.


Thanks to the generosity of many people and organizations in our region, we were able to offer many scholarships to participants and also ensure a wage of $15 an hour for our counselors.



Thank you Meriden Congregational Church friends for your support of this important program! Jill Marshall, Organizing Committee Member





New Hampshire Conference, UCC

2022 Annual Meeting

Saturday, October 15th, 2022

Hybrid event to be held in-person at the Grappone Center, Concord, NH

and via Zoom Webinar, YouTube Livestream

Video invitation from our Conference Minister:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUC1KrChmck


THEME: This year we will explore the theme “Sing a New Song” as inspired by the words from Psalms 40 & 96, “O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!”


KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Our keynote speaker will be Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, a full-time composer and musician, who serves across denominations teaching about music and spiritual formation. Known for hymn forms, simple chant and pop-rock arrangements, he has several albums of original worship music. Richard is Currently immersed in a long-term study of the Psalms. He is the owner of Worldmaking.net.



REGISTRATION: Please visit https://nhcucc.org/conference-ministries/2022-annual-meeting?page=conference-ministries/2022-annual-meeting for up-to-date Annual Meeting Resource Materials and a link to the registration website – which officially opens August 31, 2022. This year all registrations will be processed online on or before Monday, September 26th at 11:59 PM, when online registration officially closes. The Youth Delegate Rate will be $50/person; Retired Clergy and Retired Clergy Spouse/Partners will be $55/person; and Delegates & Visitors will be $85.00/person. 


MCC ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE NEWS
Building and Grounds Initiatives for 2022 as reported in the Annual Report




REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS


As of June 19 we received $7,744.62 in pledges. As of July 24 we received an additonal amount of $6,210 for pledges. As of August 28th we received $7955 in pledges.These three added to our pledge total for the year 2022 makes $99,745.62 for a total of year 2022 so far.. Also we received $438 in plate contributions for June, $340 for plate contributions in July and $220 for plate contributions in August for a summer total of $998 plate contributions and a total of $10,514 Plate contributions for 2022 so far. So the grand total of Pledge and Plate Donations for the year so far is $110,259.62. 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.

Cindy Marx-Wood and I have been trying to keep a faithful accounting of all contributions so far. Let us know how we are doing.


Kathy Wright

Cindy Marx-Wood


News from the COVID Task Force



Carefully Looking Ahead


In mid-August 2022 members and friends of the Meriden Congregational Church received the welcomed notice that follows. While the Covid-19 pandemic is not over it has entered a new phase. The text below reflects the studied consensus of the church’s Covid-19 task force:

 

Over the summer months the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated some guidance given to the general public. Our home towns and communities are now faced with much reduced but continuing levels of Covid-19 infections. This continuation is sometimes termed "endemic" and signals that the Covid-19 virus itself persists but that it presents a lessened level of acute threat to the broad public health of our communities. Nonetheless, the virus continues to pose a more specific threat to individuals with weakened immune systems and to unvaccinated persons. 

 

The MCC COVID-19 Task Force announces that the following changes to our former pandemic Covid protocols are now in effect. However, the church may reinstate mandatory masking requirements and some (or all) of the specific measures relaxed below should future local conditions warrant, or if directed by relevant public health authorities.

 

1) Masking on church property and during church services is now optional.  Those who wish to continue masking are welcomed and encouraged to do so.   The church will continue to provide effective N-95, KN-95 and level 2 surgical masks should you wish to use them to protect yourself.  


2) Any parishioner who is feeling unwell should not attend church activities or in-person functions. This is true for those who are fully or partially vaccinated, for those who may be unvaccinated, as well as for those who are unable to be vaccinated.


3) Congregational and/or choral singing no longer requires masking.  Wind instruments may be played.


4) Careful physical distancing no longer requires using alternate pews or

arbitrary six-foot separations.


5) The passing of shared communion elements during worship may resume. 


6) Food and drink may be shared in all settings. The kitchen in the parish house may reopen fully.


7) Receptions, classes, meetings and events may be held in-person. All pre-pandemic church activities may resume with specific and thoughtful awareness of the continuing endemic state of the Covid virus in our local communities.  


8) Good hand sanitation is expected from all parishioners. Hand sanitizers should continue to be placed at all locations across church property during all activities.

 


Our church family and friends have come through the last two and a half years learning some remarkable and quite often unexpected lessons. More will undoubtedly be learned in the months and years ahead. During these thirty intervening months our prior experiences of church, community and home often have been turned upside down and sometimes, perhaps, shaken to the core. As we begin to come back together, let us continue the respect and trust that binds together our faith family.

 

With our thanks for your patience and personal conscientiousness during the stresses of this pandemic,

 

Susan and John Gregory-Davis, Co-pastors

Cathy Rodriguez, RN, MSN

Cindy Marx-Wood, MT (ASCP) SBB

Andrea Brown DVM, MPH

Reed Brozen, MD

Jim Lenz, MD

Ed Cousineau, Convener, COVID-19 Task Force





SEPTEMBER

BIRTHDAYS

9/1         Olivia Jameson

9/2         Amanda Arcone

9/2         Glenn Griffin

9/2         Davi Lucas Ramiro Araujo

9/3         Murray Dewdney

9/3         Amber Castell

9/4         Dorothy Mori

9/4         Laura Dintino

9/4         Sebastian Keen

9/5            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

9/21       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

9/24           Susan Sanzone and  Scrib Fauver

9/25           Lee Walker, Jr. and Claire Wellington

9/28           Karen and Stephen Jameson

9/29           Hilarie Schubert and Jeremy Warren

9/30           Susan and Allan Reetz

   Come find your treasure at a nearby Yard Sale!!!

                       Saturday, September 10th

                        316 Route 120, Plainfield

                               9:00am-3:30pm

Church friend, Trisha Hughes, invites you to stop by her home (soon to be sold in anticipation of relocating) on Saturday, September 10th for a yard sale that will feature a wide variety of household and handy items including furniture and tools. Seek and ye shall find! We wish Trisha and her family all the best in their new community and home!  

Outreach News

Outreach, Peace, and Justice Ministry Teams

News for September, 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!


OUTREACH


Listen Community Dinners Meriden Congregational Church has offered the commitment to prepare and serve dinners the FIRST Thursdays of the odd numbered months. The next date is November 3rd. 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 http://meridencc.listen.volunteerhub.com/


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. September 24th 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


PEACE

     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 may be made by mailing a check made payable to the United Church of Christ, PO Box 71957, Cleveland OH 44194 & memo line: Ukraine Relief Fund.


JUSTICE

Economic Justice 

     Please read Rev. Dr. Gail Kinney’s article below, and check out the inspiring and informative new book by the former UCC Economic Justice Minister, the Rev. Dr. Edith Rasell, "The Way of Abundance."  This was one of John's favorite sabbatical reads, and we hope to bring Edie to NH to share more with us her research and her call to action. 

"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.



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 has evolved our name to become the Antiracism Ministry Team. The next meeting of our Antiracism Ministry team is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday--September 28th @ 7:00 PM, during which we look froward to sharing more about our reading and reflection during these past few months.  

     In the meantime, we recommend viewing either or both of the upcoming talks by Bryan Stevenson, as described below. Many of us first learned about Bryan through the book/film about him, “Just Mercy” (well worth viewing if you have not done so already, as is the documentary, “True Justice” which features Bryan throughout), and/or his TED talk: Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice | TED Talk. A highlight of our sabbatical was being able to travel to Montgomery to visit both the Legacy and Peace & Justice Museums founded by Bryan and the Equal Justice Initiative.  

    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 continues 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. In keeping with our Just Peace Between Palestine & Israel Resolution, we recommend viewing the "No Way to Treat a Child" Webinar next Tuesday--September 13th, as described below.



Immigrant Justice

The first Tuesday of each month NH Immigrant Solidarity Network (NH ISN) meets. Organizations include GSOP, AFSC, and clergy. It is interfaith and non-partisan.  Next month's meeting on Tuesday--October 4th will be an in-person vigil at the ICE building in Manchester for the first time in many months.  Please contact John or Shideko if you would like to learn more.


Climate Justice

Lee Oxenham has 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, and check out this award winning climate newsletter:  Scientists Again Call for Civil Disobedience To Spur Climate Action, Saying ‘Time is Short’ - Inside Climate News


In solidarity and hope, 

Shideko Terai (she/her), Outreach, Peace & Justice Coordinator

text or phone 603-252-7898, email shideko.terai@gmail.com


        Please join the #nowaytotreatachild campaign co-leaders from Defense for Children International - Palestine and American Friends Service Committee for a webinar on Tuesday--September 13th at 12 PM.

 

          August was a tragic month for Palestinian human rights. On August 5th, the Israeli military launched a massive military offensive on the Gaza Strip, resulting in the killings of 17 Palestinian children, whose deaths DCIP continues to investigate. Less than two weeks later, Israeli forces raided the Ramallah-area offices of the six Palestinian civil society organizations criminalized by the Israeli government last October. Israeli forces welded the office doors shut and gave official notice declaring the organizations illegal. A few days later, two of the organizations' directors, including DCIP general director Khaled Quzmar, were summoned for interrogation by Israeli forces.

 

         This webinar will discuss how we can advocate for accountability for both Palestinian children, especially those injured and killed in Gaza, as well as the Palestinian human rights defenders standing up for them.


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 Labor Day

Write Your Senators—Pass the PRO Act! (actionnetwork.org)

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/pro-act/


Watch this brief video for more information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeLj79DK6wk


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. 

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


Bryan Stevenson to Speak at Duke

 

       The author and human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson will speak at Duke at two upcoming events: Wednesday, September 21, at 6:00 p.m. in Duke University Chapel and Thursday, September 22, at 5:00 p.m. in Page Auditorium.


        Both events will also be livestreamed but not recorded. For the livestream of the September 21 event, register here. For the livestream of the September 22 event, register through the Duke Box Office.

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
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.
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