"Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.  Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many.  For the Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. Listen to me, my people, and give heed to me, my nation; for a teaching will go out from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples." ~Isaiah 51:1-4  

Church, adaptation in this extraordinary time asks us to look back, even as we try to move forward. Isaiah counsels "look to the rock from which you were hewn," Look to Sarah and Abraham. This week, we looked also to lay women like Septima Clark from the Civil Rights era who offers a model for a holistic eduction, even as we try to figure out what each local church is called to do to support children, families, parents and educators now.  We may not have been here before, but other Christians have. And we'll find a way, together. 

We are convinced that we'll find our way together, so much so that we partner as often as we can, wherever we can. We are a part of a large coalition supporting policing reform in the Commonwealth. We are partnering with Mass Support to help get their excellent mental health resources to pastors to best care for our people. And we are convinced that there is wisdom to be gleaned in what each and every church is trying across the Commonwealth! So we'll gather on Zoom for some Open Office Hours on Weds September 16, 3-4pm to brainstorm about anyone offering some sort of school support program with your church. 

And Church, there is an urgent need for action around policing reform that needs your strong advocacy to move it from the Conference Committee to the full House and Senate for a vote. If you’ve read a book on racism, offered up a prayer after yet another death at the hands of police, put up a banner in front of your church, or committed to do better, this is the policy change we need your help on. 

Read on for resources for churches on:

In hope,
Revs. Laura, Meagan, Kenneth, and Carrington

To support Church leaders in making decisions right for their communities and towards God's kindom to come, the Massachusetts Council of Churches has organized a series conversations about churches and schools:

Join Rev. Dr. Almeda Wright for a conversation about the history and legacy of churches and education, especially the  "radical pedagogy" of Black Church traditions. This conversation aims to spark our prophetic imagination of what our churches might be called to now. We aim to remember the past so we can reimagine a future that is more just, more holy and with more equity for all of God's children.  Dr. Wright is an Associate Professor of Religious Education at Yale Divinity School, having also served as a classroom teacher.

Join Rev. Kenneth Young and leaders from the Boston Public School system for a statewide conversation about what pastors need to know from school administration about their challenges during this pandemic. We will hear from Monica Roberts, Chief of Family, Student, and Advancement; Cyntoria Grant, Director of Family and School Partnership; Mary Driscoll, Elementary School Superintendent. What do school administrators wish local clergy knew? What kind of help is actually helpful? What programs either in Boston or statewide can we look to as possible examples of productive partnerships? And what did we learn from the shutdown in the spring that can help shape our response this fall? 

Join Mass. Council of Churches staff, pastors, and lay leaders from across the state for open office hours to hear what communities are doing to support public school districts, offer additional space, additional programming, and prioritize care for Black, Immigrant and unhoused students during COVID schooling. Weds , Sept 16 at 3PM on Zoom. We'll brainstorm, share ideas, resources, best practices and workshop what we're learning and seeing across the Commonwealth.

Time: Sep 16, 2020 03:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 616 042 3532
One tap mobile:
+16465588656,,6160423532# US (New York)

Church, if you’ve read a book on racism, offered up a prayer after yet another death at the hands of police, put up a banner in front of your church or committed to do better, this is the policy change we need your help on.

Massachusetts is one of only FOUR states in the nation without a statewide police officer standards and training system (POST), so an officer can be fired for misconduct in one town and rehired in another. The Policing Reform Bill is sitting in the Conference Committee, and needs our community support for strong, anti-racist provisions before a vote to the full House and Senate. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Read and share this handy explainer.
  2. Write, call, and email ALL Conference Committee members quickly with the sample script below.
  3. Invite someone else to join you in praying & pushing for policy change.
  4. Attend the coalition rally at the Statehouse on Friday 8/28 3:30-6pm with NAACP, Brothers Building, BECMA, The Boston Foundation, ACLU and others.

Conference Committee Members: 

Claire.Cronin@mahouse.gov (617) 722-2396

Carlos.Gonzalez@mahouse.gov (617) 722-2080

Timothy.Whelan@mahouse.gov (617) 722-2488

William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov (617) 722-1280

Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov (617) 722-1673

Bruce.Tarr@masenate.gov (617) 722-1600

Sample Email or Call: 

Hello, my name is _____. I'm a person of faith, a member at _____ church, calling with the Mass. Council of Churches and I am your constituent. I live at <your address>. I urge you to pass strong, comprehensive policing reform that includes:

1. Peace Officer Standards & Training

2. Civil Service access reform

3. Limits on police use of force and face surveillance

4. Creating a Commission on Structural Racism

5. Qualified immunity reform

Thank you for listening. As a Christian committed to the flourishing of all God's people, I look forward to your positive vote in support of racial justice and police reform.

(To learn more, read the Massachusetts Council of Churches letter to the Conference Committee here)

Watch the video conversation with Rev. Meagan on our Mass. Council of Churches Facebook Live  here
Are you looking for mental health resources to support your congregation or yourself?  MassSupport Network provides free community outreach and support services to residents of all ages across the state in response to the unprecedented public health crisis, COVID-19. This Crisis Counseling Program is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and managed in partnership between the MA Department of Mental Health and Riverside Trauma Center, a program of Riverside Community Care.
    MassSupport’s anonymous, confidential, and free program features:
• One-to-one, short-term, confidential support for individuals (all ages) and families.
• Psycho-educational presentations on a range of topics including: common reactions to highly stressful events, helping children manage in hard times, stress management and others upon request.
• Consultation and group support for schools, businesses, organizations and communities.

Include this text in your church newsletter: 
Mass Support is a statewide, anonymous, confidential, and free mental health resource program for anyone living in Massachusetts. Find out more at www.MassSupport.org.  
or call: 888-215-4920 or MASSSUPPORT@RIVERSIDECC.ORG.

As trusted messengers in the community, faith leaders have a unique position to encourage census participation. Faith leaders can powerfully communicate the message that responding to the 2020 Census is an act of faith that shows your love for your neighbor because an accurate count ensures access to quality schools, hospitals, roads and services that make a difference in people’s lives. They can also affirm the God-given dignity of each person. Bringing the Census into worship provides a space for reflection on the values that call us to be counted and share with your community the importance of the census.

Please, share this slide in your worship service, through your church newsletter and on your church's social media. The Census will end count on Sept 30, one month earlier than previously stated. This news raises the urgency of our collective work! 

Google Slide to include in your online worship.  
For more information, click HERE for the Faithful Census toolkit. 

masscouncilofchurches.org      |     (617) 523-2771