“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”~ Luke 2:15       

 The Christmas story is a story of pilgrimages: the pilgrimage of the Holy Family to find safe shelter, the pilgrimage of the shepherds to see the newborn Christ child, and ultimately, God’s pilgrimage to humanity to be known to us in the person of Jesus.  In the Gospel of Luke, the shepherds declare they will ‘go and see’ what God is up to in Bethlehem.  As we seek to serve and learn what God is up to, we always have to travel beyond ourselves. The Massachusetts Council of Churches creates the network and opportunities for you to see what God is up beyond your local church and across the Commonwealth.  We hope you will give generously to support this ministry of pilgrimage, accompaniment, reconciliation and connection.

At the Massachusetts Council of Churches, we aim for “mutual necessity and delight.” It’s so easy to stay separated, and there are so many forces that seek to divide. Yet, as His Grace, Bishop David of the New York and New England Diocese of the Coptic Orthodox Church said, “We need each other.” In October, we welcomed the Coptic Orthodox Church as an eighteenth member church. We celebrated with a pilgrimage to Vespers in the Coptic tradition and a feast of Egyptian food. This growing immigrant church has provided a shelter to Egyptian Christians fleeing violence and fear in their homeland while shining the light of Christ in new communities across Massachusetts.

“Becoming members of MCC strengthens the teachings of Christ within our local communities. We are able to identify one another and encourage one another to follow the Lord. Together, we are able to show this generation the Love of Christ.”

 ~Fr. Samuel Hanna, St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Natick

The Massachusetts Council of Churches provides opportunities for celebration and pilgrimage to “go and see” what God is up to. On September 20, we held a preaching workshop and statewide worship service in the Black Church tradition to commemorate 400 years since the first enslaved Africans set foot on US soil. For 400 years, African American Christians have born witness to God’s desire for liberation. Many people, from many different backgrounds came to this commemoration of 400 Years of Black Resiliency.

The 400th celebration was amazing. It was good to see the broader church celebrate in the Black Church Tradition."

~ Rev. Dr. Emmett Price, Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience, Gordon Conwell

For multiple years now, because of MCC’s visits to many different communities and churches, we’ve seen the struggles and success of churches transitioning to part-time clergy. With our commitment to mutual necessity and delight, this year we launched the Lydia Fellows Program for Thriving in Part-Time Ministry.  The Lydia Fellows Program aims to accompany bi-vocational pastors and their communities to thrive. Cohorts of fellows will increase connectivity, strengthen confidence and participate in opportunities for professional growth, while being financially compensated.  We believe that meaningful insight and transformation can be found in the stories and experiences of our faithful bi-vocational pastors serving across Massachusetts. 

 “There is a great need to help ‘less than full time clergy.’  They are now the majority in most of our denominations.  They need support and they need access to that support.”    

~Bishop Doug Fisher, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

And sometimes, the Christian obligation to travel beyond ourselves comes at a time of tragedy. In April, when Protestant and Roman Catholic churches in Sri Lanka were bombed on Easter morning, the Massachusetts Council of Churches sprang into action to provide a show of support for our grieving Sri Lankan sisters and brothers in New England.  You showed up on the Boston Common by the hundreds, churches wrote letters of compassion and comfort, and Rev. Laura shared this unified witness in a visit to the New England Tamil Church in Stoneham.  

“There are no words to express the depth of our gratitude to Reverend Laura Everett, the Massachusetts Council of Churches, and the clergy and community members from its many member churches. Many of us were strangers but we are now friends. Thank you for sharing your love with us.”

~Sharmalie Jayasinghe, President, Sri Lanka Association of New England

Church, now is a time when forces of hatred seek to separate us from God and one another. When so much is coming apart, the Massachusetts Council of Churches bears witness to the ways in which people of faith continue to come together, putting aside anything that might divide us, in order to “go and see” what God is up to.  The only way we can promote resources and connection, including opportunities to know people who are different from us, is through your financial support and partnership.  Thank you for your continued engagement in and support of this ministry.

In Hope,

Rev. Jennie Barrett Siegal                Rev. Laura Everett

President                                          Executive Director

In This Issue

Letter from Rev. Laura

Watch Night Services
Join us in Boston or Haverhill

Save the Date!
Massachusetts Council of Churches Annual Meeting
Location TBD

Save the date!

Our Advisory Board and friends are invited to attend the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Council of Churches!  Look for the location in the next newsletter.

There really is no Massachusetts Council of Churches without the churches, church members and church leaders of Massachusetts.  We need your support in order to continue our work in areas that matter to you.  Will you join us today with a financial contribution?

Give one time or set up a monthly donation from our website by clicking on the "donate" button below!  Thank you for your faithful  support.
Join Christians from a wide range of traditions  for a "Watch Night" service on New Year's Eve. Watch Night has great significance in the African American community.  Enslaved people were said to have gathered in churches on New Year's Eve 1862, waiting and watching to hear the news of the enactment o the emancipation proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.  This service is a time to give God thanks for all God has done in the year past and watch for the liberation to come in the new year. Expect lots of singing, preaching, praying and testimonials about what God has done!

Join us at one of two services on December 31:

Union United Methodist Church
485 Columbus Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02118
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Hosted by Rev. Jay Williams,
MCC Executive Board Member
Meet Rev. Laura at the church at 6:15 pm. Dress is festive.
facbook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1362310843953607/

Calvary Baptist Church
13 Ashland St., Haverhill, MA 01830
10 PM to Midnight
Hosted by Rev. Kenneth Young, 
MCC Director of External Relationships
Dress is casual

Read more about Watch Night traditions here and check out this personal testimonial from Rev. William Lamar of Metropolitan AME in DC.

We’re excited to introduce our newest partner, Community Purchasing Alliance, a purchasing cooperative that organizes missional institutions to save money and promote community building!

Our webinar on December 5th revealed that many of us are encountering similar administrative challenges and harbor a collective desire to grow this coop in MA, starting with a collective third party electricity purchase. If you missed the call and want to learn more, reach out to CPA’s Carrie Watkins and, together, we can begin to cast a vision for how we can all be saving money and moving our dollars towards the economy we want to build. 
Carrie Watkins: carrie@cpa.coop, 310.753.0442
Submit your electricity bills: bit.ly/CPA-ENERGY


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