Dear Church,
What we need is here.​

If we say we believe in a God of Abundance, then God abundantly blessed everyone, even the churches of Massachusetts.
 
I saw this abundance on a recent night in Worcester. The Massachusetts Council of Churches gathered folk in the basement of a church, not to kvetch about what’s going wrong, but to hear and tell stories of abundance. And we had plenty!
 
On October 21 in Cambridge and Worcester, we heard the remarkable story from Mike Mather (left, in purple) and De’Amon Harges (rigth, in yellow) of the death and resurrection of Broadway UMC in Indianapolis, IN.  Read more about their asset-based model that is inspiriting our sense of abundance.

In his poem “Wild Geese,” poet and activist Wendell Berry writes, “And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye, clear. What we need is here.”
 
It’s hard to presume abundance, I know. We are drowning in narratives of decline (and there are plenty narratives of decline of institutional ecumenism!). In the early darkness of November, loneliness and exhaustion are multiplied as the holidays press in. It can be hard to see, which is why we need one another to presume abundance when we can’t see it.
 
The abundance of God is not dependent on our perception, but in the power of the One who calls Creation into being and even raises the dead.
 
We believe so deeply that “what we need is here” that we are investing in the emerging leaders and Christian institutions of New England through Duke Divinity School’s Foundations of Christian Leadership. We believe so deeply that we have the resources here to equip churches to attend faithfully to the opioid crisis, that we are gathering in every county of Massachusetts to connect clergy, resource-providers, and law enforcement, and transform our helplessness in the face of the opiate epidemic into prevention and care.
 
Your deep faithfulness is a sign for me of abundance. Structures and systems may crumble, but you have been faithful to our God and to the Massachusetts Council of Churches. Thank you. As we anticipate a season of gifts, each of us brings gifts to every community in which we participate.  We are grateful for the gifts you share with one another to raise the visibility of the vibrant reconciling church across the Commonwealth. 
 
In joy,
Rev. Laura

P.S. We've got to credit Gretchen Zeigenhals with teaching us about abundance: read her piece here

 
 
 
 
In This Issue











 
 
 
 
 

November 7
Diocese of Western MA Convention

November 13-14
Diocese of MA Convention

December 20
Sterling, MA

January 24
Natick, MA
 
 
 
 
 
This fall, the MCC could use a hand!  We're looking for volunteers to help stuff Advent Appeal envelopes on Monday, Nov. 23, and to help with an office clean-up on Friday, December 11.  Come when you can, stay as long as you can, lunch will be provided!  If you'd like to help, please RSVP to Rev. Meagan.  Thank you for your willingness to pitch-in!

 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, Nov. 19
Hebrew College

The Dignity Project is a multiyear initiative designed to bring together clergy, religious leaders, and seminarians in the Greater Boston area for study and discussion on the subject of human dignity, with the goal of helping strengthen relationships across religious lines and in the larger civil society. Our first program will feature presentations by Dr. Donna Hicks, author of Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, and Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond, Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain and Chairman and co-founder of Boston's Ten Point Coalition.

 
For more information, and to register ($20, scholarships available), visit the event page.
 
 
 
 
 

To all of you who continue to send in your monetary support: Thank you for your contributions!

​The work of the 
Massachusetts Council of 
Churches is funded by many individuals, congregations, and denominational bodies--and we are grateful!  

Join our community of donors today by clicking on the link below!
 
 
DONATE NOW
 
 
 
We are thrilled to partner with Leadership Education at Duke Divinity in their mission to strengthen the ecology of Christian institutions that enable U.S. congregations and pastors to flourish.
 
 As the religious landscape changes rapidly in New England, we are hopeful that leaders formed through the Foundations of Christian Leadership program can help guide the Church through this adaptive challenge.
 
We need your support.  Who do you know who would benefit from Foundations: New England?  Foundations is a two-retreat learning community and process that focuses on lay and ordained leaders who are early in their work with Christian institutions and have the potential for longer term impact.  You can nominate a colleague or apply yourself here.
 
Foundations: New England will gather in Contoocook, N.H, at the beautiful St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center, a thriving ministry of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston. Foundations: New England will gather on April 11-14, 2016 and again September 12-15, 2016.
 
Each Foundations participant will have the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant to support innovative approaches within his or her institution. These grants are made possible by the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc.
 
 
 
 
 
November 21, 2015 
7:30 pm
The Korean Church of Boston
32 Harvard St.
Brookline, MA 02445

The Korean Church of Boston is hosting a concert of the Hwaum Boston Chamber Orchestra, to benefit Syrian Refugees.For more information, download the event flyer.

 
 
 
 
Wednesday, December 16
3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Massachusetts Council of Churches Office
416 Beacon St., Suite 416
Boston, MA 02108
You are invited to mix and mingle with an ecumenical crowd at the Massachusetts Council of Churches Advent Open House!  We'll have snacks, beverages, an ecumenical photoboth, and lots of Advent cheer.  Please RSVP on our facebook event page or by emailing Rev. Meagan.
 
 
 
 
 
​The Massachusetts Council of Churches is working with Rev. Janice Ford, RN, to bring workshops for clergy and pastoral leaders on addressing addiction and recovery in their congregations and communities to all fourteen counties in Massachusetts.  

Interested in hosting?
Check out our host information sheet and contact Rev. Meagan Manas at Meagan@masscouncilofchurches.org.
​Upcoming Workshops: 
Winter and Spring 2016 workshops are being planned.  Check this space, facebook and our website for dates and locations, coming soon!

Greenfield, MA  April 15, 2016*
*Note date change
9:00 am - 4:00 pm (registration opens at 8:30)

On October 24, over 30 clergy and church leaders met in Andover to learn about addiction and how faith communities can work with resource groups and the justice system to combat this growing epidemic.
 
 
 
 
 

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