There’s Christian unity all around us, if we have the eyes to see it. Sitting in the pew at St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Worship service, I heard the Pastors’ Council of Greater Springfield President, Rev. J. P. Morgan,Jr., list off all of the traditions present: Pentecostal, Congregational, Church of God, Church of God in Christ, Church of the Living God, Christian Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Seventh Day Adventist, Episcopal, United Methodist and multiple types of Baptist. The time of prayer was a profound experience of the joy of unity in Christ and the compelling need for so much more justice work to be done so that all can be free.

The Pastors' Council of Greater Springfield


Every MLK worship service, every Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service, every day of service is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the counter-cultural Christian reality that we are one in Christ for the sake of the world. And that oneness propels our work for justice, because if we are one, then I cannot abide the injustice that befalls my kin.  And our justice work propels our desire for unity, as we see the ways that interconnected systems of oppression seek to diminish God’s people.


Here’s what I believe: Jesus does not ask us to choose only one, unity or justice. Both unity and justice are demands on our Christian faith. We cannot pick one. Christ holds them both together and asks us to meet Him there.


My profound hope is that you will experience a taste of this unity and liberation at the many services across the state in the week ahead.


There is much to share from my sabbatical study. Most relevant this month is how long it actually takes to mend a tear. To fix what is broken takes intention, skill, and time. These tears are large and old.  We are in the long work of the visible mending of the Church torn apart by racism. This work is so much more than one prayer service a year, but a lifetime devotion to the full dignity and flourish of all of God’s people and the undoing of unjust systems. Bless you as you labor to repair.



With hope,


Rev. Laura



PS- The Massachusetts Council of Churches will be closed during the week of January 21. I am finishing up some sabbatical travel. Rev. Meagan is away on continuing education and Rev. Kenneth is on paternity leave. We’ll be open again Monday Jan 28.

 
 
 
 
In This Issue




Check out more opportunities 

Experiences of Christian Unity

 
 
 
 
 

The Massachusetts Council of Churches relies on donors like you to join us in making the Vibrant Church Visible! If you are grateful for the work of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, please make a financial commitment so that we might continue to be a critical coordinating force for good, and a common Christian witness.  
 
 
 
 
 

Are you hiring?  Visit www.masscouncilofchurches.org/jobs/post-a-job/ to list your job on our website.  

Are you looking for work?  Visit www.masscouncilofchurches.org/jobs/ to check out the opportunities!  

Let Rev. Meagan know if you need help with your posting, or if you have other ideas of resources we could offer that would help your church or organization better achieve its mission.
 
 
 
 
 
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity












The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international initiative where Christians worldwide are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17:21) by worshiping together each year January 18-25. 

In the Boston Metro area, Unite Boston coordinates a week of services and fellowship opportunities. The week is anchored by a service on Saturday, January 19, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul at 7 PM. See their website for a full listing of events!
 
 
 
 
 


We told you a few months ago about the generous grant we received from the Lilly Endowment's Thriving in Ministry Program.  Our first step in this exciting work is to hire a Program Director for the Lydia Fellows.


The Program Director will manage the Lydia Fellows Program, a grant-based program funded by the Lilly Endowment.  Their responsibilities will include recruitment of participants, communication with denominational partners, design of annual retreats, implementation of the program, pastoral care of the participants, evaluation, and grant administration.


There's more information on this position and how to apply on our website.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

 
 
 
 
 
"The Church must be reminded that it is not the master or servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.  It must be the guide and the critic of the state and never its tool.  If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal it will become an irrelevant social club without morals or spiritual authority."       
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
 
 
 

Our nation remembers the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 21, and many local churches and community groups are holding special events to honor his legacy.  Here are a few we know about, check our facebook page for updates!

Statewide: 30 Days of Giving
The faith-based community in Massachusetts is coming together to champion the King Memorial Project—a multi-million dollar effort to create a world-class memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and to further the Kings’ teachings and values.

Your donation to King Boston will help support:
  • An outdoor memorial on Boston Common
  • The King Center for Economic Justice in Roxbury, promoting workforce development, civic empowerment and political engagement
  • A community-wide endowment in partnership with Roxbury’s Twelfth Baptist Church, to fund ongoing programming at the Center
For more information, visit Kingboston.org
For a Downloadable Flyer to share at your Church: click here. 

Haverhill: January 18
Temple Emanu-El hosts this celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr. with the members of the greater Haverhill Clergy Association at 7PM.  Featured will be guest preacher (and MCC staff member) Rev. Kenneth Young, and the joint choirs of Temple Emanu-El, Calvary Baptist Church, and Bradford Christian Academy High School.

Dorchester: January 19
8:30 AM -1:00 PM: Annual MLK Day of Learning at City MIssion, 185 Columbia Rd, Boston.  RSVP to join a day of guest speakers and facilitated small group discussion to help us learn from, and build community, with each other.

On the Cape: January 20
On Sunday, January 20 from 3 – 5 p.m., The Cape Cod Chapter of the NAACP, Cape Cod Community College, The Federated Church in Hyannis and the Cape Cod Council of Churches will host a community celebration recognizing the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Federated Church of Hyannis on 320 Main Street, Hyannis. 
Along with live music, readings, and speeches from local students about the incredible life of Dr. King, the community celebration will be capped off by a keynote address from Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., the former President of Morehouse College, which is Dr. King’s alma mater, and former head of President Obama’s White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.


Boston Metro: January 20
MCC Working Board Member and Boston University Chaplain Rev. Dr. Karen Coleman will preach at Marsh Chapel on Sunday January 20 at 11 AM.  You can also tune in to WBUR 90.9 or listen online (wbur.org) to her sermon!

Boston Metro: January 21
7:30 AM: MLK Memorial Breakfast at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, featuring Keynote Speaker Sheyann Webb-Christburg and remarks from state government leaders.  The Event is co-hosted by St. Cyprian Episcopal Church and Union United Methodist Church, where MCC Working Board Member the Rev. Dr. Jay Williams serves as Senior Pastor. 

11:00 AM to 12:45 PM:  Celebration of Dr. King’s Life and Work for Peace, Justice, and Transformation. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (838 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge)

     
 
 
 
 

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