Friday, August 18, 2017
Dear Church,

We share with you what we know. Some things are clearer than others. We know that that the idolatry of white supremacy is dividing the body of Christ and roiling our nation.  

We know we have work to do. Please continue to pray and work with the Massachusetts Council of Churches for the eradication of the idolatry of white supremacy in the Church

We know that a "Free Speech" rally is scheduled and now permitted for Saturday August 19, 2018 on Boston Common. We don't know all the details of who will be there, as speakers have drop out and others may join. Our colleagues at the Anti-Defimation League of New England have a helpful blog post about who is behind the rally. 

We know of a number of events scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and multiple ways that you can participate. Below you will find a list of what is happening over the next two days.

We know this moment calls for urgency, pastoral and prophetic wisdom, and solidarity. We know everyone has a role to play. We know we're in this together, God willing, for the long road to freedom. We know God longs for the liberation and flourishing of every person. We know we will not be free until we learn to see, name, and dismantle the racism, violence, anti-Semitism, white nationalism, and multiple forms of interlocking oppression in our society. 

We do not know if there will be physical violence at the rally and counter protest on Saturday. 

We do know that we've been in conversation with Boston Police, Parks Service and colleagues that track hate groups. While the Boston Police, and on backup the State Police, will do their best to keep safety and distance between the rally and the counter-protests, we’ve seen in other places that violence pops up in unexpected areas both by individuals and groups.  If you come to Boston on Saturday, please come with companions and be prepared. A list of trainings follows.

We know folks want more clarity than is available right now. There are many moving parts. We are especially grateful for the labor of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston this week.  Staying connected to our Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page is a good source for information. 

We know that prayer is needed. Please pray for God's provision, justice, wisdom, collaboration, and mutual support. We know that prayer changes things. There's a whole lot of frenetic energy now. Get centered in yourself and God's vision of justice and peace as best you can. This clarity and spiritual maturity will be helpful on Saturday and the long road to liberation for all God's beloved children. 

As you prepare for Sunday worship in your own community, My prayer for Charlottesville is here. Please feel free to use it in your own community if it helps you. Read “A Joint Statement from Boston Area Religious Leaders on the Horrific Events in Charlottesville, Virginia.” Consider sharing my letter to Massachusetts Christians and Jews on Anti-Semitism in Boston and the Church.

We also direct you to congregational resources from colleagues at Congregate C'Ville.  

Church, I am grateful for you and pray you listen carefully to where the Spirit is calling you. I close with the end of my prayer :

God, search us. Help us to see the ways we have denied the goodness in ourselves and the goodness in others. Teach us to notice where we ourselves are complicit in systems of violence and oppression. Heal us, heal us O Lord.

God, this road to freedom is long. We need trustworthy companions for the journey to freedom. We need people of good will to prioritize the most vulnerable. In this moment, we ask You Lord to protect black lives.

For the wounded in Charlottesville, for the healing in every place, we pray. 

With Hope,

Rev. Laura

Executive Director, Massachusetts Council of Churches

Ways to Respond

~Current as of Friday Aug 18, 8am. This is a partial list, compiled with every good effort to share what is going on, as best we know it. We invite people to prayerfully discern what they in particular are called to do to work and witness against white supremacy and hate in their own cities and institutions.

Friday August 18, 5pm

Greater Boston Interfaith Organization’s Interfaith Gathering of Unity, Love, and Strength, this Friday at 5pm, at Temple Israel of Boston, 477 Longwood Ave, Boston

We strongly encourage you to use public transportation to get to Temple Israel. We are located two blocks from the Longwood Station along the Green Line’s Riverside (D) route. We are two blocks from several bus routes that stop near Beth Israel/Deaconess Hospital and less than a mile from Coolidge Corner. Reduced rate parking is available at the 375 Longwood parking garage. Please arrive early to allow for additional time for security. We request that all bags be left at home.

Friday August 18, 7pm 

Moral Revival Massachusetts: Prayer Walk around Boston Common

We call you to come to the Boston Common at Friday at 7 pm – following the GBIO Gathering of Unity (see below) – to pray that the Common be sacred and peaceful ground on Saturday morning. We will walk the perimeter of the Common and then stand at the center to offer our deepest hopes that this be a moment of spiritual evolution in our country.

Saturday August 18, 2018

On Saturday, the “Free Speech Rally” is scheduled on Boston Common. There are a number of possible ways to witness to justice and be in solidarity after Charlottesville. These are all part of a common strategy for freedom and liberation, mutually affirming and non-competitive.  We trust you to discern where God is calling you. 


There are multiple counter-protests scheduled in many parts of the city.  "Fight Supremacy! Boston Counter-Protest and Resistance Rally" will depart from Madison Park Vocational School, 75 Malcolm X Blvd, Roxbury on Saturday at 10am and march to Boston Common. Organized by Black Lives Matter Network, Violence In Boston, Black Lives Matter Boston, Black Lives Matter Cambridge & The Movement for Black Lives.

Read the Letter for Clergy from from Karlene Griffiths Sekou, Black Lives Matter, Boston and Rev. Dr. Pamela R. Lightsey Clergy, United Methodist Church. Clergy are to please read and get trained if you plan on marching and supporting this cause:

Non-Violent Direct Action Trainings to help participants prepare:
Trainings by Black Lives Matter (To attend, RSVP )

Friday 10am-1pm, Non-Violent Direct Action Training: Union United Methodist Church, 485 Columbus Ave, Boston

Friday 2pm-4pm, Medic Training: Union United Methodist Church, 485 Columbus Ave, Boston

Friday, 5pm – 10pm, Non-Violent Direct Action Training: Paulist Center, 5 Park Street Boston


Saturday 8am- 9am, Old South Church, Boston "Grounded in Faith, Moving into Action" 
We will gather in worship with General Minister and President of the UCC John Dorhauer offering a homily. The Willie Sordillo ensemble will offer us wonderful and inspiring music.  We will pray deeply and at length.  We will offer an up-to-date and in depth briefing of the different rallies and marches that are going on.  We will be sent forth together so that we are with a group.  This event will end in plenty of time to travel to any of the rallies that are going on.

Saturday 10am-3pm Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston will be open on Saturdayfrom 10-3 for an on-going Vigil for Peace, with a midday Eucharist at noon in the nave. Sproat Hall will also be open throughout this period for hospitality and peaceful conversations.

Saturday: If you cannot or choose not to come to Boston, please pray for those gathered. Please pray for God's provision, wisdom, collaboration, and mutual support. Please pray for justice and peace. Cover our city and our Commonwealth in prayer. 

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