Sometimes unity is hard to see. We've learned to be critics, looking for the flaws rather than the flourishing. And the truth is, there is great division in our country and the Church, often division for very good reason. 
 
And yet... And yet, we are a people that believe in a unity in Christ Jesus that is deeper than any election season, any human sinfulness, any of the current brokenness. 
 
"And yet" is the story of being Christian. There is death, and yet, Jesus points the way to eternal life. We are divided, and yet, the Spirit prods us to a unity beyond what we can ask or imagine. We are the Church in New England in a very challenging and rapidly changing landscape, and yet, God has not abandoned Massachusetts nor left us without gifts to share! 
 
I believe that Jesus Christ longs for the unity of His followers not just for our own sakes, but so that our common witness to the world might have credibility. How can we claim a God who reconciles all things to Himself if we cannot be reconciled one to another? 
 
Amidst all the division and struggle, we have spotted signs of unity. 

We've seen 28 pastors and Church leaders develop the skills and the mindset needed to guild Christian institutions today. These church leaders came from Evangelical, Peace, Roman Catholic, every version of Protestant church to an Orthodox retreat center to learn together.  In the evaluations, when asked "What are you grateful for in the Foundations of Christian Leadership Program" one pastor said "I am grateful to be learning with people from other denominations.... it's great not to be so divided here."
 
Unity is not only our calling, it is our inheritance. We have the tools of faith that we need, and we have a unique opportunity to lead the way as communities of difference seek to find a way forward together.
 
We also see opportunities to make more intentional the Christian unity that is ours. 

The days until the election are ripe with opportunities to practice unity.  Working for peace and Justice, we can learn from bereaved Palestinian and Isaeli families about reconciliation, or organize local clergy to understand, no matter our denomination, how we can join together to end the opiate crisis.  People from a variety of points of view can agree that domestic violence is not part of God's plan for creation, and learn to address it.  And all of us can sing, and learn new songs.

And we can address the tension in our pews and communities directly--try out this Liturgy for an Ecumenical Prayer Service for Election Day or Eve from our friends at the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Please let Rev. Meagan know if you are planning to host a service as we compile a list of Election Eve and Election Day prayer services.  

As we prepare for November 9, and each day after, may this excerpt from the liturgy be our statement of faith: 
    
We gather together in this place,
    in the presence of God,
    to remember that our identity is not rooted in political affiliations,
    but in our covenant with God who created us in God’s own image;
    that we are one through Jesus Christ and members of his body;
    and that the Holy Spirit binds us together into one family.

In hope,

Rev. Laura

PS: We also hope you see signs of unity in the events below, events that are not only Mass. Council of Churches initiated, but from our fellow Christian institutions. We are aiming to cultivate a "mutually affirming, noncompetitive religious ecology" in Massachusetts because we trust that God does not want our competition but wants a common Christian witness to flourish. We share the signs of unity from our partners in ministry. 
 
 
 
 
In This Issue



September 25

September 28

September

October 9-12

October 27

October 28-29

 
 
 
 
 

September 25
Boston

October 30
Arlington

Read Rev. Laura's sermons on her blog: RevEverett.com 
 
 
 
 
 
We're almost there!  Thank you to all of you who gave in memory of a loved one or in honor of someone's recovery!  We've got $1,015 more to raise in order to keep this project going!  Will you help us now, as we do our part to put an end to the opiate crisis in Massachusetts? 
 
 
DONATE NOW
 
 
 






October 9 (6:00 pm)- October 12 (12:00 pm)

Join a dynamic gathering of musicians, clergy and lay people to recharge and renew your congregational song leading. Presenters Paul VasileCricket CooperMarilyn Haskel and Jorge Lockward will lead worship, workshops and conversation to help you add the valuable tool of paperless song leading to your community’s singing practice. Learn practical skills and diverse repertoire, and explore how paperless music can enrich and expand your congregation's repertoire of sung prayer and praise. This event is being generously co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

Registration and more information at Music that Makes Community's site.
 
 
 
 
 

The Anna Howard Shaw Center invites you to participate in a research study of leadership in Protestant congregations. The information obtained in this study will contribute to knowledge about religious leadership, and will be used to create leadership development tools for pastors, lay leaders, and pastors-in-training. We welcome lay leaders and pastors of all ethnicities, gender identities, and perspectives to participate in this survey.


Thank you for your support.
 
 
 
 
 
Al Filipov Peace and Justice Forum: 

Sunday, September 25, 2015 from 4:00-6:00 pm
Trinitarian Congregational Church Concord, MA


The mission of the Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum is to promote peace and justice among all people and to demonstrate the power of an individual to make a positive difference in the world. The Forum honors the memory of Al Filipov, a beloved member of Trinitarian Congregational Church of Concord Massachusetts, who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.


The Parents Circle-Families Forum is a joint grassroots organization of Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost immediate family members due to the Arab-Irsraeli conflict. The Parents Circle promotes education, public awareness, and advocacy to foster humanization and empathy towards both Israelis and Palestinians, planting seeds of peace by listening to and understanding one another, person-to-person.
 
 
 
 
 
Join us at our next workshop:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 9-3
Registration begins at 8:30
Wareham, MA


Contact Rev. Daryl for more information!


​Upcoming Workshops:
October: Norfolk/Plymouth
November: Hampden/Hampshire
 
 
 
 
 

Did you know that cities across the northeast are ranked as some of the least Bible-minded cities in America? According to the American Bible Society’s annual survey, no city in all of New England rises above #86 of 100. Both inside and outside the church, people in our region have a lot of issues with the Bible. This September Rev. Anne Robertson, humanist author Tom Krattenmaker, and Fr. Warren Savage  are traveling to New Haven, Albany, Providence, and Boston to help us talk about it. Watch this four-minute video to see what The Great Bible Experiment: Exploring the Bible in America’s Least Bible-Minded Cities is all about.

Find out more and register to attend at massbible.org/experiment  
 
 
 
 
 
Thursday, October 27, 2016
9 AM - 7 PM
Old South Church                
645 Boylston St,            
Boston, MA 02116


The Lord's Day Alliance will offer a day of interfaith reflection on the place of rest in the life of faith. From moments of chanted prayer, through speakers, TED talk  offerings, a 6 PM Jazz service, and a final dinner, the topic--and the day's practice--will be focused around taking time out for prayer, thought, and praise.

 
 
 
 
 
Faith Leader Workshop on Domestic Violence: Resources for Counseling Survivors and Abusers

Friday, October 28, 6-9 pm
& Saturday, October 29,
9:30 am - 12:30 pm

The Cambridge Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative, Transition House, and Emerge have partnered together to offer a two-part workshop for faith leaders and their teams! This two-part workshop will provide tools for working with survivors and abusers in relationships affected by domestic violence.
 
This workshop is free of charge and open to all faith leaders and their teams. A light meal will be provided both days. Please use this link to register!
 
 
 
 

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