Dear Church,

We see signs of life. After a week of warmth, you've probably got them in your yard or seen them in the cracks between your sidewalks: those silly, foolish crocuses.  Their bright green shoots push up out of the cold, dry soil, proclaiming the arrival of a new season.  Never mind the fact that they are too early, that they might not make it, that we don't know what kind of weather is coming next

We feel a kinship with those green sprouts.  Even in the cold, dry soil of now the least religious state in the country*, we feel the warm light of God's love and cannot help but reach toward it.  It's why, in an era of struggling Christian Institutions, we're training new leaders of Christian Institutions, with the partnership of Duke Divinity's Leadership Education Program. It's why, in the context of an overwhelming opiate addiction crisis, we're educating small groups of clergy by county on how to recognize and address addiction in their communities. It's why we're the regional host of an event to train up young preachers (ages 14-28) tomorrow at Gordon Conwell with the Academy of Preachers.  It's why we're planning Ecumenical Pilgrimages to Episcopal Holy Tuesday and Greek Orthodox Holy Week and the Bi-Centennial celebration of the African Methodist Episcopal Church this summer.  It's why we're not afraid to announce a new, innovative staff team structure that provides for tent-making and relationship-building.

Please share our joy as Rev. Meagan Manas is promoted to "Director of Internal Relationships." Please also share the job posting as we search for a "Director of External Relationships."

Some might think we're silly, like those crocuses.  Some may shake their heads, worrying that we don't know what kind of weather is coming next.  But we will keep following the warm light of God's love--just as you are doing in your congregations and institutions around Massachusetts.  The soil is as cold and dry as ever.  But the crocuses are popping up everywhere.

In joy,

Rev. Laura

*We actually tied with New Hampshire.  Check out the full Pew Research Study here!
In This Issue

May 25


March 20
Boston, MA

March 25
Shrewsbury Ecumenical Good Friday

April 3
Holden, MA

Read Rev. Laura's past sermons on her blog:

​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!

2016 Women in the World Conference
Anna Carter Shaw Center
Boston University School of Theology

This year’s Women in the World Conference focuses on lifting up the voices of African American women. We will explore the unique challenges and struggles of African American women, as well as the ways in which they have found strength and pushed the boundaries of inherited narratives. Further, this conference will explore theological, ministerial, and sociological responses to this crisis, and put it in conversation with other rhetorics of fear that currently exist.

April 13, 2016
11 AM - 7:30 PM
Barrister's Hall, BU School of Law
765 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
More information and Registration online.
May 2-5, 2016
Concordia Lutheran Church
40 Pitkin St.
Manchester, CT
The Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) is a four-day intensive course with a practical application project. It provides the research, tools, and customized training to meet the growing needs of leaders in religious communities and fundraisers of faith-based organizations.

The focus of the ECRF is on the cultural, organizational, and philanthropic practices unique to religious institutions. These practices in turn enable donors motivated by spiritual and religious values to experience the joy of generous giving. 

This training is made possible by the New England Synod, Hartford Seminary, and the Massachusetts Council of Churches through Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  To learn more about the course objectives, required readings and final project please visit the ECRF main page.

Download the flyer to learn more and register at the online portal.
March 12, 2016
Gordon-Conwell Seminary
Hamilton, MA
In this one day event, young preachers (ages 14-28) will develop a network to cheer them on as they grow in their call to gospel preaching.

Join Young Preachers from across New England on the campus of Gordon - Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, MA to stand and deliver!  15 minute Sermon will be videoed, reviewed by a professional and posted on Youtube.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
11:00 AM
St. Paul's Cathedral
138 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

This Episcopal service of Holy Eucharist includes the blessing of holy oils and renewal of vows for clergy. Bishop James Hazelwood of the New England Synod of the ELCA will preach. 

Meet Rev. Laura 15 mins before the start time near the back of the church--there will be a reserved section for our ecumenical delegation! Let us know if you're coming on the facebook event page.

A luncheon will follow ($10 per person, open to all--but must register!).
For lunch reservations call 617-482-4826, ext. 221 or e-mail

Monday, March 28, 2016
12:00 - 3:00
Worcester MA 

Join other Youngish Clergyish types from across Massachusetts for Post-Easter recovery brunch on Easter Monday! Stop by any time between 12-3 for some brunch--KIDS welcome, SWEATPANTS welcome. Very welcome.

In the tradition of this event, portable musical instruments are also welcomed!

Seriously, just drag yourself out of bed and we'll provide food, fellowship and fun. Please feel free to invite other colleagues. For more information or to RSVP, email Rev. Meagan or check our facebook event page!

* we consider both "youngish" and "clergyish" to be expansive categories, open to self-definition. Our aim is to connect up those who serve the Church in some way and celebrate surviving Holy Week!  Brunch is open to any and all who want to bask in the post-Easter glow with over the fellowship of baked goods.
​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
​Upcoming Workshops: 
Greenfield, MA    April 15, 2016
9:00 am - 4:00 pm (registration opens at 8:30)

Middlesex County and Boston Metro--Save the Date!
May 25 or June 1--locations TBA
9:00 am - 4:00 pm (registration opens at 8:30)

April 11, 2016  8am – 4pm Hebrew College
160 Herrick Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459
Tickets: $20 ($10 for Students)

The Dignity Project is a multiyear initiative designed to bring together seminarians, clergy, and community leaders 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.

This workshop will include conversation with Diane L. Moore, Director of the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard University, and Boston-area religious leaders.


Sunday, May 8, 2016, 7 AM
Rain or shine!  Wear purple!
Town Field Park, Fields Corner
1520 Dorchester Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02122
(New Route to Boston City Hall  TBA)
We invite you to participate in the historic 20th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace. Peace isn’t simply the absence of violence; peace is the presence of healing, reconciliation, and accountability. The Mother’s Day Walk is a celebration of our potential to create communities where all families can live in peace and all children are valued. More than that, the Mother’s Day Walk is a commitment to do the work necessary to bring that vision of peace to life.  Walk with us toward peace!  More at!      |     (617) 523-2771