Dear Church,

Here in New England, it seems we never quite grow out of the rhythm of the school year. With summer behind us, and the quick-paced Church programmed year ahead, we barely have time to wonder what other strategies or patterns we might consider, to imagine how else we might shape our lives. 

This year, we are working to be more intentional. At the Massachusetts Council of Churches, we took some time this summer to step back and imagine.  We have, with the help of some talented tent-making pastors, imagined a new logo and website for the MCC.  We have, with the wisdom and dedication of a small task-force, imagined a new organizational structure.  And we are imagining more.

In 2016,we will co-host Duke Divinity School's Foundations of Christian Leadership program for its first Northeast cohort, at the beautiful Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in southern New Hampshire.  "Foundations," as the program is known in shorthand, is precisely focused on pre-empting our tendencies toward life as usual, interrupting it long enough to make the space for us to think intentionally about our Christian institutions. 
But you don't have to take our word for it.  Listen to Leadership Education alums from across Massachusetts!

Bishop Jim Hazelwood,  of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, attended Leadership Education's "Denominational Leadership" program:
"I found it to be exceedingly helpful to be given a new set of tools to approach ministry in the context of this new space we find ourselves."

Rev. Wendy Vander Hart, Associate Conference Minister of the Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ, is a "Foundations" alumna!

"I may never have found the clarity of mission/purpose in my judicatory work had it not been for the Foundatons of Christian Leadership program.  A direct line can be drawn between FOCL and the work I do provoking mission/purpose in the congregations I serve.

Rev. Rich Simpson, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, says of his experience:

​“Perhaps the best part of the program for me was its ecumenical nature – as mainlines (and even beyond) we are all in the same boat – all trying to figure out together how to do ministry in this post-Christendom context. It’s easy, like grieving people, to withdraw into ourselves but our creativity and energy and hope can all be unleashed when we work on these challenges together. The speakers and colleagues were all excellent; I highly recommend the program.”

Rev. Kit Lonergan, Priest-in-Charge, St. Jame's Episcopal Church in Groveland, MA attended Foundations:

"Foundations of Christian Leadership not only connected me with a broad denominational spectrum of clergy colleagues (with whom I still keep in touch), but invited me to root around at the foundations of what it meant to be a leader of a faith community. The answer was not the ubiquitous 'more programs'-- but an invitation to be fearless in stirring up the narratives of God-given transformation within my own congregation, and within my own heart and soul. "

Ms. Bristol Huffman, Director of Youth and Family Ministries, First Parish Church in Weston, MA:

"I came away from Foundations in Christian Leadership with specific strategies for creating healthy change-- in the right ways, with the right people, at the right pace-- within the institutional and cultural context of the church I serve. I gained broader perspective about my own leadership, a network of supportive colleagues, and a hopeful narrative for my vocational path."

We are excited to be working with Duke to bring this opportunity to learn and grow to leaders in the Northeast.  We hope you'll consider applying or nominating someone you know.

With joy,
Rev. Laura
In This Issue


Watertown, MA
Worcester, MA

October 18
Burlington, MA

December 20
Sterling, MA

To all of you who contributed to our Pentecost Appeal, the Spirit is moving powerfully through you!  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!
The Boston Globe covers what happens when you put out some feelers to see if anyone is interested in watching the Pope's address to congress in an ecumenical environment! (Spoiler: 25 clergy and lay people show up to a pub at 9 a.m.!)

​God is certainly doing a new thing here at the Massachusetts Council of Churches as we launch our new logo and website this week!  Special thanks to Zach and Tom at Small Steeple for their design and tech know-how!  If you notice anything that could be improved or that is missing from our website, please let us know, just contact Meagan!

Sunday, September 27, 2015 from 4:00-6:00 pm

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.

This year's featured speaker is Malika Saada Saar:
A human rights lawyer and advocate, Malika Saada Saar has been involved in numerous issues related to the most vulnerable in our society, leading efforts in the United States to shut down the trafficking of children for sex, ending the federal practice of shackling pregnant mothers behind bars in our prisons, and advocating for federal funding for treatment services for at-risk families.

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 several locations around the state this fall.  

​Upcoming Workshops: 
Clinton, MA October 13 10:00am-1:00pm
This training is for clergy and pastoral lay leaders in the Clinton/Bolton/Sterling/Lancaster area.  
Please contact Meagan for more information.

Andover, MA  October 24, 9:00am-2:00pm
West Parish Church
129 Reservation Road
Andover, MA
This training is for clergy, church, and community members.  Tickets will be required.  You can purchase your ticket for $8 here (scholarships available).

Greenfield, MA November 21
Details TBD

If you would like to plan a training in your community, please contact Meagan.

       |     (617) 523-2771