The work of faith communities often feels like planting without knowing if there will ever be a harvest.  We share the Gospel, preach God's word, care for the suffering, and sometimes we see the fruit of our labor.  Always, we trust that what we offer in faithfulness to God will be enough.  

This week, we got to see some fruits of our intentional effort to change the national conversation about COVID 19 to prioritize not just the economy, but those who suffer in body and spirit. 

Slate.com, a secular national news outlet, publicized the struggles of small churches, shining a light on the injustices that overburden small, marginalized, and poor churches.  In their interview with Rev. Laura, we were able to highlight your challenges to receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans (please fill out the survey below if you have not yet done so!) and disparities caused by unequal access.  Please continue to read, share, and respond to "Small Churches are in Particularly Big Trouble Right Now" to multiply a story that too often goes unnoticed.

It's the stories of small churches, and of churches disproportionally harmed by COVID19  that convicted our hearts, and our Board to create the One Church Fund

As Rev. Laura shared in the interview, we are prioritizing the needs of Black, Immigrant and unhoused churches, because "it’s a matter of meeting the “overwhelming needs” of churches that provide not just Sunday morning spirituality but after-school programs, food pantries, opportunities for the elderly to socialize, and other vital services."

The needs are great across the body of Christ and growing, and so we ask you to give to the One Church Fund. Please give now so we can meet our goal of $50,000 and begin to grant funds to the parts of the body hurting most.

This week brought a devastating report that many Black, immigrant and unhoused communities already knew in their bones;  as COVID19 struck, the death rate in April surged nearly 40 percent higher in Massachusetts cities and towns with the largest concentrations of people of color compared to those with the least. 

“This kind of data should be a wake-up call,” said Dr. Sandro Galea, a physician, epidemiologist, and dean of the Boston University School of Public Health. “It’s not enough to pay attention to the whole, but to pay attention to the fact that particular groups need particular help.”
Particular parts of the Body of Christ need particular help. As Christians, we make this audacious claim that we are one body and we cannot disregard one another. This is why your particular financial support is urgently needed in your donation to the One Church Fund. Your particular skills are needed. 

Please give generously, now, to the One Church Fund. 

As we seek to honor the whole body of Christ, we continue to proclaim that all people are essential. After listening carefully to our eighteen heads of church and other parts of the Church,  Rev. Laura told Gov. Baker's Reopening Advisory Board just that, as she and other faith leaders met with them this week.  As quarantine fatigue sets in and we ache to gather in person, we seek to faithfully balance our freedom and our care for others.  The Massachusetts Council of Churches will be posting information for churches related to "re-opening" concerns after the Governor releases his plan next week.  There are no easy answers or one-size-fits-all instructions.  Once again, churches will be called to faithful discernment, listening to God's direction and imagining more new ways of being together.

Whatever the future has in store, God holds it.  This is our refuge, and we hope it is yours as well.  We see your faithful work, your deep pain over what has been lost, your anxiety about what is still to come.  We hope you know that your labor bears fruit that will last, whether its results are immediately seen and felt, or not.  Thank you.
God Bless you.

In hope, 
Revs. Laura, Meagan, Kenneth, and Carrington
 
 
 
 
 

The Massachusetts Council of Churches seeks to better understand the experience and the barriers to equal access of the federal Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. We hope to use this aggregate data to advocate for a more just and equitable process with our elected leadership, and for more philanthropic support of churches that were not able to access federal funds.

Please fill out this survey, whether or not your church applied or received funds. This form will take ~3 minutes to complete. By completing this form, you help to ensure a more just use of resources.

Individual data for a church will not be shared publicly. If you have questions or concerns, contact us.
 
 
 
 
 
Pastoral Leadership & Grief
 
 
 
 
Have you lost parishioners to COVID-19? Are you wondering how to cope or help others cope with the recent loss of norms? We have resources. Last week, Mass Council of Churches hosted Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Dyer, Assistant Professor of Counseling at Gordon Conwell Theological School, for a conversation about leading pastorally through the trauma of COVID19. Dr. Dyer has generously offered to gather pastoral colleague groups for a session on trauma and lament. If you are interested in joining one of these sessions, please email us at council@masscouncilofchurches.org 
 
 
 
 
 
How can I help?
Support the Fund
Give now to support the One Church Fund.  Help us reach our initial threshold of $50,000 so that we can begin to give grants to churches in need.  We have been overwhelmed by the generosity we have seen so far--thank you to all who have shared their resources, especially the 50% of donors who have given to the MCC for the first time!

Share Your Skills--and Ask for Help!
Do you have a skill  that can help build up the Body of Christ? We are seeking to build a network of connection that will build the capacity of churches in the Commonwealth and strengthen ecumenical relationships.  Visit the One Church Fund Mutual Aid page and see what you might be able to offer to a community that needs help.  

Or maybe your church needs a little help!  Maybe you are a part time pastor like Rev. Meagan, who needs some help thinking about moving Christian Ed programs online.  Or maybe your church treasurer is interested in promoting online giving, but not sure where to start.  Maybe you just feel overwhelmed and need a listening ear.  Check out our Mutual Aid page to find the help you need.  None of us will make it through this alone--now is the time to find some companions for the journey.
 
 
 
 
 

masscouncilofchurches.org      |     (617) 523-2771
 
 
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