These are complicated days. I feel the weariness and desperation of so many parts of our common life, as we strive to be the kind of Church that God calls us to be. I think of the dry bones in Ezekiel: “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” So many are cut off: parent from child, Christian from Christian, neighbor from neighbor. So much hope feels lost. 

"My sense, as a Church in New England, is we are in this place of standing and not yet moving. Standing upright, but not living....We know that immobilizing fear that we cannot trust the promise of new life... You know that it is possible to live without being alive. And maybe we will learn, like the bones of the desperate, we cannot re-animate ourselves."

As Christians, we believe in the breath of God that always animates, always starts with the most vulnerable, and always restores to life. We believe in the Holy Spirit that guards and guides us. As weary as our bones may feel Church, I believe the Spirit is alive and at work. I see it. I see it in the churches I visit who are following what the Spirit is up to beyond the walls of our buildings. I see it in the new parish of St. Shenouda & St. Karas in Milford, a Coptic Orthodox church that I recently visited, where Bible Study begins at 10pm because that is when the faithful are finished working. I see it in 300 year old congregation and a church that just gathered in March. As weary as our bones may be, the Spirit is not tired. The Spirit is active and moving among us, Church.

And blessedly, I see the Spirit guiding our newest colleague to us. On July 16, we'll welcome the Rev. Kenneth Young as Director of External Relationships at the Massachusetts Council of Churches. We saw so many wise, generous and talented applicants for this position. The Church is not lacking in faithful leaders! We are grateful for all who prayed with us during this search process. Rev. Kenneth brings many skills and connections to this position, designed to reach out to nurture relationships with the parts of the Church that have not historically been connected to councils of churches. Rev. Kenneth is the currently (and will continue to be)  the Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Haverhill, having served previously at Gordon-Conwell Theological School, St. John's Congregational Church in Springfield, and Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, TN. We are thrilled! Rejoice with us, Church! 

The Spirit is active and moving among us, Church. May you feel it in your bones. 

With hope,

Rev. Laura

If you find your self in a valley of dry bones, join me and co-host Rev. William H. Lamar for the podcast “Can These Bones” about leadership and the future of the Church. From Leadership Education at Duke Divinity: 
Welcome, Rev. Kenneth! 
I am excited to join the Massachusetts Council of Churches leadership team and I cannot wait to start contributing my part to “making the vibrant church visible.” I am passionate in my commitment to the faith community. I believe MCC gives me the opportunity to seek equality and justice for all people.  I look forward to meeting and working with so many leaders across the Commonwealth. I am eager to take part in the many programs and events, while working to become familiar on all that is the Massachusetts Council of Churches.  While I still have a lot to learn, I am incredibly blessed and grateful to be joining the team. ~ Rev. Kenneth Young
In This Issue

Rev. Laura's Visitation Schedule 

May 24

July 15

October 15-18

Save the Date!  
October 19, 2018
Annual Meeting

*Please update our address!

Thank you, Donors!

June 24: UCC Norwell (Preaching)
Please update our address!

As you know, we have moved!  Please update your records with our new address:

138 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02111
Thank you, Donors!

The Massachusetts Council of Churches relies on donors like you to join us in making the Vibrant Church Visible! If you are grateful for the work of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, please make a financial commitment so that we might continue to be a critical coordinating force for good, and a common Christian witness.  

The Boston University School of Theology (BUSTH) has been awarded a $1.5 million five-year grant from the Lilly Endowment to create an innovation hub to foster creative vocational reflection in congregations today. 

Up to 20 New England congregations will be accepted to participate in the hub, which we hope will become a collaborative, generative, and contemplative space for reflection and creative action. Participation in the hub will involve two full-day gatherings for congregational teams at Boston University and monthly smaller group cluster conversations around shared interests.
Applications are due Sunday, July 15, 2018.
Additional information about the project can be found at the grant website.
Can fundraising be spiritual?  

Is there a way I can engage in fundraising for my church or faith-based institution without feeling "icky"?

Are fundraising practices from the business sector applicable to my organization, or is there something unique about raising money for churches and faith-based organizations?

If you've ever wondered about these questions, the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising is just what you need!  We are excited to partner with our friends at the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving to bring ECRF to Boston this fall!

October 15-18, 2018
The Cathedral Church of St. Paul
138 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02111

Registration is now open for the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving's Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising Course, offered this fall in Boston hosted by the Massachusetts Council of Churches.  

The Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF), a four day intensive program with a practical application project, 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 that in turn enable donors motivated by spiritual and religious values to experience the joy of generous giving.

Church, I think of the 1st letter to the Thessalonians: “So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but our own lives as well, because you have become very dear to us.” Our faith is strong, resilient, and joyful! True Christian fellowship means not only sharing the Gospel but our very lives, including the occasional World Cup match! What a delight to cheer with our Coptic Orthodox kin and share this image of Christian unity with all the Boston Globe readers! ~Rev. Laura

Save the Date! 

The Annual Meeting and Advisory Board Meeting of the Massachusetts Council of Churches will be held on Friday, October 19, from 3:30-7:30 PM.  Mark your calendar!      |     (617) 523-2771