Minister Jeremi Taitt, Rev. Art Gordon (with megaphone) and Rev. Dr. Brandon Crowley lead the Prayer Protest on Pentecost, May 31 in Boston. Photo credit: Jamil Samara
 
 

"I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained." ~ St. Paul's letter from jail to the Church in Phillipi, Ch 3, v 14-16

We press on.   

Church, we know these days are hard. We know of pastors tired of pastoring through screens, tired of pandemics that steal life, tired of burying the dead. We know of parishioners tired of missing celebrating together, missing grieving together, missing singing together. Most of all, we hear the weariness from Black and brown kin of the day-to-day, minute-by-minute, enduring epidemic of white supremacy that enacts violence on bodies, minds, and souls. 

Church, we share your weariness. The brokenness of the world can be overwhelming. And we write to share some good news, with the conviction that the Holy Spirit is still powerfully at work among us. The incarcerated St. Paul, and we do too, aim to press on. 

We press on to a new, bigger goal to raise $250,000 for the One Church Fund. We praise God for the generosity of the Church! Together, we have raised $100,000 in the past 55 days. When we started seeing the needs in March, and launched the fund on May 1, we were unsure if we could meet our initial goal of $50,000. We knew from reading about the One Fund after the Boston Marathon Bombing that the needs would always exceed whatever funds we raised; that remains true. And yet, because of your generosity, now Black, immigrant and unhoused churches doing double and triple duty in caring for the humanitarian needs of parishioners and neighbors are able to apply for and receive funds. The grant making team is interviewing and assisting churches right now in their applications. Please, apply and share with other churches the applications in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

We invite you to give generously to the One Church Fund because of your commitment to justice and equity. Just this past week, the statewide COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group found that the statewide data shows that "the rate of positive cases among Black and brown residents is more than THREE times that of white residents." In fact, "in nine of the 10 cities and towns with the highest infection rates, more than half of all residents identify as people of color." The storm of COVID-19 is brutal. It hurts everyone. And Black, immigrant, indigenous, unhoused and people of color are left in this storm without the resources and protections that many white communities access.   

We know the One Church Fund does not fix the systemic injustice that place Black, immigrant and unhoused churches in their outsized role. Right at this minute, there are churches feeding people, caring for children, and supporting essential workers who cannot stay at home. We press on in gaining knowledge and meeting immediate needs. 

We press on because this moment is pivotal. In a recent interview in Commonwealth magazine, Rev. Jeffrey Brown, an associate pastor at the Historic Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury and a veteran of clergy anti-violence efforts of the 1990s, called it “the monumental moment of our times.” Just as his parents and grandparents faced similar tests, he said, “we’re at a decision right now as to whether or not we’re going to rise to make our world better for our children or leave the world in a worse condition.”

To equip ourselves for this decision, and to learn more of what this moment feels like for Black Christians, we invite you to watch this powerful video conversation between Rev. Carrington and Rev. Kenneth on Preaching and Protest.  Rev. Kenneth proclaimed, "this racial injustice does not end unless it ends in our churches."  In conversation with white brothers and sister and non-Black allies, Rev. Carrington says "It's not enough in this moment to listen to Black people, but to share power.... the brilliance of Blackness is not only can we name the problems, we have the solutions." Please, watch and share the video here

We press on with greater understanding, shared resources, and systemic reform. We understand that we are dealing with anti-Black racism in the country, the Commonwealth, and the Church, including within our own historic institution. With two Black pastors on staff, the Massachusetts Council of Churches has the capacity to offer programming for local churches on dismantling anti-Black racism, Black Church history, and building institutional capacity for racial justice in your community.  Rev. Kenneth Young, Director of External Relationships and Rev. Carrington Moore, Lydia Fellows Program Director are available for webinars and conversation with your church, with suggested honoraria starting at $250. To schedule, please contact: council@masscouncilofchurches.org . Just this week, Rev. Carrington and Bishop Gayle Harris, past President of MCC, will be speaking to St. James Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown. 

We press on together, so that we can take turns and take breaks. At MCC, recognizing the strain of these days, we've added an additional week of vacation to be taken before Sept 1. We press on together so that no one runs this race in vain. We aren't perfect. MCC has a lot of our own work to do. And we pray that we're doing it with you, and chasing where the Holy Spirit is leading in this moment. 

In hope,
Revs. Laura, Meagan, Kenneth and Carrington
 
 
 
 
 
 
Saturday, June 27, 2020
12 – 2 PM
Copley Square at Trinity Church, Boston

All mothers were summoned when George Floyd’s last word was “mama.”  Now, black mothers summon all mothers to stand in solidarity against anti-blackness and racism.
We will center the voices and experiences of black mothers while inviting all mothers who stand for black lives, black joy, and black prosperity. Join March Like a Mother for a family-friendly, kid-safe rally in response to the murder of George Floyd and to learn how we, as mothers, can harness our energy for radically necessary systemic change.

For more information, visit: https://marchlikeamother.org/boston/ or share on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/873795713115702/
 
 
 
 
 
 
News Spotlight:

Read Adrianne Gladden-Young, Researcher in the Sabeti lab at the Broad Institute and Harvard University (and Rev. Kenneth's wife), in The Atlantic in her essay Give Black Scientists a Place in this Fight. "What black Americans need is for leaders in the public-health, research, and medical communities to stand up alongside us—to engage us not as victims, but as leaders and problem-solvers."

Rev. Meredyth Ward of Walking Together in Worcester was a guest on WGBH's show In It Togethertalking about the ministry of dignity they do at the local laundromat. Listen to her interview at the link here.  WGHB spoke with Rev. Laura earlier about the One Church Fund that supports Black, Immigrant and unhoused ministries like Walking Together. 

COVID-19 resources for Places of Worship from the City of Boston: We know that each denomination and each municipality has different recommendations, in addition to the statewide minimum safety standards.  The interfaith guidance from the City of Boston is another tool for your consideration as you and your congregation think about what it takes to safely return to buildings, given the ways COVID-19 spreads and the populations under our care. 
 
 
 
 
 

COVID-19 Pastors's Seminars in Haitian Creole, Brazilian Portuguese and more languages to come

In partnership with clergy associations and Physicians for Health Equity, MCC is partnering to convene a series of language-specific webinars for pastors about COVID-19. On Thursday June 11, colleagues at the IFSI - Immigrant Family Services Institute-USA and the Haitian Evangelical Pastors's Association hosted a seminar for Church leaders on COVID19 , reopening guidelines and a conversation with infectious disease Dr. Regina LaRocque. The video is available here. We are in the planning stages of another seminar for pastors in Brazilian Portuguese. If you are interested in a seminar in a particular language or collaborating, please email council@masscouncilofchurches.org 

 
 
 
 
 

masscouncilofchurches.org      |     (617) 523-2771
 
 
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