We work hard on your behalf for a common Christian witness, not merely for our own sake but for the sake of the world. In the past three weeks, the Massachusetts Council of Churches has labored tirelessly to amplify your voice, your prayers, and your deep devotion “to offer philoxenia – love of the stranger.” And there is more work to be done.

You’ve read Our Increased Compassion, Not Our Hardened Hearts: A Joint Letter from Massachusetts Heads of Church on the Executive Action Suspending Refugee Resettlement,” initiated by the MCC and signed by seventeen diverse Christian leaders.  You’ve heard Rev. Laura on the radio speaking about how your local congregations respond to the uncertain status of immigrants.  You’ve seen the stories we helped source about how your local communities express Christ’s love through refugee resettlement. You’ve listened to the stories of Syrian Christians in Massachusetts longing to be reunited with their families. You’ve opened your Boston Globe to find MCC President Anthony Barsaminan declaring, “We find it totally unacceptable to single out and create suspect classes” and denouncing the “Muslim Ban.” 

You’ve sent notes with messages of gratitude and given financially in affirmation of this critical ministry. Your support bolsters us for the work ahead. Thank you. 

There is broad Christian consensus on the dangers of President Trump’s positions on refugees. From the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, to evangelical resettlement agency World Relief, to Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios,  and mainline Protestants , “backlash against Trump’s immigration policy may be the most ecumenical issue in America right now.”

With this broad Christian consensus and your support, we’re taking our witness a step further on your behalf. Today, we announce:

The Massachusetts Council of Churches is taking our common Christian witness in support of refugees to the courts, joining an amicus brief filed in the federal courts, Eastern District of New York: Case No. 1:17-cv-00480. 

Pro-Bono lawyers Morrison & Foerster LLP argue on our behalf: “The Executive Order offends amici’s deep-seated principles and obstructs and prevents amici’s efforts to help those in need.”  On behalf of the local congregations who help resettle refugees, the amicus brief argues that under the Executive Order, your exercise of your religious commitments is curtailed because “providing refugee assistance is a moral and religious imperative.”

As the Massachusetts Council of Churches continues this critical witness on your behalf, we need your prayerful, practical and financial support.  No one individual Christian, congregation, or denomination could sustain this media and legal witness on their own. The Massachusetts Council of Churches is only able to amplify your concerns and our common Christian witness with your support. Please, if you are proud of what we have done together and what we will continue to do, give generously. We invite you to give $11.15 monthly in honor of our 115 years of common Christian witness.

We are proud to help make the moral and legal case for your Christian love of the stranger. We are mindful of all those fleeing violence who are caught in this broken system, in refugee camps and airports, unseen and unsure of their fate. The positive federal court rulings from the West Coast are important, but they are interim, and “do not control the outcome of the New York case.” There is more work to be done to ensure your ability to continue loving the stranger.

With Hope,
Rev. Laura
In This Issue

Heads up!
The Massachusetts Council of Churches will be undergoing an update to our email server and web host next week, February 19-25.  The website may be down from time to time during that period, and email access will be spotty.  If you need to get in touch with us, call the office at 617-523-2771.

The Massachusetts Council of Churches is partnering with Boston Faith and Justice Network to connect Christians living in intentional community across Massachusetts. 

If you are someone living in intentional community and would like to connect with others who share your lifestyle, please send your contact information, along with a little about your intentional community, to Rev. Meagan, and we will keep you updated!
The Massachusetts Council of Churches relies on donors like you to join us in making the Vibrant Church Visible! During our Advent appeal, we got a strong start to our campaign to identify 153 new monthly donors, tripling the number of monthly donors we had before!  But we still have work to do.  Please join us with your monthly gift of $11.15!

We are thrilled to partner for a second year with Leadership Education at Duke Divinity in their mission to strengthen the ecology of Christian institutions that enable U.S. congregations and pastors to flourish.
 As the religious landscape changes rapidly in New England, we are hopeful that leaders formed through the Foundations of Christian Leadership program can help guide the Church through this adaptive challenge.We believe this is part of our work to support vibrant Christian institutions in this region. We hope this can be a resource to strengthen your church, school, or denomination.

Foundations: New England is a two-retreat learning community and process that focuses on lay and ordained leaders who are early in their work with Christian institutions and have the potential for longer term impact.  You can find the application information here.
Foundations: New England will gather in Contoocook, N.H, at the beautiful St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center, a thriving ministry of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston.The second cohort of Foundations: New England will gather on April 24-27, 2017 and again September 25-28, 2017.
Each Foundations participant will have the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant to support innovative approaches within his or her institution. These grants are made possible by the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc.

The deadline to apply is February 24, 2017.

What Foundations participants said about their experience in 2016:

The quality of the teaching and all presentations has been excellent. The offerings are passionate, unpretentious, focused, and relevant.

Peer group conversation/reflection times were extremely formative and valuable to this course. I appreciated "going deep" with the same group of people, but also the larger group conversations too.

This is the best designed professional development/spiritual development program that I have seen. It concentrated on building leaders by treating us holistically and taking care of our spirits.​​​​​​​
Friday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m.
Chapel of the Holy Spirit, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester
Church leaders from several Christian faith communities from the Worcester community will come together for Assumption College’s annual Ecumenical Prayer for Christian Unity. This year’s service marks the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation and focuses on the theme of “Reconciliation: The Love of Christ Impels Us.” All are welcome to attend!

masscouncilofchurches.org      |     (617) 523-2771