With all the suffering around us and across the Church, it can be hard to see hope. It is a spiritual discipline to spot signs of hope wherever we can find them.  And sometimes, hope comes in the form of constitutional changes and an Annual Meeting that is more than just business, but a nourishing gathering of Christians dedicated to mutual necessity and delight.

The Massachusetts Council of Churches names five core values: Delight, Excellence, Diversity, Gratitude and Relationships We believe it holy and important work to make the vibrant Church visible. And, we strive for excellence because we believe God deserves our best! So, for the past 20 months, we’ve worked to imagine and pilot a more nimble governance structure. On Saturday October 14, 2017 the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Council of Churches voted and approved changes to our Constitution.

The two major MCC Constitutional changes are:

Large Board of Directors becomes Smaller Working Board and Representative Advisory Board. The previous role of the Board of Directors will now be shard by the Working and Advisory Boards.  Read more in the 2015 Redesign Process, Proposal, and Constitutional Change Narrative documents.

Streamlining required mandates for structure. The constitution included language of additional commissions and structures from an earlier era of our common ecumenical life. We celebrate and give thanks for the faithful members and the work of the Commission on Christian Unity, the Strategy and Action Commission, Partners in Ecumenical Development, and other Task Forces that built a strong foundation for our work today. Our online Archive now includes documents and resources by these groups.

Yes, the work is not complete.  In the next 3-5 years, we plan to look at changes in finances and membership.  For now, let us celebrate the work of reform that has been completed, and look to the future with hope!

Maybe this helps you imagine too how your own institution can think more clearly about the kind of governance structure you need to do the work God has called you to do in this time. We’ve placed all our background documentations online so that you can read and use them. We’re also happy to talk with others about organizational changes in the service of mission.

We have more signs of hope in new members on our Working Board! Learn more about Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard & Treasurer Thatcher Freeborn here.  Rev. Bernadette and Thatcher join re-elected President Anthony Barsamian, Immediate Past President Bishop Gayle Harris, Leonardo Espinosa , Rev. Jennie Barret Siegel, and Fr. Demetrios Tonias. Canon Steve Abdow is concluding his term as Treasurer and taking up the work to chair a newly forming Mission Resources & Development committee. We give much thanks to God for Steve’s faithful and skillful leadership.

We find signs of hope as Christian communities adapt ancient practices for a new generation. The Annual Meeting of the MCC Advisory Board concluded with worship and a meal in the style of "dinner church" as practiced at Simple Church in Grafton, MA. Read about Simple Church innovative economic model and reinterpretation of a fellowship meal in this article with Faith & Leadership. We are grateful to Rev. Zach Kerzee for leading us in worship and Seta's Cafe for the delicious food. 

We find hope were we can, without minimizing the very real suffering and violence in our world. MCC Working Board Member Leonardo Espinosa wrote this prayer that began our Annual Meeting. We commend it to you for your prayer and use.

In hope,
Rev. Laura 
In This Issue

November 5

November 11


November 5, 3-4 PM
Fall River, MA

This year, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Catholics and Protestants are invited to join together for this Ecumenical Prayer Service to remember the beginnings of their divisions and to celebrate their progress along a path of reconciliation. Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., will preside at the service. Evangelical Lutheran Bishop James Hazelwood will preach.  All are welcome!
Christians and Environmental Justice

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Many of our member denominations are collaborating with Rolling Ridge on this day-long seminar with Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.

"The Christian faith is often portrayed as being 'anti-environment,' but in fact Christianity has deep roots in theology, the Bible, contemplative traditions, and ethical principles that call us to care for creation and create a just and life-sustaining society."

Rev. Arthur Walmsley served as General Secretary of the Massachusetts Council of Churches during the enormously complex time of 1969-1971. Arthur Walmsley would later become the twelfth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.
Walmsley prodded the MCC to greater social engagement. In 1970, he said to the Board:

“The spirit of ecumenism has prompted many churchmen to begin doing things together. It has, however, sometimes misled groups and individuals into placing an inordinate emphasis on the “together” at the expense of “doing things.” The ecumenical imperative for today does not permit the luxury of complacent manifestations of visible unity as a primary goal. There is much work to do… and nothing less than getting the job done must now become the primary ecumenical goal.”

May we all strive for such urgency in bringing about the reign of God and the liberation of all God’s children.  Our unity is always in the service of our common Christian witness. We give thanks for the life and ministry of the Rt. Rev. Arthur Walmsley.

A Requiem Eucharist for the life of the Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, 45 Church Street, Hartford, CT on Friday, October 27, 2017 beginning at 10:30 a.m., the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, presiding and the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, preaching. A reception will follow. Members of the clergy are encouraged to vest in cassock, surplice, and white stole.

Spirituality and Addiction Returns
New Format, New Modules, New Approaches

Starting this November, we will begin to partner with churches throughout the Commonwealth to host these important day-long trainings. Participants will be guided through early intervention strategies, the history & impact of addiction, thinking theologically about addiction, worship resources for addiction, role-playing, and will learn about helpful community resources for your church community.

If you are interested in hosting the Spirituality and Addiction Training in your community, please be in touch with Rev. Daryl.   In the meantime, you may want to check out this new toolkit from the Department of Health and Human Services, created to help faith-based communities address the opioid epidemic.

We look forward to partnering with you for the Glory of God and the health of our Communities. 
Give now to join our work!

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.  We ask you to consider supporting us with a recurring, monthly gift.  Your
investment in the Council is well worth it.

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