Dear Church,
Much like the intrepid mail carriers who are donning their boots and parkas more often lately, we remain committed to our appointed rounds across Massachusetts.  Neither declarations of "ecumenical winter," or the changing patterns of religious belonging stays our God from providing abundantly. We believe this: The Church is one, and the Church is eternal, in every season. The Massachusetts Council of Churches has donned our boots and parkas, continuing to proclaim the abundance that surrounds us, no matter the weather! 

We joyfully celebrated the installation of our first Orthodox President at our Annual Celebration on February 6 (pictured above), where we approved our 2016 budget and adopted a new, more nimble leadership structure. We gave thanks for the leadership of Bishop Gayle Harris (pictured at left), for her years of service as President. As the deadline to apply for the Foundations of Christian Leadership Program of Duke Divinity's Leadership Education approaches, we have met and built relationships with many emerging leaders who are energized and engaged in the mission of proclaiming abundance.  As awareness of our state's addiction crisis grows, we continue to offer chances for clergy to learn how to address it in their congregations, with dates coming up in March and April.

Presiding Elder Herbert Eddy of the New England Conference of the First Episcopal District - AME Church (left) & Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar of New England UMC at the AME Bicentennial prayer service- two Christian denominations in the same family that split 200 years ago. May God guide our reconciliation to be One!

 A truly ecumenical crowd gathered to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, taking the first steps toward healing and understanding. Pictured here, Presiding Elder Herbert Eddy of the New England Conference of the First Episcopal District - AME Church (left) & Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar of New England UMC, attended the AME Bicentennial prayer service-leaders of two Christian denominations in the same family that split 200 years ago.  Read Rev. Laura's remarks on the African Methodist Episcopal Church's bicentennial here.

All Saints Parish in Brookline gave Rev. Laura, pictured here with Rev. Richard Burden, their 2016 Spirituality & Justice Award last week (photo credit: Jean Stringham), and a generous contribution to the ministry of the Massachusetts Council of Churches. You can read Rev. Laura's sermon preached on the occasion.

It's not just Meagan and I in our office, not simply those board members who make plans and crunch numbers, but all of us--the preachers and pastors, the church members and faithful leaders across the Commonwealth, who continue to bear witness to God's abundance.  We give thanks for one another, and ask you to join us in prayer for this ever-growing network of Christians, convinced that what binds us together in Christ is stronger than anything that might separate us.

In joy,

Rev. Laura
In This Issue


February 28
Milton, MA

March 6
Somerville, MA
March 20
Boston, MA

April 3
Holden, MA

Over100 individuals and local churches gave to our Advent Appeal, raising over $10,000!  

​The work of the 
Massachusetts Council of 
Churches is funded by many individuals, congregations, and denominational bodies--and we are grateful!  

Join our community of donors today by clicking on the link below!
May 2-5, 2016
Concordia Lutheran Church
40 Pitkin St.
Manchester, CT
The Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) is a four-day intensive course with a practical application project. It 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. These practices in turn enable donors motivated by spiritual and religious values to experience the joy of generous giving. 

This training is made possible by the New England Synod, Hartford Seminary, and the Massachusetts Council of Churches through Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  To learn more about the course objectives, required readings and final project please visit the ECRF main page.

Download the flyer to learn more and register at the online portal.
We are thrilled to partner 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 need your support.  Who do you know who would benefit from Foundations: New England?  Foundations 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 nominate a colleague or apply yourself 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. Foundations: New England will gather on April 11-14, 2016 and again September 12-15, 2016.
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 19, 2016.
​The Massachusetts Council of Churches is working with Rev. Janice Ford, RN, to bring workshops for clergy and pastoral leaders on addressing addiction and recovery in their congregations and communities to all fourteen counties in Massachusetts.  

Interested in hosting?
Check out our host information sheet and contact Rev. Meagan Manas at
​Upcoming Workshops: 
Barnstable, MA    March 4, 2016
9:00 am - 4:00 pm (registration opens at 8:30)

Greenfield, MA    April 15, 2016
9:00 am - 4:00 pm (registration opens at 8:30)

Norfolk County   TBA

AnchorNew England Festival of Young Preachers

March 12, 2016
Gordon-Conwell Seminary
Hamilton, MA
In this one day event, young preachers (ages 14-28) will develop a network to cheer them on as they grow in their call to gospel preaching.

Join Young Preachers from across New England on the campus of Gordon - Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, MA to stand and deliver!  15 minute Sermon will be videoed, reviewed by a professional and posted on Youtube.

2016 Women in the World Conference
Boston University School of Theology

In light of troubling current events and a largely underacknowledged history of racism in the United States, this year’s Women in the World Conference focuses on lifting up the voices of African American women. We will explore the unique challenges and struggles of African American women, as well as the ways in which they have found strength and pushed the boundaries of inherited narratives. Further, this conference will explore theological, ministerial, and sociological responses to this crisis, and put it in conversation with other rhetorics of fear that currently exist.

April 13, 2016
11 AM - 7:30 PM
Barrister's Hall, BU School of Law
765 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
More information and Registration online.

Sunday, May 8, 2016, 7 AM
Rain or shine!  Wear purple!
Town Field Park, Fields Corner
1520 Dorchester Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02122
(New Route to Boston City Hall  TBA)
We invite you to participate in the historic 20th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace. Peace isn’t simply the absence of violence; peace is the presence of healing, reconciliation, and accountability. The Mother’s Day Walk is a celebration of our potential to create communities where all families can live in peace and all children are valued. More than that, the Mother’s Day Walk is a commitment to do the work necessary to bring that vision of peace to life.  Walk with us toward peace!  More at!      |     (617) 523-2771