The changing of the seasons gives way to the changing of trees, weather, and wardrobe. Change has stealthily visited upon many of the institutions that we hold dear: in New England we have experienced a shift with our seminaries, churches, and ecumenical organizations. This sweeping change is seen not only in our churches, but in society at large. As long as we keep our eyes on what has been, we preclude ourselves from seeing what can become, and what the Holy Spirit is doing now.  So in the midst of these changes it becomes more and more important to just pause and say Thank You, Jesus.

Change is disruptive, sometimes disjointed, however, there is a constant in the midst of the change, which is Jesus the Christ. The Massachusetts Council of Churches is no stranger to change.  As we have worked to develop a new staffing and governance plan, we have often repeated to ourselves the following prayer, "It's not unstable, it's just unclear."  In this midst of this kind of change, our core values anchor us.  One of those values is Gratitude.  As we look to Thanksgiving and the start of Advent, we wanted to  pause for a moment (and have a little Testimony service)  to express our gratitude for God, and for God’s children, saying Thank you, Jesus.

We give thanks because God’s Spirit is still making things new. We are grateful because we believe  God is not finished with New England and neither are we.  We are grateful because there is a host of saints, living and dead, who are still committed to seeing and experiencing the in-breaking of the peaceable Kingdom of God.  We say Thank you, Jesus, for partners like you who pray and give to the Mass Council. We say Thank you, Jesus that we are not in this struggle alone, but we have great partnerships with organizations like the Black Ministerial AllianceEpiscopal City Mission and UniteBoston. We say Thank You, Jesus that we are in a state where new ministries are being planted and old ministries are being made new, such as Simple Church UMC, where a congregation in Grafton was re-birthed into a thriving dinner-based fellowship; Laundry Love in Worcester, where Jesus' instruction to wash each others' feet has found new meaning;​​​​​​​

  and Shekinah Brazilian Presbyterian Church in Clinton, where a congregation of locals and immigrants from West Africa are forging a partnership with Brazilians who are new to the area (with the leadership of my colleague Rev. Meagan).

In this season of Thanksgiving, we reflect on our core value of Gratitude and say Thank You Jesus, that we are found worthy to minister in this state, for such a time as this.

With Gratitude,
Rev. Daryl
In This Issue

December 5

December 13

January 19, 2018

Spirituality Series:
Islamic Spirituality with 
Chaplain Shareda Hosein

December 5th, 7 PM
Stevens Auditorium in Cushing Hall

Shareida Hosein served as the US Army's first female Muslim Chaplain.  Join her and the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College for an evening of shared dialogue. 
Wednesday, December 13
14 Beacon Street, Suite 416
Boston, MA 02108

Please join us for our annual evening of fun, food and fellowship!  All are welcome, stop by when you can for as long as you can. We look forward to seeing you and gathering so many ecumenical friends under one roof!
Friday, January 19, 

Join Bishop Suda Devadhar of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and Bishop David Rozanski of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield for a service of Christian Unity!  More details to follow.

For Christians who proclaim that our ultimate trust is in Christ, violence in the Church is a complex practical and theological problem. For many African American and immigrant Christian communities, violence in sacred spaces has long been is a hateful reality. From the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963 to the shootings of Coptic Christians in Egypt in 2017, many Christian communities know the trauma and uncertainty of these times.  Our Jewish and Muslim neighbors have also long lived with heightened security concerns and increased safety protocols. We know some churches are wrestling again with these questions since the day a young man opened fire on the congregation of Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church on November 5.  We see you asking questions about how to keep these spaces welcoming and accessible while providing for safety.  We certainly do not have all the answers, and we imagine that this is something we will continue to think about--with ecumenical and interfaith partners--for some time to come.  For now, here are some resources:
  • Listen to WBUR's piece "Local Reaction To Texas Church Shooting."  Rev. Nancy Taylor of Old South Church in Boston and Rev. Mariama White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church discuss safety and security in congregations.

  • Check out "An Open Letter to Old South Church Ushers, Greeters, and Welcomers," in which Rev. Nancy Taylor outlines Old South's "Welcoming and Watchful" instructions for those on the church's front lines

  • The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, with others, is sponsoring workshops around the state on "Government Resources for Houses of Worship and Faith Communities: A Forum of Learning on Public Safety Crises."  The MCC is not an official co-sponsor, nor have we attended one of these trainings, but we wanted to share this emerging resource.  For more on the trainings in Amherst (12/4), Paxton (12/6), Taunton (1/11/18) and Reading (1/18/18), download the flyer.

  • Join us in prayer that God would lead us all in discerning how to make our communities places of safety and welcome.
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.      |     (617) 523-2771