Dear Church,

Maybe you’ve noticed, but at the Massachusetts Council of Churches we’ve been experimenting with ideas about sustainable design for thriving Christian institutions. Even in this unstable season for Christian institutions, we are claiming this: The Church is eternal and Christ’s Church is one. With this conviction, we are able to innovate. Our task is not to “make” Christian unity for the churches, but spot, nurture, and make visible the unity that God is already up to across Massachusetts. We are trusting abundance. 

On Wednesday October 21, you can see how God's abundance played out in a local congregation. Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis  reorganized their church with the same conviction of abundance: If we serve a God of abundance, who richly blesses all people with gifts and talents, don’t our neighbors have gifts to give? Broadway UMC was so invested in this idea that they hired and commissioned a “Roving Listener” De’Amon Harges to listen for the abundance in their neighborhood.  Over the last decade, Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis has ended their charitable ‘helping’ ministries and shifted their outlook: viewing their neighbors not as the needy to be served, but the abundantly gifted with whom to partner. Others call it “asset-based community development;” the folks at Broadway call it being good neighbors in the city.  Read more about opportunities to hear from De’Amon Harges and Pastor Mike Mather below.

Here in Massachusetts, we are trusting that there are resources even for our hardest problems, including the addiction crisis raging across our state.  We’ve partnered with Rev. Janice Ford, an ER Nurse and Episcopal priest in the Blackstone Valley, to teach pastors about addiction and what local churches can do to support recovery. Our goal is to hold an Addition & Spirituality workshop in all 14 Massachusetts counties. There's more information about next week's workshop in Andover and how you can host in this e-newsletter.

We’ve seen abundance in places we thought were utterly bereft. October 8th marked the 1 year anniversary of the closing of Long Island detox and homeless shelters  and the displacement of some of our state’s most vulnerable residents. But through our collaborative efforts of BostonWarm, we saw enormous wisdom and giftedness among our unhoused neighbors.

We are also trusting that there are abundantly gifted leaders for the institutional Church, right here! And maybe these future leaders need someone to spot them and invest in their formation. Do you know of someone who might thrive in our joint effort with Duke Divinity School to teach “Foundations of Christian Leadership” here in New England?  You can help us spot abundance all around us!
Thank you for all the ways you already live out our resurrected life, trusting there will be abundance. I am so grateful for your witness.

With joy,
Rev. Laura

In This Issue


October 18
Burlington, MA

December 20
Sterling, MA
In Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial
Honoring America's Call to Action: Then & Now

Thursday, October 22
7:30 PM
Faneuil Hall, Boston

This sixth annual lecture pays tribute to the New England women and men who from 1894 to 1919 at Faneuil Hall heard about the atrocities taking place against the Armenian minority of the Ottoman Empire, and spoke passionately about the urgent need for intervention.

For more information on the event and speakers, download this flyer.

Thursday, Nov. 19
Hebrew College

The Dignity Project is a multiyear initiative designed to bring together clergy, religious leaders, and seminarians in the Greater Boston area for study and discussion on the subject of human dignity, with the goal of helping strengthen relationships across religious lines and in the larger civil society. Our first program will feature presentations by Dr. Donna Hicks, author of Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, and Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond, Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain and Chairman and co-founder of Boston's Ten Point Coalition.

For more information, and to register ($20, scholarships available), visit the event page.

To all of you who continue to send in your monetary support: Thank you for your contributions!

​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!

Over the last decade, Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis has killed off their charitable ‘helping’ ministries and shifted their outlook: viewing their neighbors not as the needy to be served, but the abundantly gifted with whom to partner. Others call it “asset-based community development;” the folks at Broadway call it being good neighbors in the city. 

You can hear from De’Amon Harges and Pastor Mike Mather on:

​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: 
Andover, MA  October 24, 8:30am-3:00pm
West Parish Church
129 Reservation Road
Andover, MA
This training is for clergy,and church leaders.  Tickets are required.  You can purchase your ticket for $8 here (scholarships available).​

Greenfield, MA  April 15, 2016*
*Note date change
Details TBD

This week, Clergy and Police Officers in Clinton, MA met with Janice to start a relationship to address addiction in their own community.  Check out our info sheet for more on what it would take to host an event like this in your community!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 9:30 AM-2:00 PM
St. Andrew's Church (Episcopal)
3 Maple Street
Framingham, MA

Climate change is called the moral challenge of our time, yet many preachers avoid preaching about it. 

In this ecumenical, hands-on workshop you will:
  • share the latest research on how to communicate about climate
  • discuss the links between climate, poverty, and other justice issues
  • receive theological and homiletic resources
  • claim our prophetic voice
  • learn how to preach vibrant, faith-filled sermons about climate change

Register online or download a flyer for more information.
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.
       |     (617) 523-2771