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From the desk of the Reverend Laura Everett,

Executive Director

December 15, 2014

Blessings and greetings in the hope of Advent! In this holy season of anticipation, we watch and prepare for our God to break into the world as the Christ child. At the Massachusetts Council of Churches, we too are watching and preparing for an emerging “new ecumenism.” As I travel across our Commonwealth visiting churches, I see how our common faith binds us together and our unity in Christ is stronger than anything that divides us. This Advent, I invite you to watch and prepare for how God is reconciling us in this place with your prayers and financial support of the Massachusetts Council of Churches.

Worcester, MA - Voters watch video material on the four ballot questions
Worcester, MA – Voters watch video material on the four ballot questions

We recognize an emerging reconciliation among the separated denominations. The Episcopal Diocese of   Western MA and the New England Synod of the ELCA jointly held their “clergy day with the bishop” together, sharing “holy envy” of the other’s tradition. With the MCC’s presence at every denominational annual meeting, we share the joys and sorrows of our member denominations. We joined the Episcopal Diocese of MA in the mourning of the death of Bishop Tom Shaw and celebrated the election and consecration of Bishop Alan Gates.

Episcopal priest Annie Ryder & Lutheran pastor Nathaniel Anderson, who serve dually aligned churches, talk about their "holy envy" for the other’s tradition.
Episcopal priest Annie Ryder & Lutheran pastor Nathaniel Anderson, who serve dually aligned churches, talk about their “holy envy” for the other’s tradition.

We observe and grieve a Church divided along racial lines. There are entire denominations and churches in our state that exist today because our predecessor white Christians refused to worship with black Christians. We continue to seek understanding of the Church-dividing sin of racism and strive for reconciliation. I believe moments of great joy and deep lament can bring the body of Christ together if we are seeking one another.

Interfaith Clergy gather on the Boston Common to testify that “Black Lives Matter”, that “Homeless Lives Matter.”
Interfaith Clergy gather on the Boston Common to testify that “Black Lives Matter”, that “Homeless Lives Matter.”

We look for new arenas of mutual understanding. This fall with Boston University School of Theology, we gathered with esteemed liturgist Rev. Dr. Ruth Duck to reflect on choosing hymns in times of joy and sorrow. Our voices joined together as we sang hymns that travel beyond denominational boundaries. We experiment to find new ways to address old divisions. This month, with our partners at American Jewish Committee Boston, we experimented with an “Ask Me Anything” forum, inviting local rabbis and pastors to submit anonymous questions to Israeli and Palestinian professors.

Rev. Dr. Ruth Duck leading us as we sing hymns for times of joy and sorrow.
Rev. Dr. Ruth Duck leading us as we sing hymns for times of joy and sorrow.

We search for ways the Church can influence and inform our common civil life. With our strong media relations, the Massachusetts Council of Churches remains a voice of depth, commitment, and reason. We are able to connect the press with churches that are working for peace, harmony and reconciliation in our troubled world.

Despite all the fruitfulness of this past year, we continue to seek a greater unity in Christ Jesus. This Advent, I invite you to help us advance this work.

Watch and wait and tell me what you see! Please pray for us; we need your prayers. Let those prayers guide your decision to contribute. Give generously so that the Massachusetts Council of Churches may continue to seek (and find!) the unity that Christ promises across this great Commonwealth.  Click the button below and make your donation now.

In the light of Christ,

Reverend  Laura

Executive Director

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