Can you hear it?

Pentecost, 2015

Dear Church,

On that day of Pentecost, we knew the Holy Spirit was among the Church (among us?) because the faithful could both listen and speak in other languages.  It is also the sign of the moving of the Spirit in Massachusetts today.  Across the Commonwealth, we hear the vitality of the Church spoken in many languages.  Your financial support allows the Massachusetts Council of Churches to amplify the vibrant, reconciling Church. I hope you give generously. Look at all we have done together!

We learned to listen for both the language of grief and resiliency in a time of crisis. Following the October closing of key homeless and detox centers in Boston, we gathered with 65 other religion institutions to open the #BostonWarmDaytime Warming Centers. We continue to speak a prophetic word to #RestoreTheBeds during this opiate epidemic.

We are listening for ecumenical possibilities being born anew. Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox clergy, campus ministers, and hospital chaplains in Worcester are reviving the language of ecumenism after a Massachusetts Council of Churches initiated luncheon.

We listened (and heard!) the need of younger pastors hoping for greater connection. We’ve held two “Youngish Clergyish” events this year, on the Mondays following Easter and Pentecost.  Over thirty “youngish clergyish” folks came to Framingham from across the state to spend time immersed with others who speak their first language.

We’ve heard the cries “How long, O Lord?” from those suffering the effects of addiction. To address our state’s opiate crisis, we worked with Rev. Janice Ford, RN and The Episcopal Community Life Center of Webster to train clergy to hear in the language of addiction and recovery.

Pentecost is a story of both hearing clearly and speaking boldly. We need to do both. The Pentecost crowds knew that something big was happening when they heard non-native speakers of their own languages. We too are learning to speak new languages. The Massachusetts Council of Churches realizes that the old ecumenical models don’t necessarily fit this era. In response, we have shifted our role from being the experts and resource producers to becoming conveners and amplifiers.  

We used our convening power & network of relations to gather church leaders from many traditions as we shared leadership of an ecumenical Armenian Vespers Service, the largest such service in recent memory. We spoke boldly of the entire Church’s embrace of the Armenian Martyrs at the 100th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.  

We are listening and amplifying the grief and hope of Christians in the Middle East.  We work with Jewish partners to learn the languages that enables all of us to have meaningful, honest conversations about the complex realities of Israel and Palestine. We are experimenting with a new format for dialogue between pastors and rabbis.

We learned and taught the language of resiliency for an interfaith service marking the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Kevin Becker, Program Director of the Massachusetts Resiliency Center told us that,

“Your involvement and generosity in our joint effort to make the second anniversary of the marathon bombings ‘a day of resilience’ made all the difference in the world! One of the survivors who attended said ‘it was the best thing the Resiliency Center has done since it opened’. You all made that possible.” 

We have been listening to our Coptic sisters and brothers as they watch and mourn their community’s suffering from afar.  An ‘ecumenical pilgrimage‘ to a vespers service for St. Mark, the patron of the Coptic Orthodox Church, showed this vulnerable community that Christians across Massachusetts want to learn their language.

We have learned to translate the work of local churches into a vibrant, visible Church in the media, as seen in the stories we helped source for The Boston Globe, WGBH, USA Today and others. Through guest preaching and teaching across the state, the Massachusetts Council of Churches cultivates a web of relationships. Your prayers, hospitality, and generous financial support are what makes this dynamic, public witness possible. Thank you.

You know that these are complex times for the Church. But I am convinced that, with the Spirit’s leading, we are discovering a vibrant, visible expression of Christian unity in this time and in this place. We need your support.Join the Massachusetts Council of Churches as we learn to hear the Good News in new languages, and learn to speak life and love into the Commonwealth together in new ways.  Please give generously.

In hope,

Rev. Laura Everett
Executive Director, Massachusetts Council of Churches

Ministering to Those Living with Addiction: Resources for Clergy

May 21, 2015
The Church of the Reconciliation, 5 North Main Street, Webster, MA

A day-long seminar intended to enhance your ministry to parishioners and their loved ones dealing with addiction to substances and gambling, presented by The Episcopal Community Life Center of Webster (The Church of the Reconciliation) in partnership with The Massachusetts Council of Churches.

Cost: $15 including lunch

Questions? Please call Rev. Janice Ford at 508-330-8073 or email her at

More information and register online:

Seminar highlights include presentations by experts in the field of addiction and recovery; a discussion of how clergy can more effectively minister to parishioners and family members struggling with addiction; information from professionals working in the field of addiction who can provide clergy with much needed resource information for their parishioners; and Q&A with a panel of individuals in recovery.

Seminar Coordinators:  The Rev. Janice Ford, Rector, The Church of the Reconciliation (Episcopal), Webster, MA  and Mr. Peter Kosciusko, Director of Substance Abuse, Worcester County House of Corrections


Peter Kosciusko, MA, LADC1

Peter is the Director of Substance Abuse, Worcester County House of Corrections and former Director of Substance Abuse for DYS.  He developed the Substance Treatment Opportunity Program at the House of Corrections.  Peter has over 25 years of experience in the field of addiction.  He also works as an addictions counselor educator for several colleges in the area.

Victor Ortiz, MSW, LADC1, CADC2

Victor is Senior Director of Programs and Services for the MA Council on Compulsive Gambling.  Prior to his work as Program Director, Victor served as Director of Intervention and Treatment Support for MACCG.  He was also the Latino Programming Consultant for the organization.  Victor also has years of professional experience in child welfare and behavioral health.

The Rev. Janice Ford, RN, MS, CNS

Rev. Ford has served as Rector of the Church of the Reconciliation in Webster since 2008.  She is a former trauma nurse, and professor of nursing.  She has participated in training for clergy at Hazelden in Minnesota to enhance her spiritual work with addicts and alcoholics, and most recently trained at the Betty Ford Institute to develop a program for children of addicts in Webster.  Rev. Ford volunteers two days a month at the Worcester County House of Corrections offering spiritual counseling, Bible study, and liturgical services for the men in the Substance Treatment Opportunity Program.

Everyone Deserves Adequate, Dignified, and Stable Shelter

December 20, 2014 — A CALL TO ACTION

In this season of giving we hope that you will remember the homeless people of Boston who are suffering as a result of the abrupt closing of the Long Island Bridge.Religious Leaders for Long Island Refugees have made good progress over the past few weeks to address the urgency of this crisis, including a meeting with key officials within the Mayor’s Office. However, we have identified one of the most critical unmet short term needs is for a day shelter.  The Day Center will provide a warm and comfortable space for people to gather as an alternative to the streets.  We are working quickly to identify a space and staffing.  You can follow our progress here or at

Learn How to Help—join-us.html

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