Mission & Justice Updates – December 2019

Mission and Justice for December 2019

PACC Sponsored Holiday Outreach programs

THE CHRISTMAS FUND – UCC

For over 100 years, the Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund has been a way to ensure that a light of love and hope will always shine for faithful servants of our church who find themselves facing unforeseen financial need.

On Christmas Eve PACC will receive our usual PACC offering and offerings for The Christmas Fund. Please use designated envelopes in the pew for The Christmas Fund offerings. Any loose offerings on Christmas Eve will be designated to The UCC Christmas Fund.

HOLIDAY HELPERS

Organized by the Town of Arlington, gifts go to Arlington families that need a little help this holiday season to make their children’s wishes come true. This year PACC received the “Wish Lists” for 4 children. A 14-year-old boy, a 12-year-old boy, a 6-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. Sign up will continue until all gifts have been spoken for by a church member or a monetary donation has been given to the Holiday Helper fund. Look for Lauren Evans in the Parish Hall after church.

CITY MISSION’S CHRISTMAS SHOP

City Mission helps to identify persons in need of holiday assistance in the local metropolitan area. At PACC, we can help by donating NEW items like winter coats and winter gear, gift cards from local merchants (Target, Kohls, etc.) and toys. There is also an opportunity to help sort and pack the gifts at First Church in Winchester on 12/8 and 12/15. See Mike Rich in the Parish Hall after church for more information.

NEW ENGLAND CENTER AND HOME FOR VETERANS

PACC will participate in the gift card program for NECHV. You can donate purchased gift cards or give cash for us to purchase gift cards and pass along.

Look for Jill Lewis in the Parish Hall after church. Deadline for this program is Sun., Dec. 22nd  

Immigration Justice

At Town Day we collected additional funds for Boston Immigration Justice and Accompaniment Network (BIJAN, pronounced Beyond)’s clothing, accessory, and snack packages for migrants being released from ICE detention in the greater Boston area and so once again you can donate funds for us to purchase or donate the following items:

  • Plain T-shirts (sizes small and medium are needed most), new or in great condition;
  • New socks;
  • Shoe laces;
  • Belts;
  • Visa gift cards;
  • Quarters;
  • Tooth brushes;
  • Travel size toothpaste, tissues, hand sanitizers, pillows; and
  • Nutritious, non-perishable snacks.

Also talk to Cindy Manson or Mike Rich about what else our group is doing with Beyond and the Mass. Conference UCC Immigration, Refugee and Asylum Task Team – https://www.macucc.org/immigration

 

Economic Justice / Easing Food Insecurity / Homelessness

Arlington EATS Market – Food Sunday – December 1st 

Please bring donations of unexpired, unopened, non-perishable food and personal care items for the Arlington EATS Market (formerly known as Arlington Food Pantry) to church. Please leave your donations under the table in the narthex (Wollaston Avenue entry) on your way into the sanctuary Sunday morning..

They urge no glass containers and, according to www.arlingtoneats.org/help/donate-food, can always use the following standard sized staple items (* Items in high demand):

*Breakfast foods (Cereal/oatmeal, pancake mix, syrup)

*Coffee/tea

Cooking oil

Baking goods (sugar, flour, honey, cake mixes)

Peanut butter and jelly (plastic jars)

Canned protein (Tuna, salmon, chicken, spam)

*Spaghetti sauce (plastic jars) and canned tomatoes

Meals in a can (beef stew, chili, ravioli, etc.)

*Taco kits

*Crackers, cookies, granola bars

*Personal care items (toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner)

*Household supplies (laundry detergent, dish soap)

You may also donate by check payable to PACC or cash in a pew envelope noting that the funds are for “EATS”.

Remember to spread the word about PACC’s Beer and Hymn Sing event on October 19th to benefit Arlington EATS!

NEAT (Neighbors Eating All Together)

Check https://neatarlington.org/ for the next NEAT dinner at St. John’s Church (74 Pleasant St.) usually fourth Saturdays, from 5 pm-6 pm. This is a community dinner — open to all and free of charge.

PACC has been given the opportunity to participate in a donation and multi-generational Holiday Build A Bed event as part of their A Bed for Every Child program – Saturday, December 7 10:00 AM to Noon, at their Lynn facility.

See https://www.abedforeverychild.org for more information and talk to Mike Rich if you are interested in being part of a PACC Build a Bed Team.

Racial Justice Issues

PACC invites you to participate in the Arlington 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance. Please follow this link for the flyer.

MLK Birthday Observance 2020

See Mass. Conference Racial Justice news and resources at https://www.macucc.org/racejustice

PACC’s Connection to Our Denomination

“The churches and people of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ have a very long history of looking at the world and prayerfully working to make it a better place.”

See what is going on in the Mass. Conference and the wider church on Justice and Witness issues here: https://www.macucc.org/changingourworld

 

Mission and Justice

Mission and Justice Matters at PACC

 Mission and Justice Spotlight

A group from PACC will be attending the march on June 30, for the National Day of Action at Boston City Hall Plaza (Government Center) at 11:00am. If you wish to be involved in this march or other team efforts to support the UCC and other organizations in immigration reform and reunification work please contact our Mission and Justice Deacons, Jill Lewis (jelewi@gmail.com) or Mike Rich (kidlaw.rich@gmail.com).

Local

Arlington Food Pantry

Bring non-perishable food items and household goods to church by Sunday, July 1 and July 8. Find high-need items here: arlingtonfoodpantry.org/donate-food. You may also donate by check or cash noting that the funds are for AFP. Thanks for your generosity and thanks to Bryan Mau for delivering our items to the AFP.

NEAT (Neighbors Eating All Together)

The next NEAT dinner at St. John’s Church (74 Pleasant St.) is Saturday, July 28, from

5 pm-6 pm.  This dinner is a community dinner, open to all and free of charge. If you’d like to volunteer, look for an email to chat, or please speak to Kate Lindheim.

Somerville Homeless Coalition’s Community Supper

PACC provides a meal for about 25 people on the 4th Monday of every month. July 23 this month. Look for an email to CHAT or speak to Kate Lindheim if you’d like to prepare dinner, provide food, and help set up, plate food, serve food, or clean up.

ISSUES

Freedom for all Massachusetts

In November, Massachusetts will vote for respect and dignity. Here’s what you need to know. On Election Day, Massachusetts voters will face the first-ever statewide popular vote on protections for transgender people from discrimination. The referendum would repeal our state law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places, including restaurants, stores, and doctors’ offices. A “yes” vote keeps the current law as it is. See https://www.freedommassachusetts.org/ for more information.

Christian Education

Sunday school

Our theme for the weeks after Easter is Enough for All. We’ll be learning stories about having enough to meet our needs, even when it might not seem that way at first.  Stories in May include: Enough food in the wilderness (Exodus 15:22-16:36), Elijah and the miracle of enough (1 Kings 17:1-16), Jesus and the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) and Enough food by the sea (Mark 6:30-44).

We’ll have one multi-age class on Sunday, May 26 (Memorial Day weekend).

Confirmation

Our confirmation group will meet on

Sunday, May 5, and Sunday, May 19, from 5-6:30 pm in the Fellowship room.

May 5– Holy Spirit/ Sacraments

May 19– UCC and social justice

Confirmation will be on June 9 during the Youth Sunday worship service.

  

Looking Ahead

June 8– Youth Sunday rehearsal in the afternoon

June 9 –Youth Sunday and Confirmation

Evening Bible Study

Evening Bible Group typically meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month in the Fellowship Room from 7:30 pm-9:00 pm.  Bible Study will resume on May 8.

Greetings from our Pastor!

Greetings from our Pastor!

Dear PACC friends and members,

As a child, my parents often read me Barbara Cooney’s classic picture book, Miss Rumphius. And this week, on vacation in coastal Maine, I’ve had the pleasure of introducing Davie to the same book. It tells the story of Alice Rumphius, a young woman bent on traveling the world and exploring new places. After a back injury involving a camel ride, she achieves another life goal by coming back home to live by the sea in Maine. In her retirement, she is reminded of her grandfather’s advice to her as a child that she needed a third aim in life: “You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

Not sure what her “something” could be, Miss Rumphius plants lupine next to her seaside cottage and notices that the following year, its seeds have traveled to the headland on the opposite side of the inlet. And thus her “something” is born: she will spread these beautiful flowers up and down the coast, as far as the eye can see.

We came to Maine at the height of lupine season, and I have to say I’m smitten. Every turn in the road presents another glorious composition of purples, pinks, and whites showing off with a humble groundedness – lupine is, after all, a cousin of the homely pea – that seems entirely in character with one of Maine’s other gems: its hard-working, unassuming people who yet have a bone-deep appreciation for the natural beauty surrounding them.

It’s safe to say that though she was a transplant from across the Atlantic, Hilda Edwards Hamlin, the real lupine lady on whom Cooney’s book is based, fit right in with her fellow Mainers in this respect. Near her summer home in Christmas Cove, Hilda “began planting lupine seeds imported from her native England. Every August she cut bundles of lupine stalks and shook out their seeds over a wider space. Then she began putting seeds in her pocket when she walked to the post office and strewing them along the roadside. She did it in secret, rarely telling anyone about her lupine obsession. Some friends knew; [Hilda] didn’t drive, and when [they] gave her a ride they’d catch her tossing lupine seeds out the window.”[1]

I can’t help but be reminded of the Parable of the Sower found in Mark 4:3-9, wherein a sower not unlike Hilda scatters seeds with abandon, apparently paying little attention to whether his seeds land on arable ground. His actions seem wasteful, particularly in a pre-industrial context where seeds were painstakingly harvested by hand. Nevertheless, some seed succeeds in falling on “good ground” and sprouts multitudes, yielding results beyond all expectation.

Did you notice, though, that Jesus doesn’t define what “good ground” looks like? Lupine, for example, grows best on roadsides, in ditches, and in abandoned fields. As a Down East magazine article advises, you’ll succeed in growing them if you plant “dozens of lupines in a horrible place and then ignore them.”[2]

As I enter into my second year here at Park Avenue (can you believe it?!), I’m struck by two things: first, like Miss Rumphius, we are being called by God to do something beautiful in the world. And second, we really can’t predict which of our efforts will take root, or where, or how. The best we can do is to sow enthusiastically, heads out the window like Hilda, and trust God to bless our endeavors – sometimes in unexpected ways.

This year I invite you look for ways, both personally and as a part of PACC, to keep sowing beauty and trusting God to turn a few ditches into roadside delights. My hope is that in the years to come, our community will be littered with the glorious results of our enthusiasm, fertilized with God’s surprising goodness. Will you join me?

With joy and gratitude,

 Reverend Leah Lyman Waldron, Pastor

[1] http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/how-real-miss-rumphius-decorated-maine-lupines/

[2] https://downeast.com/wild-heart/

Christian Education

Christian Education

Sunday school

Youth Sunday is June 10! Our theme this year is “Making a Difference”.  This comes from our Sunday school lessons this spring about speaking out about injustice and trying to change unfair rules.

We’ll only have one rehearsal with everyone on Saturday, June 9, from 9:30am-11:00 am in the sanctuary. Please make every effort to come for at least part of the rehearsal, particularly if you have a speaking part. Younger children and youth without speaking parts can just come for the first 30 minutes so we can run through the music together and everyone can see where they’ll be sitting and what the service will look like.

During the rehearsal, we’ll also pot the flowers that we’ll distribute to the congregation at the end of the service. It would be great if a couple of people could help with this.  We’ll have the flowers, potting soil and cups all ready. Please let Kate know if you’re available to help.

Our last day of regular Sunday school will be on Sunday, June 17.  After that, we’ll move into our Sunday school schedule of one multi-age class.  Summer Sunday school is fun and relaxed with popsicles for snack and air conditioning for hot days! We’ll continue to use the Shine curriculum for a multi-age group.

 

CHURCH PICNIC

Saturday, July 14, from noon – 4 pm

Lexington Christian Academy, 48 Bartlett Ave in Lexington

The CE ministry will provide hot dogs, drinks, and chips. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share. There’s a pool and tennis courts, so bring your bathing suit and towel and/or a tennis racquet and balls if you’d like to play. A small kiddie pool for younger children in swim diapers will be set-up as well. There is plenty of shade to sit in near the pool. Bring a game or puzzle to share if you’d like. There’s also a ball field if anyone would like to organize a softball or whiffle ball game. We hope to see you there!

Mission and Justice

Mission and Justice Matters at PACC

Open and Affirming – ONA

At a special congregational meeting on May 6, 2007 we became covenanted members of the UCC ONA Coalition by adopting the following declaration:

We, the members of Park Avenue Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, as an expression of our Christian love for all God’s people, declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation. Open and Affirming is the UCC designation for congregations that make public statements of welcome into their full life, leadership and ministries to persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We welcome all people into our community of faith, embracing differences of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, race, ethnicity, mental or physical ability, age and socio-economic background.

 In our calling to express the love and welcome of Christ, we affirm the dignity and worth of every person.

We celebrate our commitment each year on the first Sunday in May. Join us for our 12th Anniversary remembrance on May 5, 2019. Wear a nametag with your pronouns, ask others theirs instead of presuming to know, and go to https://www.mypronouns.org to find out the what, why, and how of personal pronouns.

One Great Hour of Sharing® (OGHS)

In March we collected $1,833.00 for One Great Hour of Sharing® (OGHS), which is more than 128% of last year’s total. THANK YOU for your generosity. Stay updated about OGHS at www.ucc.org/oghs and www.facebook.com/onegreathourofsharingucc.

Immigration, Asylum, and Refugee Issues

 

Mass. Conference UCC Immigration, Refugee and Asylum Task Teamhttps://www.macucc.org/immigration

Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network (BIJAN / Beyond)

Several members of our Immigration working group have taken training to answer telephone hotline calls and are getting ready to take their first shifts answering calls from home from folks caught up in the immigration system asking for assistance. See https://beyondbondboston.org/ for more about what they do. Talk to Cindy Manson if you are not yet on her email distribution list and wish to participate or merely be informed.

Immigrant Rights Sunday

The first Sunday in May has been designated Immigrant Rights Sunday within the United Church of Christ. Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries are urging congregations to lift up immigrants on this day: to learn about their concerns, honor their contributions to our country and communities, hear their pain, pray for their well-being, and listen to hear where God is leading us regarding issues of immigration.

For the most current issues on immigration with potential ways to get involved see http://www.ucc.org/justice_immigration_immigrantrightssunday.

 

Local

Arlington Food Pantry

Bring non-perishable food items and household goods to church by Sunday, May 2. Find a list of high-need items at  arlingtonfoodpantry.org/donate-food. You may also donate by check or cash noting that the funds are for AFP. Thanks for your generosity and thanks to Bryan Mau for delivering our items to the AFP.

NEAT (Neighbors Eating All Together)

The next NEAT dinner at St. John’s Church (74 Pleasant St.) is Saturday, May 18, from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm.  This dinner is a community dinner, open to all and free of charge. Look for an email to chat if you’d like to help set up, serve, help in the kitchen or clean up. Thanks!

 Housing Corporation of Arlington’s 18th Annual Walk for Affordable Housing – The Walk will be on Sunday, June 9 this year. See more info about the Walk here: www.housingcorparlington.org/events/walk/

Open and Affirming (ONA) LGBTQIA++ Issues

 Mystic LGBTQ+ Youth Support Network – Sign up for Queer Mystic’s Newsletter here: https://www.queermystic.org/contact.html.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Asylum Task Force is a ministry of Hadwen Park Church and a community-based organization dedicated to supporting and empowering LGBTQI individuals who are seeking asylum in the United States. Asylum seekers who file for asylum in the United States are not permitted to work until they are granted a work permit and social security number, a process which can take more than a year. During that time, we strive to provide housing and financial support. Our goal is to educate the public in an effort to change policy around the globe so that someday no LGBTQI person will need to seek asylum because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and the need to find a safe place. ​ http://www.lgbtasylum.org/

Pride Morning Worship

Old South Church UCC – Copley Square Boston, June 8, 2019 – 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Pride Morning Worship is a high-energy, joyous annual service celebrating the LGBTQ community.

Boston Pride 2019: Looking Back, Loving Forward

We invite you to march with the Mass Conference ONA churches in Boston Pride in the 49th annual Boston Pride on Saturday, June 8, 2019, 12:00 pm. Spectators enjoy cheering for our marching group, with our 100 participants, rhythm instruments, chanting and dancing. Our message of Extravagant Welcome for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions is always well received. Our presence makes a real difference. Please see Jill Lewis or email her at jelewi@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Greetings from Our Pastor

Greetings from our Pastor!

For her preschool unit on nature, my 5-year-old daughter  has been keeping an eye out for “signs of spring.” On the way to and from school each morning, we’ve marveled over snow glories and crocuses; tulips and daffodils; new leaves on trees; and an uptick in robins snagging worms.

But our favorite neighborhood nature sighting can be seen all year long: a rare “piebald” Easter cottontail rabbit. The piebald coloring is mostly white, with a few brownish-grey patches – due to a genetic mutation and can make piebald rabbits easy prey for hawks and owls. But our Piebald Bunny, as we call it, is pretty good at hiding in the bushes; we play a game on the way to school to see who can spot it first.

From pill bugs to red tailed hawks, it’s such a thrill to see her sharing my sense of awe and wonder at God’s creation. But I particularly love sharing our rabbit friend with her, because just like the freckles that pop out on her cheeks this time of year, Piebald Bunny is a reminder of God’s creativity – and that difference can be special.

In honor of Piebald Bunny and of God’s tendency to show off in spring and summer, I invite you to read this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins celebrating all manner of spotted, mottled, and strange creations giving glory to their Maker by the very fact of their juxtaposition:

“Pied Beauty”

Glory be to God for dappled things – 

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; 

And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. 

 All things counter, original, spare, strange; 

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 

Praise him.

 Blessings,

Reverend Leah Lyman Waldron, Pastor