United Church of Christ
In late October, Jackson Community Church’s women’s group will assemble care packages for high school and college students and young adults living away from home, studying or newly-launched from school and starting careers or volunteer initiatives.
If someone in your family matches this description, we’d appreciate a mailing address so we can send a package to our young people, and let them know we’re thinking of them. This includes internationally-based young people (though we may send mostly affection and a card). You can email names & mailing addresses to the church.
Meanwhile, for anyone who wants to contribute small items to be sent via care package to our young people, our wish list is lightweight and light-hearted. Here are some suggestions, but you can provide your own items if you’re inspired. Please provide about 15-20 of whatever items you want to contribute. Also, please make sure whatever you donate is quite small and light for shipping purposes. Some ideas:
UCC's Response to Las Vegas Mass Shooting
Three United Church of Christ ministers were part of a unity vigil Monday night in Las Vegas, a gathering of people of all faiths coming together in solidarity to mourn the 59 lives lost to gun violence.
Charlotte Morgan, a UCC member in discernment and pastor of Indigo Valley Church, a three-year-old new church start, helped organize the candlelight prayer service at the Guardian Angel Cathedral the evening of Oct. 2. A vigil made necessary after a gunman opened fire on a concert crowd during the weekend, wounding more than 500 people.
"We are a city, despite the bright lights and neon, with hundreds of churches. We are a people of deep and profound faith," Morgan said. "We all gathered right off the Strip because it was necessary—to feel the energy of the city as we expressed our heartfelt grief and our faith. It was important to be in the midst of the energy that makes this the city what we are."
Eight faith leaders took turns hitting a gong 59 times to remember those who died. Tears streamed down the faces of the people in the pews as they prayed.
"I was at first taken back by all of the outstretched hands of those who attended, wanting to touch the hands of clergy," Morgan said. "Attendees were physically reaching out for care, for connection. It was an amazing physical presence that people wanted to have."
"We put this worship service together in 45 minutes," Morgan said. "We wanted to have interreligious engagement—so eight of us came together. Everyone stepped aside from faith, race, creed, job, position to make this vigil happen."
The event, led by Bishop Joseph Pepe of the Las Vegas diocese and Fr. Bob Stoeckig of the cathedral, brought together clergy from many Christian denominations—UCC, Catholic and Episcopalian, as well as Jewish rabbis, Unitarian Universalists and Muslim groups. Morgan, the Rev. Jamie Sprague-Ballou, of Mary Magdalene Friends UCC, and the Rev. Kathryn Obenour, a member of Indigo Valley Church and former pastor at Las Vegas United Church of Christ, represented the denomination.
As members of the Clark County Ministerial Association, Morgan said the interfaith leaders came together after the shooting Sunday night to create a clergy emergency response team. The vigil was part of that response. They were able to do that, she said, because of strong relationships previously forged before the massacre called them to action.
"I am so proud of the clergy in our community who came together to create this same-day clergy response team," Morgan said. "There was a writer who once said 'Dig a ditch before you need water.' We did that. We needed to form caring everyday relationships with each other. Ministers and rabbis get together... to study the Torah, or to have coffee. Those relationships made a difference today."
"Before the service, I met with several clergy at the front of the church," Morgan continued. "We discussed that the vigil is one step. We must continue over days, weeks and months to help our community. We set plans in place that our next step is to contact the area hospitals and begin to reach out to the healthcare workers in the hospitals. This meeting became important and prophetic. After the vigil, I spoke with one of our senators and he had horror in his eyes. He had visited a local (emergency room). As he told me, 'There was not an inch of the E.R. floor without blood.' We just stood and held one another. There were no words."
for PUERTO RICO's RECOVERY
While help in the domestic United States has been possible in both financial and tangible forms, the response in Puerto Rico must be financial in order to help them recover. This is the conclusion of the NHCUCC; it is the same decision that our own Mission Team reached last week. Consequently, we will send $500 allocated to hurricane relief for Puerto Rico.
If you want to help, you may make a financial donation to Jackson Community Church with subject line “Puerto Rico” to benefit the UCC’s Emergency Relief Fund. Or donate directly online.
United Church of Christ's Disaster Ministry reinforces this reality for the need for financial giving, in response to
events like the earthquakes in Mexico and the hurrican in Puerto Rico:
UCC Disaster Ministries
Perspective on In-Kind vs. Monetary Donations
Dear Friends -- I can't stress enough the importance of monetary donations. I continue to receive phone calls and e-mails from our churches, with good intentions, wanting to send things to disaster locations. There are several major issues with this type of giving ... I am also sharing a note below, related to this topic, from a friend and colleague Peter Gudiatis who is the president and CEO of National Disaster Interfaiths Network.
From Peter Gudiatis: After today's meetings with the PR governor's office. Puerto Rico is already so overwhelmed with shipping containers (150) and plane loads of donated goods that they have no place to safely store or sort it - and, limited means to move it The word is that Puerto Rico will ban the importing of non-pre-requested and approved donated goods tomorrow - cash only from now on.
Executive, UCC Disaster Ministries
ASSEMBLED: HURRICANE CLEANUP KITS
Through many contributions in combination with Mission funds, our church also provided "cleanup kits" — which were recommended and requested by multiple denominations — by filling 14 buckets with the items below. They have been conveyed directly to hurricane-devastated areas by CWS (Church World Services), which is an ecumenical ministry supported jointly by several church denominations, including many Mt Washington Valley congregations.
RECENT LOCAL RESPONSE:
Vigil in response to Racism
Four Corners, Conway Village
(Intersection of Route 16 and Pleasant St./Rte. 153 and Washington St./ West Side Rd.)
Members from several faith communities and organizations held a peaceful public vigil in response to events in Charlottesville, VA, standing for hope, peace, love and justice and in resistance to racism, white supremacy, and violence. It was organized by the World Fellowship Center and supported by local Clergy of the Eastern Slopes (includes Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Eastern Slope (UUFES/Tamworth), Madison Church, Ctr Conway United Methodist, Nativity Lutheran, Christ Episcopal Church, plus UCC congregations: Conway Village, North Conway, Bartlett & Jackson). People from Jackson Community Church were in attendance, among many others. Local government representatives were also present.