“MAKING GOD'S LOVE AND JUSTICE REAL IN SUCH A TIME AS THIS”
On Wednesday, May 31st, from 6 – 9 p.m. at the MACUCC headquarters in Framingham, the Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, Minister and President of the MAUCC, gathered leaders of churches already witnessing to the Gospel in the “public square.” The churches were from Cape Cod, the South Shore, Boston, the North Shore and west to Worcester and Northhampton. Joining Jim Antal in leadership of the evening were conference staff, the Revs. Kelly Gallagher, Ellie Richardson, Wendy Vanderhart, and our very own Associate Conference Minister, Rev. Don Remick.
We gathered for worship, dinner and table conversation, testimony and general conversation on God's call to the church in such a time as this. Inspired by their understanding of the ministry of Jesus Christ, Churches told of what they are doing to speak out and take action on moral, environmental, peace and social justice issues facing us today. Churches spoke of what they are doing in becoming safe communities; strengthening race and religious relations; participating in refugee settlement (five year commitment for hands on assistance in finding housing, jobs, shopping for groceries, medical appointments and legal appointments, etc.); becoming sanctuary churches; looking deeply into ourselves to identify our weaknesses and strengthen our commonality as human beings; becoming involved with legislatures to identify bills to be brought to people's attention and gain support for passing or defeating the bills; as well as participating in the Climate March on Washington, Science March in Boston and other local issue marches.
Two key items that were significant to me were contained in the opening and closing of the program. In the opening, Rev. Antal quoted from Tim Snyder's book On Tyranny. It told of how, in 1933, a noted German Jewish cleric told his followers not to worry--no one was going to take their civil rights, property or personal freedom from them. We know, however, that many Jews lost all of this and their lives in the years that followed. This strongly pointed out how vigilant we must be as injustices occur.
In the closing general discussion on what to do now, we urged the MAUCC and national UCC to “speak out” on these moral, environmental, peace and social justice issues. Letters are good (and they did issue a letter on the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.) But, we asked that they do more. In addition to letters we thought conference and national leadership should speak out by seeking opportunities on major Talk Shows to present UCC leaderships positions, or possibly set up an advertising campaign on justice and peace. We hope that our faith voices will be heard and that peace and justice reign!
Rev. Sally Norris, Jean Souther and Jeff Talmadge attended this inspiring program.