TWO WOMEN, ONE TEMPLE AND THE JOURNEY TO ADVENT by Dr. John McDargh November 16, 2018 Proper 28 Year B 1 Samuel 1:4-20 Mark 13: 108

In 2016  American author and social activist Adrienne Maree Brown wrote the following in reference to racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement  “Things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered.  We must hold each other tight , and continue to pull back the veil”. 

Truth  “alethia”  Unhiddeness – Truth is not a thing, it is an event. .”truth happens to us when the coverings of illusion are stripped away and the real emerges into the open” .. (Martin Smith, Season of the Spirit  p. 5)

If you did not already realize it,  a trip to CVS and the appearance of Christmas decorations  stowed ready to display will remind you that our country and our consumer  culture is rapidly barreling towards Christmas –

But as Christians we operate on a different and slower calendar and last week and this week and the next are stepping stones towards the beginning of the Church year we call Advent.   Advent is  the four weeks of pause and sober  reflection that might , if we let them, ,  bring us to an ever deeper  awareness of what this Christmas thing  is all about in the first place – and what its radical invitation to each of us and to our world might actually be.

Growing up a Roman Catholic kid in a parochial school in Georgia I will admit that for a long time I found Advent both compelling and confusing.  It seemed as if we were being asked  to imagine ourselves into an historical moment when we longed and yearned for the coming of God’s promised one , the Moschiach – the Messiah – except that it was somehow pretend. We  knew in advance that it had already had  happened and so there was not particular surprise. It was the child born in Bethlehem, Jesus. End of Story.

It was rather like the way my mother in July would find socks on sale at Sears and buy them in front of us, and then tell us that they would appear on Christmas morning.  The implication was that we should be grateful and act  surprised when we unwrapped them, as though we did not know they had been squirreled away in her closet for five months.

For Advent and the Christ event to recover its bracing and shocking power to empower and transform us,  I wonder if it is necessary for us once again to inhabit a different  space.  It is one of longing ,  yearning and shared vulnerability and unknowing that was the place of the first followers of the itinerant teacher  from Nazareth , Yeshuah ben Miram, Jesus son of Mary.

And I will say straight out that I am learning myself to do this in new and unexpected ways by the gift of finding myself /ourselves sharing this space and time with our Jewish sisters and brothers in the Sanctuary Collaborative.

To put is in perhaps a provocative way , I am asking whether as we count down to Advent, the count down to the celebration of the Incarnation of Christ .. we need to find the relevant and appropriate ways in which we might understand ourselves to be spiritually and  existentially Jews.

When I wrote that .. I associated to two things.  One was a story one of the brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist told me years ago about an interaction with a Harvard undergraduate who had presented himself at their  Monastery  in Cambridge with the request that he be prepared for Baptism.  As this brother began to work with thus young man he said to him that before he could become a Christian, he first needed to become a Jew.   He meant by that, I think,  that the young man  needed to deeply understand and feel how the first century Jesus Renewal movement within Judaism, the movement  that became Christianity,   is incomprehensible without an understanding of its origins in the enduring experience of the people Israel.

To put it another way, the monk was inviting  the young man into some   personal  identification with the experience of that tribe of desert nomads whose narrative of their encounter with  the Mystery  has transformed all of our understanding of how the Holy and the Ultimate intimately connects with humanity.

“ So what happened”  ,  I asked the brother.

Well , that was apparently a  step too far for this young man,”   he told me.  “I have no use for Jews or Judaism” , the student protested rather emphatically and went off to find some other Christian community that did not require that empathic exercise as a requisite part of the path to Baptism.   Lots of luck with that….

My second association was to an observation made by the late Huston Smith, arguable one of the greatest scholars of world religions in  our time .  Smith’s book The Religions of the World  was the foundational  text of the year-long core course on Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity that I taught for over 35 years at Boston College before retiring this past Spring.  Huston Smith memorably if provocatively said,, “Just as Buddhism  is the way we can all get to be Hindu’s  , Christianity is the way we all get to be Jews”.

That statement  is a bit of a koan for me that I still am not sure I have fully understood. Nevertheless in light of my meditation on this morning’s Gospel and reading from the Hebrew Scripture let me offer this.

We get to be Jews when we lean into the fearful and wonderful possibility that our common vulnerability and our shared woundedness  is exactly the place where we will find and be found by the  infinite Love and Compassion we call by many names: Holy Mystery,  HaShem – the Name – Adonai, God , the Source, the Friend, the Beloved,

As I have attempted to “hear, read, mark , learn and inwardly digest” the Scriptures assigned by the lectionary for this penultimate Sunday of the church year (today’s collect) I find there are clues to what it might mean to for Christians to enter Advent as Jews.

First to the Gospel story.  It comes from Mark – the earliest of our four canonical Gospels which scholars place as somewhere around 66 – 70 – the time when the Jewish rebellion against the Roman occupiers brought down the unimaginable power of Titus and his legions and the Temple and the City of Jerusalem were almost totally destroyed.  It is a day that the Jewish community to this day  August 4th 70 BCE remembers with sorrow and fasting as  Tisha B’Av

But when the Temple  stood it was something that inspired  Jesus’ disciples to exclaim . “Look, Teacher, What large stones and what large buildings”   it must have seemed totally awesome and indestructible an enduring monument to God’s Protective Presence with God’s People – an assurance even in the midst of their occupation and subjection to the Empire – that God was still present .

I have prayed in Jerusalem at what remains of the Western Wall  and just from that one can sense that  the “ Second Temple Newly reconstructed by Herod the Great must indeed  have been an awe inspiring wonder.  Its retaining walls were composed of stones forty feet long.. The temple itself occupied a platform twice as large as the Roman Forum and four times as large as the Athenian Acropolis.

Herod reportedly used so much gold to cover the outside walls that it was said anyone who gazed at them in bright sunlight risked blinding themselves.”   (Debie Thomas ,  Journey with Jesus   11 Nov  2018)

That is what the disciples see .. but in our Gospel account, whether written before or after the catastrophic destruction of this place of encounter between the infinite and finite,  what Jesus sees is the fragility, transience and ultimate vulnerability of all human projects –“ fragility , not permanence, loss, not glory,  Change, not stasis “  . “not a stone will be left upon stone”.

In some ways this morning’s Gospel reading is a coda to last week’s when Jesus and his posse are again hanging out around the great Second Temple but are admiring the munificence of  fellow Jews who are donating huge sums into the Temple treasury. But Jesus is seeing with a different set of eyes and points out to them what they were not seeing or even disparaging,  the radical generosity of the widow whose offering of two small coins represents a more heroically  sacrificial gift – because it was all she had.   We are invited to see with different eyes and count by a different measure.

Moving now to the readings from the Hebrew Scriptures we have another opportunity to see with different eyes.

Last week the count down to  Advent gave us the lens of the experience of Ruth – the Moabite woman whose love and loyalty to her mother in law Naomi sends her into a strange land with the commitment only to be loyal to Ruth, and to make “your people my people, and your God, my God”.  Ruth models a radical vulnerability and love that compels her to take risks as a widowed woman without a male protector in a strange land where she could reasonably expected to be rejected and judged as an idolater, as Moabites commonly where.  And all this, as Reb Toba Spitzer pointed out to us in last week’s post service discussion of Ruth, is taking place during the time of “The Judges” – a period of Hebrew history when the lack of consistent central leadership made everyday life in Israel even more chaotic and precarious.

In today’s reading  from the book of Samuel, our Common Lectionary  steps towards Advent with another story of a woman who become vulnerable and radically trusts in the presence and power and compassion of an unseen God to respond to her need.

Hannah’s story is ironically a mirror of the story of Hagar, the Egyptian hand maid of Abraham’s wife Sarah, In that narrative , you may recall, it is Sarah who painfully jealous of her servant Hagar’s successfully bearing a child by Sarah’s spouse Abraham . So she abuses and mistreats Hagar and demands that she and her baby Ishmael be driven out into the desert.  In the story of Hannah it is Hannah’s “sister wife”, Penninah who having   given her shared husband      Elkanah multiple sons and daughter mocks and shames Hannah for her  infertility  and makes her life a misery – and she is not solaced by her husband’s assurance that he wants to be more to her than ten sons.  Hannah is not buying it. She is a failure by the yardstick of her culture and she want God to know her anguish .

It is from that place of shame and sorrow that Hannah comes to the shrine of Yahweh Sabbaoth at Shiloh and – as they say – lets it all hang out. She wails and she laments – but her sorrow is too deep for speech or even sound and so she prays but silently,  And here it gets interesting to me..  The high priest Eli observing her intense and   anguished prayer with her lips moving silently,  assumes that she is has been drinking. ! And he reproves her and accuses her of making a “drunken spectacle of herself”.  .

And then Hannah boldly speaks out to defend and explain herself to the High Priest of Shiloh  : No my Lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do no regard your servant as a worthless woman , for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.”

And with that sharing , I believe that  Eli’s heart is touched and he is moved to join Hannah in her pleading and pray with her “ Go in peace, the God of Israel grant the petition you have made. ”     And strengthened by this empathic connection with another person that is perhaps itself the sacrament of God’s response to her,  Hannah does just that .

She returns in peace to her husband, bathes, dines together, sleeps together once they return home   – and lo and behold,  finds herself pregnant.

Though I am sure that it has not been lost on this community I need to point out that the ecstatic utterance that then explodes from her lips – is the very template for that cry of prophetic joy that another newly pregnant Jewish woman sings out – Mary of Nazareth.  It is the song that the Church came to  call “The Magnificat” and it is part of Evensong in our Book of Common Prayer.  This year happily  we will hear it together on the Fourth Sunday of Advent –

Hannah shouts out “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God”.. Mary bursts out, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant”. And both women celebrate the power of the Holy One to over turn  hierarchies of power and privilege.

Hannah:      The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, He also exalts He raises the poor from the dust ; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.

Mary:  The Lord has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly / the Lord has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.

[It has often occurred to me  that if a woman stood out on Boston Common and shouted either of these words she might be arrested for being an agitator and an anarchist –  or at least  dismissed as  dangerous and deluded.]

So perhaps the recovery in Advent of what it means to “be a Jew” in order to be a follower of Jesus means to recover whole octaves of both lament and rejoicing that we have lost. That trope – which our choir can perhaps best identify with  –  is not original to me. I heard it first from Alan Jones, Canon theologian at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco who said that in our personal prayer and our common life we must practice the chords of both joy and sorrow and extend our range beyond our imaging.

The last thing I want to share about this idea of learning from Jews and Judaism about what it means to be a Christian is that our leaning into our shared humanity and common suffering is always particular and concrete.

People have asked me about the Sanctuary Collaborative –  why such an effort for a single family?  There are thousands of so called undocumented immigrants in our country who are in desperate need of help to prevent them from being deported to countries where many may face death and acute poverty.  Why this expenditure of energy on a single small family?

My first reaction is to remember  the famous story “The Star Thrower” by naturalist Loren Eiseley.  He describes walking on the beach at dawn after a furious storm to discover the beach littered with some thousands of starfish that had been thrown up by the high tide and now were beginning to die in the sun as the tide went out.  He spots a man who is slowly walking down the beach and stooping over to pick up starfish and one by one throw them into the ocean. He comments to the man that with so many stranded star fish and sun rising he could not possibly save them all , so why did it matter? Well, said the man as he picked up a starfish and flung it out beyond the surf, “it matters to this one”.

That is one response.

But the other reason that Sanctuary matters is that humans have a tendency in the face of immense suffering and need to retreat into abstraction that erases the individual human faces of those who are in need of our advocacy and have a claim upon our humanity.  We have seen this in the way in which “the Caravan” of persons traveling from Honduras and Guatemala to seek asylum in the United States has been reduced to a monolithic “invasion” that threatens our security and well-being. As some of you know my husband  Tim and I have been in Orange County California for the last several weeks taking advantage of our retirement to volunteer full time on some of the crucial Democratic congressional races there. We were staying with my twin sister in Dana Point where she and her husband get the LA Times delivered daily.  The Los Angeles Times embedded several reporters with the group of refugees slowly heading through Mexico so every morning I would read accounts of what these reporters were learning about the men, women and children who were fleeing the epidemic  violence and the grinding poverty particularly in Honduras.  (The per capita murder rate in Honduras I read is now greater than the murder rate in Iraq at the height of the U.S. invasion). One image stayed with me.

An LA Times  reporter interviewed  ”Miguel”, a twenty year old young man who was walking with a rainbow flag draped over his bare shoulders..    He explained that in the rural community he lived in it had been discovered by the local gangs that he was a gay and he was warned quite directly that if he did not leave town they would torture and kill him. With the encouragement and  blessing of his family he was walking to the border in the hopes that he might end up in a country where he could be who he was and not be murdered for it.

As you might imagine that story made quite an impression on me.  Miguel  became the face of the Caravan that I held before me.  The opposition to Harley Rouda, the Democratic congressional candidate  two days before the election put up defaming signs at  Freeway exits simply saying  ominously “Open Borders Rouda”.  These signs were not representing Miguel but intending to frighten voters by conjuring  a nameless hoard of “illegals” (“very bad hombres” as the President called them)  flowing unimpeded across the U.S. / Mexican border.  These signs were more than just a dog whistle they were a bull horn intended to hijack our natural empathy by promoting  fear of the stranger or “alien”  in our midst..

Meditating on Judaism and its refusal to retreat  from messy , heart breaking particularity   into abstract philosophizing and the comfort of cosmic solutions that over-leap history,  I came upon this poem by Gerald Stern.  I like it a lot because it evokes the way in which generally speaking Jews have not been drawn to the abstract philosophical systems which attracted Christian thinkers to Platonism or other systems of thought that subordinated our natural response to creaturely suffering to the “higher aims” of the State or the Race  or some Ideal Form.  Jews have been wary of trying to find a place “above it all”. Rather they have  preferred  to  “enter it all”.  Not surprisingly  this is nowhere more evident than in the rituals around death – where every body of a slain fellow human being must be bathed by loved ones, and every drop of blood or flesh that has been shed by martyrs must be reverently cleaned. And this is that happened most recently at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg.    Here is the poem, perhaps it can be your mediation descending into the emotional space of Advent.

The poem is titled “Behaving Like a Jew” and is about the author’s response to seeing the body of an opossum on the highway and stopping to save it.

Behaving Like A Jew

When I got there the dead opossum looked like
an enormous baby sleeping on the road.
It took me only a few seconds – just
seeing him there – with the hole in his back
and the wind blowing through his hair
to get back again into my animal sorrow.
I am sick of the country, the bloodstained
bumpers, the stiff hairs sticking out of the grilles,
the slimy highways, the heavy birds
refusing to move;
I am sick of the spirit of Lindbergh over everything,
that joy in death, that philosophical
understanding of carnage, that
concentration on the species.
— I am going to be unappeased at the opossum’s death.
I am going to behave like a Jew
and touch his face, and stare into his eyes,
and pull him off the road.
I am not going to stand in a wet ditch

with the Toyotas and the Chevies passing over me
at sixty miles an hour
and praise the beauty and the balance
and lose myself in the immortal lifestream
when my hands are still a little shaky
from his stiffness and his bulk
and my eyes are still weak and misty
from his round belly and his curved fingers
and his black whiskers and his little dancing feet.

“Behaving Like A Jew” by Gerald Stern from Leaving Another Kingdom: Selected Poems published by Harper originally published in the book Lucky Life published by Houghton Mifflin.

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October Outreach News!

Centre Street Food Pantrycentre-street-food-pantry

If you missed Sunday’s first plate collection for the Centre Street Food Pantry, you may still donate.  With your check made out to the Parish of St. Paul, in the memo line put “Centre Street Food Pantry.”  Your donation will go toward their supermarket gift card program.  These cards to supermarkets are distributed during the month of October and these cards allow clients to buy food for Thanksgiving.  St. Paul’s has given generously toward this program in recent years and hopes to continue that generosity this year.

Salvation Army Dinner – Monday, October 9

The next Framingham Salvation Army meal preparation and serving date is Monday, October 9 from 4:30 PM to 7PM.  There are a few components: buying the food, baking cakes, cooking/prepping the dinner (4:30 – 6:00) and serving/clean up (6:00 – 7:00).  You can do a piece or a couple of pieces.  It’s up to you.  Please contact Eliza Blay at Eliza_Blay@comcast.net for more information.

 FIRST SUNDAY PLATE COLLECTION

Sunday, November 5 – Common Cathedral

Katherine Ballas has asked for November’s collection to go to Common Cathedral which provides services to Boston’s homeless population.

Fall Outreach News!

First Sunday Plate Collections

Sunday, October 1 – Centre Street Food Pantry

This Sunday’s first plate collection will go to the Centre Street Food Pantry for its popular gift card distribution program.  $20 gift cards to supermarkets are distributed during the month of October and these cards allow clients to buy food for Thanksgiving.  St. Paul’s has given generously toward this program in recent years and hopes to continue that generosity this year.

Sunday, November 5 – Common Cathedral

Katherine Ballas has asked for November’s collection to go to Common Cathedral which provides services to Boston’s homeless population.

 

May Outreach News!

First Sunday Plate

The May plate will be collected for Habitat for Humanity.  We are planning a work day for Saturday, June 3 (PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE) and one of the requirements is that the group make a $750 donation.

HABITATMission Day – Habitat for Humanity

An application has been filed with Habitat for Humanity for a parish Mission Day on Saturday, June 3.  In addition to a $750 donation, the group size must be 8-10 people.  The minimum age at the construction site is 16, and those between 16 and 18 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone.  Please consider joining the Parish of St. Paul team.  If you are interested in lending a hand, you can sign up in the Parish Hall, email Jon Swalboski at jonswalboski@gmail.com, or speak to Gretchen or Carolyn.

Here are some FAQ’s from the HFH website:

What skills are required?
We love experienced volunteers, but the vast majority of our volunteers have never had more construction experience than painting a bedroom or hanging a picture on the wall. Our site supervisors will teach you everything you need to know on your build day.

Where do I build?
Once you have scheduled and confirmed your build day, the Volunteer Coordinator will send you the site location, required paperwork, proper dress, and directions. All of our sites are in the Boston area, are accessible by public transit, and generally have free street parking available.
What will happen when I arrive at the site?
At the beginning of each workday, a Habitat site supervisor will start the morning with an introduction, a safety talk and instructions. The group will then break into crews to work on the various building tasks. The activities range from hanging drywall, painting, stacking lumber, framing, sanding, demolition, cleaning, and anything else that needs doing!

How long do build days last?
Volunteers build with us from 9 am to 3.30 pm. If you sign up for a build day you need to commit to being there all day.

What should I bring?

• Proper Dress: Wear comfortable clothing and expect to get dirty with spilled paint, dirt etc. Closed toe shoes are a must and layers in the wintertime are key as our homes are often not insulated or heated.

• Food and Drink: Bring any food or drink you will need for the day including water. Convenience stores are within driving distance but can be a far walk from some sites.

• No Tools or Supplies Required: Habitat Greater Boston will provide all tools and building materials for your build day.

April Mission & Outreach News Update

Thanks Salvation Army Volunteers!

Thanks to the intrepid band of St. Paul’s parishioners who shopped, cooked, cleaned and served dinner to about 75 people on March 13 at the Framingham Salvation Army location. Those in attendance were Jack, Craig and Eliza Blay, Kate Pittman, Paul Cronin, Jon Swalboski and Ellie Pandorf.

June 3 – Habitat for Humanity

Our application for a build day has been approved for Saturday, June 3. In addition to a $750 donation, the group size must be 8-10 people.  The minimum age at the construction site is 16, and those between 16 and 18 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone.  More details will follow, but for now mark your calendars and join us on this fulfilling mission day.

If you are interested in lending a hand, you can sign up in the Parish Hall, email Jon Swalboski at jonswalboski@gmail.com, or speak to Gretchen or Carolyn.

Bike-a-thon

Due to a number of factors, including the ride being on Easter night, and the start of school vacation, we will not be sponsoring the midnight ride this year.  We do plan to participate next year when Easter is not in conflict with this event.

Episcopal Church Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society “Good Friday Offering”

On Good Friday, offerings are invited from across The Episcopal Church to support the four dioceses of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Funds are used to promote peace and mutual understanding through pastoral care, health care and educational programs throughout the region.

“Christian Education” in many churches in the United States often refers to a variety of programs for youth and adults as part of Sunday morning. Throughout the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East “Christian Education” takes on a di­fferent meaning. “Christian Education” is the term used to describe the schools and educational programs which are owned and operated by the Christian churches. The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is a leader in providing educational opportunities, especially for the most vulnerable children. The diocese operates residential programs for developmentally disabled children and adults near Beirut; residential education for at-risk boys in Amman; schools for blind and deaf children in Jordan; highly respected K-12 programs for girls and boys in Amman, Jordan and in Haifa and Nazareth in Israel; vocational training in electronics and hospitality in Ramallah in the Occupied Territories, among other programs. “Christian Education” through these programs are open to all. Most of the students are Muslim and it is common to have waiting lists of Muslim families who are looking for the rigorous and compassionate quality education provided through the schools sponsored by the Diocese.

An essential component of the schools and programs of the diocese is that there is no e­ffort to change anyone’s beliefs, but there is ample opportunity to share religious traditions. Your support of the Good Friday Offering helps make scholarships available and supports these schools which are educating the next generation of leaders.

Please make checks payable to:  The Foreign and Domestic Missionary Society.

Mission and Outreach Events

Salvation Army Meal Volunteers

The next Framingham Salvation Army meal preparation and serving date is Monday, March 13 from 4:30 PM to 7PM.  There a couple of components: buying the food, baking cakes, cooking/prepping the dinner (4:30 – 6:00) and serving/clean up (6:00 – 7:00).  So you can do a piece or a couple of pieces.  It’s up to you.  Please contact Eliza Blay at Eliza_Blay@comcast.net for more information.

 Mission Day – Habitat for Humanity

An application has been filed with Habitat for Humanity for a parish Mission Day on either Saturday June 3, or Saturday June 10.   In addition to a $750 donation, the group size must be 8-10 people.  The minimum age at the construction site is 16, and those between 16 and 18 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone.  Please consider joining the Parish of St. Paul team.  If you are interested in lending a hand, you can sign up in the Parish Hall, email Jon Swalboski at jonswalboski@gmail.com, or speak to Gretchen or Carolyn.

Bike-a-thon

Due to a number of factors, including the ride being on Easter night, and the start of school vacation, we will not be sponsoring the midnight ride this year.  We do plan to participate next year when Easter is not in conflict with this event.

April First-Plate Recipient:  Episcopal Church Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society

“Good Friday Offering”

On Good Friday, offerings are invited from across The Episcopal Church to support the four dioceses of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Funds are used to promote peace and mutual understanding through pastoral care, health care and educational programs throughout the region.

“Christian Education” in many churches in the United States often refers to a variety of programs for youth and adults as part of Sunday morning. Throughout the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East “Christian Education” takes on a di­fferent meaning. “Christian Education” is the term used to describe the schools and educational programs which are owned and operated by the Christian churches. The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is a leader in providing educational opportunities, especially for the most vulnerable children. The diocese operates residential programs for developmentally disabled children and adults near Beirut; residential education for at-risk boys in Amman; schools for blind and deaf children in Jordan; highly respected K-12 programs for girls and boys in Amman, Jordan and in Haifa and Nazareth in Israel; vocational training in electronics and hospitality in Ramallah in the Occupied Territories, among other programs. “Christian Education” through these programs are open to all. Most of the students are Muslim and it is common to have waiting lists of Muslim families who are looking for the rigorous and compassionate quality education provided through the schools sponsored by the Diocese.

An essential component of the schools and programs of the diocese is that there is no e­ffort to change anyone’s beliefs, but there is ample opportunity to share religious traditions. Your support of the Good Friday O­ffering helps make scholarships available and supports these schools which are educating the next generation of leaders.

Please make checks payable to:  The Foreign and Domestic Missionary Society.

February Outreach News!

Jon Swalboski picture for voice from the pews

February First-Plate Recipient: 

Boston Warm Coalition

Everyone Deserves Adequate, Dignified, and Stable Shelter

 Support Boston Warm as it continues to welcome and advocate for those who are unhoused this winter! Boston Warm is transitioning to better support its two goals of providing a safe, warm place for homeless individuals to be in community during the day and amplifying their voices to policy-makers and the wider public. Common Cathedral will be taking over operations of the day center and the City Mission Society will be leading our advocacy and education efforts. Your donation will help us continue these efforts through this upcoming winter.

It has been almost two years since the city of Boston abruptly closed the Long Island Bridge and severed the fragile safety net for the 700 residents of the island’s homeless shelter and addiction recovery programs.

This overnight loss of services created a moral crisis in our community last fall that, despite modest gains, remains an on-going challenge to the city of Boston and to our faith community.

Please consider a very generous gift again this year, to help us reopen the day warming center at Emanuel Church and to support our efforts to educate, engage, and empower individuals, religious institutions, elected officials, community leaders, and others to forge a meaningful dialog focused on solutions to homelessness in Boston.

We’ll be taking donations all month for Boston Warm.  Just put “Boston Warm” in the memo line.