#GIVING TUESDAY: Reminder about the church’s charitable partners.

INTERNATIONAL CAUSES which our faith community supports through giving or volunteering:

  • Heifer International cards will be available inside the church’s front entrance by Wednesday afternoon., Dec 1 You may take a card and make a donation (cash or check). Drop it in the church model inside the front doors, which we’re using to collect these funds. Learn more about Heifer International.
  • Zimbabwe cards will be available in the front of the church by Wednesday afternoon, Dec 1. These support partner faith communities and communal projects through the NH-Zimbabwe Ukama Partnership, including sister churches like JCC’s partner: Chikanga Church, City of Mutare, Zimbabwe. You may take a card and make a donation (cash or check). Drop it in the church model inside the front doors, which we’re using to collect these funds. or make an online donation: https://jacksoncommunitychurch.org/. Representatives from regions — including our churches — have traveled back and forth to establish strong ties between the partner faith communities.
  • Honduras Hope is a NH-based partnership with communities in Honduras. Church member Meg Phillips has traveled there several times to provide direct volunteer service in the communities and can answer your questions! Link to site for giving: https://www.hondurashope.org/donate
  • Legado Initiaitve is an international charitable foundation managed by a local Jackson resident. Madja Burhardt. They use a radical approach for securing THRIVING FUTURES for both people and the wild places they call home. To learn more and support this organization: https://www.legadoinitiative.org/donate/

LOCAL CAUSES the church supports financially and/or through volunteering. We respond to many local partners, so may not have included all such missions and initiatives here. If you’re interested in learning more about our Missions team, contact the church:  jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.org

Health and wellbeing of our community from many angles:

  • Way Station serves the homeless and housing-insecure residents of Mt Washington Valley. Learn more and/or donate: https://www.waystationnh.org/.  Link to donate: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=XBLS8D57RPDSS. 
  • Starting Point provides support and safety for individuals and families experiencing domestic violence. Learn more and/or donate: https://www.startingpointnh.org/
  • End 68 Hours of Hunger (Conway branch) sends hundreds of backpacks filled with food home every weekend  in the SAU9 school district for food-insecure students. Learn more and/or donate: https://www.end68hoursofhunger.org/find-your-community/new-hampshire/conway/
  • MWV Habitat for Humanity builds homes for local families. Learn more or donate: https://mwv-habitat.org/
  • White Horse Addiction Center works in North Conway and Ossippee. Learn more and/or donate: https://whitehorserecovery.org/
  • Mt Washington Valley Supports Recovery works in North Conway and Mt Washington Valley to support recover. Learn more and/or donate: https://www.mwvsupportsrecovery.org/
  • White Mountain Community Health provides sliding scale of medical services for the valley so that all people may access medical and dental care. Learn more and/or donate: https://www.whitemountainhealth.org/
  • Gibson Center provides essential services to the valley’s senior population, including Meals on Wheels, adult ed classes, health and wellbeing support and many other services. Hint: they have a thrift shop with excellent bargains! Link to learn more and/or donate: https://www.gibsoncenter.org/
  • Northern Health & Human Services provides essential, affordable mental health care and counseling to clients in the Mt Washington Valley and other regions of NH. Learn more and/or donate: https://nhfv.org/resources/northern-human-services/
  • Jen’s Friends provides support for local cancer families. Learn more and/or donate: https://jensfriends.org/wordpress/
  • North Country Cares supports projects such as the Revolving Closet which is a free clothing boutique for preteens and teens. Learn more and/or donate: https://www.northcountrycaresnh.org/
  • Conway Humane Society provides rescue, fostering and adoption for pets in Mt Washington Valley. Lean more and/or donate: https://www.conwayshelter.org/
  • Angels & Elves provides Christmas assistance (brand new warm coats, boots, clothes, toys, etc.) to underserved children in MWV, Fryeburg & Brownfield. To apply for Christmas assistance email angelsandelves2021@gmail.com for an application link thru Dec 5. Note: The church is supporting two families this season. All gift tags have been claimed, but you can contact Linda Hastings by email if you want a gift assignment (all gifts and tags must be returned by Sun, Dec 5 at noon) for one of these two families or make a cash contribution to the gift requests they have made by dropping a check or cash (payable to JCC and designated to Angels & Elves on subject line) in the church model in front entrance way.

Culture, Education and Environment:

  • Mountaintop Music provides music education and performances throughout the valley. Learn more and/or donate (or join): http://www.mountaintopmusic.org/
  • Jackson XC Ski Touring Foundation: This foundation maintains trails for XC skiing in Jackson, offers classes, provides affordable youth education and access for snow shoeing and XC skiing, and works with local nonprofits and landowners on conservation initiatives. Learn more and/or donate (or join):  https://www.jacksonxc.org/
  • Tin Mountain Conservation Center is a local partner in environmental education and preservation. They have sites in Jackson and Albany, offer programs regionally and in our classes and community centers, as well as on their own sites. Learn more and/or donate (or join): https://www.tinmountain.org/
  • Upper Saco Valley Land Trust is preserving land throughout the region, including many local sites. Learn more and/or make a donation (or join): https://www.usvlt.org/
  • Mt Washington Valley Observatory is a local nonprofit focused on environmental and weather-based science
  • Appalachian Mountain Club is integral to the culture and conservation of the White Mountains. Learn more: https://www.outdoors.org/
  • Believe in Books works on literacy and performing arts in the valley and conserves land along the Saco: http://www.believeinbooks.org/
  • Horton Center is the nearby UCC summer camp based on Pine Mountain and is the heart of NH outdoor experiences and ministries within the United Church of Christ’s NH Conference. Learn more and/or donate: https://hortoncenter.org/give-the-gift-of-camp-at-hc/
  • Star Island is a UU and UCC-owned island off the coast of NH that promotes creative, cultural and spiritual engagement with people and the environment through camps and conferences. Learn more: https://starisland.org/donate/
  • Bartlett Historical Society is preserving the local history of their town and region. To support them and learn more:  https://bartletthistory.org/Museum%20Donor%20Form%20v3.pdf
  • Jackson Historical Society preserves the artistical and historical heritage of Jackson and is building a significant collection of local artists from across several eras. To learn more and support them: https://www.jacksonhistory.org
  • Public Libraries are a significant public resource. If you wish to volunteer or donate:

Advent Daily Devotional: WEEK of HOPE – DAY 3 -Tue, Nov 30


O hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler turning aside for the night? Jeremiah 14:8

 Why is light given to one who cannot see the way,
    whom God has fenced in? For my sighing comes likemy bread,
    and my groanings are poured out like water. — Job 3: 23-24

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Shining a light doesn’t always mean dispelling the difficult truths it reveals. When building resilience, which feeds hope, researchers state that many people begin with an optimistic or idealized worldview. For instance, many folks originally believe that the world is safe, the world is good, and good things will happen for good people.

            Often experiences of trauma, challenge, or loss dismantle such an overly-idealistic worldview. Lee Daniel Kravetz writes, “This can feel terrifying and painful, but it’s healthy to accept a new, more realistic perspective. The world is safe—but also unsafe. Good things happen to good people—but bad things do too. I am a good person—but that doesn’t protect me from trauma.” When you shine a light, and then examine what you discover there, and allow it to reframe your perspective, this may become a strength. Now you have created the framework that allows you to discover how you can be a change-maker.

            Knowing what you’re facing or undertaking, you also know what needs to adapt or change. Thus you can begin to imagine and plan for how to create that transformation. Jane Goodall, who collaborated with Douglas Adams on The Book of Hope, states, “Hope is often misunderstood. People tend to think that it is simply passive wishful thinking: I hope something will happen but I’m not going to do anything about it. This is indeed the opposite of real hope, which requires action and engagement.”

            One light can become the spark that starts a revolution. — Rev Gail

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You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope. — Thomas Merton

As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.— Mary Anne Radmacher

Advent Daily Devotional: WEEK of HOPE – DAY 2 – Mon, Nov 29

You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word. Psalm 119:114

Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord,
the Lord lightens my darkness. — 2 Samuel 22:29

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Lighting a solo flame: such a small, brave act. Hope begins with single steps. It commences by acknowledging and naming the reality in which you find yourself. Then responding with a plan.

            Lee Daniel Kravetz writes for Option B that the first part of grounded hope is a “realistic understanding of our lives and ourselves. Instead of painting a smiley face over what has happened, we bravely look at reality head-on. Seeing the situation clearly enables us to work toward recovery.” In fact, by looking honestly at the starting point of your journey, you may recognize that something about this reality must change.

            What does the candle illuminate? What does your attention, focused on your own or another person’s life circumstances, as they are right now, reveal to you? Let the season begin. — Rev Gail

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The very least you can do in your life
is figure out what you hope for.
And the most you can do is live inside that hope.
Not admire it from a distance
but live right in it, under its roof.  
Barbara Kingsolver

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle.
— Buddha

ADVENT INTRODUCTION for Daily Devotional: Day 1 / Week of Hope

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. — Genesis 1:3-4

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In this year’s holiday devotional, as you light candles each day, adding a new flame every week, we invite you to meditate on the blessings of Advent: hope, peace, joy and love. Each offers a form of inspiration and illumination: both inwardly in our souls and bodies and outwardly by how we learn, live, play, work, and serve in the world.

Let us remember what Rachel Held Evans observed during a difficult holiday: “Those little Advent candles sure have a lot of darkness to overcome this year … Their stubborn flames represent the divine promise that … God can’t be kept out.” This assurance believes that each flame kindled in the world—metaphorically referring to human hearts and lives, each of them shining as lanterns in this mortal world—carries the potential to ignite transformative blazes as well as to awaken comforting hearth fires.

The daily act of lighting a candle reminds us that God chooses to return to humanity’s experience, to show up incarnate, in our messy world. Nothing can stop love’s arrival. Like dawn spilling across the horizon after the depths of a night’s vigil, love arrives with the light.Love also presses close in the holy dark.

When we practice setting a small part of our time and space aflame each day, we’re inviting the light to attend us. Abide in us. Illuminate us.  — Rev Gail

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WEEK of HOPE – DAY 1
Sun, Nov 28

And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in you. — Psalm 39:7

The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day,
to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night,
to give them light … — Exodus 13:21

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One candle to signify hope? The candle, until today, remains unmarked. Its wick curves like a question mark, inviting you to ask. 

            Within you dwell questions. Seeds that have grown and seek to open and thrive. Curiosity begins in the wilderness, or what you might consider to be the fruitful dark of unresolved, unexamined, unexplored parts of the world or the self. Questions arise where things may not yet be visible or known.

            Today, before you give birth to light, by setting the wick aflame, make friends with the darkness. Stare into it. Let its depths become more visible as your eyes adjust. Grow more attuned to sitting in the absence of the light or the flame.

            What senses grow keener when vision isn’t in use? What can you discern without light to heighten the contrast around the contours and edges of the world surrounding you? Or to illuminate the self within?

            Allow the darkness to keep you company. Part of hope acknowledges that you begin each journey with a sense of uncertainty and discomfort. Yet hope grows in such places.  Love takes root within this life-producing womb of not-knowing.

            Yes, in this season, you will shine a light into darkness. Yet when you welcome the fertile depths and darkness, look into it, and let it touch you, you embrace beginnings. You invite questions to come alive.

            Afterward, light the single flame. How does its presence change the darkness in which you have immersed yourself? — Rev Gail

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Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up. — Anne Lamott

Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. — Brene Brown

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Blessing of Hope
— Jan Richardson


So may we know the hope
that is not just for someday
but for this day—
here, now, in this moment that opens to us:
hope not made of wishes, but of substance,
hope made of sinew and muscle and bone,
hope that has breath and a beating heart,
hope that will not keep quiet and be polite,
hope that knows how to holler
when it is called for,
hope that knows how to sing
when there seems little cause,
hope that raises us from the dead—
not someday but this day, every day,
again and again and again.

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