This week’s Lenten Fast suggestion: Tips to Use Less Plastic

From: THE UCC’s Environmental Justice Mission Group

Check out these easy ways you can start reducing your waste in your everyday life! Did you know that of the 30 million tons of plastic waste generated in the US in 2009, only 7 percent was recovered for recycling? 
Here are 17 ways to reduce your plastic waste:

  1. Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw
  2. Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often! 
  3. Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic. 
  4. Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.
  5. Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging. 
  6. Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk.
  7. Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop
  8. Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy-bag since many restaurants use styrofoam. 
  9. Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter. 
  10. Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you’ll be eating fewer processed foods! 
  11. Don’t use plasticware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.
  12. Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers (for berries, tomatoes, etc.) back. If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.
  13. The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money. 
  14. Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It’s healthier and better for the environment.
  15. Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner.
  16. Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.
  17. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor.

Trying even one or two of these ideas can lead to good habits that will last well beyond Lent!


Ongoing – Lenten Devotionals (downloadable copies): (password required to access copyright-protected content).
Note: New addition to the Lenten resources available for individuals and families on the Beatitudes. 

TUE, Mar 2

  • LENTEN STUDY GROUPThe Walk by Adam Hamilton
    9:30am • Zoom (link & password required: contact JCC)
    • Join Sue Davidson for a bible study focused on The Walk by Adam Hamilton. It helps participants develop five spiritual practices that allow us to walk closer with God.
    • A few copies of this book are available to borrow inside JCC’s front doors, on the Lent-Easter library shelves. Otherwise, you may order e-book or hard copy on Amazon
    Noon • Jackson Community Church 
    12:30-2pm • Zoom.
    Meeting of Clergy of the Eastern Slope for peer work and community networking. Rev Gail attends.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    2-6pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse.
    Request appointments: 
    Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:
  • Community Event: VIRTUAL YOGA
    4:30pm • Zoom
    The Friends of the Whitney welcome back yoga instructor, Anjali Rose to host virtual yoga to the community for the next six weeks. This yoga class is free to Jackson community residents and is designed for all levels to participate. The process to sign up is simple, the registration link is listed here, each person attending can register and upon registration will receive an email within 24 hours with the Zoom link for the class. It’s important to register as soon as you can and no later than 2:00 on Tuesday.
    7pm • Zoom (link & password required: contact JCC)
    Deacons meet to report on community care planning and also to plan upcoming worship themes and experiences.

WED, Mar 3

    10am • JCC
    Volunteers meet to remove birds and winter greens from sanctuary and prepare for Lenten themes such as Stations of the Cross.
    Noon • Jackson Community Church
  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    2-5pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse.
    Request appointments: 
    Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:
  • Community Event: PLANT BASED COOKING with ANJALI ROSE (zoom)
    5pm • Register in advance with this link.
    Adult cooking using plant-based recipes. Anjali sends recipe ahead of time so you can have ingredients gathered for the class. REGISTER by 4pm Tuesday!
  • Community Event: SUPPORTING DIVERSITY & INCLUSION in the OUTDOORS: A Sense of Place Forum (zoom)
    6pm • Click here to register. The event is free. How can we cultivate a more inclusive outdoor recreation community in the Mount Washington Valley? Join us to consider what practical steps user groups, local businesses, and local community members can take to support more diverse participation in the outdoors. Panelists from the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, REI, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Venture Out Project will share their perspectives, followed by a facilitated discussion. Emily Greene from the Saco Watershed Collaborative and Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve will moderate.
  • Local Class: BEGINNING LANDSCAPE PAINTING: Trees and Snow (zoom)
    Jackson Art class series. Registration required. Questions: Contact 603-387-3463. Cost and information available through link:

THURS, Mar 4

    Noon • Jackson Community Church
  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    2-6pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse.
    Request appointments: 
    Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:
  • Community Service: WAY STATION SHIFT
    3pm • Curbside package preparation
    5pm • Shift at curbside with guests
    15 Grove St, North Conway, NH
    Rev Gail and JCC volunteers serve this weekly outreach to local homeless and housing-insecure residents.

FRI, Mar 5

  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    2-5pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse.Request appointments:  Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:
    Noon • Jackson Community Church
  • Community Event: FIRST FRIDAY SAMPLER (Mountain Top Music)
    Enjoy excerpts of past First 
    Fridays, and a few surprises! You might even hear a bit of orchestra music. Get your free ticket code here.
  • Community Event: FRIDAY SLIDERS & GLIDERS (Weather Dependent)
    1 pm (Gliders) • 1:15 pm (Sliders) • 1:30 pm (Easy Sliders) • Jackson XC Ski Center (JXC)
    Note from JXC: Registration required. Call: 603-383-9355.
    5pm • Zoom (link & password required: contact JCC)
    A series of discussions about Beatitudes. Bring your adult beverage and your curiosity. 

SAT, Mar 6

  • Community Resource: LIBRARY for PICKUP or BROWSING by APPOINTMENT
    10am – 2pm • Jackson Library
    Pick up holds, print items, or book an appointment to stay on site and browse. Request appointments: Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email:

SUN, MAR 7: Third Sunday in Lent

    8am • Zoom (link & password required: contact JCC)
    Join us for poetry, prayer and conversation. Zoom-only.
    9am • Zoom (link & password required: contact JCC)
    Welcoming new members! Join us to prepare songs for the coming year.
    10:30am •  (link & password required: contact JCC)
    • Join us for worship with music, scripture, prayer and reflection.
    • Message by Rev Gail, live music by Alan Labrie
    • Lenten series on Beatitudes
    • Stay for virtual coffee hour (via Zoom only).
    • In-person attendance requires masks and social distancing.
    • Service will also be live-streamed to website and Facebook (if technology supports this function on the day of event). Afterward, recordings of worship service will be posted to channel & channel.
    Noon • Jackson Community Church

Lenten Devotional – Mon, Mar 1: WHO

The people referenced in these blessings are considered in a communal way. In particular, they are the followers of Christ within the Greek-speaking community for whom the author of the Gospel of Matthew wrote. They are also, in another sense, all humans. Common folk. People like you and me.

We might not want to recognize ourselves in these lists, or in others who find themselves described within the Beatitudes. It’s an uncomfortable association.

Yet among these lists of challenging human conditions, we’re likely to identify with one or more of the circumstances that are described by Christ in the Beatitudes. Since we’ve had these experiences, we are encouraged to develop empathy and connection with others. If we have recognized ourselves in these Beatitudes, we can also reach out to those who are living within these circumstances and experiences.

These blessings remind us that we are connected to each other, as well as being welcomed into the community of God’s children. This expansive view of who is blessed also cautions us that we’re not in charge of the invitation list for the kingdom of heaven. We don’t decide who sits at the common table.        

This human community belongs to Christ, who has given out the invitations. Now, elbow to elbow, we’re invited to share more than just a meal.  — Rev Gail


You are me, and I am you.
Isn’t it obvious that we “inter-are”?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.

I support you; you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

Challenge or Question: Who in your life is a sounding board for you? Who holds up a mirror for you and helps you become more self-aware? And for whom do you offer this reciprocity?

WEEK TWO of LENT: Devotional – Sun, Feb 28: BLESSED

Beatitude texts for week two:

02. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

03. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Sun, Feb 28: BLESSED

The scholars Malina & Rohrbaugh suggest that the blessedness of Beatitudes also refers to honor. It means to ‘bring honor’ or to be ‘filled with honor’.

What then is the blessing for those who are sorrowful, or as some translators more broadly explain, live in misery or protest at the wrongs and hurts experienced by other humans in their communities? And what does meek mean, anyway? Who identifies as meek? What gift is offered to them by Christ?

Again, Christ’s statements seem to honor those who find themselves in this doleful emotional or psychological state. And recognizes those who are humble and gentle, yet will stand against what is wrong in the world. Rather than isolating them, ignoring them, criticizing them or trying to ‘fix’ them, Christ sees such people. In his life, he kept company with them. Reached out to them. Sat with them. Listened to them. Attended to their needs. Only then did Christ choose to teach and preach. He cared first for their physical and spiritual wellbeing.

In our times, Christ doesn’t necessarily change the causes of people’s suffering. Yet his recognition offers a response. Through engagement with those who mourn and grieve, who are sad and miserable, he honors their state of being. He draws them into the perception of God, beneath the gaze of heaven, and into the sight of other people. — Rev Gail

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. — Willie Nelson

You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings. — Elizabeth Gilbert

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken. — Albert Camus

Like a thin place, a blessing can help us perceive how heaven infuses earth, inextricable from daily life, even when that life is marked by pain. — Jan Richardson

Concentrate on counting your blessings and you’ll have little time to count anything else. — Woodrow Kroll

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it. — Thomas Paine

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. — W.T. Purkiser

Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering. Steve Maraboli

A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. Steve Maraboli

God gave you a gift of 84,600 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you? William Arthur Ward

Challenge or Question: Identify a blessing within your life. One aspect of your life for which you are grateful. Give thanks for it. Say a prayer, write it in a journal, or light a candle to acknowledge this blessing.

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