Prayer for Highland Park by Maren Tirabassi

Prayer for Highland Park, Illinois

God, we pray for Highland Park,

asking your tenderness

with those who mourn family and friends,

suddenly and terribly lost,

your care for all those wounded,

and your gentle peace

with those who may hear fireworks

as automatic rifle fire

all the days of their lives.

For this small local palm sunday

turned into a via dolorosa,

a “sorrowful way,”

independence-day become day-of-fear,

celebration of beautiful America

become mourning

of broken America,

we weep, even for ourselves,

but mostly for this town,

these people, who will remember

a terrible rain on their parade.



Where They Would Have Been: Home — A Meditation by Rev Gail Doktor (caveat: all mistakes in this reflection are my own)

Last weekend, my daughter Sarah and son-in-law Nirajan honored the covenant of marriage with the blessings and bindings offered by a Hindu priest. It was their third wedding ceremony: two earlier mid-COVID occasions were officiated by Christian ministers. Over the weekend, we joined together two families and nationalities: one with long roots traceable backward across centuries of Judeo-Christian heritage as early settlers and builders of this nation, and the other recently-minted residents who arrived as Nepali immigrants seeking political asylum and then earned US citizenship. We observed hours of prayer, ritual, and symbolism. We reveled with joy, laughter, tears, spicy Nepali food, drinking, singing, and dancing to Nepali music in an (ironically) American-Irish Hall in Malden, MA. Together our joined families embody the possibility of this democracy: what love and peace can accomplish within the frameworks of liberty.

On the July 4th holiday following the family weekend, we wandered Boston, MA with Doktor and Fitzsimons family members visiting from out-of-town. They had been part of the wedding celebration. The Fitzsimons’ missed their own Independence Day traditions, usually focused in Highland Park, IL, to share Sarah and Nirajan’s marital moment with us.

On July 4th, we watched a magician on the steps of Faneuil Hall, untethering himself from impossible bindings. Held our breath for an athlete balanced high on a pogo stick in Quincy Market. Wandered the waterfront, the harbor. Stood on tiptoe to peek at dancers performing for the crowd, their rhetoric creatively challenging racism among onlookers and bystanders, until we laughed at ourselves and became part of their willing audience. Found public restrooms. Chugged water. Ate Irish pub food.

We walked through the haunting remembrance of the Holocaust memorial with the numbers of millions of prisoners imprinted on glass, hot steam rising under our feet, the taut words of survivors incised onto stones. Remember. Remember what can happen when oppressive regimes make others less than human. Remember when violence is given reign. Remember the lives taken. Men, women, and children. Remember.

In the North End, we heard the glistening notes of a glass harmonica invented by Benjamin Franklin echo in Paul Revere’s mall. Cocked our heads to catch thin, breathy song from tall Asian string instruments played in the Boston Common. Smiled at the guitarist who strummed loud, throbbing guitar licks for passing tourists and resident ducks as Swan Boats floated past in the Garden.

At one point, we walked beneath the flight of a circling helicopter. Stared at the flash of blue police lights racing past. Wondered. Violence here, too? Apparently local officials accompanied dignitaries in preparation for a parade from the State House toward the Charles River’s promise of fireworks and pops music.

Lights, sirens, and circling aircraft faded away. We tried to relax.

Someone set off firecrackers beyond the park. The three boys didn’t hear it, but their father, a vigilant veteran of the blue collar Irish neighborhoods of downtown Chicago, who remembers openly-active white supremacists who were aggressively terrorizing their own native sons, startled. Turned. Wondered again.

Was it happening everywhere? The rain of bullets? The domestic terrorism?

Their dad, our brother-in-law, had earned a scholarship, gained an education, and worked his way through college. He long ago moved his family out and away from urban Chicago. Left the violence that surrounded his childhood environs behind, because he could. (And even in this, we know there’s privilege, because so many people who want to escape violence cannot get away.) And he observes that it’s gotten much worse since the time he was growing up; it’s out of control. It’s become so frequent, so daily, that the public is acclimated to hearing about the violence.

Even now, his family says he walks, everyplace except home, with his fists closed. Clenched. Prepared for a fight that he didn’t pick, but he’ll finish. Instead he chose as his hometown, with his wife, the sanctuary of Highland Park, beneath its oaks, among its storied architecture, its friendly streets, its playing fields, its ‘good schools’ and its cultural richness and diversity. Yesterday his fists clenched again.

By the time we were in Boston Garden, cautionary texts were pouring in from Highland Park. Around us in Boston, everything now seemed threatening, though the shadow of the assault was cast from hundreds of miles away in the midwest. Yet it seemed to reach across centuries, rooted in the revolutionary clashes that marked the East Coast in the 18th century, groaning from older times into our young new century, lamenting the ongoing struggles of our burdened democracy.

In the Boston Garden, beneath the droop of willow, the creak of oak, the whisper of maple, we re-created a Fitzsimons childhood photo of small boys, nephews and cousins, clamoring over bronze ducklings. Now tall young men, they again draped themselves with grins beneath Cubs and Wildcats baseball caps, around those same bronze birds made famous by Robert McCloskey. Their mom stepped further back to catch the whole image.

Amidst all of these Independence Day moments, cell phones interrupted us. Texts and alerts continued to push their way into the hot, want-some-ice-cream, need-a-cold-water tour of Boston. This Fitzsimons clan connected to ours should have been on the streets of Highland Park, their youngest in the band, keeping time, drumming the rhythm of liberty. Mom and dad would have been on the sidelines, their seats staked out, ready to watch the unfolding festivities, starting with the children’s parade, followed by marching sports teams, then the high school band. Mom’s camera phone would be poised to catch her son’s tall, angular shape among the rearguard of the band, keeping the beat. Their elder boys would have captured video, and remembered their own time marching in that familiar route. 

Until the shots rang out. And suddenly the band surged forward, away from the violence. Our nephews, brother-in-law and sister would have been caught among them. Parade participants and bystanders, just behind and around them, falling.

Of those who fell, we know now, several never rose again. Six perished. Other were taken to the hospital and treated for ‘war-time’ injuries: the youngest was eight and the eldest eighty-six.

As civilians fled, first responders rushed toward the danger.

Above them, a misguided 20-something, former Scout, discarded a gun designed for warfare. It had been aimed at innocents. He, too, fled. Was apprehended, but only after he had taken a human toll in payment. We await, even now, some cause. Some motive. As if any mental health diagnosis or angry rationale could justify or make meaning of the lives he took.

Our nephew ought to have been in that parade. His parents and brothers ranged along the curb, keeping watch. Except they were in Boston with us when it happened.

Instead our family, away from home, stood in the landscape of revolution, the revelry of freedom, receiving heart-breaking updates about someone who, at a minimum, violated the constitutional right to bear arms for purposes of defense. The Fitzsimons’ paused to answer frantic check-ins. Sent out their own queries to friends and neighbors, classmates and colleagues, clients and kin, to confirm they were among the living.

They closed their eyes against how close, how near, they’d come to tragedy. We all know, now, that they … that all of us … are only one connection removed frm irreparable loss. Realize they’ll know people among those hurt and killed.

The Highland Park home to which they return today is not the one they left.fTheir chosen hometown started its July 4th holiday with a joyful renewal of public gatherings after two and more years shut down by COVID and national division, and ended those revelries beneath the onslought of an assault weapon. Highland Park is a common community, an everyday neighborhood, now locked down by fear and anger, held hostage by grief and shock. It is trite to say that they are healing, mourning, and praying. It is early to claim they are organizing, investigating, and urging.

The Fitzsimons’ hometown of Highland Park will be added to a list of communities scarred by such unnecessary, unwarranted violence. It will become one more name in a litany of lament and protest.

This is not just the news about someplace else. Someone else. This is personal. As it always should have been.

Yesterday marked our nephews, cousins, brothers, and sisters. It marked us. All over again. Near kin saved by the fateful invitation to attend their cousin’s wedding. Or they would have have been among those running, diving, dodging the violence that erupted on their beloved streets.

All of us, it seems, are one connection away from such hurts and losses. This isn’t someone else’s issue. It is ours as a nation. As families. As individuals.

Yes, on days like July 4th, we honor those matriarchs and patriarchs who claimed our rights and fought for them. Precisely because of those we honor, we do not validate the violence that has been justified in liberty’s name by a criminal, a terrorist, in Highland Park. Or Uvalde. Or Sandy Hook. Or Parkland. Or Columbine. Or Buffalo. Or Charleston. Of any of more than 300 neighborhoods where a mass shooting of more than four people occurred this year. Or thousands of streets where a single, unarmed person was killed with a gun for any reason of any kind.

As we were bid yesterday in the military and Holocaust memorials, we remember. As we were called to do yesterday by the revolutionary musicians playing the anthem of war, by the gravestones of soldiers, preachers, merchants, farmers, slaves, and freed people, by the reciting of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, by the unfurled sails of the naval ship The Constituion, by the pops’ patriotic songs, and the fireworks burning bright in the sky, we remember. We remember.

Yes, our democracy is burdened. It sometimes feels broken. It bends beneath the weight of its people’s needs and differences. Yet the wealth and monuments of our freedom are built upon the bones of diversity, upon the backs of those who were not free when it was raised, and only recognized as human in later eras. Our nation’s independence was gained at the expense of people whose human rights have more recently been confirmed and withdrawn, confirmed and compromised, again and again, and yet have advanced, overall, from the times of our founding til now.

On days like this year’s Independence Day, when a terrorist killed and harmed innocents with a weapon of war in Highland Park, we are reminded that democracy is a process. Why are we surprised that violence happened in a town that everyone thought was safe? We assumed it was someone else’s issue, restricted to certain zipcodes? We thought such violence only occurred in cities? Or specific urban neighborhoods defined by color and poverty? That some people deserve or create violence, while others don’t? That if we are good enough, faithful enough, deserving enough, violence won’t touch us?

Sometimes we operate as if we believe that democracy, whose birth we celebrated yesterday, exists as an absolute, unchallenged state of being. Yet democracy is ever-unfolding, changing, evolving. It starts with knowing our history, our past. Then imagining what must come next.

Highland Park has just been added to the bloody side of our national story. Peaceful democracy doesn’t promise the absence of conflict or disagreement. Instead, it imagines that the ways we contend with each other are civil. Yet our nation’s founders also believed we must continue to struggle together, even now, to redefine freedom over and over. To expand its range and possibility to encompass more people.

Some among us continue to struggle for the right to vote. Or to be acknowledged as fully human, with the right to regulate and rule our own bodies. Or to be recognized, regardless of differences in sexuality or gender, as worthy of the same rights as those who first framed the constitution. Our constitution once excluded, in its implementation if not in its intention, the full human rights of women, children, people of color, indigenous peoples, people who didn’t own property, and many others.

As we were bid so long ago, and only yesterday, we remember. We remember when we did not belong. We remember that, yes, we do belong.

Remembering, we do more than march. We vote. We challenge policy. We write the future story of change that must continue, transformation that must lead to sustainable ‘common defense, general welfare and domestic tranquility’ for all people in this country, without fear that a weapon of war, or the greater weapons of legal, social, and political systems, will be turned upon us. We add Highland Park to the argument.

This isn’t someone else’s issue. It is ours. It’s our freedom. Our liberty.

Like the covenant made between families last weekend, the longer history of our nation is comprised of emerging differences that find common cause, common love, and common striving together. Our nation is comprised of many peoples: some who lived here before the first foreigners landed on these shores, some whose families came here by choice, some whose ancestors were forced to this land. Yet this land, this nation, this democracy has claimed all of us now.

Our liberties, at their best, belong to all of us. Yet our laws and liberties do not protect all of us, or remain available to all of us. Not equally. Not yet.

So we remember. We say the litany of hometown names, and add a new one: Highland Park. The Fitzsimons’ hometown. Our family’s hometown.

We ask why? We wonder what can change, so this doesn’t happen again? And we act.

We mark the holiday. Celebrate the beginning of freedom. Then we remember, that the work of freedom isn’t finished. As a nation, we are a work in progress. We are the children and grand-children and great-grandchildren of a civil dream that is growing to a greater maturity. We are the offspring of a covenant that  reveals the fullness of what American could be, yet has not become. 

We remember. Our lives are holy. And all love, at its best, is holy. Thus our lives, in whatever ways we may live and put them to the service of others and creation, may be and become expressions of love and forms of prayer.

We remember. We add Highland Park to the prayers, the protests, the policy-making. We breathe. We try once more to make a difference. And we return our chosen homes, if we are privileged to have homes, to dream. To dream hopefully and courageously. To love. To love tenderly and boldly. To pray. To pray differently and faithfully. And to strive. To strive creatively and intentionally for change. To reach. To reach in whatever ways we each can for equitable, sustainable, life-affirming transformation to continue.

Late yesterday, after hours walking through the Freedom Trail route of Boston, we hopped the subway out of the city, and found a Mexican food restaurant open despite the holiday. Munched tortilla chips and salsa verde, then ordered a variety of cuisine. Listened to news updates. Sighed. Changed the conversation to more hopeful topics. Comforted ourselves with scoops of ice cream from the Nepali-owned Jay’s Pizza & Ice Cream shop down the street, where we could also order Nepali momoes if were still hungry. We weren’t. So we said good-bye to each other. Wondered what it would be like for the Fitzsimons to return home today, knowing that home has changed so much.

Pray for Highland Park. Pray for our nation. Pray for this world. May our freedom to pray, and to choose love, be used to strive for this: Peace. Salaam. Shalom.



Love and Liberty

Love is the bridge between you and everything. ~ Rumi

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return. – Natalie Cole

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu

Do love. Don’t just think love, say love, have faith in love, or believe that God is love. Give up the idea that your ideas alone can save you. If you know the right words, then bring those words to life by giving them your own flesh. Put them into practice. Do love, and you will live. — Barbara Brown Taylor




I am grateful to have been loved
and to be loved now
and to be able to love,
because that liberates.
Love liberates.
It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego.
Love liberates.

 When my son was born, I was seventeen.
My mother had a huge house, fourteen-room house,
At seventeen, I went to her and said, “I’m leaving.”
She asked me “you’re leaving my house?” and she had live-in help.
I said “yes. I’ve found a job and I’ve got a room
with cooking privileges down the hall
and the landlady will be the babysitter.
She asked me, “you’re leaving my house?”
I said “Yes, Ma’am,”
“And you’re taking the baby?”
I said yes.
She said “alright, remember this:
when you step over my doorsill, you’ve been raised.
You know the difference between right and wrong.
Do right.
Don’t let anybody raise you and make you change.
And remember this:
You can always come home.”

 I went home every time life slapped me down and made me call it uncle.
I went home with my baby.
My mother never once acted as “I told you so,”
She said, “Oh, baby’s home! Oh my darlin!
Mother’s gonna cook you something,
Mother’s gonna make this for you!”

She liberated me to life.
She continued to do that.

 When my son may have been five years old
My mother would pick him up all the time and feed him.
I went to her once a month and she would cook for me.
So, one day I went to her house and she had cooked red rice, which I love.
After we finished eating, we walked down the hill and she started across the street and she said

“wait a minute, baby.”
I was twenty-two years old.
She said “wait a minute, baby,
you know, I think you’re the greatest woman I’ve ever met.
Mary McCleod Bethune,
Eleanor Roosevelt,
and my mother.
You’re in that category.”

 Then she said “give me a kiss”
I gave her a kiss and I got onto the streetcar.
I can remember the way the sun fell on the slats of wooden seats.
I sat there and I thought about her.
I thought:
Suppose she’s right.
She’s intelligent.
And she says she’s too mean to lie.
So suppose I am gonna be somebody.

 She released me.
She freed me.
To say I may have something in me
that would be of value,
maybe not just to me,

 that’s love.

 When she was in her final sickness,
I went out to San Francisco.
The doctors said she had three weeks to live.
I asked her “would you come to North Carolina?”
She said “yes,”
She had emphysema and lung cancer.
I brought her to my home.
She lived for a year and a half.
And when she was finally, finally, in extremis,
she was on oxygen, fighting cancer for her life,
and I remembered her liberating me.
And I said “I hope I’ll be able to liberate her.”
She deserved that from me.
She deserved a great daughter and she got one.

So, in her last days, I said,
“ now I understand that some people need permission to go.
As I understand it, you may have done what God put you here to do:
You were a great worker.
You must have been a great lover because a lot of men
and, if I’m not wrong, maybe a couple of women risked their lives to love you.
You were a piss poor mother of small children,
but you were a great, great mother of young adults.
and if you need permission to go
I liberate you.

I went back to my house
and something said “go back,”
I was in my pajamas,
I jumped in my car and ran.
And the nurse said,
“she’s just gone.”

You see, love liberates.
It doesn’t bind.
Love says, “I love you,
I love you if you’re in China,
I love you if you’re across town,
I love you if you’re in Harlem,
I love you.
I would like to be near you.
I’d like to have your arms around me,
I’d like to hear your voice in my ear,
but that’s not possible now,
so I love you.

Touched By An Angel— Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Of Love — Mary Oliver
I have been in love more times than one,
thank the Lord.
Sometimes it was lasting
whether active or not.
Sometimes it was all but ephemeral,
maybe only an afternoon,
but not less real for that.’
They stay in my mind,
these beautiful people,
or anyway beautiful people to me,
of which there are so many.
You and you and you,
whom I have the fortune to meet,
or maybe missed.
Love, love, love, it was the core of my life,
from which of course comes the word for the heart.
And, oh, have I mentioned
that some of them were men and some were women’
and some – now carry my revelation with you –
were trees.
Or places.
Or music flying above the names of their makers.
Or clouds, or the sun
which was the first, and the best,
the most loyal for certain,’
who looked so faithfully into my eyes, every morning.
So I imagine such love of the world –
its fervency, its shining,
its innocence and anger to give of itself
I imagine this is how it began.


Oh do you have time
to linger for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.


Where there is love there is life. – Mahatma Gandhi

The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. – Dalai Lama

Love is more than a noun – it is a verb; it is more than a feeling – it is caring, sharing, helping, sacrificing. – William Arthur Ward

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~ Rumi

Love is not really an action that you do. Love is what and who you are, in your deepest essence. Love is a place that already exists inside of you, but is also greater than you. That’s the paradox. It’s within you and yet beyond you. This creates a sense of abundance and more-than-enoughness, which is precisely the satisfaction and deep peace of the True Self. You know you’ve found a well that will never go dry, as Jesus says (see John 4:13-14). Your True Self, God’s Love in you, cannot be exhausted. — Richard Rohr
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Martin Luther King Jr. Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all. ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.― Jimi Hendrix

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. — Victor Hugo

“Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love.” & “I believe God loves the world through us—through you and me.” — St Mother Teresa

There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. — William Butler Yeats

Many can give money to those in need, but to personally serve the needy readily, out of love, and in a fraternal spirit, requires a truly great soul. — Saint John Chrysostom

… the action and behavior produced by love is distinctly countercultural. … In a society where so much is presented in terms of “self”—self-awareness, self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-image, self-realization—to present a way of existence in which a person lives for the other in a life of loving self-sacrifice will be highly provocative. Following the one who gave his life as a sacrifice for us will be humbling and undoubtedly costly in terms of human recognition and progress in life as secular society defines it.—


Love, in the New Testament, is not something you feel; it is something you do….Love seeks the well-being of others and is embodied in concrete efforts in their behalf. — Francis Taylor Gench

DANCE — Wendell Berry
… And I love you
as I love the dance that brings you
out of the multitude
in which you come and go.
Love changes, and in change is true.


I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.  – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

In the end we discover that to love and let go can be the same thing.— Jack Kornfield

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. – Rumi

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth. – William W. Purkey

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.  – Washington Irving

Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third. – Marge Piercy

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. – Zora Neale Hurston

The chance to love and be loved exists no matter where you are. – Oprah Winfrey

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. – Charles Dickens, Dr. Marigold

Events with JCC and around town: June 28-July 4 (Independence Day Weekend and beyond)

Events with JCC and around town: Summer reading programs, concerts, parades, fireworks, Sunday worship with guest preacher Sue Davidson, plus music around town and more!

TUE, June 28

  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
    Summer reading programs: Oceans of Possibilities. See links below for more info.
  • Community Event: TODDLER STORY HOUR
    11am • Jackson Public Library
  • Community Event: PLANT A PIZZA
    3:30pm • Jackson Public Library

WED, June 29

THURS, June 30

  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • Community Service: WAY STATION
    2-5 • Food collection & distribution
    10-6 • Open shift for drop-ins and apts.
    • Staff and volunteers of JCC participate. Operating in church basement this week: Nativity Lutheran.
  • Community Resource: AA MEETING
    6pm? • JCC Parish House
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Rafe Matregrano • 6-9pm

FRI, July 1

  • ** FITNESS CLASS with Laurie McAleer  (no Friday classes this summer)**
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
    Noon • Majestic Theater Cafe
    The Dark Train Express trio (Chad Cummings, Eben Eastman and Ben Wiggin) will play a spirited hour of Cummings’ pop/rock/jazz fusion originals.
    More info: Tickets available by donation.
    Resumes Fri, July 8
  • Community Event: MAJESTIC CAFE CONCERT – Laurie & Ken Turley
    7pm • Majestic Theater, Conway Village
    Info and tickets:
    Walk-ins are welcome, but space is limited; reservations are recommended to guarantee your seat.  $10 per person cover charge. Wine, beer, & cocktails are available.  Doors open at 6:30 pm, music starts at 7pm.  Admission is limited to those 18 and older unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.  
    7pm • Cranmore Mountain Resort
    Let’s get vertical! Ski the Whites and Cranmore Mountain are hosting their 5th iteration of the Friday Night Vertical Series, which encourages runners and hikers of all abilities to conquer the slopes of Cranmore in summertime style. The group run to the top starts at 7pm, but those looking for a gentler ascent can always start their run/walk any time after 6pm. $5 registration fee per event. Register online today. Dates available throughout the summer. 
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Al Shafner  & CATWOLF• 6-9pm
    • Shannon Door: Mike & Becca • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Rek’lis • 8-11pm

SAT, July 2

  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • COMMUNITY EVENT: Jackson Fireworks Display
    9pm • Jackson Village Park / Fields by Snowflake Inn The Fireworks will be going off from our Jackson Village Park area and the park area will be closed from Noon through the Fireworks. Viewing is typically available throughout the Jackson Village area. We recommend that you come early to get a good spot. Available: ice cream, popcorn, glow necklaces, balloons, and other fun stuff available from local and visiting vendors. For more information: Parking options are limited.
    • Shannon Door: Jennifer Freedom • 7-10pm
    • Wildcat Tavern: Jeremy Dean • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Riley Parkhurst Project • 8-11pm

SUN, July 3

  • ** INTERFAITH GATHERING (resumes next Sun, July 10) **
    10:30am • JCC (in-person & zoom)
    • Zoom link and password required
    • Pianist: Alice Pepper
    • Guest preacher: Sue Davidson, retired Methodist minister & hospice chaplain
  • Community Event: OUTDOOR DINNER CONCERT – James Montgomery with Diane Blue
    7pm • Wildcat Tavern
    More info & tickets: Dinner reservations must be made separately from purchase of tickets.
    • Shannon Door: Riley Parkhurst Project • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Mitch Alden  • 4-7pm


  • Community Events / July 4th Observances:
    • Bartlett Parade: 11am
      • More info:
      • Bartlett’s Annual Hellen Hayes Memorial 4th of July Parade Starts at 11AM July 4th at Black Fly Field and will go east on Rt 302, it will take a left at the Bartlett school and end at Hodgkins Park located behind the school.
      • Prizes:
        • Floats: $25 to $150
        • Motorcycles: $5 to $25
        • Walkers: $5 to $25
        • Bikes: $5 to $25
        • Others: $5 to $25
        • Animals: $5 to $25
        • Cars before 1950: $5 to $25
        • Cars after 1950 $5 to $25
        • Registration begins at 9am at Black Fly Field or fill out the registration form on line below. JUDGING ENDS AT 10:15 SHARP. If you wish to get judged, please intend to arrive by 9:30 if you pre-registered. Late Entries will not be included in the judging.
    • North Conway Parade & Fireworks:
      Schouler Park, No Conway, NH
      Blowout bonanza, including an annual parade, fireworks, local vendors, and live music, all at Schouler Park!
      • 1:30pm • parade starts
      • 9:30pm fireworks
      • In between, revelers can explore the shops along North Conway’s idyllic Main Street, watch a performance from the Tina Titzer Act One Dance Co., and listen to the sounds of Mike Malkin & Becca Deschenes and The Riley Parkhurst Project.
      • For more information, click here.
    • About other events:
    9am- 1 pm • Bartlett Congregational Church
    • More info:
    • A Family/Community Time
    • Watch the 4th of July Parade (begins @ 11:00)
    • Buy books before, during or after
    • Spend time in the park – eating, listening, chatting
    • Paperbacks $.25 older $.50 newer
    • Hard Cover $l.00 older $2.00 newer
    • Hours to drop off books at the library: Saturday, June 25, 11-3 Monday, June 27, 2-8 Tuesday, June 28, 2-5, Wednesday, June 29, 12-6 Saturday, July 2, from 11-3 –
    • Sorting at Bartlett Congregational Church begins @ 9 AM, Saturday, July 2
      Volunteers are needed Saturday at the Bartlett Congregational Church, 9:00 AM until done.
    • Let Kathy know if you’d like to help or just drop in with books and stay for a while

TUE, July 5

  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
    Summer reading programs: Oceans of Possibilities. See links below for more info.
  • Community Event: TODDLER STORY HOUR
    11am • Jackson Public Library
  • Community Event: LEGO PROGRAM with CODY WELLS
    3:30pm • Jackson Public Library
  • Community Event: AN AMERICAN SALUTE with Beacon Brass Quintet (Mountain Top Music program)
    7pm • Majestic Theater, Conway Village
    Info and tickets: An evening of musical Americana featuring the award winning Beacon Brass Quintet: Ken Amis, tuba; Kevin Owen, french horn; Dana Oakes, trumpet; Dana Russian, trumpet; and Hans Bohn, tromboneAcclaimed in Bostonia Magazine as “one of the nation’s finest chamber ensembles,” the Beacon Brass Quintet was the first brass ensemble to win the prestigious Concert Artists Guild Award.  The Quintet has performed throughout the United States on radio and television, and has recorded the theme music for “The Advocates,” on PBS.  In addition to concert venues, the Beacon Brass Quintet has been featured at prestigious special events, including a Carnegie Hall recital, the opening ceremonies for the John F. Kennedy Library, and the centennial dinner for the members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


  • Jackson: Community garden beds available
    We have a few garden beds available in the new Jackson Community Garden located next to the Jackson Public Library. The boxes are 4 feet by 16 feet, made from local hemlock, and are filled with organic ocean compost and aged cow manure.   If you’re interested, please contact Pam @ for an application or stop by the Jackson Public Library to pick up an application.  There’s plenty of time left in this year’s growing season! 
  • Bartlett: Morrell Community Gardens
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