Mothers and miracles: matriarchs and mothers and others who love us and start us on the path to becoming whole human beings

… give them to all the people who helped mother our children. … I don’t want something special. I want something beautifully plain. Like everything else, it can fill me only if it is ordinary and available to all. — Anne Lamott

Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are. – Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Just when you think you know love, something little comes along and reminds you just how big it is. – unattributed

Motherhood takes many forms… there are step-moms, foster moms, adopted moms, and moms who have been estranged from their kids. — Ryan Nelson

We are braver and wiser because they existed, those strong women and strong men… We are who we are because they were who they were. It’s wise to know where you come from, who called your name. — Maya Angelou

Songs about and for Mothers:


What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black
(Reflections of an African-American Mother)

(excerpt) — Maya Angelou
… So this I will do for them, If I love them.
None will do it for me.
I must find the truth of heritage for myself
And pass it on to them.
In years to come I believe
Because I have armed them
with the truth, my children
And my children’s children will venerate me. 
For it is the truth that will make us free!

From “understory” Craig Santos Perez
my daughter, i know
our stories are heavier
than stones, but you
must carry them with
you no matter how
far from home the
storms take your canoe
because you will always
find shelter in our
stories, you will always
belong in our stories,
you will always be
sacred in our ocean
of stories…

OF MOTHERS

We are born of love; Love is our mother. — Rumi

What shall I tell my dear one, fruit of my womb, Of how beautiful they are … — Maya Angelou

Motherhood takes many forms… there are step-moms, foster moms, adopted moms, and moms who have been estranged from their kids. — Ryan Nelson

You know, there’s nothing damnable about being a strong woman. The world needs strong women. There are a lot of strong women you do not see who are guiding, helping, mothering strong men. — Ginger Rogers

… these old photos of our mothers feel like both a chasm and a bridge. The woman in the picture is someone other than the woman we know. She is also exactly the person in the photo — still, right now. Finally, we see that the woman we’ve come to think of as Mom — whether she’s nurturing, or disapproving, or thoughtful, or delusional, or pestering, or supportive, or sentimental — is also a mysterious, fun, brave babe. She’s been here all this time. — Edan Lepuck

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. — Abraham Lincoln

Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face. — George Eliot

For when a child is born the mother also is born again.—  Gilbert Parker

OTHER MOTHERS: SPIRITUAL PARENTS

… my main gripe about Mother’s Day is that it feels incomplete and imprecise. The main thing that ever helped mothers was other people mothering them; a chain of mothering that keeps the whole shebang afloat. I am the woman I grew to be partly in spite of my mother, and partly because of the extraordinary love of her best friends, and my own best friends’ mothers, and from surrogates, many of whom were not women at all but gay men … — Anne Lamott  

Our images of God, then, must be inclusive because God is not mother, no, but God is not father either. God is neither male nor female. God is pure spirit, pure being, pure life — both of them. Male and female, in us all. — Joan Chittister

I know how lucky I am to have such a wonderful woman and heroine in my life. Also, I do recognize that not everyone has this blessing. This is why Mother’s Day can sometimes bring out many different emotions in people. Some women have lost their mothers, women who have absent mothers, women who are desperately trying or have tried to have a baby and become a mother themselves, and women who are single mothers having to be a mother and father to their children. The list goes on. We all know women like this or are those very women ourselves. So this year and every year let me suggest something. On Mother’s Day, let’s not only celebrate our mothers and the mothers of the world but let’s celebrate the women in our lives who have helped us become the women WE are today…
         These women are everywhere. Maybe they are your favorite teacher, your aunt, your grandmother, your stepmother, your neighbor, or a friend. We all have “mothered” someone and have shown them love and support in their time of need. So, let’s thank and celebrate those women in our lives too. To me these women are not only my mother, they are my Aunt Barbara and my dear friends who for years have given me unwavering love and support. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.
         So again, on Mother’s Day I want us to celebrate not just mothers of the world, but the women that helped you become the strong and beautiful woman that you are.  — Nina Spears (excerpt of posting)

GOD as CREATOR: Source Code of Grace — Nadia Bolz-Weber (excerpt from sermon)
In the beginning, all there was, was God. So in order to bring the world into being, God had to kind of scoot over. So God chose to take up less space—you know, to make room. So before God spoke the world into being, God scooted over. God wanted to share. Like the kind-faced woman on the subway who takes her handbag onto her lap so that there’s room for you to sit next to her. She didn’t have to do it, but that’s just who she is . . . the kind-faced subway lady’s nature is that she makes room for others.

Then God had an absolute explosion of creativity and made animals. Amoebas. Chickens. Crickets. Bees. Orangutans.

Then God said, “Let us create humans in our own image and likeness.” Let us. So, God the community, God the family, God the friend group, God the opposite of isolation, said, “Let us create humanity in our image and likeness. Let there be us and them in one being.”

So God created every one of us in the male and female image of God. Then God gave us God’s own image —something so holy that it could never be harmed, and never be taken away. A never-aloneness. An origin and destination. A source code of grace…

ACKNOWLEDGING HURT

We can’t pretend like Mother’s Day is a cheery holiday for everyone. It’s not. If you’ve experienced mom-related trauma like abuse, addiction, mental health issues, abandonment, or death, this is a time when people … grieve something they lost or never had. … people … struggle with motherhood or have been hurt by this relationship … — Ryan Nelson

The chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the world passed to the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing. ― Anita Diamant

… Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path. Ha! Every woman’s path is difficult, and many mothers were as equipped to raise children as wire monkey mothers. I say that without judgment: It is, sadly, true. An unhealthy mother’s love is withering. The illusion is that mothers are automatically happier, more fulfilled and complete ... I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or severely damaged children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure … — Anne Lamott

PRAYER — Hannah Kardon
To the Moms who are struggling, to those filled with incandescent joy.
To the Moms who are remembering children who have died, and pregnancies that miscarried.
To the Moms who decided other parents were the best choice for their babies, to the Moms who adopted those kids and loved them fierce.
To those experiencing frustration or desperation in infertility.
To those who knew they never wanted kids, and the ways they have contributed to our shared world.
To those who mothered colleagues, mentees, neighborhood kids, and anyone who needed it.
To those remembering Moms no longer with us.
To those moving forward from Moms who did not show love, or hurt those they should have cared for.
… honor the unyielding love and care for others we call ‘Motherhood,’ wherever we have found it and in whatever ways we have found to cultivate it within ourselves.

Spring Youth & Family Program

FAMILY FUN NIGHTS: Fridays, May 3 & June 1
6-8pm

  • Pizza, games and connection for families.
  • Please RSVP to Rev Gail if you plan to attend these evenings.

SUNDAY SCHOOL
During 10:30am worship • Sun, May 5

  • Attend worship in church and then go to class.
  • Please RSVP to Rev Gail if you plan to attend.

YOUTH & FAMILY SUNDAY PROGRAM
9-10:15am • April 28, May 12, May 19, May 26

  • Start at Jackson Community Church, then go outside
  • Weather dependent: indoor option for inclement weather
  • Come dressed for outdoor activities such as hikes and exploration every Sunday morning.
  • Please RSVP to Rev Gail if you plan to attend, and indicate which dates you’ll be present.

YOUTH SUNDAY
10-11:30am • June 2
Jackson Community Church

  • Intergenerational choir
  • Special music by children and families … possibly a youth band?
  • Message by young adult connected with our community
  • Recognition of scout troops
  • Recognition of youth & young adults and their volunteer work in community
  • Recognition of community educators
  • Please RSVP to Rev Gail if you plan to attend

TRILLIUM SUMMIT
8:30am-12:30pm • Sat, June 8
Whitney Community Center

  • Watch for updates via Jackson enews and church email.
  • Worskhop with leadership panel, keynote speaker Riley Parkhurst, and world cafe engagement.
  • Designed by and for students.
  • Peer-led by middle and high-school leaders, with adult mentors.
  • Open to older elementary school students.
  • Both genders welcome, focus on girls & women’s issues.
  • Rev Gail will facilitate this workshop.

FAMILY CAMP
Horton Center, Pine Mountain
(Off Rte 16 between Jackson and Gorham)
June 21-23
Rev Gail & Chris DOktor – Deans

  • Register for a weekend of outdoor adventures, family getaway, and faith engagement.

PEACE & EMPOWERMENT CAMP
8:30am-12:30pm • Mon, June 24-Fri June 28
Jackson Community Church

  • Open K-6 plus CIT (counselor-in-training) positions for 7thgrade and rising students.
  • Based in part on peace curriculum taught by Deans Chris and Gail Doktor at from Horton Center (family camp June 21-23)
  • Focuses on peace and community activism
  • Development of spiritual practices to support this goal, draws on resources from Christian, Buddhist and other traditions

Supplying Help at the Border

7/19/2018 — Has your church been looking for a way to help in the crisis at the US / Mexico border? Here are two collections of supplies that your church can contribute to now. Our fellow UCC churches are doing the work at the border directly with both the children and adults who are coming across the border, being detained, and being released.  This is a tangible way to make God’s love and justice real and a way for us to help our sister churches doing the work.
Continue reading “Supplying Help at the Border”

Youth & Family Activities: Advent & Christmas

Youth & Family Activities Highlighted
ADVENT & CHRISTMAS
SUN, Dec 3 Advent 1: Hope
  • 9am – Advent Workshop: Hope, Peace, Love & Joy

    Make cookie dough ornaments for your house and for the church! Plus second chance to create an Advent Log (church provides candles, greens, etc. … if you didn’t get the chance to make a log last week)
    Plus: Take home a “25 Days of Kindness” Advent Calendars: At the church we’re using a different sort of countdown for you … empty bags plus an Advent Calendar with suggested acts of kindness, as well as a wish-list from local nonprofit organizations. Each day, you can choose to perform an act of kindness or to collect and drop an item from the wish lists into the bag. Above is the list which Sunday’s group of students brainstormed as possible acts of kindness to offer this month, as we count down to Christmas!
  • 10:30am – Worship  & Communion
SUN, Dec 10 Advent 2: Peace
  • 9am – Christmas Pageant Rehearsal

    Come if you’re willing to be a narrator or wear a costume and be a “character” in the nativity story, includes “popup” choir practice)
    10:30am  – Worship (guest music: Minnie Brown & guest cellist)
SUN, Dec 17 Advent 3: Joy
  • 9am – Christmas Pageant Prep
    Join us for breakfast and get ready for the pageant: costumes & prep
  • 10:30am – Christmas Pageant

    (with intergenerational “popup” choir)
    Noon – Caroling (going to house to house in Jackson; all ages welcome)
WED, Dec 20 Blue Christmas
  • 7pm – Worship (come light a candle and give space to loss & sorrow in the midst of this holiday season)
THURS, Dec 21 Winter Solstice
  • 7pm – Celebration of Light & Darkness (interfaith reflections on holy darkness and sacred light)
SUN, Dec 24 Advent 4: Hope
  • 10:30am  – Carol-sing Service
SUN, Dec 24 Christmas Eve
  • 5pm – Christmas Candlelight Service
  • 10pm – Christmas Candlelight Service
MON, Dec 25 Christmas Day
  • 10:30am – Bells, Stories & Pajamas

PEN PALS for ZIMBABWE

We have several children and young people from Chikanga Church in Mutare, Zimbabwe who are looking for pen pals.

Would you be interested as a family or individual in wriiting to a friend in Zimbabwe? We can match you with someone … let us know!


YOUTH events in 2018:
HOLD the DATES!New England
Youth Environmental Justice Summit 

(Sponsored by the NH Conference United Church of Christ)

Saturday, April 7, 2018
9:00 am – 4:00 pm  Brookside Congregational Church, Manchester, NH

Keynote Speakers:
  • Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, Massachusetts Conference Minister, UCC
  • Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt, UCC Minister for Environmental Justice
Afternoon Sessions include:
  • Pam Arifian, Director, UCC
    Northeast Environmental Justice Center
  • Marla Marcum, Founder,
    Climate Disobedience Center
  • John Ungerleider, Professor,
    School of International Training
  • Rev. Eric Jackson, Pastor,
    Brookside Congregational Church, UCC


Eastern Regional Youth Event
July 19-22, 2018
California University of PA
California, Pennsylvania
(grades 7 through 12 )

NH Youth, mark your calendars for next summer!  Join us as we worship, play, pray, learn, serve, sing and dream at the 2018 Eastern Regional Youth Event.

Stay up-to-date on event details through the event website or contact Ann Desrochers.

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