Lenten Devotional – Sat, Mar 6: EARTH

As heirs of earth, we are called to a sustainable view of our role. God has given the home of humanity into the keeping of those who are humble and nonviolent, yet those who will stand for what matters to all of us.

Indeed, the fate of our human home, God’s creation, is at stake.

Martha Stortz writes that in the Beatitudes, Jesus envisions and offers a home for all people. One of the Biblical figures exemplifying meekness, according to most commentators, is Moses. He led his people out of slavery in Egypt toward the promised land. At the end of his life, he was shown the land where his people would find home and sanctuary. It took a lifetime to make that journey and he died without entering the promised land. Stortz says, “Jesus uttered this blessing with Moses in mind, restoring to him the land he never got to enter. In this blessing, Moses finally makes it to the promised land. Jesus gift to Moses is also ours. All we have to do is say yes.”

The meek seem to have a generational view of how to care for themselves, each other, and the earth. They (we) aren’t scrambling for immediate rewards and riches. They (we) are looking at the long-term impact and consequences of how humans interact and live together and care for the planet. — Rev Gail

… That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. — Carl Sagan

We are all passengers aboard one ship, the Earth, and we must not allow it to be wrecked. There will be no second Noah’s Ark. — Mikhail Gorbachev

Vine Deloria, Jr. spoke of the Seven Generations in very practical terms. In his cantankerous way, he would express extreme annoyance at the romanticism of the concept as it was popularly used. Because, as explained to him, the generations we are sworn to protect and revere are the seven we are most immediately connected to. Think about it for a moment. It is possible that many of us have known or will know our great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Even if we aren’t fortunate enough to have been in the physical presence of those who came before us, we usually have stories, songs, and photos that have been shared so that we feel a connection. We also want to make sure our kids and grandkids are healthy, safe and aware of where they come from. So, counting our own generation—ourselves, siblings, and cousins—we are accountable to those seven generations. — David Wilkins

Challenge or Question: How do you care for the earth? What else, in this Lenten period, can you choose to do to tend our human home?

Mon, Nov 16 Gratitude Reflection

Consider the earth. Give thanks for the ground beneath your feet. The glacier-driven cliffs and outcroppings, twisted into waterfalls and ledges, that shape our landscape. Imagine the rich soil that yields summer and autumn harvests. The fierce and ancient mountains, upthrust and worn low, that frame our valley.

            Stone. Soil. Rock. Dirt. May we appreciate the holy ground on which we stand, reside, play, work and learn. May we pause to recognize that she is more than mere rock, but an interconnected part of creation. She holds us up. Gives us a home. Groans, and continues to live. — Rev Gail

… you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
    you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples.

—    Psalm 65


Fill the earth with your songs of gratitude.
— Charles Spurgeon

There are three requisites to the proper enjoyment of earthly blessings: a thankful reflection, on the goodness of the giver; a deep sense of our own unworthiness; and a recollection of the uncertainty of our long possessing them. The first will make us grateful; the second, humble; and the third, moderate. – Hannah More

Reflections on Advent 1: Hope

Of History and Hope (excerpt) Miller Williams

We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
… But where are we going to be, and why, and who?
…. We mean to be the people we meant to be,
to keep on going where we meant to go.
… Who were many people coming together
cannot become one people falling apart.
Who dreamed for every child an even chance
cannot let luck alone turn doorknobs or not.
Whose law was never so much of the hand as the head
cannot let chaos make its way to the heart.
Who have seen learning struggle from teacher to child
cannot let ignorance spread itself like rot.
We know what we have done and what we have said,
and how we have grown, degree by slow degree,
believing ourselves toward all we have tried to become—
just and compassionate, equal, able, and free …

Hope: Optimism With a Plan— Ron Breazeale, Psychology Today

  1. First of all, hope is future oriented. …
  2. And secondly, hope is based on a system of belief that you can find a pathway to achieve your goal …
  3. And last of all, hope involves a plan.

Link: A Guide to Grounded Hope Option B


Reflections on Hope

Hope is patience with the lamp lit. — Tertullian

I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe. — Dalai Lama

Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings. — Elie Wiesel

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. — Dale Carnegie

A lot of people have their big dreams and get knocked down and don’t have things go their way. And you never give up hope, and you really just hold on to it. Hard work and perserverance. You just keep getting up and getting up, and then you get that breakthrough. — Robert Kraft

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where there is no vision, there is no hope. — George Washington Carver

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. — Robert Kennedy

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. — Lewis Smedes

You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful. — Marie Curie

On Personal Hopes

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return. — Maya Angelou

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’. — Erma Bombeck

I have hope in people, in individuals. Because you don’t know what’s going to rise from the ruins. — Joan Baez

On Present Hope

We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds. — Aristotle Onassis

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. — Thich Nhat Hanh

On Future Hope

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. — Nelson Mandela

Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future. — Robert H. Schuller

UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES for Youth & Families at Jackson Community Church

(See end of posting for summer intensives and international internships for youth & young adults. Fast-approaching deadlines [March 15, April, etc] for registration and applications or scholarships for some of these opportunities.)

THURSDAYS, Mar 15 & Mar 22

  • Soup & Ski with Family & Friends
    5pm • Parish Hall of Jackson Community Church. Gather with members and friends for soup supper.
    5:30/6pm •  Meet at church parking lot for evening XC ski. Optimal starting point to be determined. For those who able and interested, if weather permits, come on a ‘night ski’ on Jackson XC Center’s trails. Donations will be collected for Jackson Ski Touring Foundation. Bring your own head lamps, ski equipment, layers, and be prepared for outdoor conditions. Ski at your own risk. Bring friends! Open to everyone. All ages welcome.

FRI, MAR 23

  • Film Screening of “404 Not Found” & Soup Supper: Bowls for Homeless Teens in Mt Washington Valley
    5-7pm • Gibson Senior Center, North Conway. In collaboration with Clergy of the Eastern Slope and First Church of North Conway’s Missions Team, screening the film “404 Not Found” that highlights the homeless youth in NH.  Check out the film trailer @  404notfoundfilm.com.  Held in collaboration with Governor Sununu’s “Sleep Out”.  This is a valley issue and will take a valley solution.
  • “Sleep Out” (Stay-Up-Late or Sleep Over at Church)
    8pm, Mar 23 – 9am, Mar 24 • Jackson Community Church
    For youth & chaperones. Stay late at church. Or spend the night. To be held in solidarity with Gov Sununu’s “Sleep Out” event to raise awareness about homelessness. We will stay up late at Jackson Community Church with games and worship, learn about homelessness in the valley, make civic engagement posters. If some people stay overnight, we will wake up to have breakfast together. RSVP and permission slips required.

WED, APR 4: MLK Remembrance Bell Ringing

  • 6pm. • Front door of sanctuary, Jackson Community Church.
    Help ring the bell 39 times in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. This is a national vigil; learn more at www.MLK50Forward.org.

SAT, APR 7: New England Youth Environmental Justice Summit

  • 9am-4pm • Brookside Congregational Church, Manchester, NH
  • Jackson Community Church will cover the cost of registration and attendance. $20/day. RSVP to the church asap if you plan to attend, so that we can register you. Or let us know if you register separately, but plan to attend, so we can coordinate rides and reimbursement for attendance.
  • Rev Gail will attend summit and provide rides.
  • The Summit is open to all middle school, high school and college students; as well as teachers, mentors, pastors, lay leaders and advisors: and anyone interested in acquiring tools for facing the pressing moral issue of climate change.
  • Keynote Speakers:
    • Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, Massachusetts Conference Minister, UCC
    • Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt, UCC Minister for Environmental Justice
  • Afternoon Breakout Sessions include:
    • Pam Arifian, Director, UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center
    • Marla Marcum, Founder, Climate Disobedience Center
    • John Ungerleider, Professor, School of International Training
    • Jehann El-Bisi, PhD and Film Director, and Art Desmarais
    • Representatives from 350.org and other groups will lead a workshop on activism in climate change issues

SUN, APR 8: Road to Emmaus Hike

  • 9am • “Road to Emmaus” Walk. Meet at church for family hike if weather permits. Indoor activities available if weather turns

Note: Additional spring youth & family schedule to be announced. Expect outdoor youth & family activities every Sunday at 9am, beginning April 22.

FRI, APR 20-MON, APR 23: Ecumenical Advocacy Days

  • 1pm, Fri – 5pm, Mon • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Washington, D.C.-Crystal City, 300 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA.
    A WORLD UPROOTED: Responding to Migrants, Refugees and Displaced Peoples. A weekend of faith-rooted worship, learning and advocacy in our Nation’s capital – will focus on the uprootedness of our world. We will analyze current policy and envision ways to more fully and justly respond to the global and local needs of displaced communities. Together we will seek policy changes that advance hope and overcome the devastating impacts of conflict, climate change and corruption on God’s people. Ends with congressional advocacy day.

    • REGISTER – Early-bird registration rates available through March 17th. Register now.
    • SCHOLARSHIPS – Justice and Witness Ministries has designated funding for UCC young adults (ages 18-35) to attend Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) in 2018. Learn more and apply by March 23rd.
    • Travel costs and hotel accommodations are separate expenses.
    • Additional scholarships, such as Bushee-Thorne Scholarship, can be applied to this conference!

FRI, MAY 19 – SAT, MAY 20: Middle School Retreat

  • 3pm, Fri – 6pm, Sat • Ipswich, MA
    Spend weekend on retreat with Ipswich Middle School youth group. Stay overnight in sleeping bags at the church on Friday and return to Jackson on Saturday evening. RSVP to church by April 15, 2018  if interested.
YOUTH & YOUNG ADULT INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
through the UCC
A tuition-free program of the Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, the IFYI Fellowship is an all-expense paid interfaith immersion experience for young leaders (ages 15-19) providing an opportunity to meaningfully engage together with important global and local issues through the lens of their different religious, ethnic, cultural, economic, social and political backgrounds.

(Ages 21-29)
This Internship Programme stretches over an 18-month period, for four young people aged 21-29. Each intern is assigned to work for 12 months at the WCC offices in Geneva, Switzerland, in one of our many programme areas. This is then to be followed by a six-month work placement in the intern’s own country.
HORTON CENTER
FAMILY CAMP & YOUTH GROUP CAMP
Sun, July 1- Sat, July 7
Flexi-Week.: Come for the day or for a period of days.
  • Rev Gail & Chris Doktor will be deans of family camp.
  • Our youth can come for one day or an overnight!
  • Registration available here:
  • Scholarships such as Bushee-Thorne (for which applications already being considered as of April) can be applied to this camp.
  • Additional camp weeks are also available with focus on different skills such as archery, rock clibing, etc. Full schedule available here.
EASTERN REGIONAL YOUTH EVENT
July 19-22, 2018 

California University of PA, California, Pennsylvania
(grades 7 through 12 )
  • 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.
  • Scholarships from Bushee-Thorne (applications already being considered as of April) can be applied to this experience.

Sampling of the workshops that will be offered at ERYE.  Each participant will be able to attend 3 workshops. (Workshop list subject to change.)

  • Authentic Faith: The Wisdom of Not Knowing All the Answers
  • Becoming a Transgender AllyBuilding a Team – Playing a Game
  • Disabled God, Queer God: Understanding the Divine Through Identity
  • Disabled in Church: Struggles and Triumphs
  • Earth Avengers: Superheroes for the Planet
  • From Barbie to Wonder Woman!
  • How An Orphan In Mexico Inspired Thousands – And How He Can Inspire You.
  • How Can I Help My Community Prepare For And Respond To A Disaster?
  • Identity Bowling: Intersectionality through Music
  • Our Gender & Sexuality: Confusions and Questions and Wonder
  • Praying with Color, Clay, Beads and Ribbons
  • Praying with the Body
  • Sacred DanceStorytelling for Social Change
  • The Conflict Skills That Nobody Got (but everybody needs)This Is Really Happening
  • Tie-Dyed Faith: Revealing Your God-Colors
  • Walking the Labyrinth to Rejuvenate Your Spirit
  • Watershed Management
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