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.

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

Remembering Nancy Bornhofft

From Lisbeth Bornhofft, daughter of Nancy Bornhofft, to the friends and members of Jackson Community Church, “I just want you to know that my mother, Nancy Bornhofft, passed away yesterday in her home in Gloucester, MA. She died living fully and independently, as she would have wished, after celebrating her 97th birthday with family only three days before.”

At church this morning, people shared memories of Nancy’s active role in such causes as Hope on the Slope, which benefits the American Cancer Society, as well as many other special interests. She was beloved in this community, and will be missed. We are grateful for her life among us.

We will share other details as they are made available.

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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