Scenes from Jan. 15 MLK events

Monday, January 15 was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and New Hampshire and her churches sure did celebrate! Below are a few scenes from the day.

After his work on the Civil Rights Act, Martin Luther King focused on starting a Poor People’s Campaign to address the intersecting evils of poverty, racism and an economy based on war-making. Today the New Poor People’s Campaign aims to renew King’s work and you can join the work! Click this link or text MORAL to 90975 to show your support! Leaders in New Hampshire will connect you to local events and state-wide action opportunities.

 

Executive Director Rev. Jason Wells participates in a Fight for $15 event in Concord.
A packed house at the Manchester YWCA for City Year’s day of celebration, workshops and community service.
Rev. Eric Jackson of Brookside Congregational Church (UCC) in Manchester offered a message entitled “Team Work Makes the Dream Work.”
Bishop Rob Hirschfeld (Episcopal) offers a prayer of invocation at St. George Greek Orthodox Church for the 36th annual MLK celebration in Manchester.
Rev. Mariama White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church in Boston offers her talk “Where We Stand Now.”
Congratulations to Russell and former state representative Jackie Weatherspoon on your award at yesterday’s Martin Luther King Jr Coalition event in Manchester.

 

Testimony on HB628 (family and medical leave insurance)

Testimony on HB 628, relative to a family and medical leave insurance program
to the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee

“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).

As the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Council of Churches, I have heard from many pastors and families of many denominations across the Granite State. While this is not an official position of any denomination or of the Council, hearing testimony from them about the impact of HB628 is important.

They echo to me what others will testify to you today: that HB628 will contribute to the peace and prosperity, security and stability of New Hampshire families. Why is this important to our Christian churches and indeed to all faith communities? I have heard testimony from families and pastors in three broad categories:

First, it is the Biblical and natural role of parents to educate their children and to pass on their faith and values (Exodus 12:26, Deuteronomy 6:3, Psalm 78:4). When families experience the kind of peace and stability that HB628 brings, then they can engage this role with greater dedication.

Second, when families of all kinds are free from anxiety and worry about leave time or the well-being of those they love, they can grow spiritually and participate fully in their churches and faith communities. The familiar concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs expresses that our basic material needs must first be met in order to achieve spiritual health and well-being.

Finally, when families prosper in the ways in which HB628 provides, then their engagement in their churches and faith communities leads to the use of free time and free funds for charitable giving and volunteer engagement. Supporting families in this way unlocks individuals to be giving, to be generous and to be more kind in their local communities.

Please support HB628, for when we work for the “peace and prosperity” of others, we find that all across New Hampshire will benefit. Thank you.

Jan. 3: Reflection and prayer before the NH Senate

When John XXIII became pope in 1958, one of his jobs was to govern the world-wide Catholic Church. Daily he heard stories of troubles all around the world: priests and nuns killed in Africa. The plight of war and poverty. Refugees who needed help. And on and on.

The problems seemed endless. One temptation is to think that being given a role of power means that you can save every thing, every one and every situation.

When the sky seemed to be falling, Pope John had a prayer every night, “I’ve done my best I could in your service this day, O Lord. I’m going to bed. It’s your church. You take care of it!”

This prayer isn’t indifference to problems. Nor is it abdication of responsibility. It is however a recognition that although we can do some things, we are not capable of doing every thing. It also challenges us to remember that when we cannot do everything, we should not be kept from doing something.

But recognizing these human limitations, let us turn in prayer to the infinite One:

Almighty God, we give over to you our selves and those whom we serve to your kind care-giving. Help us to see that the world is not as bad as we worry it is. Help us to see that the world is not as good as we imagine it is. Help us to do what we can, but not more. For we are all your people and this is your world. Take care of us, loving God. Amen.