Berkshire Association, UCC Fall Gathering 2017: On Forgiveness

Save the Date!

3:00 PM, Sunday, October 22, 2017

First Congregational Church of Lee, 25 Park Place, Lee, MA

Berkshire Association, UCC Fall Gathering 2017

On Forgiveness

“What was once a reason for rupture and alienation becomes an opportunity for repair and greater intimacy. A life that seemed littered with obstacles and antagonism is suddenly filled with opportunity and love” (Desmond and Mpho Tutu, The Book of Forgiving).

This special event is for church members, friends, clergy, and laity.

News from the Missions Committee

The Canaan Congregational Church Missions Committee continues to sponsor both local and wider missions. Wider missions include monetary donations to the United Church of Christ (UCC) responses for hurricane relief, Neighbors in Need, and One Great Hour of Sharing. Local missions include food donations to the Chatham Area Silent Pantry. And the church responded generously to the Chatham-Area School Supplies Weekend appeal by delivering two full boxes of church-donated school supplies to St. James Roman Catholic Church in Chatham, NY. St. James, in turn, delivered these items to the local food pantry where the items were made available to families in need.

Cornucopia with apples, gourds, squashes, pumpkins
Thanksgiving

The Chatham Area Pantry reports that everything is still needed, including:

  • Food with current “sell-by” dates
  • Toiletries
  • Paper products
  • WIC items (particularly disposable diapers)
  • Pet food

Bring donations to each Canaan Congregational Church Sunday worship service. All items will be delivered to the Pantry every other week.

The Paradox of Christian Joy

Sometimes we find ourselves persuaded to the presence of God in all things and persuaded equally that everyone is born to be blessed, to accept joy—if not in our own time, then in God’s time. To say this is not in any way to minimize the tragedies and worries of our current circumstances. Rather, it is to affirm that being blessed is moving ourselves—flesh and bone, mind and heart—more fully into the suffering and the bewilderment of the world.

“God’s joy is endlessly given to each of us”

The paradox of joy in the Christian experience is truly that “they who would save their lives must lose them.” The environment of blessedness as declared in the Beatitudes is poverty in spirit, mourning, meekness, persecution for the sake of righteousness, and God. Yet our society exalts pride in spirit, hides from death, deplores humility, avoids suffering, substitutes bravado for righteousness, and makes God an idea for discussion. But the signs of God’s presence are all around us. God’s joy is endlessly given to each of us not taken in by the facades of fear and the cleverness of cynics. We can choose to be joyous, even in the face of great worry, grief, and evil. We can go forth with strong strides of faith, turn our routines of work into the ceremonies of joy, and become minstrels of God’s glory.

—Pastor Charlie Close

 

Racism Series at the Quaker Intentional Village–Canaan (QIV-C)

Dismantling Racism: Building Capacity for White People to Understand Racial Injustice

There is one remaining session after August 19 (“Allies in resisting racism and white supremacy”), but you need not have attended any of the previous workshops to come to the final workshop in the “Cracking the Shell of Whiteness” series being held at QIV-C. Taken from a proven curriculum to build the capacity for white people to be in solidarity with people of color, this series creates space for white people interested in being effective allies with people of color in the work of dismantling racism and undoing white privilege. The workshops are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, see www.qivc.org.

Final session:  September 16—“Creating action plans for the future”

A Giving Congregation

“The Chatham Area Silent Pantry thanks [the Canaan Congregational Church] for [their] generous donation of 20 bags of food items for the clients at our pantry. We appreciate your work and support in contributing to our efforts to feed the hungry.

“This past year the number of visits to our pantry increased by 18%. With donations like yours we have continued to expand our inventory to meet the growing need in our community.

“The pantry is open four days a week. In addition to offering emergency food to our clients, through the help of local businesses and organizations, we provide a Thanksgiving turkey, trimmings, and gift cards for food. We participate in a backpack program through the schools, which sends home emergency food for the weekend to families in need. …

We are truly grateful and thank you for making our community a better place to live.”

Canaan Congregational Church is a giving church, collecting and delivering regular donations to the Chatham Area Silent Food Pantry

Canaan Congregational Church in the News

We’re in the news!

Many thanks to Daniel Zuckerman and Columbia-Greene Media for attending the first Interfaith Celebration of the Earth and Jazz Worship Service at Canaan Congregational Church. Participants were led in meditation and prayer, with the music of saxophonist Willie Sordillo, pianist Chris Bakriges, bassist Avery Sharpe, and vocalist Zoë Krohne holding all together. Read the entire article at http://www.registerstar.com/news/article_54d663fc-28a4-11e7-b29c-9f88b1356f1b.html.

Saxophonist Willie Sordillo, pianist Chris Bakriges, bassist Avery Sharpe, and vocalist Zoë Krohne (photo courtesy S. Bues, April 23, 2017)

 

Cracking the Shell of Whiteness

Dismantling Racism: Building Capacity for White People to Understand Racial Injustice (Racism Series at the Quaker Intentional Village–Canaan)

The first workshop—Identifying Whiteness—was held Saturday, April 15, 2017. This was the first of six monthly workshops from a proven curriculum to build the capacity for white people to be in solidarity with people of color. This curriculum was developed to create a space for white people interested in being effective allies with people of color in the work of dismantling racism and undoing white privilege.

The workshops are free and open to the public. It is not necessary to attend every workshop in the series. Refreshments will be served. RSVPs are requested but not required. For more information call 518-392-0289 and ask for Noah. The series is held at 235 Bradley’s Crossing Road, East Chatham, NY 12060.

Called Cracking the Shell of Whiteness, the next sessions include:

  • May 20—“Socialized into Whiteness”
  • June 10—“Where and When We Come From”
  • July 8—“The Legacy of White Privilege”
  • August 19—“Allies in Resisting Racism and White Supremacy”
  • September 16—“Creating Action Plans for the Future”

Interfaith Celebration of the Earth: Compelling and Sustaining

On Sunday afternoon, April 23, 2017, the Canaan Congregational Church (CCC) hosted an Interfaith Celebration of the Earth—a prayer service and jazz concert. Interspersed with the music were readings from diverse faith traditions: Rev. Koshin Karl Bower, a Tendai Buddhist priest ordained at the Buddhist temple on Route 295, led a thoughtful meditation; Yaqin Joseph Aubert, a Sufi from the neighboring Abode of the Message led a breathing meditation; form CCC Deacon Jay Aronson read a Native American prayer; Nellie Rustick, who represented St. James Roman Catholic Church, sang a beautiful Marty Haugen song, “Canticle of the Sun”; and of course, Rev. Charlie Close, represented our Protestant Congregational faith. And in keeping with the interfaith spirit of the event, the jazz quartet performed a traditional Jewish song, “Adamah Veshamayim [Earth and Sky].”

Each individual message was inspired, and the responsive readings were deeply moving.

Interfaith Celebration of the Earth and Jazz Worship Service at the Canaan Congregational Church, April 23, 2017 (Photo courtesy S. Bues)

The jazz group, comprised of four performers, saxophonist Willie Sordillo, pianist Chris Bakriges, bassist Avery Sharpe, and vocalist Zoë Krohne, were terrific. Although each performer was a wonderful soloist, when they performed together as a group, the effect was powerful.

It is praying, singing, and worshiping together—in a group—that is the most compelling and the most sustaining.

—P. Bues

An Interfaith Celebration of the Earth: A Jazz Gathering on Earth Day Weekend

Featuring Saxophonist Willie Sordillo and his jazz trio, Chris Bakriges, Zoë Krohne, and Avery Sharpe

3:00 PM, Sunday, April 23, 2017

From such exotic locales as Singapore and Hawaii to major music festivals throughout North America, alto saxophonist Willie Sordillo’s music has taken him around the world. With the band, Flor de Caña, he is a three-time Boston Music Award winner. An album he produced became a top 10 hit on the Billboard Magazine, World Music listing, and one of his co-arrangements played on the ER television program. A writer as well as a player, Willie’s original compositions have been reproduced in a number of magazines, songbooks, and textbooks.

Celebrate the natural world with several faith communities, including Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians; rich jazz; and sage readings.

Willie Sordillo, jazz saxophonist

Sordillo has composed theme music for four movies, including the award-winning documentary, Project Censored. Recordings featuring his saxophone work include Muévete and Bailando en la muralla by Flor de Caña, Cartagena, with the Geoffrey Hicks Quartet, Besame Mucho, a duo session with Geoffrey Hicks, The Color of Grace and The Colors of Love by Judy Hanlon, and Ben Tousley’s recordings Open the Gates and Take My Hand. His acoustic guitar playing is featured on all of banjoist Pat Scanlon’s recordings, including his newly released double CD, Extremists for Peace. Willie’s most recent CD as a leader, echoing, features some of the Boston area’s finest jazz musicians. Willie leads weekly jazz services at Old South Church in Boston. The Canaan Congregational Church is proud and pleased to host this unique and insightful performer and musician.