January 18, 2019

For your prayer and reflection this week:

Life is the memory of a lost joy.
As we grow, what we become is more of what we already are.
Our task is to remember who we are, and where we have come from.
We let go of is that which has not served us-
messages we have ingested from our culture, friends, family, schools 
that are not rooted in the truth of who we are.
There is much that we have learned that we must unlearn-
belief systems- conscious or subconscious,
rooted in fear or superiority-
those that make others “less than;”
all ideologies rooted in separation and division,
that make us “right” and them “wrong.”
After all, we are right, aren’t we?
Who doesn’t think their opinions are right in the moment?

That is why, as people of faith,
Our goal is humility in the service of transformation.
We must be humble enough to know that we don’t have all the answers,
and that others who we have separated ourselves from 
are our brothers, sisters and family.
We remember that life is a dynamic process 
of opening to and letting ourselves be transformed by grace-
so we might release the mind of fear, separation and superiority,
and put on the mind of Christ,
who never boasted or bragged,
but from his Oneness with God,
pointed all of us to our Oneness with God and with each other.
We let go of the baggage,
and return to the original blessing-
the lost joy, now recovered,
which is our identity and our birthright.

Friends, it was so fun to be back with you last Sunday for Messy Church!  This weekend, on the holiday celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., we remember the many ways that Martin Luther King Jr. worked for and embodied peace and social justice in his day, but also ask how we can continue his legacy, working to combat racism, militarism, materialism, and the many fears, phobias, and structural injustices that plague our nation and our world.  Martin Luther King Jr. was not only a drum major for justice, but a Baptist minister and a man of deep Christian faith.  It was Martin Luther King’s deep spiritual convictions that inspired his commitment to the work of racial justice rooted in nonviolent love.  His was a work that saw all people as children of God. 

This year from 9am to 1pm on January 21st, Brandeis will hold the 9th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Interfaith Service (in Levin Ballroom of Usdan Student Center) in partnership with Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, Greater Boston’s oldest interfaith social action agency.  For this event, participants will package over 10,000 highly nutritious rice and beans meals for the homeless and those in need that will be delivered to food shelters in Waltham and Greater Boston.  The service component of the day is combined with an Educational/Justice “Fair,” in which participants dialogue in workshops around social justice issues including poverty and homelessness; prejudice, diversity and privilege; interfaith engagement; housing policy discrimination; and peacemaking and nonviolence.  More info about the schedule for the day is below, and the link to sign up is here.

In the next two weeks, we'll meet to plan for our February Agape retreat (since we had so much fun at our October retreat).  If you want to help plan our February retreat , fill out this doodle poll in the next couple days with your availability:

Lastly, you'll notice on the Agape website we finally have a date and time for our Racial Justice training in March 24 and 25th.  More info about that soon.  In the meanwhile, our partner church the Congregational Church of Weston has invited us to come to a powerful series of events the first weekend in February.  James DeWolf Perry will be helping facilitate conversation around the "Traces of the Trade" PBS Documentary. 
Pastor Rick from Weston shared with me,
"We hosted many racial equity workshops and programs at our previous church.  James DeWolf Perry is one of the finest leaders of these conversations we know.  He is an informed historian, but he is also a sensitive listener and an engaging conversation partner.  The DVD alone presents opportunities to show and discuss but to have James with us is an incredible -- not to be missed -- opportunity.
Also, I would love for our congregations to experience each other."  

More information about the "Traces of the Trade" events Saturday and Sunday are below.

With you today in living out all that God intends us to be, 


Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Interfaith Service
Monday, January 21st  9am-1pm
Levin Ballroom, Usdan Student Center, 
Brandeis University
Honor and learn from the life and teachings of MLK Jr. Reflect on the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., pack meals for food pantries, and participate in social justice-themed discussions.  

This year’s theme: “Continuous Giving.”  Featuring guest speaker: Kevin Peterson, The New Democracy Coalition was founded by Kevin Peterson in Boston, Massachusetts in 2001.

Come honor and learn from the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), pack meals for food pantries & congregations that serve the homeless community and participate in social justice discussions with Brandeis clubs and local non-profits.

Workshops for the day include: Chaplains on Way – Spiritual Companioning, Identifying our Prejudices with CMM’s IFYI Program Director Shelton Oakley Hersey, Habitat for Humanity, Community Day Center of Waltham, Contemplation and Action, with activities for younger kids too.

9-9:20am: Registration and MLK Speeches Levin Ballroom
9:20-10:00am: Opening Gathering Levin Ballroom
10:00am-11:05am: Blue Session: Meal Packing Project & Educational Justice Fair Usdan
  Workshop times: 10:00-10:30am; 10:30-11:00am or 10:00 to 11am
11:05-12:10pm: Red Session: Meal Packing Project and Educational Justice Fair Usdan
  Workshop times: 11:05am-11:35am; 11:35-12:05pm or 11:05 to 12:05
12:15-1pm: Closing Gathering Levin Ballroom

Agape Service: "Childlike Faith"
Sunday, January 27th at 5pm
50 Church St., Waltham
With special guest Rev. Dr. Sandras Barnes
The Reverend Dr. Sandras M. Barnes walks by faith and believes her life experiences have prepared her for this moment and time. With quiet confidence, stillness, patience, and courage she waits upon the LORD to direct her path as an educator, activist, and theologian. 
Her topic is Childlike Faith: Some children will trust in God until they are given reasons to not trust. Some children are given reasons to not trust very early in life but their faith in God is not shaken.   

Initiating Inspiration Book Group: How Will You Measure Your Life?
Monday, January 28th 7:15pm
Waltham Public Library
Agape, in partnership with the Waltham Public Library, is leading a book group focused on inspirational, empowering, and spiritual readings. This group meets every other month. The next book is "How Will You Measure Your Life" by Clayton M. Christensen All are welcome whether you've read the book or not. Please reach out to the Library for book availability.

Traces of the Trade with James DeWolf Perry
February 2 and 3 at the Congregational Church of Weston
Talking about race in this country is difficult. Using the PBS documentary, Traces of the Trade, and accompanied by one of the persons in the film, James DeWolf Perry, the Congregational Church of Weston, 130 Newton Street, seeks to to better equip ourselves for having this conversation as well as getting our history right. Traces of the Trade follows the pilgrimage of a family as they discover that their ancestors were slave traders, trace the implications for today and explore means of reconciliation.  Slavery has been described as our country’s “original sin,” arriving in the American experiment in 1619 (400 years ago) and one year before the Pilgrims!

On Saturday morning, February 2, beginning at 9am, the Congregational Church of Weston and the surrounding community are invited to a showing of the Traces of the Trade DVD and a conversation with James DeWolf Perry, one of the family members and historian, about its broader meaning for interpreting our life together as Americans. Come, join the conversation!

On Sunday morning, February 3, James DeWolf Perry will return for the congregation’s 10:30 worship and join in a conversation with the congregation and community about future steps.
For more information, contact the Congregational Church of Weston UCC (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 781-899-5417).

Agape Dinner Church
Sunday, February 10th at 5pm
Intercultural Center (ICC), Brandeis University
415 South St., Waltham 02453
Agape dinner church includes upbeat and contemplative song, silence, prayer, a children's moment, spiritual reflection, communion, and dinner!  All are welcome as you are.

Agape Retreat! 
Saturday February 16th (backup date with snow is Saturday Feb. 23, same times)
9:30am to 3pm
Congregational Church of Weston
130 Newton St, Weston, MA 02493
We had so much fun at our first Agape retreat in the fall, we’re doing it again!  Our partner churches, the Congregational Church of Weston, has graciously agreed to let us use their space.  Come to bond, have fun, engage in spiritual practices, and deepen our community connection, as well as do some visioning for the future.  The retreat will include a potluck lunch.  We will meet in January to plan for this retreat.  Fill out this doodle if you’d like to be part of the planning: 

An Introduction to Love Small Group
Beginning February 2019
Four gatherings at 50 Church St.
This Agape small group is centered around the book "Love: A Guide for Prayer" by Jacqueline Syrup Bergan and Sister Marie Schwan.  Our small group times will be a chance to dive deeply into spiritual practices, scripture, and individual reflection on our faith, while also meeting regularly for support, sharing, and prayer.  First gathering, including a brief introduction, will be the week of February 25.  Let Matt your availability here for which weeknight works best for you.  We’ll meet first the week of February 25th, with our three gatherings the following weeks:
Week of March 11
Week of March 25
Week of April 8

Agape 2018 events and directions are at this link:
(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 774-270-2185).  

If you would like to make a love donation to support the unfoldment of Agape's vision in the world of living and spreading unconditional love, you can do so at the link below, or checks can be made out to "MACUCC" with "Agape" in the memo line (and mailed to 106 Stearns Hill Rd., Waltham, MA 02451).