• Special Easter Offering

    Happy Easter!  He is risen!

     

    Friday, April 18, 2022

     

    Dear Members and Friends of First Congregational Church:

    In this imperfect world of war, racism, and epidemics there is also renewal, restoration, and relationship.   We are Lenten people who studied these ‘re’ words and we are Easter people, called to bring hope, mercy, and justice and to shout Alleluia from our rooftops and across our happily opening town.

    To celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our congregation designates a special offering. This year, your Outreach committee was faced with a very difficult decision. In planning last fall, we decided to dedicate the Easter offering to the ‘Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Access to Justice Fund’. That seemed a fitting response to our congregational study and national dialogue on racism and white privilege. And we were keenly aware that during Holy Week, Jesus was unjustly accused and himself a prisoner.

     

    Then the war in Ukraine broke out. The pictures of millions whose lives are in danger moved and saddened us. Shouldn’t we direct the Easter offering toward relief in Ukraine instead?  But one of our own members reminded us of our commitment and how easy it can be to de-prioritize the outsider among us.  After a lot of discussion, we decided that the cause of competent, effective advocacy for those without good access to legal representation matters for our Christian commitment to justice.

     

    Ralph Gants, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court,

    was a compassionate leader for reform in our criminal justice system.

    Shortly before his untimely death he wrote that to ‘put people with criminal histories back on the path to living normal lives, [is]not only for their sake, but for the sake of our society as a whole [because] we are all interconnected, we are all part of the same team, and the successes or failures of one affect us all.’

     

    This Fund is in his honor and to continue his work.  Some of their programs include:

    • Providing $6,000 fellowships to students of color and students with disabilities who might otherwise be unable to accept a judicial summer co-op or internship.
    • Establishing Justice Bridge to train law student graduates to represent individuals facing eviction in housing court or seeking legal assistance in family court.

     

    And so we invite you this year to give generously to this work: hope for all and a little Easter right here.

     

    Your Outreach Committee:   Laura Bailey, Don Dutton, Sarah Girotti, Julia Daggett, Betsy Goodell, and Judy Arnold

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