David Lamarre-Vincent, Executive Director for both then NH Council of Churches and the NH Bible Society resigned from his position in late November after twenty-one years of service.
Since 1990 Mr. Lamarre-Vincent has served jointly as the Council of Churches' and the Bible Society's Executive Director, continuing a custom of shared staffing by the two organizations that began in the mid-1950s.
As Executive Director of the NH Council of Churches, Mr. Lamarre-Vincent has been a highly visible presence in the state, especially in representing the Council's public policy positions in the legislature and the media. A former President of the Council, the Rev. Louis George, Interim Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Vermont and New Hampshire, said recently that "David has demonstrated an outstanding knowledge of and passion for peace and justice issues in both the ecumenical and public sectors."
As Executive Director of the NH Bible Society, Mr. Lamarre-Vincent has been responsible for expanding the distribution of scripture resources throughout New Hampshire. The President of the NH Bible Society, the Rev. Charles Kennedy, noted that "In all these endeavors, David worked diligently to further the interests and mission of the New Hampshire Bible Society and did it very well."
Lamarre-Vincent has also been active in the creation of programs and organizations at the state, regional and national levels that bring the faith-based sector together with private and nonprofit sectors to act for peace, justice and care of creation.
The boards of both the NH Council of Churches and the NH Bible Society appreciate David Lamarre-Vincent's twenty-one years of faithful service to both organizations and wish him well on his future endeavors.
>From the Women's Prison Ministry A Time to Sew by Rev. Beth Richeson and Janice
There are many moments in the midst of this ministry with women in prison when I know that God is at work. Too often it is in times of tears. Lately, it is being in the women's presence when they sew.
Change is constant in a prison, where time has it's own meaning. And for this season of change, what was once a program meeting room has become for many of the women and much of the day, a sewing room and sanctuary. The space that God has created when the women gather for a time to sew is most amazing. There is silence and peace, occasional laughter and helpful conversation and positive 'building up' of one another as those who are expert sewers teach and guide those who are just beginning. The women seem to congregate here, drawn to what this space offers. I am forever amazed how these women can turn and create and mend the smallest and largest pieces of fabric, most of it donated from good church women's closets and attics, into beautiful quilts and quilted bags, place mats and wall hangings. Some of what is created in the space is given to their family members; some is donated in the circle of receiving and giving back out to the needs of the community. All is precious and carefully made in this community of women in prison.
What I could only hope to describe of God's work in this space is more aptly shared from Janice's words:
"Some people have a comfortable chair where they can curl up and read, while others kick their feet up on a worn, comfy sofa to watch a great movie. For the group of creative sewers at NHSP-W, however, our sanctuary is our meeting room.
It's not because of the beautiful view, because the only view to the outside is of the dilapidated basketball court, and the other windows only view the dismal hallways. It's more about the "feel" of the room--the calm, the creativity, the sense of everyone working together toward a common goal. There is nowhere else in this building that makes me feel this way. Although it's not always quiet, and can get quite hectic at times, it is my little piece of meditation among a building of chaos."
NHCC Receives Two Matching Grant Challenges
Two denominational partners of the NH Council of Churches have recently made matching grants challenges to further the Council's work in prison ministry and social justice.
In October the Office of the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester announced that the Bishop's Charitable Assistance Fund was providing an outright grant of $2000 to assist with the spiritual needs of women who are incarcerated at the New Hampshire Women's State Prison in Goffstown. The Fund's Board also offered a challenge grant for up to $2000 to match new contributions for the NH Women's Prison Ministry and Ecumenical Chaplaincy between October 17th, 2011, and April 30th, 2012.
The Women's Prison Ministry, with the Rev. Beth Richeson serving as chaplain in an active program of spiritual support for the incarcerated women of New Hampshire, is a primary ministry of the NH Council of Churches.
In November, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire offered the Council a challenge grant of $4000 to support the hiring of a part-time, year-round public policy expert to increase the Council's efficacy in advocating for justice issues in the state. With the legislature already active preparing bills for the next session, we need to move quickly to put a person in place.
Please help us meet these challenges! Send your donations to the NH Council of Churches, PO Box 1087, Concord NH 03302-1087. Thank you!
Public Policy Update
Death Penalty Expansion - Discussion Tabled
January 4, 2012- HB 162-Extreme Death Penalty Bill to make all "purposeful" murders death penalty eligible was to be voted on by the New Hampshire House of Representatives. There was a motion to table the bill. They took a vote to table HB 162 and it passed. The NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will closely monitor the status of this bill until it is brought back to the floor for a vote.
The Wednesday lunch for legislators hosted by the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling was a smashing success. More than 150 House members heard the several major reasons why HB-593, the casino monopoly bill, should be defeated. Almost every Rep came away convinced that this terribly flawed, one-sided, bad deal of bill is beyond repair and should be swiftly defeated.
Back To Committee ... Do Not Resuscitate
Your calls and our messages have been working, so much so that HB-593 backers have been forced to schedule a special multi-committee work session (Thurs, Jan 12, 3:00 pm, LOB 210) to see if they can save the bill from defeat.
HB 593 is a casino bill that would allow construction and operation of two casinos to be built in New Hampshire and establishes a permit process for table gaming and video lottery.
Greater Concord Interfaith Council MLK Day of Service
January 16th, 2011
9:00 am Service Rally at St. John's (72 South Main St.)
10:00 am - 3:00 pm Service projects
7:00 PM movie and discussion
"At The River I Stand"
Red River Theater
Call: (603) 224-4600 for reservations
Come out and give of yourself for others. Show our pride in Concord.
"Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve."
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 18-25, 2012 is the annual observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme chosen for 2012 is "We Will All Be Changed by the Victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ." (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:51-58). Throughout 2012, join Christians everywhere in praying "that they may all be one" joining our prayer with that the Lord Jesus Christ. For more information go to: www.geii.org
A Day With Paul Sherry - February 2
Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry, currently the Director of Public Policy at the DC Office of INTERFAITH WORKER JUSTICE, is one of our nation's and the UCC's most distinguished theologians. Since his "retirement" from UCC national leadership in 1999, Rev. Sherry has been involved in several key national campaigns calling for economic justice for working men and women through access to decent jobs, family-sustaining wages and benefits, and dignity and respect on the job.
THREE OPPORTUNITIES TO MEET AND CONVERSE WITH REV. PAUL SHERRY!
LUNCHTIME DIALOGUE WITH CLERGY AND LAY PEOPLE
12 Noon-2:00 p.m.
NHC-UCC Conference Office
140 Sheep Davis Road, Pembroke
Rev. Sherry will talk about one of his key initiatives as Director of Public Policy for Interfaith Worker Justice: Faith Advocates for Jobs, an effort that includes a call for faith-based advocacy for job creation and a restored economy and for the creation of congregational-based support efforts for unemployed workers.
Rev. Sherry will also share his perspective on why NH faith leaders should care about NH legislative initiatives that attack worker rights, family-sustaining jobs, and more.
Please bring a brown bag lunch. The Economic Justice Ministry Team will provide a beverage, light snacks, and dessert.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church,
21 Centre Street, Concord
In an interfaith service open to people of all faiths (or no specific faith tradition), Rev. Paul Sherry will deliver a message about how the moral teachings of multiple faith traditions impel us to be instruments of economic justice in our own communities and beyond.
NH FAITH-LABOR DIALOGUE and BRAINSTORMING
St. Paul's Episcopal Church,
21 Centre Street, Concord
This will be a follow-up to the initial NH Faith-Labor Dialogue Session held in October. We will receive inspiration from Rev. Sherry about working and witnessing together to achieve economically just public policy in NH.
Light supper will be provided.
*Sponsored by THE NH CONFERENCE - UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST ECONOMIC JUSTICE MINISTRY TEAM (in collaboration with an evolving NH Faith-Labor Coalition)
Please RSVP if you plan to attend the NOON or 5:30 p.m. events,
On Friday, January 27, at 7pm, Rabbi Robin Nafshi will be leading a "learners service" at Temple Beth Jacob. This service will provide an excellent opportunity for those -- adults and youth -- who are interested in learning about Jewish worship and Jewish traditions. Last year, several area churches brought confirmation students and adult Bible students to the service. All are welcome to attend.
If you plan on attending with a group, such as a class, please email Rabbi Nafshi at firstname.lastname@example.org with the approximate number so that they can be sure to have sufficient seats set out (and snacks for the post service coffee hour-equivalent). You can also email her with any questions.