This time of year it can feel hard to celebrate. The days can feel long and cold. The walls that surround you may feel stifling. The air stings our skin. But what if we turn our face to the sun to feel its warmth when the clouds break? What if we catch a snowflake and marvel at its artistry? What if we listen to the sound our boots make in the snow, listen to branches crackle under ice, listen for the type of quiet that only exists after a snowstorm? I find winter a time to celebrate, as long as I’m dressed in lots of layers and can get outside to play in the snow. I marvel at its peace and stillness. And when I’m inside, I take inspiration from the work of our members, the generosity of our donors, and the support of the MaineShare community. Read on here!
When you hear the name of our member group, Maine Council of Churches, what images come to mind? Do you think of advocacy on the frontlines of reproductive justice? Do you think about activism around indigenous sovereignty? Do you think about coalition work focused on environmental justice? Perhaps not. But if you do picture those things, you are aware of the amazing advocacy and activism provided by faith leaders of many denominations in our community, led by the fearless work of Maine Council of Churches (MCC).
The MCC began in 1938, and since then, has been a tireless voice toward justice, compassion, and peace. Its work is statewide, and happens among religious leaders, parishioners, and volunteers with many faith backgrounds. As summarized on the MCC website, “Despite our diverse histories and traditions, the member denominations of the Maine Council of Churches share these values: respecting the dignity of each human being; recognizing the duty to protect the Earth; and valuing a political system that encourages civil discourse.” Recently, the MCC co-hosted a public reading of the full text of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail, read by various justice leaders in the community and featuring space and music for reflection and contemplation. Over 500 attendees joined this event on the 2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to be in space together and listen to the powerful and relevant words.
This month, the work of MCC has focused on a Faith-Based Advocacy Series, inviting people of faith to build community, and to be inspired to begin or continue advocacy work toward a more just society. The sessions include practical tips for legislative advocacy and submitting testimony at the state house, as well as training on focused priorities that include housing and homelessness, tribal sovereignty, and banning solitary confinement in Maine’s prisons. The MCC has built great community networks to collaborate with around their advocacy efforts, partnering their Public Policy Committee with other state organizations focused on similar work.
The Maine Council of Churches, under the direction of Executive Director Reverend Jane Field, remains deeply committed to their values, and continues to be a bold, unwavering voice toward a more just and equitable Maine. They are also forward-thinking, and beginning a strategic planning process to determine their vision for the years ahead. MaineShare is so grateful to have the Maine Council of Churches as a member group, and to be able to support and partner with them in the amazing work they do in our community. I encourage you all to learn more about MCC through their website, http://mainecouncilofchurches.org/!