Reaction to Ferguson decision:
Racism is real. Our justice system is terribly broken. We live in a culture determined by fear. Our sorrow is profound. So, we pray, we act, we tirelessly pursue justice, we teach and learn, hold hands, reach out and are humbled every day. The Maine Council of Churches joins in weeping for all that is grieved today and in gathering our collective courage to insist on a world where we can find healing and where love prevails.
The Maine Council of Churches is strongly committed to Civil Discourse in our political system. Please read all that we have to offer below!
In preparation for this fall's election season, the Council recently wrote to over 400 Maine candidates
for statewide and national office, asking them to sign our "Covenant for Civil Discourse." To date, a
number of candidates have responded favorably. See which candidates have signed onto the
Covenant for Civil Discourse at the following link: Covenant for Civil Discourse
Are you praying for Civil Discourse in our political process? Here is a prayer resource for
congregations to use as we move through the mid-term elections:
Recently, the Council of Churches participated in a "Maine Calling" radio program on MPBN Radio.
You can hear it at: http://news.mpbn.net/post/maine-council-churches-launches-civility-initiative
Here is a link to a panel on Civil Discourse, cosponsored by the Goldfarb Center at Colby
College and the Maine Council of Churches. The panel was held on September 18th. It will
also be broadcast on the MPBN Radio program "Speaking in Maine" on Tuesday, September 30th
at 1:00 p.m. Link to the Panel at Colby College
A couple of years ago, the Council produced a video on Civil Discourse. It still speaks very well
to who we are as a Council. You can see it at: MCC Civil Discourse Video (2012)
Hunger is not okay. We can end it.
The Food Supplement Program (known as SNAP or food stamps) is one of our country’s most vital defenses against hunger.
Food pantries and soup kitchens, intended to provide emergency assistance, cannot meet demand as hunger increases.
1. Tell Congress to Protect SNAP!
2. Become an Anti-Hunger Leader
The Maine Council of Church remains committed to ending torture
throughout the world. On Saturday, December 7th, an ad signed by
over 100 religious leaders in Maine will run in the Bangor Daily
News, urging Senators Collins and King to vote for release of the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on torture.
To take a look at the ad, please click here: BDN Clergy Ad Regarding Torture Report
On this Thanksgiving Day, the Maine Council of Churches is pleased
to have been given space in the Portland Press Herald to share our
concerns over cuts to food assistance. The OP-ED can be found at
this link: Op-Ed on SNAP Program cuts and hunger
The Maine Council of Churches recently emailed an important church bulletin insert to
our member denominations. In collaboration with Maine Equal Justice Partners and the
"Cover Maine Now" initiative, we continue to press the State of Maine to accept the
Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act. For more information on
how you and your congregation can get involved, and how your people can share
their stories in support of our efforts, download the bulletin insert here:
The Maine Council of Churches grieves at the loss of life and livelihood
in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. People in the
Philippines are in need of our prayers and loving support. We ask all
people to exercise kindness of conscience and generosity of spirit at
The Maine Council of Churches represents nine member denominations throughout the state. If folks would like to donate through a religious organization, we offer the following links (in random order):
United Methodist: www.umcor.org
Roman Catholic: http://portlanddiocese.org/help-the-victims-of-typhoon-haiyan
United Church of Christ: www.ucc.org/disaster
Unitarian Universalist: www.uua.org
Presbyterian Church USA: www.PCUSA.org
Representatives from MCC and the
National Religious Campaign against Torture
had a meaningful and productive meeting
with Maine Senator Susan Collins on
October 23, 2013.
Pictured left to right: William Barter, MCC Executive Director; Leslie Manning, MCC President; Senator Collins;
Jill Saxby, Board Member of the National Religious Campaign against Torture; and Marc Mutty, Board Member of MCC.
Our Fall 2013 Newsletter is out! You can find a PDF
copy of the newsletter by clicking on "about us" and
following the links to the newsletter archive.
DEAD MAN WALKING AUTHOR TO SPEAK AT PORTLAND EVENT
Nationally acclaimed activist Sister Helen Prejean to highlight the culture of punishment
New Orleans-based activist and author of the book Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean, will speak at a community symposium on the culture of punishment on October 18th. Maine Inside Out, a local social justice organization, is hosting a four-day symposium, “The Culture of Punishment: From Parenting to Prisons” in Portland beginning on October 15, 2013.
Maine Inside Out, in collaboration with Long Creek Youth Development Center, Friends School of Portland, Portland’s First Parish in Portland, Maine Unitarian Universalist, the Maine Humanities Council, Sebago Education Alliance and the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine, is organizing and hosting four days of workshops, performances, seminars, and panel discussions to explore, question, and reflect on the history, culture, and impact of punitive practices.
Faith and Restorative Justice: Youth Performance and Multi-Faith Dialogue
Tuesday, October 15th at 6:30pm | First Parish in Portland, Maine Unitarian Universalist
Peaceful Parenting in a Culture of Punishment
with parenting educators: Katherine Endy, LCSW and Sarah MacLaughlin, LSW
Wednesday, October 16th at 7pm | Friends School of Portland | Mackworth Island, Portland
Alternatives to Punishment: Creating a Culture of Positive Behavior in Schools
with Dr. Heather Alvarez of Sebago Educational Alliance. [CEUs available]
Thursday, October 17th at 3:30pm | Portland High School, Alumni Hall
Screening of the film Dead Man Walking
presented by Portland Public Library Cultural Center Team
Thursday, October 17th at 7:30pm | Portland Public Library, Rines Auditorium
Keynote featuring Sister Helen Prejean
with performance by youth from Long Creek Youth Development Center
Friday, October 18th at 7pm | University of Southern Maine, Hannaford Lecture Hall
For registration information and a full listing of events go to www.maineinsideout.org
New Executive Director
The Maine Council of Churches has named the Rev. Dr. William M. Barter to be its next Executive Director, effective October 1, 2013. Dr. Barter is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Concurrent with his duties at the Council, he will maintain his position as Senior Pastor at St. Ansgar Lutheran Church in Portland.
A native of Bath, Barter graduated from Cheverus High School in Portland and obtained his B.A. from the University of Southern Maine. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Catholic University of America, and a Ph.D. from Walden University. Barter was ordained in 1982, and served churches in Lewiston, Waterville, Fairfield, Wallagrass, and Daigle. He briefly served as an interim pastor in Chicago while obtaining his doctorate and then returned to Maine where he was called to St. Ansgar in 2008.
Dr. Barter serves as a regional representative on the New England Synod Council of the ELCA. In addition to being a pastor, Dr. Barter is licensed in Maine as a psychologist. Prior to being hired as Executive Director, Barter served as Vice President of the Maine Council of Churches.
Bill can be reached at email@example.com
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The Maine Council of Churches is grieved by the
current situation in Syria. It would appear from
recent reports that the Assad regime has used
chemical weapons on the citizenry.
In this protracted battle for the heart of Syria, it is fair to say that atrocities have
likely been committed by both sides, thus further complicating the human tragedy.
Simple solutions elude us, but we do know that the guiding principle for all human
conflict is a movement toward peace and reconciliation. It is fitting to echo the words
of Pope Francis, spoken this past weekend, regarding the anguish over the Syrian conflict:
"I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples,
but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace. May the plea for peace rise up and touch
the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace."
Amidst the drumbeat of war and the cries of those who mourn their dead, please join the
Maine Council of Churches in praying for a peaceful solution to this human tragedy.
September 2, 2013
The Senate Intelligence Committee spent four years investigating the CIA's torture program.
The problem is that the committee's findings (in a 6,000-page factual report) have been adopted
by the Committee, but not released.
They are sitting in a Congressional vault and with the CIA.
In the next few days and weeks, the Maine Council of Churches will join religious leaders across the nation, demanding that the Senate make the report public.
We will be asking clergy from around Maine to sign an ad in the Bangor Daily News urging
Senators Collins and King to vote for release.
The council is honored to join NRCAT in this important work of ensuring basic human rights
for all people.
Maine Council of Churches
Reverend Bill Barter, Vice President of the Maine Council of Churches, testified
last Tuesday in support of LD 1353 An Act To Further Reduce Student Hunger.
It was introduced by Senate President Justin Alfond and heard by the Education and
Cultural Affairs Committee. In this picture, Rev. Barter heard by Rep. Mary Nelson,
Maine Council of Churches Statement on the Boston Marathon Bombing
Our hearts and prayers go out to the people and the city of Boston following explosions near
the end of the Marathon route where thousands gathered to cheer runners over the finish line:
Those who lost loved ones, those who suffered injuries, those who wait for news, and for the
many who quickly responded to help with love. It is at times like this when so many respond
tirelessly and courageously with love that we recognize our strength as a people and a nation.
At times like this, the momentary capacity of a few to overshadow the goodness of the many
can make God seem very far away. As a community of faith, let us take comfort in the words
of the psalmist: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore
we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)
The Maine Council of Churches joins our prayers with the Massachusetts Council of Churches,
and with people throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond to bring healing,
to understand, and to restore hope.
The Rev. Dr. William Barter, Vice President
Maine Council of Churches