Educate a Child – Minute for Mission May 14, 2017

My mother was the youngest of seven children: 6 girls and 1 boy. She grew up working on my grandparents’ farm in Pennsylvania in a conservative Anabaptist community. Most of my aunts wore plain clothes and small caps called coverings until the sixties. I imagine that some of the neighbors considered my grandparents unlucky to have mostly girls to work the farm but apparently my grandfather had a different future in mind for them. As my mother tells it, he was adamant that all of his daughters would get an education, even though many people in their community thought this was wasteful at the time and he himself had stopped going to school after 8th grade.… Continue

How are the Children? – Minute for Mission May 7,2017

I bring you greetings, and challenges, from Ecumenical Advocacy Days. Rev. Traci Blackmon, of the UCC, passionately reminded us, of the traditional Masai greeting – not “How are You?” but “How are the children? The question comes out of the belief that the viability of any people is rooted in how well the children are doing.

So I bring you greetings. And I ask you, How are the children when there are 64 thousand black women and girls missing in America?

How are the children of Syria facing chemical warfare and barrel bombs?

How are the children famished in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen?… Continue

Memorial Cairn – Minute for Mission April 29, 2017

In October, 2007 Stephen Kobasa, representing Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice, a Connecticut interfaith peace and justice group proposed that a monument be erected at the corner of Broadway and Elm near the Civil War memorial to remember those killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  The proposal for a temporary memorial lasting until the end of the Iraq War was approved by the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreations and Defense.
Initially the memorial  consisted of a cairn of 56 ten-pound stones, representing the 56 months since the start of the Iraq conflict.  On the first Monday of each month, a new stone has been added to the pile.  … Continue

IRIS after School Program – Minute for Mission February 2017

I started volunteering at IRIS (IRIS is the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services headquartered on Nicoll St.)  7 years ago.  I’ve worked in different capacities.  I helped out with the CT Foodbank pick-ups, stocking the food pantry at IRIS (which is where I met the wonderful Betty Whitney).  I have helped prepare apartments for new arrivals and transported volunteers.  But My Latest, and perhaps favorite so far is what I am specifically talking about today and that is the IRIS Afterschool Program that is held at the Fair Haven Middle school.

Many school-aged refugee children have never entered a classroom before coming to the US.… Continue

Ecumenical Advocacy Days 29 Jan 2017 Ralph Jones

Last Sunday Pastor Susan asked how many of us participated in the Women’s Marches. An impressive number of hands went up. Did we achieve justice for all, yet?

This morning, Good Morning America interviewed at Yale PhD. Student researching in Afghanistan and unable to come home. It occurs to me to ask how many of us have students or colleagues affected by the Executive Order? I see three or four.

We have more to do!

I can’t tell that the Publican in chief has even acknowledged the concerns of the people. (Think about it. The head of the Republican Party owns hotels and bars and is now chief tax collector.)

So, what can we do now?… Continue