Christ Church Presbyterian was founded in 1955 and, at its inception, grappled with the idea of what a church should be doing. Our early focus turned outward as we visited prisoners, unwed mothers at the Lund Home, and operated a coffeehouse and bookstore called The Loft. For about ten years, we took the bold position of worshipping only one Sunday every month so we could minister to members of our community on the other Sundays.
CCP built on this early commitment as we became a ‘Sanctuary Church’ for a Guatemalan family and opposed Presbyterian policies by welcoming GLBTQ members. We joined with other Burlington churches by joining JUMP, the Salvation Army, and VIA. From our inception, social activism has been our way of expressing our faith.
VIA leaders Virginia Munkelwitz (Christ Church, Presbyterian) and Gene Bergman (First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington) took on the topics of "Wages and Housing" in our most recent half-hour Channel 17 show.
The two leaders showed how these issues intertwine to keep families from being able to make ends meet, and how addressing them, as some of our local organizing committees are seeking to do, will create a better quality of life for Vermonters.
You can watch the show online.
We’ve known that at CCP for many years, but now the whole town knows. Ken was featured on a WCAX TV’s "Super Seniors" segment on February 28. Click here to see the whole story: https://www.wcax.com/features/superseniors
Rob Stone attended CCP faithfully while he was a UVM student. Last spring he graduated, and joined Americorps. You can read about his work with FEMA in the letter below.
Marjorie MacNeill and her daughter, Catherine VanVliet Mey, recently visited Arizona and brought needed supplies to three mission sites serving the US/Mexico border area.
You can read about all three sites they visited, The Sahuarita Food Bank and Community Resource Center, Frontera de Cristo, and Catholic Community Services of South Arizona (pictured above) in the text provided by Marjorie.
We are grateful to so many of you who donated over $1000 total for our efforts to support these programs. Thank you VERY much for your contribution.
We also support the efforts of our national Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), which is active on the border and offers these volunteer opportunities:
Members of our congregation participated in an Immigration Mission Call and received this information:
VTIPL is a non-profit whose mission is to support Vermont faith communities as they address climate change. CCP is one of approximately 80 Vermont faith communities that are members of VTIPL and several members of CCP are also individual members of VTIPL. VTIPL is thankful for everyone's support..
To support faith communities' efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change, VTIPL:
Each Fall, VTIPL has an annual conference at which there is a keynote speaker and workshops relating to climate change issues. Some of the recent conference topics and workshops have been on divestment from fossil fuels, advocacy for legislation and policies, e.g. Carbon Pollution Tax, impacts of changes in EPA regulations. advances in wood heating, climate change and health impacts in Vermont.
Recently, Ascension Lutheran Church, a VTIPL member congregation, and its pastor, Pastor Nancy Wright, a VTIPL Board member, have become active with the interconnected issues of discipleship, water quality and climate change, i.e. increased rainfall and warmer temperatures result in more runoff, pollution and algae blooms, issues that involve faith communities' caring for creation. They, Ascension Lutheran, have sponsored a number of water-related events to raise awareness and involvement, and they have published the "Congregational Watershed Discipleship Manual", for faith communities as stewards of the world's waters.
If you would like to receive VTIPL's monthly E-Newsletter, review any of the resource films or have questions, contact Betsy Hardy, VTIPL Coordinator at info(at)vtipl(dot)org.
Also feel free to contact CCP's Ron McGarvey, RMCGAR864(at)aol(dot)com
It is back to school time! Which means that it is time for us to pay the tuition for our Haitian school children. Last year after the TeacHaiti founder Miquette Denis McMahon came to visit, thanks to the generosity of this congregation, we were able to support 2 more children to go to school. We are now supporting a total of 11 Haitian children’s tuition at TeacHaiti!
This year we need to raise $1800 to keep these children in school. If you would like to contribute to sending our kids to school, please make a check to CCP and put “Haiti School fund” in the memo line and send it to Christ Church, Presbyterian at P.O. Box 574, Burlington, VT 05402-0574. Thank you in advance for any contribution that you can make!
To read Ann Naumann's account of her mission work in Haiti, download her story below.
At our recent Statewide Convention, Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA) celebrated its past accomplishments and made plans for the future. CCP continues to be a big part of VIA’s work.
VIA was founded in 2004 by a group of clergy looking for a way to address social justice issues systemically and not just put a band-aid on immediate needs. Since then, VIA has grown into a vibrant coalition of 53 member and affiliated congregations throughout the state who employ a grassroots, faith -based community organizing model to select issues and effect change around those issues. Individual congregations – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, UU, Buddhist, or Muslim – form their own local organizing committees or send representatives to organizing committees that focus on a particular issue.
Individuals from CCP have participated in Restaurant Roundup and Affordable Housing teams, as well as being part of the VIA Board. Rev. Deadra Ashton has been a strong presence in VIA’s Clergy Caucus, promoting solidarity with Muslims, uprooting of racism, a Moral Economy, and just, humane immigration policies.
At VIA’s Statewide Convention, several CCP members were in attendance, and the 60 people present used a democratic process to choose VIA’s statewide focus for the next 12 months: economic justice, specifically concentrated on livable wages and working conditions for Vermonters. VIA looks forward to continuing to work with all people of faith to advance social justice.
Debbie Ingram, VIA Executive Director
June 30, 2018 – Over 500 Vermonters marched to protest the immigration policies of the Trump administration. At least 11 marchers were from CCP, including Ann Naumann who dressed as the Statue of Liberty. The Burlington march was organized by local politicians and supported by Migrant Justice, Black Lives Matter, and Vermont Interfaith Action.
June 12, 2018--Members of CCP joined St. Paul’s, First Unitarian Universalist Society, Burlington Friends, Ascension Lutheran, and New Alpha Baptist congregations to protest the treatment of immigrants. A petition was delivered to Vermont congressional representatives and the attached report describes our requests, congressional responses, recommendations, and actions.
Members of CCP and Ohavi Zedek brought a pilot program of Restaurant Roundup to market last year. Leunig’s generously offered to be our pilot and they have successfully tested Restaurant Roundup for a full year. Please read the attached report to find out what we’ve learned, what we’ve accomplished, and where we are headed next.
To refresh your memory, Restaurant Roundup is a program that is based on City Market’s Rally for Change. When you pay your bill, you are asked to round up to the nearest dollar and the money is donated to food charities.
Our own Mary Beth Barritt appeared with Debbie Ingram and Earl Kooperkamp, pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd in Montpelier, and Debbie Ingram, Director of VIA on Channel 17’s “Live at 5:25” to talk about the activities of CCP’s Gleaners group. Here’s the episode if you missed the broadcast. (2015)
In this photo, you can see Valerie Visconti with some of the many children who are now able to attend school, thanks to the sustained efforts of Parents and Youth for Change (PYC). Valerie is a member of CCP, a retired teacher, and one of the residents of Winooski who worked together to obtain funding and buses for students. PYC is a group which has been focusing on Burlington and Winooski school districts since “new Americans” moved to these two cities.
One of the concerns has involved those children who live ¾ to a mile away from the school, and have had to walk to school because Winooski School District has never provided transportation. Data has shown over the past 3-4 years that there has been a higher rate of absenteeism/tardiness during the colder months of the year, especially of students living in these areas of the city.
After several years of PYC requesting the need for school buses to help these students get to school safely, on time and ready to learn, the school board finally agreed to fund this pilot project. With the help of South Burlington School District, they leased 2 school buses and 2 drivers to stop at 2 locations in the city to pick up students. The buses did 2 runs at each location. Parents, community members and PYC staff volunteered as “monitors” to be on the ground and on the buses to supervise students.
The program successfully provided bus transportation from January 16th through March 30th. Over 170 students (grades K-12) made use of the buses on a daily basis! The Winooski School District will fund this program again next year.
WCAX news reported on the program in March.
Thank you to all CCP members who wrote letters to Vermont legislators in support of gun bills and to the 19 members and relatives who attended the March for our Lives. We are pleased to report that the following legislation passed both the House and Senate and is ready to be signed by Governor Scott:
· Raise minimum age to purchase a gun from 16 to 21
· Ban bump stocks
· Expand background checks
· Limit capacity of magazines that can be sold or possessed
· Remove firearms from people arrested or cited for domestic assault
· Extreme risk protection orders – do not allow a person who is a threat to themselves or others to possess a firearm
Christ Church, Presbyterian was a 1988 founding member of JUMP, the Joint Urban Ministry Project, which responds to requests for assistance from our neighbors in need. JUMP operates a drop-in center Tuesday through Friday mornings at the First Congregational Church of Burlington on Winooski Avenue. Here people find a welcoming space, as well as volunteers and staff who provide a listening ear along with some basic household and personal supplies, financial assistance through vouchers at local businesses for food, transportation, utility help, laundry, and more. JUMP also refers clients to other partners who can provide additional services.
CCP makes a monthly donation to JUMP services; we also collect toothbrushes and toothpaste for JUMP clients. Two congregational members serve on the JUMP Board, three are weekday volunteers, and others participate in special projects to support JUMP.
Mercy Connections' Mentoring Program matches women who are exiting the correctional system with volunteers who provide friendship, support and practical help during the year after their release. Sometimes longlasting bonds are formed between mentors and mentees.
Mentors receive training from the Department of Corrections and Mercy Connections and are supported through monthly meetings led by experienced Mercy Connections staff. Mentoring provides an intimate look into criminal justice in Vermont. The program has a marked effect in reducing recidivism.
Mercy Connections was founded in 2001 by the Sisters of Mercy after the closing of Trinity College, where the program originated. Trinity was deeply involved in issues of social and criminal justice: In 2003, Sister Janice Ryan, a president of Trinity College, was appointed Vermont’s Deputy Commissioner of Corrections.
CCP has a long-standing strong commitment to More Light, the Presbyterian Church, USA's open and affirming appreciation for inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters. We demonstrate this commitment in a number of ways, including walking each year in the Burlington Pride Parade, with a CCP banner that reads:" All are welcome at God's table". This year, CCP marchers included: Ron and Joy McGarvey, Amity Baker, Sue and Al Brooks, Tom and Mary Beth Barritt. And, waving from the St. Paul's convertible, was our own Joanne Granai.
At CCP we are all well aware of Barbara Jordan’s many gifts. Now the whole city of Burlington knows that she is an award-winning athlete, a senior fitness expert and a unique individual. Barbara was an honoree at the 2018 International Women’s Day Celebration held at Burlington High School on March 7. Her husband Paul, grandson Zaiah, and son Gregg were on hand to support her along with son Glenn who travelled from Portland, Maine as a surprise guest. When Barbara accepted the award, she asked current and former members of her exercise classes to stand. Fully half the audience stood up. Among them was an alumnus of Barbara’s very first senior fitness class in 1985. He is now 103 and still does Barbara’s exercises every day.
Barbara was nominated as one of the three local women honored at this year’s celebration by Ellen Sklar. Ellen is a member of both the Event Committee and Barbara’s Senior Fitness class at the Miller Center. Click on the link below to read Ellen's glowing introduction of Barbara Jordan at the awards ceremony.
Click here for a calendar of CCP events.