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.
Members of CCP and Ohavi Zedek brought a pilot program of Restaurant Roundup to market in 2018 when Leunig's generously offered to be our pilot. Now we have our first signed contract for our first official participants, The Spot and The Spot on the Dock. 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.
Local churches enlisted the help of health professionals, podiatrists, and the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf to celebrate Maundy Thursday in a new way – we provided screening, foot washing, and toenail trimming. We reached out to homeless neighbors and provided a gift bag that contained new socks, towels, hygiene kits, blankets, and even toothbrushes and toothpaste. The event was held in JUMP space, so regular members of the JUMP population could come to JUMP, have their feet lovingly screened and washed, enjoy a free lunch, and leave with supplies.
At CCP, we continued our tradition of community service by supplying funds for latex-free gloves, paper face masks, and Band-Aids. We also volunteered to help with the many tasks that supported this event. It was heartwarming to see people leaving with contented smiles on their faces, but I think this wonderful comment from Dan Dougherty of Mallets Bay UCC expresses our feelings best, “I was so choked up with Gratitude at Maundy Thursday’s Foot Care for All event it was hard for me to fathom the impact we had! In the neighborhood of 70 people were served God’s Love and Compassion!”
Update from Marjorie MacNeill
HOLY WEEK is the perfect time to act on Jesus' teaching about love of neighbor. A network of SHELTERS in TUCSON AZ continues to offer welcome and assistance to hundreds of ASYLUM SEEKERS who have been released from border detention and are on their way to family or sponsors elsewhere. Through May, at least, volunteers in Tucson have the use of this beautiful monastery in the city to house families from Central America, help them rest/regroup, and send them on their way. ESPECIALLY, RIGHT NOW, much help is needed - donations of cash and supplies are gratefully received at the shelter itself, the CCS offices, or at their "go fund me" account. I'm also very willing to shop for the shelter for you if you pm me, I'll send my home address and carefully use your donation. Thank you to those who already donated for this mission in January when my daughter and I visited Tucson.
Here's the information about how to help:
Send packages or online orders directly to the refugee shelter at:
Catholic Community Services,
800 North Country Club Road,
Tucson AZ 85716
OR donate through gofundme.com
“CCS migrant shelter”
OR send financial donations to
Catholic Community Services
140 W. Speedway, Blvd., Suite 130
Tucson, AZ 85705
Especially needed for the CCS Monastery Shelter in Tucson are:
Backpacks, travel blankets, new underwear for children and adults (size S/M), new socks for all ages, basic clothing for boys and girls, men’s and women's tennis shoes (S), men’s belts (S), men’s pants (size 28-32), and women’s leggings (S/M) which can easily be ordered and sent.
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
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!
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.
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)
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.
Click here for a calendar of CCP events.