March 2016 Crossroads

Welcome…
To Rev. Trina Portillo. Rev. Trina most recently served as solo pastor of a small, urban congregation in Rochester, NY. In 2014, she and her family relocated to Massachusetts when her husband joined the faculty of Boston College. Trina is a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and previously worked in development for Chicago Lights, the non-profit outreach ministry of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago. She also served as development director for a small Boston non-profit in 2015. Trina and her husband, Nelson, live in Newton with their five-year old daughter, Elena.

Trina will be working from the church office on Wednesdays, from 10 am to 2 pm. You are welcome to call or come by during those times, or to set up an appointment with her. For pastoral emergencies, please contact Trina on her cell phone at (773) 951-7820.

Don’t Forget

On Easter, March 27 at 9 am, we will begin our Easter celebration with a wonderful Easter Pancake Breakfast provided by Mark and Cheryl Wells. It will be followed at 10:30 by our worship celebration.

Stewardship Report 2016

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…” James 1:17

Around the world, people lack access to food, clean water, sanitation, education and opportunity. Each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) serves to help change the lives of people in these challenging situations. The Offering provides us a way to share God’s love with our neighbors in need. One Great Hour of Sharing received on Palm Sunday makes a difference in the world through three impactful programs: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People.

Started in 1949, One Great Hour of Sharing is a long standing ecumenical effort aimed at raising the funds necessary to provide relief and reconstruction for communities in the aftermath of disaster. What started as an hour-long radio appeal has evolved over the years, varying from 8 to 29 participating denominations, and has become the most participated-in Offering in the PC(USA).

Last year our congregation gave $1,426.31 to OGHS. As a challenge for this year, our goal is $1500.00. Every dollar helps. Please give generously.

Christian Education
Beginning Sunday, March 6th, we are making a slight change to our Sunday school program. On the first Sunday (Communion Sunday) of each month, there will be no Sunday school class for children in second through fifth grade – they will stay in the sanctuary for the entire service. We have two purposes for this decision. First, we want our devoted Sunday school teachers and assistants to be able to attend an entire worship service. Second, we also want to start introducing the children in that class to the parts of the worship service they usually miss.

Another change that will begin in March – we are working on staffing the nursery for babies & toddlers on Sunday mornings. In compliance with our Safe Child Policy, we will have either two adults or one adult and one youth to provide childcare in the nursery. Parents are always welcome to keep their children with them during worship on Sunday mornings, but we want to provide an alternative if a parent wants to focus on worship without the distraction of a vocal or active little one.

Superbowl of Caring
On Superbowl Sunday, our youth participated in the SouperBowl of Caring by collecting 87 items of food and $169 in donations to donate to the Burlington Food Pantry. After the service, Julius Rosenthal, Annabel Greco, Genevieve Greco and Elena Greco took the food over to the food pantry and enjoyed a tour given by Mary Medina. Our congregation’s generosity will help feed many hungry neighbors!

Library News

On our fiction shelves: Sisterchicks on the Loose

Sharon has lived calmly in Chinook Springs, Washington, her entire life. All that changes when her best friend of twenty years, Penny, takes an impulsive trip to seek out her only living relatives in Finland — and brings Sharon with her. The land of reindeer and saunas holds infinite varieties of zaniness for these two unlikely friends — Sharon is a quiet mother of four and Penny was a motorcycle mama before she came to Christ — who return home with a new view of God, a new zest for life, and a big impact on those around them for decades to come.

This book is the beginning of a series of friends having adventures together.

Women’s Bible Study
Women’s Bible Study has begun their new study for the winter. They are studying “Revelation”, an N.T. Wright bible study. It’s not too late to join. They meet on Thursday mornings at 9:30 am. All women are invited to attend!

An Update by
Mary Medina

So far my adventures have included Whale Watching, Thanksgiving at my supervisors house, everyday work at the pantry, protesting in front of the State Building, canning and freezing for the winter, camping with hippies, and gardening just to name a few. For the past 6 months my roommates and I have been on a local eating challenge. We ate from Farmer Dave’s CSA, farmers markets, and the Boston Public Market. We are now entering our 2nd food challenge which is the SNAP Challenge. We have already applied for Food Stamps and are in various stages of getting our EBT cards. The application process has been stressful. Every phone call I make is met with a minimum of 30 minutes of being on hold. Hopefully, within the week I’ll have money for food.

My feelings are mixed with this new challenge. I feel like it’s supposed to give us the opportunity to understand the struggles low income families deal with on a daily basis but it doesn’t. How could the SNAP office know how much to give us when they are only told the amount we get on our living stipend. Our living stipend doesn’t give a realistic look into what it actually costs the program for us to live up here. I think the amount the SNAP office is giving me per month is distorted because of that. I think that doing a SNAP challenge can be a really beneficial learning experience but there are some kinks that need to be worked out.

I’m looking forward to the new challenge and for whatever the second half of my YAV year has in store for me.

We need you
…to drive George to church
…to be a Worship Assistant
…to be a Greeter
Training available for Worship Assistants and Greeters
Please sign up today!

Is It Spring Yet?

Are you sick of the cold and the snow?

Here comes Farmer Dave to rescue us!

Although, it is Arctic cold out as I am writing this, Spring is on its way, I know this because Farmer Dave’s Spring shares will start to arrive in just a few weeks on Monday March 7. Pick-up time for spring is 4-6:30 pm. If you have not signed up yet, hurry! You don’t want to miss out on the tender baby vegetables that will soon be here. It’s not too late. For more information, see Jane, Mary Lou or Mary.

New England Brass Band
The New England Brass Band is your neighbor. Well, kind of. We rehearse weekly at the Wilmington Congregational Church. Our site is http://www.newenglandbassband.org. We’re performing a concert at
The Wilmington Congregational Church
220 Middlesex Avenue, Route 62
Saturday, March 5, 3:00
There is no admission charge, but there will be a free will offering to support the Band.
The program will include solos and also our program for the national championships. We’re competing at the nationals in Fort Wayne, Ind. on March 31 and April 1.

February 2014 Crossroads

Legends of the Celtic Harp with Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter at BPC
Sunday March 23, 3:00 pm
Admission: $15.00

LEGENDS OF THE CELTIC HARP – with Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter
Three of the premier Celtic harpers in the world, Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter have created a dramatic ensemble that takes you deep into the myths, magic and fabled history of this most captivating instrument. You will hear three harps, Swedish Nyckelharpa, Cittern, Irish Bouzouki and more. History, humor and heartwarming stories are woven together with enchanting music both ancient and new. http://www.LegendsOfTheCelticHarp.com

Lazarus at the Gate: An economic discipleship study
Are you interested in learning what the Bible says about our gifts of wealth, and learning practical ways to more effectively serve our neighbors and fight poverty?

This year, The Presbyterian Church in Burlington is exploring these ideas with the Boston Faith and Justice Network (BFJN), a gathering of Christians from many different traditions sharing a common concern to love our neighbors through economic discipleship: following Jesus with our money.

The church will be exploring this idea of economic discipleship with BFJN’s Lazarus at the Gate Bible Study during Lent. This 8-session curriculum will take place following worship each Sunday from February 9 – April 6 (no workshop on Feb 16-holiday weekend). Each session will include a light lunch (soup and salad) and last about 1 ½ hours. It is best if participants commit to the entire course.

Lazarus at the Gate allows small groups to explore economic discipleship by studying biblical themes on wealth and poverty; sharing personal budgets; making changes, small and large, to live more simply and spend more justly. The program ends with participants contributing to a group gift to fight poverty in the name of Christ. The Lazarus program helps groups make four commitments:

  • Spend joyfully Regularly give thanks for the blessing of what we have
  • Spend justly Make one lifestyle change to consume more justly
  • Spend less Make one lifestyle change to spend less for ourselves
  • Give more Make a gift to fight poverty

    Our group will be challenged to make personal changes to spending choices to save money and with the savings, give more effectively toward a few charities of the group’s choosing.

    Just as an example, six members of the Lazarus at the Gate study group at Cornerstone Church of Boston recently donated over $19,000 to sponsor children in the Congo through Covenant Kids Congo, a partner of World Vision! Only six people! You can read about that here: http://blogs.covchurch.org/covenantkidscongo/cornerstone-called-to-restoration-work/. Stories of other groups that have gone through the study can be found on the BFJN Website: (bostonfaithjustice.org.)

    Please talk with Millie (emlydgrammy@comcast.net) or Alex (alex@bostonfaithjustice.org) if you have any questions or would like to sign up.

    Deacon’s Corner
    As most of you know, the deacons have an Emergency Fund that helps members of the congregation in times of duress. We have had to tap into that fund a few times in 2013. The fund is diminishing. We are asking your help in replenishing it for 2014. You will find envelopes in the pockets in the pews marked Emergency Fund. Please try to give what you can to help.

    Thank you!

    Confirmation Classes

    Confirmation classes will be beginning on Sunday February 9. Youth of eligibility age should have already been contacted. More information to follow. Please see Rod with any questions.

    Seeking Simplicity

    Are you feeling stressed out after the holiday frenzy? Do you feel like you have lost control of parts of your life? This is just the time to take a break and come to a retreat. On February 1st, from 9:30 AM to 3 PM we will discuss together what steps we can make to simplify our lives. We will enjoy a pot-luck lunch together. Each person will have a chance to de-stress by enjoying a choice of activity. Plans are still in progress but likely to include the following: low-impact movement and meditation called Gigong; livelier music and dance; an art project; or learning to cook something new. And of course there will be times of worship and praise.

    As a bonus, all will have a chance to preview the Lazarus at the Gate discipleship curriculum. This will give folks a chance to see whether they want to sign up for the eight week course which will begin on February 16th and continue through Lent. Be assured, however, that even if you are not able to attend the retreat, you can still sign up for the course.

    Because we want to maintain a fairly calm, quiet environment, we do not plan to offer child care at this event. However, if you really want to attend and this is an issue, please talk to Rod or Millie and we will see if we can work something out for you.

    Begin thinking about what simplicity means to you. Here are a few quotes to start you off: “Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.” ~ Charles Warner
    “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

    We look forward to seeing you on Feb 1st (snow date – Feb 8th)

    YAV Report from Alex Haney
    Simplicity
    Before this year, my idea of simplicity has always been about being cheap, conserving resources and helping the environment; it was never a church thing. Yet the last few months of retreat planning, bible study with the YAV program, and work with BFJN, I’ve seen that simplicity is something God wants us to do also.

    It goes beyond being a hippie and riding your bike. In fact, it goes way back to before there were hippies. The Old Testament prophets have been shouting God’s command for us to take care of the poor, the orphans, the widows, and those who can’t take care of themselves since they first heard God’s voice. Some sound pretty harsh on what happens if we don’t. Commandment #10 says not to covet, and we are told to love our neighbor. Jesus asked the rich man to sell his possessions give the money to the poor and follow him.

    As Christians, we are to seek ways to help those in need. How simply we can do this by loving thy neighbor, sharing resources, and not taking more than our share. These are just a part of “simplicity.” Freeing ourselves from our own wants and complexities, inside and out, brings us closer to God and allows us to be aware of and love our neighbor. In today’s world most of the economic activity we support can exploit the poor, the oppressed, the widows and orphans. That’s where local food and fair trade comes in the picture. God wants us buying things that build up the earth and the people involved rather than exploit them for profit, leaving people and the planet poor, desolate and homeless.

    Simplicity is not easy. It’s complicated. It’s all about being self-aware of your motivations, your actions and your thoughts and then being intentional about what you do, and how you treat one another. That’s the spirituality of it. It is an inward simplicity and an outward simplicity, and a corporate simplicity as a body of Christians. The simple life isn’t the easy one, but the self-aware and intentional one.

    Yes, God does want us to conserve our energy resources, to use less stuff, to throw away less, and to think about things before we do them because that builds up the widows, the oppressed, the poor, and the hungry. I now live simply not only to be cheap, not only to use less fossil fuels, but because these are ways I can love my neighbors more. These are ways I can focus on God more than my stuff. Simplicity allows me to ignore distractions so I hear and feel God, and the love of those around me, and I can show this love more freely.

    Our retreat all about simplicity is fast approaching for Saturday February 1 from 9:30 am to 3:00pm. I’d encourage you to come share your own thoughts and hear others about simplicity. Whether you make it or not, I’d encourage you to refer to the bibliography of resources from the retreat to learn more about living simply as a Christian discipline. I’d recommend Living More with Less by Doris Jane Longacre and Richard J. Foster’s Freedom of Simplicity. Those inspired this article.

    Other Food Justice News
    Manna Mondays
    Are you ready for a President’s Day like no other?! Sign your kids up for the first ever Manna Monday on February 17 (1pm-4pm) for an afternoon of pasta-making and wheat-milling! We will explore the biblical stories of manna from heaven, grind flour from wheat berries, and make pasta from scratch! As the Hebrews in the desert depended on manna from God (a starchy wafer substance) for sustenance, we depend on the earth, and the long process from start to finish for eating things like noodles and bread. Have your kids join us to learn all about, manna, pasta, and flour! School aged kids, (K-12) are welcome. A mid-afternoon snack will be provided. Sign-up in the fellowship hall or by phone with the church office (781-272-9190) by February 10 to reserve a spot. Contact Alex if you’d like to help supervise. alex@bostonfaithjustice.org

    Boston Faith and Justice Network (BFJN) Update
    Millie and Alex will begin teaching BFJN’s Lazarus at the Gate Curriculum on Sundays for 1.5 hours after worship starting February 9. It will last for 8 weeks until March 30. The class will examine the biblical themes of wealth, poverty, and generosity with real life ways to make a difference for the kingdom of heaven through our spending choices. Personal spending habits will be shared. The goal of this candor is to create an opportunity for a change in lifestyle to more effectively fight poverty and to make that change with the support of the group. A light lunch of soup and salad will be provided. Sign up in the fellowship hall. See Alex or Millie with questions.
    For those who cannot attend Lazarus at the Gate but would like to learn more about economic discipleship, BFJN is looking for participants in a brand new initiative to get Christians thinking about generosity with our tax refunds! Contact Alex for more information.

    Local Farm Connections
    Keep an eye out for brochures from local farms. This summer we hope to offer connections with more farms than just Farmer Dave’s! If things go according to plan we hope to have eggs, meat, cheese, and other farm-fresh products available to Burlington area residents on Mondays during the Farmer Dave’s pick up. See Alex or send him an E-mail if you know of local farms or growers you want to see involved. alex@bostonfaithjustice.org.

    News from the Philippines
    January 8, 2014

    Dear Friends,
    Today marks the second month since the most powerful and destructive typhoon on record devastated the central islands of the Philippines –- over 6,000 dead, 2,000 missing, I million homes destroyed, 4 million displaced. You responded in several ways — through clothing donations and funds for shipping costs, donations to Project C.U.R.E., funds to support a health clinic in one of the central islands, financial aid for students at Silliman University who lost family members and livelihood in the islands of Leyte and Samar. Thank you for your continuing prayers, long after the typhoon is no longer in the news cycle of international disasters.

    Here are some updates:

    Bart and I shall have sent 10 big boxes of donated clothing by the end of this month. They will be distributed by church groups to survivors in Leyte and towns in Northern Cebu. Those who survived the storm lost everything. Several of my relatives who were spared the fury of the storm are helping with the distribution process.

    Project C.U.R.E. (www.projectcure.org ) has sent two 20-foot container vans of medical supplies and equipment to a heavily-damaged hospital in Tacloban, Leyte, and the epicenter of the storm. This hospital continues to see hundreds of patients a day despite overwhelming limitations and welcomes the arrival of donated emergency supplies and equipment.

    The funds for financial aid to students in need at Silliman University, where Bart and I have done volunteer work recently, will be used specifically to help senior students graduate this March. This Presbyterian school is committed to finding ways of keeping 200 college students in school despite the incalculable loss of their homes and their parents’ livelihood.

    In one of the islands that the typhoon missed by 15 miles, there is a grassroots health clinic that needs basic medical supplies and is run by volunteer doctors and nurses. Bart and I are advocating for this Christian-based outreach to rural folks with no access to medical care. Some of you designated your financial contributions for this on-going project with a future.

    What to pray for in this period of rebuilding and reconstruction: The United Nations estimates that the recovery period for a disaster of this magnitude is 5 to 6 years, so the Philippines has barely just begun. These are some of the immediate needs:

    That the primary need for shelter be made available to the thousands of displaced families.
    That those on the ground who are helping (doctors, social workers, nurses, and volunteers) will be given the strength to persevere, as they too have to deal with their own trauma.
    That honest government officials handling foreign aid will put the people’s welfare first.
    That the survivors will not lose hope in the midst of unimaginable loss and tragedy.
    Our deep gratitude for your partnership,

    Priscilla and Bart Kelso

    Friday Night at the Movies!
    Friday, February 14, 7:00 pm
    Feature Presentation to be announced
    (watch your bulletin)
    Free! Bring friends! Popcorn!

    Crafter’s Group
    The Crafter’s Group will suspending their meeting in Feb, Mar & Apr. Please plan on joining us in the Spring. Bring those projects you’ve been meaning to finish, but just haven’t gotten around to.

    Bridges: Growing Older, Growing Together
    “The Burlington School System is privileged to incorporate the “Bridges: Growing Older, Growing Together” program into some of our 4th grade classes. This wonderful program pairs volunteer senior citizens with small groups of children in the classroom for an hour a week, over a 6 week session. During this time, the children have the opportunity to get to know a senior and to learn from their experiences. It is a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn about a different generation and for seniors to have the opportunity to see how children learn today. So much has changed in our schools and our approach to teaching. For this program to be successful, we need seniors who are willing to volunteer an hour of their time once a week for a 6 weeks session. Many enjoy it so much they ask to do more than one session! Sessions take place at different times over the course of the second half of the school year. (Depending on the school). If you know a senior, grandparent or neighbor, who would enjoy getting to know some fourth graders, please encourage them to fill in an application at the Senior Center.

    Any questions may be emailed to Caroline Mallard at cmallard1@hotmail.com, list “Bridges” in the subject line. For more information on this nationwide program: http://www.bridgestogether.org/”

  • Sustainable Green House Farming and CSA Program

    On Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 7 P.M., Farmer Dave will be speaking at Burlington Presbyterian Church about the CSA program and about his foreign aid work in the Republic of Georgia.

    Over the past year, Farmer Dave has been providing technical assistance to new greenhouse owners in Georgia. They were using natural hot springs to heat greenhouses in the winter months to grow vegetables. This would reduce the importation of these vegetables, thereby providing jobs, bringing wealth to the country, and providing a better, healthier food supply. Dave was surprised at how much he was able to help show them that by operating the greenhouses properly, you can maximize yields and reduce the occurrence of insects and diseases, making pesticides virtually unneeded.

    For the third year running, Burlington Presbyterian Church and Farmer Dave’s, a sustainable farm in Dracut, MA, have teamed up to bring locally-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables to the town of Burlington through a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. In the CSA program, consumers become shareholders of the farm for the season by paying for their share of the harvest upfront, and in return receive a share of freshly-harvested produce for 20 weeks from mid-June through late October. Shares will be conveniently boxed and ready for pick-up on Monday afternoons at Burlington Presbyterian Church. Every share includes generous portions of the season’s bounty, each in its due time, including summer favorites such as tomatoes and corn, cooking staples like onions, carrots and potatoes, as well as chefs’ picks like chard, beets, and other novelties to experiment with throughout the season. The CSA also offers a fruit share featuring raspberries, blueberries, melons, peaches, nectarines, and apples. Farmer Dave employs sustainable farming methods to ensure products that are healthy, nutritious, tasty and responsibly grown.

    Farmer Dave’s (http://www.farmerdaves.net) is based in Dracut, MA. Farmer Dave Dumaresq grew up working on farms in Dracut. Through the Peace Corps and other agencies he has helped farmers in Ecuador, and other Latin American countries become more sustainable. In 1997 he returned to Dracut to farm. In 2006 Farmer Dave purchased and helped to preserve a 30 acre farm in Dracut that will remain as productive farmland for future generations. Farmer Dave is committed to growing high quality, healthy food that is good for the people who eat it, the workers who tend it, and land that provides it, year after year. In addition to serving the Burlington community, Farmer Dave’s offers CSA shares in Dracut, Tewksbury, Lawrence, Somerville, Gloucester, Beverly, Jamaica Plain, Malden, and Boston.