This week's author is Michele Mudrick, Legislative Advocate for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
Scripture: Luke 18:1-5 (NRSV)Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.”
Reflection:I just finished reading the book “Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World” by Alexia Salvatierra and Peter Heltzel. Shane Clairborne mentioned in the book “faith has to have feet, the Gospel is not just about ideas, it’s about action, an invitation to join a movement.”
Luke 18:1-5, was mentioned in the Faith-Rooted Organizing book where the widow continued to advocate persistently and passionately for her cause. Finally, Jesus says, the judge agrees to grant her justice, not because the judge has undergone a conversion, but rather because she exerts a critical mass of pressure.
The Coalition Against Casino Expansion in Connecticut (CACE), which the Connecticut Conference is leading with other faith communities and civic organizations, is working to stop casino expansion in Connecticut. Casinos are made for people to lose their money and the CACE want to stop this!
CTUCC has several Resolutions opposing expanded gambling. The casino supporters say we need another casino for the money and the jobs. We say, there is no justice in using addictive gambling machines to obtain revenue from our most vulnerable residents, and we need to be more creative in our job creation than on the backs of the poor, addicted, low wage workers, minorities and the elderly; we need to create jobs in industries that are not declining in potential.
You may have read or heard over the past several weeks that MGM wants to build a casino in Bridgeport. On December 7, 2017 the Catholic Bishop of Bridgeport, Bishop Caggiano, graciously agreed to host the Coalition's first organizing meeting in Bridgeport. People of many faiths will be attending, including Episcopalians, UCCer’s, Muslims, Lutherans, Jews, and Catholics. We also expect and welcome people from other faith denominations, people with no community of faith, leaders from community organizations, elected officials as well as other local leaders.
I invite you to attend this meeting, share the flyer, and please invite your State Senator and State Representative, even if you cannot attend. It is important for our elected officials to hear our voice. The meeting is open to all and especially clergy and lay leaders in the Fairfield County area (since they will be most impacted if a casino is built in Bridgeport) as well as clergy and lay leaders in the Hartford area (since they will be most impacted if the casino is built in East Windsor).
Prayer:Dear God, thank you for bringing many faiths and civic organizations together in the creation of the CACE. Even though there are political issues we all do not agree on, we all are against the building of another casino in Connecticut. Let us continue to exert pressure on our legislative body and other entities so our voices are heard.
Special Prayer Requests:
- Those grieving or suffering after a truck driver ran down pedestrians in New York City, killing 8 and injuring at least a dozen others on October 31; and
- those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a church in Texas where at least 26 were killed and at least 19 more were wounded on Nov. 5.
- The people of Catalonia and Spain where tension is high after separatists leaders from Catalonia declared independence from Spain on October 27;
- the family of Rev. Sandra Lea Fischer, associate pastor at South Congregational Church in Granby, whose father, Milton Fischer, died October 26;
- the people of Somalia after a car bomb in Mogadishu killed over 350 people on October 14;
- The people of California where wildfires have led to at least 40 deaths and burned more than 100,000 acres;
- the millions of people currently worried about losing health insurance as the White House and Congress consider and enact changes to the current health care system;
- those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, which left more than 50 dead and over 400 wounded on Oct. 2
- the people of Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria caused massive devastation on Sept. 20;
- the thousands of child immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as their future becomes unclear after the President's announcement that the program will end in the near future;
- Mark Engstrom, member of the CT Conference Board of Directors, and his wife Nina, who are facing health issues;
- the community of Conway, MA, and the United Congregational Church, UCC, Conway after a tornado touched down on Feb. 25 causing significant structural damage;
- the people of South Sudan where nearly 1 million people are facing famine;
- the members and staff of Thompson Congregational Church after a fire severely damage the building on Dec. 29;
- Michael White, former Operations Manager at Silver Lake Conference Center, who was diagnosed with colon cancer;
- Juliane Silver, the daughter of the Rev. Jim Silver of Middletown, who is in dire need of a liver transplant. We pray that a donor will come forward giving the gift of life and a portion of their liver to Juliane;
- Chacy Eveland, husband of the Rev. Marcia Eveland, pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC of Ansonia, who has been moved to a full-time facility for care of dementia;
- the thousands of migrants worldwide who flee from violence and persecution in search of safety;
- our ecumenical partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery in South Korea;
- the Conference's partners working for peace in Colombia amidst violence;
- the leaders of this nation, that they may meet the challenges of the day with insight, wisdom, and compassion;
- this nation, that it may continue its difficult work to end the practices of racism; and
- those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
First Congregational Church of West Haven, UCC
Kathryn A. King - P
West Suffield Congregational Church
Lisa Eleck - P
Church of the Good Shepherd
Westbrook Congregational Church, UCC
Jan Gregory-Charpentier – SP
Julia Manners – CE
Robert G. Van Gorder - PE
Norfield Congregational UCC
Bernard R. Wilson – SP
Kelly Hough Rogers – AP
Penny Anderson - CE
Michele Mudrick works to bring the concerns raised by historic Connecticut Conference delegates to the Connecticut General Assembly and executive offices, particularly in the legislative process. She also works to organize local church members to ...