CCH Congregator Weekly February 3, 2017

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Religious Groups United in Opposition to Refugee Ban

Earlier this week I signed the Interfaith Immigrations Coalition's letter supporting refugee resettlement. I was not alone. Over 3500 religious leaders have signed this letter protesting President Trump's recent ban on refugee resettlement. His executive order that suspends travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, halts resettlement of refugees from Syria and gives preference to Christian immigrants has been roundly condemned by religious organizations from all sides of the political spectrum. The protests have come from almost all mainline Protestant groups and the Catholic church, as well as the National Association of Evangelicals and World Relief. This level of agreement among such disparate religious group is rare.

The wide condemnation of the president's executive action is because it is not just a change in policy on behalf of the government, but it is a radical departure from one of the core values of our religion and our country's heritage. The Christian concern for refugees is based in the many laws in the Hebrew scriptures that require them to welcome the alien. There are more than 90 Biblical passages that speak of welcoming the sojourner, the foreigner and the alien. This teaching as been ingrained in the mission work of almost all Christian organizations.

The religious call to welcome the stranger is echoed by the fundamental American message of hope to the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Whether our forebears were English, French, Russian, Armenian, or from the Middle East it is very likely they came to this country because it was an escape from oppressive conditions at home.

Throughout U.S. history the call to welcome refugees has had to contend with a strong undercurrent that opposed immigrants–whether they be Germans, Italians, Chinese or other countries there is always part of the American society that wanted to keep the other away. In almost all cases the American welcome has prevailed over the calls to close the doors. This hospitality has led to the rich diversity that makes us a stronger nation.

 
it is understandable that security concerns should be considered in immigration. In fact we already have such strict immigrations screening that there have not been any terrorists attacks by foreign born immigrants since 9/11. To ban refugees from war-torn Syria is to stop us from helping families who have lost everything, children without parents, and people who can't go back home because they opposed the terrorists that we oppose. This is contrary to the fundamental principles of our faith and country.

In addition to signing the coalition's statement I am convening a meeting of Huntington religious leaders, including Christians, Jews and Muslims to discuss a coordinated response to support refugees. I will also be preaching on the long history of Christian support for refugees on Sunday.

See you in church,
Pastor Mark

Souper Bowl Sunday

We have a new way for you to celebrate the Super Bowl while helping others. Join us for Souper Bowl Sunday. This Sunday, February 5, the children's and youth ministry will be collecting soup for the Northport Food Pantry. Please bring cans or boxes of soup to give to our children as you enter worship. No matter what the outcome of the game this is sure to be a championship event!

Please keep former Noah's Ark nursery school teacher Staci Farrell in your prayers. Miss Staci has recently entered hospice care.

Pastor Mark has created a GoFundMe site to help with the medical expenses of our nursery school teacher, Ms. Staci. Staci has been a dedicated member of our staff and is no longer able to work as she battles Pancreatic Cancer. The medical expenses are very difficult for her family. Please help her and her family by donating at GoFundMe.

Worship Calendar

February 5: Communion Sunday
     Scripture: Luke 7:1-15

February 12: Epiphany 6
     Scripture: Luke 7:18-35

Pastor's Book Group

The February selection for the Pastor's Book Group is "Home," by Marilynne Robinson. When the discussion group began seven years ago the first book was Robinson's "Gilead." With "Home" she writes about some of the same characters in roughly the same time period. Each book stands alone, but together they paint a deep and poignant picture of faith, family and life in a small town. The group will meet on Tuesday, February 28, at 7:30 PM.

From the publisher:

Hailed as "incandescent," "magnificent," and "a literary miracle" (Entertainment Weekly), hundreds of thousands of readers were enthralled by Marilynne Robinson's Gilead. Now Robinson returns with a brilliantly imagined retelling of the prodigal son parable, set at the same moment and in the same Iowa town as Gilead. The Reverend Boughton's hell-raising son, Jack, has come home after twenty years away. Artful and devious in his youth, now an alcoholic carrying two decades worth of secrets, he is perpetually at odds with his traditionalist father, though he remains his most beloved child. As Jack tries to make peace with his father, he begins to forge an intense bond with his sister Glory, herself returning home with a broken heart and turbulent past. Home is a luminous and healing book about families, family secrets, and faith from one of America's most beloved and acclaimed authors.

Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative

The Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative provides housing for homeless people in Huntington in religious organizations throughout the winter. The need for this was highlighted recently when a homeless man died of hypothermia in Huntington Station. We will provide volunteers to run the program on three Saturday nights in 2017: January 21, February 25 and March 11. Please sign up on the signs at the church.

Donations needed for the 2016 HIHI program:
• Items for hygiene kits:
            o Disposable razors
            o Small bars of soap
            o Toothbrushes
            o Travel-sized toothpaste
            o Travel-sized shampoo
            o Combs
• New men’s socks and underwear (small/medium)
• New hats/gloves
• New or gently-used T-shirts
• New or gently-used bath towels
• Gently used men’s coats, boots and sweatshirts

There will be a box in church for donations.

Volunteers Needed

Northport Food Pantry
We collect food for the Northport Food pantry each week at our church. Please place donations in the box by the church office.

Peace and Plenty Food Outreach:  You are invited to help make sandwiches and prepare snacks for children in Huntington. Peace and Plenty will meets on Mondays at 6:30 PM. They are also in need of donations of lunch meats and cheeses, fruit and healthy snacks.

Cooks Needed for the Peace & Plenty program
We're looking for a few volunteers who can help us send the Tri CYA trays of
cooked food such as baked ziti, chicken and rice, pasta with meatballs or meat sauce, etc. Most children at the Tri CYA receive free breakfast and lunch at school during the school year and rely on the Tri CYA  for at least one nutritious meal. We try to support
that effort with some substantial dishes, beyond sandwiches.  Some of the food may also be sent to individuals unable to get out to food pantries and living with food
shortages.
If you would like to help  please contact Anne: acanadeo@aol.com.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, February 5

Souper Bowl Sunday

Worship Service with Communion at 10:00 AM

Church School at 10:00 AM

Fellowship Hour at 11:00 AM: Katzmaier Family

Monday, February 6

Peace & Plenty Lunch Program at 6:30 PM

Trustees Meeting at 7:30 PM

Tuesday, February 7

Council Meeting at 7:30 PM

Wednesday, February 8

Membership Committee at 7:30 PM

Thursday, February 9

Bell Choir at 6:30 PM

Choir Rehearsal at 7:30 PM

Sunday, February 12

Worship Service at 10:00 AM

Church School at 10:00 AM

Fellowship Hour at 11:00 AM: The DeOrsays

Monday, February 13

Peace & Plenty Lunch Program at 6:30 PM

Diaconate Meeting at 7:30 PM

Wednesday, February 15

Outreach Meeting at 7:30 PM

Thursday, February 16

Bell Choir at 6:30 PM

Choir Rehearsal at 7:30 PM

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The Congregational Church of Huntington

30 Washington Drive

Centerport, NY 11721

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