We will be having a community service at the Town House this Sunday, September 1st at 10:00 AM, outdoors if the weather is good and indoors if not. Either way the service will be beautiful with many voices contributing to it.
The service is being co-hosted by the Universalist Society of Strafford led by the Rev. Telos Whitfield and the United Church of Strafford. The Rev. Jim Antal will preach on “Defiant Hope – Our Faithful Response to the Climate Crisis.” We will hear some of the voices that participated in the townwide discussion group of Jim’s book (see the link for more about the book in Jim’s bio below), and we will read a poem by Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo.
Annemieke McLane will direct a choir open to anyone in the community who comes to the rehearsal at 8:50 AM Sunday, singing “Rise Up, O Flame” by R. Praetorius, “Dreams That Children Dream” by Schram/Staggers and the beautiful Hebrew song “Hashivenu” (see the YouTube video of a popular version of it below, with the words “Take us back…Renew our days”). Annemieke will play piano pieces by W. Byrd and D. Scarlatti.
Childcare will be available at the Town House during the service. We will move from the Town House across the common to the United Church Parish Hall for refreshments immediately following the service, and those who have read Jim Antal’s book are invited to stay for a discussion with him from 11:45 to 1:30.
Jim Antal is a denominational leader, climate activist, author and public theologian. He serves as Special Advisor on Climate Justice to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. Antal’s book, CLIMATE CHURCH, CLIMATE WORLD, was featured on Earth Day in the Chicago Tribune and in Christian Century Magazine. From 2006-2018, Antal led the 350 UCC churches in Massachusetts as their Conference Minister and President. Antal is a graduate of Princeton University, Andover Newton Theological School, and Yale Divinity School, which recently honored him with the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice. An environmental activist from the first Earth Day in 1970, Antal wrote and championed three groundbreaking national UCC resolutions: in 2013 the UCC became the first national body to vote to divest from fossil fuel companies; in 2017 the national UCC Synod voted to declare a new moral era in opposition to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord; in 2019, the UCC national Synod became the first Christian denomination to endorse the Green New Deal. In 2019 Antal was honored as recipient of the UCC’s social justice prophet award.