Keep Fighting


The Spirit Calendar

A Weekly Devotional from the Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ


July 03, 2017


This week's author is Michele Mudrick, Legislative Advocate for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
 

Scripture:  Philippians 3:12-14  (NRSV)

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Reflection:

CTUCC has built and lead the Coalition Against Casino Expansion in Connecticut the past year and a half.  Coalition members thus far include the Connecticut Catholic Conference, the Episcopal Church of Connecticut, New England Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Farmington Valley American Muslim Center, Connecticut League of Women Voters, Family Institute of America, Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, Bridgeport Islamic Community, among others. We are united in opposition to expanded gambling in Connecticut. 
 
Despite our efforts to date the Connecticut legislature recently passed a bill to allow a commercial casino to be built off reservation land in East Windsor, Connecticut.
 
Our efforts are continuing as we believe that there will be future opportunities to oppose this potential new casino and to educate the public about the social and economic costs to casinos.  These social and economic costs were mostly ignored by the Legislature.   Indeed, while it appears plain to us that the majority of Connecticut residents oppose expanded casino gambling, the voices of casino opponents were largely silenced throughout this process. Here are some examples:
 
  1. The Public Safety Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly sponsored an informational forum about casinos, and all the usual players were invited to give their pitch. Before the agenda was put together, several Coalition members asked legislators of the Public Safety Committee to speak at the informational forum about casinos. Coalition members were not allowed to speak.
  2. Casino Coalition members asked if Former Congressman Bob Steele could make a presentation at the Senior Center  in East Windsor to talk about the social and economic costs to casinos. The first selectman (who is in favor of the casino) in East Windsor refused.
  3. Leaders in East Windsor went door to door and had sign ups in local churches to obtain 336 signatures on a petition seeking a referendum in East Windsor. The request for a referendum was subsequently denied by Town officials based on an erroneous interpretation of the law and the town charter.
  4. Most of the media coverage on this issue focused on the economic dispute between the tribes and MGM, rather than the economic and social costs of expanded gambling.
 
We are proud of the work of our Casino Coalition to date and the fact that it appears that we were the only organized group to speak out against casino expansion on moral and social grounds.  We   are the voices of the public, representing over 1 million people in the state of Connecticut, and we should not be silenced.

Prayer:

Dear God, thank you for giving us our voice and the courage to make it heard to fight injustices. Please bless all those that make their voice be heard despite being knocked down time and time again. Give courage to those that may be apprehensive to let their voice be heard because we need all of us in the fight for justice.
 
Special Prayer Requests:
  • Those suffering after a night club shooting in Arkansas which left 17 wounded on July 1;
  • those suffering or grieving after a shooting at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York on June 30; 
  • those grieving or suffering in Germany after a bus accident which killed 17 and injured 30 others on July 3; and
  • the delegates of General Synod 2017 as they consider the future of the UCC.
 
Continuing Requests:
 
  • Those grieving or suffering in China where more than 90 are still missing after a landslide buried the village of Xinmo on June 24;
  • those grieving or suffering in Pakistan after a oil tanker crashed and ignited spilled fuel, killing more than 150 and severely burning more than 50 others on June 25;
  • the families and friends of the 7 crew members of the USS Fitzgerald killed June 17th in a collision with a Japanese-owned cargo ship;
  • those grieving or suffering in Portugal where wild-fires beginning June 17th have killed more than 60 and injured more than 100 others;
  • those suffering after a shooting in Alexandria, Virginia on June 14 where members of the Republican party were practicing for a charity baseball game;
  • those grieving or suffering in London after a high-rise blaze on June 14 left almost 80 dead or missing, and after an a track on a crowd leaving evening prayers at a mosque on June 18;
  • the friends and family of Rev. Don Steinle, former director of the Christian Activities Council, who died June 13;
  • the families and friends of Sgt. Eric M. Hock, Sgt. William M. Bays, and Cpl. Dillon C. Baldridge who were killed on June 10th in a fire fight in Afghanistan;
  • those grieving in Orlando after a shooting that left 5 dead, on June 5;
  • those grieving or suffering in London after an attack on London Bridge left 7 dead and more than 40 injured on June 3;
  • the friends and families of Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namakai-Meche, who died in their efforts to stand against hatred by trying to help two Muslim women who were being verbally assaulted on a train in Portland, OR, on May 28th;
  • those grieving in Mississippi after a shooting that left 8 dead, including a deputy sheriff, on May 27;
  • those grieving in Egypt after an attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians left 26 dead on May 26;
  • Audrey Touloukian, granddaughter of Rev. Janice Touloukian, who is recovering after being hit by a car while biking on April 30;
  • Rev. Sara Smith, Senior Pastor of United Congregational Church of Bridgeport, who is recovering from an injury;
  • 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;
  • John Polglase, husband of the Rev. Betsey Polglase, Pastor of the Columbia Congregational Church UCC, who has chronic pulmonary disease;
  • 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.
 
To be added to the prayer list, please send an email to Drew Page at: drewp@ctucc.org.

Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:

New Haven
Pilgrim Congregational UCC

 
New Haven
Shalom United Church of Christ

Alice D. Perry - P
 
New Haven
United Church On the Green UCC

Bonnie Scott - DT
Louise B. Higginbotham - PE
 
New London
First Congregational Church in New

Catherine A. Zall - P
 
New Milford
First Congregational, UCC

Michael J. Moran - P
Becky Passero - CE
Sarah Fay - MM
A. Russell Ayre - PE
 

The Spirit Calendar: July 03, 2017 , by Michele Mudrick.