December 2018 - January 2019
The call came yesterday afternoon.
A young mother with three children, ages 5, 2, and 1 month, was in need of emergency sheltering for this cold early winter night. She had a job, but was on maternity leave, and for reasons no one would want was homeless. The family was awaiting an eviction letter in order to move forward with transitional assistance and had been staying with friends. That was no longer an option.
My colleague, Julie, in her gentle way, assured the woman that we would do what we could. Then Julie secured two nights of emergency housing with our local hotel that works closely with us in these kinds of situations. The mother and her three so-young children would be ok.
There was room in the inn last night.
"While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." (Luke: 2:6-7)
A Blessed Advent and Christmas to all. Thank you for making room in the inn...
SAVE THE DATE!! for Generations of Hope, our annual benefit for the Cape Cod Council of Churches. Please join us on Saturday, April 6 at the Sea View for Appetizers, Cocktails, Dinner Buffet, Live Music & Silent Auction. Early Bird pricing of $85 per ticket until January 31...$100 thereafter. Hope to see you there!
To grieve, to reflect, and to connect with our many friends and supporters, an Interfaith Service - Standing in Solidarity - was held November 1 at Cape Cod Synagogue, Hyannis, in response to the tragic shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Representatives from many traditions and organizations were present to offer their prayers, songs, and resolve in the face of evil. An overflow crowd of 500 attended.
Rabbi David Freelund, Cape Cod Synagogue
At this gathering, Cape poet Neil Silberblatt shared his poem...
If – in accordance with tradition -
I rent my garments with each
slaughter, each pogrom, each shooting,
for each victim piled high
like those mountains of glasses
which will never again see.
If – like Job – I tore at my clothes
with each loss.
By the end, I would be standing
naked before you.
And then, perhaps, you might finally notice
Published by Tikkun Daily, October 2018 https://www.tikkun.org
that – like you – I am human.
Homeless Persons' Memorial Service - Friday, December 21
The longest night of the year will be a time to remember those among us who died homeless. This moving service will take place at 5 p.m on Friday, Dec. 21st at Federated Church. We will honor the memory of these neighbors with a candle-lighting ceremony. Please join us. Co-sponsored by: Cape Cod Council of Churches, Federated Church, Duffy Health Center, Housing Assistance Corp (HAC), Community of Jesus, Team M25 and the Barnstable Police Department- truly a community gathering. All are welcome.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service of Commemoration - Sunday, January 20
All are invited to gather in celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy on Sunday, January 20, 2019. This special interfaith service will begin at 2:30 pm with a silent march from the Hyannis Town Hall parking lot, located behind 367 Main Street, to the Federated Church at 320 Main Street. Co-sponsored by the Cape Cod Chapter of the NAACP, the Federated Church of Hyannis, Cape Cod Community College, and the Cape Cod Council of Churches. All are welcome.
In what has become an annual tradition, Council Board members and Staff gathered for a Thanksgiving breakfast the third week of November. We gave thanks for our many blessings and for each other, as we work together to aid and assist our Cape and Islands neighbors. It was a reasonably dignified celebration until the party crackers were popped and paper crowns donned!
Hands of Hope Outreach Center and Food Pantry
We are preparing for our Christmas program! New, unwrapped toys and gifts for children aged newborn to 18 years will be distributed by the Council in partnership with the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund and Toys for Tots at a “toy store” set up by Hands of Hope volunteers on Sunday, December 16th from 12:30 to 3:00 at Our Lady of the Annunciation Chapel, 187 Upper County Rd., Dennis Port. Please bring your donations to us at that time or give us a call to make other arrangements at 508-432-1312. The program will run on December 17th and 18th. Parents wishing Christmas help for their children must call 508-432-1312 to make an appointment to shop. Donations of toys, clothing, sporting equipment, warm hats and gloves, gift cards and books or games are greatly appreciated.
We are also continuing to collect Holiday foods up until Christmas break to distribute in our Pantry. Stuffing mix, boxed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, boxed holiday cookies or crackers, and soup are all welcome donations.
Please help make the Season bright for our neediest neighbors.
Director, Hands of Hope Outreach Center
A Baby Center
As we go to press, Santa's helpers are rushing to get ready for A Baby Center's annual Christmas party. An unprecedented 330 babies are expected to attend this year! Thank you to all our volunteers, donors and supporters...we simply could not make this happen without your help.
Thank you for your kindness! Merry Christmas to all!!
Director, A Baby Center
Faith Family Kitchen
Our friend Doug Nystrom recently posted this comment on Facebook:
|Janie’s second day back on the Cape involved 1) pulling up an old carpet at the house we call Wagmore (though pulling up a carpet inspired no tail wagging!) and 2) washing pots and pans at a Cape Cod Council of Churches hot meal program in Hyannis. That was fun and got Janie smiling.
Our friends Judy and Tom McCullough* help organize folks from their local church to serve a hot meal one evening per month to about 100 working poor and homeless individuals and families; a meal is served each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at a Hyannis church with a well equipped kitchen, with about 15 Cape churches participating in the program. On Sunday, Judy gave us her beguiling smile and asked if we’d like to scrub pots and pans; we said yes before realizing it wasn’t a dinner invitation.
Hats off to the Cape Cod Council of Churches and to the many volunteers who staff their programs...including Tom and Judy who keep on working hard to do good!
*Judy and Tom McCullough are both members of the Council's Board of Directors.
Thank you, Doug, for acknowledging all the many helping hands that go into providing these meals at our Faith Family Kitchen!
Covenant to Care
To all of those who attended, donated to or participated in our annual Fostering a Dream Event on Friday, October 12, 2018, at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, I offer my sincere thanks. All profits received go to foster children in care on Cape Cod. Last year 75 children and teens were helped. Requests are received at the MA Department of Children and Families and their contracted agency Mentor of MA. We are able to offer up to $300 a year per child. If you wish to donate, write the check to Fostering a Dream Fund and mail it to the Cape Cod Council of Churches, 320 Main Street, Hyannis, MA 02601.
May God bless you for your kindness and care for this vulnerable population of children.
Director, Covenant to Care for Foster Families
Please join us for this special concert on Sunday, December 9. Music by Stephanie Ann Boyd, Haydn, Corelli and Debussy, and featuring harpist Charles Overton. Thank you to Conductor Matt Scinto and the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra for this benefit for the Council's Fostering a Dream Fund!
Diane Scheffler, a delegate to the Council from the First Parish Brewster Unitarian Universalist, recently shared this reflection with us:
When our church sent out an invitation for volunteers to participate in The YouthStreet Reach breakfast for the homeless, sponsored by the Cape Cod Council of Churches, I put it in the back of my mind, thinking it was something I might like to do. Slowly, it faded from my awareness among all the other “TO DOs” on my list.
The evening before the breakfast, my daughter came home from the Friday evening part of The Youth StreetReach weekend, excited, inspired and uplifted. She was returning the next morning for the breakfast as chaperone for some of the students from the school where she teaches. The young people were to serve and mingle with the guests.
Remembering the invitation to this interfaith gathering of homeless adults and youth/adult volunteers, I decided that I wanted to come too.
Kristen Knowles from our Children and Youth Ministries committee was there delivering the food donated by the First Parish Brewster youth.
I have to say that being a part of this gathering was the greatest holiday gift that I believe I will receive this holiday season! My heart was full with the love in that room. But I was particularly moved by the awareness that came to me when I realized that I, too, was a stranger who was being welcomed into the village of all who were there. There were no “walls”.
A highlight for me was when Al, one of the guests, with a twinkle in his Irish eyes and a countenance of joy and optimism, sang for us as he was having his breakfast. It was as if Bing Crosby himself had dropped in and was basking in the cheer of the occasion. What a delight!
In January, there will be another gathering and breakfast offered by Youth StreetReach. Join in, give yourself a priceless gift, and sign on. As for myself, I can’t wait to return!
We know that this time of year brings an abundance of requests for donations to your mailbox. As you consider how you can best support your neighbors right here on the Cape and Islands, please be aware that the need is not only great, but also growing. In November alone, A Baby Center saw 38 new families - each with multiple children - come through its doors in search of assistance. We are experiencing similar increases across all our ministries.
Please consider a donation to the Council’s on-going ministries.
Your help changes lives as we build strength and alleviate suffering.
Checks made out to the Cape Council of Churches may be mailed to us at 320 Main St, Hyannis MA 02601. Or you may donate online by clicking the button below.
The Cape Cod Council of Churches now participates
in the AmazonSmile Foundation!
When you log in to your Amazon account, select Cape Cod Council of Churches
as your non-profit to support. Amazon will donate 0.5%
of all your eligible purchases to the Council and its ministries!
Go to https://smile.amazon.com/ch/04-2382479
Prayer Wall at Harwich Churches
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall….”
The first line from Robert Frost’s poem has been sounding in my head and my heart over the last month. There are so many walls in our social and political lives today: border walls, walls of color on maps that show the division of our nation and voting areas, walls of racism and sexism and discrimination of many types. It breaks my heart and discourages my soul.
I have also been thinking about what Jesus would do with all these walls that divide us from each other. Jesus came to give us life and hope and light. I believe the current state of affairs breaks God’s heart as we break relationships with other children of God, when we keep ourselves apart from others.
Could the Church be a place where we can lament these walls of division and instead build places of hope and healing?
In the Christian season of Advent, St. Peter’s Lutheran and St. Mary of Magdala Ecumenical Catholic Churches will work together to build a prayer wall – a temporary art installation on the lawn of the church. This wall will be made of stacked cinder blocks, loosely built with spaces left intentionally between bricks. We’ll provide paper and pens and invite people to write down their laments, their hopes and their prayers for peace, tucking them into the gaps of the wall.
This wall will be outside so that anyone from the public can drive up and add their prayers.
But wait, there is more. Rather than just leaving the prayers there we are going to honor those prayers that are put into the wall. Each Saturday afternoon a worship leader from St. Mary of Magdala’s will go out and collect the prayers tucked into the wall. Those prayers will be ritually lifted up in the prayers of intercession on Saturday at St. Mary of Magdala’s worship, then again on Sunday morning during St. Peter’s worship.
After the season of Advent is over, all the prayers will be gathered together and buried out behind the Memorial Garden, so that prayers become a part of the very soil of our congregations.
We hope that this will be a place to mourn, to hope, and to come together as a community.
May this prayer wall be for the mending of our broken hearts, our weary souls, and our divided communities. May this wall become an expression of hope and joy.
To learn more, please contact
Rev. Tiffany Nicely Holleck
St. Peter's Lutheran Church
310 Route 137
Harwich, MA 02645
(508) 432-5172, ext. 13
For Clergy: Big News for Part-time Pastors!
The Massachusetts Council of Churches is thrilled to share the news that we have received a grant to help establish the Lydia Fellows Program for Thriving in Part-Time Ministry. This program is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry, an initiative that supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry. Please click on the above link to learn more!
Bay to Sound Neighbors
As many readers already know, Bay to Sound Neighbors launched on September 17, 2018. Just before Thanksgiving our membership climbed to over 52 members and trained volunteers now number 70! We anticipate 4-6 new members a month as winter approaches. More than 75 services have been provided with transportation being the most requested. Other requests include assembling of file cabinets, storing of summer furniture, removing air conditioners, picking up mail, and cleaning out flower beds to name a few. We look forward to serving additional members of the Yarmouth and Dennis communities in the future. Volunteers are a vital part of B2SNs.
To volunteer, you may live in any town, complete training, and have a CORI check. You may also choose the days, hours, and services which work with your schedule. If you would like to become a member, volunteer, or simply obtain additional information, please contact us at:
We are a 501(c)(3) volunteer-driven, membership-based organization.
Our mission is to help older citizens of Yarmouth and Dennis remain in their homes and neighborhoods for as long as possible.
We look forward to meeting you!
Parish Nurse Ministries of Cape Cod
has a new Facebook page! Click here to visit.
For an update on required training for Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention for nurses, please click here.
About the Council
The Cape Cod Council of Churches serves people of all ages from Cape Cod and the Islands who are facing some of life's most difficult challenges. We have been privileged to serve our neighbors for over 50 years, meeting people at their points of critical need and helping them move forward to greater stability. We are able to impact the lives of over 6,500 residents each year through the Council's six different programs and the work of over 400 volunteers. With the help of churches and our community our mission comes to life, "Serving God by Serving Others," as we offer practical assistance, spiritual support and hope - all without regard for religious affiliation.
A BABY CENTER
Provides critical basic baby needs to income eligible families (WIC) for infants up to age four on Cape Cod and the Islands. The Center serves over 500 babies each month. Families receive diapers, wipes, formula, gently-used clothing and other baby necessities.
COVENANT TO CARE
Matches a Cape & Islands congregation with Foster Care Families, supporting those families and the foster children in their care. This program works in partnership with the MA Dept. of Children & Families.
FAITH FAMILY KITCHEN
Provides hot, nutritious meals to our food insecure neighbors three evenings a week in Hyannis. Volunteer congregations and community groups help to prepare and serve free meals each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
HANDS OF HOPE FOOD PANTRY AND OUTREACH CENTER
Offers emergency assistance to low-income families in the mid-Cape area (Mashpee to Harwich). Assistance includes: food, clothing, small household goods and financial relief to prevent evictions.
Homeless Ministries Services
Offers short term emergency shelter for families and individuals facing homelessness.
Enables teens to interact with our homeless neighbors by serving a meal and hearing firsthand how a life's path can lead to unexpected circumstances.
Sponsors Chaplains at Cape Cod Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital who offer prayers, hope and comfort to patients and families in their time of illness and recovery.