MCC Blog August 23, 2019

Perhaps you saw the August 9 headline in the Portland Press Herald, “Organizers turn to churches in efforts to undo abortion…laws.”  And perhaps you were as frustrated as we were that it left the impression all churches oppose the new laws expanding coverage for and access to reproductive health care, and all churches oppose the new law that would ban the practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth.  But we know that nothing could be further from the truth.
There are tens of thousands of people of faith here in Maine who support these new laws.  In fact, when these bills were being considered by our democratically elected legislators this year, the Maine Council of Churches, whose seven member denominations represent 417 congregations and 55,000 parishioners across our state, stood up and testified in favor of expanding women’s access to reproductive health care, including abortions, and in favor of banning the discredited and despicable practice of conversion “therapy.”  (Click here to read our testimony: TESTIMONY ON ABORTION BILL, TESTIMONY ON CONVERSION THERAPY BAN BILL.)
We are aware that the Christian Civic League and others are running campaigns at houses of worship and in neighborhoods to gather enough signatures to force a people’s veto referendum vote on these bills to stop them from ever going into effect.  Though some might be inclined to think that it’s OK to sign these petitions “in the interest of democracy” (even if they personally support the original laws), it’s important to note that democracy already was at work in the passage of these new laws—democratically elected legislators voted on and passed the bills.
If you are asked to sign one of these petitions, stop and think first.  Know what you’re signing. Don’t sign a petition without reading it thoroughly and if you’re uncertain about what the petition is saying, ask the person for more details.  Ask which organization they are with.  And remember that the new laws protecting reproductive health care and protecting LGBTQ youth were passed as part of our democratic process and with the support of the Maine Council of Churches.
The Maine legislature took a giant step forward this year to ensure that all Mainers, no matter where you live or what kind of insurance you have, can access high quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care — including abortion—and to ensure that the LGBTQ youth of Maine are protected from torture and damage to their well-being that so-called conversion therapy perpetrates.
Let’s not allow a few extreme groups to take that away.
Maine School of Ministry Fall 2019 Classes Topics in Pastoral Care II – The Rev. Dr. Ron Baard  Saturdays, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Dec. 7, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.   This course will introduce students to the ministry of caring, which is the work of a community of faith. Topics for this semester will include family systems and pastoral care, confidentiality, trauma informed care, and crisis counseling. The Case Study method will be used to increase student skills in ministry practice and theological reflection.
Introduction to Christian Ethics – The Rev. Dr. Marvin M. Ellison  Saturdays,  Sept. 21, Oct. 19, Nov. 16, Dec. 14 , 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.   This course aims to help students strengthen their skills and gain greater confidence for engaging in ethical inquiry within the context of Christian ministry.  By examining several issues that faith leaders confront in congregational and community life (domestic violence, reproductive justice, and sexual ethics), we’ll practice “lifting our voices” and “upping our game” as public theologians and advocates for compassion and justice.  
Classes are held at the Maine Conference UCC Office, 337 State Street, Suite #3, Augusta  FMI or to register visit or call (207) 622-3100.