Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Out and About: Chaplain Al and Neighborhood Churches

all kinds of ways to love our neighbors

Ministry Out and About:

Chaplain Al Boyce and Our Neighborhood Churches

As I represent us across the affiliate and visit sites I continue to find it an exhilarating and spiritual experience. I share some highlights of my activities these past weeks.

I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in office and resident blessings at senior residential homes. Often residents and staff find adding a spiritual component to their experience has positively impacted relationships and built trust at the locations. These, along with brief devotionals/communion services, have provided spiritual expression for many. I totally welcome invitations from any site to participate and lead such events for you. Almost weekly, I hear from you indicating the weekly prayers or newsletter articles from the us have been helpful.

On a broader interfaith and public inclusion part of my ministry, it has been a very full few few weeks. I am now fully active in representing VOA as chaplain in an on call capacity should there be loss of life which demands chaplain presence for family and/or first responders. There have been interfaith vigil services on foot bridges in Belfast and Augusta decrying gun violence in the nation. In each instance the faith communities stood in unity and solidarity against violence and unrest in the world.

Beyond attending the regular month clergy gatherings to organize and support social change from an interfaith perspective, VOA has had a presence in creating and leading several interfaith worship events. The most recent was the MLK Day service focusing on immigration. This Martin Luther King Day we explored immigration in our own communities. Panelists spoke about previous immigrants who came to the region and recent immigrants shared their experiences. Audience members had an opportunity to reflect on their own immigration stories and learn more about why people come to the United States and how we can welcome newcomers. We were pleased that some of the local state representatives attended and participated.

From representing our Church Without Walls in larger public forums, to sitting with an ill patient or a stressed staff member, or even celebrate milestones, please know I am present and available. As a team where faith can hold us together in mission, vision and accomplishment, I know it we often need each other. Please know I, and members of the Ministry Team are here to serve.

May your days be blessed and your work satisfying. Reverend Al Boyce

Loving Us Outloud

Members of the Next Level Church are in the Paul Hazelton Houses kitchen getting ready to make a community meal for the residents.

These kind and generous people come here every other month to make a community meal and visit with residents. Last summer, they worked to improve the grounds around the buildings, working in the gardens and doing minor repairs. They've been regularly reaching out to the Paul Hazelton Houses for more than a year.

Since September, 2015, they have partnered with us to provide a bimonthly community meal for all residents. Their message of grace and kindness has encouraged some residents to join Next Level Church in worship.

They bring a dozen or so members of their congregation each time to lend a hand; it's always nice to have children be part of this volunteer crew. They are very helpful and they love visiting.

First Parish Congregational Church of Saco and Next Level Church take turns providing monthly community meals at our Paul Hazelton Houses.

We are so fortunate to have these folks for neighbors.

Missy Ayotte, property manager for the houses, says the community meals are a very popular event. "I like to say they are loving us outloud."