A special blessing took place at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough, as a representative package of hand knitted hats and scarves, as well as sweatshirts, socks and chocolate bars was placed on the altar, earmarked for Christmastime delivery to Seafarers International House in New York City.
This is the fourth year the church’s knitting group, the Knit-Wits, made sure Seafarers would be warm and not forgotten at Christmas. In the first year of participation, Saint Stephen sent five kits; the second year they doubled their efforts and sent ten; the third year they put together 15 kits and this year collected and packaged 20 kits that will be Christmas gifts.
Seafarers are often isolated and lonely, sometimes without the means to contact family frequently, or purchase needed items while in port. Typical contracts put most at sea for 10 months a year, and they remain a largely forgotten population at the holidays.
Seven Lutheran chaplains support the Seafarers Port Mission. When requested, they will board merchant marine ships to provide pastoral care and counseling. During the holidays, chaplains distribute the packages to ships that port in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia and southern New England that will be out at sea for Christmas.
The 20 satchels arrived intact in early December, according to Ruth Setaro, one of the chaplains who received the donations. “I have a wonderful ship here with a crew of 20 Filipino seafarers,” she wrote. “When the ship leaves New Haven they will be heading with a load of our scrap metal to Turkey, a 14-day trip across the Atlantic. They were so excited to hear that I had Christmas presents for them.” She expressed thanks to the St. Stephen congregation and noted, “You can’t imagine what joy it will bring to these seafarers who will be far away from home and family this Christmas.”
Seafarers International House is an ecumenical mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to seafarers and sojourners, as well as people who are distressed, disadvantaged, and displaced. For more information, check out https:/www.sihnyc.org.
For more information about the church, visit www.saintstephenlutheran.com or the church’s Facebook page. Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org) . The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Stow, and Bolton.
There is a new organization in town, and you can be part of it. The Micah Center for Social Justice Learning and Practice is a new initiative to connect people interested in making the Marlborough-Hudson community more just and equitable. The goal is to lift up the good work being done in the area and examine the ideas that drive that good work.
The Micah Center was begun as an initiative of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, but has attracted community members as individuals and from other organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metrowest, and the Marlborough Public Library.
It was clear through a church survey as well as the activity of St. Stephen Lutheran Church’s Forward Leadership team that “that our church was in a position to launch a new project that would help communicate our values to the community,” said St. Stephen Pastor Joseph Graumann “In a brainstorming session, we settled on the ‘Micah Center,’ named after the prophet who wrote, ‘and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ This was our previous church mission statement, and we felt it would live on specifically in a focused Center for Social Justice Learning and Practice.”
First Event January 15
At the heart of the Micah Center’s work will be a quarterly forum that features a speaker, a Q&A, and time for conversation. In 2020, the center plans to focus on four issues: voting and access to the ballot, immigration, human trafficking and housing insecurity. The first event, Voting 101, will take place on Wednesday, January 15 at 7 pm at the church at 537 Bolton St, Marlborough. Guest speaker will be Marlborough City Clerk Steven W. Kerrigan, who will talk about the registration process, voting procedures, and answer questions.
Deb Roberts of Marlborough chairs the committee, which includes Sandra Austin, Mary Patricia Bailey, Margaret Cardello, Chris Duane, Samantha Gogan, Peg Harbert, Pam Narahara, Marilyn Perry, Melanie Whapham, and Pastor Graumann. Additional members are very welcome. If you would like to become involved, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org