Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Voices of Faith Call Upon NH Lawmakers to Pass a Humane Budget

New Hampshire Voices of Faith

MARCH 31, 2015

CONTACT:  Arnie Alpert (603-224-2407) or Rev. Gail Kinney (603-381-7324)

Prayer Breakfast and Vigil April 1
Religious leaders from multiple faith traditions will conduct a prayer breakfast and prayer vigil on Wednesday, April 1, to express their shared belief that state budgets must promote the well-being and fair treatment of all people, especially those who are the most vulnerable and whose dignity is threatened by irresponsible public policy choices.
The breakfast and prayer service at St. Paul’s Church in Concord will take place at 8 AM, prior to the beginning of debate over the budget in the NH House of Representatives.
Following the breakfast, at about 9 AM, participants will leave St. Paul’s Church, cross Park Street to the State House, and assemble along the second floor hallways outside the chamber where the House of Representatives will consider the budget.
“A budget is a statement of our priorities as a community and in that sense it is an expression of our values,” explained the Rev. Jonathan Hopkins, President of the NH Council of Churches and pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church.  “Our faith leads us to pay attention to the common good, not just to the interests of individuals. Our faith calls for a budget that is fair and just,”
Participants in the prayer breakfast will include:
·         Most Rev. Peter Libasci, Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester
·         Right Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop, Episcopal Church of New Hampshire
·         Rev. Jonathan Hopkins, President, NH Council of Churches
·         Rev. Gary Schulte, Conference Minister, United Church of Christ
·         Rev. Tim Roser, Associate to the Bishop, New England Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
·         Rev. Michael Leuchtenberger, President, Northern New England Chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association
·         Rabbi Robin Nafshi, Temple Beth Jacob, Concord
·         Lama Samten, Dharma Fellowship of New Hampshire
Other participants will include:
·         Clare Chapman, Executive Director, NH Council of Churches
·         Rev. Gail Kinney, Pastor, South Danbury United Church of Christ
·         Rev. John Gregory-Davis, Co-Pastor, Meriden Congregational Church
·         Rev. Jason Wells, Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, East Concord
·         Rev. Eric Jackson, Pastor, Smith Memorial Congregational Church, Hillsboro
·         Rev. Dr. Mary Westfall, Senior Pastor, Community Church, Durham
·         Rev. Peter Hey, Pastor, Wesley United Methodist Church, Concord
·         Mark Barker, Concord Quaker Meeting
·         Muslim representatives (invited), and many others.
The prayer breakfast and vigil represent a continuation of acts of witness conducted in recent weeks by NH Voices of Faith, an ad hoc movement of people from several faith traditions who care about social and economic justice. 
“We feel a deep obligations to come together in a sense of beloved community to help provide for the basic needs of our most vulnerable neighbors, to support and value the people who perform public service on our behalf, and to care for the natural environment,” said Rev. Gail Kinney, Pastor of the Danbury United Church of Christ and a leader of NH Voices of Faith.  “Through our actions we bear faithful witness to the need for policies that promote the well-being and fair treatment of all people, especially those among us who are most in need.”

St. Paul’s Church is located at 21 Centre Street, Concord NH 03301.  It is directly across Park Street from the front steps of the State House.  Parking is limited.   
The faith leaders and others will be available for media interviews at 9 am.  At 9:15 am, participants will walk across the street and begin a prayer vigil at the doors of Representatives Hall, holding signs which say “A Budget is a Moral Document.”   

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