Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* grabbed the reins & brought us the good stuff. Over the summer they visited with Pastor Judy Hanlon at Hadwen Park Congregational Church** (6 Clover St.) to find out about the LGBT Asylum Support Task Force.



Last summer, Rabbit Heart was scheduled to screen its film festival at a venue near Kelley Square. After an unexpected incident prevented the venue from hosting the event, Pastor Judy Hanlon at Hadwen Park Congregational Church stepped in and offered her church’s space for Rabbit Heart’s screening. Rabbit Heart was extremely grateful for Pastor Judy’s kindness, as well as the selflessness and virtue of the congregation. In this edition of 100 Delightful Things, we want to highlight the accomplishments and success of the Hadwen Park Congregational Church.

Hadwen Park Congregational Church  is located at 6 Clover Street in the southwestern corner of Worcester. The beautiful church is set on a small hill and casts a welcoming atmosphere to visitors and passerbys. The community is nonjudgmental and friendly, and always puts a smile on the faces of those who visit. One visit will instantly feel like you belong in the community.

Some of the most significant work that Hadwen Park Congregational Church does is in terms of their LGBTQ+ Asylum Support Task Force. Pastor Judy identifies herself as a follower of Jesus, rather than a Christian, because her progressive views don’t always coincide with the beliefs of the Christian community. Pastor Judy’s work with the Task Force helps those who are shunned from their country due to their sexuality find a safe community and a place of refuge while they transition into their lives in the United States. It is illegal in 80 countries to be gay, and many people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community flee from their countries to find freedom and acceptance. However, because of their sexuality, they are typically not welcome into communities of their cultural backgrounds and are also not permitted to work within the first few months of entering the U.S. The Asylum Task Force encourages these people to join its space in order to find a safe community and express their faith.

Pastor Judy opens her church to anyone in need, regardless of race, sexuality, gender, or disability. The church’s work with the Task Force attracts people from all over the world and creates this accepting and diverse community that is rooted in Worcester. There are tons of people from all over the United States who journey to Worcester in order to join the congregation – it is the best church in terms of accepting and caring for asylum seekers in the country. The church schedules all sorts of events to promote the task force and raise money to care for its asylum seekers.

Pastor Judy is one of the most loving and kind humans I have ever met, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to meet with her and be introduced to some of the asylum seekers who are a part of the Task Force community.

To find out more information on the Task Force and Hadwen Park Congregational Church, visit www.hadwenparkchurch.org and www.lgbtasylum.org/ or call 508-853-8853


*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!
**Yup – these folks totally saved our bacon last year ❤