How the Refugee Immigration Ministry helps asylum seekers: An interview with Reverend Isaac Seelam

By Jennifer McClain Reports about the forced separation of immigrant parents and children have been dominating the news in recent months. However, activists, like the Reverend Isaac Seelam,  have been advocates for immigrants and asylum seekers for many years. Seelam is the Community Outreach Advocate for Refugee Immigration Ministry in Malden as well as the Congregational Coordinator between the Refugee Ministry and the Baptist Churches of Massachusetts. He has  a master’s degrees in both theology and sacred theology. He has been with the Refugee Immigration Ministry since 2012. The organization has been active in Malden since 1986. The office in Malden serves asylum seekers from the Middlesex detention centers. I sat down for an interview with Rev. Seelam after attending a presentation by the Refugee Immigration Ministry at First Parish as part of the church’s Sunday Service. Q: How did Refugee Immigration Ministry get its start? A: Spiritual caregiving was the beginning origins and still the emphasis of the Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM) but in this work RIM realized that detainees seeking asylum could not be released […]


A “Chance Encounter” in the MATV Gallery

The new exhibit at the MATV Gallery at Malden’s Media Center will mark a first-time meeting of local artists James Blandini and Kamil Abdushukur. The two men hail from different cultures and parts of the world and their art shares little by way of style and content. But an unexpected opening at the MATV Gallery and a desire from both to exhibit their work formed the basis for this exhibit. Despite this random pairing, the exhibit took shape in a way that complimented and supported their creative styles, while also creating something new as a unified whole. According to artist James Blandini, a Boston area native and second generation Italian American, his paintings and drawings are an exploration of the human condition and the search for spirituality through realistic portrayal. He is drawn to the rich visual imagery found in the New Testament, the Hebrew Bible, mythology, other spiritual traditions and works of literature. Often using his own image as the subject, Blandini explores how these paths connect with him both visually and emotionally. He […]


Scoping out Malden’s Mystery Telescope

By Jennifer McClain A Malden Reads initiative that sent readers into orbit with The Martian serendipitously uncovered an astronomical mystery here on Earth. Through hosting stargazing events on Waitt’s Mount, organizers discovered that there was an antique telescope at Malden High School. Not only was the majestic antique riveting to the eye and grand in scale but, they wondered, could it also provide an excellent view of the night sky? Where did it come from? And what should be done with it? The mystery began three years ago when Malden Reads began stargazing on Waitt’s Mountain, in connection with The Martian, the novel by Andy Weir. Jodie Zalk, Malden Reads Co-Facilitator, learned that there was a telescope just gathering dust at MHS, and that this was a “telescope of historical significance.” Zalk was captivated. She attempted to research the telescope through the Blue and Gold (Malden High School’s official newspaper) and tried to follow up with local experts. She was able to determine that the instrument was made by Alvan Clark and Sons, famed optics makers of the 19th […]