Interior of the Shelton Congregational Church on its last Sunday.
Photo by Drew Page
by Eric Anderson
HARTFORD (08/03/2012) -- The Shelton Congregational Church UCC held its last worship service on April 29th this year. After lengthy and faithful engagement in the Crossroads Project, which helps churches discern their resources and options, the congregation voted to sell its Coram Avenue building and then disband. Their 120 years of ministry will live on through significant gifts to the work of the Connecticut Conference.
The Conference received a $20,000 grant from the Shelton church, which Interim Conference Minister the Rev. Charles L. Wildman has directed to the Capital Fund for United Church Center. These resources fund upgrades and improvements to the Conference's headquarters and meeting spaces in Hartford. Renovations in recent years have included complete replacement of the building's many windows, reducing energy waste during the cooling and heating seasons.
A further $6,000 gift was presented to Silver Lake Conference Center, to be used for purposes determined by Silver Lake leadership. Both Silver Lake and Conference staff expressed profound gratitude for the generous contributions.
In his final sermon, Shelton's pastor the Rev. Shepard Parsons said theirs is "the story of the courage of a congregation to seel the building and disband in orer to follow what is God's will."
"Every Sunday for 120 years we've walked out those doors into a future," he declared. "Today is no different."
Some of that future will be lived out in rooms committed to promoting the welfare of other congregations -- the Ruth Dudley Resource Center, the Archives, the offices of Conference staff -- and some will be lived out in the open air of what UCC church members in Connecticut call "God's Back Yard." Though times and means and gatherings change, the work of ministry continues.
The Rev. Eric S. Anderson is Minister of Communications and Technology for the Connecticut Conference UCC.