HARTFORD (09/19/2012) -- What does it mean to be Bold? What does it mean to be Inspired? What does it mean to have a Goal?
In this issue of ConnTact, Connecticut Conference churches and people take on some BIGs (Bold, Inspirational Goals): traveling to a strange country, gathering with 2,500 young people, obtaining a new heart, hanging a rainbow banner. In so doing, they do what the United Church of Christ as a whole is taking one: looking ahead to a new day, and committing to the work needed to see that it gets done.
Leaving a legacy. Inspiring young people. Teaching new ways of being with the stranger. Sending coffee around the world.
Christians think BIG. Pray BIG. And work BIG.
Fall Meeting of the Connecticut Conference
GO BIG! Embrace God's Plan
Featuring keynoter the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive for Local Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ.
For more information visit:
Authorized Ministers' Luncheon
Crowne Plaze Cromwell
Presenter: the Rev. Christopher L. Webber
Defining the Dream: James Pennington and the Beginning of the Struggle for Racial Equality in America
ConnTact encourages reprints to any non-copyrighted material or web links to stories on CTUCC.org. In the case of reprints, please credit ConnTact and send a copy to the editor. In the case of links, please credit CTUCC.org, and we would welcome an email to let us know.
Eric S. Anderson|
Minister of Communications and Technology
MIDDLETOWN -- The 145th Annual Meeting of the Connecticut Conference will convene this October 20th in Middletown with a message to all Conference churches: Go Big!, Embrace God's Plan. 09/19/2012
HARTFORD -- It has been my experience that congregations that dream big dreams about their ministries achieve exciting results. Those churches that hunker down, in the face of shrinking numbers or major crises, struggle for years. 09/19/2012
HARTFORD -- The UCC: a well-known, well-respected voice. The UCC: every congregation a welcoming, accessible community. The UCC: every member equipped to grow in faith and mission. The UCC: wealthy in prepared, excellent leaders. Yes, I'd call these Bold, Inspirational Goals for this Church I love. 09/19/2012
SHARON -- Sarah turned five our first year at the Lake. Some days we needed to carry this not-so-little one, who had just begun to walk at age three, back up the hill. And the noise in the Social Hall frightened her so much that she often needed to leave during the singing after meals. Yet from the first she loved Silver Lake and felt very safe and cared for at this place! 09/19/2012
PORTLAND -- Just 6 months after heart transplant surgery, John Rankl learned of a forthcoming sermon at the First Congregational Church UCC of Portland entitled "Prayer - The World's Greatest Wireless Connection." It was Laity Sunday, and church member Mitch Kogut was preaching the sermon. During the usual prayers and concerns, John stood and offered his joy at being a transplant survivor. While preaching his sermon, Kogut turned to John and said he needed to speak directly to him. 09/19/2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA -- For four days their feet (and a few wheels) trod and re-trod the three quarters of a mile between the dorms and the event spaces through the high heat of an Indiana summer. But it was the energy and joy on 2,500 faces that most marked Purdue University's campus during the UCC's National Youth Event July 10-13, winning praises from presenters, denominational leaders, campus staff, chaperones, and the youth themselves. 74 came from Connecticut, many joining the 200-strong New England contingent aboard four buses. Half of these stopped along the way to do food insecurity service projects in Cleveland, Ohio, and visit the national offices of the UCC. 09/19/2012
HARTFORD -- 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. 09/19/2012
DURHAM -- On July 2nd, 2012, members of the United Churches of Durham's Annual Summer Mission Trip to Eastern Kentucky were treated to a special BBQ dinner at the Magoffin County Health Department in Salyersville, Kentucky, to mark the tenth anniversary of their mission work with LINKS (the Low Income Housing Coalition of East Kentucky). Public officials at the gathering presented the group with formal commendations for their decade of service to the area and its residents, including commissioning five leaders as Kentucky Colonels. 09/19/2012
STAMFORD -- First Congregational Church (UCC) of Stamford, Open and Affirming since 2007, began to display a giant rainbow banner on their stone edifice during Lent of 2012 as an emblem of exquisite hospitality and as a symbol of God's universal love revealed in Genesis 9:13. Since hanging the rainbow banner, First Church has started a non-sectarian youth group called The Rainbow Cafe, which meets weekly for the community's LGBTQ youth and their allies. The Cafe, led by two church members and one non-church member, is finding traction among young people in the area so that every gathering sees returning faces as well as new faces joining. 09/19/2012
HARTFORD -- On July 26th the United Black Christians, with the support of the Connecticut Conference and Hartford Seminary, welcomed Jan Resseger, UCC Minister for Public Education and Witness, and the Rev. Sala Nolan, UCC Minister for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, to present an informational panel on the School to Prison Pipeline. The two explained the heartbreaking trend of "funneling troublesome students from the classroom to the juvenile detention center" by examining the shortcomings in federal support for public education and the extremely high increase in incarceration of youth. 09/19/2012
HARTFORD -- After providing greatly appreciated leadership for the Connecticut Conference delegation during the July National Youth Event, intern Mia Bryant embarked a longer journey, visiting China and Japan with Howard University classmates. 09/19/2012
SHARON -- At the beginning of summer, we are certain we cannot possibly get through 7 more weeks of this grueling pace. Yet and still, with God's help, your prayers and our prayers, we can and do. 09/19/2012
GREENWICH -- OK, I admit it: I'm willing to allow that every miracle mentioned in the Bible, including Jesus' bodily resurrection, may have actually happened. Note that "willing to allow" is not the same as "convicted." I just figure that since I wasn't there, it is presumptuous to state either way what may or may not have occurred. My faith in the God made known to us in Jesus Christ is no less strong whether these miracles happened or not. 09/19/2012
GRANBY -- South Congregational Church of Granby UCC launched a new curriculum unit this May for the Sunday school program, called Free To Be Me, Free To Be You. Its overall theme is to help children be secure in who they are and appreciate difference in others. Though the subjects are common enough -- self esteem, bullying, diversity -- the approach is a bold step toward beginning a discussion often not taken with youth. 09/19/2012
WALLINGFORD -- Although the United States plans to withdraw a good number of combat troops from Afghanistan over the next three years, a substantial number of soldiers, sailors, air crew, and Marines will remain for some time. About 85,000 US service personnel are now deployed in Afghanistan, says Tom Jastermsky, coordinator of the Holy Joe's Coffee Project for the First Congregational Church UCC of Wallingford. His goal is to aid military chaplains as they provide spiritual care and comfort to those in harm's way -- and increasingly, to help returning veterans adjust to civilian life. 09/19/2012
“CTUCC ConferenceCast,” a regular audio podcast for Connecticut Conference members and churches, has now run to forty-six episodes, and has featured the weekly spiritual reflections of Conference staff and also recordings of live presentations from such distinguished speakers as Andrew Young and Governor Dannel P. Malloy. It has brought live sounds from Hartford, Silver Lake, local church services, and General Synod in Tampa, Florida. It has even been recorded aboard a moving train!
Each ConferenceCast begins with a spiritual reflection and prayer written by one of the Conference staff. The meditation may be read by the author, or by the podcast host, the Rev. Eric Anderson. The rest of each program, which run eight to ten minutes, consists of brief news stories and highlights of upcoming events.