Costumed worshipers from Kensington
Photos by Drew Page
by Drew Page
FARMINGTON (10/29/2012) -- First Church of Christ UCC in Farmington celebrated its 380th anniversary on October 21 with a visit from the past. Twenty members of the Kensington Congregational Church UCC, each dressed in costumes from the past two centuries, came to celebrate with Farmington and thank the church for "laying the foundations of faith" for those who left Farmington in 1705.
First Church was established in 1652. Farmington's new senior pastor, the Rev. Steven Savides, said in his sermon on Sunday that the church has seeded 22 new churches over nearly four centuries of worship, churches he referred to as "daughters and granddaughters." Kensington Congregational, founded in 1712, is celebrating 300 years of worship this year. Some of the members who attended the Farmington Founders Day service dressed in period costumes to honor those who had the courage to embark on a new journey under the leadership of Rev. William Burnham and establish the "Great Swamp Church," now Kensington Congregational.
When Kensington’s Christian Education Director Gwen McCann addressed the children of First Church, she spoke of the clothing she and others wore and how much has changed over the centuries. She displayed a basket and explained that parishioners in the past would have packed a lunch because worship was an all day affair. From the basket, McCann produced what she called a "gift," her Bible.
"Unlike these church clothes," said McCann, "the Bible never changes."
McCann read the story of James and John seeking a seat by Jesus' side (Mark 10:35-45).
|Rev. Steven Savides|
In his sermon, Savides applauded the courage of both the Kensington founders and those ancestors of the Farmington church who were brave enough to leave all behind for a new promise. He pointed to their sacrifices and described the sacrifices Jesus made for us. He too referred to the gospel story of James' and John's request, and explained how Jesus answered them by describing his own sacrifices. Savides then asked the congregation if they were ready to move into the future, to choose sacrifice and service to all.
As a sign of their appreciation, the Kensington visitors presented Farmington with an etched glass sun-catcher displaying the Kensington church. The inscription on the wooden case reads:
"Honor and Gratitude to our mother church for fostering the roots of faith that have sustained us for 300 years."
Drew Page is Media Assistant for the Connecticut Conference UCC.