New Journeys


The Spirit Calendar

A Weekly Devotional from the Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ


March 06, 2017


This week's author is Alan Munshower, Summer Staff Director for Silver Lake Conference Center.
 

Scripture: Judges 18:6 (NRSV)

The priest replied, ‘Go in peace. The mission you are on is under the eye of the Lord.’

Reflection:            

As the Summer Staff Director at Silver Lake Conference Center, I am immersed in journeys of all sorts: physical and spiritual, old and new, challenging and restful, uplifting and rejuvenating. For summer conferees, a shared journey is that of driving through the state, watching the changing scenery, eagerly anticipating the turn onto Low Road ("the road you came in on"). For those coming for the first time, often the journey can weigh with the unexpected and unfamiliar. This may be the case for two of our newest summer staff members, who will be travelling from England to provide opportunities for the summer campers to have life-changing encounters with God.
 
In a partnership with the Camp America organization, I was afforded the opportunity to travel to London last month on a camp staff recruiting trip. This was my first journey to the UK, and my first time at a recruiting event. The camp employment fair hosted 100 camps and over 1000 candidates from the UK and other parts of Europe. The room at Queen Elizabeth II Centre was electric with all the nerves and uncertainty of a job fair, coupled with the anticipation and excitement of the prospect of working in the US for a summer. Some candidates arrived having researched specific camps and having watched the camp’s promotional videos on YouTube. Others arrived to the fair purely on a friend’s recommendation, considering only what part of the country they wanted to see after the summer was over. Some candidates entered the hall making a beeline to their targeted camp. Others browsed with an overwhelmed look on their faces, perhaps hoping for an invitation to a camp’s table or for someone to introduce himself or herself. It become imperative for me, while in the midst of my own new journey, to recognize the journeys of these young adults, and to extend a welcoming hand in the moment.
 
This summer, our two newest staff members will arrive to camp via car, plane, and train, making a roughly 12-hour trip.  They will encounter an unfamiliar culture, and in that way, recharge our commitment to radical hospitality, instilling in us, a responsibility to welcome those on new and unfamiliar journeys. 

Prayer:

Lord, help guide me on my next journey.  Help me find the comfort and strength to welcome those on journeys new and unexpected.

Special Prayer Requests:

New Requests:
  • All those the transgender community after news that the US Supreme Court chose not to hear a case involving bathroom rights of transgendered youth in school; and
  • prayers of strength to all who seek change both within themselves and in the world around them this season of Lent.
Continuing Requests:
  • The family and friends of Cheryl Polydor, friend of Michael and Diane Ciba, who died on Feb 21;
  • Mark Engstrom, member of the CT Conference Board of Directors, and his wife Nina, who are facing health issues;
  • the community of Conway, MA, and the United Congregational Church, UCC, Conway after a tornado touched down on Feb. 25 causing significant structural damage;
  • the people of New Orleans, after a driver ran into a crowd of parade viewers, injurer over 20 people on Feb. 25;
  • he people of South Sudan where nearly 1 million people are facing famine;
  • the people of Pakistan where more than 100 people have been killed in militant attacks in the past week;
  • Richard "Ned" Bunell, member of First Congregational Church of Canton Center, who was hospitalized for an illness and is now recovering;
  • the people of southern Louisiana, after tornadoes struck the area on Feb. 7;
  • those residents around Lake Oroville, CA, who were evacuated for safety reasons after authorities found erosion at the Oroville Dam on Feb. 7 causing concerns of partial failure of a spillway;
  • John Polglase, husband of the Rev. Betsey Polglase, Pastor of the Columbia Congregational Church UCC, who has chronic pulmonary disease;
  • the Rev. Micki Nunn-Miller, who had knee surgery on Jan. 17;
  • Debi Mastroni Kenyon, Director of Faith Formation at Monroe Congregational Church, who had surgery on Jan. 18;
  • the members and staff of Thompson Congregational Church after a fire severely damage the building on Dec. 29;
  • Michael White, former Operations Manager at Silver Lake Conference Center, who was diagnosed with colon cancer;
  • Juliane Silver, the daughter of the Rev. Jim Silver of Middletown, who is in dire need of a liver transplant. We pray that a donor will come forward giving the gift of life and a portion of their liver to Juliane;
  • Chacy Eveland, husband of the Rev. Marcia Eveland, pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC of Ansonia, who has been moved to a full-time facility for care of dementia;
  • the thousands of migrants worldwide who flee from violence and persecution in search of safety;
  • our ecumenical partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery in South Korea;
  • the Conference's partners working for peace in Colombia amidst violence;
  • the leaders of this nation, that they may meet the challenges of the day with insight, wisdom, and compassion;
  • this nation, that it may continue its difficult work to end the practices of racism;
  • those suffering due to the ongoing financial woes of the nation, be they struggling to meet an unaffordable mortgage, seeking employment, or working to find just resolutions; and
  • those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck.
 
To be added to the prayer list, please send an email to Drew Page at: drewp@ctucc.org.

Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:

East Canaan
North Canaan Congregational Church

Savage Frieze - P
 
East Granby
East Granby Congregational Church, UCC

Denise M. Terry - SP
 
East Haddam
First Church of Christ, Congregational

Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager - P
 
East Hampton
Congregational Church of East Hampton, UCC

Thomas L. Kennedy - P
Jill H. Walker - CE
Keumok Heo - MM
 
East Hartford
First Congregational Church of East

Kelly J. Forbush - P
Louise R. Holmes - CE
William E. Flynn - PE
 

The Spirit Calendar: March 06, 2017 , by