Thompson Congregational Renews Community Roots

3/21/2018
By Greg Gray

Baskets of food for the Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group donated by Thompson Congregational, UCC
Thompson Congregational, United Church of Christ is beginning a new chapter of her history. From the church’s founding in 1735, Thompson UCC was around fifty years before the town of Thompson even came into existence, and once the town was founded the church was there to serve the new community. So, saying that this is the town’s church just makes sense. 
 
A generation ago the church even had a large part in founding the Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group (TEEG), and out of this ecumenical founding TEEG grew to become the social service agency for the towns of Thompson, Pomfret, and Woodstock with 41,707 people served by TEEG in the last fiscal year.
 
However, along the way the church lost touch with the community it served. Without being a vital, active part of the community the church went into years of decline, but today Thompson UCC has started a new chapter of community engagement. This church has rediscovered what it means to be church. They welcomed the community to the Thompson Common as they served 248 cups of ice cream to people who may have known the church for many years, and to those who were just meeting us for the first time. They blessed and donated more than 230 backpacks to the area school children, blessed the town’s newly elected leadership, and welcomed 40 people along with lots of dogs, cats, and even a horse to the Common for a Blessing of the Animals service. This is what can happen when a church remembers to be the Church, and while serving the town of Thompson the church has doubled its worshiping attendance, as well as added 14 new members in the last 12 months.
 
March 11, 2018 Thompson Congregational, United Church of Christ celebrated Saint Patrick's Day! Thompson UCC is continuing to think of new ways to partner with TEEG, and this Sunday was by donating over 100 baskets each filled with soup, cereal, a vegetable, protein, pasta, and sauce. The season around Thanksgiving and Christmas is known as the season of giving. However, the problem is that most food banks and social service agencies run out of the food they received by the time we get to Feb-March. Therefore, Thompson UCC follows Christ's example of feeding the hungry. Today, this church is called by the same God who formed it in 1735 to reach out in loving service to ALL their neighbors. Thompson UCC is reclaiming a journey on which they strive to continue to be the town’s church! 

Rev. Greg Gray is the Designated Pastor at Thompson Congregational Church.
 
Editor's Note:
The transformation illustrated in this article has taken place in the wake of a fire which destroyed much of the church on December 29, 2016. Thompson Congregational Church, UCC, is now worshipping at the Marianapolis Preparatory School Chapel as they consider the future worship and mission needs of the congregation.