Who Does Your Community Say You Are?


The Spirit Calendar

A Weekly Devotional from the Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ


August 21, 2017


This week's author is Tiffany Vail, Associate Conference Minister for Communications for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
 

Scripture: Matthew 16:13-16 (NRSV)

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’

Reflection:            

If you were to approach people in your community and ask who your church is, what would be their response? Would they know you as welcoming, or fear you as being judgmental? Would they know you as a church that helps people in the community? Would they think of you as a place only for Christmas and Easter, weddings and funerals?
 
Or would they have no idea who you are at all?
 
If people in your community don’t have a clear sense of what your congregation is about – ask yourself why. Maybe you need to improve your communication – to do more to get the word out about what your congregation is up to.
 
Or maybe you haven’t figured it out yourselves yet. If you asked the people in your congregation who your church is, would they have an answer? Could they sum it up in a tweet, even?
 
Studies show that the healthiest churches are those with a clearly defined vision and purpose. They know who they are, and whose they are. And it shows.
 
Need a resource to help? Check out this Be The Church planning and assessment guide developed by the national setting.

Prayer:

God, open our hearts and minds to Your vision and purpose for us, so that we may know who we are.
 
Special Prayer Requests:
  • Those grieving or suffering after a train derailed in northern India, killing 23, on August 19;
  • those missing or injured after a U.S. Naval Vessel collided with an oil tanker on August 21; and
  • the family and friends of Michele Reed Van Epps, wife of Rev. John Van Epps, Archivist for the CT Conference and pastor of Ivoryton Congregational Church. Michele died on August 19.
Continuing Requests:
  • Those grieving or suffering after violence caused one death and numerous injuries in Charlottesville, VA, when white supremacists and anti-hate groups clashed on August 12;
  • those grieving for the two Virginia state policemen killed in a helicopter crash on Aug. 12;
  • those grieving in Sierra Leone after mudslides killed more than 500 people on Aug. 14;
  • those grieving for 3 soldiers after a U.S. military place crashed off the shores of Australia on Aug. 5;
  • the family and friends of Rev. Dewey Frank Fagerburg, Jr., retired UCC pastor, who died on July 14;
  • the family and friends of Rev. Joseph O Shaw Jr., retired UCC pastor, who died on June 20;
  • the families and friends of those found in a truck in San Antonio in extreme heat, on July 23;
  • 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 South Sudan where nearly 1 million people are facing famine;
  • John Polglase, husband of the Rev. Betsey Polglase, Pastor of the Columbia Congregational Church UCC, who has chronic pulmonary disease;
  • 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; 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:

Orange
Orange Congregational Church

Suzanne E. Wagner - DT
Bryan Campbell - MM
 
Oxford
Oxford UCC Congregational

 
Plainfield
The First Congregational Church of Plainfield

Stephen M. Finlan - SP
Gordon C. Johnson - PE
 
Plainville
The Congregational Church of Plainville, UCC

Abby Mae Gackenheimer - DT
 
Plantsville
Plantsville Congregational UCC

Paul F Goodman - IN
 

The Spirit Calendar: August 21, 2017 , by Tiffany Vail.