Serving in the City
By Debby Kirk

HARTFORD -- Sunday, January 8 was bitter cold.  A winter storm had moved through the state the day before and the streets and sidewalks were only partially cleared.  Temperatures had started in the teens and barely cleared 20 degrees all day. 
 
But First Church of Christ, Congregational (aka Center Church) in Hartford was the site of warmth and compassion.  The church house at the corner of Lewis and Gold streets is the home of Warburton Outreach.  CTUCC young adults gathered there to serve a meal as part of Serving in the City, a program sponsored by the Conference.

Read the full article

Silver Lake Registration Open Jan. 15

SHARON -- "I love this time of year!" said Jennifer Kronholm Clark, Administrator at Silver Lake Conference Center. "For me, this is the beginning of the summer. Registration opens on Sunday!"
 
Though it might seem early to plan for summer camp, online registration for Silver Lake's seven weeks of summer programming opens on Sunday, Jan. 15, at midnight at www.silverlakect.org.
 
"I usually stay up the night before to see which conference gets the first camper," Kronholm Clark added. "And this year, that first signup will also get a free t-shirt!"

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In Memoriam: The Rev. Dr. Evans F. Sealand Jr.

The Rev. Dr. Evans F. Sealand, Jr., Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Canton Center Church for 35 years, died on Thursday, Dec. 29, at the age of 87.  

The Canton Center church was his first and only full-time pastorate. He was ordained there into the United Church of Christ in 1959, and served until his retirement in 1994 when he was designated as Pastor Emeritus.   He served as the Archivist for Connecticut Conference for 12 years after his pastoral retirement.

A memorial service will be celebrated on Saturday, January 14th, at 11 AM at the First Congregational Church, Canton Center,

Read his obituary

Blogs

Sharing Our Gifts, Whatever the Roadblocks

By R. Maxwell Grant
Pastor, Second Congregational Church of Greenwich

I didn't stay up long enough to see it in real time, but I've since seen video clips of pop singer Mariah Carey's disastrous New Year's Eve performance on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve." 

"Well," I said, "it has to be hard to be on that big a stage—I mean 'New Year's Eve,' 'Times Square'…'right before midnight,' and all that…"
 
Eve shook her head. "Yeah… but no. Not really," she said. "We talked about it after it happened. And the thing is: you've been given a gift. Your job is to share it. 

Read the entire blog post here

First 100 Hours Interfaith Climate Justice Vigils

By Pam Arifian
Director, Northeast Regional Environmental Justice Center at Silver Lake

For those on either side of the political divide who are dismayed, discouraged or concerned about the threats this new administration encompasses to our planet and our most vulnerable communities, we must not let this moment pass.

You are invited to join faith communities across the country in this important work by organizing a vigil within the first 100 hours of the new administration between Friday, January 20th and Tuesday January 24th.

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How does the UCC live the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

By Michael Ciba
Southwest Regional Minister

When I’m asked, “What is the greatest challenge facing the United Church of Christ?” I always reply, “the greatest challenge facing the United Church of Christ is how do we live Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  This has been a springboard for many interesting conversations over the years.  It is the issue that the church faces in every generation and that we face today.

Reflections
Spirit Calendar:   Sabbath Observed

Thomas Clough writes: "We are commanded not to make the Sabbath, but to observe it."


Spirited Wednesday: Songs of Freedom

Damaris Whittaker writes: "We kill our prophets by rescinding their gains on freedom and equality."


Upcoming Conference Events
Jan. 18, 6:00 PM
CT Conference Office, Hartford
This workshop is for leaders in all settings (Pastors, Youth Leaders, Giv2 Coordinators and parents) who want to enliven programs through collaborative service work. Participants will be shown a variety of age-appropriate service projects and come away with tips for preparation, engagement and reflection.
Jan. 20-22
Feb. 3-5
Mar. 10-12
Silver Lake Conference Center
The Conference sponsors four confirmation retreats each program year for youth who may benefit from a retreat experience as they prepare for the rite of Confirmation.
Jan. 22, 3:00 - 5:00 PM
Connecticut Conference Office, Hartford
Orientation meeting for people interested in going on a service trip for adults to the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. representative from Simply Smiles will present an overview and answer questions.   
Jan. 29, 3 - 6 PM
First Church in Middletown
High School youth and their leaders are invited to a "No Bake-Bake Off contest." Test your cooking skills and build bridges with Muslim and Jewish youth in a time of fellowship and conversation.  
Jan. 31,11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford
The second meeting of the Coalition against Casino Expansion in CT. Get updated on the issue and learn how to write a testimony for a bill in the CT State Legislature. 
Stepping Stones Workshop-Rotation 2.0
Feb. 1, 6:00 - 8:30 PM
First Congregational Church of Guilford
Is your Sunday school program stuck in a rut? Rotate your thinking  Join us as we explore new ways of creating a Rotational Model that works for you. Come for dinner, for great engagement and learning!
Stepping Stones Workshop- Praying and Worshiping with Your Youth Group
Feb. 16, 6:00 - 8:30 PM
First Congregational Church of Simsbury
Dodgeball and bowling are great fun, but would you like to spend more time praying and worship with your youth group? Come for dinner and to explore this important aspect of our ministry with our young people.
March 3 - 5
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
Join us for a three-day interview and training session and become one of the future leaders of Silver Lake!  
Super Saturday!
March 18, 8:00 AM - 3:45 PM
Minnechaug Regional High School,  Wilbraham, MA
A full day of workshops, networking and a keynote address by author, storyteller, and theologian  Brian McLaren.
March 24 - 26
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
Whether you’re a yoga devotee or a novice, a seasoned singer or shy about your voice, we have a special place for you in our circle! A weekend of exploration and restoration, rather than performance and perfectionism.
March 24 - 26
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
For youth in grades 6 - 8, experience nature’s renewal and its sweet gifts.
April 30, 3:00 - 5:30 PM
First Church of Christ Congregational, West Hartford
A dynamic worship service that will renew your spirit. All youth in grades 5 and up and their pastors, parents, or adult leaders are invited.
Find a complete list of Conference events at: www.ctucc.org/events
Local Churches Mark MLK Day
Jan. 15, 10:30 - 11:45 AM
The First Church of Christ in Hartford
A special service with The Rev. Michelle Hughes, Associate Conference Minister, The Rev. Mia Douglas, Director of Discipleship, Asylum Hill UCC, and Poet Sabas Whittaker.
Jan. 15, 6:30 - 9:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Churc, Hartford
The church, in partnership with the Urban League of Greater Hartford and the CT Center for Nonviolence, is showing this inspiring film as a way to mark Martin Luther King Day. 
Jan. 16, 3:30 PM
Faith Congregational Church, UCC, Hartford
Seventh annual celebration will include:
  • Imam Kashif Abdul Karim, Mohammad Center of Hartford
  • Thea Montanez, Chief of Staff, City of Hartford
  • Jim Boucher, Representing - $15 Minimum Wage 
  • Combined Choirs Faith and Immanuel Churches
  • Rabbi Deborah Canter, B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom, Principal Speaker   
Local Churches in the News
Storrs Congregational Church to Experience 'Renewal' Time

The Storrs Congregational Church has received a grant of $41,675 to enable its senior minister, the Rev. Matthew Emery, to participate in the National Clergy Renewal Program in 2017.

South Congregational Church Holds 'Vacation Break'
With the kids on their winter break from school, the East Hartford South Congregational Church held a 'Vacation Break' – stemming from their Vacation Bible School that they already have.

Read the Hartford Courant article here

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