Rev. Donna Manocchio is a retired UCC pastor who most recently served in Avon.
Ephesians 4:1-6, The Message
In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk – better yet, run! – on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline – not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.
The invitation arrived in my inbox from the CT Conference. Perhaps you received the same one. It was an invitation to join in a walk in Wethersfield, beginning at the home of Alan Dornan. At the age of 78, Alan has responded to a call, and for the last 160+ days (as of this writing in early July), he has walked for “Dreamers and their parents, for all refugees and immigrants on the border.”
About a hundred of us responded to the invitation, prepared and ready to go, with our sneakers and signs and water bottles. After some brief speeches by organizers and politicians and Alan, we stepped off, with Mr. Dornan leading the way.
I’ve participated in other walks and marches over the years, including walking against hunger in various cities, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the People’s March on Washington, the Women’s March. But the longer we walked on that Saturday morning, the clearer it became: this walk was different than any other I had ever done.
It could have been the heat. It could have been that because there was no permit, we were walking along the sidewalk, two by two. It could have been the slower pace. Due to some health limitations, Alan walks slowly and stops several times along the way. It could have been that it was quiet. Except for a few refrains of “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!” there was no group singing or ongoing chants.
But there was prayer and stories and testimonies. At one stop, Alan shared some of the reasons he continues to walk. At another stop, he invited a Dreamer to tell their story. With bullhorns held up by the organizers, he recited a prayer by Thomas Merton, reminding us that even though we do not know the way we are going, we trust in God to lead us on the right road. (For the full text, see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/thomas-mertons-prayer-anyone-can-pray-laju-m-balani ) At the last stop, Alan told us what he has told many others – in person, in print, in video. “I will walk, I will walk, I will walk for immigrants until I am no longer able to physically walk.”
The apostle Paul reminds us that Christians are invited to walk and walk and walk on the road that God call us. We are invited to walk in the way of Jesus – a way of humility and grace, pouring ourselves out in acts of love. Where has God called you to travel? Where will you walk today? What act of love will you share with others today and tomorrow along the road?
Gracious God, guide our feet and show us the way. Amen.
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at email@example.com.
New Prayer Requests:
Prayers of Intercession:
- for the Staff, Volunteers, and Campers at Silver Lake Conference Center as Week 6 of the summer season begins.
- for those who have lost their lives and their homes due to the wildfires in California, and for all those who are in harm's way.
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- for the summer camp program run by IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services), where kids entering grades K-12 are enjoying special programming focused on English and enrichment, and mothers are learning English while their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are cared for.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Congregational Church of Salisbury UCC
Scotland Congregational Church, UCC
Seymour Congregational UCC
Huntington Congregational UCC
First Church of Christ, UCC
This Week in History:
July 30, 1965 (53 years ago): President Johnson signs Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. At the bill-signing ceremony, which took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, former President Harry Truman was enrolled as Medicare’s first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card.