This week's author is the Rev. Dr. Tom Clough, Eastern Regional Minister for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
Scripture: Isaiah 65:17 (NRSV)For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.
Reflection:Next week we will be gathering at the Spring Glen Church for the Third Annual Adult Revival. For many of us in the Connecticut Conference this seems like something very new to us.
This week many of us gathered at the First Congregational Church of South Windsor to celebrate the installation of their new pastor, the Rev. Nina Schmid. This congregation was formed in 1694 by the Rev. Timothy Edwards, whose claim to fame these days is that he was the father of the renowned revivalist of the Great Awakening, the Rev. Jonathan Edwards. But Timothy was no stranger to the practice of revivals, and the history of this congregation and many of our congregations is deeply rooted in the practice of these “New Light” revivalists. Perhaps this is not such a new thing after all.
In a time when life on the frontier was filled with uncertainty and long life was far from guaranteed, Timothy offered a ministry of conversion that we might want to be reminded of as we find ourselves anxious in our time about perceived threats to our well being.
Three hundred years ago the revivals were grounded in three basic understandings. The first was that when we become aware of the precariousness of our life here on earth, we may be awakened to a need for a security that we can not provide on our own. The second was that when we realize that we are not entitled to even the gift of life due to our own worthiness, the only healthy response is deep humility. And finally, the hope that is offered to us by our loving God is that each one of us may choose to receive God’s regenerating light.
When the church helps us to become aware of this new light, a new heaven and a new earth are created.
Prayer:Dear God, shake us, wake us, and please don’t forsake us. Amen.
Special Prayer Requests:
- Those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, which left more than 50 dead and over 400 wounded on Oct. 2.
- The people of Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria caused massive devastation on Sept. 20;
- those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a church in Nashville, which left 1 student dead and 7 wounded on Sept. 24.
- those grieving for the 24 children and teachers killed in a fire in Malaysia on Sept. 14;
- those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a school in Rockford, Washington, which left 1 student dead and 3 wounded on Sept. 13;
- those suffering in London after a crude bomb detonated in the subway on Sept. 15;
- those grieving or suffering in the Caribbean and Florida after the effects of Hurricane Irma, which caused massive destruction of property last week and over the week end (September);
- the people of Mexico, where an 8.2 magnitude earthquake killed over 90 people and leveled many parts of Mexico on Sept. 7;
- the thousands of child immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as their future becomes unclear after the President's announcement that the program will end in the near future;
- the family and friends of Rev. Fred Atwood-Lyon, retired USS pastor, who died on Aug. 27;
- those grieving or suffering in Mumbai, India after a building collapsed, killing more than 30 and injuring many others on September 1;
- 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;
- 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.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Taftville Congregational Church, UCC
Jack M. Shackles Jr - P
Terryville Congregational Church, UCC
Zachary Scott Mabe – P
Vardell D Swett - PE
Thompson Congregational Church, UCC
T. Greg Gray - DT
United Congregational Church of Tolland UCC
Jeffrey Gallagher – SP
Ruth Nye – AP
Amie Giguere – CE
Donald G. Miller – PE
Hannah M. Howe – PE
Robert J. Wright Jr - PE
Center Congregational UCC
Mark David Pilletere - P
The Eastern Regional Minister works with churches in transition, providing support, resources and leadership training. He assists in connecting the churches to the mission and ministry of the UCC beyond their local programs and concerns. His work ...