NEW HAVEN (10/17/2016) – The Second Annual CTUCC Revival was held at Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, October 13-15. The three night gathering featured inspirational music and passionate sermons that called for renewal of the church through understanding our roots and listening to what God is calling us to be.
"We have come to give God thanks and praise for all of the amazing and wonderful and magnificent things that God has already don," said the Rev. Da Vita McCallister, Associate Conference Minister for Leadership and Vitality, who organized and led the three night gathering.
Those who attended the Revival entered to the singing praises of several musical groups. On Thursday, music was led by the Liberty Christian Center Praise Team. Friday and Saturday music was led by Mr. Garrick Jordan, Mrs. Deremius Williams, and Rev. Mia Douglas with accompanist Paul Cameron. Additional music was provided by Mr. Sean Lilly, Mrs. Persephone Hall, Ms. Nancy Ducharme, and the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Choir.
The Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition of over 56 churches and faith-based organizations from all over the world, gave the sermons on Thursday and Friday evenings.
"We are trying to create a loving church right under… the heavy handedness of a Christianity that was oppressive at its beginning. We learned it in oppression," said Flunder on Thursday night as she described a history of Christianity that has been both oppressed and the oppressor.
On Friday, Flunder addressed the concept of unity. "Unity," said Flunder, "is not sameness - we are not the same, and we are not deficient because we are not the same. We are different, and different does not mean deficient."
Flunder closed her sermon by stating that the work of justice is difficult work and is not "for wimps." Warning that there would be "costs" to bringing about change, she called on the church nonetheless to take a lead in bringing about that change. "What we want to see in the world, we must model....in our conferences…in our associations…in our churches."
Saturday's sermon was delivered by the Rev. Tamara Moreland, Northwest Central Regional Minister for the Connecticut Conference. Moreland focused her message on Ezekiel's image of a valley of dry bones. She assured us that God can restore "any nation or church no matter how dry or dead it may be." But she warned that sometimes we can be deceived by activity that only appears to be vitality.
"Sometimes we’re singing, sometimes we’re shouting, sometimes we’re waving our hands and there seems to be a move, but sometimes God’s not even in that," said Moreland. She continued by referring back to Ezekiel. "Ezekiel wisely didn't mistake commotion for regeneration. Even today, the flesh can generate activity, but true revival cannot take place without the Spirit."
In closing, Moreland shared a prophetic story about a young girl playing in a softball game. A woman asked the player how it was going. "It's 18 to nothing and we're behind," said the girl. "That's discouraging," said the woman. The girl responded. "Why should I be discouraged? We haven't even gotten up to bat yet."
The CTUCC Revival is an annual multi-evening worship organized through the Racial Justice Ministries of the Connecticut Conference. Collected offerings will support Our Church's Wider Mission, the Historically African-American Congregation Scholarship Fund and the Leadership & Vitality Ministries of CTUCC. The dates for the 2017 CTUCC Revival are set for October 13 and 14.
Drew Page is the News & Media Editor for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.