As the three Conferences have been discussing coming together to create something new, Church of the Redeemer and United Church on the Green in New Haven have been doing the same thing! We are working to create a new congregation together not because we are in trouble or desperate or about to close. We are doing this as two vital congregations who seek to come together to build critical mass as a strong, progressive congregation in the city of New Haven. We believe we can be stronger together than apart.
There have been challenges along the way in our process, and one of the most important factors for resolving those challenges and moving forward has been participation. Our process is entirely lay led. Our Coordinating Team has worked long and hard. Now all the active members of both churches are getting involved in this sacred experiment. The single key factor in this experiment working is that people show up, ready to talk frankly, with respect and vulnerability, about their visions of church. People show up to worship and pray together, sure that we need to discern God’s guidance in this continually, not seeing it simply as an administrative process to be done as functional atheists. People show up to get to know one another and discover similarities that delight and differences that enrich. People show up.
As members of congregations in Connecticut, we also need to show up to this Annual Meeting to listen for God’s guidance, to share our visions of church, and to get to know our kin in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Whether we have been deeply involved in this process or are just learning about it now, our voices, our bodies, our spirits need to show up to be part of this particular experiment in a denomination which has always been united and uniting. In the words which Lin Manuel Miranda put in the mouth of Alexander Hamilton, don’t “throw away your shot” at being part of something new and, perhaps, revolutionary. Show up.
The Rev. Rochelle Stackhouse is pastor of the Church of the Redeemer in New Haven.
Read more about the Tri-Conference Annual Meeting June 16 - 17, 2017
Read more about the proposal for the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences to join together in forming a new conference.
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