Dear Members and Friends,
Maintaining traditions like the Eighth Grade Dessert extended our friendship as a congregation with our community. This cherished tradition and the joy of the transition from the Eighth Grade Dessert to high school has been part of our community for over fifty years. As a whole community, we heard the teacher’s accolades and relished hearing of our youth blossoming from children to young adults. It was especially poignant for me to hear these messages, since I too have an eighth grader and her teachers have also befriended her and prepared her well for high school. I believe that our graduates have been given a healthy, well-rounded foundation and are all confidently ready “to not only pass but pass well” throughout high school. Thank you, to all these wonderful teachers and all the adults that gave of their time to help with homework, sporting events and being available as role models.
The night before the Eighth Grade Dessert, we as a congregation welcomed all to the Potluck Dinner for American Field Service (AFS) students. This year, Falls Village was blessed to have three AFS students and their host families share their experiences with us! They have, of course, been welcomed throughout the year as is anyone who wishes to worship and participate in fellowship with Falls Village Congregational Church! Feli Eckert from Germany has regularly sung in our choir and shared her solo and duo talents with songs, recorder and string bass on more than one special holy day. Merna Mohamed has come to observe traditions from her Islamic religious point of view. I appreciated her initiative and her enthusiasm. I met Xavier Quintilla Pinyol’s carefree spirit and I know that our community has been enriched by all three students. We thoroughly enjoyed presentations about their homelands: Germany, Egypt and Catalonia (located in the northeastern corner of Spain). The year has gone by quickly. We will sincerely miss them as will their American moms, dads, brothers and sisters. They and we have developed true friendships here.
We have opened our doors for our Annual Tag Sale that was also a day for fellowship. There were many conversations sparked by visitors and congregants that made the day whole. Friends who had not seen each other or members that have been busy came by to reconnect.
We also opened our doors and hearts to our Regional Minister, Rev. Michael Ciba. There have been few changes to the Litchfield North Association but recently the reorganization of Regional Ministers does affect us. Rev. Ciba helped me with my transition from the Fairfield West Association into the Litchfield North Association. He preached the message on Trinity Sunday. Officially, this was his last visiting pulpit service that he would include himself in before the change of his duties. His message, “Send Me”, raised the question, “What is our mission call as a church?” This is a question that I would like to pursue! He will be missed and so will his counsel as our Regional Minister. Our new Regional Minister is Rev. Ineke Mitchell. However, he will still be active within another region of the Connecticut Conference. He too will be missed!
From Eighth Grade Desserts, AFS Potluck Dinners, Tag Sales and Regional Ministers, we have found many ways to connect and form true friendships. We are a community growing with the expectation that there is more for us to do in this world that the Lord has created!
There is the purpose of true friendship written in the Scriptures that we hold dear to our hearts. May we know that just as the Scripture is present in our Christian lives so too is God. How can we feel empty or alone when a true friend is ever near…just a prayer away? As we step outside to feel the sunshine on our faces or raindrops on our cheeks, let us remember that in prayer we are befriended and we are loved.
May the friendship of Christ be with you,
Rev. Michelle Wiltshire-Clement