Tidings January 2020 Issue
Tidings January 2020 Issue
I didn’t grow up attending Church. As a result, I was not introduced to the Church calendar of holidays and how those holidays are celebrated throughout the year, and so I do not see faith through the Church calendar. I see faith through the Bible and the Church community. I treasure what we at First Church are doing in the Church and the broader community.
We first started attending church soon after we adopted our son, Jamie, in 1993. Jamie attended the First Church nursery school. As he grew up, he was involved with Sunday Church school, and the Church youth program. I remember once going to Boston to celebrate Church service with the homeless in Boston. I was impressed by how the Church service was operated by the homeless participants in Boston. It was a great experience for Jamie and for us to be able to share a service with the homeless in Boston and to be able to make a small contribution to that service.
Jamie was an extremely loving person and had many friends, but he struggled to conform to structured environments like school and attended many different schools before he graduated from high school. He died of an accidental drug overdose in 2016. Jeanne and I still struggle with the consequences of that loss. Losing a child breaks you as an individual and is something that I will live with for the rest of my life. We had struggled for more than fifteen years to help keep Jamie alive, and we finally lost that battle. The members and ministers of First Church were very supportive and helped us live through the challenges we were experiencing with our son. First Church ran a Stephen Ministry program several years ago to help individuals in our community and this program also helped me to better support my son by making me a better listener, knowing when to seek help, and many other skills.
I was extremely excited when First Church became an ONA (Open aNd Affirming) Church. I recall being in the Meeting House discussing becoming ONA and I fondly remember the final vote approving the change to become an ONA Church.
I have always enjoyed Church activities that contribute to the community. I was thrilled that First Church partnered with another Church one year to sponsor building a home for Habitat for Humanity in Hartford.
During my time at First Church, I have been involved in several different Bible study groups, several different men’s groups, and many other Church groups and activities. I have always felt that a strong Church starts with building a strong Church community (feeding the roots so that the tree is strong) and these groups helped to strengthen that community.