Ryan Mannix

Ryan Mannix


Tidings May 2020 Issue

Hello! This is my story.

I grew up in Granby, CT attending Pilgrim Covenant Church as a child, and later I was confirmed at South Congregational Church. Both of these churches had wonderful youth programs, creating lots of fond memories. The one that stands out the most I would say was a mission trip to Summers County, West Virginia. I don’t know why, but I’ll never forget how good those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were that we had for lunch each day!

While pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at UConn, I found myself falling out of touch with attending the church, but I was able to maintain a strong faith through loss and personal growth due to the friends and family I had around me. Even after graduation, for a few years, there was a growing feeling that something was lacking in my life. So I started looking for a local church and a community of faith. It was hard to miss First Church’s proud steeple in the center of town. Geordie’s service that first Sunday blew me away, and I felt like it spoke to me personally. After attending a few services I was able to get to know the community a bit more and I immediately started feeling right at home, bringing back the comfort I felt in my faith community as a kid.

Everyone was extremely welcoming and I wanted to find a way to give back. Soon after, Elliott Munn asked if I wanted to join the youth group on a mission trip. Remembering the wonderful experience I had in my youth, and eager to give back, I said yes. Without fail, I yet again had another most memorable week of my life at Epworth Project in Slidell, Louisiana. That week our team was assigned to help Tony, the homeowner, install a bathroom. Like a lot of her community, she was still working to rebuild over 10 years after Katrina. The work was extremely gratifying. The most memorable parts for me however were all the small things in between. I am a big fan of playing cards, and it was really great teaching the different games and getting to know all of the kids and their plans for the future.

Since then, I have been on the youth group team at First Church and it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know our kids and finding creative ways to give back to the community with them. Most recently I have had some fairly significant health issues with my right lung. After 3 collapses I was in the hospital a few weeks ago undergoing a VATS procedure. This was a lot, but through it all, I felt very blessed with a lot of support from my friends, family, and church. I can certainly vouch for the fact that the church is not a building, and not having walls right now has not slowed us down at all! I would like to say a heartfelt thank you for helping me in my time of need. I can, fortunately, say that I have been recovering very well. It was a pleasure seeing a lot of the church on Zoom during the Easter virtual coffee hour! This church has had such a very large influence on my life in such a short time. I am excited to see where we go and what we do next!