It was a bittersweet service at Newtown Congregational Church on June 15, when the Reverend Allysa De Wolf took to the pulpit to offer the morning’s sermon. Ordained just one week earlier, Rev De Wolf was offering her first sermon as an ordained minister as well as her final while serving at NCC.
Family, friends, clergy and dozens of members of Newtown Congregational Church filled the West Street sanctuary Sunday afternoon, June 8, to celebrate the ordination for Alyssa De Wolf into the ministry of the United Church of Christ (UCC). Rev De Wolf came to Newtown Congregational Church (NCC) in 2011, and is a graduate of Yale School of Divinity, where she received her master of divinity in 2013. While in care at NCC, she served as minister of Christian nurture and mission, and served as a leader of the church youth group. She has accepted a position as pastor of the First Congregational Church in Santa Barbara, which she begins in August. A native Californian, Rev De Wolf will find herself back in her home state and closer to family. Before she leaves for the West Coast, the newly ordained Rev De Wolf will present the sermon at the church that has hosted her for the past three years. On Sunday, June 15, the Reverend De Wolf will present a message she is calling “The Great Commission.”
A dedication and blessing ceremony was conducted Saturday, June 7, for St Rose of Lima’s latest building, the Holy Innocents Faith Formation Center. The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, presided over the blessing and dedication ceremony. Bishop Caggiano noted that the first gathering in the building celebrated light, life, faith, hope, joy, “and the promise the Lord gives us that the light will always come through the darkness.”
"Unity in Diversity," a weekly television program, can be seen on Mondays at noon and Wednesdays at 5:30 pm on Charter Communications channel 21. Each week, viewers may experience leaders and representatives of a variety of local faith communities, sharing their message in a non-threatening manner. Programs for June 9 to August 27 have been announced by The Reverend Leo McIlrath, host and creator of "Unity In Diversity."
The town's oldest church continued its 300th anniversary celebration on May 18, with a Colonial-era style Sabbath Worship Service. Members of Newtown Congregational Church were invited to first gather on Sunday morning outside Newtown Meeting House on Main Street, which was the first home for NCC. Shane DeMarche served as the morning’s drummer, calling those who wished to attend services to gather with ministers in front of 31 Main Street. Shortly before 10 am, the group proceeded from the meeting house to the current Newtown Congregational Church location at 14 West Street. Once all arrived at the church the traditions continued, including the seating of women on one side of the sanctuary and men on the other, deacons sitting on a bench facing those in the sanctuary, and tithing men charged with keeping order during the service.
Newtown Congregational Church will continue its 300th anniversary celebration with a special service on Sunday, May 18. The public is invited to join members of NCC for a service that will be presented in the style of a Colonial-era service. The morning will begin at 9:30 am, when the public will be drummed to worship by NCC members dressed in Colonial garb. The drumming will be done outside Newtown Meeting House, at 31 Main Street. The drumming will call attention to the 10 am worship service. Worshippers will be called to gather at the meeting house, and then walk as a group to the church building on West Street.
Chris Camp, the pastor of Sandy Hook Baptist Church, has announced that the recently formed church has begun meeting in a new location. The church is now meeting in the rear building at 111 Church Hill Road, in the space formerly occupied by Unique Blessings. Regular services are Sunday mornings at 10:30, Sunday afternoons at 2, and Thursday evenings at 7. Church members have also planned a series of Get Acquainted Meetings, to welcome newcomers to the church and its new location. These are planned for Monday through Friday, May 19–23, at 7 each night.
"Unity and Diversity" is a weekly television program featuring interviews with leaders and representatives of various local religious communities. Those who wish to learn about their religious neighbors in a nonthreatening manner are invited to look in. The programs for April 28 through May 14 have been announced.
The Newtown/Danbury unit of Church Women United is planning its annual May Friendship Day celebration. The theme of this year’s celebration, which will take place Saturday, May 3, at 10 am, at Newtown Congregational Church, is “Through God Our Hands Can Serve." The event will open with light refreshments and socializing, and then continue with a program by guest speaker Shannon Hicks. Members of CWU Newtown/Danbury will help present the celebration, which will include responsive readings, scripture readings, prayers and hymns. All are welcome to attend.
Thursday, May 1, will mark the nation’s 63rd observance of the National Day of Prayer. The national day of prayer (NDP) dates back to 1775, when the Continental Congress made a proclamation to set aside a day for prayer on behalf of the nation. The annual event encourages the people of this nation to unite in prayer for the nation one day each year, each in accordance with their own faith. A Christian observance of the 2014 NDP will be held May 1 in The Alexandria Room of Edmond Town Hall. It will start with music at 6 pm, followed by prayers from 7 to 8 pm.