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«“THE CHURCH HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!” As much as I enjoy being your District Superintendent, I’ll be the first to admit that there have been some ...»

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The Connecticut District Office of the United Methodist Church

20 Broadfield Road, Hamden, CT 06517

Interim Bishop: Ernest S. Lyght

Superintendent: Reverend Kenneth Kieffer Editor:Dorothy Chamberlain

E-mail: ctdistrict@nyac-umc.com Web: www.ctdistrictumc.org


“THE CHURCH HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!” As much as I enjoy being your District Superintendent, I’ll be the first to admit that there have been some very difficult days during the last five plus years – chief among them the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, the school shootings at Sandy Hook, and the unexpected death of our Bishop.

There was another tough day, though, that you probably don’t know about.

Frankly, I was kind of surprised at my reaction to it myself. Stunned, really. After all, I pretty much just had to show up for worship that morning. No sermon to deliver. No sacrament to celebrate. No nothing. And it’s not like the service was at some ungodly hour, or really far from my home. My plan was to simply roll out of bed at 8, take a quick shower, throw on some casual clothes, grab my trusty water bottle and listen to “Acoustic Sunday” on the radio during the 24minute ride from my garage to the First United Methodist Church in Middletown.

Heck, I hadn’t even planned on going – until I received an email blast from the pastor the previous week announcing that this would be the final Sabbath celebration in the place that the Methodists had been using to celebrate since around the time of the Louisiana Purchase! Out of respect for the occasion, I made a few phone calls, rubbed an eraser back and forth across my Cokesbury calendar, and went to church in Middletown.

A few moments before the service was to begin, I made the mistake of trying to engage in some light-hearted chit-chat with my pew mate to my left. I leaned over toward him and asked in my sanctuary voice, “So, what is the most significant memory you have of this space?”. He thought for a moment and then said slowly, “I was married here.” After another pensive pause, he added, “And my children were each baptized here.” He took a deep breath and sighed.

It seemed like he might have another couple of incredibly special occasions to share with me, so I quickly leaned back toward my original starting position and pretended to prepare my hymnal for the soon-to-be-starting worship service. Had I not done that, I surely would have bawled all over the poor guy’s bulletin.

I wondered, as I tried to deal with the large lump in my throat, if there was a more significant and precious place on the planet to this man than the future former sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church in Middletown, CT.

Then I thought the unthinkable…how would I feel if the Methodists in my hometown of Islip, NY, decided to leave the sanctuary where I was baptized, and confirmed, and married? Where Karen and I first met? Where my maternal grandparents were both eulogized. Where I preached my very first sermon?

Speaking of sermons…

Following a sermon by the Reverend Stefanie Bennett that was nothing short of inspired, heroic and masterful, and a communion celebration that was particularly profound and meaningful, I was asked to come forward to briefly participate in “An Order For The Leave-Taking Of A Church Building”. Representing the Bishop, I read the Declaration of Deconsecration… ”This building, having been consecrated and named the First United Methodist Church of Middletown, together with the land on which it stands and all objects remaining in it, we now (gulp) deconsecrate and release for any honorable use. We declare that it is no longer the place of meeting of a United Methodist congregation.

I gotta tell you, I did NOT go to seminary, or get ordained, or come onto the District to deconsecrate churches! No siree. I did all those things to grow churches, to make disciples, and to celebrate new life.

Yet here I was, standing in front of dozens of faithful and dedicated disciples in the chancel of one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in our district, holding the plug to the church’s life-support system in my trembling hand.

How did it come to this? Couldn’t this have been avoided (or at least delayed until I was off the Cabinet)? Where’s the Good News here?

Well, the Good News (according to Avery and Marsh - and Jesus) is that “the church is not a building…the church is a people.” (see Mt 16:18) It is with that blessed assurance that the people of the First UMC of Middletown sold their beloved building (not their church, right?) and are presently worshiping at the Elk’s Club in town – a space in which they can sing and pray and be inspired and hear scripture and baptize babies and celebrate communion – a space which they can actually afford!

Folks, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - if your church’s building impedes your church’s mission, then you need to change one of them. (Repeat that again)

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CONFERENCE EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2014 Bishop Neil Irons, who has been serving as our interim resident bishop since July 1, 2014, will conclude his term in that capacity effective September 30th. This development was occasioned by some health concerns that are preventing Bishop Irons from serving the New York Annual Conference in the way that he would like.

Effective October 1st, Bishop Ernest S. Lyght will begin serving as interim resident bishop of the New York Annual Conference. Bishop Lyght's tenure will continue until January 1st, when Bishop Jane Allen Middleton assumes the post of resident bishop.

(Excerpt from Adrienne Brewington’s announcement.

Adrienne is Dean of the Cabinet and LIE Superintendent.)


Great, Loving, Unshakeable God, In all the tumbling and churning of plans, even in all our hope for homeostasis, we surely trust in your ways and thoughts up to which one can never attain.

Please in Christ Jesus, by his very Breath, the power of your Holy Spirit, pour the richest and most abundant blessings of heaven upon Bishop Lyght and our Cabinet; give them your vision and discernment, clarity of thought and communication, a constant and abiding knowledge of your care and attention, the ability to just shoo away the little foxes, and above all, pour out on each one the rest that you offer to all of us who tend to labor and to be heavy-laden. We thank you that your yoke is easy, your burden light, and that your plan for the New York Annual Conference is to prosper us, as we are filled to overflowing with a very hopeful future. Thank you that you are indeed our hiding place.


Lisa Bosworth Certified Lay Minister Seymour United Methodist Church bosworthfam@aol.com

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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2014 CT District United Methodist Women’s Fall Gathering and Luncheon Watertown UMC, 305 Main St., Watertown CT 9:00AM – 3:00PM Donation (for lunch): $8.50 reservations required TOPIC: “Women called to action against human trafficking in CT”

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Please send your name, address, phone and e-mail address with a check

for the registration fee of $15.00 made payable to CT District to:

Dorothy Chamberlain CT District Office 20 Broadfield Rd Hamden, CT 06517.

For further details, please contact Mary Brevigleiri at mbrevigleiri@perrytechnology.com or (860) 307-4611.


Help Make a Difference for a Sandy-Impacted Neighborhood!

Fall Rebuilding Day: Rockaway On Saturday, October 25, two years after Hurricane Sandy hit, United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR), Done in a Day, and Rebuilding Together NYC (RT NYC) will be partnering for a large rebuilding event in Rockaway to repair 10 homes impacted by Hurricane Sandy, revitalize a local community center, and to install solar-powered security lights on the exterior of 50 homes throughout the neighborhood. This work is made possible by generous donations from sponsors, community partners, and the work of nearly 300 volunteers. Volunteers are essential to the work we do.

Whether you are a seasoned professional, a weekend warrior, or have an interest in home repair construction, we can use your help!

All Volunteers Needed Volunteering with RT NYC for a day means sharing your skills and expertise to help a family in need, making new friends, and even learning a few tricks from the trade. We’re always looking for volunteers, especially those with construction skills such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical, organizing, painting, masonry or landscaping. To participate on Fall Rebuilding Day, Saturday, October 25, 2014, members of the United Methodist Church can simply go to http://bit.ly/W4Fctt or call 718-488-8840 to register!

Want to do more? Become a House Captain!

We are currently seeking construction-skilled individuals that are interested in leading volunteers to help make a difference for a household in Rockaway this fall. If you’re interested, please contact, Emily Bachman, Volunteer Coordinator at Emily.bachman@rebuildingtogethernyc.org or call 718-488-8840.

About Rebuilding Together NYC Rebuilding Together NYC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that rehabilitates the homes of low-income, disabled, elderly, and/or veteran homeowners living in the five boroughs of NYC.

We use the skills of volunteers and contractors to undertake repairs. Our mission is to create a safe, healthy, and accessible living environment for homeowners in need.

Gina Grubbs, Assistant Director, NYAC Sandy Recovery Ministry gina_grubbs@nyac-umc.com twitter: @gina_nyac Distinctively Wesleyan Missions for the 21st Century – Fall Seminar October 31 and November 1, 2014 A seminar on Missions will be held on October 31st and November 1st, 2014 on the campus of Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, PA. The speaker will be Dr. Timothy C.

Tennent, president of Asbury Theological Seminary. The seminar focus will be on developing and supporting distinctively Wesleyan missions for the 21st century. Dr.

Tennent will explore the history of missions and the current global opportunities. He will give guidance on developing of a mission strategy for your local church. Dr. Tennent has worked extensively on the mission field in India and has written several books on world missions. He is one of the foremost United Methodist experts on the topic. A 0.5 Continuing Education Unit from Asbury Theological Seminary is available for those who attend the entire event.

This event is being sponsored by the Northeast Jurisdiction Evangelical Connection (NEJEC) of United Methodists and will include times of worship, prayer, and fellowship.

It begins on 3:00 PM Friday, October 31st and continues to 12:30 PM on Saturday, November 1st. You can register for one or both days. Overnight accommodations are available. The seminar is open to laity and clergy of all denominations. More details and

a registration form can be found online at:

https://sites.google.com/site/reunywebiste/home/nejec-news For questions, please contact Dan Fuller (NEJEC Convenor) at nejec.info@gmail.com Registrations are due by no later than October 15th, 2014.

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WORKERS Mission Central from Mechanicsburg, PA, through the Sierra Leone Initiative of the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church is in constant contact with Bishops from Sierra Leone and Liberia. They have expressed a need to build tents and isolation units, provide personal protective equipment for medical workers and training for the health staff. Mission Central is helping the Susquehanna Conference by requesting supplies or monetary donations to help do this. If you give a monetary donation, please be sure to include “Ebola Relief” in the memo. You can help Ebola workers in Sierra Leone by donating some of the following supplies that are needed.

heavy duty latex gloves (hospital grade) rubber boots Clorox products KleenGuard breathable liquid and particle protection coveralls face masks (hospital grade) Please contact Deb Harden, Executive Assistant at Mission Central for more information. You can call 717-766-1533 or go to their website www.missioncentral.org

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Financial Planning with a Christian Perspective It Works : Bequests in NYAC Local Churches Now = $5.3 Million, up 1040% since we started in 2006.

Invite your fellow parishioners to join us for this free seminar on

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Rev. Paul A. Fleck has given us the Advance No. for donations which is #901670 and here is the link for more information regarding the Advance work in this



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Workshop 10:30 am to 3:30 pm with ½ hour lunch Please bring a lunch.

In saying “Love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus expressed a truth too often overlooked: we’re blessed or hindered in following Jesus by how we love ourselves. And the first step in loving ourselves suitably is understanding how God has uniquely gifted us. In a fun, non-threatening atmosphere, Dennis will lead participants to better understand themselves, appreciate differences in others, enjoy richer relationships, work smarter and fulfill their life’s purpose more creatively.

Utilizing the most widely employed personality assessment tool in America, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Dennis is experienced in helping Christians love and serve others better by knowing themselves better. Some good news in advance: There are no inferior types!

Rev. Dr. Dennis Winkleblack is a retired United Methodist pastor living in Simsbury, Connecticut.

In a 41 year ministry in the New York Conference, Dennis served 8 churches, was a district superintendent for seven years and served another seven years as Assistant to the Bishop.

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