Welcome to the Orange Congregational Church. We are a Christian congregation located in the heart of Orange, Connecticut. For over 200 years, our welcoming congregation has shared faith, worship, mission and fellowship. We invite you to join us for Sunday worship, or to visit us on the Green.
Associate Minister's Message - May 21, 2013
Greetings to you all on this Monday before Memorial Day Week-end.
What a week-end we’ve had! How I give thanks for those who offered their time and talents in so many ways. The weather on Saturday morning was spectacular which meant the turn-out for the PF Tag Sale was significant. The Town Green across from the church was filled with people bringing out their treasures to share with others, and the youth arrived to help the adults with the managing of the sales of our items and a variety of food. It was a huge success and a delight as a full rainbow around the sun hovered above us throughout the day. Then several of us had the joy of preparing the sanctuary to perform the wedding ceremony for Julie Monteagudo and Andrew Jaensch, the eldest son of Mary and Michael Jaensch.
Sunday, being Pentecost Sunday, was a day of special worship at the 8:00 AM Chapel service as well as the Children’s Day Celebration at 10:00 AM under Pam’s guidance. We give thanks for the many gifts of the teachers and helpers who helped make this year such a success. Red was seen everywhere as we rejoiced with the gift the Holy Spirit among us. During the evening, Beth was with 16 people at Bertucci’s to celebrate the graduation of our Senior PF youth. Suzanne pitched in throughout the week-end in various roles as she witnessed the events that the staff helps to create each May. Renee Bollier and I then led the closing of this year’s Confirmation Class in the evening and we have 11 choosing to join our Congregation on June 2. Please mark your calendars for that 10:00 AM service of celebration for their year-long work and choice to join us in our ministry as the body of Christ here in Orange.
This morning, I had the privilege and joy of my morning ritual walk at the West Haven Veteran’s Park. I watched as the town crew was working on the pathways that were damaged by the winds and waters of Hurricane Sandy last fall. Many of us have walked these broken paths over the past 7 months and it is a relief and joy to know that they are being repaired in time for the Memorial Day Celebrations. This morning, I stood at the markers for each of the major global wars, and couldn’t help but think of the brokenness of human relationships that led to those events. I stood and remembered Jesus’ words, “Love your enemies.” How hard it is for us as the human race to figure out how to overcome our differences and live in the ways of peace! Yesterday I offered one piece in my sermon to which many people have responded, words that speak to our challenges as humans to walk with one another, especially when other people irritate usJ
This quote was posted on Facebook and unfortunately the author is unknown: “Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of …messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering."
I’ve had moments when guides on my journey have encouraged me to remember – that those who irritate me the most are actually a gift to me so that I could learn the ways of deeper and compassionate love! Little did I know! They are serving as a mirror to me so that I can learn to embrace that part of me that I may not want to recognize …and as I do, then I’m fulfilling Christ’s teaching, “Love your enemies.” It’s not the ones on the outside who are our real enemies. It’s those within ourselves, to whom Jesus was calling us to pay attention, so that we could each walk into wholeness and the true meaning of compassionate love and offer a different way of living in this world! For as we experience it within ourselves, we can’t help but celebrate that joy and invite others into hearing about the transformative experience for themselves. As Jesus was offering his last message to his disciples he invited them to always remember: “Love one another and love your neighbor as yourself.” Those powerful words of Jesus truly call us into the fullness of who we can be. May God’s Spirit guide us and bless us all this day as we live into those words and let Christ’s light shine through us and be seen so that those who walk in darkness may see the light and come and join us as we walk together as people of faith. May God’s grace and love and peace bless us all this day, Lee
A Prayer from Ruth Duck
Creator God, It is in our lives that we become aware of your life. It is in the rhythms of the world
that we hear your pulse, your breathing, your footsteps. We have built this house of worship not as a vault to contain you but as a reminder of the sanctuary that is the whole world you have made,
not because this is the ONLY place we find you,
but because here we are reminded to look for you
on the sidewalks we pass, the highways we travel,
the rooms in which we live, the sky and the sea and the land which embrace us and tickle our senses,
but even more than this in the eyes we meet, the hands we hold, the human stories that we hear and tell...
there is where we find you the nearest, the most real.
We hold a newborn child in our arms, and sense that we are embracing God.
We listen to music, and sense that we are listening to the language of heaven.
We dance, and sense that we have experienced the fullness of prayer.
It is in our lives that we know you are alive.
We thank you for the lives you have given us,
for the senses which are ours through which to experience life, and for our human souls which reach out toward you, even now.