The Villager Voice ~ from Alan

(A moment of silence, please, for the demise of the real Village Voice, the venerable, pugilistic and once firmly counter-cultural New York newsweekly that ceased publication last week. In a day and age when honest, no-holds-barred journalism is under fire, the Voice’s voice will be sorely missed.)

It’s an overcast morning as I sit outdoors at the Villager, a handful of villagers sitting to my left weighing in on the issues of the day, and I think of a conversation I had a few days ago with Connecticut Conference Minister & President Kent Siladi as we sat together at The Wheat Market. We were talking about the local Chester scene - he was interested to hear about my Friday morning “Coffice Hours” and I told him, only half in jest, that I was thinking of doing the same thing at the Little House Brewing Company. (Not on Friday mornings, though...) And Kent made an observation that was almost an extension of last Sunday’s sermon, “Changing Times:” he noted the current trend in keeping things local - local breweries, yes, but also the farm-to-table movement, pop-up businesses and the small markets that towns like our own feature on weekend mornings. We like local, he said.

And then he noted how the church is naturally positioned to plug into this. What could be more local than the nearby house of worship? Particularly for us Congregationalists: in colonial Connecticut, before a town could incorporate, there first needed to be a Congregational church present, and clergy dominated the local legislature. (Gee, do you think there’s a cause-and-effect in there somewhere?) Being connected to the local community is a natural for us, and we at the United Church do this well. And I think of Jesus, who did his best ministry, not in temple or synagogue, but in the marketplace and neighborhoods and all the places people gathered.

Maybe this kind of local ministry isn’t such a new trend after all.

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