Simon’s Says

My colleague The Rev. Alex Shea Will, an Associate Conference Minister for the UCC’s Southern New England Conference, recently shared an article about what makes for healthy and vital small churches.  If you’d like to read the whole thing (it’s pretty brief), the link is here:

In summary, the unidentified writer lists three characteristics of vital small congregations: the power of relationships, the ability to focus in on one or two signature ministries, and healthy partnership with their clergy.

A small congregation can assimilate new people more easily, the article suggests, because we sit at a small table where newcomers are readily identified.  I will add that this can be both a plus and a minus:  it is great to be able to welcome new folks into our midst, but that welcome can go dangerously overboard if we start asking them to sing in the choir or join the Trustees on their second visit – and trust me, it happens!  But new folks often feel at home much more quickly in a smaller church than a larger one.

The small church is also free to focus on its strengths.  In larger churches, the temptation is strong to try to be all things to all people, thereby diluting the pool of gifts and skills unique to that congregation.  But by focusing on a few things a church does well – let’s say, outreach, music and Sunday worship – the church can maximize its resources and nail what it does best.

And finally, partnering with their clergy really means the congregation is doing the work of the congregation.  Such ministries as visitation, committee work, community relations and denominational collaboration can be done by those who have both gifts and interests in those directions, leaving the clergy to focus on whatever their own strengths and interests are.

In my estimation, our United Church does quite a good job in each of these categories.  Take a look at the article and let me know what you think.

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United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT 06412. (860) 526-2697


From the North: Take CT Route 9 South to Exit 8 (old exit 6) (CT 148). Turn left; we are 1 mile on the right.


From the South: Take CT Route 9 North to Exit 8 (old exit 6) (CT 148). Turn Right; we are .8 miles on the right.

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Church Office:

Tuesday - Friday 9-1


Minister's Hours:

Wednesday  - Friday



Mailing Address:  

Post Office Box 383, Chester, CT 06412


Physical Address:  

29 West Main Street, Chester, CT 06412





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