From the Backcountry

North Greenwich Congregational Church

Pastor’s Weekly Update

February 21, 2018

From the Backcountry…

“… and a little child shall lead them.”   Isaiah 11:6

Our congregation continues to stand with the people of Parkland, Florida who are suffering such unimaginable loss.  It is difficult to comprehend how a 19 year-old with a history of mental and disciplinary issues could purchase an AR-15 assault rifle, arrive at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in an Uber taxi carrying a large duffle bag, and within minutes murder 17 students and faculty members – and less than a month after a 15 year old opened fire on students at a Kentucky high school!  Parkland is being called “one of the worst massacres in modern U.S. history,” but that’s a meaningless designation given the carnage being regularly imposed on us.

Rev. John Dorhauer, UCC General Minister, released a moving statement in which he laments the growing anxiety that our schools are no longer safe and “no amount of response on our part seems to mitigate the likelihood that this will happen again.”   But, I was jolted out of my growing sense of hopelessness by the prophetic voice of Florida UCC Conference Minister, John Vertigan who scolds us that “thoughts and prayers” are not enough and that our faith demands activism and advocacy.

“It’s past time for the church to act,” Rev. Vertigan warns.  “It’s past time to stand up to the gun lobbies.  It’s past time to advocate for Jesus’ way of peace that can’t imagine how we as a nation can dwell in unity and do nothing to mitigate the availability of weapons that enable such rampant violence.”

Our faith does demand more than we are currently giving. I am heartened that the students of Stoneman Douglas High School are in the State Capitol demanding action from their legislators.  They seem profoundly poised and ready to speak truth to power.  As mothers and fathers, we have failed them.  It’s past time for us to stand aside and let our kids lead the way.

Rev. Royal Garren


 Holly Adams. Guest Minister

Holly Adams. Guest Minister

Sunday, February 25  Second Sunday in Lent  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:   Genesis 17: 1-7,15-16;  Romans 4: 13-25

Sermon:  “Day of Reckoning”     

We welcome the Rev. Holly Adams to the pulpit this weekend.  Holly retired as pastor of the UCC Church in Norwalk.  She has served as the Moderator of the Fairfield West Association.  You may remember Holly when she was a Chaplain in the skilled nursing facilities of Greenwich.  Holly received her divinity degree from Yale, holds an MSW degree from Fordham University, and did her undergraduate study at Smith College.  


Greenwich World Hunger

Remember that our Lenten Mission Offering will be donated to Greenwich World Hunger to support Proyecto Vamos Adelante.   My” up-close-and-personal article” on founder and director Nina Jorgenson can be found  in the “Wider Mission” section of the Outreach link on our website.  Checks can be made out to NGCC and please earmark them for “Mission.”   The Offering will be dedicated on Palm Sunday, March 25.

Lenten Book Study

The study group will gather on Thursday, March 1 at 6:00 p.m. for a soup supper.  We will be discussion Chapters 1 and 2 in the “Stop, Look and Listen for God” section of Frederick Buechner’s The Remarkable Ordinary.

Have a Holy Lent,


Road Rules:  “Know complexity, but hold on to simplicity.   Know sound, but hold on to silence.  Know action, but hold on to stillness.   Know knowledge, but hold on to innocence.  Know the manifestations, but hold on to mystery.    Lao Tzu