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Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak visit to West Newbury Congregational Church

posted Mar 11, 2012, 5:47 PM by Al Gallant
Greetings Members & Friends,

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Dear VTCUCC:

 

One of the things I have been thinking about recently is what makes a congregation - alive, vital, filled with the Spirit. Too often those who speak about congregational vitality assume that vitality is associated with size and with an increase in membership. But, is size really the best measure of vitality?

 

This past Sunday I had the privilege of worshipping with the Congregational UCC Church in West Newbury. As soon as I walked in the door, I had a sense that something good was happening. But, what exactly, made this church feel so ... alive?

 

There was a clear connection beyond the walls of the church. There were pictures, prayers and stories about their partners in Zimbabwe. Along with this, there was both an understanding of and concern for the challenges these neighbors faced in their lives and faith. There were also prayers for a congregational member on his way to film a documentary in the Dominican Republic. The narthex was filled with canned goods awaiting transport to the local food shelf. It was clear that both as individuals and as a congregation these people were living out their faith in some wonderful ways!

 

A sense of healthy relationships accompanied by welcoming newcomers. It was clear that the members of this church know, like and care about each other. Many of them even go out to lunch together each Sunday following worship! At the same time, I was warmly welcomed. It wasn't simply that people said hello, but also that they took the trouble to ask questions about my life and listen with genuine attentiveness.

 

Being a part of their Association, Conference and the UCC was clearly evident and important to them.During worship as the recent tornadoes in the Midwest and South were lifted up, so was information about support from the national UCC for those regions as well as from Church World Service. A reminder was affirmed by the congregation of the importance of the work they do assembling health kits and clean-up kits for CWS. The upcoming Association workshop day was announced with evident enthusiasm and support.

 

All this life, all this vitality in a church with a total membership of 66! Here in the Vermont Conference we are blessed with vitality and need to share our stories near and far.

 

So, what do you think makes a church vital, alive? How do you know? Please join the discussion at: vermontconferenceucc.wordpress.com.

 

Blessings on your Lenten journey,

 

Lynn

Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak

Conference Minister  

 

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