Over the weekend this year’s Discipleship Class (Ava, Ryan, Victoria, Elliot, Evan, and Jack; Mentors Sue and Kurt; and Co-Leaders Nicole and yours truly) attended the UCC Confirmation Retreat held at Silver Lake Camp.  We were joined by youth, mentors, and pastors from the Mystic Congregational Church UCC in Mystic and Lordship Community Church in Stratford.  The leader of our retreat was Rev. Cheryl A. Caronna who did a fabulous job walking our group through the six vital themes of faith in the UCC:
  • We listen for the still speaking God
  • We are one at baptism and at the table
  • We belong to Christ
  • We are people of the covenant 
  • We are people of God’s extravagant welcome
  • We thank God by working for a just and loving world
Events like this annual retreat always make me happy because it connects our church to the wider church.  Sometimes we operate like lone rangers, focusing on our autonomy in the local church.  We do that so much that we forget about the idea of covenant, that we are in relationship with neighboring churches, our entire denomination (and the ABC too), not to mention we belong to Christ above all!  So it’s good to get out of our small town for a weekend and be with fellow Christians who are also on this journey of Discipleship, remembering that we aren’t alone on our faith journeys.

That message got brought home in a new way this time around when all of us headed into the woods to participate in a low ropes course that was all about team building and communication.  Some of the group participated in an exercise about communication where they had to balance on a narrow log and arrange themselves in birth order from January to December without talking.  The group I was in participated in an exercise called whale watch where we were on a giant wooden seesaw of sorts and had to arrange ourselves so that the fulcrum allowed us to be perfectly balanced.  We arranged ourselves all over the wooden planks, stood up, sat down, and attempted to balance ourselves as a group.  And we succeeded!  Our leader, Alex, told us to just sit and enjoy the balance we achieved and she timed us as we passed the time in balance telling jokes, singing songs, and attempting to solve a riddle.  Those minutes spent balancing as a group were wonderful because it’s good to realize that we truly do belong to one another and we can achieve a great deal together. 

Pastor Lauren

(This Week’s Thoughts 11.21.19)