Last weekend I (without Kris) flew to Hartford CT to speak at First Church Wethersfield, and I said “without Kris” because I messed up with the tickets — well, I forgot to book any tickets. Having now confessed my inattentive stupidity, let me say a few things about a wonderful weekend.
First, and for anyone it would be first, the architecture of this early American, historic church — Jonathan Edwards attended this church in his school days and George Washington attended here once or so — was intimidating. I preached just under that sound board and I was above the folks in the pews and almost at eye level with the balcony. (The smaller area kept me from walking around, that’s for sure.)
Saturday morning (9-12) we had a Jesus Creed session with some Q and A, and it all ended with everyone thinking about issues they wanted the Lord to resolve. I had not seen this but they had some paper that dissolves in water immediately and folks wrote something on paper and then put it into a bowl of water, and with one little twirl with a stick the paper disappeared — to emphasize that God can resolve our concerns.
I was then kindly taken by Judy and Dick Franzen to the Mark Twain Home in Hartford. A real joy for me — but I have to say that house is one exotic place, but what does one expect of Twain? The evening dinner with folks in the Morgan Home at the church was special — everyone was asked to share a word for the year and I said “One.Life” (more about that someday on the blog). Someone made a pineapple dish … can’t even begin to describe how good it was.
Sunday morning I preached from Jesus Creed ideas, but focused on how James — brother of Jesus — urges us to practice the Jesus Creed by caring for orphans and widows.
But there’s all the personal stuff that makes trips like this so memorable. The church staff, including Deryk Richenburg, the new pastor, and Mike and Cindy McDowell guided us through the weekend — and Deryk had to give me some special directions so I wouldn’t fall out of the pulpit.
Alan Johnson invited me and his invitation letter, a typed letter (a rare occurrence these days), convinced us that this was an opportunity where we could bring what was needed. And Alan was my tutor about all things in the church, including regular bits of information about Jonathan Edwards — including a room in his honor in the Morgan Home.
I stayed at Walt and Anne Kelly’s home, and got to hear Walt’s amazing conversion story, enjoy discussions with Walt and Anne, and meet their three little dachsunds, and no one can forget little Annabelle. OK, the house was awesome and perched gently over the Connecticut River. I’d love to be there when their wildflowers are in bloom.
I could go on, but what I want to say is this: we’re figuring out a way to visit First Church at either a concert or Church holiday event. We’d love to participate in a worship service at First Church (and preaching doesn’t count the same way).