The Meeting House, The Church & The People

 

 

Meetinghouse at Storrowton Village Museumcropped-Logo-200th-Copper-Hill-UMC-.jpg

Announcing a 200th Anniversary presentation at the Copper Hill United Methodist Church on Monday evening June 13 at 7:00 PM by Dennis D. Picard, Director of Storrowton Village Museum.

“As we attend services on Sunday or on a special holiday during the year, it is easy to look at our surroundings, and imagine our ancestors back through time might well have had the same experience. Come hear how just about everything we know has gradually evolved and changed over the centuries; from theology to even the buildings we call churches. It is an interesting and intriguing story.”

Dennis PicardDennis D. Picard has been a museum professional in the “Living History” field for over thirty-five years.  He began his career at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge Massachusetts, in 1978, where he eventually spent twelve years filling various positions including “lead interpreter” for the Richardson Parsonage, where he researched and designed many public programs which are still offered by that institution today.  He also is the recipient of various grants that allowed him to serve as project coordinator for research and implementation of programs and events at different sites.

Dennis, with his background in sociology and museum experience has authored many articles on the lifestyles and folkways of New England and has also served as a consultant for many Historical Societies and Museums.

Dennis Picard and early American crafters

He has held the position of Assistant Director and Director at several sites including Fort Number Four in Charlestown New Hampshire, the Sheffield Historical Society in the Massachusetts Berkshires and presently at Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Copper Hill Church participates in rail trail clean-up day

Part of our rail trail clean-up crew

Sunday April 17th was Rail Trail clean-up day in Copper Hill as a part of the larger effort organized by the Farmington Valley Trails Council.   While Lisa Griffin and Sheri Mandirola and children had participated last year, this year our church council voted to officially participate as a church and to list it on our church calendar.   So this past Sunday after church at least ten volunteers from our church, four adults and six children, helped with the annual clean-up effort.  We were assigned to the section from Phelps Road north to the state line.   The biggest hazard was from the bicycle traffic since it was a beautiful day.  It was a very pleasant section to walk and thankfully the amount of litter was small.  Pastor Kelvin spied just enough litter to put some trash in each child’s bag. Nancy took the attached pictures.  Griffin, Conner, Shannon, Anna, Ian and Parker did the work.

200th Anniversary Celebration Underway

Logo 200th Copper Hill UMC

 

Copper Hill Church founded in 1816

Our church has been planning and looking forward to this year for some time.  Two hundred years ago in 1816, six lay persons, Aristarchus Griffin, Seth Griffin and Calvin Gillet and their wives under the oversight of Rev. Billy Hibbard of the Granville Circuit organized Copper Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, as it was then called.

 

Two hundred days set for celebration

This year our church has chosen to designate a period of about 200 days in which to celebrate and remember the blessing of God upon our church over two centuries and the faithfulness of laypersons and clergy that has brought us to today.  We feel so privileged to be the generation that is here to celebrate this great milestone.   The key verse for the celebration is, “The Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Ps 100:5 NRSV).

 

 

For us it is not just a time to look back, though we will do lots of that as we remember together, it is also a time to look forward.   We believe that since God has allowed this church to stand firm for 200 years, he has purposes for its future too.   So as we prepared, we have also developed a Vision 2020 Plan to help point our way into the future we believe God has for us.

 

The celebration has begun

The logo above was designed by JoAnne Jones and approved by the 200th committee.  Please watch for items marked with that logo.

 

The 200 days of celebration commenced last Sunday and will continue through Sunday, October 23, 2016.  During this time we will host various special events and seek to publicize the history and work of our church.   Pastor Kelvin Jones is planning two sermon and service series that bookend the celebration.  The first series began last Sunday and is called “Foundations for 200 Years and Counting.”   It will continue through May 1.   On each of these Sundays there will also be a special emphasis and a testimonial by a church member on the topic, “What Copper Hill Church means to me.”    Last Sunday and tomorrow lay leader, Robert Loomis, is highlighting moments in our history.  Pastor Kelvin is including more interesting and relevant historical info as illustrations in the messages of this series.   Last week we read from an 1839 Bible.  This week we will read from an 1836 Methodist hymnal.

 

JoAnne Jones wrote a song some time ago that is especially fitting for church anniversaries.  This inspirational piece called, “Keep the Flame Burning” will be a featured part of the music.   Did you notice that Pastor Kelvin is growing a beard to commemorate the celebration too?

 

More to come

Please watch for more articles featuring special events such as the Victorian Lady Tea coming up May 15th  at 2 PM.   Watch for the logo noting 200th series events.

Brush fire behind our church today

Brush fire behind our church today

As our church council was deliberating at their meeting this afternoon, a neighbor, Les Martin, burst in asking us to move cars and announcing that there was a brush fire behind our church.  He had already called 911.

The building on the left in the picture is the St. Pauly clothing donation shed but the church is on the right, maybe 20-30 feet behind the camera.

Most people at the meeting went immediately to the parking lot to move cars away from the rear of the church.  Three stayed behind to pray, then also went out.  We formed a bucket brigade using large kitchen pots to put out the fire which was  spreading in the leaves of the hedgerow that winds south from the Southeast corner of our fellowship hall.  The dead stump was also on fire inside.    The picture above was taken when the bucket brigade had extinguished visible flame and before the firemen arrived.

The East Granby firemen arrived quickly with two trucks.  They tore the stump apart and thoroughly doused all the smoking hot spots.  The picture below shows three members working to be sure that the fire is completely out.  The cause of the fire is unknown.

East Granby firemen extinguish brush fire

We are thankful to God that there was no damage and thankful for our alert neighbor, Mr. Martin, who spotted the fire.  There was plenty of brush and in just a few more minutes the fire could have become extremely dangerous to our church.   We are also very thankful to God that it happened when we were having a meeting there so we could form a bucket brigade and fight the fire until the firemen could arrive.   We only have an afternoon Sunday council session once a quarter.

 

Lenten/Easter message series focuses on Jesus’ life

Close-ups reveal details

Close-up camera shots of things or people are very revealing.  They help us immensely to spot details that we might otherwise miss.  I have chosen this analogy because our goal in the Lenten Easter series of messages is to  look at passages in the Gospel account of Matthew that give us close-up pictures of Jesus.   We’ll look at some of the most revealing moments in his life and ministry, moments that reveal crucial details about who he was and what his ministry on earth was about.   The overall goal is to help us to be better followers of Jesus because we understand him better.   The first message in the series was on Ash Wednesday evening when we examined a lesser known fact of Jesus’ life, his denunciations of the religious leaders of his day for their hypocrisy.   This week, we’ll jump back to the beginning if his ministry and talk about why he decided to be baptized when he didn’t need it.

Close-ups of Jesus in Matthew
“The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matt. 20:28   NIV 2011
Date Message Scriptures Subject
Ash Wed. Feb. 10 Three Thoughts Christ Condemns Matt. 23:1-12 Jesus condemns hypocrisy.
March 6 God’s Message to Us at Jesus’ Baptism Matt. 3:13-17 God’s words reveal 3 things about Jesus
March 13 Jesus the Calling Christ Matt. 9:9-13 Jesus calls us to follow Him
March 20
Palm Sunday
Jesus, the Crucified Matt. 20:17-19,  28;  27:27-54 Jesus was crucified for us.
March 24
Maundy Thursday
Jesus Communes With Us Matt 26:17-30 Communion reminds us of Jesus’ Presence in the ordinary times.
March 27
Easter
The Risen Christ Matt. 28:1-10 Meeting the Risen Christ changes everything.
April 3 The Ascended Christ Matt. 28:16-20 Jesus’ ascension assures us.

We’re Praying for Another Divine Visitation

George Washington Praying at Valley Forge

 

Sometimes we are discouraged by the church’s decline

Sometimes we look around and are discouraged that the work of God seems to be in decline.   And it is not our imagination either.  One key indicator, though not the only one, is church attendance.  Stats show that the percentage of people attending church is down and that the regularity of attendance of those who attend is also down.   People in general feel that the church is losing its influence.  This is not the first time in US history this has happened.

But God has sent revival to the Granby area before

But the good news is that God has repeated visited our area and reversed the trend.   Here are three accounts of historical revivals in the Granby area that had marked positive effects upon the churches.   These are three actual accounts of Granby area revivals including quotes from eye-witnesses, accounts found in historical records.   I hope they will inspire us to believe that God is able to visit us again in the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

Jonathan Edwards 1741

Jonathan Edwards was one of America’s most accomplished intellectuals and theologians. Born in what is today South Windsor, CT, Edwards became a leader of New England’s first great awakening. His 1741 sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” first heard by throngs of believers in Enfield, CT is considered one of the most famous and influential ever delivered in the United States.  [http://connecticuthistory.org/people/jonathan-edwards/]

“We went over to Enfield where we met dear Mr. Edwards of Northampton who preached a most awakening sermon from these words, Deuteronomy 32:35, and before the sermon was done there was a great moaning and crying went out through ye whole House…. ‘What shall I do to be saved,’ ‘Oh, I am going to Hell,’ ‘Oh, what shall I do for Christ,’ and so forth. So yet ye minister was obliged to desist, ye shrieks and cry were piercing and amazing.” – Stephen Williams

In 1747, Jonathan Edwards joined the movement started in Scotland called the “concert in prayer,” and in the same year published An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Edwards_(theologian)]

East Granby 1814-1815

The reorganization of the Turkey Hills ecclesiastical society coincided with the religious reawakening that swept through Connecticut in the wake of what historians refer to as the age of “free thinking and free drinking.” In a July 1815 article on recent religious revivals, the “Connecticut Evangelical Magazine and Religious Intelligencer” lists Turkey Hills as one of the societies that “had been favored with special showers of grace.”

In the autumn of 1814, Mr. Nettleton commenced his labors in East Granby. This was a waste place. The moral condition of the people was exceedingly deportable. But God saw fit to turn again the captivity of Zion. Under Mr. Nettleton’s preaching, there was a very interesting revival of religion.  -Rev. Bennett Tyler

The effect of that revival upon the church, and upon the community, was most happy and lasting. The schoolhouse and private rooms were filled with trembling worshipers. A solemnity and seriousness pervaded the community, which had not been experienced for years before. – Rev. Jonas B. Clark

33 people joined the Congregational church during the year of the revival.

[East Granby: the Evolution of a Connecticut Town by Mary Jane Springman and Betty Finnell Guinan  pp. 117]

Copper Hill Church 1871

In the ministry of Lemuel Richardson, in 1871 there was an extensive revival of religion, attended with remarkable manifestations. The writer, at a single evening meeting in the church, which lasted from 7 o’clock until midnight, witnessed as many as 15 persons who became apparently unconscious. Some were stretched upon the floor; others were lying or being supported upon the seats. This visitation of “the Spirit” was regarded as a great blessing, and it certainly did strengthen the church in numbers. – Charles Horace Clark

[http://historicbuildingsct.com/?cat=273]

[Revival] gatherings often attracted so many people that they had to be held outdoors. When they lasted several days, the participants camped out nearby. Thus they became known as camp meetings. There were camp meetings at various locations near Copper Hill throughout the 19th century.

[East Granby: the Evolution of a Connecticut Town by Mary Jane Springman and Betty Finnell Guinan  pp. 127]

Praying for God’s Visitation Today

At Copper Hill Church we are praying and preparing for God to visit his people again.   As a part of this, this Sunday we will be participating in the second area united Grassroots prayer service.  This series of prayer services is a cooperative effort of our church, Life Church and West Granby United Methodist Church and the three pastors.   At 6 PM, March 6, we will be uniting in prayer at Life Church.  Each prayer service has a special emphasis.  The first one, held at Copper Hill, emphasized prayer for our country.   This coming service, hosted by Life Church, will emphasize prayer for our churches and for New England as a region.    A third one to be hosted by West Granby UMC is planned at a date to be announced.

 

 

 

 

Preparing for one cold Sunday

Below zero on thermometer.
Below zero on thermometer.

We do plan to hold worship this Sunday(Feb. 14) at Copper Hill Church.   However, we are planning to meet in the fellowship hall rather than the sanctuary because it is more efficient and effective to heat.   As most of you know we have struggled to get our heating in the sanctuary adjusted correctly to handle the cold.   So we decided in view of the sub-zero weather and wind chill predicted for this Sunday that we would just move into the rear hall which heats well. Folks should enter by either side door rather than through the front Sanctuary door.

Our sanctuary heating has been improved greatly.   We have added insulation overhead and we have installed an additional layer of storm window on the inside that one doesn’t even notice unless you are looking for it.  We have also replaced one row of heaters.  Nevertheless, we did not feel quite ready to challenge this bitter cold snap.    Our trustees continue to consider further enhancements.

The weather is predicted to improve markedly by next week so we plan to return to the sanctuary for next Sunday.

Characteristics of love are the topic for February

Characteristics of Real Love
Characteristics of Real Love

Love is a very popular subject all over the world.   Unfortunately in America,  the sexual aspect of human relationships dominates the conversation in a way that it should not.   The result is the statistically shown decreasing ability of the American populace to stay married.   So it is vital to review the characteristics of love that make for healthy and lasting relationships.  The Bible’s famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13,  is a great place to go for that review.  So for February, the month containing Valentines Day, at Copper Hill Church, our messages will be drawn from the heart of the love chapter and related passages.

What is Love? 
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Cor. 13:4-7 NRSV
Date Message Scriptures Subject
Feb. 7 Love is kind 1 Cor. 13:4, 5 Eph. 4:25-27 Dealing with  anger, and growing in forgiveness and thankfulness
Feb. 14 Love is respectful 1 Cor. 13: 5, 6
1 Peter 2:11-3:8
Respect involves listening and appreciating vs. controlling
Feb. 21 Love is hopeful 1 Cor. 13:7
Heb. 13:1
1 Peter 1:22
Love does not give up easily but expects good things
Feb. 28 Love is always active I John 3:14-20 Love is active in sharing ourselves and serving others