Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Take a Vet Fishing...

Our church has a new program that is rapidly growing. It is the Veterans Outreach program. It is also known as the "Take a Vet Fishing" project. This program brings Veterans who are blind or struggling with PTS to Killiams point or other water front locations to fish with them for the day.

The leaders of this program go out of their way to make sure that these Vets have the best of times. They also go out of their ways because they are the ones picking them off and dropping them off at the VA in West Haven.

Because this is a growing program the money that is needed is a significant sum. We have been having many fundraisers like a car wash and a pasta dinner. The program is hoping to get a few grants and many donations for this upcoming season.

Mission Trip to Harlan Kentucky

In 2007, the church youth mission trip was to Abbyvillie Louisiana again. We work on some of the same sites and got to spend time with the same people. It was I great experience and I cant wait to go back.

Last summer, the summer of 2008, we went to Harlan Kentucky and worked with the people from C.O.A.P. This was a completely different experience. I got to meet and talk to some locals, I learned a lot about the way they live and how different to culture is.

Some of the work was the same, but at the same time it was different. I got to show off my skills on the roof. The work site I was on re-shingled a roof in 4 days. Because of this we also got to go help out on a different work site to finish building the structure of a house.

Fall of 2008

Every year, sometime in the fall, there is one sunday that is completely dedicated to Ecuador in our church. The sermon is written about the mission trip. The prayers are given in honor of those who we help. And multiple of the participants who go down to Ecuador to build take part in this service.

This past fall, instead of Gary, the senior minister, giving the sermon like he usually would. He had four of the participants give the sermon. We each had a different part to write and talk about and each thing fit us in its own special way and we were all able to put together a great service.

Abby(Gary's younger daughter) talked about the overall trip, how it got started and what it means to her and everyone who is a part of it.

Chris(who spent his entire summer teaching in Ecuador) talked about the education and tutoring program and why it is so important that we do as much as we can for these kids.

Vanessa(studying to become a minister) talked about social justice and the effects that going on this trip for the first time in years had impacted her.

Megan(Me) talked about family, and what she thought that family meant in Ecuador and how it was different then here.

This was my portion of the sermon...

Galatians 5:14

“The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself””

When you hear the word neighbor…what is the first thing that comes into your mind? Is it oh yeah, my neighbor I met him that one time. I went out to get the mail and he was mowing the lawn. Or is it more like… My neighbor?? Don’t even get me started about him, I can’t stand him, he always lets his dog run across my beautiful cut lawn. Or from the teenagers’ point of view, I hate my neighbor! She always calls the cops on me…well I guess my music was a little too loud.

Well … when someone in guasmo hears the word neighbor (or should I say…) a few things will come to their minds. No…not what’s his name again, or thanks for the sugar. But they think of love, compassion, hospitality, friendship, and of course…family.

That’s what the people in this project are to each other…a family. Sure, they aren’t all related, but they may as well be. Because that is how they treat each other. Not as neighbors like we would consider it. But as a caring community

We are so used to living in a community where we hardly no one another. So coming from a place where you could be walking down your street and no one even looks at you to the way they are in guasmo…was really a great thing to experience. Every person that they passed by on the street knew them and would greet them with a “hello…how are you” well, I mean “holacomo estas?” Even if they didn’t know me, I would get greeted too. Each day… they would smile and say hello.

Family is by far my favorite part of this trip, and not only the family that I lived with, but also all the families as a whole. They are all so different but they all show the same great love towards one another… and towards all the participants.

I love going on this trip because how welcome my family, and all of the familys make me feel. From the moment I stepped off the plane last year, my first year, to this very second. I feel like I am a part of that Ecuadorian family… and it is the best feeling ever.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

October 26th, 2008

At this time, may I call your attention to those listed on page 4 in the bulletin, please keep there names, and there families, in your prayers throughout the week.

Now let us remember the prayers we hold in our hearts….

Dear God, in times like these we often forget to show how much we love one another, and our love for you. We look for the easiest way out, and even if it may hurt someone else to get there, we often take this path

Lord, this is not who we are, so we ask of you to please stay with us we try to overcome our countries current crisis. We need you here to remind us that even though the election is around the corner that we must always be honest with ourselves, with others, and with you, oh lord.

We ask for your forgiveness for we have not forgotten how to love. But I am sure it must seem that way. Please help us through this great time of need, and stay with those who need you most. We know we have wronged, and we ask you to make us right.

We thank you for being hear with us today, we feel your presence and we know that you are among us. God, we thank you for you’re giving us your overwhelming love and teaching us how to love one another. Thank you for you grace, for your forgiveness, and for you patients.

With the college search hanging over the heads of almost all high school seniors, we truly do wish our parents had a little bit more of your patients. However, we know they understand because they have been there before, and we know they just want what’s best for us.

Help us to remember those in need, on this morning, those around the world, and those in our own neighborhoods. For sometimes Lord, we forget that there are many people in our own community, even in our church family that needs our prayers.

Let us at this time remember all of those serving our country over seas right now, and those who have served our country in war, the Veterans, for they have greatly helped our country get to where we are today. Have them feel a sense of peace and connection with you.

We ask all these things and so many more in the name of Jesus Christ, our risen savior, who taught us to pray…

Summer of 2008

Last summer Theresa, the youth minister, and I were talking. She brought up the question of how she should tell the congregation about out very sucessful mission trip to Kentucky and how to introduce the fact that we will be going to Maine this summer. I told her that I thought it would be nice if insted of her giving the sermen, if she had 4 or 5 youth memebers speak about what the mission trips meant to them, and then she could show the slide show that was genously made by one of the kids on the trip.

Well, I guess she liked that idea.. this was what I wrote and read...

This year was my third year going on these mission trips. I knew from the start that once I went the first year, I wouldn’t be able to stop. Each year when I got home, I would always get ask the same question from family, friends, and the congregation. “How was the trip?” and I always give a short answer back, like it was so much fun or it was great. I have never gotten the time to really tell anyone how the trip was. Until now.

There were a few things that changed this year on the Kentucky trip that made it much different from the Louisiana trip. First off, we drove, 16 hours, and about 12 hours in, everyone lost cell phone service, and it stayed that way. Because no home had that immediate connection back home, we all got to get closer on this trip

I was lucky enough last year to help with the planning of the trip. But when it was time to get to the workgroups I had to look the other way. Because Theresa knew exactly where I wanted to be. Each year we have 4 or 5 smaller workgroups with around 15 people on each site. We have done various things like redoing a bathroom in Louisianan, demolishing a house, putting in installation, and there is always painting to do. But there was one site that we had each year that I never got to be a part of. And Theresa told me I never would because of how easily and how often I get injured, but this year I got up there. I was on a roofing site.

The top of that roof was hot, really hot. On one of the days it was over 130 degrees. And I’m not exaggerating. We checked, we brought up one of those huge outdoor thermometers to the top of the roof and 5 minutes later realized that we broke it. The max temp. was 130, and it was starting to go back around again.

Our workgroup got that roof re-shingled in time to go help another one of the worksites. They were putting up the frame for a new house. By the time we got there they were finishing up the walls and getting to the roof, so I got on two roofs this year. And Thresa told me I would never even get on one.

Easter Prayer 2008

The Easter Service is always a very special service for our church because it is held at the ever so beautiful Killiams Point property that is owned by our church. This service was the first time I got to be liturgist for one of our ministers, Vance.

Dear God,

Thank you so much for being with us as we celebrate this day, the re- birth and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ.

For we are grateful for his presence, for today was the day he rose from the dead to save us from our sins.

We thank you dear lord for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. For today is a day of great remembrance, the remembrance of why you gave us this gift, to save us.

You have eternally blessed us, so please be with us while we do our best to pass on your blessings to others. And may those blessings begin right now, to all those with us this morning, to all those who could not be here, those named and unnamed. Those known to all, and to those only known in our hearts.

This morning as we sit and worship at such a beautiful wondrous place much like the Sea of Galilee, may we keep in our prayers all of those who do not have such place for worship.

May we remember those who will be without family and friends on this Easter morning, to all those who will be missing them. And to those who have had a great loss and will be spending this Easter without their loved one for the first time. Stay with them Lord, keep them strong…

Let us not only pray for individuals, but communities as wholes, countries as wholes. God, please be with all towns and cities in the world struggling to get by, the homeless and sick, the starving children…and the parents doing all the can to give them the love and care they need survive.

Finally oh lord, we pray for the earth, for this is a place like no other, a place that can be full of love and compassion. A place with beautiful lakes, rivers, oceans, gardens, forests, and people. Thank you dear God, for without you, we would be without all of this.

We ask all these things and so many more in the name of Jesus Christ, our risen savior, who taught us to pray…

Our Father, who art in heaven,hallowed be thy name.Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heavenGive us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our trespasses,as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. for ever and ever. Amen

Prayer of Dedication

We are here today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savoir. Three days ago he died on the cross to save us from our sins, we mourned as he got carried to the tomb. However, today is our day to rejoice. We promised we would follow you, we promised we would serve you, and that we will.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

March 30th 2008

This morning let us take time to pray for those in our church family who have asked for our prayers, you may find these names on page 5 in your bulletin. Let us especially remember the family of Rev Caulfluid. Let us now take time in silence to remember the prayers we hold in our hearts.

Let us continue on with prayer...

Dear Lord,

Please forgive us for we have sinned we need you help throughout this day as we ask for your forgiveness. We know we have wronged, and we ask you to make us right.

We thank you for being hear with us today, we feel your presence and we know that you are among us. God, we thank you for your forgiveness and teaching us how to forgive

May we remember those who will be without family and friends on this morning, to all those who will be missing them. And to those who have had a great loss in the family. They need you now Lord, more then ever, please stay with them, keep them strong.

Help us to remember those in need, those around the world, and those in our own backyards. For sometimes Lord, we forget that there are many people in our own community, even in our church community that needs our prayers.

God, please be with all towns and cities all over the world struggling to get by, the homeless and sick, the starving children…and the parents doing all the can to give them the love and care they need survive. They need us Lord.

Let us at this time remember all those who have served our country in war, the Vetrens, for they have greatly helped our country get to where we are today. Have them feel a sense of peace and connection to you.

We ask all these things and so many more in the name of Jesus Christ, our risen savior, who taught us to pray…

Our Father, who art in heaven,hallowed be thy name.Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heavenGive us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our trespasses,as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. for ever and ever. Amen

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chirstmas Prayar 2007

God, thank you for giving us your son. May you be with us as we celebrate his birth.

Thank you lord for blessing us as we remember those who are less fortunate, who will remain in our prayers on this Christmas Eve.

Thank you for giving us the Christmas tree that reminds us of the trinity.

And for showing us your everlasting love through the never-ending wreath.

Also for the angels who announced the birth of your son.

We thank you lord for giving us a clear night tonight so we can all leave here looking up at the stars in the sky and into heaven to remind us of the night our savior was born

And for blessing the stable in which Jesus was born because it reminds us that he was born not only for the rich, but also for the poor.

Lord, we also thank you for Staint Nicholas who gave gifts to the poor each year.

Please be with us tomorrow morning. And stay with us upon opening up our gifts and presents that Santa left us. To help us to remember the birth of your son. Our savior Jesus Christ, the true meaning of the day…

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Midnight Run.

Ten kids, 6 adults, 5 vans, tons of clothes, blankets and food, all on there way to N.Y.C. in the middle of the night. This may sound weird to some, but to others, it sounds like the midnight run.

This "midnight run" is not a run as most would first assume. It is a one night trip to New York City where volunteers hand out donated used clothes (still in good condition) to those living on the streets. We pack the vans tight with shirts and sweatshirts, jeans and dress pants, suits, socks, heavy jackets, multiple varieties of packed lunches, blankets, and toiletry items such as: soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

The program has a leader stationed in NYC who comes with us on all of the runs. We have certain designated stops we go to where we pass out the donated articles.

Our church begins the collection about a month or so before the trip, we ask for any old clothes. And all new soaps and other toiletry items. The week of the trip we all take a shift and sort threw all of the clothes by what they are and by there size. On the day of the trip all the volunteers meet at the church 3 hours before we leave. The group puts all the clothes into bins and pack them into the vans. We also spend a lot of this time putting together all of the care packages and making all of the sandwiches.

Once we are ready to leave the church it is about 8 o' clock or 9 and it is about 11 by the time we get there. And by the time we are finished it is 4A.M. When we get back to the church it is about 6 in the morning and everyone is ready for bed. But everyone also knows how worth it it was to lose that night of sleep.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saying No...?

My church has been running summer camps for many years. Most of the camps are bible study camps also know as VBS (vacation bible school). All of these summer camps are held at Killiams Point. When I was younger I would go to these week long day camps and had a lot of fun at them. One of my clearest memory's was swimming across the bay and going to a little island. We did this as a large group with all of our consulars. The consulars were mainly devoted teenagers (who wanted community service hours) and the loving parents (excluding Bing Miller) who did all that they could to make sure that the young campers had a fun week.

However, there was another camp that was not part of VBS that has been run by our church. I had nothing to do with this camp; aside from baking hundreds of cookies with my mother for the campers. This camp is call Camp Totukett. It is a day camp that runs one week every summer for inner city children with AIDS in their families.

My freshmen year I was asked by my youth minister (Theresa Borchetta) to be a mentor for a camper at this camp. I can't exactly re-call why I said no. It may have been because I was away that week, or because I had a previous commitment. All I can remember is that I said no... and that I continued to say no for the next two years.

This past summer, something changed my mind. I skipped out on a potentially very fun trip to Lake George and became a part of this day camp. I had never gone to a meeting, and I had never met a current camper. I was paired up with a timid young girl who clung to me like glue.

After the camp was over, I regretted not doing it for the past three years. I was a great experience and I wish I never said no.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My First Mission Trip...

For as long as I can remember, my church has been going on work labor mission trips (like habitat for humanity). I have been waiting until it would finally be my turn to go. In years past the group had been going to West Virginia to build a house.

My first trip was in June of 2006, the summer after hurricane Katrina and Rita took place. Because of the natural disaster that had put the whole country into turmoil, our church youth mission group decided to make the change and go to Louisiana where we knew that our work was greatly needed.

Abbeyvillie Louisiana was the destination of our trip. A couple hours on an airplane and a four hour drive later, we were there. All sixty of us hammer ready workers, ranging in age from 8 to 58.

We got broken up into about 5 different work groups and by the time the trip was over we worked on 6 work sites. Some of which included, but not limited to:

-painting walls
-putting up porches
-painting porches
-demolishing a bathroom
-power washing a muddy house
-putting up a new bathroom
-painting the new bathroom
-trying to talk in southern accents
-painting the power washed house

And much much more.

These work groups weren't decided by just a flip of the coin. We were all asked to fill out an evaluation sheet many months before in which we were asked to label our construction skills from 1 to 5. One being never done it before, to absolutely horrific at it. Five being, do it everyday, and are amazingly awesome at it...basically pro. I along with my friends took this somewhat seriously and put what we honestly thought we were. We also thought we could "beat the system" by putting all the same numbers for each category to end up on the same work sites... it worked.

My evaluation sheet looked something like this:

painting: 1 2 3 4 5
spackling:1 2 3 4 5
roofing:1 2 3 4 5
using a saw:1 2 3 4 5
using a hammer:1 2 3 4 5
using power tools:1 2 3 4 5
basic construction skills:1 2 3 4 5

Lucky for me, I wasn't stuck with the painting like a was expecting to be. I got to insulate a trailer and re-do the bathroom. However, it was a close call and I learned not to really put a 5 for painting.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Becoming A Deacon...

The March before my confirmation I was approached by a women that I recognized from the church community, but who I didn't know. She told me her name, she also told me that she was the senior deacon for the church and asked me if I would like to join the board after my confirmation in the spring. When I heard this news my response wasn't as immediate as I wish I had made it. I told her thank you for asking me and that I would think about it..

The truth was that I had no idea what a deacon was or what they are supposed to do. As soon as I got home I "googled" it. I found out a lot of useless information about what deacons do and the importance of them to the church. Yet I still didn't understand why I was asked to be one...

A few days later I got a call from my church from Gary, one of my ministers. He helped me to decide that becoming a deacon would be a great move for me, and that I would be a great addition to the group. He told me that all the deacons voted about letting me on board and that the vote was unanimous.

That sealed my decision. I became a deacon. Now, I am serving my third term and loving it. I definitely made the right decision.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


In the beginning..
When you open up the bible the first three words you will find are "In the beginning..." From the book of Genesis chapter one, the story of creation. Well, that was my beginning, my story of creation. And my story starts out something like this...

"Megan, do you really want to be here?" -Rev. Gary Smith

"What do you mean?"-Me
"Do you really want to be confirmed, become a part of this church?"-Rev. Gary Smith
"Why?"- Rev. Gary Smith
"Uh... I don't know.."-Me
"Then why are you here?"- Rev. Gary Smith
"Because I want to be confirmed."-Me
"Think about it. And give me a real answer."-Rev. Gary Smith

That is what I did. From my first day of confirmation and on, it was the only thing on my mind. My faith, my thoughts, my beliefs, and my future life in the church were my true focus. We were required to write an essay before we were to be confirmed. This essay was to show why we thought we should be confirmed and basically what we believed in.

The essay was due on his desk by Easter morning. He had told us to start it early, he asked us to bring in rough drafts, and he said he would offer any help that we needed. But me, being who I am didn't do any of those things. I started my essay Easter morning after the Easter brunch that I served at, and the Easter service that I ushered at.

The time was 11:15 A.M., time time I finish was 11:56 A.M. I poured everything that I could possibly think of about my faith into that essay. I finally answered his question, and my own, why I wanted to be confirmed...

He told me it was one of the best confirmation essays he had ever read. Him saying that meant a lot to me. And that definitely gave my story of creation a great "In the beginning.."

...the best part is, I handed in my paper on time :)

The Past...

In a way... my religious journey could be traced all the way back 18 years ago when I was first baptised into my faith. But for the sake of rambling and for saving time, I think it would be best to stick with the last 4 years. However, I will quickly share those first 14 years.

I hated the idea of going to church, as most young children of that age most likely do. They would much rather be sleeping in on Sunday mornings, or watching TV with a big bowl of Fruit Loops sitting on their laps. That was me. I was that kid who would fight with their mother about staying home. And to make my church experience so much better... my mother didn't even go up to church with me.

For the past ten years my mother has been volunteering in the nursery at our church. That is where I would beg to go every Sunday, down to the nursery with her to help take care of the babies. I would skip out on church, on Sunday school, and I would never go to receive communion. I would hide down in the nursery with my mother. But she insisted for me to be confirmed into the church.

And that is where it all began...