By the weekend before Thanksgiving, retail locations across the country have all but given over their decorations to Christmas. Some offer Hanukkah and other holiday displays. A few even make a gesture toward Thanksgiving with hints of brown, orange, turkeys, and Pilgrims. Trucks filled with Christmas trees were traveling highways, and early Sunday afternoon there were at least two cars in the parking lot of Blue Colony Diner with pine trees strapped to their roofs, presumably headed toward a home to be decorated. But on Sunday evening, to the notes of Ralph Vaughn Williams’s “Rhosymedre,” nearly 200 people entered the sanctuary of St Rose of Lima Church for an Interfaith Thanksgiving Gathering.
The Newtown/Danbury unit of Church Women United joined World Community Day celebrations “going on internationally,” local unit president Darlene Jackson said on November 8, addressing those who gathered in the meeting room of C.H. Booth Library. Mrs Jackson offered the Welcome and Invocation last Saturday morning, saying Church Women United is “a group concerned with social justice, the environment, world peace, and looking to see if we can have some influence on any of that.” The third and final program of the year being presented by the Newtown/Danbury unit, like those happening around the world last weekend, followed the theme of “Through God Our Hands Can Heal.” Local organizers chose to invite someone who would speak about personal experiences with healing, and reached out to Newtown resident Diane Leaman, a longtime volunteer for Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut.
For the fourth time in as many years, Newtown will be holding an Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service. The event was resurrected by Newtown Clergy Association in 2011, and has continued each November since. There will be representation from many faiths for the ecumenical service of thankfulness to be presented at St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, 40 Church Hill Road. It will begin at 7 pm on Sunday, November 23. An offering received during the service will be given to FAITH Food Pantry.
The Newtown/Danbury unit of Church Women United is planning its annual World Community Day celebration. This year’s event will be Saturday, November 8, at C.H. Booth Library. World Community Day is a celebration that brings attention to ways that all can be the Body of Christ throughout the world.
At Every Turn, a two-part choral piece with text the Reverend Gregory J. Wismar, former pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Newtown, and music by Professor David vonKampen of the University of Kansas, was published in April by Concordia Publishing House. The musical tune is called “Newtown.” Every tune has a story, Rev Wismar explained. “In church music shorthand, every tune in a hymnal has a name, and there is an art and science to those names,” he said. The melody “Newtown” is rooted in this place, a response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. It is a simple melody, said Rev Wismar, and in that simplicity lies its beauty. The words are inspired by the Bible passage Romans 14:8, and were written with that tragic day in mind, he said. Although Rev Wismar had retired the previous year, he was closely affected by 12/14.
It was a full house in the Great Room of Newtown Congregational Church, Friday evening, October 17, as members and friends of the congregation gathered for food and reflections on the church’s 300th anniversary, being celebrated this year. Photo albums and two slideshows gave dinner guests ample opportunity to explore the church’s more recent past, and in two brief talks during the course of the evening, Reverend Matthew Crebbin addressed the early years of the Newtown Congregational Church and its growth over three centuries. Three hundred years ago, remarked Rev Crebbin, the church’s senior pastor, residents probably gathered in a private home to worship.
For anyone who has ever thought about becoming Catholic, St Rose of Lima Parish offers adults a path for doing just that. RCIA — the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults — is the process by which adults become members of the Roman Catholic Church. RCIA will begin with a Period of Inquiry starting Thursday, October 30.
Jesse Rebar, a member of Newtown Bible Church, has earned certification as a Biblical Counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). ACBC now has three certified counselors listed in Connecticut, including Mr Rebar.
A 300th Anniversary Harvest Dinner on Friday, October 17, will conclude Newtown Congregational Church’s tercentennial celebrations. The event will begin at 6 pm in The Great Room at the church, 14 West Street. Tickets are $15 per person and are available at the church office. Capacity is 150 people, so time is running out to purchase a ticket to reserve a seat for the catered roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings by LeReine’s Cuisine. Pumpkin pie is being provided for dessert. Former pastors and friends will be honored and entertainment planning is in the works.
The cable television program Unity in Diversity can be viewed on Charter CommunityVision channel 21 Mondays at 12:30 pm and Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. The program features interviews with prominent pastors, rabbis, imams and other spiritual leaders of a variety of local faith communities.