The Little Church that Could
In 1762, the people who gathered to form this church in the feeding hills of greeter Springfield saw their purpose as that of providing a place where "the Gospel may be preached amongst us here," The financial base was every tax payer In the community, yet, by the time the colonists broke from the British Empire, there wasn't enough coming in to fulfill their contract with the Pastor, the Rev. Mr. Griswold. Times were hard for the whole community, including their community church.
The war finally came to its end, and the new country to its beginning, but as prosperity slowly returned, the community spirit that had led the church to be founded had fractured. One after another, new congregations became established. The founders' vision that we would be a church for the whole community seemed to be out of date.
But something of that original beating pulse still runs through our veins. Now, we are the only church that offers God's grace to all, just as they are, to hear the Good News of the Gospel. All have sinned, yes, but all are forgiven and all are more than welcome. Here, it doesn't matter whether you are straight or gay, poor or well off, a life-long Congregationalist or a newly curious person wondering what Christianity is really about. Here, we strive to live out our faith through worship, community service, and a genuine welcome. Here, there is comfort, support, and a spiritual home, We never stopped being the pulse of the community.
Two hundred fifty five Novembers after our birth as a church, we are in the process of re-inventing ourselves for a new generation with different values and priorities from those who first gathered to worship in the feeding hills. Perhaps, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we can reflect that each of us has something for which to be thankful, Our call, in turn is to give the community around us reason to be thankful for our continuing ministry in town.
In other words, that call to be a church for the whole community is still valid. As we more intentionally engage with the whole community, we will notice our pulse as a church quicken and our lifeblood run hotter and hotter
Can we be the little church that could? If we still have faith in God's power to do great things, then the answer is Yes!
See you in church?