On the first Sunday in May, the Greater Hartford congregation had a lengthy and intense first day of the week. A mixture of emotions was to flood through many as a church service, a leader’s meeting with a favorite guest speaker and two memorial services took place over the course of 10+ hours at the New Britain building.
The day began at 10 AM with a church service devoted to Galatians 6:1-10 and the theme, “You Cook The Hot Dog and I’ll Help You With The Zucchini Fritters.” The sermon spotlighted the practicals and principles of doing good. Beyond the lesson, there was spirited singing (with a new song introduced – “I’m Building Me A Home”), a prayer from Jon Folstad (beloved brother now in Charlotte, NC) and our regulars like communion (Jeff Brickhouse) and contribution (Dale Thompson).
But the pinnacle of the day was definitely the immersion of Zaneta Stosiurka from New Britain. Cavalene Seaton and Debbie Holt shared about this zealous, single woman’s heart. God has worked mightily in Zaneta over the past few months and her passion was evident in her own sharing of gratitude to God and all who have helped her along the way. Zaneta brought out several friends and family to witness her new birth. She is Polish and the city of New Britain has the second largest Polish community in the United States.
Following the service and a quick lunch, the family group leaders gathered back at the building and were joined by the North Region leaders. It was a fun reunion, topped off by Chip Mitchell (Boston evangelist and Hartford church favorite) delivering a speech on the expectations of God from Luke 17:7-10 .
The latter half of the day was spent at our facility with memorial services. The first was for Danielle Gil, David and Tiffany Gil’s baby. The intensity of her passing almost immediately after entering the world caused us all to turn to God. We don’t have all of the “why?” answers but we do know “who” we must go to in our grief.
Lastly, the life of an 88-year old disciple, Bernarda Castillo, who has gone to be with God, was celebrated. This grandmother of Marisa Lewis repented and was baptized in her final years. Through declining health, she constantly gave smiles and encouragement to many. A song from the great-grandchildren, sharing, prayers and songs celebrated a life well lived for the Father. After the service, many gathered downstairs for food, fellowship and a view of Bernarda’s life in pictures and videos.
Life is a lot. That is why we need God and his people. “Church” has never been about a building. It is about a community of faith –regular Spirit-filled people - who help each other into the kingdom and through the challenges of our journey along the way. May 6th will long be remembered as one of those exhilarating and challenging days where we stood, cried and loved side by side.
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