Greenfield Hill Church Welcomes World-Renowned Professor and Author Dr. Lamin Sanneh: Lecture on Islam and World Christianity

 

event speaker Dr. SannehFAIRFIELD, Conn., September 17, 2015 — On Wednesday, September 30 at 7:30pm, Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (GHCC) will welcome Dr. Lamin Sanneh from Yale University who will lecture on “Islam and World Christianity” followed by an interactive dialogue with the audience.

Lamin Sanneh is the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity and Professor of History at Yale. Professor Sanneh was educated on four continents, has earned degrees in history and Islamic studies and has taught in several Universities, including the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and Harvard, before coming to Yale in 1989. His forthcoming book is entitled, Beyond Jihad: Pacifist Impetus in Muslim West Africa and Beyond (Oxford University Press).

Reverend Dr. David Rowe of Greenfield Hill Church shares, “I first studied Islam under Dr. Lamin Sanneh at Harvard 30 years ago.  He was a brilliant and engaging teacher.  An excellent writer, and renowned scholar, he is highly regarded within the world of Islam, and in the world of interfaith and ecumenical dialogue.  Dr. Sanneh brings respect and integrity to the subject, enriched by his own faith journey.”

This extraordinary forum where we all come together as one community to learn is open to all and is free of charge.

More on Professor Lamin Sanneh

Lamin Sanneh is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, and an Honorary Research Professor at the School of Oriental & African Studies in the University of London. He is recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh and Liverpool Hope University, and has been twice chair of Yale’s Council on African Studies. He is an editor-at-large of the ecumenical weekly The Christian Century, a contributing editor of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, and he serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals and encyclopedias. He has served as consultant to the Pew Charitable Trusts, was an official consultant at the 1998 Lambeth Conference in London, and was a founding member of the Council of 100 Leaders of the World Economic Forum. Professor Sanneh was the recipient of the John W. Kluge Chair in the Countries and Cultures of the South at the Library of Congress. For his academic work, Professor Sanneh was made Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Lion, Senegal’s highest national honor. Professor Sanneh is a fellow of Trumbull College at Yale. He was appointed by John Paul II to serve on the Pontifical Commission of the Historical Sciences at the Vatican and by Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with Muslims. He is the author of over two hundred articles in scholarly journals and of more than a dozen books on Islam and Christianity. He is series editor of the multivolume Oxford Studies in World Christianity in which three volumes have appeared, with six more underway. He is co-editor of the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Christianity (forthcoming in Spring, 2016). For more please visit http://divinity.yale.edu/sanneh.

About Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

The Greenfield Hill Congregational Church is located at 1045 Old Academy Rd, Fairfield, and was founded in 1725 and has grown to a membership of almost 1000 members.  Led by Rev. Dr. David Rowe and Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, the church is a vibrant and effective community with the feel of a small town.  Members come from many religious backgrounds and find their church home at Greenfield Hill where they are greeted with the respect and encouragement needed to grow a “can-do” spirit. With a very active mission serving others from their own backyard to halfway around the world and through a very lively Sunday school, legendary youth work, and numerous volunteer opportunities, anything is possible within the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church.

For more information, visit www.GreenfieldHillChurch.com or www.facebook.com/greenfieldhillcongregationalchurch, email info@greenfieldhillchurch.com or call 203.259.5596.

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Greenfield Hill Congregational Church Honors Marcia Carothers for 25 Years of Service

greenfield hill church marcia carothersFAIRFIELD, Conn., August 31, 2015 — On Sunday, September 13, Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (GHCC) will be honoring Marcia Carothers for her twenty-five years as Director of Christian Education. Ms. Carothers joined the staff of Greenfield Hill Church in the summer of 1990 and over those years, well over one thousand children have grown up under her guidance. With her direction, the education program for children and youth at GHCC has flourished. Ms. Carothers designed a popular ‘learning center’ approach to Sunday morning Church School using everything from art to cooking to help kids learn the bible stories, and she also introduced a variety of children’s service projects as well as special vacation day activities. Additionally, Vacation Bible School at Greenfield Hill Church didn’t exist prior to her becoming Director of Christian Education. Ms. Carothers started the summer program with a handful of children gathered around a single table and grew VBS to capacity (with a wait list) welcoming and engaging 120 kids and 35 teen counselors every August.

Marcia, her husband Bill and their four children, who were raised within GHCC, have been long-time members of Greenfield Hill Church. Marcia has also been actively involved in Greenfield Hill Church’s denomination, the United Church of Christ, serving for many years as the Registrar of the Fairfield East Association.

Greenfield Hill Church will celebrate Ms. Carothers’ 25 years on staff at GHCC during the 10:30 AM worship service on September 13, 2015.

About Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

The Greenfield Hill Congregational Church is located at 1045 Old Academy Rd, Fairfield, and was founded in 1725 and has grown to a membership of almost 1000 members.  Led by Rev. Dr. David Rowe and Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, the church is a vibrant and effective community with the feel of a small town.  Members come from many religious backgrounds and find their church home at Greenfield Hill where they are greeted with the respect and encouragement needed to grow a “can-do” spirit. With a very active mission serving others from their own backyard to halfway around the world and through a very lively Sunday school, legendary youth work, and numerous volunteer opportunities, anything is possible within the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church.

For more information, visit www.GreenfieldHillChurch.com or www.facebook.com/greenfieldhillcongregationalchurch, email info@greenfieldhillchurch.com or call 203.259.5596.

Greenfield Hill Congregational Church Announces Field of Flags June 20 – July 11, 2015

greenfield hill church field of flags by tony hwangFAIRFIELD, Conn., June 1, 2015 — On Saturday, June 20, Greenfield Hill Congregational Church in Fairfield, CT will begin its exhibit of “Field of Flags” which is free and open to the public.  This is a display of over 7000 flags remembering American men and women who have given their lives during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Since the last exhibit at Greenfield Hill in June 2013, 129 more Americans as of this date have made the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard our freedom.  The flags – one dedicated to each soldier – will be placed next to the church to honor those Americans who have fallen in these conflicts.

The Fairfield community is cordially invited to participate in the planting of the flags from 9am-Noon on Saturday, June 20th and then 9am – Noon again on Saturday, July 11th to take the exhibit down.  Volunteers and instructions will be available at the site to assist members of the community with the planting process within the design of the overall exhibit.

The list of casualties, by name, will be displayed on a name board by the Field of Flags showing the name and rank of each American casualty. A notebook will also be kept in the church building with the name, rank, town, state and date of death of each American casualty.

The Field of Flags is a silent, patriotic and poignant reminder of the cost of war. Each flag represents not simply one casualty, but all the family members and friends who have been touched by that life now gone.  They represent our respect for those individuals who have served and are currently serving in the military, as well as our hope for peace in the future.

The idea for the Field of Flags originated in the Somers Congregational Church in Somers, CT. and has travelled to twelve states and sixty-five churches of many denominations.  This is the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church’s fourth time exhibiting the field of flags.

Further, on Sunday July 5th, at the 9:30 am Sunday worship at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, the service will be both a celebration of our nation’s birth and a remembrance of these soldiers with a sermon by Revered David Rowe titled, “Our Field of Flags.”

Greenfield Hill Congregational Church welcomes all visitors to view the exhibit and asks people to pray for the safety of all of our troops and for the families of the fallen heroes.   For more information on this exhibit, please contact Greenfield Hill Congregational Church at 203-259-5596 or info@greenfieldhillchurch.com.

(image by GHCC member Tony Hwang)

About Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

The Greenfield Hill Congregational Church is located at 1045 Old Academy Rd, Fairfield, and was founded in 1725 and has grown to a membership of almost 1000 members.  Led by Rev. Dr. David Rowe and Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, the church is a vibrant and effective community with the feel of a small town.  Members come from many religious backgrounds and find their church home at Greenfield Hill where they are greeted with the respect and encouragement needed to grow a “can-do” spirit. With a very active mission serving others from their own backyard to halfway around the world and through a very lively Sunday school, legendary youth work, and numerous volunteer opportunities, anything is possible within the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church.

For more information, visit www.GreenfieldHillChurch.com or www.facebook.com/greenfieldhillcongregationalchurch, www.instagram.com/greenfieldhillchurch, email info@greenfieldhillchurch.com or call 203.259.5596.

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Greenfield Hill Congregational Church Announces 80th Annual Dogwood Festival

Greenfield Hil church Karl Soderlund Dogwood

Tradition carries on at upcoming three-day festival featuring activities, music, food and commemorative art

Fairfield, CT – April 1, 2015 – The Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (GHCC) today announced that the 80th annual Dogwood Festival will take place on May 1st to May 3rd, 2015. An event that ushers in the season of spring, the three-day festival will celebrate the white and pink blossoms which have become the prized symbols of the Town of Fairfield.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Dogwood Festival, renowned Fairfield artist Karl Soderlund has created an original painting of Greenfield Hill Congregational Church in its spring-time glory.  Soderlund is producing a limited edition of framed prints which will be available for sale at the festival.

The Dogwood Festival is a time-honored tradition and annual celebration of Fairfield’s ubiquitous blossoms, giving visitors and patrons the opportunity to experience the beautiful panoramic scenery of the historic hill and tree-lined streets.

The event also features scores of fun activities for all ages, including a historical walking tour, a fun run, children’s games, face-painting, musical performances and artisans as well as savory foods and delicious confections. Also featured at the festival is the renowned Kate’s Corner where visitors can find gently used and new treasures and consignments, as well as Kate’s Clothes.

Additionally, visitors can shop at over 50 crafter, artisan and food booths featuring vendors from throughout New England.

Proceeds from the Dogwood Festival go towards local, national and international charities that support families and at-risk children, address homelessness, and aid other altruistic endeavors.

“The Dogwood Festival is a great destination for visitors near and far, and a special opportunity for congregants of Greenfield Hill Congregational Church to open their doors and share the season of spring and the majesty of Greenfield Hill,” said Dr. Rev. David Rowe, a co-pastor at GHCC. “The festival is also an important fundraising event that allows our church to donate to many worthy organizations and charities that are dedicated to the greater good.”

“We are very excited to celebrate the 80th Dogwood Festival that generations of people enjoy annually – an event that also underscores the spirit of community, fellowship and giving within our congregation,” added co-pastor Dr. Rev. Alida Ward. “We are also honored this year to have Karl Soderlund share his talents, through the beautiful print he has created of our church, to help us mark the festival’s special anniversary.”

GHCC is located at 1045 Old Academy road, Fairfield. For more information on the festival, please go to www.greenfieldhillchurch.com.  Admission for the festival is free, and there plenty of free shuttle bus parking nearby. The hours for the festival are: Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun. noon-5 p.m.

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Greenfield Hill Congregational Church and Church of the Apostles Come Together to Host ‘The Family Room’

FAIRFIELD, Conn. –January 12, 2015– In a special evening dedicated to song, reflection and community, Fairfield’s Greenfield Hill Congregational Church and the Church of the Apostles will co-host a service called “The Family Room” on Friday, Jan. 23 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The service, led by the respective churches’ clergy, will also be composed of an array of local artists and musicians including Nashville artist and acclaimed vocalist, Annie Lawrence (see video below).

In addition to Ms. Lawrence, GHCC’s artist-in-residence and cellist, Niles Luther, will be one of the featured musicians (see video below) along with Christine Parisella, a member of GHCC’s ‘house band” who will also perform an original piece and Diana Rose Smith, a member of the church’s youth ministry, will also sing as will The Apostles Men Ensemble and members of the choral group Sound Affect International.  The unique service will offer church members and members of the public a blend of prayer and music that will be inspiring and bring together two vibrant communities, Greenfield Hill Congregational Church and the Church of the Apostles, which was founded in 2001.

“With people’s hectic schedules and busy lives, we are always seeking new ways and times to gather for worship,” said GHCC co-pastor Dr. Rev. David Rowe. “Being able to partner with the Church of the Apostles is a fun way to explore creatively worship, music and fellowship, all in the spirit we often bring to our own ‘family room.’”

Rev. Thaddeus Barnum, rector of the Church of the Apostles, added, “What joy for churches to come together in Christ to serve the community! And what better way than to do it through music and praise.”

While admission is free, donations will be welcome to support the local and international outreach of both GHCC and the Church of the Apostles. For reservations, please contact Amy Wolff at (203) 727-0923 or email amywolff@apostlesct.org. The snow date of the service in Saturday, January 24th.

About Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

The Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, founded in 1725, is located at 1045 Old Academy Rd, Fairfield, CT and has grown to a membership of almost 1000 members. Led by Rev. Dr. David Rowe and Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, the church is a vibrant and effective community with the feel of a small town. Members come from many religious backgrounds and find their church home at Greenfield Hill where they are greeted with the respect and encouragement needed to grow a “can-do” spirit. With a very active mission serving others from their own backyard to halfway around the world and through a very lively Sunday school, legendary youth work, and numerous volunteer opportunities, anything is possible within the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. For more information, visit www.GreenfieldHillChurch.com or www.facebook.com/greenfieldhillcongregationalchurch, email info@greenfieldhillchurch.com or call 203.259.5596

About Church of the Apostles

The Church of the Apostles is a community of people who live, work, and worship together in Fairfield and all over Southwest Connecticut led by Rector Thaddeus Barnum and Associate Rector Micah Thompson. We celebrate the Gospel, and we seek to love and serve our community in the name of Jesus Christ. We are a liturgical and passionate church and meet every Sunday morning at 10AM in the Roger Ludlowe Middle School Auditorium. As a church under the authority of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, we are a part of a large family of mission-driven communities caring for international, national and local people. We have a great and rich discipleship opportunities for all ages and invite any and all to come and visit us! For more information, visit apostlesct.orghttps://www.facebook.com/ApostlesCT, email Jane at info@apostlesct.org or call 203-696-0600.

About Annie Lawrence

Annie Lawrence was raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Not a hillbilly, she did grow up immersed in her dad’s bluegrass music and inherited her granddad’s Gibson mandolin. Now a Nashville girl, Annie is equally at home leading worship in front of 1000’s or playing a hipster dive off of 12 South. When Annie first came to Nashville she was told her lyrics were too “innocent” for country music.  Never one to be told she can’t do something, Annie kept writing and along the way penned powerful songs dealing with everything from battling depression to love gone bad. In late 2013 she developed ovarian cancer and stared the real possibility of death in the face.  The crucible of cancer and hope of a future produced lyrics that made a veteran Nashville producer weep and send her an email with a triple expletive — his attempt to say, “You’re all growed up, kid; welcome to Nashville”.

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Je Suis Charlie, A Greenfield Hill Church Prayer

Je-suis-CharlieThe awful murders in Paris have been met with cries of “Je Suis Charlie,” (I am Charlie), expressing solidarity with the newspaper, “Charlie Hebdo,” targeted by the terrorists. Once again we are reeling from horrors that are anti-God, anti-humanity, anti-civilization, and anti-Christ in the truest sense. Here is a prayer for all in this time of sorrow and rage:

“Loving God, we choose our words carefully. You are the God of Love, the God who is Love, the God who commands us to Love. You are the God who gave us Christmas and Easter as proof of Love. You, God, so loved the world you gave us Jesus as our Christ. His every word and deed were filled with Love.
Yet we despair. The “slaughter of innocents” comes again, fueled by hatred and ideas and evil we cannot comprehend. And done in Your name. We despair. We fear for freedom, religion, tolerance, and life itself. Our fear and despair are matched by anger. But, Loving God, we are better than that, greater than that. We are not the sum of our fears and our anger. Yes, we are Charlie, yet more than that we are You, made in Your image, Your children, Your creation.Help us to be imbedded in you, filled with Your spirit, and in that power give us the wisdom to face the evil of our day. “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the living of this day,” to speak what must be spoken, to do what must be done. Love us, God, through our fear and anger.

Bless the people of France, bless journalists, and bless those who mourn. And bless those who protect us, and our leaders, that as we “go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death we will fear no evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory.” Amen.

-Reverend Dr. David Johnson Rowe

 

A Prayer: “I Can’t Breathe” (Eric Garner)

 “I Can’t Breathe” (Eric Garner) -Reverend Dr. David Johnson Rowe

“You are all one in Christ:

neither Jew nor Greek

slave nor free

male nor female.”  (The Bible, Galatians 3:28)

The recent deaths of young black men at the hands of police have revealed divisions we thought were behind us.  Can we heal?

Jesus’ ministry is sometimes called “the Upside Down Kingdom.”  He challenges perceptions, assumptions, traditions, authorities, excuses, law, and even religion.  He dares everyone to a new way of thinking and being.  St. Paul summarized it with the above verse.  Paul covers race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, and gender, and tells us to rise above it all.  If we are one in Christ we see the whole world in a new way.

I just got a check for $141 from Toyota – the settlement amount paid to car owners from a class-action suit.  There is nothing wrong with my car.  But there have been enough problems with Toyota that the courts made them make amends to all of us.

A frivolous comparison, but think with me.  When we look at cases like Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Akai Gurley, there is always an excuse.  Lots of “ifs.”  Lots of “would, coulda, shoulda.”  We think, “if only Michael Brown had…”  Or, “the Staten Island Police shoulda…”  Enough of these cases should give us all pause.  But if Toyota can “man up” enough to admit some errors affect their whole world, we Americans can surely have the courage to welcome a new way of doing and being – from police to community to citizens to youth to churches.

We’re about to celebrate Christmas.  A couple of months later Jesus will be on the cross on Good Friday.  Two days later we’ll rejoice in Easter.  Life is like that.

Jesus’ Good Friday is a useful lesson.  Everything about his death was perfectly legal, done according to policy.  Yet the outcome was still wrong.  We choose to make GOOD come out of a really Bad Friday.  But only Easter and Christmas make that possible.  It took a miracle to make it Good Friday.

Let’s ask God to work a miracle in America: to heal wounds, bridge divisions, change hearts, and save us all.  The following is taken from scripture and hymns.

My Prayer for America’s Crossroads

“Create in me a clean heart,” dear God.

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,” dear God.

“Let them who are without sin cast the first stone,” dear God.

“Lead us not into temptation,” dear God.

“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us,” dear God.

“Forgive even those who know not what they are doing,” dear God.

“Wipe away every tear from eyes,” dear God.

“Let justice roll down like the waters,” dear God.

“Let us love mercy, do justice and walk humbly with you,” dear God.

“There is a balm in Gilead,” dear God.

“There is a peace which passeth all understanding,” dear God.

We are our “brother’s keeper,” dear God.

We “believe, help our unbelief,” dear God.

Amen.

Reaching a High Note: Fairfield Cellist Appointed ‘Artist-in-Residence’ at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

For Immediate Release

niles luther, ghcc

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — September 29, 2014 – An accomplished musician who has captivated audiences in his young career, Fairfield resident Niles Luther has been named ‘Artist-in-Residence’ at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (GHCC).

Luther will play in many performances at the church throughout the 2014-2015 season, and will complement the church’s well-known music program that is a force of creative expression of many voices and talents. As Artist-in-Residence, Luther will be an active artist engaging the church community, and will touch the hearts and minds of the congregation with music and collaboration. The notion of having an artist-in-residence also builds on the GHCC’s commitment to encouraging its young members to embrace their passions and gifts.

“It is such an honor to be the first ever artist-in-residence at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church,” said Luther. “I grew up in this church and now to give back in the best way I can through music is something incredibly special.”

“I, and our church have known Niles his whole life, and we have seen him grow as a person, as a Christian, and active church member, and as a musician,” said GHCC Co-Pastor Rev. David Rowe. “Month by month, his passion and commitment for and to the cello became clear. He wants to make a difference with his life and his career as a musician. It is obvious when you talk with him about life and music, and it is obvious when you watch him perform.”

To check the schedule for all music programs and performances at GHCC, please visit www.GreenfieldHillChurch.com or call 203.259.5596.

About Niles Luther

Niles Luther has graced many stages, performing in nearly 100 concerts encompassing his alma mater, Fairfield Warde High School, as well as in private events. In addition to participating in the Fairfield Warde chamber, concert and symphonic orchestras, Luther has played with the New Haven Symphony Youth Orchestra, and during his junior year of high school, attended the Manhattan School of Music pre-college program in New York City.  Luther has also used his talents to give back to the community where he has performed in numerous fundraisers — including Concert for Newtown, which he directed and was a featured performer.  Currently, Luther is studying with master cellist Ole Akahoshi of Yale University in preparation for Conservatory auditions for the 2015-2016 academic school year. To learn more about Niles Luther, please visit www.NilesLuther.com

About Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

The Greenfield Hill Congregational Church is located at 1045 Old Academy Rd, Fairfield, CT was founded in 1725 and has grown to a membership of almost 1000 members.  Led by Rev. Dr. David Rowe and Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, the church is a vibrant and effective community with the feel of a small town.  Members come from many religious backgrounds and find their church home at Greenfield Hill where they are greeted with the respect and encouragement needed to grow a “can-do” spirit. With a very active mission serving others from their own backyard to halfway around the world and through a very lively Sunday school, legendary youth work, and numerous volunteer opportunities, anything is possible within the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. For more information, visit www.GreenfieldHillChurch.com or www.facebook.com/greenfieldhillcongregationalchurch, email info@greenfieldhillchurch.com or call 203.259.5596.

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Greenfield Hill Church’s Summer Appalachia Service Project Continues to Attract Fairfield Youth Who Give Back

Sponsored by Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, 2014 Marks the 37th Straight Year and the Largest Contingent of Participants to Date

asp crew

FAIRFIELD, Conn., June 17, 2014 –Scores of youth volunteers and chaperones from Fairfield and surrounding towns will once again volunteer a week of their summer vacation to participate in the Appalachia Service Project (ASP), a hands-on home repair and home building ministry that was founded to   help to low-income families in rural Central Appalachia.  This year marks the largest contingent of local participants, with over 200 volunteers from the Fairfield area.

For the 37th year, Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (GHCC) is sponsoring the trip which has become a tradition of service for its church members and for the broader community.  During the early morning hours on Saturday, June 28th, 155 youths and 64 adults will depart from GHCC and will travel to rural Appalachia to spend a week repairing homes of those who are facing poverty in the region.   The teens, all members of GHCC’s high school youth fellowship group, ‘SPF’, will be participating in ASP’s efforts to provide families in Appalachia with homes that are “warmer, safer and drier.”  All the youth are members of GHCC’s high school fellowship, ‘SPF’, which welcomes teens from throughout the community and across all denominations.  The adult leaders include parents of the youth participants, and interested community members.

The crews from GHCC will be volunteering in  West Virginia’s Wayne and Logan Counties and the Tri-Cities area of Tennessee, and will work on a variety of projects including repairing roofs, constructing porches and steps, installing insulation and siding, just to name a few.

GHCC’s co-pastor, Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, who has organized and led the trip since 1989, says the service project trip with ASP is one of the highlights of the year. “We work with a wonderful organization, ASP, which has always believed in the capacity of young people to do more than they ever thought possible,” said Rev. Ward.  “On this trip, teens who have never picked up a saw find themselves constructing a new roof, or repairing a foundation, or laying insulation — all to improve the life of a family they’ve just met.  By the end of the week, they find that they have not only fixed a home, but that they have also discovered their own capacity for compassion, and for hard work.  In my 25 years at Greenfield Hill, the ASP trip is consistently that event which produces lasting change in our young people, and in the adults who accompany them as well.”

While the week-long mission work in Appalachia provides immense assistance to those who are improvised, it also gives volunteers, especially the youths from GHCC, a transformative experience that shapes their lives, an opportunity to interact with new people and culture, and a chance to develop a better understanding of domestic poverty.

Many of the volunteers from GHCC are making a return trip to Appalachia as they say it gives them a unique opportunity to help others and to hone new skills.

“There are a few things contributing to my return [to ASP],” said Fairfield Ludlowe High School student Logan Howard. “Come on, who doesn’t love to help people? But the second aspect that really has me coming back is the connections made. I get another group of people to meet, help, and to learn from.”

“I would say that I took away the skills of putting in flooring and crawling under a house to staple up insulation without getting it in my eyes or lungs,” said returning participant Katie Lamontagne, a Fairfield Ludlowe High School senior, when asked about what she took away from the program in 2013.  “I also learned to be kind to others and not pass judgments on their social formalities even if they aren’t what we are used to.”

Fairfield College Preparatory School student James Mangan added he decided to volunteer on the ASP trip this year because several of his friends had such a positive experience on previous missions and sees the week in Appalachia as a chance to connect with individuals who has less than he does.

“ASP is by no means a vacation and it requires a lot of hard work on everyone’s part, but I was truly moved by how, without fail, every single one of my friends who went last year recommended I sign up,” said Mangan.

The teens raise the funds to travel to Appalachia through several fundraisers including selling food at GHCC’s annual Dogwood Festival, and the Annual ASP Auction that was held in March.

For more information on the ASP project visit: http://asphome.org/.  Or go to Greenfield Hill’s website: http://www.greenfieldhillchurch.com/mission-outreach/appalachia-service-trip-asp/

About ASP

Since 1969, more than 300,000 volunteers from across the nation have repaired 15,000 homes and, in the process, Appalachian families, volunteers, and staff have been immeasurably blessed. Today, with the help of 17,000 volunteers each year, their goal remains to make homes warmer, safer and drier for families in need.

About Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

The Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, founded in 1725, is located at 1045 Old Academy Rd, Fairfield, CT and has grown to a membership of almost 1000 members.  Led by Rev. Dr. David Rowe and Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, the church is a vibrant and effective community with the feel of a small town.  Members come from many religious backgrounds and find their church home at Greenfield Hill where they are greeted with the respect and encouragement needed to grow a “can-do” spirit. With a very active mission serving others from their own backyard to halfway around the world and through a very lively Sunday school, legendary youth work, and numerous volunteer opportunities, anything is possible within the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. For more information, visit www.GreenfieldHillChurch.com or www.facebook.com/greenfieldhillcongregationalchurch, email info@greenfieldhillchurch.com or call 203.259.5596.

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Greenfield Hill Congregational Church Celebrates Pastor Alida Ward’s 25 years of Service

people alida bwFAIRFIELD, Conn., Tuesday, May 20, 2014 – Spiritual leader and long-time minister Rev. Dr. Alida Ward will be honored for her 25 years of service to the community as pastor of the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church.   The community is invited to a service on June 1 with a picnic lunch immediately following on the Green.

Rev. Ward has been integral in the church’s growth and fostering social outreach both near and far — from serving the greater community to end homelessness and others in critical need.

The church community will celebrate Rev. Ward on her 25th anniversary as Pastor on Sunday, June 1st at a special worship service to be held at 9:00 a.m.  The June 1 event will launch a three-part celebration that will continue into the Fall.

Rev. Ward began her tenure at Greenfield Hill Church immediately after her graduation from Yale Divinity School in 1989.  She is the third-longest serving pastor in the church’s almost 300-year history.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Rev. Ward grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, where her grandfather and father were on the mathematics faculty of the University of Virginia.  She graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in Religion, followed by her Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School.  While at Yale, she served the historic First Church of Christ in New Haven, and St. Bernard’s Parish in Edinburgh, Scotland.  In 2000, Rev. Ward received her Doctorate of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary.

During her Greenfield Hill pastorate, the Church has experienced significant growth in ministry, active and varied within its walls and engaging the community and world beyond.

Dr. Ward has twice served as President of the Board of Operation Hope, and is currently on its Board.  She was appointed last year by Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau to the Human Services Commission. She is also a member of the Fairfield Cares Community Coalition, the Storm Sandy Recovery Committee, and the Fairfield Advisory Committee for the Center for Family Justice.

One of Rev. Ward’s main passions is youth ministry, which culminates each year with a mission trip to Appalachia through the Appalachia Service Project.  This summer’s trip will involve 225 participants.  Ward is also Vice President of Friends of Christ in India, leading an annual mission team to India.  Her ministry is distinguished by its commitment and compassion with young people and the needy.

Alida is married to Rev. Dr. David Rowe, co-pastor of Greenfield Hill Church; they have four children and step children, Brigitta, Andres, Camaron and Aaron.

About Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

The Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, founded in 1725, is located at 1045 Old Academy Rd, Fairfield, CT and has grown to a membership of almost 1000 members.  Led by Rev. Dr. David Rowe and Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, the church is a vibrant and effective community with the feel of a small town.  Members come from many religious backgrounds and find their church home at Greenfield Hill where they are greeted with the respect and encouragement needed to grow a “can-do” spirit. With a very active mission serving others from their own backyard to halfway around the world and through a very lively Sunday school, legendary youth work, and numerous volunteer opportunities, anything is possible within the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. For more information, visit www.GreenfieldHillChurch.com or www.facebook.com/greenfieldhillcongregationalchurch, email info@greenfieldhillchurch.com or call 203.259.5596.

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