The First Congregational Church of Darien

United Church of Christ

A community of faith since 1737

A TURNING POINT

It is late Thursday afternoon and our Darien House Tour: Homes With Heart is winding down.  And I am ready to declare it a success in a couple ways I wish to expand upon.  Never mind that it brought us together as a church, made a lot of people smile, and raised ample funds for the Christlike work of Person to Person. Never mind that our members worked together and very hard in a beautiful way. By the way, thank you, thank you, thank you to all giving so much of yourselves!

 

I have something else in mind.  A year ago, as our venerable Antique Show was staggering under the weight of too many years and fading fondness for antiques, it felt like the end of the world to many of us.  Ending the Antique Show was hard.

 

Some said we’ll never have an event as beloved, an event that earns as much for our mission partners, an event that will involve and rally together so many of us.  I understood all of those feelings and, honestly, I wondered if they were true.

 

And this felt even bigger because we live in a day when the old ways of being the church are passing on and a post-Christendom era beckons us to find new ways. And we still don’t know what those new forms are and if they’ll give FCC a future.  But sometimes we have to allow for sunsets if we wish to see the sun rise anew. And the sun has indeed risen upon us anew with the Darien House Tour.  I don’t have all the numbers yet but vitality—when and where it exists—is truly palpable.

 

The Darien House Tour created new excitement, new interest, new trajectories.  I was impressed how the House Tour included veteran members and welcomed in newer members. I was impressed how it found and filled a void in Darien’s public life that created a galvanic response. It was both a phenomenon and a sensation.

 

What just happened among us will give us confidence and embolden us to find new ways of being the church.  What happened will drain of their fear what some have called the 7 last words of the church: ‘we’ve-never-done-it-that-way-before.’

 

Of all places, God calls Christ’s church to show by example we believe in death and resurrection, not just by talking about it but by fearlessly living it out. After all, if discipleship is about transformation, we might recognize not just the threat in it, but also the opportunity. That is not easy, living in a world of dizzying change.  At times we arrive at church and say, “Stop the world, I want to get off.” At times, we want to keep all things the same here, as change runs rampant everywhere else.

 

One more thing.  The old way of being the church expected everyone to come to us because we are, after all, “the Church.” In a day when the world is blasé about “the Church,” we must now get out into the world.  We did just that. I loved how it began in our Parish Hall, and unfurled in Darien’s wider orbits.  I am proud of our lay leaders: your inventiveness, your thoroughness, your energy, and your faith. Well-done, good and faithful servants! Now we can truly celebrate an After Party.

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