The First Congregational Church of Darien

United Church of Christ

A community of faith since 1737



Now back in our beloved Meetinghouse, we naturally ask the Spirit: what’s next?  What big challenge awaits us? What moves would God have us make just now? We’re at one of those rare, inviting “blue sky and clean sheet of paper” moments.


Fortunately, our Board of Christian Education has mulled this over for the past year.  They presented something at our last Council meeting that I want you to know about.  Few would disagree that taking seriously the lives of young families with children is central to the cause of the whole church. Even more so in Darien.

We’ve discussed how millennials are a missing generation within most churches.


Of course, we are gladdened by how our youth ministry has grown and thrived.  Gary and Erica Morello have sacrificed, showing us the way forward. Getting into families and our youth’s public lives—time intensive!–has set the table for youth ministry. Now grade school children excitedly can’t wait to be in the Youth Group.


Many of us feel like, why should they have to wait? The problem is we have gaps in our ministry to children and youth that cry out for us to address. Our Church School was sagging long before Mary Jo arrived. Churches everywhere ask hard questions about reinventing the Church School.  Our number of our confirmands drops from double-digits to single-digit, not that numbers are everything. Having planned for a middle school youth group, that was sadly scuttled as Yale Divinity School pulled out of our program for a student intern at the last moment last year.

Rather than whine or complain, we have asked: why not do something about it?


The Board of Christian Education proposes an expanded Director of Christian Education position to shore up related ministries and supplement Gary’s work.  Council liked the idea but was worried about taking on a full-time salary just now. We tabled the idea for more discussion next month. We wanted you to know this. Think about it. If such dreams can become reality by autumn, we must plan now.
The Director of Christian Education is about rebuilding our church school with an eye toward getting into the lives of young families, as Gary has with youth. Also included in this job description is forming a middle school youth group to feed into our high school youth ministry. The DCE will assist Gary with Confirmation. Mary Jo has been splendid with our children, but we need more hours and other skills.


How do I feel about it? I laud the spiritual investment this makes in children and youth. What is more important? Also, I want young families to know we have their best interests at heart. Inclining toward them to address what matters most to them will pull them in from our periphery, and bring them into our orbit of ministry.


Some feel like it is the next big thing. But all of this is really not so new. A decade ago we were staffed much like this. Maybe we are only coming full circle, healthy and poised for growth. Maybe we should thank God for putting us in this position.

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