Memorial Day weekend is here! I dont know how we finally escaped the clutches of winter but it was not so very long ago. I have the pool nearly ready, getting the right balance of chemistry in the water all that remains to bring about peels of laughter when the kids jump in. Haying season is in full swing and I know my son will be very happy to cool off after a few hours stacking hay in the broiling barn loft.
I will be giving the invocation and benediction at this years Memorial Day Parade. The time I spent writing those pieces gave me a chance to reflect on the sacrifices made to secure all the joys and freedoms we share. How lucky we are to live here and now in this quiet place! It is my position as co-chair of the 300 th anniversary of my church that led me to be asked about the prayers at the Memorial Service. Our church is central to the founding of the town as a seperate entity. In 1710 those who lived in the village here were distraught by the dangers of crossing a sometimes wild river to get to church. The decision was made based on safety and distance to petition for a seperate town and church. Funds, a pastor, a church building and a parsonage all had to be arranged. In 1710 those 7 founding fathers pulled all the pieces together to begin a new fellowship here at Mansfield Center ( also called Ponde Place in that time) How wise they were to secure the safety of the people and settle in this quiet Eastern Connecticut hill country to make a place where families can live and prosper for so many years.
Part of that 300 th celebration is community outreach from our church. We brainstormed many different ways to let the community that has grown out wide beyond our village know that we are still here and serving. My idea was the 3 local parades. Memorial Day, July 4th Boom Box Parade ( that will take a whole seperate blog then) and Festival on the Green Parade. Those parades will move along by such a huge portion of the people who live in the area, so I knew a float would be a great way to reach out to them. Now to make our church recognized among the many that now dot the countryside here. It is an architechtural beauty and of such classic design as Norman Rockwell would paint. From those thoughts came the idea of a mini church to be built , paraded through town on three occasions, then put on the lawn of church for Heritage Sunday and finally auctioned off in the fall as a fundraiser! An all call was put out for recycled materials trying to make the project as “Green” as possible. We got some and bought more to make sure the base was very strong and solid since it would be shifted about so many times. Construction has moved slow. Our master carpenter Dave Little drew plans breaking the churches dimensions down to a manageable size and laying out the directives for builders. On several evenings we have gathered and begun the construction. Church members return today and tommorow for it is now “CRUNCH TIME” the parade 2 days away. We have more done than in these photos but a way to go. Today we must raise the roof! The steeple to follow and then paint. If the weather doesnt cooperate we will have to pull it into our barn for painting.
I am sure founding fathers faced far great tasks than to get to the parade on time! I am just amazed how quick the date is upon us and how quick we fell behind in the work on the mini church. I hope the membership is ready to pull out all the stops and get the church built on time. If all goes well we will bask in the glow of success on Monday afternoon and archive pictures of a wonderful Memorial Day at First Church of Christ Congregational Mansfield Center, Ct.