Friday, September 10, 2010

Visiting Churches in New Haven

One of the first program that was arranged for us as new residents of OMSC was a tour of the diverse church community found in the city. We visited the earliest church founded more than 300 years ago to the youngest which is barely a year old. The diversity speaks of a God who is able to work through different cultures and issues, reaching out to those seeking Him.

We are standing outside one of the very first church in New Haven, built in the year 1813, but the members came from the descendants of the first colonists who sailed the Atlantic to settle in America in 1638.

Mounted at the back of the church is one huge pipe organ that covers the whole back wall. It is an integral part of the church as it is used for worship as well as for musical events.

The photo shows the centre aisle that leads to the front of the church, notice the design of the stained glass mounted behind the pulpit on the wall and the crystal chandeliers hanging from above. The church contains a lot of history and traditions, although we find that the church can sit six hundred people, there are less than a hundred people attending service on Sundays.

Right underneath the church lies a Crypt! The church was built over the graves of the departed as the members refused to exhume the bodies for the construction of the new church. The crypt contains the tombstones of nearly 139 ranging from the very young to the very old.

This is the 'Church on the Rock' an very exciting church that caters mainly to the younger generation, a church that speaks to the youth at their level with activities that they are comfortable with; music and dance and a host of other activities.

It has a hall that can sit a thousand people at any one time providing a conducive environment for a lively and meaningful worship.

The next church we visited is a Messianic Jewish synagogue 'Simchat Yisrael' located at West Haven that is part of the Christian community that we visited.

Tom, one of the leaders of the synagogue speaking to us on the history and the various rituals that they practise as Messianic Jews. It is an amazing story of God's faithfulness that led to the formation of this synagogue, from worshipping in rented premises to having a place to call their own.

The next church we visited was the Catholic St Rose of Lima church that was founded in 1907 by Irish priest, Father John J. Fitzgerald. Now the church ministers to a Hispanic majority congregation

There we saw many beautiful stained glass windows that adorned the church which had scenes taken from the bible.

The youngest church 'All Nations Christian Church' barely a year old, is using a rented dining hall above a storefront as their place of worship. No church building, not even a sign to display its location, but it is where God had led Rev Geoffery Little to serve and to preach the gospel.

Rev Geoffery speaking to the group outside on the parking lot explaining the fact that they have to come early Sunday morning to clean up the area that is full of garbage from Saturday night.

This is the dining hall above the shopfront that was rented to them at a very reasonable rate by the owner who runs his business most of the weekdays except Sundays. The catch is that they will have to clean up the place, rearrange the the chairs and cart in the equipment before they can start the service. And after the service, they must rearrange the hall again before leaving the place!

The group listening attentively to Rev Geoffery as he talks to us passionately about his ministry to the people in the area. The service is conducted in Spanish and English and he has big plans for this new ministry that God had led him to.

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