Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Church in the Wildwood

Posted by PicasaThis evening we went to the Church in the Wildwood in North Colebrook, CT. It wasn't our first visit and it won't be our last. Every summer for over 55 years, this historic little church bordered by a stone wall out in the middle of nowhere opens it doors for ecumenical summer vesper services.
A different clergy person mostly from small surrounding towns is the guest speaker every Sunday evening. For a unique back-in-time experience and away from all hustle and bustle and cares of the day, come to the Church in the Wildwood.
Traditionally they always begin with the singing of their namesake hymn. As you can see from one of the pictures they have painstakingly crossed out "brown" church in every hymnal and replaced that with "white" and "morning" has been crossed out and "evening" is inked in. Finally as you sing, "to list to the clear ringing bell", perfectly timed someone rings the church bell. (You can see the rope to the bell in the foyer in one of the pictures). The personalization of these little features makes this a truly unique experience.
This is followed by a traditional hymn sing where anyone can shout out a favorite hymn to sing. There are some wonderful contemporary religious songs out now, but it is so enjoyable to go back to so many of the traditional hymns that many younger people now will never know. "A Mighty Fortress", "Just a closer walk", "It is well", even "Noel" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", "May the Good Lord bless and keep you". There is something about singing those oldies but goodies.
The scripture lesson, offering and evening message follow next. Each week there is a different "flavor" in the lesson and sermon as a variety of guest ministers from various denominations, backgrounds and ages, present their message.
I recommend that you try this just once for the experience--you can be away from your worldly cares for a little while in a truly unique environment. For an hour you can get away from it all and who now doesn't need that opportunity?

For me this evening I reflected again upon the hymn, "It is Well with my Soul". Written by Horatio Spafford in 1873. Two years prior his only son had died and in 1873 he lost all four of his daughters as the ship they were on sunk. Only his wife survived. As he was on a ship to meet his wife, he wrote this song as he passed near where his daughters had died. Such a strong faith! "Whatever my lot, you have taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul." I am always saddened when I think of the events that caused him to write that song, but I am reminded that I need to have that faith and that outlook in my life. It was a good reminder tonight. I hope in the week to come whenever I feel the "oh woe is me blues" come along, that I will be reminded and that I can say, "it is well with my soul".

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