From its small beginning back in 1751, the West Avon Congregational Church, a member of the United Church of Christ, has been "home" to generations of Christians who have gathered to share their faith in God, and to serve their neighbors in numerous ways.
Our fellowship at West Avon is open to all persons without regard to race, ethnic origin, sex, physical or mental abilities, or sexual orientation. We invite all persons to join with us not only in Sunday worship, but also in the many activities throughout the week. There is church school for children three-years-old through eighth grade, and supervised childcare each Sunday for younger children.
Our Church and Membership
The full name of our church is, "West Avon Congregational Church, a member of the United Church of Christ." The merger of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Church formed the United Church of Christ in 1957. Our denomination is the coming together of congregations who believe in "local autonomy." It is our belief that the will of God in Christ is best determined by those individuals who covenant together at the local church level. Therefore the local congregation owns its own property, chooses its own ministers, develops its own statement of faith, and in all significant matters of faith and practice, the congregation, rather than some hierarchy, makes the decisions.
We are not a "creedal" church. You do not have to subscribe to a long creed in order to be a member. New members are asked, "Do you believe in God as Father, in Christ as Lord and Savior and in the Holy Spirit as your strength?" And then they make a covenant with the members of the church to "walk together in all the ways of the Lord, made known or to be made known to them in Holy Scripture." An important statement of the freedom of personal belief is a part of the new member service: "Each member shall have the undisturbed right to follow the Word of God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience, under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit."
Key Themes of Our Church
Everyone is a minister: This is the belief that all members are ministers wherever they live and work. Each person is called to represent Christ and to live the Christian life. This theme is captured on the back of the Sunday morning bulletin where there is the listing of the staff. There, listed first is: Ministers: All members of West Avon Congregational Church.
A Caring Church: Caring for one another is central to our ministry. It is reflected by the existence of a "Friendly Visitors" group which has members who visit, phone and pray for those who have particular needs. Our "Pastoral Partners" team up with members who have long term needs to provide a ministry or ongoing presence in the midst of difficulties like grief, aging or illness. The "Prayer Shawl Ministry" creates shawls infused with healing prayers which are given to folks who might benefit from the physical reminder of the prayers being lifted for them every day. In addition we have a "Prayer Care Line," which is a group of church members who are notified of people for whom they are encouraged to pray.
A Risk Taking Church: Our church has taken the leap of faith on many occasions. In 1969 when the church was moved and rebuilt, twelve families put up their own homes as collateral so that the church could secure the loan necessary for the project. In 1984 the congregation renovated and expanded its facilities, raising $650,000. We also hired a "full time" Christian Education Associate to put more focus on ministries to our young families than most churches our size are able to.
An Outreaching Church: We are a church that serves the community. Our building is used by two scout troops, Alcoholics Anonymous, Newcomers, Friendship Circle Adult Day Care Center, Pine Grove Nursery School and other civic groups. Our children, youth and adults personally reach out to others through serving in soup kitchens, building with Habitat for Humanity, walking and running to raise money for special needs, tutoring children in Hartford and other significant ways. We strive to contribute a large portion of our operating budget to our Wider Mission through the national church and through other specific serving organizations. There are many opportunities throughout the year to assist with local, national and international mission efforts.
An Open and Affirming Church:In May of 2008, our church voted to extend an extravant welcome to all persons regardless of differences such as race, gender, culture, sexual orientation, physical abilities or age.
OPEN AND AFFIRMING STATEMENT OF THE WEST AVON CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Jesus said "You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength" and that "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
We, the members of the West Avon Congregational Church, affirm the worth and value of all God's children and embrace participation, membership, employment, leadership and ministry by all persons regardless of differences such as race, gender, culture, sexual orientation, physical abilities or age. We welcome everyone to join in the life, responsibilities and mission of our faith community by fully sharing in worship, sacraments and fellowship as well as all ceremonies and services permitted by law.
We declare our congregation to be Open and Affirming, so help us God.
We seek to show our commitment to being an open fellowship by being a handicap accessible facility. We have an audio system for the hearing impaired. There are rocking chairs available for parents with infants and those with bad backs. Because we want to be a welcoming church, we have greeters as you enter the church.