• Opening to the World

    Opening to the World

    The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota. A Harlem neighborhood in New York City. The capital of South Africa. The Artibonite Valley in Haiti. A small Palestinian town just east of Bethlehem. We help care for – and join in fellowship with – people of diverse faiths across the country and around the globe.

    Believing in God’s love, as shown through Jesus Christ, we engage in Mission. We believe Mission is a partnership that requires reaching beyond ourselves. We believe that this involves active listening and mutual sharing, being willing to learn from others, increasing opportunities for involvement, working with others for justice.

    We do this with profound love, profound humility and profound hope.

KOINONIA FARM

Our Work in Southern Georgia

Koinonia (a Greek word meaning spiritual community) was established in Southern Georgia in 1942 as an interracial community. Founded by Clarence Jordan, a man who had a degree in both New Testament Greek and agriculture, Koinonia endeavored to be “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God”, by its own example, showing that Whites and Blacks could live in harmony and mutual respect. Despite being persecuted by the Ku Klux Klan with the bombing of their roadside stands and drive-by shootings, Koinonia endured, refusing to be driven away by these hostilities.

In the late 1960’s Koinonia was visited by a young man, Millard Fuller, who despaired of the materialism that had become the be-all and end-all of his life and was looking for a new direction for his life. When Clarence Jordan tragically died, Millard Fuller went on to become the founder of Habitat for Humanity.

Groups from our church have visited Koinonia Farm many times to help in the harvest season, and to learn about its wonderfully rich history.  In partnership with Koinonia, our church uses their “fair trade, organically grown coffee for our coffee hours, and periodically we market their products to the members and friends of our congregation.

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STOREFRONT SCHOOL

Our Work in Harlem

For a number of years, the children of the Storefront School in Harlem, enjoyed a summer camp on Sterling City Road in Lyme.  And it was from this camp that our friendship with the Storefront School began.

We have had the pleasure of visiting their school in Harlem, now known as the Storefront Academy, where we have had a walking tours of 125th street in Harlem, as well as once spending an overnight at the Museum of Natural History, building friendships between our teenagers and  Storefront students.  Most recently students from Harlem came to Old Lyme and participated in a wonderful ropes course at Bushy Hill Nature Center along with our church youth.

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HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Our Work at Home & South Africa

Our church has had considerable experience working together in partnership with this remarkable organization.

Through the gift of land in Salem by Rachel Robinson, the wife of the great baseball player Jackie Robinson, our church sponsored its first house, raising over $50,000 and working in partnership with the Madry Temple in New London, a predominantly African American congregation, over 200 volunteers, skilled and unskilled, worked toward the completion of that house. This effort was in honor of the memory of Clarence Jordan, the White founder of Koinonia Farm and Jackie Robinson who broke the color barrier in major league baseball.

Our next sponsorship was on land donated by Phil and Judy Simmons, long time members of our church. Their beautiful land on Upper Pattagansett Road in East Lyme became the site for yet another partnership between our church and the Madry Temple, and this effort was dedicated to the honor of Rachel Robinson for the extraordinary spirit that she exemplifies. Once again, over $50,000 was raised and over 200 members and friends worked together in the construction of a Habitat for Humanity House.

When our church learned that the Jimmy Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity would take place in Durban, South Africa, given our long standing partnership with Central Methodist Mission in downtown Johannesburg, for a gift of $50,000 our church became a “sponsor” of that Project. With 35 volunteers from our church, the Madry Temple, and the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota, we traveled to Durban where we were joined by our friends from the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and together we were able to work together on the construction of 7 Habitat for Humanity Homes and at the same time build a stronger sense of community among ourselves.

When our church and the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut led a “World House Journey to Israel and Palestine”, upon our return, working with an interfaith community here in Southeastern Connecticut, we sponsored an interfaith “World House” a Habitat for Humanity home built on Summer Street in New London.

When possible work groups from our church still take part in the activities of the local Habitat chapter; Habitat for Humanity of Southeastern Connecticut.

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Invitation to Step Up

Our 2017 Stewardship Campaign is called “Investing in Our Church’s Life-Changing Mission” and, as part of the new campaign, we’re inviting members both old and new to “step up.” Our stewardship fund accounts for more than 4/5ths of our annual budget, supporting the vital ministries that engage and challenge us, lift our spirits and sometimes even change our lives. We welcome – and are grateful for – any and all donations.

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