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Getting this in the mail TOTALLY made my day! Stickers & magnets!! Thanks, Rev. Jon Chapman & #westfielducc!! Congratulations & good luck with Steeple Stay 2016! 👍🏾 ...

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"All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

Did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched." Jan Richardson
For the next forty-seven days, I will suppress alleluia and sit in the shadow of the cross, two somber but necessary practices that I pulled from my #SheReadsTruth #SRTLent bible study this morning. Reflecting on sin and sacrifice, acknowledging the need for a Savior if only to set me back on a path of grace and mercy. The Bible and my church shall be my #shelter during this season as the last wisps of winter and darkness are swept into the joyful Resurrection. "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." Genesis 3:19 #vscocam #westfielducc #LentAtWestfield (photo cred goes to revjonchapman - while he created ashes for tonight's service, my folded palm from last year being reborn) #oncomingalive
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In the NICU, I would say a novena over Beckett every night. By the end of the ninth recitation, my fingers would dip into a bottle of holy water from Our Lady of Lourdes and trickle onto his forehead. Did I know if it would help? No, but the act itself felt as though I would be more worthy in the eyes of God. The ritual and commitment, that must make me closer to Him somehow? Now, I know that my pious showmanship had nothing to do with any of it. The prayers I know God hears, are barely audible. More of a feeling, a deeper inhale or pause in my hurried steps. My body gives up prayers naturally, it is a vessel- a #cup that fills with needs and hopes and worries. #LentAtWestfield #westfielducc ...

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Oh, we had been at the hospital for a month when this picture was taken. We brought a piñata and party hats up to the MICU so we could celebrate Ben's birthday (Ben celebrated three birthdays at Boston Children's). I don't know if you can see it, but we had begun down the road of no return and whispers of hospice were seeping from every crevice. The uncertainty of it all, their most recent episode rolling in quickly, and we had finally found our footing. Survival mode is a beautiful thing, my mind would clear and I could feel my fingertips begin to tingle. It wouldn't be until afterward, the exhaustion would set in. In the quiet and dark, thoughts have a chance to steep and strengthen into doubt and fear. The gravity of how fragile your children are will suffocate you if you let it, but we have a choice. There is a point of total suck in every life. A time when you can choose to be sad/angry/depressed or you can pick up and make the best of the crumbs in front of you. Ben and I were conscious at every turn, the kids fed off of our energy so we played and sang and danced even if we were shaken or weary. The day this photo was taken, if a doc wanted into the room they had to wear a party hat, no exceptions. Standing around her bed examining Minnie, her team looked like a bunch of business casual-clad party clowns. I've learned a situation could always be worse. There is beauty and significance in every moment, so make it count. Choose #joy. #LentAtWestfield #westfielducc #latergram #takemebacktuesday ...

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The road. It's holds endless possibilities. You can choose to drive the same paths day in and day out, a never ending domestic cul-de-sac. Eventually you could drive around with your eyes closed, body set to cruise control. Or shake off the #routine and pick a spot on the map. Embrace the unknown and take each mile as it comes. #LentAtWestfield #westfielducc #latergram from driving home on Friday. ...

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Every July, during the week of our anniversary, Buttonwoods Creamery has a Make-A-Wish fundraiser 'Sunflowers For Wishes.' The tradition, the repetition of it all, it's a beautiful constant. You can rely on feeling so bright that day, like you might burn up and fertilize the very flowers you are walking through. It's a different kind of #love. #LentAtWestfield #westfielducc #nofilter #vscocam ...

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No sugar or flour for forty-seven days-that is what I am offering up this Lenten season. "Yet whatever else it may be, Lent should never be morose-an annual ordeal during which we begrudgingly forgo a handful of pleasures. Instead, we ought to approach Lent as an opportunity, not a requirement."-Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter (an excerpt from my #SheReadsTruth #SRTLent study tonight. I want to dig in, and #feast on what is left after the sticky sweet coating is stripped away. The unsavory and tough parts, they need redemption. #LentAtWestfield #westfielducc ...

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Sometimes all the doors slam shut behind you. You are trying to return to the space you were in before but you have been locked out. Can you go back? Not the way you came-but there's always a #window. As I read #SheReadsTruth #SRTLent this morning, the theme was returning to God. Even if you felt as though you had gone too far. I'm coming back to my faith, I am not angry and I don't question how I ended up in this current season. I just want to rest at the feet of someone, something, bigger than myself. I want to come back in, to return. A window will just have to do. #LentAtWestfield #westfielducc #icecastles #frozen ...

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I do not believe in accidents or coincidence. We began attending #westfielducc in May of 2013, in August of that year we found out I was pregnant for the sixth time. We met with revjonchapman in his office, and he listened thoughtfully as we spilt our life story onto his lap and asked for his advice. Jon embraced our crazy, and in doing so, threw on the first stitches of what has sown us together these past couple of years. Jon is leading the life he was called too. ...

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We are home. #homeiswherethegauvinsare #gaggleofgauvins #westfielducc #church #baptism #vscocam #oncomingalive ...

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I feel a new #hashtag happening. Any suggestions? #weeksofcheeks #westfielducc #merrychristmas #gauvinfamilychristmas ...

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Today they became one. Jon and Greg we wish you all the happiness in the world until the end of your days. revjonchapman #westfielducc #mybigfatgayweddingct ...

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Got a quick minute? I just need to gush for a second.
I know I talk a lot about Westfield Church, United Church of Christ. Yes, part of that is promotion. Yes, part of that is curating the narrative I hope others will pick up on. But the overwhelming reason I do it is this: I'm just so stinking proud of the work the people of #WestfieldUCC are doing.
All these posts? All those pictures? They're all from the heart. And this one is no different.
In the last ten days, my folks have stuffed hundreds of backpacks and delivered them to Killingly Schools. They have made and delivered gifts to every teacher in the Killingly system. They have taken all the extra supplies--hundreds of glue sticks and thousands of pens to the classrooms and offices that need them. They have baked for a funeral reception for one of Westfield's saints and have shown up in the days after the lightening strike asking, "What can I do?" and have cleaned and organized and cooked and fed and prayed and sang.
And from last Wednesday until next Monday, they will fill hundreds of volunteer slots at our Woodstock Fair booth.
They start arriving at 6am and stay until nearly 11pm--cooking and chatting and laughing (mostly 😉). And they do it because the believe in what we're about. They believe that their lives are better because Westfield is in it and that our work caring for the heart of Killingly is essential.
So they scramble eggs and fry chicken and stand on their feet and smile at customers all so we can do more of that. All so we can keep caring for Killingly's heart just as we have for the last 300 years.
They sure believe in what were about (and in Jesus, too. Don't worry!), but I'm afraid I don't tell them enough how much I believe in them. I don't tell them enough how proud I am of the work they do and of their dedication.
So to our workers at the fair: when you take your break and see this, thank you. And to those who have already done their shifts: thank you. And to those whose shifts haven't started yet: thank you. What you're doing makes a difference. I'm proud of you; you inspire me. I'm proud to be your pastor.
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Waiting patiently for two of our favorite guys to get hitched! Yay Greg and Jon! #westfielducc #mybigfatgayweddingct ...

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Spring time vibes heading into work #cherryblossom #spring #newengland #landscapephotography #westfielducc #trees #nature #beautiful ...

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Allison. Wife to one. Momma to four. Pitbull momma. Small town. Homemaker. My favorite Christmas tradition? It's new but it feels as though we've been here all along, at our church #westfielducc. This time of year we live here: breaking bread, hanging greens, celebrating love and life. Losing Clementine has left me feeling as though I'm constantly wearing a wet blanket, the weight is always there - some moments are heavier than others. My senses become dulled, I retract inward trying to pull away from the hard spaces. My faith is guiding me through, helping to make lighter that which I carry. This is our place in this world, these are my people-being here is what makes this season bright. #faith #love #merrychristmas #gauvinfamilychristmas #fridayintroductions thetinytwig #oncomingalive ...

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When Jon and I met at Candler, I never could have imagined that ten years later, we would both be serving churches in New England and he would be able to come to my church on a Sunday morning to baptize my sweet baby boy. God has SUCH a beautiful way of working out the details of our lives. Thank you, #westfielducc, for letting me borrow your pastor for the morning. Thank you to all of our friends and family who drove from near and far to celebrate with us this weekend. Thank you, #rehobothucc, for being my village. Thank you ALL for bearing witness to the promises of grace poured over Harrison in baptism today and pledging your love and support to him on his journey. I love you all so much! ...

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Today, I watched on as two very good friends snuggled my little ones, fed them and made umpteen balloon creatures for them to beat each other with. Meredith threw together cookie dough with Jules just for the fun of it (note: butter amounts and flour type are totally negotiable). I wasn't in the best mood today, we've been moving out of our storage unit and touching another lifetime. Grasping pieces of our old life that we can never re-live, shifting it from one cold darkness to another. I've cried quite a bit and the cherry on top: I missed church this morning for silly reasons. Sitting in a pew, our pew, sometimes it's the closest I can get to Beckett and Clementine. Church has become an anchor for me as the current of my grief threatens to sweep me away, it's a constant which feels good and grounding. We still had brunch plans, so the day wasn't going to be a total loss. Big flakes started to fall as we left for Meredith and Dan's house, and it kept softly dusting the ground all afternoon. It's just gorgeous, the quiet white blanket that is laid down in winter. Meredith treated both Beckett and Clementine, she was one of their physical therapists and my children absolutely adore her. The healing that Beckett and Clementine experienced at Crossroads was incredible, it continues to resonate through our entire family even today. Snowed in and cozy, it felt easy sitting with Meredith and Dan. We were at home, in a place that wasn't "ours." A blessing that B and C left behind, we now have an amazing tapestry of friends. People we would never have met, but now they are woven into our family. I may not have spent the #sabbath in a church, but God was present this afternoon as we broke bread and caught up with great friends. #LentAtWestfield #westfielducc ...

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