June 2017 Newsletter


June 2017 Newsletter

Notes From West Mountain                                                                                                                             The Reverend Mark E. Diters


The Christian Activities Council: A brief narrative history…

As the story goes, in 1853, at the urging of the wives of the ministers of the four congregational churches in Hartford, the churches committed themselves to a new ministry. Each congregation gave $100 to a fledgling effort to try and clothe, educate and assist in the lives of the children of the enormous tide of immigrants that were streaming into Hartford.

Since those initial efforts in mission and ministry, the work grew into the City Missionary Society which later became the Christians Activities Council. Whatever its name, the organization has continually engaged in Christian outreach and mission striving to seek out the least favored, create bridges and to overcome and break down barriers between people.

The CAC’s ministry has engaged in numerous efforts to uplift the opportunities for the “least of these my brothers and sisters.” In the early part the last century the CAC offered ‘fresh air’ camping experiences for Hartford youth in remote areas like Avon and Barkhamsted. The CAC also was in great part responsible for the creation of the Oak Hill School for the Blind and the Connecticut Children’s Hospital.

In most recent past, the CAC endeavored to work to systemically dismantle inequalities in the inner city by promoting varied housing efforts including: the Horace Bushnell Congregate Living, the Zezzo House, and alternative routes to ownership for individual families.

Currently with the guidance of the new Executive Director, Cori Mackey, the CAC’s focus has been Community Organizing and a summer program for inner city youth formerly called “Adventures in the City”. The Adventures in the City program is now a Freedom School site, dedicated to the education and enrichment of elementary aged children and to the development of teen and young adult leaders in the upper Albany region of Hartford.

This summer, approximately one hundred children will be enrolled in weekday education and enrichment of the ‘finest kind!’

Second Mile gifts this month will go directly to the Freedom School program, broadening their shared experiences and benefiting the greater good.



Spring Fling

On May 14th, Mother’s Day, the youth and children from the Sunday School program led worship offering prayers, readings and their marvelous sense of joy. The Board of Christian Education used this time to thank this year’s teachers with plants and give gifts to three of our High School graduates to be: Natalie Wright, Gabi Halsey, and Grace Gaucher.

Poetry Reading

Van Parker returned to Flagg Road on May 14th for a short social time and reception and to read selections from his latest collection of poems, Letting In The Light.  Hearing Van’s poems with his personal touch, allows his wisdom and wry wit to surface in wonderful ways. Many thanks to Van and Lucille for coming and sharing his work!

The office has several copies of Van’s latest two collections: Connections as well as Letting in the Light for purchase at $13.00 each. Please let us know if you would like a copy held for you.

Book Discussion Stigmatized: 9/11 to Trump and Beyond

On Sunday, May 21st a wonderful group shared a pot luck dinner and then listened to author Reza Mansoor present his book about the American Muslim experience in personal terms. Reza answered questions and posed his own helping us to become more familiar with the challenges and complexities of living in the US as a Muslim.

The Rev Elivette Mendez Angulo, Guest Preacher

On Sunday, May 28th The Rev. Elivette Mendez Angulo, a newly ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, provided a stimulating and inspiring sermon and children’s talk for our Memorial Day worshippers. Her own military experience, combined with her diverse experiences shaped her message. Elivette serves as co-pastor at the Manantial de Gracia (Spring of Grace) in West Hartford and in our national setting of the UCC, as Project Coordinator of Encuentros de Gracia y Bienvenida. Her work is focused on opening up connections with those in the Latinx culture and social networks offering welcome and love to those feeling marginalized and apart.




The June 2017 Second Mile Offering will go directly to the Christian Activities Council’s Freedom School program. Formerly called Adventures in the City, the Freedom School program will provide free, high quality summer programming to Hartford youths. In 2016, the Children’s Defense Fund selected CAC’s Adventures in the City program as a Freedom School site. This program is dedicated to the education and summer enrichment of over 100 Hartford elementary aged children and youth leaders in the upper Albany neighborhood.



The Youth Group event for June will be our much-awaited hike up Avon Mountain to the Heublein Tower on Sunday, June 11th. We will leave after church, hike, and enjoy lunch at the top of the Mountain. Liz and Linda will drive the Youths home (approximately 2:30 pm). Please wear sturdy, comfortable shoes, and bring a sandwich (Liz and Linda will provide the rest). Friends are welcome! Please let Liz and Linda know if you can come!



Jonathan Morrill graduated from Roger Williams University as an Economics major, with minors in Sustainability and Environmental Science. After a family trip to Ireland at the end of May, he’ll be starting his job search. He hopes to stay in New England, near family and friends.

Gabrielle Halsey will be spending six months abroad working on various projects with International Volunteering HQ, before attending college in 2018.

Natalie Wright is headed to Roger Williams University where she hopes to pursue double majors in Psychology and Dance, to become a Dance Movement Therapist.

Grace Gaucher will be attending University of New Hampshire, and is deciding between Environmental Studies and Marine Biology.

Caroline Turner will be attending University of New Hampshire’s School of Nursing.


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