Hartford Pew Review: South Church (contemporary service)

Same building, same pastor. Totally different service.

SOLID GROUND, the contemporary service at South Church, felt more like a Baptist gathering than anything.

After grabbing a cookie at the between-services coffee hour, I slipped into the chapel ten minutes before 11, thinking I might be too late to get a seat.

As I would learn, nobody arrives until about two minutes before this service begins. There was no greeter, but bulletins were easy to find by the entrance. While the South Church Praise Band rehearsed, I pretended to read through the program, noting that I had been in the building for a solid ten minutes without receiving any type of greeting. But after the rehearsal wrapped up, one of the vocalists came over to say hello, as did Pastor Adam.

Moments before the service started, Pastor Adam joined other congregants in posing for cellphone photos. A large percentage of the contemporary service was made of youth– teens and young adults. (more…)

Hartford Pew Review: South Church (traditional service)

Satan is real, not symbolic,” Pastor Adam Söderberg told worshippers at South Church on a morning when the -2°F windchill temperature no doubt kept some away from the cozy, well-lit Meeting House. Thoughts of raging hellfire on such a cold day might not have had the intended effect on congregants who filled about 20% of the room.

South Church is more like two churches in one, as the traditional service varies wildly from the contemporary service (reviewed separately) in message and style.

South Congregational Church, also known as the Second Church of Christ in Hartford, originated in 1670 when members split from what is now Center Church. They pride themselves on maintaining tradition, but have made steps to take themselves into this century. They have a web presence, which includes social media and embedded videos of past sermons on their website, which is attractive and easy to navigate. As someone who spends too much time on poorly designed sites (primarily for restaurants) trying to ascertain basic pieces of information, like hours of operation, this online accessibility is very appreciated. Grace Academy, a fairly new middle school for girls with an enrollment around sixty, is located within the South Church compound, which can be a bit of a maze for visitors. (more…)

Community Dialogues on Adult Learning

As over ninety people filed into the library atrium, they were greeted by the aroma of vegetable pakora, a welcome alternative to the standard satisfying-but-dull sandwiches; a pianist played tunes to create an inviting mood for the Community Dialogue Kick-off Event last week.

“Diversity also means inclusiveness,” Mayor Segarra told the crowd, as he spoke in support for greater access to learning opportunities, especially for immigrants. A part of inclusiveness, he suggested, was making sure that immigrant community is not “placed in a holding pattern for ten or fifteen years.”

Segarra —  who described how at age fifteen, without a diploma, he attended college — was one of several speakers advocating for “Adult Learning as a Pathway to Change,” the theme of the Community Dialogues. (more…)

Rally For Trayvon Martin Scheduled for Saturday

Photo of Trayvon Martin provided by rally organizers

Hartford will be joining cities across Connecticut and the nation in protesting the murder of 17-year old Trayvon Martin.

At ten on the morning of March 31st, activists including Cornell Lewis and LaResse Harvey will gather at Albany and Main to demand justice for the killing of an unarmed youth.

Solidarity rallies are also planned for UConn (Storrs) and the University of New Haven. Another solidarity action is planned for Trinity College.

Where are the Comments?

Short answer: I don’t know.

Long answer: I noticed late Friday evening/early Saturday morning that all but one of the comments on a particular article disappeared. I looked further and saw this happened on other articles, but with no rhyme or reason. If I can figure a way to bring them back, I will. Sorry for the inconvenience.

38 Nominees for Teacher of the Year in Hartford

The Hartford Schools’ Teacher of the Year will be announced on May 24th at a banquet in the Marriott, but first, the list needs to be narrowed. David Medina explains that each nominated teacher will “undergo an intensive screening and interview process conducted by a special district-wide Teacher of the Year committee made up of Hartford Public School curriculum directors, officials from the Hartford Federation of Teachers and former winners of the event.”

The next step, he said, is for the committee to narrow the field to three finalists, who will be video-taped at their respective schools. They will then be “asked to complete a series of written essay questions,” Medina said.