February 2024

After a hiatus in January, I resumed the Listening Tour, heading northwest by car on February 7. My first stop in 2024 was Trinity Congregational Church in Adams, Wisconsin (#55), in the middle of the state. My neighbor had told me that some refer to the area as Adams-Friendship, combining two contiguous towns. While my visit was explicitly to Adams, I discovered a spirit of friendship among the members and friends of the congregation. I chatted informally with individuals who lingered after a weekly bible study before a roundtable conversation about possibilities for the future. They use the term “lighthouse effect” to portray their presence locally, radiating the light of Christ to their community in service to the country and the Lord. Enthusiasm heightened as they recalled past hymn sings and collaborations with other churches and considered how to extend hospitality in the months ahead. 

After staying overnight in St. Paul, Minnesota, I met the Rev. Beth Faeth, minister of congregational life at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, for lunch. We reflected on current activities in the NACCC and Plymouth’s outreach to the city. 

That evening, I joined the members of St. Croix United Church in Bayport (#56) for coffee and heart-shaped cookies. While I had visited the church building before, this was my first meeting with this newly formed congregation with roots in two predecessor churches: People’s Congregational Church of Bayport and St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Stillwater. The nascent congregation is dually affiliated with the NACCC and the United Church of Christ. Exhibiting dedicated intentionality, the members of this new congregation embody innovation. For instance, they scheduled an Ash Thursday service on February 15 to separate it from Valentine’s Day. During the warmer months, they will uphold a longstanding tradition of worshipping outdoors. 

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