Local churches gather for July 4 weekend


TORRINGTON – Several local churches came together to worship on the lawn of Torrington’s All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Main Street Sunday at 11 a.m. The Goshen County Ministerial Association hosted the ecumenical service for all to attend.

“Last year, the fourth of July fell on Sunday, so the other church pastors and I decided to come together and hold our service together on the lawn again,” Rev. Diane Carleton told the Telegram. “We figured we would have more people as far as the congregation was concerned, those who did attend, or not going somewhere, didn’t necessarily have family in town and didn’t have a place to go to celebrate.”

The association held their first gathering with a picnic afterward. After the success of the previous year, they decided to do the same thing again. 

“It was a big service and picnic, so we decided to do it again this year, since it’s close to the holiday,” Carleton said. “We enjoy coming together as a congregation.”

The congregation was large and diverse. Around 50 people represented at least seven local denominations in the congregation. 

The ministerial association was organized after desiring a “churches of the whole” concept for local laity of different denominations.

The group sang several familiar hymns, “We are One in the Spirit,” “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” “Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow,” and a couple others.

Carleton, along with Rev. Brian Willats of the Torrington First Baptist Church and Rev. Bruce McBurney of First Wyoming United Presbyterian Church provided ministry to those present. 

McBurney offered the children present a ministry tailored to them. After ministering to the children, he delivered a sermon about the importance of Christians identifying themselves as Christians before identifying themselves as Americans.

“On this independence weekend, I want to remind us that the brave men and women who came to this land in search of freedom, wanted to have a chance to prioritize their lives in faithful ways,” McBurney wrote in the service notes. “They didn’t want to tell others how to think or behave but to be allowed to think for themselves and to worship God in faithfulness. There is a legacy of faithfulness that extends from where we sit today back into the past to the beginning of the history of people. When we pick up the Bible, we will see the faithfulness that allowed new creations and the joy in the morning. Being faithful to God frees us from the shackles and restraints of our own egos and our selfishness. Let us return to our roots, the faithfulness that brought us to this time and place, so that we can venture into the future with God as our focus. Amen.”

Since their inception, the association has acquired gift cards from the Panhandle Coop to help those in the community who are in need.

“They are located at the churches and can be used for gas or groceries,” Carleton said.

Carleton, Willats and McBurney encouraged those in need to contact their local churches for emergency assistance. 

If someone is in need arrives after normal business hours, they can contact the Torrington Police Department at (307) 532-7001 to be put in touch with the association.

For churches which are not currently involved with the Goshen County Ministerial Association, the association is actively seeking to have other churches join the association. The pastors gather on Thursdays at 9 a.m. at The Java Jar on Main Street in Torrington. Interested parties can also reach out to the pastors of the churches mentioned above. 

“We are all here to serve people; nothing else matters,” Carleton said. “We are here, and we support each other.”

© 2022-The Torrington Telegram

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