Interfaith Service of Gratitude for Guilford’s 375th Anniversary

Interfaith Service, Guilford, CTOn Sunday afternoon, July 13th, at 1 p.m., nearly 100 people gathered under a tent on the Guilford Green to celebrate the religious freedom sought by the Rev. Henry Whitfield and the settlers of Guilford when they founded the Town in 1639.

Clergy from Guilford and Madison joined together in an Interfaith service of Gratitude. The program included a welcome by Rev. Lynn Carmen Bodden, Interim Minister of First Congregational Church, and greetings by Veronica Wallace, Chair of the Guilford 375th Anniversary Committee.

Dennis Culliton, a committee member and parishioner of St. George Church, introduced  Prof. Carlos Eire, Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University, who spoke on why the Rev. Henry Whitfield and his companions left England. Culliton later presented a gift to David Gifford Buckley for the Friends of St. Margaret’s Church, Ockley, Surrey, England. St. Margaret’s is considered the mother church of all the churches in Guilford, and is the church from which the Rev. Whitfield came.

Rabbi Stacy Offner of Temple Beth Tikvah led the assembly in reciting Psalm 84. She was followed by Rev. Sarah Verasco, Minister, First Congregational Church, who offered a litany of gratitude. The Rev. Harrison West, Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, closed the celebration with the renewal of the Guilford Covenant.

The crowd then signified their commitment to work together by joining representatives of the communities of faith in Guilford and Madison in planting a tree on the Guilford Green before enjoying refreshments.

Other participants in the celebration included the following vocalists and musicians from Christ Episcopal Church, First Congregational Church and St George Church:  James Austin-Small, Kevin Buno, Bronwyn Reeve, Olivia Schultes, Bill Speed, Elizabeth Stevens, Mark Sullivan and Ashley Zeller.

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