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Monday, February 26, 2007

New - The Connecticut Search Engine!

We're pleased to announce the creation and launch of a special new custom search engine just for Connecticut - the Connecticut Search Engine!

Powered by Google, this search engine is more powerful and useful for you because it's limited to searching just Connecticut news and government sites. Beside the main State websites, all major State newspapers and dozens of smaller papers are included. Major Connecticut political blogs are also searched.

How to search? If you know how to use Google, you already know how to use this custom search engine. There are two ways to access it:

1. Use the handy search box right here on our blog.

2. Visit and bookmark the Connecticut Search Engine at

We think this will be a great resource for anyone interested in Connecticut and tracking what's happening here. Enjoy!

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

More on yesterday's Rally For Marriage

More on yesterday's Rally For Marriage at the State Capitol:

The Family Institute of Connecticut reports:

Thanks so much to all of you who came out to the Rally for Marriage. We had our largest turnout ever for a weekday event! There were over 200 people that attended, which was more than double the crowd of our opponents. More importantly, many of our supporters personally lobbied their legislators for the first time. Thanks also to State Senate Minority Leader Lou DeLuca (R-Woodbury), State Rep. T.R. Rowe (R-Trumbull), State Rep. Anthony D'Amelio (R-Waterbury), State Rep. David Alderando (D-Waterbury), and State Rep. Al Adinolfi (R-Cheshire). We had a great show of legislative support and truly appreciate these leaders for standing strong for marriage.

The Waterbury Republican-American quoted pro-family forces:

Senate Minority Leader Louis C. DeLuca, R-Woodbury, accused supporters of gay marriage of religious intolerance.

"We are under attack. They want to have a secular society that says there is no right and wrong," DeLuca said. "We know better."

More to come as it develops... obviously a long-term story.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Media Updates on the Protect Marriage Rally

More media coverage of today's Protect Marriage Rally in Hartford today and related news. We'll try to update these links as best we can.

More human interest from the New Haven Independent.

“Christians are under attack today,” said Senate GOP leader Louis DeLuca of Woodbury, standing on the Capitol steps before a throng of gay marriage opponents, many with ashes on their foreheads for ash [sic] Wednesday.

Earlier links:

WTNH report with video link, includes quote from Brian Brown. WTNH reports the crowd in favor of traditional morality in the hundreds.

From the New Haven Independent: State Rep. and head of the Judiciary Committee Mike Lawlor says gay marriage is "inevitable."

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Media Updates on the Protect Marriage Rally

Here's media coverage as it starts to come in on the Protect Marriage Rally taking place in Hartford today and related news. We'll try to update these links as best we can.

WTNH report with video link, includes quote from Brian Brown.

From the New Haven Independent: State Rep. and head of the Judiciary Committee Mike Lawlor says gay marriage is "inevitable."

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Ugandan Prayer Leader Jackson Senyonga Ministering in Connecticut, March 11-13

Pastor and Prayer Leader Jackson Senyonga

Jackson Senyonga, Pastor of Christian Life Church in Kampala, Uganda is coming to Connecticut for three days of transforming prayer and impartation.

Pastor Senyonga is the leader of the Ugandan prayer movement featured on the widely acclaimed Transformations 2 video produced by the Sentinel Group. Since its beginnings in the 1990’s the prayer movement has brought unprecedented revival and change to the nation of Uganda. On New Year’s Eve 2000, the Ugandan President attended a stadium prayer event where he repented for his nation’s sins of witchcraft and idolatry and placed the national flag into the hands of the Church leaders.

Today, Uganda is unique among all African nations. The HIV/AIDS rate is dramatically declining, the economy is soaring, and the President has recruited an agency of Christians to stomp out government corruption.

Christian Life Church in Kampala has a membership of more than 40,000 people, with an average Sunday attendance of 22,000. The Church has also planted more than 600 new churches and is building homes for widows and orphans.

Christian Life Church gathering at Nembole Stadium in Uganda, 2004

Jackson Senyonga’s schedule in Connecticut will be:

Sunday, March 11, 8:30 & 11:00 am
Preaching at: Harvest Time Church International
1338 King Street, Greenwich, CT

Sunday-Tuesday, March 11, 12 & 13, 7:00 pm
Regional Transforming Prayer and Impartation Services
Location: Harvest Time Church International
1338 King Street, Greenwich, CT

Monday, March 12, 12:00 noon
Marketplace Ministry Leaders Luncheon
Location: TBA

Tuesday, March 13, 12:00 noon
Pastors’ Luncheon
Location: Harvest Time Church International
1338 King Street, Greenwich, CT

For more Christian events in Connecticut, visit the Connecticut Christian Events Calendar, powered by Google.TM

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

FIC "Protect Marriage and Lobby Day" Tomorrow

From the Family Institute of Connecticut comes this notice:

Anti-family activists have begun their push to pass a same-sex "marriage" law during the state legislature's 2007 session. We have already responded to their initial moves. But we could lose this battle unless a significant number of pro-family state voters make themselves physically present at the state capitol.

On Wednesday, February 21st at 10:00 a.m. the Family Institute of Connecticut Action will hold a Protect Marriage Rally and Lobby Day on the steps of the state capitol in Hartford. We need as many pro-family state residents as possible to attend our rally and then meet with their own legislators afterwards to ask them to vote to protect marriage.

In 2004, and again in 2005, FIC Action organized weekend rallies that brought thousands of pro-family voters to Hartford. That is why previous efforts to pass full same-sex "marriage" failed.

But we have entered a new phase in the battle to protect the one man-one woman definition of marriage. The most effective approach at this point is to bring hundreds to Hartford on a weekday to meet directly with their state representative and state senator.

I know that it is a sacrifice to take a day off from work and I appreciate what so many of you are willing to do to help protect society's most precious institution. But our opposition regularly appears at the state capitol in the hundreds. Having legislators see with their own eyes that the pro-family side enjoys greater public support is the only way to reverse the anti-family stranglehold over our state capitol.

And FIC Action will be there on February 21st to help guide you. Following our 10 a.m. rally we will march together into the Legislative Office Building where our volunteers will help direct you to where you need to go to meet with your own state representative and state senator. We will also provide brief talking points on why marriage should be protected and not redefined.

For more info, visit the FIC Website.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

5 reasons why the Connecticut press keeps doing profiles of evangelical churches

The New Haven Register recently profiled Kingdom Life Christian Church and its lead pastor, Bishop Jay Ramirez. (See article here.) There seem to be a lot of these stories lately in various papers, and I have some thoughts as to why this might be so.

1. One reason is curiosity. Evangelical churches (using the term broadly) still present something out of the ordinary for the typical Connecticut resident. The ARDA website reports that Connecticut only had some 80,000 Evangelicals in the year 2000. I take those numbers with a grain of salt, as (1) historically African American denominations were not included and, (2) independent charismatic churches were listed as having only 1,800 people.

In any case, the largest religious group by far in Connecticut is Roman Catholics. In this regard, although we don't often think of it this way, Connecticut is somewhat different from much of the country. We have no reason to doubt the commonly accepted figures to the effect that Catholics make up some 40% of the State's population and nearly 70% of the State's religious adherents.

So there's a natural curiosity factor at work: who are these strange animals in our midst?

You can also see this played out in reporting which always takes note of new buildings, high-tech trappings, contemporary worship music, non-traditional expressions of worship, informal dress on the part of clergy, etc. These things are novel or even odd to most of Connecticut. Here's the Register:

They come in droves twice on Sundays, filling every space in the sprawling church parking lot.

They enter the ornate lobby, with its glittering chandelier, pristine waterfall and plush purple rugs, make their way into the sanctuary and joyously sing with a choir and professional five-piece band.

Each of them hears Bishop Jay Ramirez preach passionately, sometimes whispering, sometimes thundering, always captivating his audience, with many of the faithful responding "Amen" or "Praise the Lord."

The polished quality of the church extends into all elements— from the quiet, elegant piano music as a background to Ramirez’s many prayers, to security guards donned in crisp, black suits wearing tiny earpiece microphones.

I wouldn't describe the tone as exactly patronizing, but there is a sense in which the reporter is clearly trying to open a window into a world that's unfamiliar to most Connecticut residents. (It's almost like National Geographic!)

2. A second reason is testimony. Nothing beats a good story of "personal transformation," and enough people have come to evangelical faith in the past 20 years to create lots of stories. Most people in our State may not be "born again," but almost everyone knows someone who has started going to one of "those churches." Eventually reporters come to see what all the ruckus is about...

Vincenzina Civitillo, 32, of Milford, said she started coming to Kingdom Life in 2001, when she "hit rock bottom." She was addicted to cocaine and the state Department of Children and Family services threatened to take her children away.

She said God spoke through Ramirez at her first service.

"Bishop was preaching that your body is a temple," she said. "I knew I was supposed to be (there) that day. I believe God puts you in places for a reason."

After that, Civitillo said she dropped her drug habit without experiencing any withdrawal symptoms.

3. A third reason is visibility and impact. This comes in different flavors, to be sure.
  • Yes, it's hard to ignore the big buildings (or big building plans) of a First Cathedral, a Walnut Hill, a Kingdom Life, or a Black Rock. But megachurches (and not-so-mega churches) also get noticed in the community for their outreach as well.
  • There's also the phenomenon of Christian concerts with the very top acts hitting our State thanks to people like Rock the Sound.
  • We also have seen evangelicals and charismatics coming together to pray - some 4,300 last year in one meeting alone.
Add it all up and it means that the theologically conservative church is more visible than anyone could have guessed it would be just a few years ago.

4. Another reason is politics. Most people in the press probably view evangelicals and charismatics as a conservative faction in society, and so they are quick to explore the question of whether their heightened visibility will influence the politics of our State in any way. This part of the article on Bishop Ramirez was almost obligatory:

Anne Stanback, executive director for activist group Love Makes a Family, said she’s not aware of Kingdom Life’s role in fighting same-sex marriage. She said her organization is only seeking civil marriage and churches that do not favor same-sex marriage would not have to perform them.

"I think we shouldn’t put into law a religious position of one church and ignore that of another," Stanback said, noting some churches sanction same-sex marriages.

Ignoring the sophistry of Ms. Stanback's argument, it's obvious that the call of any church will create "political" activity, as people now understand "politics." Because morality has become political in American life, we can expect to see this type of reporting continue. Like it or not, when your capital city is one of the "gayest" in the country, the Bible is unavoidably political.

5. A final reason is favor, as in God's favor. The increased interest in evangelical churches in our region gives us a chance to interact with many people who previously did not know we existed or were at best apathetic. Favorable coverage allows churches which people see as non-traditional to attract new visitors by removing or lessening people's prejudices.

And that's a good thing.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Connecticut Mill Towns Continue Their Decline

The New York Times chronicles the loss of Connecticut's manufacturing:

Victor Silva, 50, has lived in Ansonia, a town just south of here, all his life. He knew he would work in a factory, smoothing out metal or loading trucks. He never expected getting laid off three times as one struggling factory after another scaled back or shut down entirely.

Now, he can recite the trajectory as if it were gospel....

Mr. Silva’s story is a familiar one in towns across the central valley of Connecticut as one locally owned manufacturing plant after another closes, taking jobs that in many cases have been in the same family for generations.

The state estimates that in the last decade alone, the manufacturing economy has shrunk by nearly a fourth, to 193,900 people with manufacturing jobs from 248,500. The ripples can be felt throughout the region where shells of former factories dot the banks of the Naugatuck River.

The local steel workers union has seen its membership shrink to nearly half its size in the last decade, to 1,400 from 2,600.

Trade schools, where hard-working fathers sent their sons to learn the family business, have been replaced by centers for the elderly and office buildings.

Read it all.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Connecticut's Catholic Dioceses said to be in poor spiritual health

Among all U. S. dioceses, the Hartford Diocese is last in "spiritual health," according to Crisis Magazine.

The New Haven Register reports:

"The State of the Catholic Church in America, Diocese by Diocese" measured the 176 U.S. dioceses according to three criteria: the change in the number of priests, including those that move into the diocese (an indicator of morale); the number of ordinations; and the number of adults joining the church.

The measures were chosen because they are "not ideological" and are those that "everyone agrees are signs of health," according to Brian Saint-Paul, editor of Crisis, an independent conservative Catholic journal.

When the three scores were totaled, Hartford came in 176th, with the Diocese of Bridgeport at 132 and the Diocese of Norwich at 117.

Bridgeport and Norwich were helped by each having one score in the top third. Bridgeport’s score for the change in numbers of priests was 58, and Norwich ranked 47th in ordinations....

Overall, the Crisis report shows growth among U.S. Catholics — a 19 percent increase over the decade to 66 million. The church still faces a clergy shortage, however, with active priests dropping 18 percent from 22,000 to 18,000 over 10 years.

Read the rest of the Register report here, or read the full report at Crisis Magazine here.

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Subscribe to Connecticut Christian Events Calendar

We're now making available from this blog as well as from our website an RSS feed of Connecticut Christian Events!

What's RSS? It stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it's a way of receiving information that allows you to keep up with changes in a web site without having to revisit it. (See here for more.)

All you need is a free RSS reader program like Google Reader, and you're on your way to exploring the Web in a newer and faster way. Updated news stories and events come to you - like e-mail but without the spam!

If you already subscribe to RSS feeds, you'll appreciate that our calendar feed lists events on our calendar in chronological order, and it isn't just a jumble as many similar feeds are. Opening an item takes you to its description in the Calendar.

To get started with a free subscription to our calendar feed or the feed for this blog, just hit one of the orange icons in the right-hand column! They look like this:

Thanks again for your support and please continue to submit events to us at

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Investigations at Greenwich church lead to indictment of attorney

The AP is reporting that a prominent defense attorney has been indicted as a result of the investigation into the computers at a Greenwich church once attended by former President Bush's family.

Philip Russell, 48, of Stamford was charged in a two-count indictment unsealed Friday, authorities said. He appeared in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport and was released after posting $100,000 bond.

Russell entered not guilty pleas to the charges, said his attorney, Thomas Williams.

"Mr. Russell maintains his innocence to these charges," Williams said. "He plans to continue with his law practice. He's optimistic that if the case is not dismissed, that a jury will find his conduct was lawful."

Russell allegedly obstructed justice on Oct. 9, 2006, by destroying a laptop computer containing child pornography that was owned by Robert F. Tate, the former music director at Christ Church in Greenwich. Russell, the former attorney for the church, destroyed the computer to obstruct an FBI investigation, authorities said....

Tate pleaded guilty in January to possessing child pornography.

Former President George H.W. Bush attended the church while growing up in Greenwich....

Tate, 64, of Greenwich, admitted possessing between 150 and 300 sexually explicit images of children. The images were seized from Tate's apartment at the church, authorities said.

In addition to Tate, investigators have been looking into how the church handled the matter. The church has hired a criminal attorney, Eugene Riccio.

Read more here.

Obviously we need to pray for the congregation of this church.

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Skateboarding Ministry takes off

Nice piece today in the Danbury News-Times about a ministry in Bethel that is reaching young people:

Skateboarding is often associated with negative images, but Bryn Gillette would like to see that perception change. He is trying to do that by mentoring young boys who enjoy the sport as much as he does in a skate ministry at Bethel's Walnut Hill Community Church.

Gillette started the volunteer ministry four years ago. It is a forum for him to not just demonstrate new skating tricks, but also influence young people by sharing his own experiences as a teen involved in the "skate culture," and how he was able to avoid the bad behaviors some associate with the sport such as vandalism and drugs.

Read it all here.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Helping the State's Bible Colleges

Family Institute of Connecticut is reporting about a bill to protect Bible Colleges from the State's licensing procedures. A Baptist pastor writes:

What does the state know or understand concerning the operation of a Bible college? Can they offer suggestions on teaching New Testament Survey, Pastoral Theology, Homiletics and Hermeneutics etc. etc. How can they regulate the qualifications of our faculty when there is no state accredited College that has graduates meeting our qualifications?

Read it all here.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Why we need revival on campus

This sort of takes it beyond Animal House... Yale is enjoying something called "Sex Week."

One Calhoun resident made his views clear on another blog, Dan Gelernter, class of 2009, is co-editor of Critical Mass, aimed at "collegiate conservatives," and called the episode "a new chapter in the story of Yale's continuing descent into the depths of moral degradation."

" the moral vacuum that has been created by Yale intellectuals, students seem to be left without even the most basic guidelines for proper and decent behavior," Gelernter wrote.

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