Sunday, March 22, promises to be a special day at our Church. At the 9:30 and 11:15am worship services, the Church’s Pastoral Care ministries will be celebrated, and the Church’s Chancel Choir will present selections from Messiah.

Our Church recognizes that just as God promises to care for everyone, we too promise to care for one another – and that caring has long been a part of life on God’s Acre. Pastoral care is not something that is only delegated to ministers, rather caring is often given from one church member to another member through many ways – making a meal, giving a ride, writing a note of sympathy, knitting a prayer shawl, or praying on someone’s behalf; in addition, our specially trained Stephen Ministers walk with those going through difficult times. In order to recognize the ways in which church members care for one another and those who reach out in ministry, we will be celebrating Pastoral Care Sunday. Lay pastoral care volunteers will be reflecting on their ministry, offering prayers, and will be recognized for all they do.

In addition, the choral music this Sunday will be from Part II of Messiah, HWV 56, by Georg Frederick Handel.  The 30-voice Chancel Choir, accompanied by organ and a string quintet, will begin services with a 15-minute prelude, at 9:15 and 11:00am respectively, so that all the music from this section of Messiah that is about Lent can be included. Dr. Jo Deen Blaine Davis, Director of Music Ministries, will conduct the music as well as play the organ.

Handel (1685-1759) was born and trained in Germany.  He traveled to Italy, where he studied and achieved mastery in every musical genre. Handel then settled for nearly 50 years in England, where he combined all three countries’ musical styles in his music. Messiah is an oratorio: a lengthy religious work consisting of recitatives, arias, and choruses without any scenery or acting. Handel was given a compilation of Old and New Testament scriptures from his friend, Charles Jennens (1700 – 1773). As in a typical oratorio, Messiah was divided into three parts: Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. Handel usually worked very quickly, so no one was surprised when Messiah was composed in 24 days (August 22 – September 14) in 1741 and performed for the first time in Dublin in 1742.  It was intended to be sung by a small choral ensemble.

Messiah was Handel’s favorite work and near the end of his life, he enjoyed popularity from it.  Messiah was performed yearly (beginning in 1784) to benefit a hospital for underprivileged children in London.  This organization continues today as the Thomas Coram Foundation.  Messiah was performed first in the United States beginning in 1818.

To learn more about music and pastoral care ministries at The Congregational Church of New Canaan, please explore other pages on our website, or call the Church Office at (203)966-2651.