This Weekend, Old Lyme Church Invites Community to Three-Part ‘Rhythm of the Saints’ Event; a COVID Memorial Service, Movie Screening, Sacred Jazz Worship Service

OLD LYME – This weekend, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) is holding a special, three-part community event titled “The Rhythm of the Saints: A Gathering of the Graces in Word, Song and Film,” which will enable area residents to:

  • mourn loved ones lost during COVID, when memorial services were unable to be observed
  • attend a movie screening and discussion of City of a Million Dreams, Jason Berry’s  moving documentary about the jazz-funeral tradition in New Orleans
  • take part in a Sacred Jazz Sunday morning worship service led by Dr. Michael White and his New Orleans Jazz Ensemble.

The community-wide memorial service will take place on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m.;  the movie screening will take place on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m., followed by a discussion with filmmaker Jason Berry at 6 p.m.; and the Sacred Jazz worship service will take place on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 10 a.m.

All events will be held in the Meetinghouse, are free and open to all area residents. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Masks are required, as well as proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test obtained within 72 hours of the event.

In announcing the community-wide memorial service, Senior Minister Rev. Steve  Jungkeit said, “For 19 months, we weren’t able to conduct memorial services in the  Meetinghouse, and many people lost someone they loved during that time. This is a  chance to gather each of those individual losses, and to offer them up to God and to one another. But it’s more than that. Each of us has experienced some form of grief and loss during the pandemic, and this is a way to speak into those losses, and to experience some measure of healing.”

Dr. Michael White and his band will provide music during the service.

Of the movie, Jungkeit said, “City of a Million Dreams is an exquisite and life-affirming documentary of how a particular culture within America has learned to mourn and grieve, while also reaching toward joy and transcendence in the midst of that grief. Given all that we’ve been through as individuals, as a community and as a country these past two years, Jason Berry’s film has much to teach us about how grace and healing take hold.”

When the film is over, Berry will lead a public discussion, joined by Dr. White and Gregg  Stafford, both of whom are featured in the film. “This is a film and a discussion that you  don’t want to miss,” Jungkeit said. “Jason, Michael and Gregg reach deep into the  human soul and, against all odds, find something luminous and beautiful residing there.”

Regarding the sacred jazz worship service, Jungkeit said, “The music of Dr. White and his band reaches back to the very origins of jazz, which emerged from churches every bit as much as it did from bar-rooms. But their music reaches back even farther than that to a great river of song that sustained countless people through unimaginable difficulties,  persecution and hardships.”

He concluded, “As we heal from the wounds we have sustained during COVID, but even more so from the wounds that continue to fester from the racial  injustice of the past and present, Dr. White will lead us to that sacred river of song, where healing and hope can be found.”

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