Dr. James Gill, right, chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut, and his science teacher at Litchfield High School, Ed O'Connell, at the Women's Forum of Litchfield meeting on Thursday. BZ photos
A homecoming for chief medical examiner
Litchfield native and chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut, Dr. James Gill, was back in town Nov. 7 to discuss his career at a meeting of the Women's Forum of Litchfield at the Litchfield Community Center.
Gill is the son of Charlie and Joan Gill of Litchfield, who were in attendance to hear their son speak to a large crowd. In attendance too was Ed O'Connell, who was Gill's science teacher at Litchfield High school. Gill graduated from LHS in 1984.
In his talk, Gill cited the influence O'Connell and the late LHS science teacher Phil Fowler had on him as a student and how they helped inspire his career path.
Gill has been the state's CME since 2013. He provided the women's forum with an overview of the work of the medical examiner’s office and its roles in the criminal justice and public health systems.
In addition to his work as medical examiner, Gill has academic appointments at Yale University, the University of Connecticut, and Quinnipiac University.
He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He did his pathology training at Yale and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and his forensic pathology fellowship at the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Prior to his post in Connecticut, Gill was the deputy chief medical examiner for Bronx County in New York City. He has testified over 400 times as an expert in forensic pathology and lectured nationally and internationally on forensic pathology. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Forensic Sciencesand Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathologyhas published over 100 scientific articles and book chapters on a variety of forensic pathology topics.
Below, the Women's Forum meeting crowd listens as Dr. James Gill talks about his career.
Nov. l7 sermon of the Rev. Robert F. Tucker,
St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
FINAL TIMES & FINAL JUDGMENT!
All of our Scripture Readings this weekend give horrifying signs that may portend the end of the world. Earthquakes, Famine, Wars, Tornadoes, Storms and Persecutions all warning signs over two thousand years ago and still are, yet the world has not ended. We still pray, yearn for and seek justice for all and that is our responsorial psalm, “The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.”
Malachi sets the tone in our first reading as he speaks of fire consuming the earth. Look at the news on California each month! Isn’t it enough to frighten you? St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians and tells them to keep busy living their faith and not minding the business of others. How much of our newspaper and news is daily either putting someone down or stressing the negative on another? Jesus in this Gospel of Luke states that we do not need to worry about end times but to daily pray and act on our faith and we will be safe. Since the beginning of time, this end of time literature called apocalyptic literature gives a violent and dramatic end of the world. It drives people to fear or despair. However, our faith teaches us that God is more powerful than any earthly disaster. Yes, terrible things happened and are happening and will continue to happen, but Jesus the Son of Justice will prevail.
In Egypt, the Final Judgment is the most popular painting in all tombs and pyramids. This painting comes from the “Book of the Dead” as a dead person is going on a journey to know his or her fate. Anubis, the God of mummification leads the person to the balance of justice which has two scales. When a person dies before they are mummified, their body organs are taken out and put separately in a ceramic pot to be buried with them when mummified and ready to bury. Just before this process the heart of the dead person is removed and placed on one scale of justice and a feather on the other scale.
The heart is seen as the symbol of good and bad deeds and the feather a symbol of justice. If the person has a heavy heart, this means he or she is a bad person and the heart will be eaten by Aman, the wild animal a symbol of hell that stands next to the scale. But if the heart is light this means that the person is good and will enter into paradise by Horus the God of Protection. The light heart is placed back into the person to be mummified so that he or she is now ready for the final judgment and with a loving, kind and gentle heart will proceed to eternal life.
Jesus states that not a hair of your head will be destroyed and thus gives us the challenge to live with justice. Justice is true love of God and Neighbor and thus, we will balance the scale of Justice and gain heaven. It is not ours to worry about when we will be called, but to know that we will be called. It is ours to strive to live in true love and justice for all.
Nov. 10 sermon of the Rev. E. Bevan Stanley,
rector of St. Michael’s Church, Litchfield
Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to God all of them are alive. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. OK. So the Gospel reading we just heard has got to be one of the most puzzling ones there is. Let’s take a closer look and see what we can find that’s useful in it.
We will begin with the Sadducees. They are a group within the Judaism of Jesus’ day that focused their attention on the cultic practices of sacrifice in the Temple. They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead or in an afterlife. They come to Jesus to challenge him and propose a hypothetical case in an attempt to show how silly this idea of resurrection is. There is in the Mosaic Law the requirement that if a man dies without an heir, his brother is to marry the widow and produce heirs for the deceased.
This had to do with managing the land allotments assigned to each family and at the same time made provision for the welfare of the widow who would otherwise be destitute. So the Sadducees make up this improbable case of a man with six brothers, who all die in sequence with the widow becoming the wife of each in turn. “So Jesus, in this resurrection you talk about whose wife will she be?” It is not a real question, but a rhetorical one to show that no one can be expected to believe in the resurrection.
Jesus responds in two different ways. First he states that marriage is a phenomenon of this world not the next. In the resurrection no one marries. “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.”
Marriage in Jesus’ day and culture was a social construct in which the woman was regarded almost as property. This social construct was designed to make the inheritance of property tidy and orderly. It was not primarily about a live-giving and nurturing personal relationship. When the next world comes, or when we enter the next life, such social constructs will no longer be in effect nor be useful. In fact, since in the resurrection, no one dies, the question of inheritance or of passing on widows to brothers will not arise.
This response offer us a line of thought that can be challenging. If the institution of marriage is not important in the next life, what other institutions, allegiances, and duties may not matter either? What structures that we value for the stability and security they give us will we be asked to let go of in the next life? What Patterns and commitments that undergird our sense of identity will be irrelevant in the next life. In fact, who will I be when I be in that life when my family, career, and nationality no longer matter? Who will I be when I stand before God without all these marks of who I am? Who will I be when I stand before all the other people in the Kingdom, those beloved of me, those known, those unknown?
The second response is more to the point, for now Jesus, having parried the Sadducees attack, now ripostes with his own thrust. He now offers a text to show that the dead are raised. When God identifies Godself as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, God is referring to people who are alive, for God is the “God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”
Now you may find this use of the scriptural proof text a little weak. Still the point Jesus is making is important. The direction of the causality is significant here. We are not in a relationship with God because we are alive, and then if we die, we lose that relationship. Rather, we are alive because we are in a relationship with God, and because that relationship will never fail, death cannot hold us. “For to God all of them are alive.” To God all of us are alive.
So what will take home from these texts today? It is not that somehow we must crank up our conviction that the resurrection is true, that we have to believe a particular clause in the Creed. No. I think what Jesus is implying, is that if we have a vibrant personal relationship with God, then we will simply know that we shall see God, that we shall experience that life that is so rich and deep and full that we call it eternal, that we shall enter that mode of existence in which all artificial structures of relationship will be removed so that we can give and receive love as universally as God does.
Yesterday Alinda and I attended the memorial service of my uncle, Stan Davies. The service consisted mostly of remembrances given by ten of his children and grandchildren. They were all beautifully done and under three minutes. One of them comes to mind in this context. One of the grandsons recalled a time when he was visiting his grandparents in the summer at their farm. As they were sitting on the patio, the young man asked his grandfather what was the secret to a long and happy marriage. The older man did not answer. Then the lad’s grandmother appeared with a tray of iced tea. The grandfather looked up and saw his wife. He smiled and said to his grandson, “Pick the right girl.” So what is the secret to eternal life filled with love and joy? Pick the right God.
As is so often the case in life, it’s not about information, it’s about the relationship.
Nov. l0 sermon of the Rev. Robert F. Tucker,
St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
RESURRECTION: THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
Someone once stated that instead of thinking outside the box, just get rid of the box! That is the point of the story in the Gospel this week, as Jesus lets the Sadducees, who, do not believe in eternal life be challenged to face the fact that God is a God of living.
Resurrection is the total otherness of the afterlife. He states that Resurrection is a new creation by which we will share in the divine life of God. It is different from our present life but a continuation nonetheless of our personalities, as molded by our present life. It gives meaning to all that makes up your life. It is expressed in our prayers for the repose of the souls of all those who have gone before us, which we emphasize in prayer and loving thought this month of November. We model our lives on the great Easter Mystery of Jesus Rising from the dead. There is no satisfactory answer to this tricky question! The after life exceeds our ability to imagine or understand! It is a call to deeper faith, more loving actions and greater HOPE in a living, loving God.
Death takes center stage in today’s readings, beginning with a family being tortured and killed in a scene of terrible horror. Each brother in the Book of Maccabees is willing to die, trusting in the resurrection even before the coming of Jesus Christ. St. Paul in the second reading asks for prayers that he be delivered from those who would harm him. Jesus tells us that our friendships and our family ties will be transfigured in heaven.
The key to eternal life or Resurrection is that we will all be bound together in love that even death will not part us. Our challenge is to GIVE love, RECEIVE love and HOPE in love as the key to our living out the two great commandments and then coming to the result or promised gift of that life! The only box we need is the box of love that is always willing to give and receive of itself. Love does not die but carries on in what is what eternal life is all about.
Jesus calls us to trust in Him and to put our faith into loving actions as we travel through each day and allow Him to be our pilot. Think of this story during the week to motivate you in love. As a passenger in a plane sat relaxed and enjoying the view out the window of the plane, he could not believe the beauty of the clouds and the heavens as the plane flew on so calmly. Suddenly a parachutist appeared and yelled at the man in the window. “Come and join Me!’ The man replied, “No, I’m very happy and content where I am”. The parachutist responded, “Just as you like, but I’m the Pilot!”
Tours available at St. Michael's
St. Michael’s Parish is participating in the 300-year celebration for the town of Litchfield by offering guided and self-guided tours of the church’s interior on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October.
Church members Peg Sullivan (pictured), Susan Pollock and Curry Walker will rotate as tour guides. Those who wish to plan ahead for a different time for a tour can do so by contacting the Parish Administrator at 860-567-9465 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
St. Michael’s Parish is a neo-Gothic cruciform building built in the English Decorated style popular c. 1250-1380, designed by acclaimed architects Rossiter and Mueller. There are several stained-glass windows created by the Tiffany studios, an organ containing 2,254 pipes, a triptych mural by H. Sidons Mowbray, and elaborate woodcarvings.
Neatly Nested Again a benefit for church
Volunteers at the Neatly Nested Again shop at the First Congregational Church of Litchfield include, from left, Ruth Erickson, Tori Savage, Betty Eisenhaure and Cindy Birkins. JoAnn Jaacks photos
The First Congregational Church of Litchfield’s new consignment shop Neatly Nested Again is open for business.
High-quality and gently-used items such as antiques, décor accessories, jewelry, small furniture pieces, china, dishes, lamps, artwork and crafts are featured. Donations are welcome, but the shop will not accept clothing, kitchen appliances, books, shoes or large furniture.
Basket crafter Michelle Lusk of Lady Bug Baskets and Crafts in Greenville, S.C., is selling her work and has painted a sign for the boutique that greets visitors. Asian collectibles are on sale as is a vintage sewing chest made by Strommen Bruk Hamar,
The shop is open on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cash or checks are preferred for purchases. All proceeds benefit the church. For more informtion, contact Cindy Birkins at email@example.com.
A sign greeting visitors to the boutique was painted by artist Michelle Lusk. Baskets made by Lusk, below, are on sale.
Children’s Book Department at Church Book Store
A room devoted to children’s books is open at the Litchfield Congregational Church book store. Children’s books are a real bargain – 50¢ for soft cover and $1 for hardcover books. Or, for $10, shoppers can fill a box with as many books as will fit and it’s OK if they stick out the top. A special promotion is available to area teachers to help them stock their classrooms.
The store is open on Saturdays from 10 to 3 and on Sunday afternoons. It is located in the basement of the church, located on the Green at 21 Torrington Road.
Litchfield Community Café
Senior Lunches ~ Monday–Friday
@ Litchfield Community Center
Over the age of 60, and live in or visiting the Litchfield area? Why not stop in and have lunch at our beautiful Litchfield Community Café located in the Litchfield Community Center? The Litchfield Community Café serves congregate lunch Mondays through Fridays! (Fridays are meatless Fridays!) For a suggested donation of only $4.00, you can enjoy a hot, delicious nutritious meal including milk, coffee or tea and dessert! Reservations required by noon the day before. For the current menu, further information, or to make a reservation, please call 860-567-5746. Hope to see you there!
The Food Pantry at St. Michael’s
needs your donations
The Food Pantry at St. Michael’s is a success: since starting this spring, an increasing number of our neighbors come to the Community House the third Saturday of each month. From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., we distribute much-needed canned and packaged food, fresh bread, eggs and vegetables, and frozen meals. In October our neighbors took away over 1200 lbs. of food.
The good news is that the racks are empty. The bad news is that the racks are empty. People needed all the food we had. The Food Pantry is appealing to you to help fill the shelves each month. The Pantry needs your support to supply our community’s needs.
The pantry needs: peanut butter, jelly, cereal, oats, rice, tuna, pasta sauce, canned vegetables and fruit, soup, lentils, beans, granola bars, powered drink mix, pasta, juice, condiments, frozen vegetables, chicken, hamburger patties, coffee and tea, dish and clothes detergent, toilet paper and paper towels
We invite you to help provide our neighbors with the food they need. You can donate food, you can donate cash, and you can donate time. You can help with purchasing, collecting and delivering food, stocking the shelves, or assisting on the third Saturday of each month. The church is always open, and you can drop off donations any time in the north pews.
The veterans of American Legion Post 44 in Bantam are collecting names stories and photographs of women who have, or are serving, in the military. This information will be added to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Women’s Memorial is dedicated to all military women — past, present and future. If you would like to add yourself or a veteran from your family (deceased or living) please see Master Sergeant Linda Searles at the Saturday, December 2nd Veteran of the Month ceremony in the Bantam Borough Hall. The ceremony to honor a veteran starts at 10 am, social and light refreshments will follow. She can also email you the form. Contact Linda at lindaarmyveteran@gmail.