Church services in Milford park draw many from area towns

MILFORD – Song, prayer and goodwill filled the air at Keyes Park on Sunday as one of five outdoor church services were held by the Souhegan Christian Church.

The church plans to hold services under the pavilion at Keyes Park on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. until Aug. 28. The community is welcomed to attend. In case of bad weather, services will be at the church at 5 Route 101A, next to Guitar Gallery.

Members of the congregation are just as welcoming and open as the wide outdoors of the park they chose to worship God. The service was fun, entertaining and spiritual at the same time.

A progressive children’s program that uses drama and music to help children learn about religion added a few additional entertaining skits to the outdoor services with a clown skit and puppet show, which was enjoyable for children as well as adults. All were given thought-provoking questions to ponder, such as clown Michele Siegmann asking through mime using expressions, music and props “What is worship?” and Gordy the Puppet asking “Why am I here?”

The puppet show was based upon a Star Trek theme with a transponder, props and a mystery box filled with a few clues about the service’s message led by Kim Lord of Nashua and puppet Gordy (Ted Kennedy). Children eagerly participated as adults also pondered the questions.

“The children’s message is usually entertaining but is not only for kids,” youth director Kathy Kennedy from Milford said.

Church member Lisa Scheib added, “Sometimes kids say something thought-provoking, you know out of the mouths of babes, and sometimes I say I should think the same way with child-like faith and honesty.”

A few children and families playing in the park were drawn in by the clown, puppet show and music and felt welcome to participate.

Before the sermon started, young children left the pavilion area and sat at a picnic table under a shady oak tree for religious-based crafts that helped to further illustrate the day’s lesson. Traditionally, a craft is offered at every Mass for children.

Pastor Ray McDaid was pleased with the services in the park.

“Oftentimes, churches are limited in ability to serve the community when they are in their churches and people are not attending church as culturally as they used to and yet we feel the message of God, the gospel, is as much today as it has been in the past so we decided to do church in the park to give us a way to connect with people and to get to know people in our community, and we thought it might be fun, too,” he said. “It says a lot for the heart of the people of this church to be so flexible to be so willing to leave the comfort of the familiar four walls and come out and do church in the park for the summer. As a pastor, I’m greatly encouraged and our hope is people in the community will feel comfortable enough to join us at Keyes Park.”

It appeared all the church members present were thrilled to have a positive change to weekly services and embraced the outdoor services at Keyes Park. Families, children, teenagers and elderly members all enjoyed worshipping God while seated in lounge chairs or at a picnic table in the park. Children listened from playground equipment, a woman pushed a baby in a swing while listening to the sermon and the church band had a shady spot under the pavilion to play their music from.

“I like it here in the park because it’s nice and warm. I like singing with the band, and it’s nice to be outside and see God’s creations while worshipping,” Zaide Brown, 12, of Merrimack, said.

Church member Emeran Langmaid, of Merrimack, said, “I think it’s great to have church in the park especially since the days have been so nice.”

Andy Sifferman, church member and keyboard player, enthusiastically said “It’s an adventure.”

Church member Linda Seager, of New Boston, agreed.

“It’s great to be outside among the creations God has given us. Hopefully those around us will hear and come and join us and worship. We are a family-orientated church, and it’s nice to know everyone. We have a very strong spiritual church, and it’s very grounded in Jesus and it’s exciting to be holding service in the park.”