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"Let them march all they want, as long as they pay their taxes."  --Alexander Haig

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Author Topic: John Connell  (Read 4036 times)

SethCohn

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John Connell
« on: January 12, 2016, 05:44 PM NHFT »

RIP John Connell.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 02:54 PM NHFT by Russell Kanning »
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K neth

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Re: Was there a fire at Peaceful Assembly Church?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 06:19 PM NHFT »

It's sad when the old and beautiful disappear. I'll always cherish my visit with John at the Church.
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KBCraig

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KBCraig

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Re: Was there a fire at Peaceful Assembly Church?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 07:30 PM NHFT »

Just for more of the church, and because we also miss Lloyd:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfdrTaRpYog
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SethCohn

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Re: Was there a fire at Peaceful Assembly Church?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 07:47 PM NHFT »

I can't bring myself to watch either of those right now, Kevin.  Too painful.
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blackie

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Re: Was there a fire at Peaceful Assembly Church?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2016, 08:07 PM NHFT »

I guess the question is now about the memorial service.

When and Where?
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MConnell

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Re: Was there a fire at Peaceful Assembly Church?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 12:05 AM NHFT »

With heavy heart, I confirm that my father, John Joseph Isaac Connell, Pastor, Sexton, Caretaker of Peaceful Assembly Church, was found dead in the church today. Cause of death and cause of fire are still under investigation.
He remained focused on his mission to foster PEACE as prescribed by God. May he now rest in PEACE.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Fire at Peaceful Assembly Church in Grafton
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2016, 10:04 AM NHFT »

I split the topic. This one can be for honoring John.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Fire at Peaceful Assembly Church in Grafton
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2016, 10:06 AM NHFT »

We are trying to make arrangements to come there. I am in Alabama delivering a load right now. Kat and Kira are in Texas.
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MaineShark

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My friend John
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2016, 10:42 AM NHFT »

Thanks, Russell.  I was just about to start a new thread for the same reason.  I wanted to talk about my friend John, not the fire.  Not to ignore his death, but to make sure that the focus is on his life.

I'm not typically one for movie quotes as philosophy, but I was watching The Matrix Reloaded the other day, and one just jumped out at me.  I'd planned to stop by the PAC today to discuss it with John.  I can't, so I'm going to post it here.  Morpheus expresses his faith in the outcome of the upcoming battle, and is told, "dammit, Morpheus - not everyone believes what you believe."  Morpheus is a warrior, very unlike John in many ways, but his reply was a perfect John-ism: "my beliefs do not require them to."

It's easy to make those who share your beliefs comfortable; after all, you have a great deal of common ground.  John was able to reach out to those who did not share his beliefs, because his beliefs did not require that they do so.  He welcomed all peaceful people - even those not quite as peaceful as he was - regardless of why they were walking that path.  A number of people I know who are actively opposed to religion nevertheless found John approachable and a source of hope in these sometimes-dark times.  John was happy to "preach" to those who wanted preaching.  But, more importantly, John was able to simply live his beliefs, regardless of whether he was talking about them or not, and that's much more powerful and difficult.  Anyone can "talk the talk," but John actually "walked the walk."

I did not share John's faith.  And I also did not hate religion, so I can't tell some story about how I detested Christianity, and John opened my mind to the fact that "Christians aren't all bad" or somesuch.  Hopefully, some of those who were in that position will add their voices.  But I actually think how John and I interacted says more about him than those sort of situations might.  Convincing someone to make a big change is exciting and showy; going from "I hate you" to "I tolerate you" is a big jump.  If someone already starts out mostly agreeing with you, there can be a temptation to push them towards even more agreement.  After all, if you can make such a big jump with a stranger, you should be able to make a small change in a friend, right?

In all the years I've known him, John never - by word or deed - attempted to sway me towards his religion.  Not even once.  Some will say that they are living their lives according to some religion in order to be an example to others, but what they don't add is the silent, "so they will convert" at the end.  When it came to religion, John simply did live his life to be an example to others, without the silent, "and that'll convince 'em!" added.

That wasn't because John sat back and lazily let the cards fall where they would.  Instead, it's because John dedicated his energy to converting others to peace and forgiveness.  I'm going to distill scores of conversations, here, and say that what John understood as his duty to God was not to bring God more followers, but rather to bring human beings towards living in peace.  Much as a Ford dealer certainly wants to sell Fords, John certainly wanted to see folks choose Christianity.  But, just as an honest car dealer would send you somewhere else if they had a better and safer vehicle for your needs, John cared more about selling peace than about "brand loyalty."  If he only had sports cars on the lot, he didn't tell you to cram five kids into one; he told you that your family's safety was more important than a sale, and sent you to the dealer down the street who had station wagons.

In much the same way that we joke about how rare it is to find an honest car dealer, I would say that John was a very rare example among preachers.  To him, fostering peace in this world was his mission from God.  He felt the desire to convert others to the same faith he espoused, but he pushed down that desire in order to do something he felt was more important.

Regardless of whether Jesus was literally the "Son of God" or an rather interesting figure in a mythological story, his story is inspirational.  Here's someone who has divine power, and wants to convert others.  The Romans come to kill him, and he can miracle them to death right there, if he wants.  Defeating Rome's soldiers without suffering so much as a scratch would certainly win him many, many converts.  One man, defeating soldier after soldier, army after army, until the world's superpower admitted defeat?  No one could possibly doubt his divinity if he'd done such a thing.  But, more than followers, he wants peace.  So, even though he can spare himself a horrible death and pretty much convert the whole world to his faith if he turns down that road, he doesn't: he lets the soldiers take him.  He faces the choice between attaining all of his goals except one, or standing up honorably for his commitment to peace, and he chose to honor his commitment.  It's a powerful story, whether fictional or true.

John never faced a choice quite that hard.  But he's one of only a handful of people I've met who I think probably could have.  There's a power in that; not the power to smash through obstacles, but the power to let those obstacles smash into you if that's what it takes to walk the path you swore to walk.

John may or may not have helped anyone's faith in God, depending upon that individual's beliefs and life, but John helped many, many people to have, restore, or maintain their faith in humanity.  He was a man of honor, integrity, decency, and kindness.  The world is less today than it was yesterday but it is more than it was before he started his mission.

I'll miss the amusement I felt when a preacher would ask a dedicated agnostic for advice on some touchy issue.  And I'll miss the twinkle in his eye when we both simultaneously realized that a dedicated agnostic was asking a preacher for advice at a different point in that same conversation.  He may not have turned my life around, since we were both walking in roughly the same direction... but someone walking the same direction can lend you a hand when the path is steep and rocky, or a shoulder to lean on if you hurt your foot and need to limp for a bit; it's not as flashy, but it's no less important.  I'll miss his art and his love of music.

You were deeply loved, my friend, and you will never be forgotten by those who loved you.
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Jay

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Re: Fire at Peaceful Assembly Church in Grafton
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2016, 01:46 PM NHFT »

I only met him once briefly, and always wanted to take a trip to Grafton after that to talk with him some more after that. Oh well.
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Pat K

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2016, 04:56 PM NHFT »

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Russell Kanning

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2016, 05:20 PM NHFT »

good one
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Tom Sawyer

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« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 05:31 PM NHFT by Tom Sawyer »
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Russell Kanning

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Re: John Connell
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2016, 06:40 PM NHFT »

Interesting

really annoying when people complain about purple paint
they tried to give it to the boy scouts, headstart, and the town ..... nobody wanted it for free
then John paid for it except for the bell .... they were just leaving it for now
if they didn't want the building painted purple ... maybe they should not sell it. They like the 60k that went into their bank account for the old church
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