Sunday Services at 10:00am
1155 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield

Posts tagged with Death

September 7, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

We don't talk enough about heaven

In a couple of days, I will be driving to New Jersey for my uncle’s funeral. The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that “It is better to go to a house of mourning that to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). One of the reasons it is good to be in a house of mourning, according to this verse, is that it reminds us that our earthly life will one day come to an end, and that we would be wise to live with that reality in mind....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Death, Heaven

August 4, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Rest in peace Pastor Justo

This past weekend, Pastor Justo of the church in Barranca where NewLife sent a mission team last March passed away from COVID-19. He leaves behind a wife, Janeth, three boys, and a thriving church. Iglesia Evangelica Pentecostal Misionera Barranca....Keep Reading

Tags: Death, Peru, Lament

May 5, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The baby died

This Sunday, I will begin a new preaching series on suffering, loss, lament, and trust, using Lamentation and the Psalms of lament as the backdrop. In light of this, I am replaying what I wrote on this blog on September 11th, 2007, after going through a very personal loss. “The baby died.” If there were a list of things you hope you never have to hear, “the baby died” would have to be up near the top, somewhere right above “I’m leaving you” and “It’s definitely cancerous.” Last Wednesday, as I was on the phone with Andy Hood, my cell phone began to ring, with an unfamiliar Manchester number on the caller ID...Keep Reading

Tags: Suffering, Death, hope

September 25, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

There are no easy answers in suffering

As a preacher, I often quote from C.S. Lewis, because, well, that’s what evangelical preachers do. I must confess, however, that as quotable as he is, I have only actually finished two of his books, because I find his style difficult to read. One of those books is Mere Christianity, a classic and one of the first books I ever read as a Christian. The second is called A Grief Observed, and contains his journals and reflections after losing his wife, Joy Davidman, to cancer. One of the amazing things about A Grief Observed is that it is the personal reflection on deep suffering written by the same man who wrote The Problem of Pain, one of the enduring Christian classics on suffering....Keep Reading

Tags: Suffering, Death

September 4, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How often do you think about heaven?

In a book I read recently, an American Christian interacted with a seminary student from Africa. The man from Africa expressed his amazement at how little Americans speak of heaven in church. In his country, he said, they talk about heaven all the time. But, he realized, Americans don’t talk about it as much here because we have everything we think we want in this life. We are so comfortable that we don’t need to look ahead to heaven. Perhaps there is some truth to this....Keep Reading

Tags: Death, Heaven

July 24, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering: Pat Beaudreau

These past two months, as I have reflected on members or close friends of our church who have passed away during the time that I have been pastor, I have been reminded of how special each of those individuals were, and how, while the world may go on for most people, life is forever changed for those who lost their loved one. I have always loved this quote from the late Christian singer Rich Mullins, which I shared in the first reflection I wrote: “I think we cry at funerals ...Keep Reading

Tags: Suffering, Death

July 17, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering: Brian Fearon

At this time last year, I received a call from the Fearon family while they were in Maine, letting me know that Brian’s breathing had gotten much worse, and they were not sure he would be able to make it back down to Connecticut. Over the previous few years, Brian’s lungs had been getting steadily worse, and a few days after they called me, on July 20th, Brian stopped breathing and entered into the presence of His Lord....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Death

July 10, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering: Henry McCoy

It was a little over five years ago, on May 24th, 2013 that I received a call from one of our elders to let me know that Michael and Sarah McCoy had woken up that morning to discover that their four month old son Henry had stopped breathing in his crib. As quickly as I was able, I drove to Manchester Hospital to join the McCoys, but despite our cries and prayers, there was nothing that could be done. Tragically, and without warning, Henry had passed away....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Death

June 26, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering: Phil Vaglica

Nine summers ago, I began meeting weekly on Friday afternoons with a couple of men who were struggling with addictions and looking for accountability. After a few weeks of meeting informally, we decided to invite a few more guys, put a little more structure to it, and give the group a name ...Keep Reading

Tags: Death, recovery

June 19, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering: Mary Grove

In Matthew 12, Jesus is speaking to a crowd, and someone tells him that his mother and brothers are outside, wanting to speak with him. In reply, Jesus says, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Then, pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 21:46-50). One of the most beautiful things about the church, when it is done right, is that you gain a whole family of spiritual brothers and sisters, parents and children....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Death

June 12, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering: Ray Labbe

My first exposure to Ray Labbe happened unknowingly as a student at UConn back in the mid-90’s. I had begun to attend a church in Hebron called The Worship Center, and I kept seeing cars with bumper stickers that said “Pray for Ray.” I assumed that “Ray” referred to Ray Allen, the All-American UConn basketball player, but I wasn’t sure why he needed prayer. It was only a few years later that I learned that the prayers were for Ray Labbe, a member of The Worship Center who was fighting cancer....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Death

July 25, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Rest in peace, Brian Fearon

This past Thursday, Brian Fearon passed away. Brian and his family had been a part of NewLife since 1999, and he will truly be missed. At his memorial service, one of the songs we played was Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Like many older hymns, it is filled with words and phrases that are no longer part of our modern parlance. In particular, the second verse begins with this peculiar line: “Here I raise mine Ebenezer, hither by thine help I’ve come.” Naturally, most people think “Scrooge” when they hear Ebenezer. But the word is actually drawn from 1 Samuel 7:11-12, where Samuel sets up a stone of remembrance, naming it Ebenezer, in order to commemorate how the Lord has helped His people....Keep Reading

Tags: Death, Faith

May 23, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Rest in peace, Beverly Winful

I first met Beverly Winful in the summer of 1996. I had been hired by South United Methodist Church in Manchester to be their Summer Youth Director, and that July I was taking six junior high students to Camp Aldersgate in North Scituate, Rhode Island. All of the youth leaders and teens had climbed into the 15 passenger van when all of a sudden a woman I did not know climbed into the van. She announced to me that she was Carl’s mother, and that she would be coming on the trip too. As a 20 year-old, newly hired youth director, I didn’t think it was my place to object....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Death, Family

April 18, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Live like you were dying

I work best with a deadline. In college, I was notorious for knowing how long it would take to write a paper, and then waiting until the last possible moment to start the paper. Inevitably, I would finish with minutes to spare. Even when it comes to preparing sermons, I do a lot of work during the week, but it’s when I sit down with my draft on Saturday evening that my brain kicks into high gear and everything comes together. For some reason, it’s the pressure that brings out the best in me. But the truth is that I, along with you, and everyone else, have the ultimate deadline looming....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Discipleship, Death

December 13, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Rest in peace, Nancy Butler

This past Saturday, I attended the funeral service for Nancy Butler, a pastoral colleague who pastored Riverfront Family Church, a church which was recently located in Glastonbury but now meets in Hartford. I first met Nancy in 1999, when I was the youth pastor at NewLife and she was looking for a youth group for her daughter, Liza. Our paths crossed again in 2005, when she hosted a regional Emergent conversation (for those who remember the Emergent movement). Soon after that meeting, she started Riverfront Family Church, and on occasion we would meet for coffee and to catch up. While we had our theological differences, I appreciated Nancy’s love for Jesus and enthusiasm for building a church community that would be welcoming to everyone....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Discipleship, Death, Nancy Butler

March 3, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who is the hero of your story?

As we enter the third month of 2015, one thing has been clear this year for me: it has been the year of the funeral. In January, I performed the celebration of life service for Phil Vaglica, the first member (although not the first person) of our church to pass away while I’ve been the pastor. A few weeks later I was attending Wes Feshler’s funeral, remembering another man who had been a part of our church and a wonderful brother in Christ over the past few years. Last week, I found myself performing a funeral for another woman, the mother of a good friend who had recently visited our church. And I know that other church members have lost close family members and friends already in 2015 as well. One of the most meaningful moments for me of Phil’s celebration of life service was ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Jesus Tags: Jesus, Death

January 13, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Funerals > Parties

This Saturday at 10 AM at NewLife is the Celebration of Life service for Phil Vaglica, who along with his wife Roberta was a part of our church for about the last six years. If you live in the area, I hope you will be able to join us as we share memories and celebrate the life of this man of God who faithfully loved and served our church from the moment he began attending. Whenever I attend a funeral or memorial service, the verse that always comes to mind is Ecclesiastes 7:2: “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” It’s a curious statement at first glance; after all, most people don’t scan the obituaries looking for a good funeral to attend over the weekend. But there is a great deal of wisdom in this verse. Consider three ways in which going to a funeral is better than going to a party:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Death, Phil Vaglica

March 18, 2014 by Jim Quigley 0 comments

Guest blogger: Jim Quigley

I have really appreciated the sermon series on suffering and hearing all the testimonies in regards to how my brothers and sisters in Christ are undergoing, enduring, or have persevered through sufferings and trials. It has served as a glorious reminder that God can allow our suffering to happen and then use it to conform us more into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. This series has also showed that God can use our suffering in order to comfort and encourage others who are also undergoing trials and tribulations. It paints a beautiful image of how the Church is to be united as one body, working together to serve and help one another in our times of need....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Death, hope

May 21, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Oklahoma and the house of mourning

‘œIt is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.‘ (Ecclesiastes 7:2) Another week, another tragedy on planet Earth. Yesterday, a tornado ripped through Oklahoma, killing at least 24 individuals, including 9 children, and leaving behind a trail of destruction. Each week, it feels like another senseless tragedy shakes us to the core of our being ‘" sometimes nearby, sometimes at a safe distance, but each one heartbreaking to witness....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Death, Suffering

November 29, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Funerals > Parties

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2)...Keep Reading

Tags: Death

February 24, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments


“Earthquake leaves 100 dead in New Zealand.” “Car hits pedestrian at CCSU.” “Man murdered in Bristol.” I find watching the news to be an incredibly frustrating experience. Over the span of 30 seconds, we are told about a tragedy that has happened in a nearby town “man murdered in Bristol” and then, when that 30 seconds is up, it’s on to the next story. For the majority of these tragic stories, they so quickly become yesterday’s news, as life goes on for most of the world. But for the family of that murdered man... life will never be the same. When that 30 second story is about someone you love, life as you knew it has stopped. You are left picking up the pieces and trying to make sense of life, while the rest of the world has already forgotten and moved on to the next tragedy. And, of course, that doesn’t even take into account the many others whose tragedy is not newsworthy, but simply shows up as one of the twenty obituaries in the morning paper. For the rest of the world, life goes on" another day, another death, another tragedy. But for you, life has forever changed, and there is no “moving on.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Death

June 22, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

In memory of Eve Christie (April 2, 1942 - June 16, 2010)

This morning was the memorial service for Eve Christie, a woman of great faith and prayer who was a long-time member of NewLife before moving to a different church in 2008. Eve died last Wednesday of cancer at age 68, but she left a legacy of the power of prayer and the joy of trusting in the Father through even the most difficult circumstances. One of the verses shared during the service was Philippians 1:21 - “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Eve’s life was most certainly about Jesus Christ, and praise God that in death she has only gained a greater relationship with Him....Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Death

December 8, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Looking for a good funeral to attend‘¦

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)...Keep Reading

Tags: Death, Discipleship