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About the Halo Ratings

These reviews of Sunday morning church services, wherever my travels take me, but mostly in Central Connecticut, are to be taken for what they are, reviews of a single church service. They make no claim to being definitive. They are just a one hour (or more) slice of congregational life. It would be unfair to extrapolate from any review an opinion about the breadth and depth of the church's ministry... except to suggest that every Sunday should be special, an Easter celebration actually, and it doesn't matter if it's in April or August. The reviewer is a retired United Methodist minister with fifty years minus one of experience creating and presenting worship services. His point of view, you will find, favors traditional ideas of worship which are to be informed and enriched with content that addresses the present moment. His musical tastes are "catholic," in the literal sense of that word, "inclusive." He has a particular concern that the church involve the coming generation in its worship: namely, making room for children in the sacred hour. His theological bent is neo-Orthodox; his mentors in the Christian faith, Jesus, Paul, Augustine, Luther, Wesley, Barth, and everyone else in church history who comprehends the primacy of the overwhelming and surprising grace of God. You will find, in these reviews, that there is in the Christian church, in its Mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic incarnations, a wonderful vitality, far from the sad state of worship anticipated when the idea of reviews was conceived. Many of the earlier reviews contain original drawings by artist Betsy Howard Carnes. Subsequent reviews include photos of the churches. If you wish to respond, rebut, correct, or otherwise take to task the reviewer, send your Email to

A new disclaimer (May 5, 2009). Some of these reviews are now ancient history. As one recent respondent noted, the entire staff, save the music director, has been replaced since the review was posted. His point: the negatives are misleading. Granted. But the reviews never claimed to be anything more than one hour of worship in the life of a congregation... albeit the most important hour of the week. Therefore, when reading these reviews consider the date and make allowance for changes in the churche's rating... either way, up or down.

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Halo Rating: 3.0 Westminster Presbyterian 2 9/14/2015
Halo Rating: 4.0 The Second Congregational Church, Greenwich CT 9/11/2011
Halo Rating: 3.5 First Church of Christ, Farmington CT 5/28/2011
Halo Rating: 5.0 First Presbyterian Church of Stamford IV 10/25/2009
Halo Rating: 3.5 First Congregational Church of Greenwich II 10/18/2009
Halo Rating: 4.5 First Presbyterian Church, Stamford CT (III) 10/26/2008
Halo Rating: 5.0 Hymn Sing at the United Methodist Church of Hartford 9/28/2008
Halo Rating: 4.0 The Church of Ireland at Killorglin 8/17/2008
Halo Rating: 4.5 Marble Collegiate Church, New York City 2/3/2008
Halo Rating: 4.0 St Patrick-St Anthony Church, Hartford, Connecticut 9/16/2007
Halo Rating: 4.0 Bethany Lutheran Church, West Hartford CT (II) 1/28/2007
Halo Rating: 3.5 St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, West Hartford CT 1/21/2007
Halo Rating: 4.0 Garden City Community Church, United Church of Christ (II) 11/12/2006
Halo Rating: 4.5 First Church of Christ, Congregational, West Hartford CT 10/15/2006
Halo Rating: 5.0 First Congregational Church of Williamstown MA 9/24/2006
Halo Rating: 4.0 First Baptist Church, Pittsfield Massachusetts 9/10/2006
Halo Rating: 3.5 The Church on the Hill, Lenox, Massachusetts 6/18/2006
Halo Rating: 4.5 South Church, New Britain - Maundy Thursday 4/13/2006
Halo Rating: 5.0 First Presbyterian Church, Stamford CT (III) 10/28/2005
Halo Rating: 3.0 Rockville United Methodist Church (CT) 10/16/2005
Halo Rating: 4.0 The United Methodist Church of Hartford, Connecticut 7/6/2005
Halo Rating: 4.5 First Presbyterian Church, Stamford CT (II) 10/27/2004
Halo Rating: 3.5 First Churches of Northampton, Massachusetts 10/11/2004
Halo Rating: 1.0 Bark-Eaters Community Church 10/4/2004
Halo Rating: 3.5 St. Peter Claver Church (Roman Catholic) 9/28/2004
Halo Rating: 4.0 The Hanover Center Congregational Church 8/15/2004
Halo Rating: 4.0 First Congregational Church of Guilford, UCC 5/23/2004
Halo Rating: 3.5 First Congregational Church (UCC), Canton Center, Connecticut 5/9/2004
Halo Rating: 3.0 First Church of Christ Congregational, UCC, Glastonbury, Connecticut 2/29/2004
Halo Rating: 3.5 First Church of Christ (UCC), Farmington, Connecticut 2/22/2004
Halo Rating: 4.5 Christ Church, United Methodist, Manhattan NYC 2/1/2004
Halo Rating: 4.0 Immanuel Congregational Church (UCC), Hartford CT 1/11/2004
Halo Rating: 3.5 First Church of Christ in Hartford (Center Church) 11/2/2003
Halo Rating: 4.5 First Presbyterian Church, Stamford CT - Scottish Heritage Sunday 10/26/2003
Halo Rating: 4.5 Old First Church (Presbyterian), Huntington, New York 9/7/2003
Halo Rating: 4.0 Shelter Island Presbyterian Church (2) 7/27/2003
Halo Rating: 4.5 South Church (UCC and Baptist), New Britain, Connecticut 4/27/2003
Halo Rating: 3.5 Timonium United Methodist Church, Timonium, Maryland 4/20/2003
Halo Rating: 3.0 First Congregational Church of Ridgefield (Connecticut) 4/6/2003
Halo Rating: 2.5 Golden Hill United Methodist Church, Bridgeport, Connecticut 3/30/2003
Halo Rating: 2.0 South United Methodist Church, Manchester, Connecticut 3/23/2003
Halo Rating: 2.5 First Church of Christ (UCC), Simsbury, Connecticut 3/16/2003
Halo Rating: 2.0 Valley Community Baptist Church, Avon, Connecticut 3/2/2003
Halo Rating: 3.5 Memorial United Methodist Church, Avon, Connecticut 2/23/2003
Halo Rating: 3.0 First Congregational Church, Stamford CT 2/16/2003
Halo Rating: 4.5 Immanuel Congregational Church (UCC), Hartford CT 2/9/2003
Halo Rating: 4.5 Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, New York 2/2/2003
Halo Rating: 3.5 Christ Cathedral (Episcopal), Hartford, Connecticut 1/26/2003
Halo Rating: 3.0 South Congregational Church, Hartford CT 1/12/2003
Halo Rating: 2.5 First Church of Christ (UCC), Hartford CT 1/5/2003
Halo Rating: 3.5 Simsbury United Methodist Church, Simsbury, Connecticut 12/8/2002
Halo Rating: 2.5 First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Connecticut 12/1/2002
Halo Rating: 4.0 Avon Congregational Church, Avon, Connecticut 11/24/2002
Halo Rating: 4.0 St John's Church (Episcopal), West Hartford CT 11/17/2002
Halo Rating: 4.0 Newtown (Sandy Hook) United Methodist Church, CT 11/10/2002
Halo Rating: 4.0 Long Ridge United Methodist Church, West Redding CT 11/3/2002
Halo Rating: 5.0 First Presbyterian Church, Stamford, Connecticut 10/27/2002
Halo Rating: 4.0 Firemen's Memorial Service, Valley Stream, New York 10/20/2002
Halo Rating: 3.0 First Congregational Church, Williamstown, Massachusetts 10/13/2002
Halo Rating: 1.0 The Church of Sunshine and Maple, Washington, Vermont 10/6/2002
Halo Rating: 1.5 West Hartford United Methodist Church, West Hartford, Connecticut 9/29/2002
Halo Rating: 2.5 St. James Episcopal Church, West Hartford, Connecticut 9/24/2002
Halo Rating: 4.0 Wesley Memorial Chapel, Oxford, England 9/16/2002
Halo Rating: 3.0 Bethany Lutheran Church, West Hartford CT (I) 9/15/2002
Halo Rating: 3.5 Westminster Presbyterian Church, West Hartford CT 9/10/2002
Halo Rating: 4.0 The United Church of Strafford (VT) 9/2/2002
Halo Rating: 3.5 The First Baptist Church, West Hartford, Connecticut 9/1/2002
Halo Rating: 1.0 The United Church Of Chelsea (VT) 8/18/2002
Halo Rating: 3.5 Community United Church of Garden City (NY) 8/4/2002
Halo Rating: 2.5 First Church of Christ, Wethersfield CT 7/28/2002
Halo Rating: 4.5 Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Shelter Island, New York 7/28/2002
Halo Rating: 2.5 First Church of Christ Congregational, West Hartford CT 7/7/2002

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