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by Frank Virnelli

Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble had the Loyal Order of Water Buffalo, Ralph Cramden and Ed Norton had the Raccoon Lodge, and the men of AHCC have the Men’s Fellowship. While we don’t have an initiation ritual (we just require you show up), a secret handshake, or a Grand Poobah, we do have men enjoying good food and good conversation.

We meet on the first Saturday of the month at 8:00am at Savvi’s in East Hartford for breakfast, jokes, discussion, and a little Bible study. Conversations are lively, and there is a lot of laughter. During a typical morning, we spend the first 45 minutes or so talking about whatever comes to mind. We then read and discuss the Bible. The verse is usually the one the next day’s sermon will focus on. No one pretends to be an expert, but we have been known to learn something from each other. 

The group has been meeting for several years, and last February went on a weekend retreat to Silver Lake Conference where we prepared our meal on Friday and had a get-to-know-you discussion.

After breakfast on Saturday, we had a rewarding conversation on what it means to be a Christian man these days. In the afternoon, Gary Smith led a hike around the property, and one of the highlights of that trek through the snow was venturing onto the ice of Mudge Pond and discovering that was one of the few areas at the property where there was cell phone coverage!

That night, we watched the movie “Sully,” about the Miracle on the Hudson, and more lively conversation followed, including input from a retired pilot who is a member of the group. Following breakfast on Sunday, we finished the retreat with a service among ourselves that included a baptism. Before we left, we agreed that we would go on another retreat. All men of the church are welcome to go on retreat, even if you don’t attend the breakfasts. 

The Men’s Fellowship has cooked and served the first Lenten Dinner in both 2016 and 2017. One spring morning we cleaned up and prepared plots for the residents to plant in the Community Garden on Huntington Street. We are always looking for additional ideas for ways we can contribute to AHCC and the community. If you are interested in being added to our email list to learn about upcoming events, please email Frank Virnelli at fvirnellijr@comcast.net and attend events as your schedule permits.