excerpt of a testimony given by Dean Amadon, Sunday, September 22
This is Discipleship Sunday. But to be honest with you, over the last few years I had not thought a lot about the idea or concept of discipleship, engagement, and/or faith in action in current times. On the surface, they seemed vague and hard to visualize or even relate to. But since I started thinking about this service, meeting with Mia Douglas, and remembering how the Asylum Hill Boys & Girls Club idea became a reality, my perception of discipleship has changed.
My name is Dean Amadon. I joined AHCC in the mid-1990s. I have spent my church time serving both within the church and within the community through outreach.
I came to the church by invitation from Lee Allison. We had met at the Racquet Club in East Hartford. Lee was my archenemy on the tennis court, but he became one of my best friends. After being a member of the church for a while, Lee asked me join Love Hartford, a committee formed by the Diaconate following the “I Have a Dream” program that was considered a huge success.
The Love Hartford mission was to find another “idea in the neighborhood where the church might serve.” Several years later, Lee asked me to become the Love Hartford chair and shortly after that, an event occurred that helped me see Lee in a new light. It happened at one of our Tuesday morning meetings when Ray Ferrari came bounding in and exclaimed, “What Asylum Hill needs is a Boys & Girls Club and the church should make it happen.” Well, that got our attention, and while I was still mulling the idea over, Lee was firing round after round of questions at Ray. From that moment on, Lee became one of the leaders of the effort to build a Boys & Girls Club on Asylum Hill.
The process to complete the Boys & Girls club was not easy, but Lee and others stuck to it, and the club became the reality that we are celebrating today, fifteen years later.
What I am saying, is that I believe that Lee Allison practiced discipleship during his life. He really was a disciple of Jesus. He engaged others while following the way. Discipleship was a way of life for him. And I saw how he put his faith into action on Asylum Hill.
Unlike the historical biblical examples of discipleship, the story of Lee Allison’s efforts, in my mind, gives a more current example of discipleship. And if we each gave some thought to it, we could probably identify a half dozen more contemporary examples of discipleship.
Lee has since passed away, and Love Hartford has merged with the Outreach Committee. The Boys & Girls Club is serving the neighborhood well. There are other projects that the church has been involved with: West Middle School is a top community school, and rehabbed housing that volunteers from AHCC have worked on provides stability in the neighborhood. These and other new projects will continue, thanks in part to a sizable bequest left to AHCC by the Allisons.