Background of Connections Church
Connections Church began meeting on Sunday evenings in 2010 at the historic South Britain Congregational Church in Southbury. Feeling a particular call to establish an outreach to awaken the greater Newtown area with a move of God’s Spirit, this building in neighboring Southbury seemed like a perfect first fit.
In the fall of 1812, on his way to New York, a newly ordained minister named Asahel Nettleton stopped to preach for a week at this small Congregational church in South Britain. His success at that rural outpost set the young, Yale-educated preacher on a path to become one of the 19th century’s most effective evangelists, credited with sparking the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.
That little known fact of history is not lost on Rocky Veach, a seasoned but youthful-looking pastor who now leads this relatively new congregation from Newtown. He believes though, it was a privilege to launch the work literally in the shadow of the original meeting house that launched the career of New England’s “Forgotten Evangelist.”
Connections Church, an independent, team-centered Christian ministry focusing on spiritual renewal and people building, now meets in another historic venue. On 10:00am Sundays they gather for worship in the Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main St. Newtown, Connecticut 06470. You can also reach them by phone at 203-405-3212.
“We’re not Asahel Nettleton by a long shot,” Pastor Rocky declares. “but we share the desire to awaken New England and all of America once again! “We don’t even have a church building of our own yet, but we love revival. We love what happens when a congregation comes into the presence of God in a bold, fresh way and we like to think that God has also especially equipped us to bring that season of renewal to others. “The reason we’ve come here – the reason we go anywhere – is to bring a fresh wind of the spirit, to preach the life-giving power of God’s word.”
A Missouri native, Rocky Veach is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center in Oklahoma. Bobbi Veach attended Oral Roberts University. In the late 1980s, the couple lived in Danbury while Rocky served as youth pastor at a church in Bethel that has since grown to become Faith Church in New Milford.
Following their time in Connecticut, the Veaches spent 15 years in the Denver area, where they built and pastored churches and were associated with Christian Outreach Centre, an Australia-based denomination with a network of 2,500 churches worldwide. For six years, Rocky Veach was president of COC America, overseeing churches in North and South America, particularly in Chile and Argentina. He also traveled to thirty nations spreading the same brand of liberating gospel preaching he has become known for. “I’m no longer affiliated with COC,” Rocky explained, “but I continue to work under the wing of their former and long time president.” Neil Miers, is a powerful revivalist himself who pastors and travels from Global Connexions Church on the Sun Coast of Australia. “As he stepped into a new season of church planting, we followed our pastor and spiritual father figure rather than an organization,” Veach said.
Asked if the new church is nondenominational, the pastor said he prefers the term “interdenominational.”
“We’re not disconnected,” he explained. “We’re trying to be more connected. We’re accountable to the whole body of Christ, and we willingly work with true believers everywhere.”
Along with its daughter churches in Colorado and California, Connections Church is team-oriented, with a motto of “Believing God Together.” Having a model based on the Apostolic foundations of the earliest church, the congregation maintains a presence in many locations working together as one church. In this new global world, they believe it is best for believers today to remain vitally connected in their local ministries with other like-minded believers around the planet. “We are a ‘Body’ by biblical definition so why try to stay so independently confined…Jesus, Paul & Peter were net-workers, literally!
“We’re led by the Spirit and we stress the gifts of the spirit in our services,” the pastor said. “Teaching and preaching the Word of God with supernatural evidence is really important to us, as opposed to just holding to more narrow denominational mindsets.”
Worship services at Connections differ somewhat from those taking place in the white-steepled churches that dot the greens of area towns. “We try to keep our worship dynamic through a variety of musical approaches,” the pastor said. “We don’t have hymnals. We may sing ‘Amazing Grace,’ but in a very contemporary way or we may sing something modern in a more traditional way in order to give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to touch people’s hearts. Whatever it takes to make God happy and help people find His heart is what we are going to go after as long as it is doctrinally acceptable within in the boundaries of the Bible.”
Connections also seeks cultural diversity. Woodbury resident Nathan Wilda is one worship leader at the new church. Brazilian born, Sandro Andrade is another. Music tends probably more toward the style of “Hillsong,” a popular praise and worship band that grew out of a Pentecostal megachurch in Australia, but they let it move through the style of the people expressing it as worship in each setting.
Hard hitting, inspirational preaching can be found on the home page of the ministry’s website, where services are often streamed through video outlets like Youtube or Vimeo. “Anointing” is given priority over appearances. You can find a “Byte-Size” video for just about any situation or circumstance you may need answers for if you browse through the more than 400 videos carefully enough. “Please be patient with us, are working on making our library easier to access for people coming to our website to see what we are all about,” Veach added.
He has also written a Christian devotional which has garnered rave reviews from some bigger name ministries. “Everyday Preparation for JESUS’ RETURN” literally gives its reader, “365 Ways to Stay Ready” in its 405 thoroughly indexed pages! Just recently, on the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, Pastor Rocky released his second book, “Newtown’s Law.” In it he discusses what he believes the Bible teaches to be the true root of such evil and how people can allow God to work more effectively in their communities as a means of stopping this shocking and growing brand of modern mass crime.
The church includes a number of young people, said Pastor Rocky, who is himself the father of five daughters and two grandchildren. “We have solid children’s ministry leadership, and a good outreach to young adults. Older folks like myself are also important to us – you’ll find us building people regardless of age.” Alice Carbone has been running a growing outreach to the elderly since the earliest days of Connections presence in this area.
Working with its other churches, Connections has a wide reach. “Our Colorado church reaches and helps amazing numbers of people involved with drugs and alcohol. They see many lives completely delivered and saved in the process,” Veach said. Meanwhile their church in northern California is heavily involved in building churches and orphanages in Fiji.
In time, the pastor said, he expects the new church will meet in its own space on Sunday mornings and have a full complement of services and activities. Meanwhile, he is looking forward to building relationships in both Southbury and Newtown. The Edmond Town Hall affords them the room right now to do everything they need at this stage of our growth, plus you can even catch a good movie occasionally right after the Sunday morning service!”
“We’d like to be a blessing to these communities,” he said, “particularly in the times we’re living in since the tragic event of this past December in Sandy Hook, there’s a sense, people need God more now than ever. We don’t have time to just be religious or build another church. People need God for real…we’re here to be spiritual first-responders”. The church has become known in the area for praying fervently on Wednesday evenings at 7pm and getting answers.
“We hit the streets hard during the shocking events this past December and took our prayer, love and outspokenness out into the community. It seemed to us there was very little outside interest in coming to Newtown by most of the big ministries in America that could have done more to help but that’s okay, it just pushed us out further to do what we could to bring Jesus’ authority into a town hit hard by what the Bible clearly outlines as satanic activity! Many people in the area seemed to really appreciate that approach and the prayers.”
Pastor Rocky expressed thanks to Edmond Town Hall for renting space to the church, and expressed the hope that area residents will feel free to stop in on a Sunday morning or Wednesday evening to check out what God is doing there. In the way Sandy Hook connects the people of Southbury and Newtown geographically, we want to be a spiritual connector for people in this area who need Jesus to heal their wounds.
“We’re pretty casual, pretty low key,” the pastor said. “We are serious about the Kingdom of God but we also like to have a lot of fun in our church. We’re not asking people to dress a certain way, be a certain way. We want it to be a place where people are free to be themselves so God can be free to be Himself.” Sounds refreshing, why not check them out?