Sunday, December 30, 2018

One worship service at 10:00 am in the Meetinghouse


This is the last article of the calendar year. As I reflect on the year and youth ministry I cannot help but to think about some of the changes we have seen in a short period of time. After all, one year is not long. Our high school program has grown. After a successful mission trip to Kentucky in June most of those who went are coming back and brought more people. I am also moved and touched that college students have been stopping in on Sunday nights when they are back in town. I believe the team of adults along with input from youth have come up with the most innovative programming to date. It is hard to believe that our next mission trip to Puerto Rico is not far away. We have 75 participants this year! I am proud of our youth for being so committed to helping others and their willingness to sacrifice time and money.

Our family night has evolved this year. I must admit it is tricky to incorporate more mature folks into events that also includes children. It is finding the right mix of programming and ministry that speak to people of all ages. Obviously, food is the universal language and events such as a pancake dinner, Sedar dinner, pasta night, making pies for the community dining room, and making gifts of love for those going through difficult times have all been greatly successful and a common ground was reached between all ages.

I am in the process of working out the programming for next semester, so stay tuned. A new year brings new ideas, new energy, a renewed hope, and new beginnings.

Rev. Theresa Borchetta

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What Shall We Bring?

From your Stewardship Board:

Thanks to those members and friends who have submitted their pledges for the Church in 2019. We have received $165,995 from 95 pledging units to date and appreciate your support.

If you have not yet pledged, please remember to do so either in church, online at the website, or by email to

We are well on the way to our goal of $200,000, yet need your support to make it happen. Please help us reach our goal.


Life Among the Believers Conversations

We’re holding 1 more life among the believers conversation following the Discernment Team’s report and recommendations. On January 6th we’ll discuss the staff recommendations. In this conversation, which Dave Reif and Kathy Fox will facilitate, please know that you’ll have a chance to talk and to be heard. ~ Rev. Suz

Life Among the Believers Conversation 2 on the Endowment,


1) Revise Budget Process to show where funds come from in endowment
a. Show all 35 funds
2) Committees take longer view of planning & financing
a. Long term planning for church & short-term
b. Helps incoming chairs
c. Strategic Planning Committee to work with Finance
d. Does spending less income deprive future?
3) Is there “paralysis” around endowment?
a. Explore freeing up money
4) Pilgrim Hall
a. A/C and acoustics would also benefit church - Dinners, etc.
b. Outside use/rental - increase other sources of revenue
c. Allowing controlled use of alcohol at church and Killam’s Point
d. Get cost of consulting engineer by Annual Meeting (January 27, 2019); include in annual meeting this year
e. Develop a capital budget


Branford Builds

The First Congregational Church of Branford has received a nice monetary donation from one of its parishioners along with a request that the money be used to assist folks in Branford. Specifically, the funds will be used to make repairs to homes whose owners do not have the resources to pay for needed work.

Applications will be accepted until February 1, 2019. Each application will then be reviewed and a site visit made prior to selecting projects to complete. Work selected depends on budget and time available. Submission of this application does not guarantee that any work will be done on your home. Work groups will consist of home improvement contractors, experienced workers, and volunteers.

Applications will be available at the reception desk in front of the church office. Applications should be submitted to the Mission Board of the First Congregational Church, 1009 Main Street, Branford, or emailed to Upon review of the application, more information may be required and a home visit scheduled.

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If you missed Rev. Suz' sermon "What Child Is This?" on December 23rd, you can read it here>>>>


Hospitality in January and February

In January all those whose last name begins with L and M are asked to bring a snack or treat and serve coffee one Sunday in January. This month servers and snacks are needed January 6, 13, 20 and 27.

In February those members whose last name begins with N, O and P are asked to bring a snack or treat and serve coffee one Sunday during the month. That means you are asked to bring food and serve coffee only once during the year!

If you have any questions, email, text or call me.
Deanna O’Connell


Carol’s Corner

The first thing the settlers did when they arrived in Totokett was to construct their houses. After this was accomplished they built a church. It was located near the front of what is now Center Cemetery. This small log building was 20’ by 30’ with a hard dirt floor and a roof of thatch. The windows were filled with glazed paper. The pews were rough benches and the pulpit was a rough box of boards. There was a palisade of logs around the structure, six feet high and bored at regular intervals at the height of a man’s head, with loopholes for their muskets. During the service one man always stood guard near the entrance while the men in the congregation kept their muskets close at hand. Raiding Native Americans were always a problem while the neighboring tribe was very friendly.

~ Carol Hoadley, Church Historian


Book Group

The Book group has decided that for the winter, until the time changes in the spring, we will continue to meet at 5:30 pm.

January 2. 5:30-Biography or memoir of your choice
February 6. 5:30-Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Everyone is welcome. We meet in the Russel Room.

Barbara Colley


Confirmation Calendar

January 6 4:00-5:30 History of UCC
January 13 4:00-5:30 Speed Dating with Church Council
February 3 4:00-5:30 History of FCCB with Carol Hoadley
February 24 4:00-5:30 Sacraments
March 4 4:00-5:30 Justice and Peace
March 18 4:00-5:30 Make up class if snow day or Topic TBD
April 7 4:00-5:30 The Faith Journey Continues
April 28 4:00-5:30 Confirmation at 10:00 am Service


High School Youth Group Calendar

(All times will be 6:00-7:30 unless noted otherwise)

January 6th & 13th
February 3rd & 24th
March 3rd & 17th
April 7th & 28th
May 5th (5:30pm start) Youth Group Tool Time


New Email Address for Church Office

To contact the church, please email

Office Hours

Tuesday to Thursday: 9 am – 2 pm

Friday: 9 am – 12 pm


For Our Prayers This Week

We give thanks for...
The blessings of life, breath, loving and sharing
Memories and time spent celebrating Christmas with family and friends

We pray for...
God’s guidance and grace in the new year
All those traveling home from holiday destinations

We grieve with...
The family of Sue Kasserman who passed away on December 18th
Those who sorely miss loved ones during this season

Ongoing prayers for…
David Specht (friend of Carol Hoadley), Nancy Johnson, Lou Bocciarelli, Linda Mitchell, Jeff Buggee, Marge Nalewajek (Meghan St. Pierre's mother), Norm Roberts, Ella Furjes, and her mom, Gwen (Jennifer and Mareyna McCaughtry’s friends), Grace Chaplin (Paul’s mom), Judy Whittaker, Cory Martens (Kelly Marten’s brother), Rick Barker, Jim Bolan, Betsy & Peter Boynton, Edward DeFrancesco, Dormer Family, Robert & Margaret Gehm (parents of Nancy Gehm), Martha Hickman (Lil Sakai’s mom), Alison Hobbie (Betsy Gay’s daughter), John D. Kelly (Mindy Yester’s brother), Ethel Marchesseault (Linda’s mother), The Family of Sharon Reynolds, Sylvia O’Brien, Debbie Pearl (friend of Lil Sakai), George Spear, and Lou Wells.

Life Among the Believers

Sunday, December 30 – 10:00 am service only
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse

Monday, December 31 – Office Open 9 am – 12 pm

Tuesday, January 1 – CHURCH CLOSED
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 2
3:30 pm 375th Anniversary Committee Meeting Pilgrim Hall
5:30 pm Book Group Russel Room

Sunday, January 6
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
9:00 am UCC History
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:30 am Life Among the Believers Pilgrim Hall
4:00 pm Confirmation Class Pine Room
6:00 pm High School Youth Group Pilgrim Hall & Kitchen

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January 8:
Mission Board Meeting in All Purpose Room at 7 pm; Diaconate Meeting in Russel Room at 7 pm
January 10:
Knitting, Purling, Praying in Russel Room at 10 am
January 12:
Branford Folk Music Society in Pilgrim Hall at 5:30 pm




Our weekly worship service is recorded and replayed on BCTV
Channel 18 or 1070 for Comcast customers,
Channel 6004 for Frontier customers
at 5:30pm on Sundays.

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Sanctuary Flowers

The 2019 Sanctuary Flower chart has now been placed on the bulletin board where the board minutes used to be located, outside of the Russel Room.

Please come and fill in the dates!

A $35 donation to the flower fund is suggested.


Check Out The Church Facebook Page

This is a public page for everyone to be able to see everything going on at OUR church.

Please be reminded that this page is open to the public and therefore no pictures should be shared of children unless the parents are asked specifically. The FCCB Youth Ministries CLOSED GROUP is where pictures including children can be posted.

Click the link below to be brought right to the page and like it! And be sure to share with your friends.


Amazon Smiles Donations

PLEASE shop at, and First Congregational Church can receive donations from AmazonSmile.

StartWithaSmile at for your purchases and Amazon donates to First Congregational Church.

Information Regarding The eSpire

• The deadline for an article to be published in the weekly e-spire is 12pm on Tuesdays.
• There is no longer a monthly paper spire. Those who have requested a paper copy now receive a copy of the weekly e-spire in the mail.
• The e-spire is only mailed out weekly if it can be done in a timely fashion.

Are You Connected?

Make sure you get all emails and updates from First Congregational Church. It’s easy and automatic to sign up for our email list – just go to and there is a sign-up form. Don’t miss another issue!

The eSpire is now available on our website at

Grocery Cards

Grocery Cards will now only be sold after worship on Sundays.

 Big Y  Stop and Shop 

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