Sunday October 27, 2019

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Reformation Sunday

Fresh Salad Sunday

Worship at 10 am in the Meetinghouse


Life Among the Believers

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This Sunday we celebrate Reformation Sunday. One of my favorite times of the year! We remember what it means to be Protestant and we look at what that means for us at FCCB today. What an incredibly rich legacy we have as members of the Reformation Church! The Reformation has given us so many gifts—the foundational belief that we are saved by Grace alone! Near and dear to my heart, the Ordination of Women! The opening of Scripture for all people! The right to Worship in the manner we feel is right for us! A church community led by its own members! And so many more privileges and responsibilities that come to us because of the courage of Martin Luther and many other reformers after him. In my sermon I will be remembering why the Reformation took place, what was it all about then? How come we are still known as Reformation Christians today. And what does the word Protestant mean? What does it all have to do with us? Using a vision from the Prophet Ezekiel as a guide, we will look at the life we all have in and through the Spirit of God. How we are called to be more than just aimlessly walking along the earth filling our bellies and looking out for the next danger or the next good thing to come along. We will see how living in the Spirit of God enriches our lives and makes us sons and daughters of God; no longer needing to be focused on our needs, we are free from earthly burdens so we can direct our energy to our lives as believers.

Focusing on the top three protests of Martin Luther, we will trace our heritage from 1517 Wittenberg, to 2019 Branford. We will face the reality of our Church’s place within the world, much as Martin Luther did those many years ago. We will question our response as Protestants and draw on Scripture to understand how we should act as Reformers today.

In Worship, we will celebrate and recommit ourselves to our legacy by singing the Battle Hymn of the Reformation: A Mighty Fortress is our God! And we will sing Lift High the Cross! Every Christian’s Commission. Our children will focus on one thing they can do as Little Reformers during our moment with the children. Hopefully our bigger people will listen and commit themselves to this reform practice as well! Our Sermon will end with the glorious vision of John that foretells of the wonderful life with God that awaits all believers and that is our responsibility and our privilege to help bring to earth in our day.

This is indeed a great time of celebration! For, through the courage of one man, the church was made to bow, not break, and the Scriptures were opened to give life to all people who would hear and choose to live! This is our legacy! This is now our responsibility as Protestants today! Are you in or are you out?
Rev. Betsy Dorsi
FCCB Member

Rev. Elizabeth (Betsy) Dorsi graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1990 and was subsequently ordained a Minister in the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ. She served in Pastoral positions in Connecticut and Ohio and then through the World Council of Churches Office of Missions served in both domestic and foreign mission assignments as Pastor, teacher and coordinator. She is currently serving as a School Counselor at Bailey Middle School in West Haven, CT.

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FCCB Stewardship Campaign 2019

Caretakers of the Way

Humans leave traces of connection. The British naturalist Robert MacFarlane has written

“that once you begin to notice them, you see that the landscape is still webbed with paths and footpaths.... Pilgrim paths, green roads, drove roads, corpse roads, trods, leys, dykes, drongs, sarns, snickets –say the names of paths out loud and at speed and they become a poem or rite – holloways, bostles, shutes, driftways, lichways, ridings, halterpaths, cartways, carneys, causeways, herepaths.” Robert MacFarlane, The Old Ways, p. 13

Faith too is a path of connection, but unless the way is practiced it disappears. Stewardship is the practice that generates and regenerates the path of faith.

Robert MacFarlane reports that in the 19th century small sickles were hung on posts where paths connecting communities began. Walkers would pick up the sickle to lop off branches as they walked. They would then leave the sickle on the post at the end of the path so a walker going in the opposite direction could do the same. This shared caretaking of the path benefited each individual walker, but also the larger community.

The early Christian movement was known internally, as well as to its persecutors, as the way (Acts 9). The life of faith is a way of being human, a way of interpreting, a way of practicing, a way of living.

As we journey towards the reign of God, we are following in the tracks of others, ways walked by Jesus himself, paths as ancient as Abraham and Sarah. Today, we are not just signposts pointing the way. We are, in fact, the caretakers and stewards of that way. Come and join in the way.

Stewardship Sunday is November 17th. Please take these next few weeks to prepare your path along the way in order to benefit yourself and your FCCB community.

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A Pipe Dream Realized.

Celebrating 50 years of our unique Flentrop organ

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the installation of our pipe organ, built by the noted Dutch builder, Dirk Andries Flentrop. The key action of the organ is entirely mechanical, with each press of the key directly opening the valves beneath the pipes by using a system of levers and thin wood strips. The organ was renovated in 2004, adding a number of new stops and updating the Cymbelstern (bell star). During the month of October, music that celebrates the organ will be played, culminating in an in-depth presentation after the service on October 27, 2019 about the organ, its history and a demonstration of its key features.

Philip Rinehart
Director of Music & Adult Bell Choir


Betsy Manners

We have received news from the family of Betsy Manners that she died on October 22, 2019, at Evergreen Woods Health Center. Betsy was married to the Rev. Roger Manners who was Senior Minister at FCCB from 1959 - 1985. A Memorial Service will be held at First Congregational Church at a later date.

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Our Christmas Fair this year will be held on Saturday, 12/7/19, from 9a.m. until 2p.m. Once again, we will offer a variety of Christmas items including live decorated wreaths, our infamous Curiosity Room, treasured Golden Nuggets and lots of good food and fellowship. So, mark your calendar and plan to join us in the holiday festivities. Stay tuned…more to come!

Elaine Keith

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Winter Clothing Drive for IRIS

The Mission Board will be sponsoring a winter clothing collection for refugees sponsored by IRIS.

As you do your fall cleaning, consider donating your gently used winter coats, hats, gloves, boots, and scarves, (IRIS does not accept sweaters or other clothing).

Dates and place to leave your winter clothing will be announced in next week's eSpire.




In November those members whose last name begins with E, F or G are asked to bring a snack or treat one Sunday and serve coffee one Sunday during the month. That means you are asked to bring food and serve coffee once during the year! John has the coffee ready for us each Sunday.

Each month supplies will be available in the kitchen: milk, half & half, sugar and juice for the children.

In December, if your last name begins with H, I, J or K send me an email if you can serve one Sunday during the month.

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


Carol’s Corner

We recently received in the mail two cookbooks published by the Comfortable Society of the First Congregational Church of Branford. They were sent to us from California by the grandson of Harriett Beach, a Branford native. One is dated 1947 and the other is rather fragile and dated 1914. The recipes in this one mostly just list ingredients with no further instructions. However, some make you wonder – for instance, English plum pudding – boil 6 or 8 hours. This one calls for 1½ sifters of flour. There is also a recipe for scripture cake.

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Carol Hoadley, Church Historian

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Book Group

Here is a list of the books we have chosen:
November 6 – The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
December 4 – Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
January 8 – Biography or memoir of your choice
February 5 – The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
March 4 – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
April 1 – Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Please plan on joining us when you can. We meet in the Russel Room, usually at 7 PM.

Barbara Colley


The flowers in our sanctuary are given in memory of Betty Jane & Dan Hardenbergh by Margot Hardenbergh.
The flowers are also given in celebration of Don and Sheila Potters’ 60th Wedding Anniversary!

For Our Prayers This Week...

We give thanks for...
Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation
The cool evenings that change the leaves in New England

We pray for...
Our Pastoral Search Committee
Our next Settled Minister and their family (whoever they are, wherever they are, surrounded in love)
The people of Chile where several have died in recent protests against recent government decisions

Connecticut UCC Conference Churches we lift up this week...
Congregational Church of Burlington; First Congregational Church of Canterbury, UCC; The First Congregational Church, Canton Center; Central Village Congregational Church; First Congregational Church of Cheshire, UCC

We grieve with…
The family of church member Enid Jennings who died on October 21, 2019
Lonnie Snyder on the death of her uncle, Charlie Morris, who died on October 18, 2019

Ongoing prayers for…
William Chisholm (Teresa Sander’s Grandfather), Nicholas Laudano (Debra Laudano’s nephew), Kathy Rittinger (Debra Laudano’s sister), Marie Donofrio, George Spear, Carol Rutt, Janet Young, Kathy Gibbons (Barbara O’Keefe’s cousin), Jo-Ann Farrell (Linda Mitchell’s Aunt), Jean Andros, Colin & Justin Williams (Linda Mitchell’s cousins), Bill Mayer (friend of Linda Mitchell), Kelly Martens and family, Grace Chaplin (Paul’s mother), Rick Buggee (Jeff Buggee’s brother), Nancy Dougherty, Joseph Arnson (Take-A-Vet Fishing Volunteer Care Member), Wayne Childs, Marge Nalewajek (Meghan St. Pierre's mother), Ella Furjes, and her mom, Gwen (Jennifer and Mareyna McCaughtry’s friends), Cory Martens (Kelly Marten’s brother), Rick Barker, Jim Bolan, Rose & Tom Moore (Sharon Reynold’s Mom & brother), Betsy Boynton, Edward DeFrancesco, Dormer Family, Robert & Margaret Gehm (parents of Nancy Gehm), Martha Hickman (Lil Sakai’s mom), Alison Hobbie (Betsy Gay’s daughter), Ethel Marchesseault (Linda’s mother), Sylvia O’Brien, Debbie Pearl (friend of Lil Sakai), and Lou Wells.

Life Among the Believers

Sunday, October 27
10:00 am Worship Service, Fresh Salad Collection Meetinghouse
11:00 am Luncheon Pilgrim Hall
11:30 am 50th Anniversary of our Flentrop Organ presentation - Pilgrim Hall and Meetinghouse

Monday, October 28

Tuesday, October 29
9:00 am CDC – Crossfit Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Bell Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Wednesday, October 30
5:30 pm Lotus Yoga All Purpose Room
6:30 pm Pastoral Search Committee Russel Room

Thursday, October 31
No Choir Rehearsal

Friday, November 1

Saturday, November 2

Sunday, November 3
10:00 am Worship Service, Holy Communion Meetinghouse
11:15am CE Board Meeting Russel Room

events 6877a

November 3: Midnight, Daylight Savings Ends, Fall back an hour!
10:00 am, Holy Communion, Remembering our Saints

November 17: 10:00 am, Stewardship Sunday

November 19: 4:30 pm, Thanksgiving Food Collection, Pilgrim Hall & Kitchen

November 24: 10:00 am, Thanksgiving Sunday

November 28: Happy Thanksgiving!


New Email Address for Church Office

To contact the church, please email

Office Hours

Tuesday - Thursday: 9:00am – 2:00pm & Friday 9:00am – 12:00pm

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Sunday Flower Chart

If you’re able to contribute $35 for flowers, please consider signing up on the bulletin board outside of the Russel Room, or call or send an e-mail and Missy will sign up for you. Include who/what you would like the flowers to be in honor/memory/celebration of. Thank you so much for keeping our altar adorned, and our flower fund supported!


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 Big Y  Stop and Shop 

Did You Know… FCC Branford makes 5% of every dollar on the grocery cards we sell?

If you buy a $100 grocery card, you get $100 in groceries, and FCC gets $5! It’s that easy. This currently adds up to about $2000 income annually for FCC and could easily be more. We offer both $50 and $100 Stop and Shop cards and $50 and $100 Big Y cards. Cards are sold after worship every Sunday. Why not try it out and help support FCC?


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.


Check Out The Church Facebook Page

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

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.

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