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Sunday November 3, 2019

Twentieth-first Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Communion

All Saints Observance

Worship at 10 am in the Meetinghouse

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Don't Forget to Set Your Clocks Back One Hour!

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Life Among the Believers

Greetings, Beloved Saint. There’s a hymn, that’s not in our hymnal, called “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God.” Vs. 1) “I sing a song of the saints of God, faithful their whole lives through, who bravely labored, lived, and died for the God they loved and knew. And one was a doctor, and one was a queen, and another a shepherd in pastures green: they were saints of God, if you know what I mean. God, help me to be one, too”. Vs. 3) “They lived not only in ages past, there are hundreds of thousands still. The world is filled with living saints who choose to do God’s will. You can meet them in school, on the road, or at sea, in a church, in a train, in a shop, or at tea: for the saints are folks like you and like me, and I mean to be one, too”.

We’ll remember our saints on Sunday with our traditional Roll Call of Names and Tolling of the Bell. We’ll include in the bulletin a list of members and friends who died from November 2018 through October 31, 2019. FCCB members will be identified with an asterisk. We’ll then offer a time when you can name aloud anyone who has gone on ahead to heaven - because it is as our great Opening Hymn goes, “For All the Saints.” We remember. And, we celebrate. We’ll carry that theme forward in our Holy Communion.

Our Bell Choir will ring for the first time this season. We’ll enjoy the sounds of “Ring to the Lord a New Song” by Cathy Moklebust. The scripture is Ruth 1:1-18, where Naomi’s husband and two sons have died, and left Naomi and her two daughters-in-law in a precarious situation for women. Naomi bids the young women to return to their mothers’ home. With a kiss, Orpah heeds her mother-in-law’s words, but Ruth speaks the words (so often recited at weddings):

‘Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you!

Where you go, I will go;

where you lodge, I will lodge;

your people shall be my people,

and your God my God.

Where you die, I will die—

there will I be buried.

May the Lord do thus and so to me,

and more as well,

if even death parts me from you!’

The sermon title is “Remembering Our Saints.” If you’ve lost someone this year on the list named above, your heart may feel especially tender. May God be with you as you hear your beloved’s name called with the very deep, ancient sound of the bell tolled in honor of them. There may be others you have lost this year or at another time - certainly All Saints Day is an opportunity to grieve our losses, and to give thanks for the lives that touched down here, for whatever length of time they were with us. Let’s take a deep breath together and come into the day with courage and the love of God and neighbor. No other institution is quite so well-equipped to bear our losses with us.

Thank you, First Congregational Church Branford, for all of your saints, those who have gone on, and those who remain. God bless you all.

And God will raise you up on eagle’s wings

Bear you on the breath of dawn

Make you to shine like the sun

And hold you

And hold you

And hold you

In the palm of His hand.

Making Christ’s Love Known in Word and Action,
Rev. Suz, Interim Minister
revsuz@hotmail.com

Seen in the periodical, Christian Century, October 23, 2019:

(submitted by Rev. Suz)

“Children who attend religious services regularly are 29 percent more likely as young adults to volunteer and display an 87 percent higher level of forgiveness”. (Psychology Today, September 25)

“The truths of religious faith are not fathomable until later in life. Sometimes it takes a crisis to return to faith and see it in a deeper, more nuanced way”. (Wall Street Journal, September 27)

“Years ago, James Alison, a leading Catholic theologian, was suspended from the priesthood due to his LGBTQ advocacy. Alison recently made public a phone call he received two years ago from Pope Francis, who gave the theologian ‘the power of the keys,’ indicating he was restored to the active priesthood. ‘I want you to walk with deep interior freedom, following the spirit of Jesus,’ Pope Francis said to Alison. A friendly bishop had delivered a letter from Alison to the pope, requesting he be restored to the priesthood”. (Tablet, September 26)

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Manifesting the Image of God

In his book, Free of Charge, Miroslav Volf writes that there are two irresistible false images of God that we run between: God the negotiator and God the Santa Claus. Instead of the image of God as a purposeful and generous giver, the negotiator God can be cruelly disappointing, or the Santa Claus God becomes our self-absorption writ large. Neither image, negotiator or Santa Claus, challenges or calls us to imitate the joy and the goodness of God the Giver.

Increasingly, you find four words stenciled beside the storm grates: “we all live downstream.” Selfishly (and sometimes we have all started at this point), we read into those words, “I am the catch basin downstream so make sure only goodness is flowing my way.” More correct is that we are all midstream. If we are made in the image of God the Giver, we are a channel, not the catch basin, of God’s good gifts. We are not the final destination of the Creator’s gifts.

When we allow God’s gifts to flow through us, we emulate God the giver. When we emulate God the negotiator, we move from an economy of generosity to an economy of extraction. How can we cut the best deal? Or when we emulate Santa Claus is our magnanimity enabling insatiable desires and unaccountable behaviors because we cannot be bothered to be involved. Being involved with purpose, joy, and grace is why it is so difficult for us to give and give well.

Again, when we allow God’s gifts to flow through us, we emulate God the giver. The gifts we give are not gifts that must be extracted from us or given for our exaltation but are gifts from God that have flowed through us. We are participants in something larger than us. God’s giving began before us and will continue long after us. We are invited to participate in this generosity of spirit, love, and self. Our participation reflects the generosity of the initial giver who set grace in motion. Our lives show the image we have of God.

Stewardship Sunday is November 17th. Please take these next few weeks to prayerfully consider how God’s gifts flow through you in grace.

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My name is Frank Dormer, I am a member of the church. As you may recall, we lost my wife, Victoria, 2 years ago. On November 9th, in Pilgrim Hall, we will be holding a fundraiser for my 3 children to help get the boys through college.
Thank you for any help you can give.

~Frank Dormer

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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 hats, gloves, boots, and scarves, (IRIS does not accept sweaters or other clothing).

A large, designated box for hats, gloves, boots, and scarves will be located in our reception area (outside the office) November 3rd-17th, so that IRIS families can receive the items before the weather turns too cold.

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Hospitality

November

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
doconnell28@comcast.net
203-483-8039

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Are you In or Out? Are we a Reformation Church? Read the Rev. Betsy Dorsi's sermon from Reformation Sunday.

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BookGroup

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

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The flowers in our sanctuary are given in celebration of Rev. Suz’s 60th Birthday, November 9, given by her husband, Rev. Ken Peterkin.

For Our Prayers This Week...

We give thanks for...
The wonderful Flentrop Organ celebration on 10/27 presented by Philip Rinehart and the Music Board
The blessing of the FCCB 2019-2020 Stewardship Season
Those who offer prayer to others
Mission Co-Workers who work in war-torn environments to advocate for peace

We pray for...
The blessing of the FCCB 2019-2020 Stewardship Season
Our Pastoral Search Committee
Our next Settled Minister and their family (whoever they are, wherever they are, surrounded in love)
Those grieving or suffering after a shooting near a Texas A&M campus in Greenville, TX, as well as at a home Halloween party in Long Beach, CA
Those affected by the wildfires in California
A reduction in our consumption of fossil fuels
All local election campaigns to be civil, that we respect each other in our agreements and differences, and that our words and actions serve only to build community

Connecticut UCC Conference Churches we lift up this week...
The United Church of Chester; Clinton, First Church of Christ Congregational, UCC; Colchester Federated Church; Columbia Congregational Church UCC; The UCC in Cornwall

We grieve with…
Lonnie Snyder on the death of her uncle Charlie Morris who died on October 18, 2019
The family of Betsy Manners (wife of Rev. Roger Manners, FCCB 1959-1985) who died on October 22, 2019; Memorial Service at FCCB at a near date

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

Monday, November 4
7:00 pm KPMT Meeting Russel Room

Tuesday, November 5
2:00 pm Bridge Club Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Land & Building Meeting Room 25
7:00 pm Bell Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Wednesday, November 6
8:30 am WIC Program All Purpose Room
5:30 pm Lotus Yoga Pilgrim Hall
6:30 pm Christmas Fair Meeting All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Book Group Russel Room

Thursday, November 7
8:30 am WIC Program All Purpose Room
10:00 am Knitting, Purling, Praying Russel Room
7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Friday, November 8

Saturday, November 9
12:00 pm Art Show Pilgrim Hall
8:00 pm Branford Folk Music Society Pilgrim Hall

Sunday, November 10
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:00 am Music Board Meeting Room 25

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November 13: 6:00 – 8:30pm, Pilgrim Hall, Dinner & Discussion for board and committee members

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!

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New Email Address for Church Office

To contact the church, please email

office@firstcongregationalbranford.org

New Office Hours as of November 4, 2019

Tuesday - Thursday: 9:00am – 3:00pm

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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!

The Upper Room daily devotional booklets are very good! Pick up a free copy in either the narthex, Pilgrim Hall, or outside of the Russel Room. It has two months of devotions, and our sexton, John Woods then puts out the next two-month supply.

Notifications

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GROCERY CARDS WILL NOW ONLY BE SOLD AFTER WORSHIP ON SUNDAYS

 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?
THANK YOU

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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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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.

https://www.facebook.com/FirstCongregationalBranford/

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Amazon Smiles Donations

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

StartWithaSmile at smile.amazon.com/ch/06-6042800 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.
• Email articles to office@firstcongregationalbranford.org
• 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 www.firstcongregationalbranford.org and there is a sign-up form. Don’t miss another issue!

The eSpire is now available on our website at http://www.firstcongregationalbranford.org/newsletters.html

 
 
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