Sunday January 6, 2019


Worship 8:00am in Walker Chapel
Worship 10:00am in the Meetinghouse

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Life Among the Believers

Happy New Year, beloved! And, Epiphany greetings. Epiphany is marked by signs that point to the appearance of God as a human being in Jesus Christ. For this Sunday, the star was the sign for the Magi. There’ll be other signs during this 8 week season of Epiphany.

This Communion Sunday we’ll hear Isaiah 60:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12, and the sermon title is The Pull of the Star. We’ll sing We Three Kings, and As With Gladness Men of Old. Didn’t our Sanctuary Choir and Bell Choir give us a beautiful season of music?! They were just stunning, so we thank them all, and Music Director Philip Rinehart and Choral Director Katie Jones. The choirs will be taking some much deserved time off over the next weeks.

I’d like to lift something out of my 12/23/18 sermon (sermons are posted on our website), and share it again here, to begin the new year with a wonderful phrase Parker Fox passed along. In talking about his granddaughter, he’d said, I’m there when she needs me. He then said… that’s our church, too. We’re here when you need us… I won’t share it again in full, but Parker worked the phrase into our conversation again, and said, with so much pride in you, that’s our church. We’re here when you need us… FCCB - we’re here when you need us! (I laughed and said, heck, we’re here even when you don’t!)

Thinking ahead to the Annual Meeting, where we’ll again discuss what the mission of the church will be. It’s like this, and Moderator Dave Reif has said it, too - what do we want to be known as… "the ___ church". I know a church that is known as the chili church, there’s a church known as the prison ministry church, a church known for its mission to the homeless. How can we best serve our community? What is our niche in this town? What can FCCB do better than anyone else? Come, Holy Spirit, and light our hearts and hands on fire with mission!

Making Christ’s Love Known in Word and Action
We’re here when you need us,
Rev. Suz, Interim Senior Minister
(~happy to visit with you in your home, church office, cafe, a walk~)

Benediction on December 23, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Love:


There is no difficulty that enough love

will not conquer; No disease that enough love

will not heal; No door that enough love

will not open; No gulf that enough love

will not bridge; No wall that enough love

will not throw down; No sin that enough love

will not redeem.

It makes no difference how deeply

seated may be the trouble, How

hopeless the outlook, How muddled the

tangle, How great the mistake; A

sufficient realization of love will dissolve

it all. If only you could love enough

you would be the happiest and most

powerful being in the world.

- Emmet Fox

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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


Night out to support the Youth Mission Trip!

Thu, January 17, 2019
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST
Please join us for a night out at the Thimble Island Brewing Company to support the First Congregational Church Youth Mission Trip. The group will be traveling to Puerto Rico to help with relief efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Tickets are $25 through Eventbrite and include:
One drink ticket given at the door
Light refreshments and music inside
Cash food truck with Puerto Rican Food outside

Over the past 12 years, we have taken crews of students and chaperones to aid in the relief efforts of Hurricane Katrina and into the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky to assist the less fortunate people that work the coal mines there. Last year, we traveled to San Antonio, Texas to work with Habitat for Humanity, assisting them in completing 9 homes, so that several families in San Antonio could realize their home ownership dreams. The group worked hard and the satisfaction we experienced was an amazing feeling. Mississippi and Maine have also been destinations for relief efforts and community service opportunities.

These trips have many goals:
• We want to foster team building and leadership skills among our youth.
• We want to help people in other parts of the country who are less fortunate due to poverty and/or natural disasters.
• We want to teach our youth about different cultures within our country.
• We want to increase the self-esteem of our youth through challenging work projects, under adult supervision and guidance.
• We want to teach about injustices in our modern day society and ways that we, as Christians, can respond. (Micah 6: "to do justice, and to love kindness").
• We want our youth to have a greater appreciation of the opportunities given to them in life.
• We want to build houses while building lifelong relationships.

To purchase a ticket online, go to:


Sudanese Refugee Starts Veterinary Practice in Branford

In 1998, IRIS and the Guilford Congregational Church sponsored a refugee from southern Sudan. Twenty years later, he has opened his own veterinary practice in Branford, and is accepting new clients. We thought you'd like to read more about this refugee success story.


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.


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


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.

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 3:00-4:30 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 light of Epiphany to guide our way
Blessing and hope that the New Year may bring
Those who work in emergency services at all hours in all conditions for the safety of others

We pray for...
Glimmers of peace across the globe in the new year
Those in central and eastern parts of the U.S. affected by last week’s severe storms

We grieve with...
The family of Susan Winkel, in the loss of her father, Roger, on December 28th
The family of Sue Kasserman who passed away on December 18th

Ongoing prayers for…
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, January 6
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
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

Tuesday, January 8
10:00 am Staff Meeting Russel Room
7:00 pm Diaconate Meeting Russel Room

Thursday, January 10
10:00 am Knitting, Purling, Praying Russel Room

Saturday, January 12
5:30 pm Branford Folk Music Society Event Pilgrim Hall

Sunday, January 13
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:00 am CE Board Meeting Russel Room
11:00 am Music Board Meeting Room 25
4:00 pm Confirmation Class – Speed Dating with Church Council Pine Room
6:00 pm High School Youth Group Pilgrim Hall & Kitchen

events 6877a

January 14 Stewardship Board Meeting at 7:00 pm in Room 25
January 16 Church Council at 7:00 pm in the All Purpose Room
January 17 Choir Rehearsal at 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary




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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