Sunday March 3, 2019

Last Sunday after Epiphany/Transfiguration

Worship 8:00 am in the Chapel

Worship 10:00 am in the Meetinghouse

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Life Among the Believers

Heartfelt greetings to you, Beloved. I hope you can receive those words above into some situation in your life. Having Jesus in your life, knowing he is with you, may change that situation, but, maybe even more importantly, he may change the way you are viewing that situation. Invite Jesus into it, let him rest awhile with it, and then see what happens in you.

We always have the Transfiguration story on the last Sunday before Lent. We’ll be reading it from Matthew’s gospel, Matthew 17:1-8. This is when Jesus led a few of his disciples up a high mountain and suddenly he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. And, we once again hear the Voice that Jesus heard at his baptism, but now pronounced to others, This is my Son, the Beloved, with him I am well pleased. The Voice then adds 3 words, listen to him. That is the sermon title for this Sunday. Listen to him. We’ll share Holy Communion, and we’ll sing Sweet, Sweet Spirit, and Day by Day. Our Sanctuary Choir will bless us with Ascribe to the Lord.

People find Marianne Williamson’s Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate a very meaningful, even important piece of writing. I thought it would be nice to read it together for our Gathering. We were born to make manifest the Glory that is within us. Just as Jesus shone that day on the mountaintop, so can you! Give the world all you got! And, instead of a Prayer of Confession this week, we’ll have a Prayer of Reconciliation where we’ll read together recently departed beloved poet Mary Oliver’s famous "Wild Goose" poem that begins, You do not have to be good. It is an extremely grace-giving poem prayer. It will make you feel good!

Our Office Manager, Sophy Johnston, has said that a full-time job opportunity with benefits fell into her lap that was too good to pass up, so I’m very sorry to report that she’ll be leaving us at the end of next week. The good news is that prior Office Manager, Julia Novaco, will be able to fill in for us for a time, beginning Monday March 11. Please understand that she’ll be working 10 hours per week, after hours. We’ll post new office hours in the Spire and Sunday bulletin. Please know that you can continue to email or call the office and Julia will pick up both and respond. We will continue to have a receptionist at the front desk Monday through Friday from 9-Noon; Sheila Potter volunteers on Monday, Mae Genovese on Tuesday, Carol Hoadley on Wednesday, Parker Fox on Thursday, and Deanna O’Connell on Friday. We greatly appreciate their service! Thank you for your patience and understanding through this time of transition.

Something nice to close on. An FCCB teen recently shared a wonderful image with me that they have on their phone’s home screen: God is good even when life is not. Really great. I responded to the teen, you are good even when life is not.

Light Shines!
Rev. Suz, Interim Senior Minister
(~happy to visit with you in your home, church office, cafe, a walk~)

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Pancake Supper!

Tuesday March 5 at 6 pm

Tuesday, March 5, is Shrove Tuesday. The traditional day before Lent was set apart as Fat Tuesday (also known as Mardi Gras!) as a day to clear out all fat from the home since Lent is a time of sacrificing and fasting. So, come join in FCCB's celebration at our 3rd Annual Pancake Supper!

Pancakes, including gluten free and eggless varieties, along with sausages and beverages will be served starting at 6pm. Come from work, no need to cook! Bring the family and let's party together!

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The season of Lent begins Wednesday, March 6 with Ash Wednesday. The day before is coined Fat Tuesday, a time to get rid of all the fats in your cupboard so you can settle in for a 40 days and 40 nights fast, in semblance of Jesus’ time of temptation in the wilderness. Is God the priority in your life, or are pancakes, or fill in the blank of whatever most tempts you to make it your priority?! (Pancake Dinner at FCCB March 5, 6:00 pm.)

We make our Lenten journey with Jesus, and ask God to create in us a clean heart – which begins with Ash Wednesday, where we confess that we are ashes to ashes and dust to dust (and to dust we shall return). Ash Wednesday reminds us what it means to be human. Vestiges of the early church’s experience of public penance still exist in the ceremony of ashes placed on the foreheads of the penitents; the weeks that follow were a time of intense reflection and self-scrutiny. For us, where public penance is not so common, Lent may provide a time for community and individual preparation for following Jesus on the most difficult of paths, the path of self-sacrificing love.

The “Imposition of Ashes” is most often imposed upon the individual’s forehead, but if you’re more comfortable to have them placed on the back of your hand, you are more than welcome to hold out your hand at that time. Our Ash Wednesday service will take place in Walker Chapel March 6, 7 pm. Katie Jones will sing What Wondrous Love is This?, and the congregation will sing 3 shortened hymns, There Is a Balm in Gilead, Jesus Loves Me, and Precious Lord. The sermon is entitled Let it Go. I hope you’ll begin the season of Lent by attending our Ash Wednesday service.

A most meaningful and blessed Lenten season to you.

The Peace of Christ be with you,
Rev. Suzanne Personette


March 5: Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner at 6 pm in Pilgrim Hall

March 6: Ash Wednesday 7 pm service in Walker Chapel

March 13, 20, and 27

Lenten Supper Series: Wilderness Wanderings - all ages welcome!

at 6 pm in Pilgrim Hall

followed by a 6:30 pm-7:30 pm program:

March 13, Wandering in the Wilderness of Coaching with Life & Health Coach, Sadiann Ozment

March 20, Wandering in the Wilderness of the Environment with Nature Jen from Killam’s Point

March 27, Wandering in the Wilderness of Joy with Comic Kristin Pippin (a little light in the darkness of Lent!)

Sign up to bring food here:
If you have issues with signing up, contact Jennifer McCaughtry at 618-954-8439

April 3: Seder at 6 pm in Pilgrim Hall

April 18: Maundy Thursday service at 7 pm in Pilgrim Hall

April 19: Good Friday Ecumenical service
beginning at Noon at St. Mary’s

April 21: Easter Sunday Sunrise Service at 6 am at Killam’s Point, Love’s Beach;
9 am and 11 am services in the Church Meetinghouse

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Disciple sayings:

Would you like to come to church with me this Sunday?

I’m so glad you’re here.

Let me introduce you and show you around.


New Member Orientation

We will meet on March 17th in the Russel Room, following worship. Please let Rev. Suz know if you are interested in attending. Attendance at this meeting doesn't require that you become a member. For those who choose membership, our Reception of New Members will be held on May 12th during our 10am service.

This Little Light

Branford Builds Update

Great news! The Mission Board has received several applications for assistance with home repairs. What an exciting opportunity for our church to show love and compassion for those in need! The work will be completed during the weekend of May 4th and 5th. Please save the dates! The opportunity to volunteer to be a member of this team will be announced soon, so watch for it! The needs will be plentiful and varied! In other words, we need you!

So, mark your calendar right now—May 4th and 5th. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to spread hope and show God’s grace to others!

Making Christ’s love known in word and action! Amen!


“Theocracy to Democracy” is now available online at On their site look for the latest videos. Also, don’t forget to send in your memories of our church to us. You can use this email: Ask your family and friends to send in theirs.

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A note from the Christmas Fair Group:
It’s spring cleaning time and we are starting to collect for two sections of the Christmas Fair. The first is Christmas Revisited. The second is the Jewelry Dept. We are collecting jewelry, jewelry boxes, belts, gloves, scarves, hats, pocketbooks, and tote bags. You may bring these items at any time to the Church Office and Carol Hoadley will store them.

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Did you miss guest preacher Phil Rinehart's sermon Worship Wars? You can read it here!


Starting at the beginning of March, Lotus Yoga will be offering Intermediate Level Stress Release Yoga classes for older adults in the All Purpose Room at FCCB! Classes will provide an emphasis on decreasing tension and increasing flexibility and will be taught by Gina Macdonald MA,LPC. a certified yoga instructor with 20 years of experience. Sessions are held on Wednesday evenings, 5:45-7:00 pm. Cost is $10.00 per session/$15.00 drop in. Contact Gina at 203-710-6665 for more info.

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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 $180,475 from 108 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.


2019 Church Offering Envelope Boxes

The Offering Envelopes have officially arrived! Envelope boxes can be found in Pilgrim Hall on the piano or in the Meetinghouse as you enter through the blue doors.


Hospitality in March and April

Each month a group will be asked to donate a snack or treat one Sunday and when possible serve coffee. In March all those who whose last names begin with an R are asked to bring a snack or treat and serve one Sunday in March.

In April those members whose last names begin with an S or T 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 March, if your last name begins with R, send me an email if you can serve one Sunday during the month.

If you have any other questions, email, text, or call me:, 203-483-8039
Deanna O’Connell


Carol's Corner

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Book Group

The next book group meeting will be on a different day because of Ash Wednesday. We will meet on Thursday, March 7 at 5:30 pm.
The book to be discussed is The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.

The April Book is The Midwife’s Tale by Sam Thomas. The date is to be decided since the church will have a Seder dinner on April 3 at 6. On whatever day it is, we will meet at 7:00 pm.

Everyone is welcome. We meet in the Russel Room.
Barbara Colley


Confirmation Calendar

March 3 4:00-5:30 Justice and Peace
March 17 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)

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


As we're now into the winter season, there may be an occasion in which we'll need to cancel church. Please look to Channel 3 news for announcements of church closings.


For Our Prayers This Week...

We give thanks for...
Opportunities to learn more about ourselves through our upcoming Lenten series
Those young people who see a need for action in the world now and will not wait until adults make changes

We pray for...
Our brothers and sisters in the United Methodist Church, as delegates voted not to lift the LGBTQ bans on same-sex marriage and ordained clergy, and what this will mean for the future of the denomination
The unrest and violence in Venezuela
Reason to prevail in the decisions of the U.S. and Russia to break a pact limiting nuclear arms

We grieve with…
The family of Anne Zukowski, in the loss of her husband, David, on February 25th

Ongoing prayers for…
Rick Buggee (Jeff Buggee’s brother), Nancy Dougherty, Joseph Arnson (Take-A-Vet Fishing Volunteer Care Member), Sean St. Pierre, Wayne Childs, Cyndie Neely, Nancy Johnson, Bob Zettergren & family, 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, March 3
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:15 am CE Board Meeting Russel Room
4:00 pm Confirmation Class: Justice and Peace Pine Room
6:00 pm High School Youth Group Pilgrim Hall & Kitchen

Monday, March 4
7:00 pm Killam’s Point Meeting Russel Room

Tuesday, March 5
1:00 pm Staff Meeting Russel Room
6:00 pm Pancake Dinner Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Land & Building Meeting Room 25
7:00 pm Bell Rehearsal Sanctuary

Wednesday, March 6
5:45 pm Lotus Yoga Class All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Ash Wednesday Service Walker Chapel

Thursday, March 7
7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Friday, March 8
9:00 am Committee of Church Governance Russel Room

Saturday, March 9
5:30 pm Branford Folk Music Society Pilgrim Hall

Sunday, March 10
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:00 am Music Board Meeting Room 25
1:00 pm Take-A-Vet Fishing Board Meeting Russel Room




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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