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Sunday February 11, 2018

Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

Worship Service 8:00 a.m., Walker Chapel

Worship Service 10:00 a.m., Meetinghouse

The Rev. Wayne Jacobson preaching
Readings: Genesis 1:1-5, 26-27 & Acts 17:22-29

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Ponderings.....going forward to returning

Those black marks on people’s foreheads are sometimes the first visible reminder that Lent is upon us. Or maybe the pancake breakfast or supper will have given you a clue. This year at FCCB we are serving them twice – morning and evening. Come one, come all; come once, come twice.

But the bigger question is “How do we approach Lent?” As a somewhat lack-luster Protestant child, I vaguely wondered what was going on and why. I knew about jazz in New Orleans at Mardi Gras. My family ate fish or mac and cheese on Friday due to a lukewarm Catholic father. I looked forward to new patent leather shoes in the near future, and a bright spring outfit. But what was the point????? To tell the truth, I didn’t give it much thought.

That was then and this is now, and currently I look forward to Ash Wednesday with its call to “return”. Seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? To look forward in order to go back. But I suggest that the whole Lenten season is a response to the call to “return” to God. We may think we have been faithful all along (or not), but there is always a part of our heart that we have not yet given over to God – a part (or many parts) that still needs to be brought home to the Holy One.

Lent offers an opportunity to begin again to experience the God who welcomes us over and over into that divine forgiving merciful embrace (with our warts and all). So how do we approach Lent – with a doomsday attitude (oh, no, not purple and gloom and abstinence again!) or with excitement and anticipation of another new beginning with so much possibility?

Return to the Lord, your God, for God is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and

and relents from punishing (Joel 2:13).

Come, let us celebrate the season together with special services, Wednesday night suppers and discussions, and Espire meditations drawn from various spiritual writers... Or observe Lent in the privacy of your own hearts and homes. But be glad that this we can return, that we can begin again to be welcomed home where we belong.
Peace and blessings,

Susan PT
Susan Power Trucksess, Associate Minister

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Knitting, Purling Praying

Knitting needles and crochet hooks don’t make much noise, but the products they produce speak loudly. Pictured above are some of the items our Knitting, Purling, Praying group has sent off to World Mission to be distributed somewhere around the world in that organization’s efforts to meet the needs of people in need. We have also wrapped members and friends of FCC folk in prayer shawls and contributed beautiful goods to the Fair – all as we share with one another the stories of our lives and our faith. And we trust that our prayers also speak loudly to the God who listens. Do join us – 2nd and 4th Thursdays of most months.

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Mardi Gras Pancake Breakfast

Tuesday February 13, 2018

7:30am in Pilgrim Hall

Join your church friends for a Last Day before Lent celebration of Mardi Gras! Also known as Pancake Day, Mardi Gras is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the perfect time to have a delicious pancake breakfast with all the fixin’s! Enjoy the food and fellowship, possibly a bite-sized meditation, and get your Fat Tuesday (and Lent) off to a grand start! No reservations required, just show up and bring an appetite!

And/Or!

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

for People of All Ages

Everyone is invited to our pancake supper Tuesday February 31, 2018
beginning at 5:15.
We will have pancakes, sausage (regular and veggie), and fruit salad. Come anytime between 5:15 and 6:30!!! Bring friends.

We need a few more cooks. If you can help, please call the church office.

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2018 Lenten Series

Join us for a Lenten series that invites you to consider the Gospel command to love (and not merely tolerate) those considered to be “other” or outside mainstream Christian culture. The authors of this series bring a non-technical, Wesleyan perspective to bear on what may be the hardest thing for people of faith to do: keeping and loving the Other as Other.

This series will be emphasizing the biblical mandate to receive Others in their particularity and difference as gifts and mysteries bearing the grace of God.

We will be coming together for a soup supper from 6:00-6:30pm and then the program will be from 6:30-7:30pm.
“Please click here for a link to the sign-up for soup, salad, bread,set-up and clean-up.”

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Yale's Mixed Company

The Musical Arty Society is having a scholarship fundraiser concert by Yale’s Mixed Company in Pilgrim Hall on Friday, March 2nd at 7:30pm.

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The Branford Public Schools Transition Program & FCCB

FCCB began allowing the Branford Public Schools Transition Program to use the All Purpose Room on Friday, February 2nd.

Here is an overview of the program and a small note of thanks from the program leader, Jessica Kuropat-Kashi.

“The Branford Public Schools Transition Program is designed for students who are eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) who have completed their traditional four years of high school but require additional services to facilitate their transition to post-high school life. The services provided include job skills training and independent living skills training in community-based settings. This program provides students the opportunity to hone real-world life skills in an off-site classroom within our community along with job site training in partnership with local employers. These authentic real-life experiences lead to greater independence in students’ post-secondary lives.”

“We are beyond grateful for the generosity of the First Congregational Church to be able to use the All Purpose Room for our community-based classroom; this location is ideal for students to access a variety of community resources within walking distance, which allows students to frequently apply their learning in an authentic community setting.”

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Scholarship Program

The purpose of the First Congregational Church of Branford Scholarship program is to provide some financial aid to needy and worthy young men and women who are members or are children or grandchildren of members of The First Congregational Church of Branford (FCCB). Applicants for a scholarship grant must be a senior at a private or public secondary school, who are planning to attend a post-secondary school. Scholarship grants are given to the recipients for use during their first year of postsecondary education and are paid in two halves. The first half of the grant is paid to a recipient after confirmation of the school the recipient will be attending. The second half is paid to a recipient after the recipient provides to the Scholarship Committee a copy of their first semester transcript, showing they have achieved at least a “C” average. Applications are available in the office. The deadline is April 1, 2018.

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Can you help the Hospitality Committee?

Even if you don’t serve coffee/tea on Sunday or bake the cookies, you can greatly help – buy a $25 Shop Rite gift card to donate to the Committee. This money would buy milk, drinks for the kids, and possibly snacks. Here’s another win-win situation. You are not only giving needed support to Hospitality but buying the gift card helps support the church. Just ask Julia or the members who sell on Sunday to give to the appropriate people. Thank you for your support.

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Lead Deacon

The Lead Deacon for the Month of February is Al Russell.
Al can be reached via phone at: 203-488-2733 or by email at alflorussell@sbcglobal.net.

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For Our Prayers This Week

We give thanks for......
A time of fellowship and community at our family paint night this past Tuesday
Members who have stepped forward to provide leadership in our worship services
Peggy Keck and Sue Miller for their volunteer efforts in reorganizing the
grocery card program

We pray for.....
Ash Wednesday to lead us into a meaningful Lenten season
Those exposed to debilitating effects of the flu virus
Safe and unifying spirit at the 2018 Winter Olympics
The Spirit’s guidance as we continue to move through the Interim search process

Ongoing prayers for…
Betsy & Peter Boynton, Daria Carlson, Edward DeFrancesco, Dormer Family, Eleanor Eadie (Emily Fielding’s sister), Robert & Margaret Gehm (parents of Nancy Gehm), Mary Gundersen (Lynda Barker’s mother), Alison Hobbie (Betsy Gay’s daughter), Frank Malinconico, Ethel Marchesseault (Linda’s mother), Joe Mele (Jen McCaughtry’s uncle), Maria & Adam Melillo, Mary, Kirsten & Rosabelle (Sharon Reynolds’ niece and family), Barbara Mehring, Rose & Tom Moore (mother & brother of Sharon Reynolds), Sylvia O’Brien, Debbie Pearl (friend of Lil Sakai), George Spear, and Janet Young.

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Church Calendar

Sunday, February 11
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
10:40 am Youth Chimes Rehearsal Room 25
11:15 am Music Board Meeting Room 25
6:00 pm High School Youth Group Pilgrim Hall

Monday, February 12
10:00 am Branford Transition Group All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Stewardship Board Meeting Room 25

Tuesday, February 13
7:30 am Mardi Gras Pancake Breakfast Pilgrim Hall
10:00 am Staff Meeting Russel Room
4:30 pm Youth Bells Meetinghouse
5:15 pm Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Mission Board Meeting All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Diaconate Board Meeting Russel Room
7:00 pm Adult Bell Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Wednesday, February 14
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
11:00 am Evergreen Woods Bible Study Evergreen Woods
7:00 pm Ash Wednesday Service Walker Chapel

Thursday, February 15
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
10:30 am CDC - Happy Feet Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Friday, February 16
10:00 am Branford Transition Program All Purpose Room

Saturday, February 17

Sunday, February 18
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse

Practicing Joy Together program has been cancelled for February and March because of Lenten program*

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Sanctuary Flowers

The 2018 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.

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Notifications

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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.

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.

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.
• 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

Grocery Cards

Grocery cards are on sale Sundays after service or in the church office,
Monday-Thursday 9:00-3:00 pm.

 Big Y  Stop and Shop  Shop Rite 

 
 
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