Sunday June 16, 2019

First Sunday After Pentecost

Worship at 8am in the Meetinghouse

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Life Among the Believers

Greetings, Beloved! You’re doing a great job!

Happy Father’s Day, fathers, and/or you who are celebrating and/or remembering your father.

Soon after my mother died April 3, our new neighbor spoke some words of sympathy, and I just said what I’d been hearing others say, that there’s something very different and much harder about losing one’s mother. I wasn’t exactly sure I knew what they meant... maybe because if she was your biological mother, she birthed you, and/or that Mother is often the soul of the family. Since April 3 it has been pretty clear to me that a great many people feel something deeper has happened in them when they lose her. So, I said to my neighbor, as I made big eyes, “yeah, the whole mother thing, ya know.” She said, “No, I don’t really know, because for me, it was my dad. He was the heart of our family.”

Your dad may have been, or may be, the heart of your family, too, gentle reader. My relationship with my dad, who I lost 17 years ago, was easier and more natural than the relationship I had with my mom. I know, sadly, that a great many people have horrible stories about rough, even abusive fathers, but they are certainly not the norm. So many men and/or fathers are gentle and kind, tender but firm, instructive, emotional/unemotional, practical, cook, clean, fix stuff, build stuff, mow the lawn, teach how to ride a bike, throw a ball, drive a car, listen, swell with pride in their children, tell jokes, gossip, encourage. I love a hymn by hymn-poet and writer Brian Wrenn that’s called Bring Many Names. One of the verses reads, Warm father God, hugging every child, feeling all the strains of human living, caring and forgiving till we’re reconciled: Hail and Hosanna, warm father God. (Other verses include, Strong mother God, Old aching God, Young, growing God.) For a powerful Father’s Day tribute, see For Fathers under this article.

This Saturday our 375th Anniversary Committee will offer a Historical Display, featuring FCCB artifacts and giving tours of the building from 10 am - 2 pm. On Sunday we’ll have worship at 8:00 am, followed by the historical display and tours from 9 am - 11 am. If you’re coming to church, please put your orange parking pass on your dashboard, or you can come into the Meetinghouse to pick one up when you arrive. We’ll aim for a 40 minute worship service for those who’d like to drive away before Branford Festival’s 9:10 am Fun Run begins.

For Father’s Day, as well as for our 375th anniversary, we’ll sing Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us, and The Church’s One Foundation. Our scripture is Paul’s Letter to the Galatian community 3:23-28, and the sermon title is All.

I’m in the midst of reading a book called Parenting Forward: How to Raise Children With Justice, Mercy, and Kindness, by Cindy Wang Brandt. I don’t think we can hear these numbers enough: Brandt educates us that according to UNICEF, nearly half of the world’s extreme global poor are children, deprived of basic human rights such as nutrition, health, water, education, or shelter. Brandt also shares a quote by a child at the beginning of each chapter. In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to share them with you:

I really love my job. Shir, age 5

I asked Anders what, at six, he knows about God. “Well,” he said, “I know that God is loving. That’s all I know for sure so far.” Joy Neal, Anders’s mom

Lesson of God Lesson #1: God is always knocking on the door of our hearts and will never force his way in but will wait patiently for us to choose to open the door.
Lesson #2: God is blowing never-ending bubbles of love toward us and will keep blowing them even if we pop them. Noah, age 7

Dad, there’s an eighth of a half of a part of me that doesn’t believe in God. Brendan, age 8

The protestors spoke up so people will know what’s not fair…. It is ok to tell me about scary things because those people got hurt, and when you are hurt you have to not keep it a secret because then nobody can help you… We have to not let any more hurting go on - we have to do something about it. Haydee, age 4

George Washington was a he. And Trump is a he. And Obama’s a he, right? I hope we have a she. It’s time for a she. Clark, age 4

I work hard to protect the environment and animals near my home. I want my government to work hard to protect my future and the future of the animals and ecosystems in our country. Levi Draheim, age 8

We are like little shards of mirrors that all together show what God is like. Seven billion shards of mirror. Ashley, age 11

Adults like us when we have strong test scores, but they hate us when we have strong opinions. Emma Gonzales, age 18

On that confronting note, gulp! Cindy Wang Brandt confesses what Ken and I can confess: My husband and I are imperfect parents. We have made overly harsh punishments, misunderstood our children’s intentions, and failed over and over again in our parenting decisions. Yet, I give a shout out to Ken for the awesome dad he is to our son, Abe! All of you dads are doing a great job! Thank you!

Love and blessings to our dads on earth, and in heaven. Love and blessings to our Father God: All praise to thee, my God, this night, for all the blessings of the light. Keep me, O keep me, King of kings, beneath thine own almighty wings. (~ An Evening Prayer, 1670, sung to Tallis Canon)

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

~ For Fathers ~

Let us praise those fathers who have striven to balance the demands of work, marriage, and children with an honest awareness of both joy and sacrifice.
Let us praise those fathers who, lacking a good model for a father, have worked to become a good father.
Let us praise those fathers who by their own account were not always there for their children, but who continue to offer those children, now grown, their love and support.
Let us praise those fathers who have been wounded by the neglect and hostility of their children.
Let us praise those fathers who, despite divorce, have remained in their children's lives.
Let us praise those fathers whose children are adopted, and whose love and support has offered healing.
Let us praise those fathers who, as stepfathers, freely choose the obligation of fatherhood and earned their stepchildren's love and respect.
Let us praise those fathers who have lost a child to death, and continue to hold the child in their heart.
Let us praise those men who have no children, but cherish the next generation as if they were their own.
Let us praise those men who have "fathered" us in their role as mentors and guides.
Let us praise those men who are about to become fathers; may they openly delight in their children.
And let us praise those fathers who have died, but live on in our memory and whose love continues to nurture us.
~ Kirk Loadman-Copeland

You re Doing A Great Job2

Parking for June 16th worship service at 8:00 am

The chair of the Branford Festival has informed us that parishioners of the town green churches are free to park wherever is open the Sunday morning of the Festival. The Branford Road Race Fun Run begins at 9:10am. Worship Service will be over by 8:45am to allow parishioners to leave before the race begins.

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Historical Display Hours

Saturday, June 15th 10am-2pm
Sunday, June 16th 9am-11am

Visit our Meetinghouse during the Branford Festival. You are welcome at all times, but our history will be on display during the festival. It’s part of our celebration of 375 years of serving our community. Open on Saturday, June 15th from 10am-2pm, and on Sunday, June 16th from 9am-11am. Come help us celebrate.

For more information call the church office at 203-488-7201, or email


Worshipping Together

Worship on June 16th will be at 8:00am in the Meetinghouse. June 23rd will be at 9:00am at Killam’s Point. From June 30th on, worship will be held at 9:00 am in our Meetinghouse.


We're looking for an energetic, vibrant, part-time Christian Education Coordinator. The job description may be read here.


Intergenerational Picnic at Killam's Point

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We want you to save the date for an Intergenerational Picnic at Killam's Point on Saturday July 13th. We'll fire up the grill for burgers and dogs, and there will be potluck dishes to share, kids' games, trails for walking, beaches for swimming, and chairs for just sitting and enjoying the beautiful view.

All are welcome! Young and old, families and singles...mark your calendar now!


Camp Totokett Bathing Suits and Towels Needed

Our entire supply of towels and bathing suits was swept out to sea in a flood at Killam’s Point. Almost all campers need towels and many need bathing suits. We have about 45 campers who range in age from 6-13. Camp is not until the week of July 29th so there is plenty of time to keep your eyes open for sales and bargains.

Arrangements for a collection point at FCCB remain to be decided so please hold onto any purchases until later.

Barbara Colley

(on behalf of the planning committee)

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Whoosh! Did you miss Rev. Suz' sermon on Pentecost Sunday? You can read it here!


Scholarship Program – Deadline Extended

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 July 1, 2019.


A Note To All Musicians

Enrich our summer Sunday worship!

If you are able and interested in performing a solo, duet, or as a small ensemble for a Sunday anthem this summer, we would love to hear you. We need musicians on the following dates: July 7, 14, 21, 28; August 4, 11, 18, 25; Sep 1, 8

If you can bless us with your talents, please contact Philip Rinehart, Music Director, or Julia Novaco in the church office. Many thanks.

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IRIS is in need of volunteers for their Summer Learning Program! Ideally, volunteers can offer two days per week, from July 1 until August 16, to assist lead teachers working with school-aged refugee and immigrant kids. For those who cannot commit to that time frame, we welcome visitors who want to work with the kids either once or a few times for workshops or activities lasting 30-40 mins: e.g., leading a craft project, singing songs. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Dennis Wilson ( and go to the volunteer page on their website to fill out a volunteer application: (Applicants must be at least 17 years old.) Please spread the word!


Don’t forget to write up your recollections of our church for our Memory Book. We have received some; we welcome many, many more. Think of something quirky, or something really meaningful to you. I encourage you to talk to many people around you and ask them for their stories.

You may have many stories, or a few. Please write them up and send them to us, leave them in the 375th mailbox in the office or email them to

Length – long or short, our team will edit as needed.


The flowers in our sanctuary are given in honor of the birthday
of Rev. Susan Power Trucksess, with love and blessings from the Stephen Ministers.

For Our Prayers This Week...

We give thanks for...
Fathers, including those who may not be an actual father but who use those gifts in other ways
The safe and joyous transition of thousands of high school seniors as they graduate in the coming (or past) weeks
Our church members and staff, for doing such a great job
Missy Van Vliet, who joins the staff this Tuesday, June 18 (T-Th, 9-2; F, 9-12 - come and say hello!)
Those who affirm, support, and advocate for the LGBTQ community

We pray for...
The people of Mali where feuding ethnic groups led to an attack in which nearly 100 villagers were killed last week
Those affected by wildfires in California and Arizona

Please remember these Connecticut Conference Churches In Your Prayers…
Rocky Hill Congregational Church, UCC; United Church of Rowayton; Roxbury Congregational UCC; Congregational Church of Salisbury UCC; Scotland Congregational Church, UCC

Ongoing prayers for…
Kathy Gibbons (Barbara O’Keefe’s cousin), Jean Andros, Colin & Justin Williams (Linda Mitchell’s cousins), Bill Mayer (friend of Linda Mitchell), Kelly Martens and family, Grace Chaplin (Paul’s mother), Nancy Heller (friend of the Reifs), Rick Buggee (Jeff Buggee’s brother), Nancy Dougherty, Joseph Arnson (Take-A-Vet Fishing Volunteer Care Member), Wayne Childs, Bob Zettergren & family, 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 & 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), Sylvia O’Brien, Debbie Pearl (friend of Lil Sakai), George Spear, and Lou Wells.


Life Among the Believers

Sunday, June 16 – Father’s Day
8:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
8:00 am Branford Festival Town Green

Monday, June 17
9:00 am Public School Transition Program All Purpose Room

Wednesday, June 19
7:00 pm Church Council All Purpose Room

Thursday, June 20

Friday, June 21
9:00 am Public School Transition Program All Purpose Room

Saturday, June 22

Sunday, June 23
9:00 am Worship Service Killam's Point

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June 15, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm: Church open to show artifacts and give tours in honor of 375th anniversary

June 16, 8:00 am: Father’s Day, Branford Festival (parking pass available today to put on car dashboard; church open from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to show artifacts and give tours in honor of 375th anniversary)

June 23, 9:00 am: Worship at Killam’s Point with Brass Quartet

June 30 – September 8, 9:00 am: Worship in Meetinghouse

July 13, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Intergenerational Picnic at Killam's Point, We'll fire up the grill for burgers and hotdogs, and we invite you to bring a potluck dish to share. There’ll be kids' games, trails for walking, beaches for swimming, and chairs for just sitting and enjoying the beautiful view. All are welcome! Young and old, families and singles...mark your calendar now! Please RSVP to Betsy Hyde at


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




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

Please consider contributing $35 to the flower fund. It would be amazing to have people signed up each Sunday to help defray the cost of weekly Sanctuary Flowers.


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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