Sunday March 25, 2018

Palm Sunday

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

Worship Service 10:00 a.m., Meetinghouse

The Rev. Suzanne Personette preaching
Reading: Matthew 21:1-11

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Life Among the Believers

Hello, Beloved Believer! I’ve been so excited to greet you. I can’t wait to meet you. : ) And, I look forward to all you’ll have to teach me. Please forgive me for a long e-Spire this first week of coming on board!

When I was thinking about FCC in preparing to meet with the Interim Search Committee, what came to mind was Acts 2:42-47, Life Among the Believers. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved”.

Love it! I thought the passage might be the focus of our interim time together. With Council’s assistance with scheduling, I’d like to hold some small group meetings, perhaps in May, where we explore 3-4 questions about your life together, and then we’ll have an all-church gathering where we’ll share about that life. We’ll make this fun! Maybe this Life Among the Believers could involve “building an ark” from what you’ve brought forward as priorities for the church. We’ll take a priority and name it as foundation of FCC’s ark, another priority might name a way to keep us afloat! Another might name the ramp for how we board and stay on board, etc. We’ll use our collective creativity in the building and design!

A Message to our Youth: Hello! I want to say to you, I see you and you matter. I also want to say to boys and girls alike…. feel what you feel. Don’t keep it inside. Feel your joy, pain, sadness, frustration, anger, impatience, heartache, confusion, injustice, ecstasy, giddiness, discomfort, etc. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel angry, go outside and stomp your feet and yell, dribble a basketball, kick a soccer ball, write about it, pray about it - get it out. Don’t hold onto your anger, or stifle your tears. Feel what you feel. Feelings pass if you feel them. Talk with someone you trust about your feelings. Love yourself, child. ; )

Here we are, about to approach Holy Week. You may have felt like it has been a perpetual Holy Week! Can we get an Easter?! Just a little longer, beloved. We’ll have to take this last Holy walk, but we’ll do it with Jesus, and we’ll do it together, always together, this Life Among the Believers. On Palm Sunday our youth will have a Palm Parade during All Glory, Laud, and Honor, and we’ll wave our palms for our Hosanna in the Highest! Our Youth Bell Choir will thrill us with a Palm Sunday Processional, and our Sanctuary Choir will rally us as they sing “Crown Him Lord of All.” The Gospel lesson will be Matthew 21:1-11, and the Message is titled, “Ride On!, Ride On!.”

Special thanks to Rev. Theresa Borchetta and Office Manager Julia Novaco for helping me find my sea legs on board this week. ; )

See you believers at 8a and 10a this Sunday!

Ride on! ,
Rev. Suzanne Personette (Rev. Suz),
Interim Senior Minister
Office Hours: T-Th 9am-3pm (or 1p-3p visits) if evening mtg., 3pm-9pm; cell (860) 304-1054

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Sunday, Mar. 25th Palm Sunday Services 8 & 10 am Chapel & Meetinghouse

Thursday, Mar. 29th Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service 7:00pm Pilgrim Hall

Friday, Mar. 30th Ecumenical Good Friday Service 12-3 pm Churches on green

Friday, Mar. 30th Evening Good Friday Service 7:00pm Walker Chapel

Sunday, Apr. 1st Easter Sunrise Service 6:00 am Killam’s Point

Sunday, Apr. 1st Easter Sunday Services 9 & 11 am Meetinghouse

Lenten Meditation

Do we ever fully understand or realize how amazing God’s love is for us? No matter how stained our lives may be, we will always receive God’s mercy. To be loved freely by God is a wonderful thing. It is to be received without hesitation. Theologian Joyce Rupp suggests that we stand in front of a mirror and remind ourselves that God is crazy about us. She suggests that we think of our failings, mistakes, sins. Then go stand in front of the mirror and look fully into our eyes and say, “God is crazy about you.” Keep returning to the mirror until we believe it.

Theresa Borchetta

2018 Lenten Series

Questions of Faith

“Easter Edition!”

Postponed from March 21

On March 28th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the First Baptist Church, we will join our Baptist friends to consider Holy Week related queries, such as...

“Why did Judas betray Jesus with a kiss?”

“Can we prove Jesus physically rose from the dead?”

and more…

Pizza, salad, dessert and quality child-care provided.

Christ is Risen!

This Sunday is the deadline for the lily orders!

Easter Lily Order Form






CONTACT NAME…………………………………………………………………………..


 Deliver my plant to a homebound person
 I will take my plant home after 11:00 a.m. service on Easter Sunday
Cost $12.00 each plant

Please drop this form in the collection plate or at the Church office or you can mail to:

FCC Branford, 1009 Main St, Branford, CT. 06405

 If you would like to remember or honor a loved one with an Easter lily, return this form to the Church office by Sunday, March 25th.

Please make checks payable to:

First Congregational Church.
Mark Easter Lily on the memo line.



Melissa Montanaro and Jeanne Willinksy welcomed their son Luca Montanaro on March 5th at 8:13am. Luca was 6lbs 8ounces and 20 inches long!

Melissa and Jeanne are interested in joining the church and baptizing Luca with us as well.


A Welcome back to Katie Jones from maternity leave!


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.


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 March is Nancy Beccia.
Nancy can be reached via phone at: 203-483-1268 or by email at


For Our Prayers This Week

We give thanks for......
Reverend Suzanne Personette’s ministry among us
The promise of Spring in our midst

We pray for.....
Those affected by the bombings in Austin, TX
The preparation of Holy Week and the courage to face the cross

We grieve with…..
The family of Jennifer Gonzalez, who was killed in the California shooting
The Giordano family at the death of Mike and Janet’s nephew Lucas Giordano

Ongoing prayers for…
Betsy & Peter Boynton, Daria Carlson, Edward DeFrancesco, John Paul Dineen, Dormer Family, Eleanor Eadie (Emily Fielding’s sister), Rowena Gatta, Robert & Margaret Gehm (parents of Nancy Gehm), Mary Gundersen (Lynda Barker’s mother), Martha Hickman (Lil Sakai’s mom), 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.


Church Calendar

Sunday, March 25 – Palm Sunday
Fresh Salad Collection
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:00 am Welcome Reception for Rev. Suzanne Personette Pilgrim Hall
6:00 pm High School Youth Group Pilgrim Hall

Monday, March 26
9:30 am CDC – Music Pilgrim Hall
10:00 am Branford Transition Program All Purpose Room

Tuesday, March 27
12:00 pm Staff Meeting Russel Room
4:30 pm Youth Bells Sanctuary
7:00 pm Adult Bell Rehearsal Sanctuary

Wednesday, March 28
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
10:30 am CDC – Happy Feet Pilgrim Hall
11:00 am Evergreen Woods Bible Study Evergreen Woods
6:00 pm Deacon Maundy Thursday Set-up Pilgrim Hall
6:30 pm Christmas Fair Meeting All Purpose Room

Thursday, March 29 – Maundy Thursday
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Maundy Thursday Worship Service Pilgrim Hall

Friday, March 30 – Good Friday
CDC Closed
12:00 pm Good Friday Ecumenical Worship Service Town Green Churches
7:00 pm Evening Good Friday Service Walker Chapel

Saturday, March 31

Sunday, April 1 – Easter Sunday
6:00 am Sunrise Service Killam’s Point
9:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
11:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse

Monday, April 2
Church Office Closed

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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.




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 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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