Sunday August 11, 2019

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship at 9:00 am

Worship will be held at 9:00 am in our Meetinghouse through September 8th.

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Life Among the Believers

Hello, Beloved. You may recognize the passage above as the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4-9. “It is a prayer that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. Observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism, and its twice-daily recitation as a religious commandment. It is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words, and for parents to teach their children to say it before they go to sleep at night”. In our Christian tradition, Jesus, an observant Jew, cited the Shema as the first great commandment, and the second, to love your neighbor as yourself.

Instead of following the lectionary readings for this Sunday, I’ve chosen the Shema, and Psalm 46’s Be Still and Know that I am God as our centerpieces for worship. Our country is grieving the two most recent massacres, as well as daily shootings and killings in the USA. Citizens are angry and anguished over gun legislation. People are afraid. I’m also very aware of current stressors going on in the daily lives of our members. I think we all need an opportunity to breathe, to have some peace. This Sunday will center more around prayer and quiet than upon a sermon. Maybe we need to gather together to grieve, share our fear, and attempt to release other burdens we’re carrying. (There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried. ~ Oscar Romero) Let’s come and love God and neighbor together, to be still and know that God.

Much has been and will be written about the state of mind of these very young men most often responsible for recent massacres. Is it that they are, for whatever reasons, ultra-sensitive and susceptible to the stress of national hysteria over issues in our country? The part of the brain responsible for impulse control isn’t developed until age 25. A spiritual director offered in her 2015 summer newsletter: There appears to me, to be in some people, a gaping lack of the personal resources to handle strong emotions, manage anger, frustration, disappointment, fear, and threat without resorting to hostility or violence. There are often good reasons for this lack - PTSD, extreme stress, illness, and other experiences that chew at people’s souls. In our current culture, is it the daily bombardment of political rhetoric? Even a quiet mind is affected and challenged by it; how much more so a busy mind must be wrestling with it, and considering how they can get it all to stop.

We have the two great commandments to try to live by, to love God and to love neighbor. I must tell you just how often I hear the following line spoken: I don’t really want to force religion or church down my child/ren’s throat, I want them to be able to make their own decisions. Religion provides a moral compass; it provides a path and a balm in the chaos of life. An individual is taught to place God first in their life, and then, to impress it on their children. Talk about God and God’s designs for human life with your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on our gates.

In our pendulum swing of religious rebellion, we have shirked our familial and national responsibility to raise children who are prepared to face life and its challenges. We have not told them that God is the most important being to love and honor, and that our neighbor is the second most important. We can blame whoever we want to blame for everything going on in the world, but I find it most helpful when I first look in the mirror and see the part I play. Is my antenna up when it comes to my child?? I believe the privacy argument is unacceptable.

We must ask ourselves the question, are we giving ourselves and our children the tools they need to navigate inner and national conflict? If we are not, it’s not too late to change course.

Teach your children and your grandchildren about the One True Holy God, and how everyone is our Neighbor. It is a holy commandment to open our heart and mind to everyone, and to speak kind and respectful words about our neighbors. In our religious tradition you could say there is no loving God without loving other human beings. Disciple John put it like this: Those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. ~ 1 John 4:20 Love of God and neighbor are entwined.

On Sunday we’re blessed to have peacemaker Sue Miller as our liturgist. We’ll sing Holy, Holy, Holy; Be Still and Know; and, My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less. The sermon prayer is titled, Hear, O America. It will be based on the Shema’s first word, Hear. It has been said that that’s where it all begins. We’ll enter into prayer and silent time, and hear.

Lastly, while Missy is out of the church office, we thank Elaine Keith for volunteering to answer phones from Noon-3 on Tuesday, after the morning receptionist leaves. We are blessed in many ways by many people at FCCB. Thank you.

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~)

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UCC Endorses Green New Deal

The United Church of Christ may be the first Christian denomination to sign on to the Green New Deal, voting 662–30 to endorse the plan at its national gathering in Milwaukee on June 24.

The vote followed endorsements from the UCC’s executive leadership and Council for Climate Justice. The environmental protection legislation was introduced in the US House of Rep­resentatives by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) in February.

Brooks Berndt, the UCC’s minister for environmental justice, said the 850,000-member denomination helped launch the environmental justice movement in the 1980s and more recently was an early leader in divesting from fossil fuels.

“When the Green New Deal came out, we immediately saw this as reflecting the values and the commitments that we’ve been holding dear for all these many years,” Berndt said.

The Green New Deal aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, build smart power grids, upgrade buildings to be more efficient, and train workers for jobs in a new, greener economy over the next ten years. The UCC resolution supporting it was titled “Let Justice Roll Down—Declaring Support for the Green New Deal and Affirming the Intersectionality of Climate Justice with All Justice Issues.”

Author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, who grew up in the UCC, told the denominational gathering through a video that the Green New Deal “is the first legislation that’s on the same scale as this crisis we face—and so it’s really important to have not just economists and scientists lining up behind it, but people of faith as well who can remind us what the real bottom line is.” ~ Religion News Service

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Pastoral Search Committee

We Need Your Photos!

The PSC would like our website to better reflect our vibrant, active congregation. Potential candidates to be our settled minister will review our website to evaluate us, just as the PSC evaluates them.

So how do you fit into this process? Betsy Hyde, our web administrator, needs your photos! We need photos of our church at work, in worship, at play, in outreach. Can you share?

Please email photos to Betsy Hyde at for inclusion. Remember, photos of kids need parental permission.

Many thanks!
Betsy Hyde

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Don't Forget - Intergenerational Peach Potluck!

August 15, 2019

6:00 pm

Bring your favorite peach dessert to share.

Please call or email Jennifer McCaughtry if you'd like to attend!


FCCB Outdoors Summer Movie Night

Friday August 23, 7:30 pm,

in the Circle Parking Lot, bring your own snacks!

The movie, “Patch Adams,” is rated PG-13, and it’s about a 2-hour movie. (In the event of rain, we’ll be in Pilgrim Hall.)


Youth Group Leader

Hi members and friends of FCCB! Our Church needs your help! We are blessed with 16 children for our Sunday School in the Fall and we have just confirmed 7 high school youth. Yes, we are in a time of blessing! Our Christian Education Board is in the process of looking for a part-time youth ministry coordinator. In the meantime, all programs for youth, Pre-k through grade 12, are being designed and led by volunteers. We have terrific Sunday School teachers lined up for the coming school year. We do need a few people lined up as substitute teachers in the case of illness or travel.

We are ready to launch our newly re-established Pilgrim Fellowship with volunteer co-leaders. This is a big responsibility. We need to do it right if we want our new program to grow and to thrive and our youth to have a meaningful time of self-discovery as they begin their own personal journey of faith. Our Christian Education volunteers are already stretched thin. Our program really needs the leadership of an energetic, compassionate, loving leader.

Please take some time in prayer to consider our needs. Remember that the work of our church is the responsibility of all of its members. We have all been blessed by God with many talents, gifts of creativity, mentorship and love of others. So much of our giftedness is laying fallow right now. We need to put it to good use for the growth of FCCB and the Kingdom of God! In your prayer time this week, ask God to show you the special gifts God gave just to you. Ask God how you should use them for your church. Perhaps you will be told that you are being called to work with our youth, or perhaps to some other ministry within FCCB. If youth work is not your calling, ask God to write on your heart the name of one who is being called to this ministry at FCCB. Sometimes, the special ministry to which one is being called is the ministry of recruitment!

Please understand that there will be plenty of support, and no one ever leads a youth group alone! Our co-leaders are ready to team up with someone who feels called to this ministry. The job may seem daunting, but the rewards for our youth, and for every worker in the vineyard are beyond the scope of words! Please, let us pray together for God’s will to be done as we search for leadership for our youth. ~ Betsy Dorsi, Sunday School Coordinator


Congratulations to all these students who graduated from college this year. Included are both members of the church and non-members students who have been active in Mission trips and Camp Totokett during their teen the years.

Alla Miller, Boston University, Elementary Education, working toward Master’s Degree.
Cara Broughal, University of Connecticut, Natural Resources.
Zach DiNoto, Elms College
Hailey Nelson, University of Vermont, Environmental Studies (Camp Totokett Camp Administrator last 2 years)
Rob Schaefer, Northwestern, Journalism
Timmy Brosnon, Castleton University, Communications.
Nick Thomas, Syracuse University, Psychology.
Robin Norko, Delaware University, Medical Diagnostics, plans to attend PA Graduate School.



We will be using the same approach to Sunday Hospitality as last year. This is the time, each Sunday after the service, to greet each other and make new friends to share a cup of coffee. Following this schedule each member is asked to serve only once each year by bringing a snack and serving coffee after the church service.
• Supplies will be provided: juice, cups, milk, half and half, sugar,
sweeteners, and sometimes tea and hot chocolate.
• John will make the coffee.
• Set up and clean- up is simple, again John is very helpful.

In September if your last night begins with A or B, bring in a snack and pour coffee one Sunday during the month.
In October if your last name begins with C or D, provide a snack and serve one Sunday during the month.

We’re counting on you.

Let me know if you can provide a goodie or snack and serve coffee.

Deanna O’Connell


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: August 18, Sep 1, 8

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


The flowers in our sanctuary are given in Memory of Jennifer McCaughtry’s Grandparents, the Mooneys and Grantlands

For Our Prayers This Week...

We give thanks for...
The Peach Potluck this Thursday evening at 6pm, presented by the Joy Tribe. Please RSVP to Jennifer McCaughtry. Tables will be set up in Pilgrim Hall and in the Circle for folks to listen to the Branford Jazz concert
FCCB, a place to belong
When we have something that needs to be said that we say it instead of stuffing it inside and letting it build up; we pray for courage in speaking in a calm way that others can hear

We pray for...
Those grieving or suffering after several shootings this past week including two deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton
Those who are detained in inhumane conditions

We grieve with...
The family and friends of Robert Zettergren who died on July 30

Please remember these rotating Connecticut Conference Churches In Your Prayers…
The First Congregational Church of Washington, UCC; First Congregational Church of Waterbury, UCC; Waterbury, Mill Plain Union Church; Waterbury, South Congregational Church, UCC (Hopeville Church); Waterford Congregational UCC

Ongoing prayers for…
Janet Young, Jo-Ann Farrell (Linda Mitchell’s Aunt), Charlie and Mamie Morris (Uncle and Aunt of Lonnie Snyder), Carol Rutt, 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, 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), Ethel Marchesseault (Linda’s mother), Sylvia O’Brien, Debbie Pearl (friend of Lil Sakai), George Spear, and Lou Wells.


Life Among the Believers

Sunday, August 11
9:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse

Monday, August 12
7:00 pm Stewardship Board Meeting Room 25

Tuesday, August 13
7:00 pm Diaconate Meeting Russel Room
7:00 pm Mission Board Meeting All Purpose Room

Wednesday, August 14
8:30 am WIC Program All Purpose Room
6:30 pm PSC Russel Room

Thursday, August 15
8:30 am WIC Program All Purpose Room
6:00 pm Peach Pot Luck Pilgrim Hall

Friday, August 16

Saturday, August 17

Sunday, August 18
9:00 am Worship Service – Holy Communion Meetinghouse

Monday, August 19

Tuesday, August 20

Wednesday, August 21

Thursday, August 22

Friday, August 23
Movie Night – Patch Adams FCCB Circle Parking Lot

Saturday, August 24

Sunday, August 25
9:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse


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.

Grocery Cards

Did You Know… FCC Branford makes 5% of every dollar on the grocery cards we sell?

If you buy a $100 grocery card, you get $100 in groceries, and FCC gets $5! It’s that easy. This currently adds up to about $2000 income annually for FCC and could easily be more. We offer both $50 and $100 Stop and Shop cards and $50 and $100 Big Y cards.

Cards are only sold after worship every Sunday. Why not try them out and help support FCC?

Thank You!

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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.

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

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