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Sunday September 16, 2018

remember 2 services

We are going back to our fall schedule of worship!

8:00am Walker Chapel
10:00am Meetinghouse

Reverend Suzanne Personette preaching

“But who do you say that I am?”

~ Mark 8:29

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Life Among the Believers

This Homecoming Sunday we’ll return to our 8am and 10am Worship Services, Sunday School, and Choir. I’d also like to introduce a Blessing of the Backpacks during children’s time in our 10am service. Our youth are invited to bring their backpack to church that morning. When they arrive, they should place their backpack in front of the communion table, or they’re free to bring it with them when they come forward for children’s time. We’ll bless the backpacks, children, and teachers! We’ll have a fun coffeehouse, with a musician, and activities afterward. There will be a fun arrangement of furniture in Pilgrim Hall, similar to what Rev. Theresa and the youth group have done with coffeehouses at FCCB.

We’re getting excited about starting things up again! Lots of hustle and bustle with Sunday School, the coffeehouse, Choir, intergenerational activities, continuing work of the Discernment Team, and the Governance Committee, our new administrative assistant getting in the swing of things, the news of your beloved Rev. Trucksess retiring. We’re both excited and daunted by all of the promises that new beginnings bring. God bless us, everyone!

This Sunday we’ll sing a marvelous hymn that answers Mark 8:29’s question posed by Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” We’ll sing I Am the Light of the World!” We’ll also sing your favorite, Shine, Jesus, Shine, and the Sanctuary Choir will sing the African-American traditional hymn, Guide My Feet. It’ll be fun to explore at our regathering Sunday, who do you say that Jesus is? Who is he? Let’s lay a foundation for the year regarding just who this Jesus is, might be, can be, and will be. Here in our life among the believers!

I thought you might find the below interesting:

Why Church? Reasons why U.S. adults give for why they attend religious services at least once or twice a month. Source: Pew Research Center (as seen in the periodical, Christian Century August 29, 2018)

To become closer to God 81%
So children will have a moral foundation 69%
To make me a better person 68%
For comfort in times of trouble or sorrow 66%
I find the sermons valuable 59%
To be part of a community of faith 57%
To continue family’s religious tradition 37%
I feel a religious obligation to go 31%
To meet new people or socialize 19%
To please my family, spouse, or partner 16%

Beloved, how would you answer?!

Deanna O’Connell came up with a great idea going forward with hospitality after worship. Beginning next Sunday, September 23, all those whose last names begin with an A or B, are asked to bring a snack or treat and serve - either the 23rd, or 30th. Please send an email or phone Deanna if you can serve one of these Sundays! doconnell28@comcast.net; 203-483-8039

See you Sunday!

Making Christ’s Love Known in Word and Action,
Rev. Suz, Interim Senior Minister
Office Hours: T-Th 9am-3pm (or 1p-3p visits) if evening mtg., 3pm-9pm
revsuz@hotmail.com; church (203) 488-7201, ext. 107; cell (860) 304-1054

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Saturday September 15th 9am
Men 17 years old and above are invited to a Men’s Group Organizational Meeting this Saturday, September 15 at 9am in Pilgrim Hall. Come and let’s brainstorm ideas! Coffee and donuts will be waiting for you. ~ Rev. Suz


Introduction to the Old Testament

Beginning October 7, 2018 after 10:00 worship

Ever wonder why our bible is so big and only a small part documents Jesus’ life and ministry? How do you pronounce all of those long names and what do they have to do with my life as a Christian? Why is the Old Testament God so angry and mean? I would read the Old Testament but its boring and I don’t understand it.

If any of these thoughts sound familiar to you or you just want to learn more about the Old Testament, the Christian Ed Board has a class for you. Come to our four week survey class and learn more about the Old Testament. Betsy Dorsi will be presenting a brief introduction to the Old Testament covering it from a historical and spiritual perspective that will provide a framework for future study. During this 2nd hour class you can expect to hear about the origins of some of the texts, discover some Bible humor, learn some anthropology and hear God speak in some new and challenging ways.

We will meet in the Pine Room following 10:00 Worship on 10/7 and 10/14, and the two dates will be determined by the participants. Come for all sessions to get the complete survey or come to which ever you can as each week can stand alone.

Please bring a Bible (any translation) and be ready to take notes if you are a note taker!



Mark your calendars

for the next Sisters in the Spirit evening.

Wednesday, October 24th - 6:00-8:00

Our guest will be Mahogany Thomas, a dynamic woman with Baptist roots, a Pentecostal spirit and fervor, and a candidate for ordination in the UCC. What a sister!

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Intergenerational Activities

Tuesday, September 18 Pie Making with Mrs. Titcomb - 6:00-8:00pm
We will be making several pies, one take home if you wish and the others to donate to the community dining room.

Saturday, October 20 Food Gift Love - 5:00-8:00pm
We will make giftable homemade treats to give away. Our hope is to give these gifts to those who are home bound.

Tuesday, October 30 Tai Chi - 6:00-8:00pm
If you're looking for a way to reduce stress, consider tai chi (TIE-CHEE). Originally developed for self-defense, tai chi has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that's now used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. Often described as meditation in motion, tai chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements

Sunday, November 4 Ronald McDonald House –12pm
We will cook several meals for the families to store for the week as they go back and forth to the hospital. Go to the website for Ronald McDonald House New Haven at the top is a short video describing their mission.

Tuesday, November 13 Thanksgiving Baskets For Food Pantry - 5:00-8:00pm
This is the 12th year doing this project. We will put together baskets and turkey’s for home delivery by the Branford Food Pantry. Our goal is between 80-100 baskets and turkeys

Tuesday, December 4 Painting Night - 5:30-8:00pm
The folks from Fired Up will come over and run a painting night. The painting will be pre-determined. They supply all materials. There will be slight fee for this evening (TBA)

Tuesday, December 11 Gingerbread Making Night Extreme - 6:00-8:00pm
The folks from the Christmas fair will be helping our youth decorate gingerbread houses!!

Note: We are working with the folks from Sanctuary Kitchen to have an intergenerational cooking event in Pilgrim Hall. They will do a cooking demonstration by refuge Chefs and then we eat together. (DATE TBA)


Announcement of the Passing of the Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami, Honorary President of Asian Rural Institute

We received the following announcement from Rev. Margret Hofmeister, President of American Friends of Asian Rural Institute (AFARI) concerning the death of Tom Takami. A brief history is that Rev. Roger Manners of FCCB and ARI Founder Rev. Dr. Takami were very good friends! Rev. Manners, with support of folks at FCC Branford (including member Colin Gershon) started the American Friends of ARI, as a non-profit to help raise funds for ARI. The church continues to provide financial support every year, as a portion of the Christmas offering is given to ARI.

Glory be to God in the Highest!
It is with great sadness that we bring this announcement. The Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami, Honorary President of the Asian Rural Institute (Nasushiobara, Tochigi, Japan) passed away at the Maronie Nursing Care Facility at 10:18pm on Thursday, September 6th. He was 91 years old. His was a life sacrificed for the Lord and for the Asian Rural Institute.

The Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami was born in the Northeast Part of the Chinese People’s Republic, formerly known as Manchuria, and returned to Japan at the age of 10. He attended College at Doane University, Seminary at Yale Divinity School and Fuller Seminary. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ), he served as the Director of the Southeast Asian Course of the Seminary for Rural Evangelism from 1962 until founding the Asian Rural Institute in 1973. From 1973 – 1993, he was Chair of the Board and was the Director of the Asian Rural Institute Leaders Training Course from 1973 until 1989. He continued as the Honorary President from 1993. In 1996 he received the Ramon Magsaysay award for Peace and International Understanding. In 2012 he received the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice – Yale Divinity School (New Haven, Connecticut).

The funeral was attended only by Rev. Dr. Takami’s family members. A farewell service at ARI is planned for December. More details on the service will be shared at a later date.

The Takami Family asks that in lieu of flowers donations in Dr. Takami's memory be made to the Toshihiro Takami Scholarship Fund, c/o the American Friends of ARI: http://www.friends-ari.org/support-ari

Rev. Masaoki Hoshino, Board Chair
The Asian Rural Institute
For further information, please contact the Asian Rural Institute
(Ms. Kathy Froede, Ecumenical Relations, 0287-36-3111, ecu@ari-edu.org).
AFARI members may contact J.B. Hoover: jb@ileap.org, 206-349-2807


From your Stewardship Committee: We’re almost three quarters into the year and we’ve almost received three quarters of your pledges. Keep your pledges coming in please.



We have a new approach for all to participate in during the coffee hour after the 10:00 AM service where we’ll greet each other, share a cup of coffee and meet new friends.

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

In October, those members whose last names begin with a C or D, are asked to bring a snack or treat and serve coffee one Sunday during the month. That means you are asked to bring food and serve coffee only 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 September, last name begins with A or B, send me an email if you can serve one Sunday during the month. doconnell28@comast.net or call 203-483-8039. We’re counting on everyone.

If you have any questions, email or call me.

Deanna O'Connell

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We will begin our next confirmation class this fall. There will be an informational meeting on September 16th at 4:00pm.  If you are not sure about joining the class, I would recommend coming to the meeting in order to receive information about the program.    I would also be happy to answer any questions you might have or meet with you individually.

I truly am excited about what this year’s class will offer. I only wish every child chose to go through confirmation. It is a great place to help our youth with their faith development, and to provide a safe atmosphere for them to share and become critical thinkers. In other words I highly recommend participating in this program even if they ultimately decide not to be confirmed.

Confirmation Mentors Are Needed
Would you like a chance to have an impact on a young person’s life? We are looking for adults to be disciples to our confirmation class. You would be paired up with a young person and meet four times between September and April. The meetings are structured and guided. It is so important that our young people have an opportunity to learn from and connect with adults from our congregation.

Here is a great chance to make a positive influence with a young person. Let me know as soon as possible if you would consider this opportunity. Rather than aiming to have one adult leader for every five students, it’s better to aim for connecting every teen with five adults who are willing to invest in the teen in some way, even if rather small. According to LifeWay Research, “teens who had five or more adults from the church invest in them during the ages of 15 to 18 were less likely to leave the church after high school.” Contact Theresa if you are interested

Confirmation Calendar

The Rev. Theresa Borchetta

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Have you ever wanted to review parts of a sermon which you heard on Sunday? Have you ever wanted to share a sermon with a friend? We'll try to post links to sermons here. Just click the link and it will take you to the sermon on our website.

Our first one is Rev. Suz' sermon "I Want To Be A Christian" from September 2, 2018.



(All times will be 6:00-7:30 unless noted otherwise)

September 10 Youth Mission Trip fundraising meeting 6:00pm in Meeting house
September 30 Mandatory information meeting for all interested in attending Youth Mission Trip (6:00) in the church
October 21 Youth Group (6:00)
October 28 Youth Group (6:00)
November 11 Youth Group (6:00)
November 25 Youth Group (6:00)
December 2 Youth Group (6:00)
December 16 Youth Group (6:00)
January 6 Youth Group (6:00)
January 13 Youth Group (6:00)
February 3 Youth Group (6:00)
February 24 Youth Group (6:00)
March 3 Youth Group (6:00)
March 17 Youth Group (6:00)
April 7 Youth Group (6:00)
April 28 Youth Group (6:00)
May 5 Youth Group (5:30) Tool Time


Book Group

I hope everyone is enjoying the second half of the summer.

As a reminder, here are the books we have chosen for the remainder of the year:
October 3-The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
November 7-Ethan Frome by Elizabeth Wharton
December 5-Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
January 8-Biography or memoir of your choice

Please join us on October 3rd, at our new time 5pm!

Barbara Colley

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New Church Office Hours

Monday: 9am-12pm Receptionist
Tues. – Thurs.: 9am-1pm Betsy White
Friday: 9am-12pm Betsy White

New office email:

Bookkeeper Hours:
Mon. – Thurs.: 9:30am-2:30pm Pat Carroll


21st Annual Pat Andriole Family Day

September 16, 2018
Branford Town Green
1 – 5 PM
A Free event for all families
Food is Provided by the Brafnord Rotary


Our weekly worship service is recorded and replayed on
Channel 18 for Comcast customers,
Channel 6004 for Frontier customers
at 5:30pm on Sundays.


For Our Prayers This Week


We give thanks for......
Reuniting on Homecoming Sunday
Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth Group, and making pies with Carol Titcomb!

We pray for.....
Those who have been affected by Hurricane Florence, and for relief efforts

We grieve with…..
The family of Douglas MacDonald who died on September 4th
The Wheeler family in the loss of Nancy, member of FCCB for 66 years

Ongoing prayers for…
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, Jeff Buggee, Jim Bolan, Betsy & Peter Boynton, Rick Buggee, 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.

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Looking Ahead

September 15, 9am: Men’s Group Organizational Meeting (men 17 years old and above) Pilgrim Hall

September 16: Homecoming Sunday, return to 8am & 10am Worship, Blessing of the Backpacks, Sunday School, Coffeehouse following 10am Worship in Pilgrim Hall with musician Jim Paradise, Craft Table, Face Painting, Hair Braiding, Press-on Tattoos.
Confirmation Meeting, 4pm,
Youth Group, 6pm

September 18: Intergenerational Pie-Making with Carol Titcomb, 6 -8 pm

October 7: World Communion Sunday, and Neighbors in Need Offering

Life Among the Believers

Sunday, September 16 – Homecoming Sunday
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Sunday School Begins SS Hallway
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:00 am Homecoming Day Pilgrim Hall
4:00 pm Confirmation Informational Meeting All Purpose Room
6:00 pm Youth Group Pilgrim Hall

Monday, September 17
9:00 am Branford Pub School Transition Prog All Purpose Room
7:00 pm SAA Meeting All Purpose Room

Tuesday, September 18
10:00 am Staff Meeting Russel Room
10:00 am KPP Russel Room
5:30 pm Discernment Team Meeting All Purpose Room
6:00 pm Intergeneration Activities –Pie Making Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Adult Bell Rehearsal Russel Room

Wednesday, September 19
1:00pm Feed Branford Kids Meeting (Theresa) Russel Room
7:00 pm Church Council All Purpose Room

Thursday, September 20
10:00 am KPP Russell Room
10:30 am CDC – Happy Feet Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm SAA Meeting All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Adult Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Friday, September 14
9:00 am Branford Pub School Transition Prog All Purpose Room

Saturday, September 15
8:00 am Branford Education Foundation Town Green

Sunday, September 23
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse

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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 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 will now only be sold after worship on Sundays.

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

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