Sunday November 12, 2017

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Worship Service 10:00 a.m., Meetinghouse

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Conference Ministers: “How long O Lord?”

We live in a violent world where people kill each other. We live in a world where hate and injustice often seem to go unpunished. We live in a world where innocent victims are shot, or run over, or blown up by a pressure cooker. We have grown weary of the phrase, “Our thoughts and prayers” when we know that prayer is important but this madness calls for resolute action. We have seen statements made by our own church leaders that witness to their frustration by saying simply: “I don’t know what to pray for or say right now.” We feel helpless and afraid and angry with our nation’s rhetoric and division around gun control and the embrace of hatred and violence and the lack of adequate mental health treatment in our communities. “How long O Lord” seems to be the right lament for the living of these days.

As leaders of our three Conferences we do not have easy answers or quick solutions. We feel the same frustration and anger that the cycle of violence in our country seems to never end. We do believe that the purpose for which we are joined together is to make this world more just, more loving and more compassionate. We do believe that our purpose is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We embrace the vision of the United Church of Christ that says, “United in Christ’s love, a just world for all.”

We weep with those who weep. We must work for change and address the systemic causes of violence in our world. We must call on our lawmakers to put into law sensible gun control and to provide stronger mental health resources. We must speak up against hatred and violence and xenophobia in all forms. We must not allow division and differences of opinion to divide us. We must speak the truth in love.

“How long, O Lord”

It’s not the Lord’s “fault” that we pose this question. The “how long” is how long will we be silent and thus complicit in the hate and violence that now engulfs our country.

“If not us, who? If not now, when?”

We are stronger together. Let us strengthen our resolve to love and action.

The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, Minister & President, Massachusetts Conference
The Rev. Barbara Libby, Interim Conference Minister, Rhode Island Conference
The Rev. Kent Siladi, Conference Minister, Connecticut Conference

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An Invitation from the Stewardship Board

The Stewardship Board invites you to a Church Family Brunch between the services on November 19, in Pilgrim Hall! We are planning the menu, which will include “strata” made according a recipe from Betsy Manners, wife of our long-time pastor before Rev. Gary Smith! There will be vegetarian selections available too.

We need to get an approximate count of Congregational Brunchers by November 12, but we will make plenty of extra food, so please come if you can! There is no charge, no obligation, and pledge cards will not be mentioned in any way—we promise!

Being the Stewardship Board, however, we do want to bring your attention to the mail you have received or will be receiving from the church. These messages tell about the blessings of being supportive of the various ministries of our church and about how important it is to pledge your support so that we can plan our income stream and expenditures. They also reiterate the invitation to the brunch—we truly hope to see you there!


Interim Search Update

The Interim Minister Search Committee has made progress in our efforts to find an Intentional Interim Minister to guide our church through the next phase as a congregation as we move toward a new settled minister. The committee has reviewed candidates and begun interviewing. Our goal all along has been to fill this important position as quickly as we can while being patient with the process in order to find the best available fit for our church.

Once we have identified the minister we believe will serve the needs of our church, congregation, and community, we will make our recommendation to Church Council to hire an Interim Minister. Upon approval by Council and the finalization of hiring details, including their start date, the congregation will be introduced to the new Interim Minister.

Thanks to all members of First Congregational Church of Branford for your thoughts and prayers of support. We appreciate your interest and concern as we continue our work to select our Interim Minister.

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Save The Date!

The Children’s Interactive Christmas Pageant will be on Sunday, December 17th immediately following the 10am worship service in the Meetinghouse!

We do hope you’ll join us for this new version of the first Christmas story, and please bring your family and friends.

Coffee hour will follow the pageant in Pilgrim Hall.

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Wine Pull at the Christmas Fair

The Christmas Fair Committee is looking for donations of wine for the Wine Pull, which will be a new attraction at the 2017 Church Christmas Fair.

Please bring all donations to the church office for pickup.

Re-gifting acceptable.

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Shoebox Reminder

All filled shoeboxes must be returned to FCC no later than Monday, November 13 so they can be delivered to our local collection area. The cost of shipping, $9.00, will be paid by the Mission Board. However if you wish to contribute to this expense, checks should be made out to FCC Branford with “Shoebox” on the memo line.
Thank You!!

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Matthew 25:35
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

Isaiah 58:10
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

Every year we collect food baskets and turkeys for the Branford Food Pantry. This year the need is even greater and we are called to give again.

Many years ago it had been a tradition of our church to provide a large catered Thanksgiving dinner for the middle school youth and their families. It was held the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I kept that tradition for 2 years. However, I was uncomfortable because most of our families would have two dinners that week while many people in our own community would not have any Thanksgiving. I called the local Food Pantry and asked if we could help, and we began a tradition of collecting food baskets and turkeys along with the support of other churches in town. We would also tap into one of our endowment funds to help supplement the cost of the baskets. Between the items that were collected and the items purchased from the fund, we were able to make a difference for many in our community.

For some reason, one year, I decided not to keep up this ministry. I have recently received a call from the Branford Food Pantry asking me to please reconsider providing leadership for this ministry. I did not realize how dependent they were on us collecting items for the baskets and the turkeys. This asks a lot of us but I know we can live out the gospel to feed God's people!

We need your help again. Our goal is to put together 70 baskets and to collect 70 turkeys. If you can put together a basket and/or donate a turkey it will be a huge help to people in our local community who struggle to feed their families.

We have a tree in Pilgrim Hall. This tree has tags listing the food that is needed to put together a basket. The tree is up so please consider taking a tag (or two). We also need 10-12 pound turkeys. Please consider giving to this cause and help those needing food for the holiday. We will collect the items November 12, 13, and up until 5:00 on November 14.

The thought of people going to bed hungry makes me lose sleep. The thought of people not having a Thanksgiving dinner also makes me lose sleep. As a church, let us come together in this all-important mission! Last year was the first year doing it this way and it was very successful!

In Peace,

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E-Bike Raffle

RALEIGH Retroglide Electric Bike and Helmet

plus tutorial from Zane’s

Tickets $20

Good News! Ticket sales to date have covered our expenses.

Now every ticket sold means more profit for First Congregational Church.

Tickets are $20 for a chance to win a Raleigh electric bike, a helmet, and a tutorial at Zane's.

Please pick up a packet of tickets to sell to your workmates, playmates, and neighbors.

Tickets are available after both services and at the church office.

Only a month until the Dec. drawing at the Christmas Fair!


Book Group

Our last meeting of 2017 will be Wednesday, December 6, at 7:00 in the Russel Room. We will be discussing the book The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. “The New York Times bestseller and the USA Today #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922 and the summer that would change them both.” (Good Reads)

Please join us and also bring recommendations for our 2018 list.

For the January meeting, January 3, everyone is asked to choose a biography or memoir to briefly present to the group.

Barbara Colley


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

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For Our Prayers This Week

We give thanks for…
The democratic freedoms we enjoy in this country
The things that lift our spirits like parades, pumpkins and pie

We pray for…
Givers and receivers of Thanksgiving food baskets and Operation Christmas Child
Those approaching the coming holiday seasons with a sense of hesitancy or heaviness
Constructive dialogue between world leaders as our president tours Asia
A thoughtful response to the Stewardship’s efforts to guide us on a “Journey to Generosity”

We grieve with…
Victims and survivors of the Texas shooting
The Dickinson family at the loss of their father and husband Christopher

Ongoing prayers for…
Betsy & Peter Boynton, Jeff Buggee, Rick Buggee (Jeff’s brother), Daria Carlson, Mary Collins (Betsy Dorsi’s sister), Edward DeFrancesco, Dormer Family, Eleanor Eadie (Emily Fielding’s sister), Robert & Margaret Gehm (parents of Nancy Gehm), Laci Lewis (Betsy Dorsi’s student), Earl Lind, Frank Malinconico, Joe Mele (Jen McCaughtry’s uncle), Dawn Neely (friend of Jen McCaughtry), 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), Nancy Power (Susan Trucksess’ sister), George Spear, and Janet Young.

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Church Calendar

Sunday, November 12
Stage open for Fair Donations
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service/Baptism Meetinghouse
10:40 am Youth Chime Rehearsal Sunday School Hallway
11:00 am Youth Choir Rehearsal Music Room

Monday, November 13
9:30 am CDC – Music All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Stephen Ministry Meeting Russel Room
7:00 pm Stewardship Board Meeting Room 25

Tuesday, November 14
10:00 am Staff Meeting Russel Room
4:30 pm Youth Bells Sanctuary
5:15 pm Family Group Night Pilgrim Hall
6:00 pm Finance Meeting Room 18
7:00 pm Diaconate Meeting Russel Room
7:00 pm Sanctuary Bell Rehearsal Sanctuary

Wednesday, November 15
10:30 am CDC – CrossFit Pilgrim Hall
11:00 am Evergreen Woods Bible Study Evergreen Woods
7:00 pm Church Council Meeting All Purpose Room

Thursday, November 16
10:30 am CDC Happy Feet Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Sanctuary Choir Meetinghouse

Friday, November 17

Saturday, November 18
7:00 am TAVF Thanksgiving Luncheon Pilgrim Hall
5:30 pm Church Game Night Pilgrim Hall

Sunday, November 19 – Stewardship Sunday
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
9:00 am Stewardship Brunch Pilgrim Hall
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
10:40 am Youth Chime Rehearsal Sunday School Hallway
11:00 am Youth Choir Rehearsal Music Room
6:00 pm High School Youth Group Pilgrim Hall

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Sanctuary Flowers

The 2018 Sanctuary Flower chart has now been placed next to the 2017 chart which is displayed on the bulletin board outside 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

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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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