Sunday October 6, 2019

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship at 10 am in the Meetinghouse

Holy Communion

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

New Member Sunday

Special Meeting of the Congregation 11 am

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Greetings, worldly and beloved believer! That awesome time of year has come around again when the entire Christian world celebrates Holy Communion on the very same day! It’s meaningful to know that of the world’s over 2.3 billion Christians, many of them will be receiving the bread and cup this Sunday. (According to 2015 Pew Research Center, Christianity has over 2.3 billion believers [31%], Muslims have 24%, Unaffiliated are at 16%, Hindus at 15%, Buddhists are 7%, Folk religions and others make up 6.5%, and Jews make up .2%.) On World Communion Sunday, I really like to think of the whole world communing, that the table isn’t something to separate and divide us. I think when we invite all to the table, it doesn’t mean they have to subscribe to what we believe. It’s much the same way when we attend another religion’s way of worship, program, or event. We’re welcomed as brothers and sisters in the human race without having to adhere to their religious beliefs.

Not only will we celebrate Communion, we’ll be receiving 5 new members, and baptizing two of them. Go FCCB! It’s rare to receive so many members, outside of Confirmation, during an interim time. Is this the Holy Spirit Whoosh?! Immediately following worship, we won’t have a coffee hour, but instead will remain in the Meetinghouse for the Special Meeting to consider and act upon the recommendations of the Committee on Church Governance as accepted by the Council at its February 2019 meeting. Member Chip Marsh gave an excellent presentation during the informational session this past Sunday on the recommendations, which he repeated on Wednesday night, October 2. If you were unable to attend either meeting, please follow this link to the recommendations on the church website.

Our scripture focus is from The Gospel of Luke 17:5-6, when the apostles said to the Lord, “‘Increase our faith!’ The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” The sermon title is “small things with great love.” We’ll sing “Christ for the World We Sing,” and in honor of our new members we’ll sing the heartful hymn, “Won’t You Let Me Be Your Servant?” The Sanctuary Choir’s anthem will be the Swahili “Tunaomba Mungo Atawale (We Pray for God to Reign), and during Communion the choir will offer the Jewish “Hashivenu” (Turn us around, O Lord, and we shall return to you).

On Sunday we’ll also receive our Neighbors-in-Need Special Offering, which Missions member, Betsy Dorsi explained so very well this past Sunday. Lil Sakai will make the plea and give the invitation to the offering this Sunday. At 1:30 pm, the Town of Branford is hosting a Blessing of the Animals on the Town Green and yours truly will be one of the ministers taking part in the blessing. Bring your pets - dogs, cats, horses, birds, hamsters, etc.!

Our Joy Tribe has come up with a fabulous church t-shirt for members and friends to wear in Branford’s Columbus Day Parade October 13 at 1:30 pm. Many of us have already signed up for one. Please see Jen McCaughtry’s article elsewhere in the Spire about how you can get a t-shirt. All are invited to march in the parade with FCCB’s float, which is a replica of the church. Thank you to Neil Titcomb for building it, for Carol Titcomb’s efforts with it, and for all who helped paint it this past Sunday. We’ll also have a male and female scarecrow on the float to represent colonial times, dressed to represent the 375th Anniversary of our church. Carol T. also made their clothes! She’s making a drum for them, too! For our church forebears, the call to assemble for worship was the beat of a drum. (If you want to march with us in the parade, we’ll have lunch consisting of a pot of soup, bread, and lemonade and cookies before we head over.)

I’m so happy and encouraged by all that is happening at FCCB. You are in good shape for your march to a Settled Minister! With no coffee hour this Sunday, please make sure to welcome our newest FCCB members prior to the meeting, or on a subsequent Sunday!

Making Christ’s Love Known in Word and Action,
Rev. Suz, Interim Minister

To be received into church membership this Sunday:
Claire Bowerman: I grew up in East Haven and then moved to Stratford with my husband. I have 2 daughters, Ellie and Madison, and I am a Special Education Teacher in Stratford.

Kyle Bowerman: Kyle grew up in West Haven until he and his wife moved to Stratford where they now live with their 2 daughters. He is a Special Education Teacher in New Haven.

Xianxi Ning: My name is Xianxi. I was born in Beijing China. I came to this country when I was 6. I am a mom of 3 and we run a restaurant. I started going to Church as a kid with my grandpa here in the US. Religion is not allowed in my home country, so we got to choose our religion when we got here. We moved around a lot so it took me some time to get back to religion. I went in college to a progressive church but lost touch when times got busy. Now as a mom of 3 I am getting back to it. I loved the community that church provides. Everyone being super inviting and really positive is what I want to project on to my kids.

Teresa Sander: I am 29 and a resident of Branford for 3 years. I enjoy socializing and helping other where needed. I work in a Home Care Agency out of Guilford for Seniors. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and to help contribute to this beautiful community, perhaps even gain a friend or two.

Tracy Sokoloski: I am a mom with 4 children and a grandmother of 4 with my 5th due in February. I love spending time with my family, bicycling and hiking.

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First Congregational Church, Branford

Please attend!

A Special Meeting of the Congregation will be held in the Church Sanctuary at 11:15 a.m. on October 6, 2019 to consider and act upon the recommendations of the Committee on Church Governance as accepted by the Council at its February meeting.

Copies of the recommendations are on the church’s website at

Printed copies are also available at the front desk.

Nora Vetrano

(A simplified summary of the proposed governance structure is available here.)

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Get your FCCB T-shirt order in! We are ordering extra shirts so please let me know what size you would like me to hold for you. They will be $8. Please bring your money on this Sunday 10/6. I will be in Pilgrim Hall starting at 9:30 and then after the special meeting. I can take new orders, too. The t-shirts will be available on October 13, so that you can wear them to the parade next Sunday. (As Rev. Suz said above, if you want to march in the parade, stay after Worship and have some soup with us before we head over.) The t-shirts will be great for the parade but also to represent our church at any of the town gatherings.

Contact Jennifer McCaughtry at or cell

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Community Dining Room

Hi everyone,

Six times a year we have a unique opportunity to serve our neighbors-in-need in the Branford area by preparing and serving 40-60 wholesome and delicious, hot midday meals at the Community Dining Room on Harrison Ave. Our volunteer team is one of many who contribute to a daily work schedule at the CDR. It's coordinated through the First Congregational Church of Branford and we welcome anyone who would like to help! FCC volunteers work on the first Sunday of even-numbered months.

Thanks to each of you who turned out last time!

Sunday, October 6th, is our next service date at the Community Dining Room.
*Start time is 9:30am for prepping, but please recognize that your attendance at the Special Meeting following Worship is very important.

If you're serving only, please come by 11:45am, or in this Sunday’s case, by 12:00pm.

We do need more servers! for typically 50-60 meals.
And of course, we clean up and do dishes…and are done by 1:30/1:45
Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you as always!
A QUICK REMINDER! ...RSVP is appreciated
Ray Luhn
CDR Service Coordinator
First Congregational Church of Branford
203-675-3266 or

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FCCB’s Neighbors in Need Offering will be Sunday, October 6th

Who is our Neighbor? Anyone in need – of God, shelter, medical care, a job, a listening ear or a warm hug, a recovery group, a friend, or someone who just lost everything in a fire or storm.

Who is our Neighbor? Everyone everywhere in their time of need.

Money collected at FCCB will be sent to the UCC’s nationwide effort. Two thirds will be used by the Justice and Witness Ministry to fund a wide array of local and national initiatives and projects, and one third will go to the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries.

Sometimes we know our neighbor, see him every day, hear her cry for help. Often, though, we never meet our neighbors, but their cry comes to us through the news and our UCC ministries. “Love your Lord your God with your whole heart, mind, and soul – and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said this sums up the whole law of God.

Will you join us Sunday October 6, 2019 for World Communion Sunday and give generously to support our Neighbors in Need offering?

You are welcome to mail in your offering. Please note on your check that it is for NIN. Thank you!

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October 6, 2019 is St. Francis Day and thus Animal Awareness Day on the Branford Green from 12:00 to 4:00. The Blessing of the Animals takes place at 1:30 with a brief ceremony on the stage. After this, ministers who have been invited from all of the Branford churches are happy to bless our guests' pets---dogs, cats, horses, birds, hamsters, etc. Everyone is invited to attend and to participate in all of the activities planned for the day.

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Sisters in Spirit

October 9, 2019

The Christian Education Board is excited to offer a program with a speaker who will share her Romanian Orthodox faith traditions and beliefs with us. Join us October 9, 2019 at 6:30 Pilgrim Hall. Our speaker, Dana Casetti, attends the Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in New Haven and is a member of their outreach program.

Dana Casetti will work with us to plan a Romanian traditional meal we can serve to all those to attend this event. A suggested donation of $10 will help with the food, an honorarium or small donation to a deserving organization either of the speaker’s choice or our choosing.

Spaces are limited so sign up early.
Please call the church for a reservation 203-488-7201 or email:
Deanna O’Connell
CE Board member

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If you missed Rev. Suz' sermon "Grow Old Along With Me", you can read it here.

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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 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

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Book Group

Here is a list of the books we have chosen:
November 6 – The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
December 4 – Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
January 8 – Biography or memoir of your choice
February 5 – The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
March 4 – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
April 1 – Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Please plan on joining us when you can. We meet in the Russel Room, usually at 7 PM.

Barbara Colley

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The flowers in our sanctuary are given in honor of Irving Hoadley’s 90th Birthday by his wife Carol.

For Our Prayers This Week...

We give thanks for…
The hard work of the FCC Church Governance Committee who have brought forth their recommendations
Our new members
Our Sunday School teachers, and Board of Christian Education
All the things that get done in the church and grounds that no one sees

We pray for…
Those in our church community who have endured and are enduring great physical pain, for which so far the medical community has not been able to help
Those with a disability who face invisibility (In a restaurant, sitting in a wheelchair, a waiter asked the non-wheelchair person what the person in the wheelchair wanted to order)

Connecticut UCC Conference Churches we lift up this week…
Avon, West Avon Congregational UCC; Berlin Congregational Church; Bethany, First Church of Christ Congregational, UCC; First Congregational Church of Bethel; First Church of Bethlehem, UCC

We grieve with...
The family and friends of the 7 people killed, and 7 others injured in the plane crash at Bradley International Airport on October 2, 2019

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Life Among the Believers

Sunday, October 6
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:00 Special Meeting of the Congregation Meetinghouse

Monday, October 7
9:00 am Governance Meeting Russel Room

Tuesday, October 8
7:00 pm Diaconate Meeting Russel Room
7:00 pm Bell Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Wednesday, October 9
8:30 am WIC Program All Purpose Room
5:30 pm Lotus Yoga All Purpose Room
6:30 pm Pastoral Search Committee Russel Room
6:30 Sisters in the Spirit Pilgrim Hall

Thursday, October 10
8:30 am WIC Program All Purpose Room
10:00 am Knitting, Purling, Praying Russel Room
7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Friday, October 11

Saturday, October 12

Sunday, October 13
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:00 am Music Board Meeting Room 25
1:30 pm Columbus Day Parade Branford Town Green

events 6877a

October 20: UCC Connecticut Conference Minister Kent Siladi, Guest Preacher (followed by his Second Hour with Council members)

October 27: Celebrating our Flentrop organ’s 50’th Anniversary during Second Hour with Music Director Philip Rinehart

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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

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Sunday Flower Chart

If you’re able to contribute $35 for flowers, please consider signing up on the bulletin board outside of the Russel Room, or call or send an e-mail and Missy will sign up for you. Include who/what you would like the flowers to be in honor/memory/celebration of. Thank you so much for keeping our altar adorned, and our flower fund supported!


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 Big Y  Stop and Shop 

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 sold after worship every Sunday. Why not try it out and help support FCC?


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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