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Sunday August 12, 2018

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Service 9:00 a.m., Meetinghouse

Rev. Susan Power Trucksess Preaching
Scripture Lesson: I Kings 3:7-9, Psalm 24:1, Romans 1:20, and John 1:14

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Summer Worship is each Sunday at 9am in the Meetinghouse through September 9.

On September 16 we return to two services, at 8am and 10am

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Ponderings…..listening for new voices

Recently I was careless and rushed and I neglected to water a hanging basket of petunias suspended from a post in my garden. “Oh, I am so sorry,” I intoned as I doused the purple petals with life-giving fluids from my sprinkling can. “Very sorry. I was so busy yesterday that I forgot about you and it was boiling hot. Please forgive me and do your best to revive,” I continued in my most contrite voice. The good news is that the plant was as perky as new in a few hours, blooming proudly for all the world to see. “Thank you. You’re beautiful,” I gushed.

Weird? Well, people talk to their pets, don’t they? Their dogs, cats, guinea pigs, canaries, and woodchucks? And I wouldn’t be at all surprised that many many people talk to their plants and gardens, encouraging them onward to greater growth or complimenting them on how well they are doing. I am thinking that talking to plants is not too bizarre. But do we listen to our plants and other small creatures that inhabit our world? Do we tune our ears to their wisdom? Do we realize that we might learn from them? Do we engage with them in a respectful, admiring, reciprocal way, rather than calling them “it-s” from our homo sapiens “privilege”?

I didn’t think much about these questions as I magnanimously watered my petunias – that is, until I came across a small volume called The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. It seems the author, Elisabeth Tova Bailey, rendered gravely ill by an obscure disease, had become bedridden and practically immobilized. A friend brought her a flowerpot full of violets which also held a small woodland snail. Bailey and this mysterious little mollusk became companions of sorts, and in learning about the habits and capacities of the tiny animal, Bailey came to a greater understanding of her own confined place in the world and what it means to be fully alive.

For me, snails led to mosses (Gathering Moss), and mosses led to trees (The Hidden Life of Trees) and Mary Oliver’s belief that everything has a soul (Upstream) and on and on it went from there – straight back to the Bible….

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything that is in it (Psalm 24:1).

Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things that God has made (Romans 1:20).

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).

Like King Solomon, I am asking these days for a listening heart (I Kings 3:9). Listening -not easy in a noisy raucous world - listening for wisdom and beauty and truth from all sorts of voices – not simple, especially if we think we have all the answers. Shall we try it together on Sunday morning? I hope to see you there as the summer season with all its lushness speaks to us - in worship, words, and wonders beyond.
Peace and blessing,

Susan PT
Susan Power Trucksess, Associate Pastor
P. S. We will have special music by the Youth Wind Ensemble – Ali, Ryan, Nick, and Mareyna - with their lively version of For the Beauty of the Earth. A gift of sound indeed!

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Camp Totokett 2018

Our 23rd year and another successful week! We had about 42 campers, including 4 refugee children, who all had a wonderful time at Killam’s Point, escaping the summer heat and enjoying the activities of camp.

As Rev. T noted a few years ago, it takes a lot of love to make this camp work and we are blessed to have a church community that really supports this camp. I would like to thank everyone who helped us: transportation (Robert St. Pierre who was at the bus yard very early every morning), fishing (Ray Luhn, organizer) to all those who contributed pantry items and cookies (Carol Tobin-star baker). This year we had new help from outside the church family-Hailey Nelson, administrator and technology expert, and Mindy Baker in charge of meal planning and food. Of course, our unsung heroes also include Rev. T as director and Tim Dineen as assistant.

Again, a big Camp Totokett thank-you to all participants.

Sincerely,

Barbara Colley

And, from Rev. Suzanne Personette's 8/5/18 John 6:24-35 Hunger and Thirst sermon:

O, they came to the water this past week for Camp Totokett! Refugee children, children affected by HIV or AIDS, children at risk. These little lives that are so incredibly stressed came to enjoy a week of meaningful programs and games, prayer, good and abundant food from heaven and earth, downright fun, break-dancing, being sprayed with the hose, a slip-n-slide, swimming, fishing, just to name a few things! One of the things I really appreciated were the chalkboards that displayed the structure of what would happen each day. Think about the unpredictability of these childrens’ lives, and there on our Killam’s Point, they knew what to expect, they knew it would be safe, and they knew all of their needs would be provided - by some wonderful members around you, Rev. Theresa, and other volunteer leaders. Let them come to the water. Let them come where they can be loved.

Theresa and I gazed out at the group, different nationalities and ethnicities getting along, laughing, crying, praying, dancing, and we said, here’s the world right here. Here is the church. What a great vision for what’s possible. FCCB loved and saved the world a little this week. You did that. God bless you, church. God bless you. You fed the bread from heaven and gave life to the world. Thank you.

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Summer on Killam's Point

August 18, 9:00 am.

In cooperation with the Branford Land Trust, our church will host another event open to the public, giving all who attend the opportunity to enjoy the Point and to learn about how we interact with nature.

Martha Rice will share her extensive knowledge of the Point. Hike the trails as summer fades. Birds are preparing for migration, fish are in a feeding frenzy and the Point shimmers as Fall approaches.

Space is limited so to register for attendance, please call 203 747 4184.

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BookGroup

Book Group

I hope everyone is enjoying the second half of the summer.
The Book group will meet again in September. As a reminder, here are the books we have chosen for the remainder of the year:
September 5-Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
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 for our first meeting on September 5, whether or not you have finished the September book.
Barbara Colley

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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.

The Rev. Theresa Borchetta
203-488-7201

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Attention musicians!

If you are able and willing to volunteer to perform a solo, duet, or as a small ensemble as a Sunday anthem this summer, we would love to hear you. We need musicians on the following date:
August 19

If you can bless us with your talents, please contact either Philip Rinehart, Music Director, or Julia Novaco in the church office. Many thanks.

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The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.

The Connecticut Hospice is recruiting transportation volunteers to drive homecare patients to and from doctor’s appointments or to take families without cars to visit their loved ones at the inpatient hospice in Branford.
Please call Volunteer Services at 203-315-7510 for more information.

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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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For Our Prayers This Week

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We give thanks for......
New friendships made, old friendships rekindled, stewardship for the land and creatures of God’s earth, and a safe place to be ourselves at Killam’s Point Day Camp this summer
Life itself and for this Sabbath day

We pray for.....
The Holy Spirit’s guidance in being good stewards of God’s creation
Our earth and waters as weather patterns become more extreme,
with high temperatures, fires, droughts and earthquakes

We grieve with.....
The family of Robbie McCarthy, who died on July 31st
The people and lands that have been destroyed by the California wildfires

Ongoing prayers for…
Grace Chaplin (Paul’s mom), Judy Whittaker, Cory Martens (Kelly Marten’s brother), Anna Maria (Luca Montanaro’s great grandmother), Rick Barker, Jeff Buggee, Walter Woods (John’s brother), Jim Bolan, Betsy & Peter Boynton, Rick Buggee, Daria Carlson, Edward DeFrancesco, John Paul Dineen, Dormer Family, 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), John D. Kelly (Mindy Yester’s brother), Frank Malinconico, Ethel Marchesseault (Linda’s mother), The Family of Sharon Reynolds, Sylvia O’Brien, Debbie Pearl (friend of Lil Sakai), George Spear, Lou Wells, and Janet Young.

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Important Dates Looking Ahead…

August 16: Our new Administrative Assistant, Betsy White,
begins training with Julia

August 19 Following Worship Celebration for Julia Novaco, our outgoing Office Manager & C.E. Director

August 23: Julia Novaco’s last day

September 2: Holy Communion

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 and Sunday School; Confirmation Meeting, 6pm

Life Among the Believers

Sunday, August 12
9:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse

Monday, August 13

Tuesday, August 14
1:00 pm Staff Meeting Russel Room
7:15 pm Diaconate Board Meeting Russel Room

Wednesday, August 15
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Church Council Meeting All Purpose Room

Thursday, August 16
9:00 am New Administrative Assistant Betsy White begins!
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
10:30 am CDC – Happy Feet Pilgrim Hall
6:30 pm Summer Jazz Series Town Green

Friday, August 17

Saturday, August 18
9:00 am Branford Land Trust - FCCB Nature Event at Killam's Point
9:00 am Branford Garden Club Produce Sale Town Green

Sunday, August 19
9:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
10:00 am Celebration for Julia Novaco Pilgrim Hall

Monday, August 20

Tuesday, August 21
10:00 am Staff Meeting Russel Room

Wednesday, August 22

Thursday, August 23
9:00 am Julia Novaco’s Last Day
10:30 am CDC – Happy Feet Pilgrim Hall
6:30 pm Summer Jazz Series Town Green

Friday, August 24

Saturday, August 25

Sunday, August 26 – Fresh Salad Collection
9:00 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.

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Notifications

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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.

https://www.facebook.com/FirstCongregationalBranford/

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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 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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