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Sunday September 9, 2018

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Service 9:00 a.m., Meetinghouse

Rev. Susan Power Trucksess preaching


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


Ponderings...for everything there is a season

The temperature on the thermometer read 100 degrees, but the marsh grasses across the river showed the first hints of gold. The tomatoes were finally red, ripe and juicy, but the recipe in the food section of the weekly newspaper was touting apple pie. The petunias were still perky, but the nurseries were setting out chrysanthemums. Bathing suits were on sale at bargain prices while school supplies were filling up shopping carts.

Clearly summer is drawing to a close, and fall is approaching (if not on the official lunar calendar, at least in the scope of our daily rounds). An occasion for cheering or regretting, for excitement or concern, for applause or for moaning? Or maybe a little of both - in my own life and in our life together as a congregation.

Change – whether it be in seasons or personal journeys or communal settings – is always challenging because we don’t know how it will move along, how it will turn out. Yet we might as well get with it. I like the words of spiritual writer John O’Donohue who says, “In beginning, risk might be our greatest ally. To live a truly creative life, we always need to cast a critical look at where we presently are, attempting always to discern where we have become stagnant, and where new beginnings might be ripening. There can be no growth if we do not remain open and vulnerable to what is new and different.”

Thus as September moves us forward, Homecoming Day approaches, I move toward retirement, and you all head to bright possibilities, let’s see what newness might open us up to. For starters, how about if we look at a less familiar version of the Lord’s Prayer? What might we see and feel if we mouthed some different petitions rather than repeating by rote the precious words we learned as children. Not to replace them (definitely not), but to allow what we know and love to be deepened, to be expanded, by fresh language and images.

This is where I will be headed in worship on Sunday when we look at how Jesus’ words to his disciples (Matthew 6:7-13) might have sounded to a different group of people living in a different time and place as they appear in a prayer book from New Zealand. And how they might feed our yearning hearts as we seek to become ever more faithful servants and lovers of our Triune God who is Earth-maker, Pain bearer, Life –giver.

So let us awaken to adventure, hold nothing back, find ease in risk, and settle into a new rhythm with our good God and one another (to cite O’Donohue again).

Peace and blessing,

Susan PT
Susan Power Trucksess
Associate Minister

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A New Garden Grows Behind First Congregational Church

A new garden was recently installed behind the church to help highlight the state champion tree and to further enhance the back of the Green.
“It’s a continuation of the beautifying the back part of the Green,” said David Minicozzi, Branford Green Committee chair.

The False Cypress was recently inventoried as a Connecticut Champion Tree by the state’s Notable Tree Project. After years of being rather hidden among the overgrowth, the tree now stands out in the newly planted garden, which was designed and donated by Bill Van Wilgen of Van Wilgen’s Garden Center in North Branford. The newly planted garden bed includes accents of two large stones of Stony Creek granite and is planted with flowering white hydrangeas, miniature roses, Nepeta (blue flowering cat mint) and a few euonymus plants.

“Together with the decorative black fencing outlining the CDC playground and its brightly colored equipment, this once over-looked space behind First Church is enjoying a huge improvement,” said David Colley, the Green Committee’s First Congregational Church member.

Thank-you to Jamie Cosgrove who proposed the project, to Bill Van Wilgen for his design and donation of plants and to Alex Paluzzi of Parks and Recreation for the planting and care of the new garden.

David 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

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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)



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.

The Rev. Theresa Borchetta



(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!

Barbara Colley


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......
New Beginnings
The beauty and lushness that summer has brought

We pray for.....
A meaningful and joyful closure to Rev Susan Power Trucksess’ ministry with us
A respectful dialogue in the Supreme Court nomination process

Ongoing prayers for…
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.


Looking Ahead

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

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

Life Among the Believers

Sunday, September 9
9:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
10:00 am CE Board Meeting Russel Room
11:15 am Music Board Meeting Room 25

Monday, September 10
9:00 am Branford Pub School Transition Prog All Purpose Room
6:00 pm Mission Trip Fund Raising Meeting Part 1 Meetinghouse

7:00 PM SAA Meeting APR

Tuesday, September 11
5:30 pm Discernment Team Meeting All Purpose Room
6:00 pm Mission Trip Fund Raising Trip Part 2 Meetinghouse
7:00 pm Mission Board Meeting All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Diaconate Meeting Russel Room

Wednesday, September 12
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
1:00pm Feed Branford Kids Meeting (Theresa) Russel Room
6:30 pm Christmas Fair Meeting All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Stewardship Board Meeting Russel Room

Thursday, September 13
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
10:00 am Knitting Purling & Praying Russell Room
10:30 am CDC – Happy Feet Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm SAA Meeting All Purpose Room

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

Saturday, September 15
9:00 am Men’s Group Organizational Meeting Pilgrim Hall (men 17 years old and above)
5:30 pm Branford Folk Music Society Pilgrim Hall

Sunday, September 16 – Homecoming Day
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

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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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