Sunday August 25, 2019

Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost

Worship at 9:00 am - Fresh Salad Sunday

Worship will be held at 9:00 am in our Meetinghouse through September 8th.

Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 8.22.15 AM

Life Among the Believers

Hi, beloved. I’m sure many of you remember the Bee Gees hit, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” (written by brothers Barry and Robin Gibb): How can you mend a broken heart? How can you stop the rain from falling down? How can you stop the sun from shining? What makes the world go round? How can you mend a broken man? How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

The sermon title for this Sunday is titled “Mended,” in honor of a song by Matthew West of that title, in which God reaches out:
When you see broken beyond repair, I see healing beyond belief
When you see too far gone, I see one step away from home
When you see nothing but damaged goods, I see something good in the making
When you see wounded, I see mended
You see your worst mistake
Hold on, it's not the end; No, this is where love's work begins
I'm making all things new, and I will make a miracle of you
When you see broken beyond repair, I see healing beyond belief
When you see wounded, I see mended

High School student and church member Nick Colombo will play the oboe in a piece called Winter and Trumpet Air.

The scripture is Luke 13:10-17, the story of the woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. Come, beloved, and be mended with her. Our Linda Mitchell will be liturgist.

I’ve been thinking about you (as I always do!), and how taken I am with how you show up every Sunday. You honor the Sabbath, you keep the 4th commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. You have other things to attend to, but you choose God and the place that holds your church membership. During Bob Zettergren’s Celebration of Life service, I choked up a little when I said, “He was the most remarkable, loyal, dedicated and devoted church member, even bringing his family to church this past year when he felt so poorly. Even when he was on his last leg, literally, in so much pain, he honored the tradition of honoring God on the Sabbath. It’s just who this family is.”

In somewhat related news, I was sitting with a group of church members a few weeks ago and it was brought up that when a member leaves the church it’s often for another reason than the one given. Ministers have long understood this phenomenon. And, then a member just piped up that they’re not in church for the Minister, they’re there for their Maker, and they’re there for their community, and I wanted to shout, Amen! Long ago I wrote a piece of truth-telling to include in a New Member Ceremony: “It is hoped that you will be comfortable here, and a little uncomfortable, too, for the Gospel confronts us as well as comforts us. We hope you will experience at ______ Church a balance of the Gospel’s peace, and the Gospel’s continuing call for self-reflection.” I certainly could include to refrain from joining the church because you like the Minister; join the church because you feel the presence of God there, and that you feel a kinship with the people. Ministers, even if they stay a long while, are transient. The church and the people remain. “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand”. I know there are people in the pews right now who don’t care for the Minister, but they care for their Maker, their church, and their community. They put aside all human aspects in worship, and tune in to God._ Whatever you may not like at FCCB, you don’t need to leave your people, your place, your covenant with God and the members. Your soul can be nourished right here no matter what is going on. Stay. Grow. Mend.

I’ve also been thinking about how people disagree with one another at times. It’s normal to get angry. It’s also normal to be disappointed in the church. If we have a major disappointment and disagreement with someone or a group of people, we can always find a way to sit together and talk it out, respectfully; and, trust that the room together will figure it out - especially if they invite God into the mix. In times of stress and conflict, let’s take a moment to close our eyes, breathe, and pray for wisdom to speak about difficult matters in a way that can be heard. Let’s pray for cooler heads in times of stress so that no one has to be alienated. How about that great African-American spiritual, “Down by the Riverside”:
I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside
I ain't gonna study war no more
I'm gonna lay down my heavy load
Down by the riverside
Gonna study war no more
Ain't gonna study war no more
Ain't gonna study war no more
Ain't gonna study war no more
Ain't gonna study war no more
Ain't gonna study war no more
Ain't gonna study war no more
Down by the riverside

As I’ve shared before in my articles, Parker Fox more often than not has some sort of gem to share with me during his reception time on Thursday mornings. He recently shared a dream he’d had the night before. It was a great, wonderful dream, a vision of the great-melting pot of humanity that God decreed. God blesses diversity of race because he has a plan for it. I asked Parker to try to write his dream for the Spire. He has done so below, in God’s Plan for Mankind. Racism was not a part of the plan! God called the races good, and wanted them to intermingle to become the best of humanity. (“your old men shall dream dreams” - Joel 2:28)

When you see broken beyond repair, I see healing beyond belief. Mended.

Making Christ’s Love Known in Word and Action,
Rev. Suz, Interim Minister
(~happy to visit with you in your home, church office, cafe, a walk~)

God’s Plan for Mankind

~ Parker Fox ~

God in his wisdom created the world; thousands of different tribes, colors, nationalities, and genetic structures. He bred into mankind the desire and need to mate with members of other tribes. This mating occurs worldwide with more and more people being born with a mother and father from different tribes and of different colors.

Each tribe’s genetic structure is different from the other tribes. A child born with parents from different tribes bears a unique genetic structure derived from the positive genes of each parents’ tribe, diminishing the negative genes.

It is God’s intention that over time all people will bear the genetic structure of all tribes in the world. This will take millions of years.

These people will be vastly more intelligent than the original people. There will be love for each other and a strong desire to help mankind. Amen.


Up next from the 375th Committee

A guided tour of Branford’s town green and cemetery

If you haven’t had one from noted Branford historian and friend of our church, Al Russell, here’s your chance. Call or email today to get your name on the list; first come, first served. It’s free but limited to 15 so reservations are needed. Al wants to be sure all are able to enjoy the tour. This invitation will be opened to the public soon, so email now. There’s a special email address to contact,, or call the church office at 203-488-7201.


Worshipping Together as One at 10 AM

Following much thought, discussion, and prayer, the Board of Deacons decided at their August 13 meeting to continue to worship together as one. A single worship service supports our growing fellowship at FCCB, while a 10 AM time continues our usual fall through spring schedule and offers continuity and convenience for our oldest and youngest worshippers. The new schedule will begin on Rally Day, September 15th.

Nancy Beccia, Senior Deacon

Camp T logo

We had a wonderful week this year. You may recall the weather was almost perfect and the campers enjoyed lots of swimming and kayaking. Because of the generous donations that we were given, we were able to purchase all the suits and towels we needed. The campers enjoyed the cookies that were homemade. Thank-you bakers. The food donations were also appreciated. They help keep our costs down.

The volunteers and mentors provide the backbone of the camp. Their time, their commitment and their caring make Camp Totokett the special week that it is. We had 17 immigrant children from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Egypt who fit in beautifully with no problems. One of parents said to a staff member that this was the first time her child had felt safe since leaving their country.

On behalf of the planning committee (Tim Dineen, Kathy Fox, Sue Miller, Hailey Nelson) I would like to thank the congregation, including volunteers Jim Boak, Jeff Buggee, Frank Dormer, Deanna O’Connell, Sheila and Don Potter for their ongoing support.

The following is a rap song the blue group prepared for their skit on the last day. I hope it gives you a sense of the joy and the fun the campers had.

Barbara Colley

Yeahh I’m gonna take my bus to killiams road
I’m gonna go to camp till I can’t no more
I’m gonna take my bus to killiams road
I’m gonna go to camp till I can’t no more

We got miss hailey in the back
Paper work attached

Leaders wearing blue
Giving us stuff to do

Riding on their backs ha
Green groups kinda wack yeah

I’ve been in the water
Life guard Peggy gettin hotter

Cara can’t tell us nothin
Can’t tell us nothin
Cara can’t tell us nothin
Can’t tell us nothin

Ridding in my kayak
Waiting for a good snack

Crawling in the cave yeah
Feelin’ kinda brave

Red groups kinda moody
Their fishing is duty

Yellow group is extra
They think it’s a fiesta

Rob can’t tell us nothin
Can’t tell us nothin
Rob can’t tell us nothin
Can’t tell us nothin


Scholarship Awards

The Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the awards for the upcoming academic year:
Taryn Broughal, daughter of Andy and Patty Broughal, granddaughter of Deanna O’Connell, attending UMass Boston
Gordon Clark, son of Gary and Laura Clark, grandson of Betsy Gay, attending Colorado College
Justin Dombrowski, son of Kate and Allen Dombrowski, attending Roger Williams University

Best wishes to these students as they embark an exciting part of their lives.


FCCB Outdoors Summer Movie Night

Friday August 23, 7:30 pm,

in the Circle Parking Lot, bring your own snacks!

The movie, “Patch Adams,” is rated PG-13, and it’s about a 2-hour movie. (In the event of rain, we’ll be in Pilgrim Hall.)


Youth Group Leader

Hi members and friends of FCCB! Our Church needs your help! We are blessed with 16 children for our Sunday School in the Fall and we have just confirmed 7 high school youth. Yes, we are in a time of blessing! Our Christian Education Board is in the process of looking for a part-time youth ministry coordinator. In the meantime, all programs for youth, Pre-k through grade 12, are being designed and led by volunteers. We have terrific Sunday School teachers lined up for the coming school year. We do need a few people lined up as substitute teachers in the case of illness or travel.

We are ready to launch our newly re-established Pilgrim Fellowship with volunteer co-leaders. This is a big responsibility. We need to do it right if we want our new program to grow and to thrive and our youth to have a meaningful time of self-discovery as they begin their own personal journey of faith. Our Christian Education volunteers are already stretched thin. Our program really needs the leadership of an energetic, compassionate, loving leader.

Please take some time in prayer to consider our needs. Remember that the work of our church is the responsibility of all of its members. We have all been blessed by God with many talents, gifts of creativity, mentorship and love of others. So much of our giftedness is laying fallow right now. We need to put it to good use for the growth of FCCB and the Kingdom of God! In your prayer time this week, ask God to show you the special gifts God gave just to you. Ask God how you should use them for your church. Perhaps you will be told that you are being called to work with our youth, or perhaps to some other ministry within FCCB. If youth work is not your calling, ask God to write on your heart the name of one who is being called to this ministry at FCCB. Sometimes, the special ministry to which one is being called is the ministry of recruitment!

Please understand that there will be plenty of support, and no one ever leads a youth group alone! Our co-leaders are ready to team up with someone who feels called to this ministry. The job may seem daunting, but the rewards for our youth, and for every worker in the vineyard are beyond the scope of words! Please, let us pray together for God’s will to be done as we search for leadership for our youth. ~ Betsy Dorsi, Sunday School Coordinator

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 7.50.01 AM

Save the Date!

Sisters in Spirit

October 9, 2019

The Christian Education Board is sponsoring another program in the Sisters in Spirit series on Wednesday October 9, 2019.

Dana Casetti, from the Romanian Orthodox Church in New Haven has been invited to share with us her faith and how it impacts her daily life. Invite a friend and join us for a meal and enlightening sharing of another religion. More info to follow.

Deanna O’Connell


Book Group

We will be meeting again in September. Here is a list of the books we have chosen:
September 4 – A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
October 2 – Maid by Stephanie Land
November 6 – Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
January 8 – a 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

Now you have lots of ideas for your summer reading pleasure. Please plan on joining us when you can. We meet in the Russel Room, usually at 7 PM.

Barbara Colley


A Note To All Musicians

Enrich our summer Sunday worship!

If you are able and interested in performing a solo, duet, or as a small ensemble for a Sunday anthem this summer, we would love to hear you. We need musicians on the following dates: Sep 1, 8

If you can bless us with your talents, please contact Philip Rinehart, Music Director, or Missy Van Vliet in the church office. Many thanks.


The flowers in our sanctuary are given in Memory of Jennifer McCaughtry’s Grandparents, the Mooneys and Grantlands.

For Our Prayers This Week...

We give thanks for...
Our Killam’s Point picnic, Peach Potluck, and Movie Night this summer
The love of God, church, family, friends, and pets
Summer gatherings and vacations, and all those times that leave us renewed and energized

We pray for...
Children, teachers, counselors, social workers, administrators as they prepare to return to school, or little ones who are beginning school, and we pray for all parents
The study of war no more, guns no more
All our church leaders as they look ahead to the fall when church schedules and programs accelerate
Those grieving or suffering in Afghanistan after a suicide bomber attacked a wedding, killing more than 60 and injuring over 100

Please remember these rotating Connecticut Conference Churches in Your Prayers…
Watertown, First Congregational Church of Watertown, UCC; West Hartford, Covenant Congregational Church; West Hartford, Elmwood Community Church UCC; West Hartford, First Church of Christ Congregational in West Hartford, UCC; West Hartford, Flagg Road UCC Congregational

Ongoing prayers for…
Janet Young, Jo-Ann Farrell (Linda Mitchell’s Aunt), Charlie and Mamie Morris (Uncle and Aunt of Lonnie Snyder), Carol Rutt, Kathy Gibbons (Barbara O’Keefe’s cousin), Jean Andros, Colin & Justin Williams (Linda Mitchell’s cousins), Bill Mayer (friend of Linda Mitchell), Kelly Martens and family, Grace Chaplin (Paul’s mother), Nancy Heller (friend of the Reifs), Rick Buggee (Jeff Buggee’s brother), Nancy Dougherty, Joseph Arnson (Take-A-Vet Fishing Volunteer Care Member), Wayne Childs, Marge Nalewajek (Meghan St. Pierre's mother), Ella Furjes, and her mom, Gwen (Jennifer and Mareyna McCaughtry’s friends), Cory Martens (Kelly Marten’s brother), Rick Barker, Jim Bolan, Rose & Tom Moore (Sharon Reynold’s Mom & brother), Betsy & Peter Boynton, Edward DeFrancesco, Dormer Family, Robert & Margaret Gehm (parents of Nancy Gehm), Martha Hickman (Lil Sakai’s mom), Alison Hobbie (Betsy Gay’s daughter), Ethel Marchesseault (Linda’s mother), Sylvia O’Brien, Debbie Pearl (friend of Lil Sakai), George Spear, and Lou Wells.


Life Among the Believers

Sunday, August 25
9:00 am Worship Service – Fresh Salad Collection Meetinghouse

Monday, August 26
3:30 pm Human Resources Board Meeting Russel Room

Tuesday, August 27

Wednesday, August 28
8:00 am WIC Program All Purpose Room

Thursday, August 29
8:00 am WIC Program All Purpose Room

Friday, August 30

Saturday, August 31

Sunday, September 1
9:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse

Monday, September 2
7:00 pm Killam’s Point Meeting Killam’s Point

Tuesday, September 3
9:00 am CDC Movement Class Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Land & Building Meeting Room 25

Wednesday, September 4
5:30 pm Lotus Yoga All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Book Group Russel Room

Thursday, September 5
10:00 am Knitting, Purling, Praying Russel Room

Friday, September 6

Saturday, September 7

Sunday, September 8
9:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
10:00 am CE Board Meeting Russel Room
11:00 am Music Board Meeting Room 25


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




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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 5.39.35 PM

Sanctuary Flowers

Please consider contributing $35 to the flower fund. It would be amazing to have people signed up each Sunday to help defray the cost of weekly Sanctuary Flowers.


Check Out The Church Facebook Page

This is a public page for everyone to be able to see everything going on at OUR church.

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

• 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 and there is a sign-up form. Don’t miss another issue!

The eSpire is now available on our website at

Powered by Mad Mimi®A GoDaddy® company