First Congregational Church

January 5, 2020


Holy Communion

Worship at 10 am in the Meetinghouse

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 8.34.21 AM

Life Among the Believers

Happy New Year, Beloved! You made it to 2020! Woo-Hoo! I opened this past Sunday’s sermon, “Ah, new beginnings – fresh start of the year, the past over and gone! We’re filled with hope for good health for ourselves and those we love, hope for fulfilling relationships, hope for financial abundance, hope for all the good that is in store for the church through the calling of a settled Senior Minister, and hope for better national and world relations.” And, I closed the sermon with, “I wonder what God may hope and dream for you in 2020…. May it be a year of deep blessing for you. The favor of the Lord is upon you.” Receive this!

Now we’re in the season of Epiphany, where we look for signs that the Lord is with us. The magi got their sign in the Star. Be on watch for your sign(s), beloved. I shared last year, “Science tells us that Saturn and Jupiter were in close conjunction several times in that era and may have appeared as a new and unique star. Whatever it was, the magi saw something, they had an epiphany, that what they’d seen was associated with the expected arrival of the King of the Jews. It was as Isaiah foretold!”

Isaiah 60:1-6: Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn…. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.

On this Holy Communion Epiphany Sunday, our scriptures will be Isaiah 60:1-6 and Matthew 2:1-12. The sermon title is “The Journey.” We’ll sing “We Three Kings,” of course. And, our Youth Bell Ensemble, led by Carol Titcomb, will ring “We Three Kings,” arr. by K. Wissinger. Jim Boak will be our liturgist.

The December 28 “Upper Room” devotional was very good, and I thought it might be helpful for someone out there in the new year. Recall the women on their way to the tomb that first Easter Sunday. They’d been worried about the huge stone at the entrance, not knowing that God had already moved it for them. “Life throws different types of ‘stones’ on our paths. When we’re faced with problems that are too much for us to handle, we can turn to God. No burden is too heavy for God to carry and no stone too large for God to move - God is willing and able to sustain us through any trial or suffering”. When you’re worried about some stone in your life, think about that Easter stone, and how God rolled it away. I asked the congregation this past Sunday to repeat over and over, Trust the Lord, Trust the Lord, Trust the Lord. May that be our mantra in 2020. Amen?

We introduced a new element to our liturgy this past Sunday, “A Random Act of Kindness,” on the heels of Joys and Concerns. Elaine Keith shared our first story, and then I invited parishioners to be on the lookout in the week ahead for a random act of kindness that they either witness, received, or a kindness they offered someone. I wonder who will bring A Random Act of Kindness story this Sunday. Let’s keep this going as it’s just wonderful to ensure that we’re giving testimony to the light that shines in the darkness. There is more light in our congregation than there is darkness in the world. Be a witness!

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


Annual Reports

Annual Reports are due in to the church office, no later than January 7, 2020! FCCB Annual Meeting is Sunday January 26, 2019.


Church Cancellations

As we prepare to enter the Winter season, there may be an occasion in which we'll need to cancel church, or a church-related activity. Please look to Channel 3 news for announcements of church closings.

If possible, there will also be a notification on Facebook, on our website and we will try to send out an eSpire notification if worship is cancelled.

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 2.27.53 PM

FCCB Stewardship Campaign Update

Continuing along the way!

As of December 31st, the 2020 FCCB Stewardship Campaign has received:

91 pledges totaling $157,385 in commitments

If you have yet to submit your pledge, please complete the pledge card that was sent to you in the mail or fill out a card located in the pews or at the office. You can put them in the collection plate during the offering or mail them to the office (1009 Main Street, Branford, CT 06405, Attention: Stewardship). If you have any questions, please email me at and I will do my best to help. You can also reach out to Rev Suz at

The 2020 budget is currently being drafted for consideration and action by the Congregation at our Annual Meeting on January 26th. Please remember that our pledges make up a significant portion of our church income and that every pledge makes a difference.

Sharing this simple act of gratitude, of sharing your gifts, is a true sign of God’s grace that shows us all the way to a future of faith. Thank you for your commitment!

Chip Marsh
Stewardship Chair


Boxes of offering envelopes for the New Year are in Pilgrim Hall.

Red and Gold Christmas Greeting Facebook Post

First Congregational Church of Branford

Church Directory

Help us Stay Connected!

Have you moved?

Changed your phone number or email address?

Want to add a cell phone to your listing?

Not currently listed in the church directory but would like to be?

Here’s your chance to help us all stay connected! Just complete the “Connection Card” (below) to provide us with your contact information or use this card to update the information currently in our church directory. Connection Cards will available during morning worship on January 5th, in the office, or you can email your contact information to

*Please note the addition of “Birthday & Anniversary”. If you’d like, provide us with your birthday & wedding anniversary date(s) so that we can all share in your special day!

Missy Van Vliet
Church Secretary

(Please return your completed cards by February 11th)

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 8.47.19 AM

Ever Building CCCLXXV

We are taking orders for copies of our history and memories book, entitled Ever Building CCCLXXV, celebrating our 375 years of serving our community.

Publication will cost $10 each and is planned for mid-January. Sign-up sheets for copies and for patrons are available in the back right of the sanctuary. Look for the posters with sample pages.

Sponsors are welcome. There are three levels: Puritan at $1-$24, Usher at $25 - $99 and Diaconate at $100 plus level. Please indicate if you’d like your donation to be in memory of or in honor of someone. Or you can send your wishes, both for copies and for sponsorship, to

375th committee: David Colley, Margot Hardenbergh, Carol Hoadley, Wayne Jacobson, Deanna O’Connell and Richard Radune.

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 7.50.01 AM

For those of you who missed any of the sermons from this Christmas season, you can read them here!
December 22nd In The Beginning (A Love Story)
December 24th Christmas Message 2019
December 29th Filled With Wisdom


If you have not received recent e-Spires, or would like to subscribe to our weekly newsletters, please let the office know and we’d be happy to help!




In January those members whose last name begins with L or M are asked to bring a snack or treat one Sunday and serve coffee one Sunday during the month. That means you are asked to bring food and serve coffee 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 February, if your last name begins with N, O or P, send me an email if you can serve one Sunday during the month.

If you have any other questions, email, text or call me.

Deanna O’Connell

Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 3.52.35 PM


The brown 4 tray Cambro Food Carrier FCCB owns has gone missing. If you have seen it recently or know who might have borrowed it, can you please contact the Church Office (Phone: 203/488-7201 or email and pass the information on.

Land & Building


Book Group

Here is a list of the books we have chosen:
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


The flowers in our sanctuary are given in celebration of Grace Chaplin’s 90th Birthday, from Paul & Linda.

For Our Prayers This Week...

We give thanks for...
The light of Epiphany to guide our way
A new year full of joy, health, love, and justice

We pray for…
Our Jewish brothers and sisters following the recent anti-Semitic attacks in NY; we must
confront and condemn anti-Semitism and all forms of biogotry and hate
Peace across the globe in the New Year
Those suffering from mental illnesses
Our Pastoral Search Committee
Our next Settled Minister and family (whoever they are, wherever they are, surrounded in

We grieve with…
The Pilling family in the loss of Bud Pilling, who passed away December 14, 2019

Ongoing prayers for…
Rick Barker, Don Potter, Frank Barron, William Chisholm (Teresa Sander’s Grandfather), George Spear, Janet Young, Jean Andros, Marie Donofrio, Colin & Justin Williams (Linda Mitchell’s cousins), Bill Mayer (friend of Linda Mitchell), Grace Chaplin (Paul’s mother), 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), Jim Bolan, Rose & Tom Moore (Sharon Reynold’s Mom & brother), Betsy 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), and Lou Wells.

Life Among the Believers

Sunday, January 5
10:00 am Worship Service/Holy Communion Meetinghouse
11:15 am CE Board Meeting Russel Room

Monday, January 6
7:00 pm KPMT Meeting Russel Room

Tuesday, January 7
2:00 pm Bridge Club Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Land & Building Meeting Room 25

Wednesday, January 8
5:30 pm Lotus Yoga All Purpose Room
7:00 pm Book Group Russel Room

Thursday, January 9
10:00 am Knitting, Purling, Praying Russel Room
7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Friday, January 10

Saturday, January 11
8:00 pm Branford Folk Music Society Pilgrim Hall

Sunday, January 12
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse


New Email Address for Church Office

To contact the church, please email

New Office Hours as of November 4, 2019

Tuesday - Thursday: 9:00am – 3:00pm

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 5.39.35 PM

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!

The Upper Room daily devotional booklets are very good! Pick up a free copy in either the narthex, Pilgrim Hall, or outside of the Russel Room. It has two months of devotions, and our sexton, John Woods then puts out the next two-month supply.



Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 3.29.38 PM
Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 3.29.27 PM


 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.


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.
• Email articles to
• 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.

Powered by Mad Mimi®A GoDaddy® company