Sunday February 10, 2019

5th Sunday after Epiphany

Worship 8:00 am in the Chapel

Worship 10:00 am in the Meetinghouse

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Life Among the Believers

Greetings, Beloved Believer.

Last Sunday the congregation voted to accept the recommendations of the Discernment Team. The implementation of the recommendations will be handled by Church Council, via the appropriate Committee, or Board, or ad hoc committee. Certainly, the congregation will determine the church’s mission project as well as deciding about any capital project in Pilgrim Hall. As last Sunday’s sermon talked about God’s need for Abraham and Sarah to move from the place they knew to a place they did not, I drew a parallel to FCCB. Later in the day I recalled a paragraph I used to include in church newsletters when I began an interim in a church. I’ll share it here with you:

“The winds blow, the world changes; the way is uncertain. And God says: HOIST A SAIL. KEEP MOVING, FOR YOU ARE A PILGRIM PEOPLE. We pray for security, and God terrifies us with freedom. We pray for a temple that stands, and God gives us tents that move. We want answers, and God gives us Human Cries. The winds blow; the world changes; the way is uncertain. Is there nothing that stands from age to age? Only the unconditional love of the One who created the universe, and sustains it in love. In this same spirit, we were created and we are sustained.” (~ source unknown)

So, we move forward, with one hand in God’s hand, and the other hand in our neighbor’s hand - just like FCCB members have done for nearly 4 centuries. There’s Power in that!

Following the Welcome at the 10:00am service, I’d like to offer an Installation of Lay Leaders, as can be found in the Book of Worship of the United Church of Christ. It will be for those new leaders who are serving on a Board, Committee, Council, and the ceremony will also include a Rededication of Lay Leaders, for those who are continuing on. We continue to be grateful for those leaders who have completed their service, and who might now be taking a break, finding alternative ways to serve the Lord in the church.

We’ll also share the Lord’s Supper this Sunday. Our scripture is from The Revelation of John 1:8, and the sermon title is “God’s Comma.” Following your 375th Annual Meeting, we have a comma next to FCCB, God is still speaking! We’ll sing Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, Of the Father’s Love Begotten, and the Sanctuary Choir will sing an arrangement of Shine, Jesus, Shine, as well as Yes, Come to the Table, and for a switch, we'll sing The Lord's Prayer.

Barbara Colley passed along an article about a church in Brooklyn, entitled, “A Church’s New Challenge: How to Fill the Empty Pews”. In particular, I appreciated a couple of things the pastor said: Anything we can do to get people to know we're alive and well and welcoming; and, The church is the congregation, the people, the presence of God's spirit. I would say that the church is certainly up against a mighty challenge of cultural change. But, God is mightier! Guide us, O Thou Great Jehovah! Lead us with thy powerful hand. Anything we can do to get people to know we’re alive and well and welcoming! We want people to know the presence of God’s spirit among the FCCB congregation.

Love this: An FCCB member shared that they stopped at Home Restaurant last Sunday evening, and sat in front of the fire. They got involved briefly in a 3 table conversation with a young couple, both Coast Guard, both furloughed until recently. The member thanked them for working for free, and the couple said how tough it was since neither had an income. Later, our member told the server that they would pay for the couple’s dinner….but not to tell them until after they’d left. Giving thanks for FCCB members’ random acts of kindness.

Very lovely song by Josh Baldwin, Stand in Your Love. Beloved, hear this lyric where you stand today: My fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in Your love. Amen.

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

Lenten Programming

March 5, Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner at 6 pm in Pilgrim Hall
March 6, Ash Wednesday 7 pm service in Walker Chapel
March 13, 20, 27 and April 3 Lenten Supper Series
at 6 pm in Pilgrim Hall, (look for sign-ups to bring soup),
followed by a 6:30-7:30 pm program
April 17, Seder at 6 pm in Pilgrim Hall
April 18, Maundy Thursday 7 pm service in Pilgrim Hall
April 19, Good Friday Ecumenical Service beginning at noon at St. Mary’s
April 21, Easter Sunday Sunrise Service at Killam’s Point, Love’s Beach, 6 am;
two services in the Church Meetinghouse at 9 am and 11 am

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How far would you walk? If you missed Rev. Suz' sermon "I Would Walk 1000 Miles", you can read it at this link.

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What Shall We Bring?

From your Stewardship Board:

Thanks to those members and friends who have submitted their pledges for the Church in 2019. We have received $180,475 from 108 pledging units to date and appreciate your support.

If you have not yet pledged, please remember to do so either in church, online at the website, or by email to

We are well on the way to our goal of $200,000, yet need your support to make it happen. Please help us reach our goal.

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Theocracy to Democracy

Sunday, Feb. 3rd 2:30pm
Pilgrim Hall

Brief Description
Historian, author and legal scholar, Scott Gerber, currently a visiting professor at Brown University, will deliver a lecture on the historical transition from a church based government to a democratically based government in Connecticut in the early 1800s. He will be joined by Professor Linda Meyer of The Quinnipiac University School of Law. The lecture will take place in Pilgrim Hall at 2:30 PM, Sunday, 3 February. (Snow date: 10 February.)

The presentation is free; all are welcome as we start the celebration of our 375th birthday of the Town and the Church.

There will be refreshments, and we promise to get you out before kickoff……


2019 Church Offering Envelope Boxes

The Offering Envelopes have officially arrived! Envelope boxes can be found in Pilgrim Hall on the piano or in the Meetinghouse as you enter through the blue doors.

This Little Light

Branford Builds

The First Congregational Church of Branford has received a nice monetary donation from one of its parishioners along with a request that the money be used to assist folks in Branford. Specifically, the funds will be used to make repairs to homes whose owners do not have the resources to pay for needed work.

Applications will be accepted until February 15, 2019. Each application will then be reviewed and a site visit made prior to selecting projects to complete. Work selected depends on budget and time available. Submission of this application does not guarantee that any work will be done on your home. Work groups will consist of home improvement contractors, experienced workers, and volunteers.

Applications will be available at the reception desk in front of the church office. Applications should be submitted to the Mission Board of the First Congregational Church, 1009 Main Street, Branford, or emailed to Upon review of the application, more information may be required and a home visit scheduled.


Hospitality in February

A new approach for ALL to participate in the coffee hour after the 10:00 AM service when we 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 any one Sunday and when possible serve coffee. In February all those who whose last name beginning with N, O, P, are asked to bring a snack or treat and serve one Sunday in February.

In March those members whose last name begins with R, are asked to bring a snack or treat any 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 March, if your last name begins with R, send me an email if you can serve one Sunday during the month.

If you have any other questions, email, text or call me. 203-483-8039
Deanna O’Connell


Book Group

The Book group has decided that for the winter, until the time changes in the spring, we will continue to meet at 5:30 pm.

February 6. 5:30-Sourdough by Robin Sloan
March (exact date TBA) – The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Everyone is welcome. We meet in the Russel Room.

Barbara Colley


Confirmation Calendar

February 3 3:00-4:30 History of FCCB with Carol Hoadley
February 24 4:00-5:30 Sacraments
March 4 4:00-5:30 Justice and Peace
March 18 4:00-5:30 Make up class if snow day or Topic TBD
April 7 4:00-5:30 The Faith Journey Continues
April 28 4:00-5:30 Confirmation at 10:00 am Service


High School Youth Group Calendar

(All times will be 6:00-7:30 unless noted otherwise)

February 10th & 24th
March 3rd & 17th
April 7th & 28th
May 5th (5:30pm start) Youth Group Tool Time


New Email Address for Church Office

To contact the church, please email

Office Hours

Tuesday to Thursday: 9 am – 2 pm

Friday: 9 am – 12 pm

Sophy will be out of the office this Friday, February 1st


As we're now into the winter season, there may be an occasion in which we'll need to cancel church. Please look to Channel 3 news for announcements of church closings.


For Our Prayers This Week

We give thanks for...
All those who’ve served their terms on committees and boards over these past years, including our Moderator
Those who’ve accepted nominations to serve the church, including our new Moderator
For those federal workers who will receive paychecks again and can go back to work
For the thousands of people in Texas who, when hearing through social media that a veteran was about to be buried with no family or friends present, dropped what they were doing to pay their respects, and showed up at the graveside

We pray for...
FCCB preparations for the upcoming Lenten season beginning March 5th
Those grieving or suffering in Brazil after mining waste water from a ruptured dam tore through a mining facility and nearby community killing at least 58 and leaving over 300 missing
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford as they settled 140 sex abuse claims; prayers for victims, parishioners, priests, the Church

We grieve with...
The family of Jim Bolan and Donna Giddings in the loss of their nephew, Jimi Bolan, on January 4th
The family of Paul Boileau after his sudden death on January 15th

Ongoing prayers for…
Mattea Fraenza, Cyndie Neely, Julia Novaco & children, Lou Bocciarelli, Nancy Johnson, Bob Zettergren & family, Jeff Buggee, Marge Nalewajek (Meghan St. Pierre's mother), Norm Roberts, Ella Furjes, and her mom, Gwen (Jennifer and Mareyna McCaughtry’s friends), Grace Chaplin (Paul’s mom), Judy Whittaker, Cory Martens (Kelly Marten’s brother), Rick Barker, Jim Bolan, 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), 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.

Life Among the Believers

Sunday, February 3
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:15 am CE Board Meeting Russel Room
2:30 pm 375th Event: Theocracy to Democracy Pilgrim Hall
3:00 pm Confirmation Class: History of FCCB with Carol Hoadley Pine Room

Monday, February 4
7:00 pm Killam’s Point Meeting Russel Room

Tuesday, February 4
10:00 am Staff Meeting Russel Room
7:00 pm Land & Building Meeting Room 25
7:00 pm Bell Rehearsal Sanctuary

Wednesday, February 6
5:30 pm Book Group Russel Room

Thursday, February 7
7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Sunday, February 10
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
11:00 am Music Board Meeting Room 25
6:00 pm High School Youth Group Pilgrim Hall & Kitchen




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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Sanctuary Flowers

The 2019 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, 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

Grocery Cards

Grocery Cards will now only be sold after worship on Sundays.

 Big Y  Stop and Shop 

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