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Sunday December 3, 2017

First Sunday in Advent

Worship Service 8:00 a.m., Walker Chapel

Worship Service 10:00 a.m., Meetinghouse

The Rev. Sarah Vetter, preaching
Reading: Isaiah 11:1-2, 6, 9

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Dear Members and Friends, As we approach the season of Advent with its call to waiting and watching for something extraordinary to happen - something so awe-some and awe-filled that the world has never been the same since - we too are called pause and wonder what is going on here at FCC and where is God in all this.

▪ Transitions abound
▪ one of our pastors suddenly falls ill and recovers in the hospital
▪ things we once counted on seem momentarily upended
▪ and the days grow shorter and darkness comes earlier and earlier
Transitions abound
one of our pastors suddenly falls ill and recovers in the hospital
things we once counted on seem momentarily upended
and the days grow shorter and darkness comes earlier and earlier

And yet, and yet, the light continues to shine, and along with waiting and watching much work is going on in our midst. And we want to assure you that, with the Spirit's help, the ministries and missions of this church are going forward faithfully.

We want to thank so many of you who have stepped forward to be the Church of Jesus Christ in this time and place - with your thoughts and prayers and your efforts:
Your deep concern and care for Theresa as she regains health and strength
The Interim Search Committee striving diligently
Volunteers like Steve Cudgma, Carol Titcomb filling gaps and providing leadership
The Stewardship folks (Margot, Colin, Chip, Bill) being creative and even feeding us brunch
Julia and John cheerfully assuming additional responsibilities
The Fair people coming up with new ideas - a bike, cookies and even wine
The choirs, under Katie and Phil, filling our worship with glorious uplifting music
Sarah Vetter preaching the Good News in such a compelling way
The likelihood of sponsoring a new refugee family in our neighborhood
And countless other acts of generosity and commitment.

Take heart and be assured that the months ahead will hold much goodness and possibility. The December programs and services are underway and hold much promise. The Cantata will fill the Meeting House on Dec.10th with unbelievable sounds. The Pageant will gladden our hearts on Dec. 17th right after worship - who can resist children's theatrical but pious (?) offerings. Susan PT has accepted the role of Acting Senior Minister (and by the way, she comes prepared for this having held this role in three other churches). Council and committees and boards plug away. And you, the members and friends of FCC, you stay strong and hopeful, and active.

In fact, while none of us would have chosen the path we are on with its many bumps and detours, it may indeed the very place we are meant to be to grow into a new maturity and vibrancy and sense of purpose. We perceive a coming together, a desire for reconciliation and renewal growing amongst us, a determination to be what we have been called to be - a demonstration to the world of God's hopes and intentions.

So, dear friends, be of good cheer and strong hope...

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.
(John 1:5).

Peace and Advent blessings,

Susan Power Trucksess
Acting Senior Minister

Dave Reif
Moderator

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It's Church Fair Week!

Church Fair- This Saturday December 2

9:00-3:00. throughout the church at 1009 Main St Branford CT

Members of the first ever Cookie Walk are ready to help you select your favorite cookies from their collection of over 25 varieties. Fair goers can fill a box for just $8.00

Other fair traditions include the Greens Room, Golden Nuggets, the Curiosity room, Sugar n’ Spice, Jewelry and used books and toys.

Be sure to check out the new Wine Pull,, Electric Bike Raffle and Silent Auction items. Of Course, the men in the kitchen will be cooking brunch and lunch foods all day long so plan to stay and visit with friends while you enjoy the sights and sounds of the 90th annual Church Fair

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Journey to Generosity

2018 Pledges 2nd report

As of this past Monday 86 members and friends have pledged $159,539 for 2018. Please keep the pledges coming in.

Pledge cards are available in the church office, and with the ushers on Sunday. You may also pledge online by going to this site: stewardship@firstcongregationalbranford.org.

The pledging process allows the church to plan its budget. It is an integral part of all of our efforts to perform the myriad functions of running a church as efficiently possible—to be a blessing to others, and to ourselves.

Thank you!
The Stewardship Board

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giving tree

The First Congregational Church of Branford in co-operation with the Branford Counseling Center will be collecting Christmas presents for families in need. As in previous years there will be a tree in Pilgrim Hall decorated with “wish list” ornaments. Please select an ornament and purchase the listed gift. PLEASE DO NOT WRAP THE GIFTS. Bring the un-wrapped gift with the ornament attached and return it under the tree. The tree will be in Pilgrim Hall this Sunday, December 3RD. All gifts must be returned to the church on or before December 17th. Thank you for your generosity in fulfilling the wishes of the Center’s children.

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December 3 – December 17

We are collecting new mittens, gloves, hats and scarves to be distributed in Branford by the Branford Counseling Center.

The tree will be located by the reception desk.

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The First Congregational Church of Branford Presents

The Bach Magnificat

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Next Sunday, December 10th, the FCC choir will be performing the Bach Magnificat with full orchestra and vocal soloists from the greater New Haven area during the 10 a.m. service. The choir is looking forward to sharing the gift of music with you during this Advent season!

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The choir needs you!

If you want to sing with the choir for the Christmas Eve 5pm service, please join us for two rehearsals on December 14th and December 21st from 7-8pm. We will be singing carols and one anthem. The choir would love to have anyone interested in singing join us for this joyous service!

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Interactive Christmas Pageant

Luke 2:8-14
"In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Sunday, December 17th immediately following the 10am service in the Meetinghouse for our annual Christmas pageant.

We do hope you’ll join us for this new version of the first Christmas story, and please bring your family and friends.

Coffee hour will follow the pageant in Pilgrim Hall.

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BookGroup

Book Group

Our last meeting of 2017 will be Wednesday, December 6, at 7:00 in the Russel Room. We will be discussing the book The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. “The New York Times bestseller and the USA Today #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922 and the summer that would change them both.” (Good Reads)

Please join us and also bring recommendations for our 2018 list.

For the January meeting, January 3, everyone is asked to choose a biography or memoir to briefly present to the group.

Barbara Colley
barbaracolley@snet.net

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CHRISTMAS POINSETTIAS

 IN MEMORY OF
…………………………...……………………...……………………
 IN HONOR OF ………………………………………………………………………….
NAME……………………..………………………………………………...…………………………
(PLEASE INDICATE NAME(S) AS THEY SHOULD APPEAR IN BULLETIN.)
CONTACT NAME……………………………………………………..…………………………….
TELEPHONE…...………………………………………………………………………..……
PLEASE CHECK ONE:
Deliver my plant to a homebound person
 I will take my plant home after worship December 24th
Cost: $12.00—Please make checks payable to First Congregational Church and note Poinsettia in the memo line.
Please drop this form in the collection plate or at the Church office.
Deadline 12/17/2017

DONATE A WREATH

IN MEMORY
OF…………………………...……………………...……………………
 IN HONOR OF ………………………………………………………………………….
NAME……………………..………………………………………………...……………………
(PLEASE INDICATE NAME(S) AS THEY SHOULD APPEAR IN BULLETIN.)
CONTACT NAME……………………………………………………..…………………………….
TELEPHONE…...………………………………………………………………………..………
These wreaths will adorn the Meetinghouse for the Holidays.
Cost: $12.00—Please make checks payable to First Congregational Church and note Wreath in the memo line.
Please drop this form in the collection plate or at the Church office.
Deadline 12/17/2017

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2018 Midnight Run

The Midnight Run is a ministry with our high school youth. We deliver food and clothing to the homeless on the streets of NYC. We connect with an agency called Midnight Run. If you’re interested in more information, you can check it out at www.midnightrun.org.

The midnight run is scheduled for January 5th and we will be collecting clothes, blankets and personal care items.

The clothing items we need to collect are:
Men’s winter jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, long sleeved shirts, sweat pants, pants, socks, NEW underwear, hats, gloves, boots, shoes, sneakers
If you have women’s clothing, please contact Theresa as we only need a few woman’s items.
These items are preferred to be on the larger size, please no small.

Other items needed:
Backpacks, towels, blankets/comforters, pillows, sleeping bags

Personal care items:
Shaving cream, razors, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant

We put the items in bins and pack up the vans about two hours before we head to NYC. The group makes about 150 bagged meals which include sandwiches, cookies, fruit and hard boiled eggs. Coffee, water and soup are always popular on the streets in the middle of winter. We will make about eight preplanned stops around NYC throughout the night ending at Penn Station. Any items or food left over will be brought immediately to a homeless shelter in NYC so that nothing goes to waste.

As always, thank you for your donations, they are greatly appreciated.
Theresa

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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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Lead Deacon

The Lead Deacon for the Month of December is Jeff Buggee.
Jeff can be reached via phone at: 203-415-6322 or by email at j.buggee@sbcglobal.net

For Our Prayers This Week

We give thanks for…
The success of the 90th annual Christmas fair and the enthusiasm and
energy of all who made it happen
More opportunities to share with others through the Giving and Mitten Trees
Seasonal joys and activities in the church such as the Advent wreath workshop
and the coming Cantata

We pray for…
Healing mercies for our pastor and friend Theresa Borchetta
Advent blessings to abound
Those who are at risk from volcanic eruptions and human destructive forces
The leaders of our country to make sound and fair decisions

We grieve with…
Susan Trucksess and family, at the recent death of her sister Nancy Power
Folks experiencing the first holidays without loved ones

Ongoing prayers for…
Betsy & Peter Boynton, Jeff Buggee, Daria Carlson, Edward DeFrancesco, Dormer Family, Eleanor Eadie (Emily Fielding’s sister), Robert & Margaret Gehm (parents of Nancy Gehm), Alison Hobbie (Betsy Gay’s daughter), Earl Lind, Frank Malinconico, Joe Mele (Jen McCaughtry’s uncle), Mary, Kirsten & Rosabelle (Sharon Reynolds’ niece and family), Barbara Mehring, Rose & Tom Moore (mother & brother of Sharon Reynolds), Sylvia O’Brien, Debbie Pearl (friend of Lil Sakai), George Spear, and Janet Young.

Church Calendar

Sunday, December 3 – Communion
8:00 am Worship Service Walker Chapel
9:30 am Community Dining Room Service Day Community Dining Room
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
10:40 am Youth Chime Rehearsal Sunday School Hallway
11:00 am Youth Choir Rehearsal Music Room
11:00 am Christmas Pageant Rehearsal Meetinghouse
6:00 pm High School Youth Group Pilgrim Hall

Monday, December 4
7:00 pm KPMT Meeting Russel Room

Tuesday, December 5
10:00 am Staff Meeting Russel Room
4:30 pm Youth Bells Sanctuary
6:00 pm Practicing Joy Together Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Land & Building Meeting Room 25
7:00 pm Sanctuary Bell Rehearsal Sanctuary

Wednesday, December 6
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
11:00 am Evergreen Woods Bible Study Evergreen Woods
7:00 pm Book Group Russel Room

Thursday, December 7
8:30 am WIC All Purpose Room
10:30 am CDC - Happy Feet Pilgrim Hall
4:00 pm Branford Rotary Dinner Pilgrim Hall
7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal Sanctuary

Friday, December 8

Saturday, December 9
11:00 am TAVF Holiday Luncheon Pilgrim Hall
8:00 pm Branford Folk Music Society Pilgrim Hall

Sunday, December 10
10:00 am Worship Service Meetinghouse
10:40 am Youth Chime Rehearsal Sunday School Hallway
11:00 am Youth Choir Rehearsal Music Room
11:00 am Christmas Pageant Rehearsal Meetinghouse
11:15 am Music Board Meeting Room 25
11:15 am Christian Education Board Meeting Russel Room
2:00 pm Messiah Choral Rehearsal Meetinghouse
6:00 pm High School Youth Group Pilgrim Hall

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Sanctuary Flowers

The 2018 Sanctuary Flower chart has now been placed next to the 2017 chart which is displayed on the bulletin board outside 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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