A publication of
The First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Avenue, Danbury, CT 06810
An Open & Affirming Church of the United Church of Christ
“God is Still Speaking”
Rev. Pat Kriss, Pastor
From Pastor Pat:
Whoever said that “April is the Cruelest Month” obviously overlooked late winter, especially THIS particularly Arctic past month in Connecticut. The days are still short. Quite a few of us are noticeably starved for the mood boost of a sunny window. Chocolates and carbs become a substitute for sunshine’s nourishing rays … waistline-expanding substitutes at that. In some ways, Lent saves us from ourselves.
But I urge you to take heart. Not necessarily a Hallmark-kind of taking heart. I particularly ask you to be aware of the hidden signs that Spring is already on its way back to our neck of the woods. And I ask you to think about what makes life return.
Already just to the south of us, the eagles have begun their courtship rituals on the Connecticut River.
Every year I used to help run the Connecticut River Eagle Festival near the mouth of the river where open waters allow the great birds to fish. From a boat on the river it is quite a thing to observe.
This is the time of year that the male and female eagles begin their courtship dance. The male may start by offering a tasty bit of freshly caught fish to his intended, in the snag of an old tree. The two will fly off over the river, often in opposite directions. Then he begins to climb into the sky, high above the landscape, pumping and gliding hundreds of feet in the air. She joins him and they circle about separately until, as if on cue from a hidden melody, they spiral upward together and, as they both pause in midair, clasp their talons together with a shriek. Entwined, they plummet toward the icy earth. At the very last second they separate, explode outward from their dive, and soar to the sky again. This death defying pas de deux will repeat, over and over. The courtship dance seals their commitment to one another, to forge ahead, to build a future even when all about them there lies an unforgiving barren landscape.
Even for us humans in communion with one another, the bonding that takes place between us often comes when we face peril together. But please note: the moment always begins when one nourishes the other, when we signal that we will always be present to sustain each other. Love is what kindles trust. Whether the morsel is a bit of tasty fish or, in the dead of a human winter, whether the sustenance is the sunshine of a kind word, or time spent together, or a prayer shared to encourage another to look beyond the moment, it is the same. New life will be born again from that ember of communal trust housed in our hearts. New voices will enter our sanctuary. The Psalmist has reminded us: Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
It is promised to us.
With every drip of the melting icicles, take heart. New life is on the wing to you, soon.
Our busy Church Calendar follows the newsletter -- please take a minute to check out our Spring Services and happenings!
The Scholarship Committee invites all members of First Church entering into college, technical school or community college after high school to apply for a Scholarship grant. These funds are made available through the generous contributions of former and present members of our church. All who are interested in receiving a scholarship grant must fill out an application form obtained from the church office (or can be emailed to you). Students are eligible for a grant for a 2-year period. Grants are awarded on an as needed basis. The deadline is May 31st A high school transcript may be presented with the application. Completed applications may be faxed to the church at 203-744-4683.
Our Tuesday Fellowship Luncheon Returns April 9 – Please join together on Tuesday, April 9th at 12:30 pm. Please bring a dish to share. All Welcome – Bring a Friend and Celebrate Spring! We will also be working on a craft for our Chocolate Festival!________________________________________
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 7 pm
Service of Prayer and Healing in the Sanctuary led by Rev. Pat Kriss. Open to the public. The service is especially meaningful for anyone who has experienced loss this year and those who wish to pray for the restoration of health of others are encouraged to come and to bring a photo with them of those we will pray for.
________________________________________Easter Flowers will again be offered this year to be placed in our beautiful Sanctuary on Easter Sunday as a memorial for, or honoring a loved one. Please complete the form below and return it to the church office with your check made out to the First Congregational Church (mail to 164 Deer Hill Ave, Danbury, CT 06810, leave in the offering plate or email JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING ).
Price: $12.00 per plant
Deadline is March 24, 2013
In Loving Memory or Honoring (indicate)
_____ plants @ $12.00 ea Total: _______
Tel # _____________________
Taken____ Given for shut-in _____
Amos House Breakfast – March 20th – 7:30 am at the Amber Room – First Church will again be sponsoring a table for this fundraiser. Email: JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING if you would like at attend.
Save the date:
Mother’s Day Chocolate Festival
Saturday, May 4, 2013 11 am – 3pm
This will be another exciting event for our church. This year our church table will be a “Country Store” theme. And, we will again be raffling our very popular “dessert of the month”.
__ Yes, I will bake one item for the “Dessert of the Month” Raffle.
__ Yes, I will root ivy for our tea-cup gifts.
Music at First Church
I can’t imagine the Lenten season without hearing some of the most beautiful and arousing choral compositions every written. My favorite is John Stainer’s lovely “God So Loved the World”, which is from his “Crucifixion”. This was also my mother’s favorite. She was an organist and choir director for over 35 years – mostly at the Stratford Methodist Church. YOUR choir is scheduled to sing this composition on Palm Sunday, along with the traditional “The Palms” composed by John Faure. My postlude “Processional to Calvary” is also from Stainer’s “Crucifixion”.
I miss Doyle Stopple, tenor and want to thank him for singing in the choir for many years including this past Fall. At 91 he is having a difficult time getting around and is also losing his ability to see, and we wish him our prayers. I also want to thank Sean Gerety and Leo Villavicencio, both tenors for sharing their talents. Leo is the rather tall gentlemen. Sean you have heard playing trumpet.
I also want to thank Steven Dickson for continuing to sing with us. You’ll hear his voice on Palm Sunday. Continued thanks to Beth Falk, Heidi Palmer-Kiyak, Nancy Wildman, my daughter, Kelly and wife, Patricia for their support. Thanks to my lovely accompanists, Beate Neblett and Tahlia Furman who have so graciously shared their talents. In advance, I want to thank Linda Wrenn for being our accompanist and guest organist for the Easter Service. Tahlia Furman is scheduled to accompany us this Sunday and Palm Sunday.
And, if you haven’t heard the Furman Trio, acoustical ensemble, at the Christmas Eve Service, please join us on March 17th for something very special.
In the next newsletter, I will inform you of new musical endeavors for April, May & June.
Peace and Reflection through Music,
Holy Week Services
9:45 am Blessing of the Palms-City Hall
10 am Morning Worship
7 pm Service of Tenebrae
12 – 3 pm Pastor Pat – Readings in Sanctuary
6:38 am Sunrise Worship at UMC
10 am Easter Worship
The First Congregational Church of Danbury – 2013 Spring Calendar
Saturday, March 9: Eagle Boat Trip on the Connecticut River
Cars Leaving From the Church At 10
Sunday March 10: 10 am Worship -- Blessing of the Prayer Shawls
Daylight Savings Begins
Step Four: Seven Steps to Easter – Song
Weds., March 13 7 pm Healing & Blessing Service, Sanctuary – Step 5 – Spirit
Thurs, March 14 Noon Chocolate Festival Craft Project & Brown bag lunch
Friday, March 15 Celtic Women Concert – Oakdale Theater
Sunday, March 17 10 am Celtic Sunday – Step 6 – Service
Special Music: Furman Trio, performing during worship
Guest Preacher, Rev. Michael Ciba, Regional Minister,
United Church Of Christ, Connecticut Conference,
Fairfield East and Fairfield West Associations
Sunday, March 24 10 am Palm Sunday -- Step 6: Salvation
9:45 am Blessing of the Palms with St. James & Central Christian at City Hall
Thurs. March 28 7 pm Maundy Thursday Service - Sanctuary
Friday March 29 Good Friday -- Step 7: Sacrifice
12:00-3 pm Sanctuary Open for Prayer and Scripture Readings
Sunday March 31 6:30 am Sunrise Service at United Methodist Church, Danbury
10 am Easter Sunday Worship - Sanctuary
Sunday, April 7 Communion Sunday
Sunday April 14 Guest Preacher (Tba)
Sunday April 21 Mission Sunday: Jennifer Sheridan Presentation on Mozambique
Sunday April 28 Jazz Sunday (Tentative)
Earth Day Presentation By Wolf Conservation Center(tentative)
Sat. May 4 Chocolate Festival 11 am – 3 pm
Sunday, May 5 Fiesta Sunday/ Anniversary Sunday/ Communion Sunday
Cinco De Mayo Concert, Children’s Chorus (time-tba)
Sunday, May 12 Mother’s Day
Sunday May 19 Jazz Sunday – Annual Meeting
Fri-Mon. May 27 Memorial Day Weekend
Sunday, June 2 Communion Sunday
3 pm Installation Rev. Pat Kriss
Sunday, June 16 Father’s Day