This Sunday, we encounter an old familiar scene, but in a new light. We travel with Jesus down to the Sea of Galilee, where he’s searching for the right men to be the first apostles. Here he finds Simon and Andrew. What we haven’t noticed before this, in the famous scene where Jesus tells them that they will be “fishers of men,” is who these two really are. You see, in Matthew’s account, Simon and Andrew are the poorest of the poor fishermen. Heck, they don’t even own a boat! Life has been dark and meager. All Simon and Andrew have is their nets, tattered though they may be. But Jesus assures them that it’s not about the material trappings. What matters is that they already know how to fish. God will provide the rest.
As we congregation members at First Church have experienced the blessing of the incredible gift by our Christmas Angel, we know that God’s grace has given us the energy to go forward from this point in time in a way that wasn’t even thinkable before this blessing. We have moved from darkness to light. It also places upon us the same call to action that Jesus gave to Simon and Andrew: Leave the shore with me and begin “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.”
What I’d like us all to do on Sunday, both in the Service and after our Budget hearing during and after Coffee Hour, is to learn what the very bright future means for our congregation. I’ll be outlining the plan we have for the future, and answering any questions people may have or how they can participate.
In the meantime, I’d like everyone to think about this “thought-provoker” that The Rev. Kathryn M. Matthews, retired dean of Amistad Chapel at the national offices of the United Church of Christ, poses to us this week:
“Sometimes help comes from the most unexpected of places and the most unlikely of people. When have you felt that you were a person "sitting in darkness," longing for light to break forth in your life, longing for something to happen, for someone to come along, that will transform everything? Were you ever surprised by the way God sent help, or by the person bringing it?
In what ways has your congregation sat in darkness, and then experienced the light of God's love? What kind of radical reorientation did this produce or require? What new and unexpected things has God done in the life of your church? How do you plan to share it? As you look around your community and around the world, what new works and wonders is God about?”
Blessings… See you all on Sunday when we joyfully revel in the light! --- Pastor Pat Kriss
“Music touches us emotionally where words alone can’t...” – Johnny Depp
If you were unable to attend this past Sunday’s service because of the weather and Jazz Sunday is a favorite, you can listen to Doug Hartline and Friends this Sunday afternoon. They are performing a benefit concert at Christ Church in Redding, Ct. beginning at 3 p.m. Admission is free and any donations made will benefit the ‘Redding...Warmth Fuel Assistance Program’. The church is located at 184 Cross Highway (Route 58 and Cross Highway intersection).
The Community Children’s Chorus' first rehearsal is Tuesday, February 4, from 4:15 to 5:30. It is open for any child from 1st grade through 8th. It is well-known that it is a non-religious chorus who will sing songs of all genres – Pop, Broadway, standards etc. For more information please contact Director, Pat Moriarty, at 203-947-9824 or 203-744-6177.
May a song keep your heart warm during these cold winter evenings,Jim Moriarty
Great merchandise, low prices, very friendly staff.
Open Fridays 9:30am-2pm & Saturdays 10am-2pm.
Please consider volunteering even for a few hours – contact Pat Moriarty, Terry Hansen or the church office.
Our February Fellowship Luncheon is on Tuesday, February 11, at 12:30 p.m. in the Parlor. Please bring a dish to share and enjoy!
Special Notice: The Annual Budget Meeting has been changed
To Sunday, January 26, 2020, due to impending snow/ice forecast.
One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah"
(which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said,
"You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).
It was William Shakespeare who penned, “What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” However, in Jesus’ time and culture, names were deeply important. It presented the very essence of that individual. When Jesus confronted the bedeviled mad man in the Gerasene cemetery, the first thing he did is to pin down the name of the demon within him. The demon itself had already shown his fear by addressing Jesus by his own name. “What would you have do with me, O Jesus, Son of the Most High?” Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And the Demon cried out, “Legion, for we are many!” When one was asked by a person in charge in those days, one had to answer honestly with a proper name. You see, to know someone’s name was to have some kind of power over them.
In today’s Gospel we see Jesus trolling for future apostles and meeting for the first time Simon, brother of Andrew. In their very first meeting, Jesus renames Simon Cephas -- in their native tongue of Aramaic, it means “Rock.” (So you see, there was “The Rock” long before Hollywood!) And why did he rename Simon? Because from the beginning Jesus knew that this hard-working, hard-headed fisherman would be the one, the foundation for his church. Today in Latin we know him as Petrus, Peter --- Simon Peter who would be the first head of the band of Jesus followers. This Sunday as I finish this year’s doctoral studies, Bible Magician Gary Kriss will be leading us down the fascinating path of what names mean, and how what we call people defines our relationship with bigger things. - Pastor Pat Kriss
“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart...” – Pablo Casals
Doug Hartline and friends will lead the Jazz Sunday service this weekend. Please join us for this upbeat musical service lead by his lovely wife Ginny. The service begins at 10 a.m.
Children's Community Chorus: It is that time of year when you can sign up your child for the non-religious Community Chorus. This chorus, led by Patricia Moriarty, is comprised of children from kindergarten to eighth grade. It is free of charge and meets Tuesday afternoons from 4:15 to 5:30, beginning Tuesday February 4. The music can be songs from Broadway shows, movies or even popular tunes. It is a non-affiliated chorus and sponsored by our church. For more information, please contact the church at 203-744-6177.
The last Sunday service in January, along with the First Sunday in February, I plan to include favorite hymns of the congregation as submitted by several people. It is so nice to hear people singing. Thanks!
Peace and Joy through music, Jim Moriarty
Great merchandise, low prices, very friendly staff.
Open Fridays 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Please consider volunteering, even for a few hours. Contact Pat Moriarty, Terry Hansen or the church office.
Our February Fellowship Luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11, at 12:30 p.m. in the Parlor. Please bring a dish to share and enjoy!
First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: (203) 744-6177
Monday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thrift Shop Hours:
Friday 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sunday 9:30 a.m.–11 a.m.