First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone:(203) 744-6177

E-Tidings Weekly Newsletter

This Sunday -- October 22, 2017

This Sunday:  Real Theology Sunday:

Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic & 2nd Hour Program

 

From Pastor Pat Kriss

She came recommended through a church member when I needed someone to help prepare the small house I was renting for monthly church events. This took place when I was pastoring up in the northern Berkshires. She needed the work and had cleaned houses before, I was told.

So “Emily” started cleaning my home once a month. She was very thin and always on the move, so I always shared my lunch with her to help her a little. She was personable, affable, and did what I asked her, until the day she broke the cardinal rule of living in the Berkshires: You always put your trash in the cellar until trash day, because there are bears everywhere. You never take it outside.

The last time I saw Emily was the day I shared my sushi lunch with her at my kitchen. A little later on, I heard her boyfriend beeping his car horn for her, as she rushed for the front door, with one of the upstairs white trash bags in her hand. I told her not to take it outside, but put it as usual in the cellar. I heard the door close as she left. She was scheduled to return the next day and prepare for a church party. I never saw the bag go out the door.

It wasn’t until that night when I reached for the sleeping medication I needed not just for sleep but for back pain that I realized it was gone. I then went to the drawer in the bathroom where I had stored our pharmaceuticals when we moved to the Berkshires. It apparently had been rifled through, and I’m sure  that some things were missing, some medications we never really used but brought with us “just in case.” Emily never returned the next day. Frankly I don’t know if she is still alive, but the sense of betrayal of trust lives on for me to this day, as well of the personal cost of the abuse of prescription drugs that makes them so valuable on the street. The heroin epidemic exploded there the next year, as it has where we live. For so many prescription pharmaceuticals, particularly opioids, are the gateway to much stronger, potentially lethal “fixes” like heroin. But it fixes nothing, and leads to tragedy and grief for families all over our region.

What can we do? Why do people become addicted anyway, to any form of substances, whether it’s liquor or meth or oxycontin? There is scarcely a family in our church that hasn’t been affected by addiction of one sort or another. How do we comfort those who are grieving the impact of addiction or of the epidemic on their families? Jesus healed the man howling in the cemetery outside the city, calling out his personal demons and sending them into a convenient swine herd. Can we individual Christians help those silently howling in our community?

This weekend we have a special opportunity to not only pray for those in such need, but to learn from professionals and also those in our congregation who have lost a young person to overdose. We will be joined during our 10 AM Real Theology Sunday service by Dr. Charles Herrick of Danbury Hospital to first learn about the nature of addiction, and then in Annie Hall during Coffee Hour for a panel discussion including Dr. Herrick and Allison Fulton, Executive Director of the Housatonic Valley Coalition Against Substance Abuse. Most moving to us of all, we will have Anita and Pete Lucsky on the panel, our own members, who lost their granddaughter Kaitlyn Knapp to a heroin overdose last December 29. It is to Kaitlyn’s memory that I dedicate this Sunday’s service and talk. Please join us at 10 and after services in support of the family, and to learn what we can do to heal this world of ours. It can be done. We may also hear from others who are in recovery at the present time.                                                                                          -- Pastor Pat Kriss

 
From Jim Moriarty, Director of Music

Music this Sunday will be a ‘blend’ of old, traditional and contemporary. Contemporary music comes in many forms. I try to select anthems whose words not only reinforce the sermon topic, but also give a musical presence, which will be very evident this Sunday.

I am happy to report that the Community Chorus is growing. Several children have joined the choir just this past week, and there is still a little time for others to sing with this vibrant group of children under the leadership of Patricia Moriarty. They rehearse from 4:30 to 5:30, Tuesdays. There is pre-rehearsal snack at 4:15. Please contact the office for more information.

Peace through music,

Jim Moriarty

 
This Saturday, October 21st at 11 am – Memorial Service for Carol Taylor.
 

Youth Group:  Our newly formed Youth Group has decided to meet every other Tuesday at 6 or 6:30 pm starting soon in one of the classrooms on the third floor.  Call the church office for more info.

 

Deer Hill Thrift Shop:    9:30am - 2pm - Fridays and Saturdays.

Great merchandise, low prices, very friendly staff.

Volunteers urgently needed, especially on Saturdays.  Please call the church office if you can help.

 

 Join the Choir!  Singers are always welcome to join the choir - see Jim Moriarty after worship

 

Change of Day:  Bible Study - Our next session will be on Monday, October 30th  at 5:30 PM in the parlor off Annie Hall with food available, too. Even if you did not come before, please come and join us (call the church office before the next session so you can be sent the bible passage for that week).

 

Children’s Community Chorus has begun and meets every Tuesday at 4:30 pm.

Open to All Children – Elementary & Middle School Age – no charge, non-religious,

limited enrollment. To sign up or for more info: email:pamort@hotmail.com or call the church

office.

 

To submit article ideas for the website or Facebook, contact Greg Pings: greg_pings@hotmail.com.

E-Tidings Date: 
Thursday, October 19, 2017

This Sunday -- October 15, 2017 -- Jazz Sunday

Next Sunday:  Real Theology Sunday:

Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic & 2nd Hour Program

 

From Pastor Pat Kriss

"The absolutely alienated individual worships at the altar of an idol, and it makes little difference by what names this idol is known."-- Erich Fromm, The Sane Society, 20th century

If there is one thing that rings true, it’s the reason that draws us to the stories that are contained in the Bible. That one thing is that, while thousands of years may have elapsed since they were recorded, human nature hasn’t changed very much at all. And this Sunday’s story about the Israelites who are alone in the desert while their leader Moses has disappeared up the mountain is familiar to us on a whole different, modern level.

The Israelites’ journey through the desert is one of trust… a wobbly trust in the word of a man who tells them about the words of a God they cannot see. After a long time thirsting for proof and hungering for leadership for someone who has left them alone in the wilderness for nearly 40 days, their faith evaporates like manna in the sun. So they resort to the next best thing. If they cannot see the God of Moses on their own time schedule, they’ll build themselves their own “god,” one they can see and touch. The Israelites fashioned a Golden Calf out of the trinkets they have brought with them out of bondage. And they bowed their heads to this graven image.

There’s a modern story wrapped up inside this ancient one. In the present day and age when we wander in a whole desert of doubt and uncertainty, looking for visible meaning in life and not seeing it when we think we should, we are inclined to create our own idols to fill the emptiness inside.

This is an age of self-imposed alienation. There are so many ways to fashion idols, but digital technology certainly is one way. With our smart phones and so-called social networking, we think we are more connected than ever. But the truth is, more than one generation of people have literally lost the skills of carrying on a conversation face-to-face with another human being. Every day as I walk down the street and I pass someone engrossed in texting on their iPhone, it hits me how much that person’s posture reminds me of one of prayer, head bowed and hands nearly together. But that to which we might bow our heads in rapt attention is not a spiritual presence, but a false god that masquerades as human contact. The real, “present presence” of God is all around us, resident in one another. There are, however, many idols today, not just technology. Idols are that which disconnects us from that which is really important, whether it’s too much focus on work or acquiring material wealth or power over others. The question we ask ourselves this weekend is, are there idols that we have fashioned that stand between us and the dialogue we could have with God, if our faith was strong? Stay tuned. --- Pastor Pat Kriss 

 

From Jim Moriarty, Director of Music

Jazz Sunday is this Sunday. Join Doug Hartline and his ensemble for interesting interpretations of hymns and anthems.

The Children’s Community Chorus just had their second rehearsal this past Tuesday afternoon! Directed by Patricia Moriarty, a 38 year elementary music teacher, this chorus is free to elementary and middle school children and open to children of all denominations. Rehearsals are Tuesday afternoons from 4:30 to 5:30. Pre-rehearsal snacks are also available.

The adult choir also welcomes high school students who love to sing and have a little knowledge of reading notes.

Peace through music,

Jim Moriarty

 

Youth Group:  Our newly formed Youth Group has decided to meet every other Tuesday at 6 or 6:30 pm starting on October 17th in one of the classrooms on the third floor.  Call the church office for more info.

 

 

Deer Hill Thrift Shop:    9:30am - 2pm - Fridays and Saturdays.

Great merchandise, low prices, very friendly staff.

Volunteers urgently needed, especially on Saturdays.  Please call the church office if you can help.

 

 The Hillside Food Outreach program needs some help.  We hope a group from First Church will sign up for some fun fellowship and a rewarding experience as we pack donated food items which will be distributed to those in need. If you can join us, please call Pat Mitchell 203-794-9447 or Lynda DeLuryea 203-364-9984.  Future dates are:  10/13, 11/10 and 12/8.  Thank you!!

 
Join the Choir!  Singers are always welcome to join the choir - see Jim Moriarty after worship
 

Change of Day:  Bible Study - Our next session will be on Monday, October 16th  at 5:30 PM in the parlor off Annie Hall with food available, too. Even if you did not come before, please come and join us (call the church office before the next session so you can be sent the bible passage for that week).

 
Children’s Community Chorus has begun and meets every Tuesday at 4:30 pm.

Open to All Children – Elementary & Middle School Age – no charge, non-religious,

limited enrollment. To sign up or for more info: email:pamort@hotmail.com or call the church

office.

 

To submit article ideas for the website or Facebook, contact Greg Pings: greg_pings@hotmail.com.

E-Tidings Date: 
Friday, October 13, 2017

Information

First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Est. 1696

Phone: (203) 744-6177
Email: fcdanbury@att.net

Office Hours:
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 Worship:
Sunday    10 a.m.–11 a.m.

 

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