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


We Are Tired; Here's the Good News

How is living to Jesus’ standards ever easy, ever light?

"Make sure you don't carry the burden of the whole world on your shoulders, just in case someone needed them to cry."Reverend Pat Kriss
Nema Al-Araby, 21st century Author

We are weary. Good Lord, we are weary. Tired of bad news. Tired of watching people warring against one another. Tired of adapting to a world where six months ago, a mask was for Mardi Gras and not for protection against everything that lies on the other side of it.

We are so weary that all of this rumbling bad news can make us deaf to The Good News. God knows we need good news. But today, and even back when Jesus preached to a tired and frightened world, he knew this, and addressed the fatigue directly.

Worship Online with Us

Join our Sunday service online via Zoom. (Here's how.)

You may also view our service on Facebook Live.

In-church services are suspended in order to help prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading.

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus says to all, "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

But really, how is the “yoke” of living to Jesus’ standards ever easy, ever light? This Sunday we’ll explore what “The Good News” really is, and what it means to take it on in a way that brings joy, not burden to us all.

By the way, on this same topic, on the last Sunday of July (July 26) we will have one of our Real Theology Sundays and the topic will be coping emotionally with the world we currently are inhabiting, and how to foster better mental health as we do. Anne Lord Wennerstrand, clinical psychiatric social worker, has joined us in the past to discuss depression. She will be “live on Zoom” with us, and will stay around after the service to field questions about staying healthy.

More information to follow later. Also this Sunday, we are please to have members of King Street Congregational Church joining us for the 10 a.m. service. Next Sunday we’ll be joining them for their Sunday service as their pastor Paul Bryant Smith and I do a summer “pulpit swap.”

Understanding Difficult Emotions During Uncertain Times

A psychotherapist will share the pulpit and host a Q&A session on issues that many of us face, and the stress we rarely discuss.

(Posted July 9, 2020)Reverend Pat Kriss

“I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes, so live not in your yesterdays,
not just for tomorrow, but in the here and now.” - Carl Sandburg

Just about everyone has heard a saying that is attributed as an old far eastern curse: May you live in interesting times. And I’d dare say that most of us would call this year of 2020 some very interesting times in which to live.

Worship Online with Us

Join our Sunday service online via Zoom. (Here's how.
You may also view our service on Facebook Live.

In-church services are suspended in order to help prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading.

The Demand to Endure

The last several months have demanded of us to endure. Endure losing the “normal” rhythm of our daily lives. Endure the presence of an unseen viral threat. Endure a world where closeness and touch and familiar places where we used to gather for enjoyment -- things that seem lost to us for now. Most of all, we are asked to endure not knowing when a “normal” life will become recognizable to us again. With all of this uncertainty and “enduring,” it’s not surprising that some, if not many, of us have experienced a cascade of emotions from fatigue and frustration, to anxiety and depression, to periods of fear and spiritual doubt. All of these are valid emotions. Nevertheless, they have shaped our lives for most of this year, and will no doubt in the future. But they do not have to dominate our lives.

Understanding Difficult Emotions During Uncertain Times.

It’s been my practice over the last eight years to periodically devote our Sunday service to what I call “Real Theology” -- issues that many of us face and which color our daily lives, but the stress from which we rarely bring up with others. Our Real Theology Sundays include the input of a professional in the field who can help guide us through the challenges and point us toward resolution.

So, even in this era of holding our services online it’s time for a “Real Theology Sunday” for the interesting times we’re living in. Mark your calendars for Sunday July 26 at 10 a.m., when Anne Lord Wennerstrand, LCSW- R, will join us for a special Service when we explore “Understanding Difficult Emotions During Uncertain Times.”

She will be with us for a special talk during the service, and then will engage with us in a Q & A session afterward when we will be able to touch on things that are most affecting us during this time.  Anne Lord Wennerstrand is familiar to many of us from a Second Hour session on depression and suicide that she presented a few years ago at First Church. Anne is an integrative psychotherapist with expertise addressing mental health and wellness issues, including depression, anxiety, gender, family,  work life, and relationships. I invite you to join us on the last Sunday of July to gain a better understanding of these emotions and their impact on the quality of life.

Blessings to all! --- Pastor Pat Kriss

The Parable of the Sower: A House Divided

(Posted July 9, 2020)
A reflection on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

The story begins,

Listen! A sower went out to sow … And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up…"

There was the time I did not get very far. I had just started on the path, just begun to follow Christ, when I got scared and stalled out. I was eaten up by worry and doubt.

Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away...

There was a time when I believed if only I studied or thought enough, I would be able to understand Christ’s way. I did not know that Christ’s way had to be grounded in my heart as well as my head. My faith withered away.

Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

Another time, I tried to turn toward Christ, but became distracted. It wasn't too long before I was choking on the expectation of our consumerist culture and my own grasping heart.

Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

And yet again, I arrived in a community, a congregation like this one. Sometimes there were weeds and rocks. But like rich soil, that community nurtured me, helped me to grow strong in my faith.

Let anyone with ears listen!

We aren’t, any of us, only one thing. Most of us have had all of these experiences at one time or another. Let this be our prayer: “Whether we get carried away or wither, suffocate or grow strong, help us to remember that you are with us always, Holy God. Amen.”

Mission Moments tells stories of how United Chruch of Christ congregations are connected to the wider church. It is published by the United Church of Christ.


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

Phone: (203) 744-6177

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    9:30 a.m.–11 a.m.