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


What We Teach Our Children

Kindness, compassion and actions for others to bring light to the world.

Rev. Pat Kriss“A wise person truly said, “It ought to be as impossible to forget that there is a Christian in the house as it is to forget that there is a ten-year-old boy in it.” -- Roger J. Squire

One of the fascinating things about the Bible is that even in today’s secular society, there are sayings, phrases that we use but don’t realize when we speak them that we’re quoting Scripture. For instance, how many times have we heard that someone who is leaving a job or who is retiring, is “passing the mantle” to someone assuming the role? In saying someone is “passing the mantle,” that word “mantle” as another word for a person’s cloak. When we receive the “mantle” of responsibility from another, we are invested with the responsibility of that role, and for upholding the values of the person before us.

Church Services on Sunday

Sunday services are presented online via Zoom on Sundays at 10 a.m. To join, open this link.

You may also view our services on our Facebook Channel. The livestream will begin at 10 a.m. Replays will be available immediately following the service. Go to

This phrase comes directly from this Sunday’s Hebrew Bible reading where the prophet Elijah, realizing that God has come to take him up to heaven, tosses his mantle to the young man who has been like a son to him. And as he picks up the mantle, his spiritual “son” Elisha, acquires the wisdom and knowledge of Elijah, who taught him well.

What We Teach Our Children

My big question today is, in this time where we’re all physically distanced from each other -- and especially from our Church School kids -- what are we doing to continue a sense of Christian values that one day, we hope, they will take to lead their lives and our future? I’ve been pleased to see in Facebook posts so many of our First Church families who have shared the ways that they are using this time away from the Church sanctuary with the family to teach their children -– lessons about gardens, and hiking and growing.

I also have every confidence that our Church parents are spending some time talking about their beliefs, about the way that God manifests in the world around them, and in this sad era of negativity in the world, how our kindness, compassion and actions for others bring light to the world.

Take on Something Simple for Lent

Next week on Wednesday, the period we call Lent begins. For the next 40 days, our purpose should be to become better people, better Christians than we are at the moment. This Lent, instead of giving something up, how about taking on something simple? I’m asking all of us to find a glass jar — like a jelly jar — and put it on our kitchen table. At the end of the day, if we have spare change, no matter how small lying around, let’s add it to our Jelly Jar Generosity. Kids can find innovative ways to add something to the jar.

Support The Bridge to Independence and Career Opportunities

This year, after consulting with our Outreach Chair, Heidi Palmer, I am suggesting that what we collect by the time Easter rolls around will be given to local charity TBICO -The Bridge to Independence and Career Opportunities.

At a time when so many have lost their jobs TBICO reaches out to people when they are at the end of their ropes. As TBICO describes itself: “Our population includes people who are unemployed or underemployed, with a great many being dislocated workers downsized after years of working and in need of retraining. Some are displaced homemakers who suddenly find themselves the family breadwinner as a result of divorce or the death or disablement of a spouse.”

There is never a charge. The program is especially vital to women raising families and suddenly left to put food on the table.

On Easter Sunday we will tally up our Jelly Jar Generosity and share the results with you all as we bring light and a chance for self-sufficiency to so many in the greater Danbury area. And be sure to join us online Ash Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live when we will bring you beautiful contemplative music and an ashless blessing to start Lent off right.

Need a Rainbow?

Powerful symbols that give us hope.

Rev. Pat KrissThe thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else's cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God - if they call God
at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody.
That's what I think.

-Maya Angelou

We have something in common with Noah right now. We sure could use a good Rainbow. This Sunday’s scripture puts us squarely aboard that ancient boat.

Church Services on Sunday

Sunday services are presented online via Zoom on Sundays at 10 a.m. To join, open this link.

You may also view our services on our Facebook Channel. The livestream will begin at 10 a.m. Replays will be available immediately following the service. Go to

We are like the sons and daughters of that ancient patriarch, with his floating menagerie. The rains have turned to showers, but it’s still overcast. After living through the storms of 2020 that have lingered into this year, all of us are desperate for a sign -- any sign -- that says the clouds will lift and the sun will shine through again.

A Reason to Hope

Signs are not only important, but they are potent, too. In this first bible story that children love, after 40 days, Noah began to fear that terra firma – the land where he and his creatures and family could put down an anchor, might be covered forever with the flood. And since he couldn’t see over the horizon, he recruited a passenger that could- a dove. He opened the door and let her fly. But shortly thereafter she returned to the ark, for she had found no place to set down.

So Noah did something we’re all familiar with right now: He waited, patiently, still longer. And then in a week he sent the dove out again. Later that day she returned, but THIS time she brought Noah in her beak a sprig from an olive tree. And he knew from that sprig that the flood was receding and there was dry land ahead.

Signs of Hope

To this very day the olive branch and the dove are potent signs to humanity that there is reason to hope, that a place of peace lies just ahead if we work toward it. We might note that even the Presidential Seal has this symbolism within it. The eagle substitutes for the dove in this case, but he faces an olive branch he clutches in one talon, rather than the arrows of war that he holds in the other.

Right now we are still passengers on the ark of uncertainty, still looking at the flood waters and still fearful that the pestilence of Covid-19 might be floating nearby. The struggle to find a route to receive the vaccine is daunting.

Finding Hope

But now the clouds are thinning. Last week I was finally able to receive my first vaccine at a local hospital. After the injection everyone must wait there for 15 minutes. I had time to look around and think. I realized that the shot I received was like an olive branch of hope. As I looked around at the people being vaccinated, they were smiling, perhaps for the first time in a while. These were people who spontaneously expressed their gratitude to the hospital workers.

Of course, not everybody on the “ark” has received their “olive branch” yet. It makes sense that the elderly and ill go first, along with the people who have to help others leave the ark. But It will happen for everyone, with patience and persistence.

Today, as the sky brightens, I sense a Rainbow coming on.

The Forty Days of Lent Just Ahead

We spend time these next weeks giving people some helpful-and beautiful-tools for praying and connecting with God and traveling with Jesus. This week and the next we will explore Christian meditation. Reverend Frank Basler will join us on February 28 to teach us about mindfulness meditation. And then, art works as prayer. Stay tuned in!

How to View the Replay: Ash-Less Wednesday 2021

(Posted February 18, 2021)

Our Ash-Less Wednesday replay is available on Facebook.

This Taize service is designed for people of all faiths who search for the divine. This online service of music and prayers focuses on what you can build up, and less on what has been destroyed. We hope this offering will help you prepare for your Lenten journey.

Please have a small dish of olive oil at hand for self-anointing.


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:
Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sunday Worship:
Sunday   10:00 a.m.–11 a.m.


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