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


From Pastor Pat Kriss: We Are the Seed

It was a good seed planted early ... that produces the symphony of talent we enjoy today.

(Posted July 15, 2017)

Probably there is no better time of the year than now to contemplate the Symphony of life that Nature is. The trees are full. A new generation of birds and animals whistle and call from the woods around us. The fruit of the vine and the field are ready, or are about to be. Streams are full with the remnants of Summer storms stopping by just long enough to wet the grass, and to water the flowers we see everywhere. Are we fully appreciating what a gift this is to us?
No wonder that Jesus takes us this Sunday, down to the lake, and speaks to us while floating on a boat!  It’s where we belong this time of year, pausing, resting and listening. This Sunday we get to listen while classical guitarist Levon Ofgang plays for us. On Sunday the 23rd, Pianist Ferdy Talon accompanies our prayers and song as well.
And here’s the thing. Jesus wants to speak to us about this symphony of the Kingdom of Heaven. As he often does, Jesus speaks in parables. Both this coming Sunday and next, these parables have to do with seed --- good seed which when falling on good soil, produces, and produces abundantly, even when challenged by the weeds nearby.
Now, if we’re listening, we will realize that WE, too, are the sprouted seed. What should we be concerned about? It turns out, not on how much our own yield amounts to each day, but what we in turn, sow.
Novelist Robert Lewis Stevenson gave us a focus. "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap,” he said, “but by the seeds that you plant." Truly, as we gather to listen to Levon and Ferdy, we will recognize that it was a good seed planted early in both of them that produces the symphony of talent we enjoy today. The seeds of this beauty continue to inspire youngsters coming after them. As it stands, Levon often takes his guitar in the warm weather and plays by Candlewood Lake. Jesus would approve.
So, it’s time to “…make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” The place where the rivers meet the lake, and joy flows like water. Come. Rest. Listen. Know God. -- Pastor Pat Kriss

Our Music: Musical Talents

(Posted July 15, 2017)

I want to thank Beate for sharing her musical talents this past Sunday. The alto recorder was the perfect instrument for that beautiful summer morning!  Levon Ofgang will bring his contemporary classical guitar music to our July 16th Sunday service, and on July 23 we are very fortunate to have concert pianist Ferdy Talon returning to our sanctuary after a recent tour in Russia.

Preservice music for the month of July will consist of preselected hymns for you to sing. If you have a favorite, please leave a message with the office by the Wednesday prior to the Sunday when you’ll attend church. This usually begins 10 minutes before the service, so make every effort to be early!

Joy and relaxation through music,
Jim Moriarty

Meeting America on the New Jersey Turnpike

We were all there, free, on our way, getting to a place we call America.

(Posted July 6, 2017)

You can learn a lot from the rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The road trip that Gary and I took last Friday to reach Baltimore and the National Synod of the United Church of Christ required us to travel the New Jersey Turnpike. It serves as an asphalt spine, sometimes six lanes, sometimes 12 lanes wide --the whole length of the Garden State. Circumstances necessitated us stopping twice at the rest stations on that Independence Day trip. And what we experienced refreshed the meaning of the holiday for us. There is probably no busier place on a Friday, when people are going away for a long weekend.
And that’s where we met America.
America was there in the bustling melting pot of the crowded rest stations, as if someone from Central Casting was about to film a story about what the country has meant for so many. America was there in the faces – Indian faces, Japanese faces, Muslim faces, African American faces, Hispanic faces and, yes, white faces. You could meet America in the red hair of a whole family of Hasidic Jews whose little ones tagged behind Momma and also Papa, the strings of his publicly worn prayer shawl flapping in the humid breeze. For a moment we remembered that folklore says that David had red hair. 

Worship with us
Sunday service begins at 9:30 a.m.

That prayer shawl was not the only sign of faithfulness among the people, tired, hungry and thirsty though they might have been. Faithful America was also in the bindi mark on the brows of the Indian family members, who I thought included at least three generations of mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and little ones walking into the rest stop. America sang her song, My Country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of Liberty, from the cross around the neck of the Latina Grandmother, and from the hands of someone holding the door for the stranger in a wheelchair. America’s faith was wrapped in an assortment of silken saris, hijabs and a few dashikis. Everybody was too busy being family to be bothered with politics. We were all there, free, on our way, getting to a place we call America.
You can be reminded of a lot when you pause for a rest stop. Most of all, it reminded me of the sonnet that Emma Lazarus wrote, and which is inscribed inside the base of a famous Lady in the Harbor. 
It goes like this:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Peace and freedom to you all. -- Pastor Pat Kriss


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    10 a.m.–11 a.m.