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

News

The Three Kings' Epiphany

The Feast of the Epiphany ... marks the entry of three Gentile people into the all-Jewish story of Christmas.

(Posted January 5, 2019)Rev. Pat Kriss

“Without the quest, there can be no epiphany.” 
Dr. Constantine E. Scaros, Dean, University of New England

Since this is the first Sunday a brand new year, it’s a perfect time for fresh new starts, to begin the journeys that will bring us the gift of sudden new understanding. This is Epiphany Sunday, the day in the church year when we celebrate the arrival of three wise rulers from the East who have invested months of their lives just to follow the lead of a bright star.

Worship with Us

Services begin at 10 a.m. All are welcome.

Epiphany Sunday is a far bigger deal in Spain and all the Latin American Sundays than it usually is in America, and for a couple of good reasons. In Latin countries, it isn’t Santa who is the man of the hour during the holidays, and not on Christmas eve. It’s the Three Kings – three wise men who, according to tradition, were from very different cultures outside of Judea. It’s these three kings, already busy bringing gifts to the new Messiah whose star they have followed, who manage on January 6 to stop at the houses of all the other little girls and boys in the world and leave gifts for them too. Be a little one and leave your shoes on the doorstep, and by morning they will be filled with little gifts, and big gifts too will have magically made their way inside the home. Of course, you should have left some water and food for the Kings’ camels, too. Accordingly, our upcoming Epiphany Sunday will have a little touch of Spanish to it.

The second reason that the Feast of the Epiphany is important is that it marks the entry of three Gentile people into the all-Jewish story of Christmas. Learned Gentiles, men of science representing the rest of the world Jesus came to save, whose star insisted that they follow it on a quest for a great king, a Messiah who, they thought, would have need of the precious gold, frankincense and myrrh they brought with them. Imagine their surprise when they arrived at the home of Mary and Jesus, to find, not a towering king, but a teething toddler. Their quest taught them a lesson: the future of our sorry world is often in the hands of the children who will grow to rule the world. All of them need our support to grow.

The final gift of this Sunday is the ability to cast away, to destroy that which is holding us back for the New Year. Now, everyone has an idea of what we want to add to this new year ahead, in terms of noble causes we want to take on like weight loss and exercise. But I’m a big fan of letting go of the past too, to make room for the present and future. So this communion Sunday, after our service we will have our traditional bonfire on the church front portico, where we get a chance to consign pieces of paper to the fire that symbolically bear all the bad things we no longer want in our lives. So come this Sunday, and experience a liberation of your life from the darkness, and start that quest into a new life. 
Blessings – Pastor Pat Kriss

Our Kindred Spirit with Water

At the moment we emerge into this life, we emerge from water

(Posted January 9, 2019)Rev. Pat Kriss

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” — Jon Kabat Zinn

Water. It isn’t merely one of our greatest needs: It is an absoute necessity for life. We can live without food for three weeks, but without water, we’re done in a few days. Our bodies themselves are made of about 65 percent water. And water is one of our first sensations when we leave the womb. We must realize that, at the moment we emerge into this life, we emerge from water, and most often as we leave life, old and sick, it is what returns to take us in the end. 

Worship with Us

Services begin at 10 a.m. All are welcome.

Standing at the edge of the sea, we find an amazing sense of peace, a kindred spirit with water. For every culture, for poets and artists, water is the theme of the ebb and flow of our lives. It’s not at all surprising that, just as we enter life through water, we also enter our commitment to follow Jesus as Christians by the simple, and yet profound, act of Baptism. For most of us, baptized as infants or toddlers a long, LONG time ago, our baptisms aren’t even memories, but stories told to us by family. We enjoy watching others be baptized, but we can feel pretty disconnected from our own.

This Sunday marks the Baptism of Christ, and there is a special message conveyed in Luke’s gospel that will echo again before Lent begins. It’s easy to miss, but as the late theologian Marcus Borg reveals to us, baptism is a metaphor for the conscious desire to die to our pasts and rise up out of the water in Christ, also dying and rising up in Christ’s resurrection. The interesting thing that Borg points out is, at the moment of Jesus’ baptism, we have the chance to hear the Voice of God speaking for us to hear directly. 

And in the last Sunday before lent begins, as the disciples stand atop a mountain watching Jesus be transfigured in glory alongside Moses and Elijah, the Voice will speak to us again. It will say, “This is my Son. Listen to him.”

But how do we, in our noisy and distracted world, get a chance to hear anything, much less the Voice of God? We don’t even pause long enough in church to do that! So I’m planning to make it possible for us to take time each of these weeks of Epiphany Sundays before the beginning of Lent to learn how to pray. To have an Epiphany. We’ll start this Sunday, with a celebration of the baptism we can’t remember, and by learning how to be present for God to speak to us, through meditation. Next week we will start to examine the beauty of the Lord’s Prayer, and how it applies to our lives today. See you this Sunday…. Pastor Pat Kriss
 

Our Music: "Unsung Heroes" Tops 500,000 Copies

(Posted January 9, 2019)

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” – Kahlil Gibran 

A big thanks goes out to the multi- talented Cheryl Hill for helping us sing a couple of our hymns containing a Spanish verse or two during this very special Sunday service.  

I recently had communicated with Joseph Martin composer of “Unsung Heroes” and “An Advent Reflections” which was commissioned for our church and sung by our choir at the recent service  dedicated to our first responders. Joseph told me that over 500,000 copies of his “Unsung Heroes” anthem have been sold. It is the number-four best seller of all his anthems! I am curious as to the titles of his top three. 

Peace and Joy this coming year through music, Jim Moriarty
 

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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