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


It All Begins with Water

Baptismal water is the symbol of our spiritual lives beginning anew.

(January 9, 2020)Reverend Pat Kriss, Pastor, First Congregational Church of Danbury

"Waiting for the spark from heaven to fall." -- Matthew Arnold, 19th century poet

It all begins with water.
Today I read with a great deal of pride how one of our high school students here in Danbury – Alton Spencer --  has been working with NASA and the data from its TESS satellite. TESS is short for “Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.” It has sent back data that has determined the size of a planet that is 100 light years away, and has been named Tatooine. Now, for any non-Star Wars fans, Tatooine was a planet in one of the films that has two stars – exactly like this little planet that was recently discovered outside of our solar system. It’s the first planet outside the system that might be able to support life. Now 100 light years isn’t just around the block. But in terms of the Universe, it is. What the NASA team and the students working with them sought to determine is – is its climate at the right temperature to allow water to form on its surface?

Church Services on Sunday

Service begins at 10 a.m. All are welcome to worship with us. 

It all begins with water.
Scientists think, when the right elements exist along with water, all it takes is “the spark from heaven to fall” for life to begin. That’s part of the beauty – and irony – of life here on earth. Without water, life does not begin. At the same time, every person on earth has a body that is comprised of at least 60% water. In fact, our brains are at least 75% water. Despite the opinion of anyone who thinks they are better or different from anyone else, we are all exactly the same. No more. No less. 

It all begins with water.
So it really isn’t surprising that, when it comes to the symbolism of our spiritual lives beginning anew, it takes the form of baptismal waters. This Sunday that marks the Baptism of Jesus, we know that the act of Baptism isn’t even primarily about washing away sins. When Jesus came to the Jordan River, he was pure. And yet he chose to be baptized to mark a new beginning – in his case, the very beginning of his ministry to us – emerging from the waters in the arms of John the Baptist.

It all begins with water. But then sometimes it goes downhill from there.
What confounds me is how some people who call themselves Christian can live lives so far removed from what Jesus taught must be our path, if we are following his examples. It confounds me how anyone can allow politics and power to make them think that they are better than others, that they are the only “Christians” and declare that anyone who believes differently than they do is “not a Christian.” This Sunday we’re going to explore what it really means to be Christian, and to be Christian in a world that is such a tinder box of conflict. Join us for what will be a thought-provoking session about who we really are.


What's in a Name?

What we call people defines our relationship with bigger things.

(Posted January17, 2020)Reverend Pat Kriss

One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah"
(which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said,
"You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

Church Services on Sunday

Service begins at 10 a.m. All are welcome to worship with us. 

It was William Shakespeare who penned “What's in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.

However, in Jesus’ time and culture, names were deeply important. It presented the very essence of that individual. When Jesus confronted the bedeviled mad man in the Gerasene cemetery, the first thing he did is to pin down the name of the demon within him. The demon itself had already shown his fear by addressing Jesus by his own name. “What would you have do with me, O Jesus, Son of the Most High? Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And the Demon cried out, “Legion, for we are many!” When one was asked by a person in charge in those days, one had to answer honestly with a proper name. You see, to know someone’s name was to have some kind of power over them.

In today’s Gospel we see Jesus trolling for future apostles and meeting for the first time Simon, brother of Andrew. In their very first meeting, Jesus renames Simon Cephas -- in their native tongue of Aramaic, it means “Rock.” (So you see, there was “The Rock” long before Hollywood!) And why did he rename Simon? Because from the beginning Jesus knew that this hard-working, hard-headed fisherman would be the one, the foundation for his church. Today in Latin we know him as Petrus, Peter --- Simon Peter who would be the first head of the band of Jesus followers. This Sunday as I finish this year’s doctoral studies, Bible Magician Gary Kriss will be leading us down the fascinating path of what names mean, and how what we call people defines our relationship with bigger things. - Pastor Pat Kriss

The Blessing of an Incredible Gift

God’s grace has given us the energy to go forward from this point in time in a way that wasn’t even thinkable before this blessing.

(Posted January 24,2020)Reverend Pat Kriss

This Sunday, we encounter an old familiar scene… but in a new light. We travel with Jesus down to the Sea of Galilee, where he’s searching for the right men to be the first apostles. Here he finds Simon and Andrew. What we haven’t noticed before this, in the famous scene where Jesus tells them that they will be “fishers of men,” is who these two really are. You see, in Matthew’s account, Simon and Andrew are the poorest of the poor fishermen. Heck, they don’t even own a boat! Life has been dark and meager. All Simon and Andrew have is their nets, tattered though they may be. But Jesus assures them that it’s not about the material trappings. What matters is that they already know how to fish. God will provide the rest.

Church Services on Sunday

Service begins at 10 a.m. All are welcome to worship with us.

As we congregation members at First Church have experienced the blessing of the incredible gift by our Christmas Angel, we know that God’s grace has given us the energy to go forward from this point in time in a way that wasn’t even thinkable before this blessing. We have moved from darkness to light. It also places upon us the same call to action that Jesus gave to Simon and Andrew: leave the shore with me and begin “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.”

What I’d like us all to do on Sunday, both in the Service and after our Budget hearing during and after Coffee Hour, is to learn what the very bright future means for our congregation. I’ll be outlining the plan we have for the future, and answering any questions people may have or how they can participate.

In the meantime, I’d like everyone to think about this “thought-provoker” that The Rev. Kathryn M. Matthews, retired dean of Amistad Chapel at the national offices of the United Church of Christ, poses to us this week:

“Sometimes help comes from the most unexpected of places and the most unlikely of people. When have you felt that you were a person "sitting in darkness," longing for light to break forth in your life, longing for something to happen, for someone to come along, that will transform everything? Were you ever surprised by the way God sent help, or by the person bringing it?

In what ways has your congregation sat in darkness, and then experienced the light of God's love? What kind of radical reorientation did this produce or require? What new and unexpected things has God done in the life of your church? How do you plan to share it? As you look around your community and around the world, what new works and wonders is God about?”

Blessings! See you all on Sunday when we joyfully revel in the light!


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.