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


From Reverend Pat Kriss: Hope and Encouragement

Those who aren't following Jesus aren't his followers. It's that simple. Followers follow ...

(Posted September 13, 2018)Rev. Pat Kriss

It hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention, I don’t think, that the southeastern United States is in for a major storm, and residents along the coast are moving inland, while in the rest of the states' people are preparing in advance for the onslaught of high wind and floods. The best and only defense in times like these is to be prepared. Certainly our prayers are with the people.

But I must say that there are other things coming up this Fall for which we ought to prepare. As we get nearer to November, I detect the the “wind” is picking up around political opponents, as the media waves become flooded with negative rhetoric and downright nastiness. I may love the autumn, but I hate the negativity of election season. The one thing I wish I could get across, especially for candidates that like to profess their Christianity to garner votes, is that they can’t have it both ways. Scot McKnight, the New Testament Scholar and writer, says, "Those who aren't following Jesus aren't his followers. It's that simple. Followers follow, and those who don't follow aren't followers. To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus into a society where justice rules, where love shapes everything. To follow Jesus means to take up his dream and work for it." 

Worship with Us

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

From my perspective, that means you can’t stand up one day and profess how Jesus is your role model, and the next day flog your opponent with hateful words that demean and devalue. It doesn’t work that way. You either are a Christian, or you need to stop using that self-definition. Christianity is much more than just saying we’re Christians. Christianity means living it in the way we treat others. It’s Faith and Works. Not just words alone. And for the rest of us, we need to prepare for the gathering autumn storm of negativity. We need not let the flood of words wash away our peace of mind, not if we “sandbag where we live” with the knowledge that all of the bluster is just gusts of rhetoric.

This Sunday is Jazz Sunday. All of our scripture readings deal with the damage of that seemingly most innocent organ – the tongue – can do with just a few words. Even the Gospel itself is all about the disciples who misunderstand what Jesus means when he says he’s the Messiah. They thought he was going to be a political Messiah who would save them from their rivals and political enemies. But Jesus meant that he came as their personal Messiah, to teach them, to save them from themselves.   We’re going to study some powerful words of hope and encouragement this Sunday, while we enjoy some cool jazz along with those points of hope. Join us! – Pastor Pat Kriss

From Reverend Pat Kriss: Be as a Child

children are so fully open to other people, regardless of their age or their gender or race.

(Posted September 22, 2018)

Last Sunday we grownups were all standing around during Coffee Hour as Pat and Jim’s and Heidi and Tom’s five grandchildren raced around from room to room. “Oh to be a kid, again,” one of us remarked, “with all that energy!” Afterward, I began to think. Is that all that I envy in our little kids – their energy level – or is there more?

Actually, I realize, there’s a LOT more. Other than the wonderful way that the abundant calories kids consume do not go directly to their hips, most of all I envy the way that children, especially children six or younger, are so fully open to other people, regardless of their age or their gender or race. It’s not that they don’t see difference. They do. (I  remember when I was four years old, noticing the gentleman sitting next to me on the bus, and asking my mother out loud, “Why is that man all chocolate?” I don’t remember his reaction, but I do remember hers.)

Worship with Us

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

In early childhood those differences don’t matter, aren’t weighted as being better or worse one way or another. One thing we do know is that children learn their prejudices, learn who’s in and who’s out, learn who’s powerful, by exposure to the adults around them. And if we as teachers and as spiritual leaders want to head off bullying and prejudice, we need to do so by the time children reach the third grade, when the negative things that we adults have modeled for children can harden into real prejudice, real ranking of people who are not as important as the next person.

This weekend’s Gospel from Mark has us eavesdropping on the embarrassing moment when some of Jesus’ disciples are discussing among themselves who is the greatest – and, it turns out, HE knows. He takes them aside, and calls to his side a small child. Jesus explains to them that they must be willing to welcome even a small child as an equal, and to see his own image in that child. These days, of course, we cherish our children. But in Jesus’ day, children were the least significant of God’s creations, wielding no power at all. This Sunday we’re going to be discovering ways to be like children, all over again, in this contemporary era.

Come join us! –Pastor Pat Kriss

Special prayers to a family from Central Christian Church who were involved in a terrible crash in Syracuse:  Tara Gamble and son Lukas.  Lukas is in critical condition and his father, Terence did not survive.

The Human Side of Jesus

His hometown only knew him as the Carpenter’s Son.

(Posted July 6, 2018)

Stepping into the pulpit for me this Sunday as I recuperate from oral surgery will be my husband, Gary. He’s going to bring his own perspective on the side of Jesus that we don’t often focus on -- his human side. 

Worship with Us

Services begin at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome.

Certainly with all of the miracles that the Gospel writer Mark relates to us, we are used to thinking of his supernatural side. But this week we see Jesus as he returns to his hometown full of people who only know him as the Carpenter’s Son, and who harbor a world of doubt. Please join Gary for this special Sunday. I’ll be back next week. -- Reverend 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.