This Sunday -- June 10, 2018
This Sunday: Choir and Church School Recognition
From Reverend Pat Kriss
Two special Sundays are coming up for First Congregational Church. On June 10 we all have a chance to give thanks and recognition to our wonderful Choir under Jim Moriarty’s direction, as well as Cindy Tyrseck and Riley Duhamel for keeping our Church School as dynamic as it is.
Both School and Choir perform a role that might not be the one we first think of. Both School and Choir are Teachers of the Word of God. It’s clear that our Church School teachers are bringing Jesus to our youngsters in a way they can comprehend it. But by the same token, our Choir instructs the congregation to the presence of God by leading them with the beauty of song and lyric. More than anything else that happens in church it is music that lead people back to church when they choose to come; it lets them get in touch with something profound that happens when their lives connect with the sound of the Spirit.
On Sunday, June 17, and again on June 24, we are scheduled to have Baptisms. But more than being a “Hallmark Holiday,” June 17 is a day to celebrate the seed of faith that a father brings to his child. The gospel for that day is about having faith “as small as a mustard seed.”
It was, I think, no coincidence that this week I came upon the story of a little boy in a very poor parish on the outskirts of Rome, where Pope Francis paid an unexpected visit on April 15. The pastors set up a microphone so that the people, especially the little kids, could ask the Pope any questions they might have. One little boy, fittingly named Emanuele, was very, very timid, and when he got to the mike he started to cry, and said to the priest, “I can’t do it.” But the priest knew the urgency of the question, since little Emanuele’s father, an atheist, had just died. The priest put his arms around the boy and had him go right up to Pope Francis, and whisper his question in the Pope’s ear. Francis drew him close and when he heard the weeping boy’s question, he wrapped him in his arms and held him tight. He was clearly moved. And when the boy finally climbed off his lap, Francis spoke to the crowd. He said he had asked permission to share what the boy told him with the crowd. Emmanuele had whispered, “A little while ago my father passed away. He was a nonbeliever, but he had all four of his children baptized," the pope recalled the boy saying. "He was a good man. Is dad in heaven?'”
Francis told him “That man did not have the gift of faith, he wasn’t a believer, but he had his children baptized. He had a good heart….If only we could cry like Emanuele when we have pain in our hearts," Francis replied to the crowd after consoling the boy. “The one who says who goes to heaven is God… But what is God’s heart with a Dad like that? A Father’s heart. God has a Dad’s heart. And with a Dad who was not a believer, but who had his four children baptiized and gave them that bravura, do you think God would be able to leave him far from himself? Does God abandon his children?”
Francis asked the children in the crowd if they thought God would abandon a father like Emanuele’s, who was a good man. The children shouted back: “No!" He said,“So there is your answer, Emanuele. God surely was proud of your father because it is easier as a believer to baptize your children than when you are not a believer. Surely this pleased God very much. Talk to your Dad. Pray to your Dad.”
All we need is that mustard seed of faith that places the well-being of those we love above any weighty debate about theology. That’s what dads do, and who better to affirm that than Francis?
Pastor Pat Kriss (This E Tidings is written for both June 10 and June 17.)
From Jim Moriarty, Director of Music
This Sunday is when special attention is given to the church choir. I am so fortunate to have such a small group of people of different backgrounds, professions, ages, personalities and talents come together for one purpose – to make each and every piece of music they sing sound the best it can. Their voices may not be “operatic” in quality, but they each have their own unique beautiful tones, which they have shared throughout this year when singing solos.
Recall this past Advent Stephen Dickson’s interpretation of Mark Hayes’, “Prepare the Way of the Lord”, or Cheryl Hill’s version of “Wade in the Water”, of Nancy Wildman’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” solo. I could go on and on as each and every member has done a solo. When they usually are the soloist for the day, they also have to lead the congregation in singing of the hymns.
Our rehearsal/dinners have also given them an opportunity to discuss the events of the day, or learn about each other’s lives, or just vent. So it isn’t just a song for the moment that we’re celebrating. It is a special venture starting with the choice to get up out of bed, and get to an early morning rehearsal, to work with each other, to make a song sound like ‘one voice’ in harmony, or to give up an evening to rehearse...snow or no snow, and finally to have to work with me! Is it gratifying? You shouldn’t have to ask. Thank you, choir.
Peace and Joy through music sung by a terrific choir,
New! First Church Knitters Group. We plan on meeting June 25 to knit and crochet at 5:30 pm in the Parlor. Everyone is welcome. Seasoned knitters and crocheters as well as people who want to learn to knit or crochet. Fellowship and friends meet to relax...call Heidi at 204 798 0476 or 203 826 6827 to RSVP. Thanks for your interest!
Youth Group: Our newly formed Youth Group has decided to meet every other Tuesday at 6 pm on the 3rd floor. See Pastor Pat or Jay Duhamel for more info.
Deer Hill Thrift Shop
Great merchandise, low prices, very friendly staff.
Volunteers urgently needed, especially on Saturdays. Please call the church office if you can help. Hours: Friday and Saturday, 9:30 am – 2 pm.
Bible Study - Our next session will be on Monday, June 18 at 5:30 PM in the parlor off Annie Hall with food available, too. Even if you did not come before, please come and join us (call the church office before the next session so you can be sent the bible passage for that week). Open to all!
Join the Choir! Singers are always welcome to join the choir - see Jim Moriarty after worship
To submit article ideas for the website or Facebook, contact Greg Pings: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our June Fellowship Luncheon is Tuesday, June 12th at 12:30 pm in Annie Hall. Please bring a dish to share! All Welcome!
Dorothy Day House Supporters – from Joe Simons
A public hearing on our shelter permit has been scheduled with the City of Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals for Thursday June 14th at 7pm. The hearing will take place in the City Council Chambers on the 3rd floor of Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Avenue. We need a big turnout at the meeting in support of our work at Dorothy Day House.
To recap the situation, in February 2016, The City of Danbury issued a Cease and Desist order to Dorothy Day House after it was discovered that a current permit to operate the shelter did not exist. We asked that the Cease and Desist order be overturned, but the Zoning Board of Appeals turned down this request. We appealed this decision to the State Court, and this case is still active.
In the meantime, we are going through the process of applying for Special Use Exemption as if we were opening the shelter for the first time. Part of this process involves submittal of a site plan. Our current location does not conform to regulations for number and size of parking spots, driveway widths, property offsets, and a number of other factors. Therefore, we have to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals to have these nonconforming site plan issues resolved. The hearing will deal with site plan issues only, and not whether Dorothy Day House has a positive or negative impact on the community