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


To See Others as God Sees Us

I just wish … that ALL people can sense is that the Eyes of God peer down on us from a spectacular universe.

(Posted June 2, 2023)

By Rev. Dr. Pat Kriss

“The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone, our home that must be defended like a holy relic.  The Earth was absolutely round. I believe I never knew what the word round meant until I saw Earth from space. ” -- Alexey Leonov, Soviet Cosmonaut, First Person to Walk in Space

There’s a psychological effect that nearly every astronaut has experienced when they first see earth from the edge of space. The Overview Effect is known to profoundly change the men and women who have the privilege of seeing our planet, floating in space, and the way that they see other human beings after the experience.



Seeing from Another Perspective

A Beautiful World is a site dedicated to the science, philosophy and sheer beauty of truly seeing our planet from another perspective. The following is from A Beautiful World about the astronaut response:

“Many say they no longer identify with a specific nationality or culture after seeing earth from outer space, instead they see themselves, and all citizens on earth, as one people, living on one world.

The Overview Effect has been documented by numerous astronauts and cosmonauts, who describe seeing the Earth from in space first-hand like seeing ‘a tiny, fragile ball of life hanging in the void, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere.’”

I know from watching the most recent brief journey that selected people made to the edge of our atmosphere, that their immediate response when they saw the gossamer-thin layer of air separating us from the dark vacuum of space featured two emotions: both awe and fear. Awe because they never realized that such a thin veil protects us from chaos. Fear, because we here on earth blissfully ignore how fragile and unique our existence is, here in this corner of the universe.

Seeing People From an Earth-Bound Perspective

But back here on earth. there are times I wonder if we, as a species, are all that far removed from man’s early tribal existence – that part that scientists refer to as the “monkey brain” that only knows violence and warfare as a solution to “those other people” who aren’t like them, don’t talk like them, don’t worship like them, don’t love like them. It certainly feels that way.

Recently in our Sunday Service Vinay Christian asked us to pray for the people of East India, particularly for the Christians of the area who, since the beginning of this year, have been under full attack by the Hindu nationals in their towns. Our fellow Christians have had their houses burned, their churches vandalized or destroyed by fire.

The cause for all this ant-Christian hatred? Some people were choosing to become Christians when new missionaries arrived. A correspondent from the Washington Post reports: “That visit to the remote region — a day’s drive from the nearest airport — revealed the extent of the chaos and its uneasy aftermath. In villages, bruised and beaten Christian converts picked through the rubble of churches destroyed by mobs wielding sledgehammers. In dusty townships, Hindu nationalist leaders led impassioned rallies promising more action against Christian conversions. In an empty government gym of the dusty township of Narayanpur, evicted families including Salam’s sought refuge, sleeping on mats next to a few sacks of spare clothes and grain.”

Seeing People From God’s Perspective

Other than praying for all of these people, I just wish we could have both sides see our fragile planet from space, where it is apparent no boundaries can be seen between people, and the only thing that ALL people can sense is that the Eyes of God peer down on us from a spectacular universe. How petty all of our grievances must seem to our awesome Creator.

More on this topic Sunday.

Healing and Joy

Two events to raise our spirits.

Rev Dr Pat Kriss(Posted June 7, 2023)

By Rev. Dr. Pat Kriss        

This is “just what the doctor ordered,” and I don’t mean only me.

This Sunday we take an in depth look at Jesus, who is the ultimate Physician for all of our needs. In an age where people’s mental health is compromised by so much stress and so much free-floating anger, even sometimes directed at strangers, the thing we need the most often is for someone to really listen to us, restore our health and then raise our spirits.

Jesus is the source of that “listening, healing” presence. We’ll visit this kind of healing in our short sermon this week.

Church Services on Sunday

In-Person Service begins at 10 a.m. Facemasks are optional if you are fully vaccinated.

Watch us on Facebook: We livestream our services to Facebook. You may view them live or on demand at

A Weekend of Joyous Events

A full weekend of joyous events at First Church that brings new people to meet us and our community.

Superheroes and Princesses Tea Party on Saturday, June 10,. from 3 to 6 p.m. at First Church. This will be a first-of-its-kind event for us, and it is chaired by new church member Olga Mejia. (Who is ably assisted by her husband Dave Baez and a cast of community collaborators.) Tickets are available at Eventbrite, and at the door.

Olga has gathered an amazing group who have designed this event to delight the “small fry” of Danbury. Kids will have a chance to dress up, meet their favorite characters, watch some magic and have a great afternoon. Bring your kids, your grandchildren or your neighbor’s kids to have a blast!

Welcome Summer! Service and Picnic on Sunday, June 11, starting at 10 a.m. It’s that time of year to tune up your tonsils, find a straw hat and bring your appetite. Our service begins at 10 the sanctuary. A barbershop quartet from the Mad Hatter Chorus will lead us in song. They’ll also serenade us during the picnic that immediately follows the service.

The Picnic! After the service, we will take it outside on what promises to be a lovely day. We will have the tents up with tables and chairs on the lawn for the picnic. Food, beverages and snacks will be provided by everyone’s favorite hot dog truck from Ridgefield, Chez Lenard.

You may note that we are not making this a potluck event this time, so there will be a free will offering jar so that you can help the church defray the cost of the picnic menu.

We Rise Like a Phoenix

Finding hope in adversity.

Rev Pat Kriss(Posted May 4, 2023)

“Temper us in fire, and we grow stronger. When we suffer, we survive.”
-- Cassandre Clare, City of Heavenly Fire

This Sunday is a celebration for First Church. It’s Anniversary Sunday. Now, if you’re a new member of First Church or joined with us in the last couple of years, you might wonder, “what Anniversary are we marking?”

The front of our Sunday bulletin will give everyone a clue.

Church Services on Sunday

In-Person Service begins at 10 a.m. Facemasks are optional if you are fully vaccinated.

Watch us on Facebook: We livestream our services to Facebook. You may view them live or on demand at

There’s an illustration of a Phoenix there – the mythical bird that is capable of facing destruction by fire, but then rises anew from its own ashes. And that, essentially is what the First Congregational Church did when in 1907 our Fourth Meetinghouse -- on Main Street when Danbury Savings Bank stands today -- burned to the ground.

Nothing of the building was left, and were it not for the heroic actions of a few men who carried the Emerson Pulpit out of the fully engulfed building, not even that would have survived. When a community like ours faces adversity, we know how important it is to keep the ember of hope alive and fan it with our plans for a future.

Finding Hope in Adversity

When a fire turned the massive bell in our steeple into a molten puddle of metal what did our religious forebears do? They turned the metal into dinner bells that were sold to raise funds for a new meeting house. The church bell, not silenced, rang inside the dining rooms of a hundred houses, instead.

So it is each May that we celebrate Anniversary Sunday, when our current meeting house was dedicated on May 3, 1909. Each year nearest that date we celebrate and honor our long-time members who really are the “feathers” on the Phoenix that is First Church.

This Sunday I will be sharing a few secrets, surprises and unspoken stories of the church we all thought we knew so well, that I discovered while completing my Doctorate on First Church. Come and be entertained.


First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Est. 1696

Phone: (203) 744-6177

Office Hours:
Monday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Thrift Shop Hours:
Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sunday Worship:
Sunday   10:00 a.m.–11 a.m.


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