(Posted June 5, 2019)
Without Pentecost the Christ-event - the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus - remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become living Christs here and now. – Henri Nouwen, 20th century
From the time I was a very little kid, the concept of Pentecost Sunday has always intrigued me. Sitting in my home parish as a child, there was a big stained glass window next to where my family always sat. In that picture everyone looked so happy as a beautiful dove descended upon them… and then I noticed that it looked like their hair was on fire. Why was everyone so happy?
Church Services on Sunday
All are welcome to worship with us. Service begins at 10 a.m.
Truly there are few portions of the Bible that fit what we as Christians face today in a world that seems far more cruel than compassionate, than the Pentecost passage. When we meet these apostles, they are alone. Jesus “has left the building.” The last they saw of him was the bottom of his feet as he ascended into the heavens. They feel alone, orphans in a hostile world. So they prayed, and what they got was their heads and hearts set aflame with the kind of grace they needed to sustain their courage. That’s precisely what we need to receive today —- courage to “become living Christs here and now.”
This Sunday we also honor the people among us who most model the love of Christ: our Church School leadership, and our Choir and Musical leadership. Truly you are the people who let us know we are not orphans, but are loved with your unique gifts that bring us closer to God. Blessings to all of you. - Pastor Pat Kriss
(Posted June 5, 2019)
Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music” – G. Elliot
Our chancel choir is scheduled to sing this Sunday - choir recognition Sunday. Two of the anthems that we will be singing were composed by Don Besig (BEE’ sig). Don (photo right, with lyricist Nancy Price) taught school for over thirty years. During that time he felt there was a need for choral music for student singers and volunteer church choirs. He began composing in 1960. Over fifty of his compositions have been composed with a former student of his, Nancy Price, who writes most of the words; AND more than 20 million copies of his works have been sold! Nancy Price and Don Besig composed this Sunday’s offertory anthem.
Last summer a couple of days before the Shawnee Press Music Conference that I attend each summer, he had a stroke which has permanently affected his arm. I do not know if he is still composing or not. So I dedicate this Sunday’s anthems to him for all his wonderful anthems that are song throughout the world.
And speaking of musicians, I was so pleased to have received an unexpected call from a former organist and choir director of this church, Tom Powell. He reads our weekly E-Tidings and wanted to talk about the choir and the organ. He was the music director from 1959-1983. He had 20 to 25 members in his choir and four paid soloists. Some of you may remember Thayer Bowman – also onetime mayor of Danbury who was at that time the bass soloist.
Tom sounded good and said that he still plays the piano, but only at home. I distinctly remember after our first visit to First Congregational Church how we spoke about the quality and sound of the choir, and also of the pastor at that time, Bob Naylor. This was in the mid 70’s!
The last Jazz Sunday until September is scheduled for June 16. On June 23 there may a duet/choir. And a very special quartet is scheduled for our Independence Sunday service on Sunday, June 30th, which will include our annual Patriotic sing-along songs.
Peace and Joy through music,
(Posted May 3, 2019)
“life is too short for fake butter or fake people.” ― Karen Salmansohn, author
As most of us have experienced, there are times in our lives – hard times – when it’s really, really hard to find Jesus in the middle of it all. Ever since Easter I’ve been struck by how, in many ways, our looking for the goodness of God is a continuation of a hunt for Easter eggs. Our faith tells us that God’s there, hiding under some daffodil (or even under a skunk cabbage). But we’re the ones who have to put in the effort to find that goodness.
Recently, and even a few times in these same few weeks, we people who believe in goodness have been brought up short emotionally by the kind of sorrow and tragedy that oozes out of the festering wound of blind hatred and violence. Sri Lanka. The Chabad of Poway, California. The University of North Carolina. And literally hundreds and hundreds of acts of daily violence and bullying that don’t make the news. How do we even deal with these acts? Is there anything we can do with the information?
Services Begin at 10 a.m.
Please join us!
The truth is, we Jesus believers were going through the exact same thing in the weeks and years right after the first Easter, when the zealots of the time, unable to tolerate difference of belief, sought to snuff out the early followers of Christ. There was no one more intent to kill off Jesus believers than the man called Saul – a Benjaminite and Zealot who rounded up and led them to be killed. But, as Karen Salmansohn, who I quoted at the beginning of this meditation, also says, “I'd rather have an enemy who admits that they hate me, than a friend who secretly puts me down.” Saul was just such an enemy, someone who God was about to flip from foe to friend of Christians. Then God stepped in and knocked Saul off his high horse, blinded him, and left him exposed to the love Jesus taught as he was tended to over a few days, until he could really see. Saul the killer became Paul the best friend of the Savior. His conversion led him to become, with out a doubt, the man who created the Christian Church. He became known for writing extraordinary letters to troubled churches when they were being persecuted by others, or even by their own deep flaws.
The thing is, amidst the carnage and confusion, the pain and persecution that is at the root of most terrorism and bullying, we need to look for the hidden Jesus, the Easter egg of possibility that such awful moments present to us. We CAN find ways to enhance understanding of one another when blind rage comes to call. We CAN find a resurrection moment whenever people stand up to evil and say, “No more. I will do whatever I can to comfort others, and to let them know that only love triumphs in the end.”
We need a post-Easter uprising, a moment to sift through the wreckage of human failure, and find the places that Jesus has hidden himself, waiting to be found by us, where we become the instruments of God’s peace, the healers who restore the sight of those who cannot yet see our common brotherhood. Join me on Sunday when we tackle the hard questions of what we do with our own sense of betrayal and how we heal ourselves and the world. - Pastor Pat Kriss
First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: (203) 744-6177
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 10 a.m.–11 a.m.