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

Sunday, October 28, 2018

This Sunday:  Creativity Sunday / Pumpkin Carving

Sunday Worship in Sanctuary


From Reverend Pat Kriss

As we head into the deepest part of the Fall months, the shadows deepen, and a chill haunts the air. At least in American culture (and through the constant pressure of advertising), our children’s thoughts turn to witches, ghouls, ghosts and skeletons, PLUS a big haul of candy on  October 31. And parents’ thoughts turn gloomily to cavities and dental visits.

But if the truth be told, I will bet that you don’t even know who the people who were first condemned as  witches were. The first witches, according to the Roman Empire WERE US. That’s right. Christians. It’s not coincidental that Nero burned the first Christians in his garden, and that for centuries later, so-called witches were rounded up and burned at the stake. Why? Because these latter people were also different. They were outsiders. For the most part they maintained the old country religion of the pagans. In the British Isles including Ireland, they also kept the old agricultural calendar, whose equivalent of New Year’s Day fell on November 1. The night before, on October 31, called Samhain and pronounced “Sawen”, tradition told the people that the veil that separates this world from the world ahead where the souls and spirits of those passed on, that veil thinned enough for some spirits to cross over. So the pre-Christian inhabitants felt that they needed something to ward off those spirits, to scare them. And the townspeople would for that night dress up in odd garments to ward them off. In Ireland they would also take turnips, hollow them out, put spooky faces on them and light them with candles, to ward off the gloom, especially when cutting through the churchyard. It was early in the Christian Church’s history when the church fathers looked around at all these costumed spirit believers, and knew they needed to counteract it with goodness. So they created a holiday, early in the 4th Century, to celebrate the holiest of those who had passed on called All Saints Day, on November 1. It was called Hollowmas, for holiness, and of course the night before became All Hollow’s Eve, or Halloween.

But Halloween is not the most significant thing to occur on October 31. On that date in 1517, the people in Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany heard a fierce pounding on the doors of the Castle Church. These were no Halloween revelers. Instead it was a young monk named Martin Luther nailing up his 95 Theses on that door, about the corruption in the Catholic church and outlining what must be done. Luther did not mince words about a church he felt had become corrupt to the core, because it had been waging a long war and had piled up debts. The church had been selling “indulgences” which were supposed to be passes for getting out of Purgatory sooner when one died, if one had the cash to give the church. With every stroke of his hammer, the faithful were splitting away from the old corruption, to become part of the Reformation, and of Protestantism.

So this Sunday, we will not only keep the tradition of carving pumpkins after Church to ward off the spirits; we will be singing Protestant hymns and remembering how the bravery of one man changed Christian theology forever. --- Pastor Pat Kriss

Coming Up This Sunday after Church: Pumpkin carving for kids, with Carver Jessica Collins:

We will be down in the gym after the 10 AM services learning how to carve pumpkins with an expert. Jessica Collins began photographing giant pumpkins over ten years ago when she became friends with a giant pumpkin grower. From there, her love of pumpkins grew and she photographed them to their stages of growth. She became the photographer for a giant pumpkin weigh off. She loves capturing the pumpkins and was thrilled when she was given the opportunity to begin carving them. She enjoys capturing the pumpkin's personality in both photos and in her carvings. She enjoys carving anything from a tiny acorn squash to a giant several hundred pound pumpkins.


From Jim Moriarty, Music Director

Because the next few Sundays are our annual Stewardship Drive Sundays, the anthems, sung for our wonderful choir, for those Sundays will relate to the faith of our church as a family and the responsibilities we share.

This fall several concerts are scheduled in our beautiful sanctuary. I am listing all of them so you can mark your calendars well in advance to help with your Holiday plans.  I also want to mention that November’s Jazz Sunday is scheduled for November 11 – the second Sunday of the month and the final Sunday of our stewardship Sunday.

Nov. 3 – The Danbury Music Centre’s Concert Chorus will present an evening of songs related to love in varying genres – some of which are quite comical.  Several selections are written for 4 handed piano, and one with a fifth added! Several a cappella selections will round out this evening of fine and fun music. The concert begins at 7:30. Donations will be taken at the door.

Nov. 18 – Our Annual Thanksgiving morning service.  In the afternoon The Master Chorale directed by Tina Heidrich will present their Annual Holiday Concert beginning at 3pm. Our sanctuary is usually filled for this concert. For ticket information call 203-743-0473.

Dec. 2 – The Children’s Community Chorus, direct by Patricia Moriarty will present their Winter Concert at 1pm. This year, the chorus in full costumes, will be singing and moving to several selections from the Nutcracker. Other selections will round out what has become a very special popular children’s concert free to the public.

Dec. 8 – YOU must include in your Holiday plans this date. Doug Hartline and friends will present the most unique Holiday concert of its type in our surrounding areas. You might call it light jazz, or contemporary arrangements of seasonal music which will include vibraphone, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals to make for a terrific unique experience. Additional information coming soon.

Dec. 15 – The Annual performance of the Messiah presented by the DMC will feature 80 voices and over 20 instruments. The performance beginning at 3pm will be held in our wonderful sanctuary. In the past this performance has filled our sanctuary - both balcony and downstairs. And it is free, although a donation will be requested.

And of course for Advent and Christmas Eve, there will always be special music, special arrangements of favorite carols and new selections sung by our soloists and chancel choir.

Yes, these dates may sound a little early, but our Stewardship Drive, Thanksgiving and Advent are about to happen! So lock in these dates.

Peace and Joy through Music,  Jim Moriarty


First Church Knitters Group.  We plan on meeting to knit and crochet at 5:30 pm in the Parlor on alternate Thursdays.  Everyone is welcome. Seasoned knitters and crocheters as well as people who want to learn to knit or crochet. Fellowship and friends meet to Heidi at 204 798 0476 or 203 826 6827 to RSVP/next date.


“Faith and Foam” Monday, Nov. 5 at Three Brothers Diner in Danbury, starting at 6pm (242 White Street). If you haven’t heard of these kinds of meet-ups, they have become very popular for churches to run in communities all over the country. The intention behind the meet-ups is this: For many people because of work or other commitments, going to a house of worship on the weekend just doesn’t fit with the way their lives unfold. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a spiritual life, or, for that matter, that they don’t have questions or opinions they’d like to share about faith and religion. It’s the informal kind of discussion that lends itself to a brew or a drink among friends after work.


Bible Study - Our next session will be on Tuesday, Oct. 30th  at 6 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!


Children’s Community Chorus meets every Tuesday at 4:30 pm. Open to All Children – Elementary & Middle School Age – no charge, non-religious, limited enrollment. To sign up or for more info: or call the church office. 


To submit article ideas for the website or Facebook, contact Greg Pings:


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 9:30 am – 2 pm; Sat. 10 am – 2pm.

Thanksgiving Food Collection for Interfaith Aids Ministry - November 11th.  Besides Thanksgiving items, most needed are: different kinds of pasta, sauce, canned soups, vegetables and meals in cans; also condiments.
E-Tidings Date: 
Thursday, October 25, 2018


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.