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


When the Going Gets Tough …

… We Support Each Other

Rev Dr Pat Kriss(Posted February 2, 2024)

“But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you, to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God.” -- Ruth 1:16

One of the most moving experiences in reading the Bible regularly is encountering the so-called “minor” characters in Scripture. These are the people who so often exhibit an extraordinary selflessness, who see themselves in service to others. Little is known of these people, except that their role is significant to the message of the Gospel.  If these minor players happen to be women, there are many times that they are not even given a name in the text to remember them by.

Taking Care of Others

Such is the case in this week’s Gospel, when Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was extremely ill with a raging fever. When Jesus came in town to Simon’s home, the very first thing Jesus does is go to her side, and completely cures her of the fever. And what does this nameless Mother-in-Law do? She gets up and prepares dinner for Jesus and the family. Now, I’m not suggesting that every woman ought to jump up from her sickbed and turn into Martha Stewart on the spot. But it is significant to note that she willingly wanted to take care of her family, and this amazing visitor who had pulled her back from the brink of death.

We’re All One People

Likewise in the Hebrew Bible we meet Naomi, who as a widow in a land plagued by famine, has no one to protect her from starvation. While she urges her daughters-in-law to return to their family in another land, Daughter-in-Law Ruth refuses to abandon this older woman. It is clear that, truly, these Bible characters live the principle that all of us are one people, one family.

This Sunday, before celebrating the Lord’s Supper, we will explore the principle of supporting one another especially when the going gets tough, through compassion and knowing that we are all “kindred spirits.”

Polynesian Mardi Gras Celebration

A glimpse of heaven.

Rev Dr Pat Kriss(Posted February 8, 2024)

This coming Sunday is the last one before Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, on February 14. Of course, it’s also Valentines Day, so on this joyful Sunday, we will do something special. And, in the midst of a cold New England February, I thought we might want to escape, even for an hour or so, to the warm sounds and sights of Polynesia!

A Glimpse of Heaven

This Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 9:2-9) is a glorious reading, when Jesus’ onlookers get a glimpse -- even for only a few moments -- of heaven and the REAL identity of Jesus as the Son of God. So what is better than having a joyful celebration led by some of the people and cultures contained within our own congregation?

A Polynesian Hula: From Heaven to Earth

This Sunday we will be joined by the Dance Group, CT Tiare Polynesian Dance Troupe who perform Polynesian Hula. First Church was so pleased last fall to enjoy a performance in our service of Filipino dance and music. But the Filipino cultural association, FAAWC, has many groups. Working with Matty Bautista, we welcome them back again as CT Tiare Polynesian Dance Troupe. Hula is all about the telling of the stories of the Spirit, in dance and chant.

Where Did the Hula Dance Originate?

Most people are unaware that Hula didn’t originate in Hawaii, but started in the Philippine Islands. The dance spread from there throughout the South Pacific, before becoming synonymous with the Hawaiian Isles.

How the Good News of Spreads

We will also take a look at how the Good News of Jesus spread across the vast area, and took root among the Pacific Islands.

Some of our music will reflect beautiful adaptations of Christian hymns into the Hawaiian language. We hope you will join us for an uplifting time together. As they say in Hilo, “a hui hou….” Until we meet again.

What Do Easter Symbols Mean?

Jesus Identified with mother hens.

Rev. Dr. Pat KRISS(Posted February 23, 2024)

“A new study has uncovered, for the first time, that mother hens are such attentive, caring parents that they ‘feel’ their chicks’ pain.  In experiments, female chickens showed clear signs of anxiety when their young were in distress.  [They] found that adult female birds possess at least one of the essential underpinning attributes of empathy – the ability to be affected by, and share, the emotional state of another.”  – Progressive Christianity

I was in CVS the other morning. The place was bursting with everything imaginable for Easter. It was as if all of the months of February and most of March didn’t even exist, and we had zoomed straight past all of it to Easter on March 31. Stuffed bunnies cascaded onto the floor. Marshmallow peeps clogged the shelves on the store’s main walkway back to the pharmacy.

Suddenly I understood exactly why people felt better navigating that aisle, because in this world gone dark with fear and anger, we folks really do need the colors of spring to help us believe that there will be another springtime in our lives.

The Symbols of Easter

Still, I wondered if any of the people rushing to pick up their prescriptions actually knew the significance of the Easter symbols they were rushing past. Specifically, those peeps and the occasional hens among the decorations.

This Sunday there is the rare occurrence in the Gospel where Jesus, looking over Jerusalem and the fragile lives of so many under Roman occupation, identifies, not as the virile Son of Man or the mighty Son of God, but as a mother hen. In the face of threats to her chicks, she gathers them under her wings, where she protects them with her body. This maternal emblem fits Jesus so well, as one who puts his own human essence on the line from the foxes of the world.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be spending a little time with the symbols that lend their shape to Easter, thinking about their origins in the Celtic/Pagan traditions of spring, but especially how there is hidden meaning in each symbol that connects us to that glorious Easter Morning. Come join us and meet the Mother Hen this Sunday morning.


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

Phone: (203) 744-6177

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

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

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


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