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


How Jesus’ Disciples Became Apostles

They were absolutely transformed!

Rev Dr Pat Kriss(Posted May 15, 2024)

“Fortunately, God made all varieties of people with a wide variety of interests and abilities. He has called people of every race and color who have been hurt by life in every manner imaginable.  Even the scars of past abuse and injury can be the means of bringing healing to another. What wonderful opportunities to make disciples!”
-- Charles R. Swindoll

This Sunday is the celebration of Pentecost. And YES – it is a big deal.

It’s the Birthday of the Church.

Why is it important? The day marks the point of total transformation of that ragtag, skeptical bunch of men and women who had been following Jesus for nearly three years. Three years of maybe believing, sometime confusing, oftentimes misunderstanding, fearing but hoping that this is, in fact, the Messiah.

The Apostle’s Pentecost Journey

Pentecost was more amazing than that journey. A little more than 50 days before Pentecost occurred, most of these disciples – especially the men folk – had abandoned Jesus to a gruesome death on the cross, attended only by the women who loved Jesus.

Those other disciples had scurried off and were hiding, hiding for their lives, wherever the authorities couldn’t find them.

The Apostle’s Pentecost Preparation

A little more than 50 days later, here they are, again in the Upper Room, to be filled with the Holy Spirit that descended on them like a great Wind of God. Like the quote above from preacher Charles Swindoll, there is a vast variety of people and talents in the room, and the Holy Spirit ignites in them all a passion for action. They begin to “speak in the tongues” of their particular abilities, to start the journey of proclamation.

When you think about it, it’s all those moments of doubt and pain these disciples had already faced that prepared them for the knowing. They have seen the Lord.

God is real. They know.

If ever any of us have secretly wondered if all of these New Testament stories we read every week are true, all we have to do is look at these Pentecost men and women. They are ABSOLUTELY transformed.

This Sunday we, the disciples of today, will celebrate with the disciples of the Pentecost, to the music of Doug and Ginny Hartline. Come join in the joy with us.

Remembering on Memorial Day

A look at the Faithful Centurion

(Posted May 23, 2024)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie, 
    In Flanders fields ...

…. John McCrae

Rev. Dr. Pat KrissThere’s something about the American Spirit that loves a parade. Most of our national holidays

manage to work a parade or two into the plans, along with an obligatory family gathering and barbeque. In recent decades our holidays have homogenized themselves, so that each one becomes the excuse for gigantic sales of cars, mattresses, and hot dog buns.

(Happy?) Memorial Day

The other day I heard a TV announcer close her broadcast for this weekend, with the words, “Happy Memorial Day!” The thing is, Memorial Day is not one of our national holidays like the others, meant to be full of joy and potato salad. This is a holiday where we’re supposed to shoulder the responsibility to remember all those men and women who no can no longer lie on a lawn chair with a beer and family. Because they and their hopes and dreams lie beneath the earth in a graveyard, far away from the plans they had for the rest of life they thought they would have.

Recognize the Men and Women in the Military

These days, I’m glad to see a return of American recognition of people who have served in the military, and have personally witnessed, at the airport, people spontaneously recognizing returning troops with the words, “thank you for your service.” 

The thing is, those who serve in the military -- literally for thousands of years -- have been viewed performing their tasks, sometimes with admiration, but also sometimes with fear. Those who end up in armies and navies are there sometimes out of choice, but oftentimes out of conscription. They are taught to do what the government at the time tells them to do. And sometimes they don’t comply.

The Faithful Centurion

This Sunday we will spend time with one such individual of considerable military standing: the Faithful Centurion. While he was in rank well up the Roman ladder of domination over Israel, his own observations of Jesus brought him to his knees before this amazing teacher and healer. What could possibly drive the Centurion to take such a risk? Could it be that a hunger for peace lies beneath all of the fighting?  We will find out this Sunday, amidst wonderful music and singing by some of our choir.

Come and “pull up a pew seat” with us before the lawn chair at your own picnic.

And remember those who have made it possible.


The Day the Earth Shook

Gratitude for the average days.

Rev. Dr. Pat Kriss(Posted April 5, 2024)

Just as I sat down to write this week’s E tidings, my house swayed, and the sizable roar of the earthquake that hit this morning set our dog barking and running through the house. Frankly, since we’ve just come through the dark readings of Lent and Good Friday, and since we are on the edge of a near total eclipse of the sun, the following text flowed into my mind:

Isaiah 13:-9-11; 13

 See, the day of the Lord is coming  
    —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—
to make the land desolate
    and destroy the sinners within it.
 The stars of heaven and their constellations
    will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened
    and the moon will not give its light.
I will punish the world for its evil,
    the wicked for their sins.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty
    and will humble the pride of the ruthless…

Therefore I will make the heavens tremble;
    and the earth will shake from its place
at the wrath of the Lord Almighty,
    in the day of his burning anger.

Lessons From an Earthquake

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that it takes a major geological event to get us to realize that we all share this fragile earth, and it shakes the privileged and the poor alike. Isn’t it strange that it takes an earthquake to shift our focus away from countries shaking with war and politicians lobbing hatred at one another, and over to our common experience of a quaking world?

Wisdom From an Earthquake

There’s a lesson in today, and some wisdom in Isaiah’s words. We need to stop taking an average day with just the usual challenges for granted. Perhaps the best thing we can do is to start every day in gratitude for the possibility it might just be an average day:

A day where we can bestow our respect for the other on those we meet.

A day when we might have the opportunity to share some of the bountiful blessings we’ve been given with some people who live without them.

Shaken Awake

Does it really take an earthquake for God to shake us awake to the possibilities that are standing right in front of us every day?

When we gather this Sunday and share bread and the fruit of the vine, I hope you will find a few moments to be with us and thank God for all the average days we’ve been gifted.


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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