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

We Are the Fallen

Pray for ourselves, for we have truly lost our way if we have to weigh the value of a child against a level of commerce in the gun industry.

Rev. Pat Kriss(Posted May 26, 2022)

These are not the thoughts I had in mind early this morning when sitting down to write eTidings for you all. But then, after a week like the one we’ve just had, we should know that anything can happen at any time, without warning, and without reason.

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

Ed Hamlin Passed Away on Thursday

Just as I sat down to write, the phone rang, telling me that our beloved Ed Hamlin had passed away this morning at Ed and Jan’s home. Jan has been in a rehabilitation facility for a number of days after surgery, compounding for her the shock of his departure. Ed and Jan are part of the very foundation of First Church, both descendants of the Barnum family that was part of the original group of families who created the church and, virtually, the beginning settlement of what would become Danbury.

There have never been two more devoted people than Ed and Jan to one another and to our congregation. This morning when I visited Jan she shared with me that this coming month would mark their 60th  wedding anniversary. A loss like this leaves a hole in the heart that no amount of tears can fill – only cherished memories, eventually, can do that.

As Ed’s pastor, I can tell you -- as I told Jan -- that he epitomized the role of “disciple” for Jesus, devoting himself wholly and with humor to whatever needs the church has had. He will be missed, but most of all, he will continue to be loved.

News from Uvalde, Texas; Echoes of Sandy Hook

 Back at the very beginning of this week with Memorial Day looming this Sunday, I had thought I would be writing about our brave, departed soldiers who had willingly marched into danger to preserve our nation, and laid down their lives in the process. These are the dear souls we celebrate with fields of poppies, or even just one in a lapel.

But that was before Tuesday and the small town of Uvalde, Texas, where a madman would tear a huge hole in the fabric of the United States by obliterating 19 elementary school children and two teachers.

For those of us who were here ten years ago when First Church became one of the Sandy Hook Massacre houses of worship that held funerals for the victims, it was a moment of PTSD. The memories of the brutal moment, its impact on the families in our own church and especially the fact that one of our own – Lauren Rousseau, cradle raised in this congregation, was sacrificed on the pyre of madness – all of this came flooding back. I found myself longing to write about the simple poppies and tribute to the fallen. But my arms still have the muscle memory of holding an urn of ashes that didn’t have to be.

Beyond Tears

This Sunday will be different. I find myself beyond tears.

Even in this environment of violence and hatred, I find myself beyond howling in despair. I find myself standing with a mouth gaping in pain, open and yet with no sound coming forth, looking up toward heaven for an answer. The soldiers we will honor on Sunday gave the ultimate sacrifice, yes. But they knew the risks when they signed on. Our little children, on the other hand, never signed up for this.

Drilling for Mayhem

Some of the students the press has talked to said that they “have been drilling for this possibility” regularly at school. Drilling for mayhem? That is something a Marine might expect to do. But elementary school children? No Innocent should be taught that being an American requires combat training. And neither should people buying groceries or going to the movies.

Pray for the Fallen; Pray for Ourselves

When we gather this weekend to pray, we’ll pray for the fallen. But most of all, WE need to pray for ourselves, for we have truly lost our way if we have to weigh the value of a child against a level of commerce in the gun industry.

WE are The Fallen.


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.


Follow Us!