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

Where Did Everyone Go?

Americans are still a people of robust spiritual belief.

Rev Dr Pat Kriss(Posted July 13, 2023)

Praise God even when you don't understand what he's doing. ― Germany Kent, American Broadcaster

This Sunday promises to be one that will fill you up on a number of levels. First of all, Sunday is National Ice Cream Day, so our Coffee Hour will be coffee and ice cream sundaes.

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

Where Is Everyone?

More importantly, since this week’s Gospel is the one in which Jesus explains to his followers how his message falls differently on the ears of people who hear him, we’re going to “go there” on the topic most of us feel concerned about:

“Where is everybody? Why aren’t people coming to church anymore? What’s going on?”

 The question is even more prominent for this moment, when the pandemic has waned. We sort of thought that people would come bounding back into the pews. But they haven’t. The same thing has been true for all the other houses of worship in Danbury – the synagogues, other Protestant churches, even the Masjids and non-Judeo-Christian worship groups.

The Rise of the ‘Nones’

It’s not just First Church and not just the Danbury area. It’s across the nation. As we will explore this Sunday, the fall-away from religious attendance and affiliation started in the 1990’s when church attendance was still fairly high and only 5% of Americans referred to themselves as “no particular faith.” That number has ballooned to a whopping 30% of the population today, according to Ryan P. Burge. Dr. Burge is both an American Baptist pastor and a well-respected social scientist who compiles the data on his landmark book we will be referring to -– "The Nones."

“The Nones” have nothing to do with the veil-wearing, rosary bearing women with whom I spent the first 12 years of my convent school education. When we use the term “none,” we mean the people who claim they do not affiliate with one belief system or another, or have stopped attending a house of worship where they or their family once attended.

No Labels, Please: Non-Church Goers Are Spiritual

Please note, however, that despite the alarming rise in disaffiliation in some 20 years, the American Public still is a country of robust belief. We are still spiritual. It’s just that we no longer desire to be labeled as one certain thing.

What has changed, and what if anything can houses of worship like ourselves do to help? What can we expect for the future, and how do we change ourselves to meet that future?

Come on Sunday, and explore with us, as I preach before leaving on my summer vacation.


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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