At a Potluck Supper on Friday, October 1, members of the congregation embarked on a journey to explore the past history of the First Congregational Church in Bristol, as a way to better focus our efforts on the present and plan for the future. FCC Bristol has played a central role in our community from its gathering in 1680. Back in the 17th c., a town could not be formed until there was a “settled pastor.” That condition was met in 1680 when Bristol’s first church was gathered. FCC was Bristol’s only church from 1680-1720. In a broad overview of the role that FCC has played in the history of our community, right up to the coming of our new pastor, Deborah Tate Breault, participants were able to better appreciate the core values of the church and its relationship to the greater community. This was followed by a small group deep dive into the strengths and “growing edges” of our most recent 5 pastorates. It also began a dialogue about how organizations deal with challenges from within and without, and what are the forward-looking intentions of the church family. We are planning a greater exploration of these central issues at future “Telling Our Stories” events. This initiative originated with Pastor Deborah and was sponsored by the Church Council.
On Sunday, October 17th, First Congregational Church will hold its annual “Church Has Left the Building” event, a day in which parishioners “take church out of the building” by participating in service projects in place of worship. Due to on-going COVID safety concerns, this year’s projects will take place outdoors and will include trash clean-up along streets in the vicinity of the church, and between High and Thames Streets; in Rockwell and Independence Parks; and near the bike path.
This event is open to all members and friends of the church, and families are encouraged to attend! Participants are asked to gather at the church at 10:00 a.m., at which time CHLTB orange vests, disposable gloves and garbage bags will be distributed.
Deacons are looking forward to seeing you on this special day of service! Please contact Sandy Patterson at 401-935-9066 with any questions.
You can use this link to sign up online or you can sign up on the sign up sheet posted in the church. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0D4AACA72BA7FC1-church1
FCC Bristol launched a Capital Campaign on July 1 to raise substantial funding toward the restoration of the Gothic windows and the repair and painting of the plaster in the sanctuary. We invite every member and visitor to our church to make a pledge toward the restoration of our sanctuary — the beating heart of our church family. While our progress to date has been inspiring, we still have a long way to go.
In addition to the pledge commitments made by some members of the congregation and funding drawn from Endowment Fund earnings, a $10,000 grant award from the Felicia Fund, a family fund in Providence, RI, was received. Additional grants are being submitted to Rhode Island granting entities.
Pledges of any size are welcome and all pledges can be paid in over a 3 year period. If you have not yet made your pledge, we urge you to consider doing so. Our commitment to restoring our sanctuary will provide a more welcoming message to visitors and members alike and help keep our sanctuary at the center of our spiritual growth and fellowship. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Caroline Jacobus, Chair of Stewardship.
On Sunday, September 12, FCC held its intergenerational worship service welcoming all its children, families, and members to celebrate the kick-off of our FCC Sunday School Year! Balloons were flying over every pew, rainbow-colored frogs (more on that, below) were peaking out from the balcony, the pulpit, and every other hiding place as our students, teachers and members of the Christian Education Committee were commissioned to carry out the church school ministry with love, respect and a commitment to nurture our children and to seek Christ’s way of peace and justice for all. The Children’s Sermon focused on F.R.O.G. — “Fully rely on God” — as a way of meeting life’s challenges and encouraged the children to find as many of the frogs hiding in the sanctuary as they could. The service also included a commemoration of 9/11 and a sermon on the building blocks of the Christian Community, including among others: Love, Prayer, Courage, Jesus, and Awe. The service was followed by an an All-Church Picnic on the front lawn under sunny skies.
Since the first days of the evacuation of at-risk Afghan families and Americans in August to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy, the Board of Deacons at FCC Bristol and members of the congregation have responded to the humanitarian needs of these refugees with donations of more than $1,600 toward the provision of personal and sanitary items. In doing so, they have sought to fulfill one of the important missions of our Christian faith and therefore of our church community to reach out and assist those whose lives have been upended by war, terrorism, and displacement. Deacons wish to thank all those who have contributed to this mission, which has now been closed.
Throughout these weeks, we have been working with volunteers to Operation Allies Refuge to help the thousands of refugees arriving at the Naval base in Sicily. We were fortunate to be able to work through the daughter of one of our Deacons, whose husband is stationed at NAS Sigonella, serving as a Navy Seabee. Members of military families in conjunction with the U.S.O. were volunteering their time, money, and energy to collect and purchase items needed by the evacuees.
Yours in Christ,
F.C.C.’s Board of Deacons
Just as the light began to fade in the sky last Saturday, we carried out the huge film screen and set it up on the lawn, followed by the chairs and the popcorn machine — which Susan Brosnihan lovingly cleaned and restored. We don’t often get the chance to see a film out in the open air — And with so many of good friends.
Then Bob Evans started the Looney Tunes cartoons and we were on our way! Bugs Bunny. Daffy Duck. Porky Pig. Elmer Fudd. Tweety. Sylvester. Wile E. Coyote. Bringing back memories for the oldsters among us. Before long, it was time for the feature film, which few of us, young or old, had ever seen and didn’t know what to expect: “Upside Down.” This is a fascinating film for all ages. By following the life of little Riley as she grows from a newborn to a toddler and a little girl, it explores how our emotions, memories, dreams, relationships, and lived experience form our personality and our ability to handle all the challenges that life throws at us. Heavy stuff, you say? This film uses bright, dynamic, zany and comic cartoon characters — Joy, Sadness, Anger and other emotions, to dramatize the inner life of this little girl and all of the other players in her life, showing both the sources of strength and weakness that interplay within each of us as we move through our lives. Most powerful for Riley were the loving relationships she and her parents had formed, helping her survive some of life’s most traumatic experiences. This is a film that can be appreciated on many levels and was definitely a big hit with the audience.
I got the chance to give Marina a big hug for the first time in 18 months. And she got the chance to ask me about my new grand-daughter. It was like that for everyone who came. The evening of August 11 found FCC members enjoying an Ice Cream Social hosted by the Christian Education Team. The weather was perfect, every mouthful was satisfying, and sharing news with friends filled the soul.
Some years ago, members of several East Bay churches organized a program called Ecumenical Meals. This program or mission was created to supply recipients of other home delivered meal programs with meals on the weekends when their regular meal programs did not operate.
First Congregational Church in Bristol is one of three participants in this mission. We participate by creating and delivering appealing and nutritious meals four months during the year alternating with the other member churches.
We consider our participation in this mission an honor and a tangible way to put Jesus’ words into action. If you would like to join in this ministry either as a cook or a driver, please contact Lynne and Chuck Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-253-8074.
Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 from 6:30-7:30pm.
Everyone is invited! Come cool down with us on the church lawn with a delicious ice cream sundae! Refreshments are free. It would help us if you would call the church office at 401-253-7288 to let us know how many are coming from your family.
Bring a blanket and your appetite!
Looking forward to seeing you there on August 11th.
Everyone is invited for a night of fun — no charge — be our guest! Saturday, August 21st, 2021 at 7:30pm at FCC Bristol.
Join us for a movie that is filled with joy, sadness, fear, and even disgust when we watch a well-loved family-favorite here at FCC! We can make core memories together!
This animated film is rated PG and runs 1 hour and 35 minutes. We hope it will turn your world “inside out” and upside down!
This family fun event is sponsored by the Christian Education Committee.