After after 15 months and much work by the Reopening Committee to keep everyone safe, FCC Bristol’s doors opened up on Sunday June 6th and we were able to come back together in person. It was a joy to just be able hear the liturgist read the scripture lesson, to listen to the minister’s sermon, and to hear friends voices and catch up on the news – in person, even if we were all still wearing masks and social distancing, in an effort to safeguard any who may not have yet been able to be vaccinated or who were concerned about COVID-19 variants.
It brought back to mind the old children’s rhyme:
Here is the church.
Here is the steeple.
Open the doors
And see all the people.
Live-stream services, available through the website home page, will continue to be offered every Sunday to anyone who wishes to join the service from home.
High Street passersby at FCC Bristol on the afternoon of Saturday, June 5th saw children of all ages racing around the front lawn, passing through the obstacle course (including a challenging water barrier!) laid out by Susan Brosnihan, chalking up the sidewalks with artwork (I’m looking at you, Natty), practicing their baseball swing, tossing bean bags to win corn hole points, and other outdoor games. The tantalizing smell of grilling hot dogs and other yummy refreshments drifted across the lawn. The laughter and screeches of children and adults filled the air. It was an exciting start to summer on a lovely, sunny day.
After almost fifteen months of forced separation, we are happy to announce the resumption of in-person worship. After considerable thought and planning, the “Regathering Subcommittee” has set the target date of Sunday, June 6 to resume worship in person.
Of course, the safety of our church family is our primary concern and safety protocols in effect at that time will be observed. This is how the Committee envisions regathering:
Services will be held outdoors as the weather permits. In case of inclement weather, we will gather in the DeWolf Chapel.
Attendees will be required to wear a mask and socially distance.
Attendees will be allowed to sing while wearing masks.
As has been the practice in the past the choir will not sing during the summer months.
As a courtesy to those who cannot attend, the services will be live-streamed.
We are looking forward to worshiping with our church family in person once again. We will share more details as the regathering date approaches.
Regathering Committee: Reverend Deborah, Glenn Donovan, Grace Steere, Bob Evans
This 4 minute video of stained glass colors splashed by the moving sun onto the carved stone interior of the Washington National Cathedral was sent to me by a dear friend. The sampled orchestral sound accompaniment is perfect. It touches the heart. Well worth viewing.
Come to FCC on April 10, 2021. Doors open @ 7:00pm; music starts @ 7:30pm. Tickets are $20.00. Seating is limited and reservations are mandatory. Please call 401-253-4813 for reservations or additional information. Social distancing will be enforced and masks are required. Join us for a night of “good guitar playing, harmonica, a little steel guitar action, like a train moving down the track. It keeps you grounded, reminds you of where you started this journey…”
Join the “Good Night Lights” to shine a light of hope to children in hospital. Every Monday night First Congregational Church “Good Night Lighters” travel to the Squantum Association in East Providence to send a good night signal to children at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Anyone is welcome to join the Good Night Lights group. Participants may travel independently to rendezvous at the Squantum Association, or contact Steve Brosnihan (401-253-5909) or Dyan Vaughan to make carpool arrangements. Those interested in getting on the email roster for GNL should contact Steve at: email@example.com.
One Great Hour of Sharing® is one of four special mission offerings of the United Church of Christ. This Lenten Offering supports the disaster, refugee, and development ministries of the United Church of Christ within Wider Church Ministries. While OGHS offerings are usually made before Easter, gifts designated toward OGHS ministries that help heal the world can be made at any time. We urge you to consider making an offering to address these global needs by going HERE.
I wanted to take a few moments to explain the change from live streaming to zoom during Sunday morning worship throughout December. Live streaming offers the opportunity to see worship leaders in our beautifully decorated sanctuary. The beauty of the season shines brightly. However, the COVID-19 surge continues to rise daily to a dangerous point. Safety has to be the most important aspect of corporate worship as we continue in these difficult pandemic days. It is safer for us to all be using zoom so that we can be secure in our homes and not have any of our staff or deacons at risk during our weekly worship. However, the more important element for me, is that when we are on Zoom we are all together in the present moment. The Holy Spirit is also present with us as we actively engage in worship.
I am concerned that with the rising Covid numbers we may very well be shut down by December 24th. That being said, I believe that it is imperative for us to be able to share in a traditional Christmas Eve worship on December 24th at 6:00 p.m. Utilizing Zoom worship in early December allows us to become more familiar and successful with this venue. Being spiritually centered as a united faith community, will allow us to receive the gift of The Christ Child through the “Lessons and Carols and Candles.” I pray it will be a holy moment for all. I appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue our Advent journey.
In faith and with appreciation, Rev. Deborah Breault
Dear Church family, It is wonderful to be here at First Congregational Church of Bristol beginning our journey of faith and mutual ministry. Having begun my duties on November 2, 2020 I am feeling welcomed and deeply blessed to serve God in this place. These first six weeks have provided a bit of time for me to become acquainted with many of you in worship, board meetings, and zoom gatherings. Learning about how FCC functions, connecting with members and friends and learning names are a priority for these early months. I have been impressed with the core leadership teams and numerous ministries. I am also grateful to hear that you are embracing the healing journey as an important next chapter in the life of this church. You have a talented and dedicated staff and leadership team who are a source of wisdom and blessing to this community.
The work of a designated term ministry is a rich and unique opportunity for growth in a church. In addition to the traditional tasks of leadership in worship, presiding at the sacramental life, and supporting the programmatic and education work and overseeing administrative aspects of church there are three developmental tasks that will focus the work unfolding in our midst.
Coming to Terms with History, which includes healing and wholeness of the congregation.
Supporting Leadership and its development.
Discerning God’s purpose for the congregation.
Each successive task builds on the work of the previous and can provide a clear sense of God’s call for partnership as we move into the future. Opening to the work of Holy Spirit is indeed a journey that blends many elements: intentional work and consensus building, spiritual growth, discerning a common path while celebrating the gifts of this beautifully diverse family of faith. The process of seeing where you have been, where you are now, and where you sense God calling you into the future is essential and sacred work. But we do not walk alone. We are emboldened by the assurance of faith that the Apostle Paul offers in Philippians 4:13 “We can do all things in Christ who strengths us” (adapted.) I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to travel this journey with you.