Gifts of Love at Christmastide

The Board of Deacons at First Congregational Church in Bristol was filled with joy to be able to once again sponsor an in-person Alternative Christmas Giving Event on Sunday December 5th. Representatives were present from eight organizations: The Tomorrow Fund, Heifer International, The East Bay Animal Shelter, The Matthew Patton Foundation, The East Bay Food Pantry, S.H.A.R.E., The Community String Project and R.E.S.T. Those attending the event generously donated more than $6500 as “alternate Christmas gifts” to their family and friends as a way to further the work of these organizations.

Anyone who was unable to attend this event and who wishes to make a contribution, may contact the church office at 253-7288 for more information.


Since 2014, First Congregational Church in Bristol, R.I. has sponsored an annual Alternative Christmas Giving Event each December.  The purpose of this event is to support partners in ministry who serve the community in specific ways that the church is unable to do by itself, and to give church members and neighborhood friends the opportunity to channel holiday gift giving in ways that benefit selected service organizations.  It is an ALTERNATIVE to giving loved ones more things that they may not need or want, and it is also an opportunity to make memorial contributions to honor loved ones who have passed away. 

Deacons at F.C.C. are pleased to be able to again sponsor this as an in-person event.  It will take place on Sunday, December 5, 2021 from 11 am to 1 pm in the Church’s DeWolf Room.  Representatives from eight nonprofit 501c3 organizations will be present to share information about their missions and the work they do in meeting a diversity of community needs in the areas of:  health, service, education, culture, hunger action, and human betterment.  

The Deacons of First Congregational Church hope that you will consider donating as generously as possible, as part of your holiday gift giving!  If you are unable to attend this event, donations in the form of a check may be sent to the church office and will be forwarded to the organization(s) that you wish to support!

This year’s participating organizations are:

The Tomorrow Fund provides financial and emotional support to children with cancer and their families, from the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment and beyond.

The Bristol Animal Shelter provides for the care of sick, injured, abused, abandoned and homeless animals until they find their forever homes.  

The East Bay Food Pantry provides food and programs with a focus on health and nutrition for children, families, seniors and disabled individuals.

Heifer International helps families in over 125 countries achieve self-reliance as they lift themselves out of poverty and hunger when gifted with livestock, water pumps or trees.

 The Matthew Patton Foundation provides education and advocacy towards improving mental health services and early intervention for the prevention of suicide in the military.

S.H.A.R.E. designs, builds and adapts assistive technology that is provided free of charge to people with disabilities, especially those who are unable to communicate independently. 

R.E.S.T. provides resources, education and support to family members whose loved ones are struggling with Substance Use Disorder. 

The Community String Project provides string instrument instruction to children, youth, and adults; it is tuition free for needy youth and at a reduced cost for low income individuals.

For more information, please contact the church office at 401-253-7288 or Deacon Sandy Patterson at 401-935-9066.   


On Sunday, November 7th, First Congregational Church celebrated All Saints Day, through a service of remembrance for eight members of the church who had passed away since January 2019.  Rev. Deborah Breault lit a candle as each name was read,  and this was followed by the ringing of a chime.  Those members of our church family included:

Janet Gruenwald
December 31, 1923 – January 24, 2019

Deborah Pratt Wiacek
October 27, 1942 – August 24, 2019

Muriel C. Spence
November 10, 1924 – February 17, 2019

Gladys L. Usher
December 16, 1929 – September 27, 2019

Robert Bescherer
May 23, 1926 – August 18, 2020

Eloise Stalk
August 2, 2931 – October 7, 2020

Lester Warren Cory
July 25, 1939 – April 24, 2020

Edward “Ned” Wilbur
September 23, 1937 – January 25, 2021

Parishioners were then invited to light other candles in the sanctuary in memory of their own loved ones who have passed.

This special service also included a tribute to military Veterans, in anticipation of Veterans Day on November 11th.  Deacons read a moving poem which honored veterans, and members of the congregation recognized all veterans who were present.