Children’s Sunday & Church Picnic!

June 4 was FCC Bristol’s annual celebration of the wonderful children in our church and in our Sunday School, as well as our appreciation for the many adults who serve as their teachers, for Lindsey Harrington who has coordinated the children’s spiritual studies all year long, and the seniors who are graduating. Ruth Fisher presented Andrew Damiano with a shawl from the Prayer Shawl Ministry, whose members knitted or crocheted a shawl for every graduating senior in the church.

It was the occasion, as well, for a Church Picnic with lots of balloons and terrific food — and cake, too! Members took the opportunity to catch up on all the news and to hear about summer plans.

Sometimes Fences DO MAKE Good Neighbors!

In a stellar group effort, the members of the FCC Bristol Facilities Committee have replaced the deteriorating wood picket fence in front of the historic stone Guiteras House that serves as the church office and manse. Many hands made light work as some bought and cut the 76 wooden pickets and panels for the hefty posts. Others painted each piece — twice! — in the original forest green. Still others came to screw and nail all the pieces together. The only task remaining is to renew the railing along the steps.

Many thanks to Jim, Peter, John, Michael, Chuck, Ron and Caroline. Let me know if I left anyone out.

A Rainbow Welcome to All

“No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” This is the guiding light of the congregational family at First Congregational Church in Bristol. To signal our open embrace of diversity to the greater community, our Deacons recently met to gaily spray 7 huge flower pots with all the colors of the rainbow. You will soon see them, filled with brightly colored flowers and prominently placed in front of the church building.

Many hands make light work

On a showery Sunday morning, the congregation of FCC Bristol came to church in their work clothes, ready to dust and clean and sort and sweep. On April 23, Clean-Up Sunday was the theme of our Spring service project. With so many helping hands, much was accomplished in one short hour. Even better than the bright and clean building was the fun and friendship experienced by everyone who shared in the event.

Celebrate the Good News: Christ is Risen!

We give thanks, O God, for this day of resurrection, this time of joy, this celebration of your loving power. Christ is risen! The tomb of death could not contain the Redeemer of life, and hallelujahs rise from our lips to greet the risen Christ. We sense with our spirits that Easter is an opening day for faith.

The burdens that seemed immovable as boulders are pushed aside. The anxieties and animosities sealed within us are released. The impossibilities that constrain our imaginations and actions are transformed. With the resurrection of Jesus, faith becomes the way of life.

Open us, gracious God, that we may receive the good news and that we may proclaim it through our faith, in our very lives. Hallelujah and Amen!

New Windows for Easter!

On April 4 and 5, the New Outlook Window Restoration team started reinstalling several of the repaired sanctuary windows, starting with the two smaller windows on the South side nearest to the front doors of the church. Then they started installing some of the large sashes on the South side, near the Chancel. As you may have heard, the big delay was procuring the acid etched glass.

If you get a chance, go by the Church and take a look. The newly preserved windows look terrific. We are happy to have some windows installed for Easter. New Outlook will soon remove, repair and reinstall the remaining large sashes on the South facade. Then we will move on to Phases 2 & 3: the windows on the North facade of the sanctuary and on the West facade where the front doors are located.

Shrove Tuesday Celebrates Pancakes & Sausage!

You know the old story about how Shrove Tuesday came to be — because everyone had to use up their naughty oil and meat before Lent started on Ash Wednesday. Whatever! I just like bacon and sausages and pancakes — blueberry, chocolate chip and plain old plain. It seems a lot of people at FCC Bristol do, too. On February 21, some 50 church members and members of the community gathered on a winter evening to enjoy some good food and some good fellowship. The Christian Education Committee and other kind souls prepared a Mardi Gras feast that was so delicious that most people came back for seconds — and SOME people came back for thirds!

Many thanks to all the talented chefs, servers and busy hands that set up the DeWolf Chapel dining room and helped with clean up.

Between the recent Potluck Supper, the Valentine’s Day Senior Luncheon, and this Shrove Tuesday Pancake extravaganza, everyone had so much fun that there are rumors of Potluck Dinners after church once-a-month. Thanks, again, to all who worked to make this a great night. And — stay tuned.

Valentine’s Day Senior Luncheon Hosted by Deacons

Thanks to our hardworking Deacons, the Seniors at FCC Bristol again enjoyed their Valentine’s Day Luncheon after a multi-year COVID hiatus. Favored with a bright, sunny day, the occasion brought many hugs and kisses for friends who had not been seen for a while, as well as for friends seen every Sunday. Travelers from Portsmouth’s Atria senior community, including Anne Archibald, Charlotte Griffith, and Grace and Bob Wilson were warmly welcomed. The presence of others who have been kept away due to health issues was deeply appreciated. Many thanks to all the Deacons and especially to Bob Evans who took care of the catering arrangements and Grace Steere who handled the lovely (and tasty) decorations. Everyone enjoyed the high-paced news-sharing and the delicious food. Lots of laughter and exclamations. It feels good to break bread with dearly-loved friends.

Brainstorming FCC Bristol’s Future

Is it the energy of Spring beginning to percolate or, perhaps, a response to the long months of COVID “quiet” that is inspiring our Deacons and church members to look to “doing” new things?

On Friday, February 10, 2023, more than 30 parishioners gathered for a Potluck supper and a brainstorming session, gathering ideas about the future of the church. Led by Deacon Bob Evans, each table was given a huge sheet of paper and encouraged to list out any and all ideas they had, regardless of cost. Some ideas were big — like building new space for new activities. Some ideas were smaller — like creating a new brochure for the church or getting names tags. Other ideas lay somewhere in between, like hiring new staff or rolling out a community Music program, or expanding our hands-on Mission projects to better meet the needs of the wider community.

All the sheets of paper were hung up on the DeWolf Chapel stage and everyone attending the worship service on Sunday got the chance to look over the many ideas that were offered. These will be organized and made available to all. Future meetings are planned to discuss our options and prioritize which ones to focus on, which ones seem most “do-able” in the near-term and which ones need more planning for the future. You will be hearing more about this in the weeks to come.