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.

Children’s Christmas Pageant Brings a New Message

During the December 18, 2022 worship service, the children of the congregation presented a “new” Christmas Pageant story. We are used to seeing the annual reenactment of the journey to Bethlehem, the birth of the Christ Child, and the worshipful gathering of the shepherds and the three Wise Men. This year the children, guided by Bob Evans, presented a “play within a play,” which told the story of one youthful actor’s search for the real meaning of Christmas and how he found it at a Christmas pageant rehearsal. A reluctant young man takes on the role of Joseph to help out a youth group rehearsing their Christmas presentation. And in the process, he comes to understand God’s gift of life, love and happiness — offered to everyone in the form of God’s Son Jesus Christ who came to remove our sins so that we could more lovingly live life on earth and one day join God in Heaven.

FCC Welcomes New Members

During our February 12, 2022 worship service, the FCC congregation welcomed two new members, Janine Beausoleil and Eleanor Ingraham. The Rev. Jack Jones, serving in place of the Rev. Deborah Tate Breault who was on leave, carried out the receiving of members through Affirmation of Baptism. Ellie and Janine have been attending services at FCC for many months and have become much appreciated and beloved friends. They, along with their colleague Cliff Gustafson, frequently serve as Greeters in the Narthex, offering a hand of greeting and handing out the bulletin for the worship service. They received an ovation from the congregation upon becoming members. Welcome, Janine and Eleanor.

93rd Harvest Moon Bazaar — Best Ever!

Finally, after two years of pandemic-induced social distancing — with Christmas carols lightly ringing over the tables in the DeWolf Chapel — the 93rd Harvest Moon Festival was BACK! On November 19th, from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, there was something special in the air. Perhaps it was the joy of finally being able to meet up, face to face, to share the gentle pleasantries of friendship. Perhaps it was the return of the Vermont cheddar mice, or the busy back-and-forth of an honest-to-goodness Silent Auction. Or was it that vision of Santa pulling at the oars of a donated kayak, or youngsters trying out that special bicycle?

Or was it the excitement of children (and quite a few adults) running to whisper their list of hoped-for presents into Santa’s ear. Christmas is coming and who knows that might appear under the tree on Christmas morning.

We are sending out a big THANK YOU to all of the hard-working volunteers, vendors, generous merchants and others who donated Silent Auction items, and all who came to support the church by attending the Harvest Moon Bazaar. You all helped make this the most successful Bazaar ever!

With Thanks to our Acolytes

“Jesus said: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). The presence of the light reminds us of Jesus’ coming into our world and into our lives. The light is carried into the worship service as a symbol of Jesus’ coming into the presence of the worshiping community. Many congregations use two candles on the altar to point out that Jesus was both a human being and God. At the end of the service, the light is carried out into the world to show that Jesus Christ is for all people everywhere; The acolyte leaves the worship service at the pastor’s direction, carrying out the lighted candlelighter. This symbolizes the light of Jesus Christ going out into the world where believers are to serve.” (From Worship Matters: A United Methodist Guide to Worship Work, Vol. II by E. Byron Anderson:

Each Sunday at the start of our worship service, our team of acolytes carry in the light that is Jesus’ presence. They light the altar candles and then climb to the chancel to light the candelabra on either side of the pulpit. At the end of the service, they return to carry that symbolic light out into the world, just as we parishioners are urged to carry the love and service of our faith out into the world. Most Sundays, our acolyte comes from the team of youth members of the church. Sometimes, a Deacon will carry out this important function.

We offer our heartfelt thanks to each and every acolyte. Special thanks to Katie Evans, Natty Quezada-Grant, Teddy Brosnihan, Avery Walsh, and Kara and Julia Pisasale.