The First Congregational Church of Darien

United Church of Christ

A community of faith since 1737

All posts by Mandy Teare

20151122_095335An old tradition is back!  Come before or after the 10:00 service on Sunday, November 19 to shop for things to enhance your Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.   The Fair is put on by the Women’s Association.

We will have your favorite offerings:

  • Bake Sale
  • Jewelry Table
  • Raffle for some beautiful wreathes and other holiday items
  • Jumble Sale
  • Dove Box Sign Up
  • Cabot Cheddar Cheese for sale
  • Craft, Knitting and Crochet creations
  • Wonderful Bakery Bread from Beldotti’s bakery
  • Table Floral arrangements


We need your help to make this a success.  Please think about what you can contribute. We are collecting contributions for the Jewelry and Jumble sales in boxes at the front of the stage in Parish Hall.  (Jumble items are used household items that are small (think toaster size or less).  If you are baking or making soup or other savories, put some in the freezer to contribute to the Bake Sale.

We will be making craft and food items for the Fair.  Watch for dates for crafting mornings.  Also, Wednesday, November 8 we will be making quiches to sell at the Fair.  This is our “Nite Owls” night so we’ll bake quiche and then eat some for dinner.

More details, dates and order forms will follow.


Debbie Nelson

Family Coffeehouse Night with Doug Allen Bring your family (kids are welcome!) and your friends to enjoy an entertaining evening of country music with Doug Allen! Doug is ‘local talent’ who is now a Nashville-based singer/songwriter. Saturday, October 21st, 7:00-9:00 pm in The Parish Hall.

doug allen

Doug is an appealing, live performer, having opened for acts like Gregg Allman, Edwin McCain, John Entwistle of The Who, The Bacon Brothers. Doug Allen is THE BEST, and we are excited to have him perform for us! Two songs from his current CD are featured in major motion pictures— Listen here: Coffee, tea, sodas, juice and dessert are provided. Admission: Adults: $10; Children Free. Sign up today! in the Parish Hall; or call the church office: 203 655-0491; or email:

Click here for flyer: Family Coffeehouse 

Talking to Children about Death 2

Holy Week (3)

Click on photo to see report.

new ceiling


IMPORTANT MESSAGE from Reverend Sara

bport ceiling 2

Dear Members and Friends of United Congregational Church:

We are blessed to be a blessing. And the day after I preached about this same spiritual endeavor, we were blessed again.

About 5:30 AM Monday morning, a portion of the ceiling of Pilgrim Hall collapsed. Shirley and Bill Neighbors found it when they arrived at 8:30 AM Monday morning.

The section that fell – all in one piece – was directly over the stage – and the area where we serve food. This event – while a costly mess which interrupts our life here – could have been very tragic if it had happened any other time. We are all grateful no one was hurt. We are blessed.

bport ceiling 3

Our primary building contractor, Dahill Contruction, already has a team on site with engineers, electrician, haz mat specialists, and contractors working on this complicated situation. This original piece of ceiling is made of 93 year old plaster and metal lathe attached to wooden furring strips attached to the joists under the floor of the sanctuary. The part we see (or used to) are the acoustic tiles glued to the plaster. All of that fell and hit the stage and directly in front of the stage. It left a big mess. The clean-up will be worse than the repair.

Given the age of our building, they are testing the area for asbestos and lead – we will know that by week’s end we hope. So in the meantime – all entrances to the ENTIRE LOWER LEVEL are closed and covered. NO ONE is allowed on the LOWER LEVEL – including Pilgrim Hall and the kitchen and the NPUOI Offices and Class rooms….until we know what we are dealing with.

Dahill assures us that the building is structurally sound. The sanctuary is safe. They will check other portions of the Pilgrim Hall ceiling to make sure it is safe. If not, those portions will be repaired as well.

I have kept our Executive Board, Board of Trustees and Board of Deacons – and the NPUOI Board of Directors – apprised of the situation. The Food staff met last night to access how we keep our Hospitality Hour, Food Pantry, Feel the Warmth, and Emergency Shelter. We had to get creative. But we have a good plan for this week – and we will continue our ministries (including Worship, Children’s Choir and Confirmation), and we will continue to feed and house our neighbors. Depending on the length of the clean up and repair in Pilgrim Hall, we will modifying our plan daily. But for right now:

· The Emergency Shelter will be in the Chapel – pews are being removed (which we had to do anyway) and our rental church will use chairs.
· The Food Pantry will use only what they can get at the CT Food Bank – and will pass pre-made bags out to our neighbors in our Narthex.
· The Feel the Warmth meal will be a to-go meal – handed out in the Narthex. We will try and find an alternative location to cook and serve our hot meal since our kitchen is closed.
· ESL will be on main level.
· Hospitality Hour will be in the Guild Room.
· Sunday School will be on third floor.
· Worship will continue to be on the sanctuary.

Our aim is to clean-up the mess, repair the hall, and be ready for our closing date of May 1.

And along the way, we will give God thanks that we have the ability, the resources, and our good people to handle this accident.

We will carry on… and we will remain blessed…..Reverend Sara

bport ceiling 1

TWO RIVAL COACHES, ONE FAITH — Special Turkey Bowl Huddle Event

In a world that seems to be making all of us rivals — we are delighted to announce a Darien FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) event that is taking place next Monday, November 21. The week of Turkey Bowl, Darien and New Canaan will come together under ONE faith to show our community that even though we may compete, our faith ALWAYS brings us together. We pray this message can touch the world!

Please join us for a very special Turkey Bowl Huddle with special guests Darien Coach Rob Trifone and New Canaan Coach Lou Marinelli.
Come hear about friendship, respect, sportsmanship, and faith.

Monday, November 21, 7-8 PM
Darien United Methodist Church, 345 Middlesex Ave.

All high school students from both Darien & New Canaan welcome. Please invite friends. Alumni and parents welcome too.



Food for Everyday Order Form

This new effort is the Women’s Association Fall Fund Raiser

Choose from entrées, bakery goods, or soups.  These items will be cooked in our kitchen, ready for pick-up on November 20, after church, in time for holiday meals, or for freezing. Orders due by Monday, Nov. 14.

All instructions are on the order form. Something new! Try it out…


From Dale:

News about the remediation and restoration of our spiritual home. Everything has suddenly opened up in this process. This shot gazes into where our ceiling used to be. As you notice the temporary support trestle to the right (newer, treated upright wood) you can see how utterly failed that truss is, sagging badly. The floor you see at is the “dance floor” of plywood on the scaffolding, soaring upward through the vaulted space. The ceiling came out double-bagged in 1,100 airtight Hefty bags, placed in an airtight special container on our lawn. Six hard-working Latinos performed this formidable feat.

We had to remediate a very small amount of asbestos in the skim coat on our ceiling, which was removed according to stringent and costly CT code on abatement. Our airspace is now being checked to make sure it is absent of all asbestos. Getting ready to import the massive steel I-beams to marry to the trusses at the lowest point of deflection, before we put on a new lighter drywall ceiling.

Obviously, we remain in the posture of inviting your prayers. This was architecture/ construction from 1830s America, such a different era.

Photos Feb. 19, 2017

20170219_112548 20170219_112600


Photos below from summer 2016




View of scaffolding from pulpit


Downstairs view toward front doors


“floor” built for work on ceiling


Another view of the “floor”. See chandelier for orientation!