The First Congregational Church of Darien

United Church of Christ

A community of faith since 1737

Category Archives: Church News

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



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!


MRP update 1


Does anyone remember this ditty of a hymn back from the ‘70s, complete with hand motions?

“The church is not a building;
the church is not a steeple;
the church is not a resting place;
the church is a people.”

It uproariously concludes, “I am the church! You are the church! We are the church together!”

All of this will be tested mightily in months ahead. For we’ve learned the timbers in our historic Meetinghouse roof and ceiling are structurally unsound and need rebuilding. Before I detail that, the upshot of this sudden news is that we are unable to occupy the Meetinghouse at all, until after reconstruction. Right now, we are still assessing the instability looming overhead in our sanctuary. So for the months ahead we plan to worship Sunday mornings in our Parish Hall.

I take a deep breath to say all of that to you. And if you are like me, no little shock must register within you to realize that we are temporarily turned out of the space that is our spiritual home.

A few details might help. Four crossbeams invisibly connect the 39 foot wide expanse overhead in our Meetinghouse. More than one is compromised, with dramatic fissures visible to the eye.  We see, for example, displacement in one beam with an offset of four inches. As though that is not bad enough, the pins holding our 1950’s plaster ceiling to these joists are losing their hold. We remain in the diagnostic phase, removing blown-in insulation, finishing our assessment. Much remediation is required.  We don’t know how long this will take or how much it will cost.

Our building engineer, not someone prone to drama, calls these structural deficits “major failures.”  Obviously, the integrity of these beams and joints supporting our roof and ceiling are key to our well-being below.  And, of course, that is something we will never risk and trifle with.

That is probably enough technical information for now.  This is hard news to take as FCC, Darien has lately been on a nice roll. But pause with me to be grateful in different directions before we cave into discouragement.  We owe thanks to our Nursery School and Board of Stewards whose collaboration initiated the hiring of the building engineer firm, GNCB, whose reputation and expertise is being demonstrated to us these days with clear information and recommendations.

Also, please note that we approach a slower season in the church calendar and a prime time of year to schedule construction.  If a capital campaign is necessary to defray these expenses, we avoided such a campaign as we rebuilt the Evans Center and can approach the challenge afresh.

Most importantly, these serious problems were detected before any unwitting collapse of our sub-roof structures that could have potentially led to the harm of our members and visitors.  For all of these reasons, we give God thanks and praise.  Remember, in our 272 history, our beloved FCC, Darien has endured a Revolutionary War, a Civil War, and two World Wars.   We are made of sturdy stuff to meet this challenge head on, make the necessary corrections, and to carry on for all of the reasons the Lord placed us here: to praise God and serve our neighbor.

As for now, all of our scheduled weddings planned are offsite, thanks be to God. I am notifying our families with baptisms pending of our new realities as I also invite their unity and resilience with us.  If you need a memorial service, other churches in town have already promised us use of their worship spaces—with open and eager arms extended to us—should the occasion arise.

A local pastor wrote, “these issues have the power to galvanize a congregation and lead people deeper into mission.”  That was precisely how Council reacted last night upon hearing the news. Yes, they were as stunned with me.  Yes, they hurt with me as our mother church hurts.  But we shed a tear or two, cleared our eyes, and resolved to find the path to put us right back on track.  Our leadership’s energy is poised, pointing toward the light, rather than indulging in dejection.

Let’s keep squarely before us the installation of our Associate Pastor, Gary Morello, this Sunday, May 22, one service at 10 am, welcoming a guest preacher, Gary’s friends and family.  May our joy go undimmed!  If you wish to discuss any of this, we invite you to an information session at 9 am in the Morehouse Room where the Moderator, Chair of Stewards, and I eagerly await you.

Resolving to keep you informed, we ask your prayers and seek your support as it matters most.

Faithfully yours,

Dale Rosenberger, Senior Minister