The First Congregational Church of Darien

United Church of Christ

A community of faith since 1737

Category Archives: Youth

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.



You celebrationsunday (1)are invited to a special Sunday service to celebrate a wonderful year for all our young people and our church community.  A traditional service with fun and flare is being planned by the Board of Christian Education to celebrate our children ages newborn through college.  Gary Morello will deliver the sermon and we’ll honor our Church School teachers, and recognize our graduating high school and college graduates.  An ice cream social for all will follow the service on the church lawn. The Youth Group will welcome back graduates at 12:00 p.m. with a BBQ outside the new Youth Room.  We have much to give thanks for and celebrate — we hope you’ll join us!

Pledge brochure headerA spiritual home to people from different places, faiths, and journeys, Darien’s First Congregational Church is a vibrant community—a place where families and individuals join together to worship God, care for one another, serve others and celebrate life in all of its expressions.

When we gather together, something special happens. Hearts are healed. Hope is restored. Faith grows. And relationships are forged that stand the test of time. We then scatter and share Christ’s love with others both within our community and throughout the world—just as we have for nearly three centuries.

We cannot do all we hear God calling us to do in this sweet spot of our journey without the pledged support of everyone.

Thank you for being part of the 2016 Pledge Drive!

Vibrant Youth Programs — Our Church School is a warm, welcoming place on Sunday mornings as over 40 children ages one month to 15 years, gather for a fun and innovative bible‐ centered program. Our 8th grade Confirmation program and robust Youth Group provide a foundation for all until college.

Meaningful Service Opportunities and Outreach — Whether cooking or serving dinner at a local shelter, traveling to the Dominican Republic and to Maryland to build houses, or delivering holiday meals, we roll up our sleeves and serve.

The New Evans Center — The repurposing of 11 Brookside increases the size and scope
of our campus. By the spring of 2016, we will be able to cross the road and enter a beautiful, bright space that will provide a community meeting room, a dedicated youth center, and housing for an Associate Minister. The building will be dedicated to Pastor Emeritus Ron Evans and his wife Janet, who served the church from 1985 to 2007.

Fellowship — Abundant and generous hospitality are a staple of our community of faith. As we gather for worship, service or special events, we forge life‐long friendships that enrich our connections to God.

FCC is hosting our 2nd annual Preschool VBS!  Join us for a 3 day incredible adventure exploring God’s mighty power!  Crafts, songs, games, Bible stories and much, much more!  Monday, June 15th through Wednesday, June 17th  Ages: 3-5 (potty-trained) *open to church members only through May 29th  Cost: $45 for the week and an hour or two of your time!  Where: FCC at 14 Brookside Road.  Register:  If it brings you to a page to register VBS Pro, just X it out and you will be at the page!  For more information or to volunteer contact Kate Nelson at  *For an older crowd at VBS, we are working in conjunction with St. Paul’s where they will be offering VBS from June 22-26 for ages 3 through Grade 5.  For more information please check out our website or at








Don’t miss this event for kids! kids halloween party


I’m in awe at what God is doing within our youth ministry.  We are truly developing a space where we can engage in heart warming, character transforming and life giving conversations. 
I have attached a picture of all of us from Last night (SO Beautiful!) and wanted to share with you a piece of an email I received from Lucas today.  I want you to know that you are DEEPLY IMPACTING the lives of other people. God is using each one of you to bring light into our world.  Please see the note from Lucas below:

“I want to thank you and Erica again for last night I really enjoyed myself and it meant so much to me that the speech meant so much to the kids.  Can you tell the kids that I really enjoyed being with and telling them my story.  There questions were great. Can you also tell the kids that I was uplifted by just being with them.”

I’m SO proud of who we are as a church!  Keep changing lives team…


The First Congregational Church’s Youth Ignite Group (YIG) provides a caring community for students in grades 6 through 12 to celebrate fellowship among our church youth and provides opportunities to give back to our church and community through service projects.  Our goal is to offer a place where kids can have fun, be real, and feel free to talk about what’s really on their minds — all with the aim of getting closer to one another and to God.

For questions about the YIG program, please contact our Associate Pastor, Gary Morello.


Big thanks to one of our seniors, Finley Wetmore, for taking some pictures of us at our last Youth Collective Event! 


High School Mission Trip

Each summer we send our high school youth and adult chaperones on a week-long work and spiritual journey with other youth from around the country.  Past programs have seen our youth attend work camps and programs in Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Staten Island, NY; and most recently in Accident, MD.  Projects have included rebuilding and repairing homes and schools, cleaning shelters and churches, and harvesting food.  To date, the mission trip has been for students in entering grade 9 through college.

This year’s Youth Group has met and made a decision for the summer 2016 mission trip.  Grade leaders have reached out to their peers and excitement for the trip is high.  After some thoughtful discussion among our current seniors, we have decided to run two concurrent mission experiences – one for the high school youth and one for the middle school youth.  Future years may see us running a joint mission trip.

In 2016, our high school group plans to partner with the Group Mission Trips organization from last year’s very successful trip. This year’s theme is “(Extra)Ordinary – We are ordinary, but with Him in us, we are extraordinary, because He is extraordinary.”  We are targeting the week of June 26 to July 2 to head to Vienna, VA.   There we will perform home repairs and improvements.   The cost per person (not including travel) is $470 (be sure to see Purpose section below on costs/fundraising).  Gary Morello will lead the high school mission trip and is looking for parent chaperones/drivers (male and female) to join him.

Below is a link to some great parent resources and the Group Mission Trips website:

I’ve been in contact with the High School Mission team leader. The sooner we know how many people are coming the better. As a result, in order for us to secure our spots — each person needs to put down a $50 deposit.  If interested in attending, please drop a check to payable to FCC for $50 with “2016 Mission Trip” in the Memo line as soon as possible.

Please see attached the copy of what the schedule will look like during our time in Vienna.

Middle School Mission Trip

During the same week, Karen Brennan, Board of Christian Education Chair, will lead a middle school mission trip closer to home, allowing for two or three days of local day travel.  This will allow us to introduce rising 6th graders to our youth program, while offering a service program to our middle school students entering grades 6-8.

We are hopeful to partner with a community center or school in a town like Bridgeport or New Haven where there is a real need for building improvement (e.g., shore up a playground, paint classrooms) or a community-partner who needs help (e.g., reorganizing a food pantry or clothing distribution center).  The cost per person is yet to be determined and we will need parent chaperones/drivers for this trip as well.

Please e-mail me if you are interested in participating for one, two or three of the days.


Our goal for both trips is to attract as many youth as possible, while keeping costs manageable.  Our Youth Group is united in our mission work and invested in holding fundraisers throughout the year to offset travel and supply costs.  Two events held this fall (Car Wash, Children’s Halloween Party) raised approximately $700.  A third fundraiser (Bake Sale) is planned for Easter weekend and we have received a small grant from the Board of Christian Outreach.  Our goal is to reduce each participant’s cost and pay for all chaperones to attend, and pay for gas and tolls for all drivers.

This is an opportunity for us to take the gospel message we believe in and put it into action.

Please note I’m here to discuss any and all questions you may have.  I can’t wait to serve with our young people at FCC. 

This will be fantastic!

With great enthusiasm,

Gary M. Morello

Senior Youth Trip Schedule June 2016, WC Schedule 

Bi-Weekly News:  Every two weeks, Gary sends an e-mail to all registered youth and their parents with dates and details for upcoming meetings, extracurricular activities, and service opportunities.

Register for Events:
  Click here
to sign up and pay for upcoming events.

We require that all youth be registered each year for Youth Group.  This form is available outside the Youth Group office or can be downloaded below and completed at home and then returned to the Church office.  Importantly, the form includes a place for photo permissions, and liability, emergency and medical release information for trips outside of church.

2015-16 Family Registration Form


We are always looking for teens (9th graders and up) to work in the Nursery/Toddler Room on Sundays.  If you would like to be included on the contact list, please send an e-mail to our Church School Director, Mary Jo Colman.  We will do our best to schedule everyone who wants to work.  One teen is needed each week from 9:45-11:00 a.m.  Teens receive $15 per Sunday.  If you stay for a second hour for a special 11th Hour meeting, we will pay you an additional $10 per hour.



Bowling Fun!

More bowling photos here!

Click here to see our youth in action.