March 25

  "Jesus Enters Jerusalem", by J.F.Flandrin, 1842

"Jesus Enters Jerusalem", by J.F.Flandrin, 1842

Palm Sunday, March 25  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 118; Mark 11: 1-11

Text:  “Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.”   Mark 11:8

Sermon:  “People Watching”

Tease:    I am a people watcher!!  I love surveying a crowd and taking in all of the excitement and commotion.   And, the account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem gives us a wonderful opportunity to do some people watching - Roman garrisons, religious authorities, Jewish rebels, Passover pilgrims, the curious, and the disciples.  In fact, by surveying this crowd …we learn everything we need to know about who Jesus is …and what He asks from each of us.

March 18

 Young Romero celebrating Mass

Young Romero celebrating Mass

Fifth Sunday in Lent   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Jeremiah 31: 31-34;  John 12: 20-33

Text:  “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain.  But, if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  John 12:24.

Sermon:  “A Voice for the Voiceless”

Tease:  In short order, the Roman Catholic Church will be canonizing Archbishop Oscar Romero as a saint.  No doubt, we will be hearing a lot more about this remarkable individual in the weeks and months to come.  As a seminarian, I studied Romero’s writings and found him to be a profound influence in my own spiritual journey.  In fact, I was doing a study leave at the Weston Priory in Vermont the day he was assassinated by a Salvadoran Death Squad in 1980.  Much of my remaining time there was spent discussing the impact the champion of human rights had on our lives and how it becomes our challenge to carry on his ministry to the most vulnerable segments of the human community.  In a world that needs more role models, I can’t think of another individual whose life more gloriously reflects our gospel lesson of the week.

March 11

 Jesus cleanses the Temple

Jesus cleanses the Temple

Fourth Sunday in Lent  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 19;  John 2: 13-22

Text:   “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”  John 2:16

Sermon:   “Freedom from Want”

Tease:   This Sunday is one of those rare opportunities that if you missed last week’s sermon, you have a second shot at it!!  Fact is, of course, last weekend’s Nor’easter prevented everyone from attending worship.  So, I will be giving my reflection on Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple another go.   But be forewarned, this may be the last time you get a chance to hear me juxtapose a passage of scripture, with a bombshell 1943 Saturday Evening Post essay and an iconic Norman Rockwell painting.   It doesn’t get any better than that!

March 4

 "Freedom From Want" by Norman Rockwell

"Freedom From Want" by Norman Rockwell

Second Sunday in Lent      

Holy Communion  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 19. John 2: 13-22

 Text:  “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”   John 2:16

Sermon:  “Freedom from Want”

Tease:  Jesus’ driving the money changers from the Temple is a classic “speaking truth to power” moment.  Needless to say, it sets up his collision course with the religious leaders of the day.  And yet, confronting established practices is often part of the spiritual journey.  Most of us know Norman Rockwell’s classic painting of a family gathered around a Thanksgiving table as the matron is serving an enormous turkey.  Did you know the quintessential painter of Americana was, in reality, speaking a pointed truth to the powers of his day?


February 25

 Journey of the Family of Abraham by Giovanni Castiglione

Journey of the Family of Abraham by Giovanni Castiglione

Second Sunday in Lent  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:   Genesis 17: 1-7,15-16;  Romans 4: 13-25

Sermon:  “Day of Reckoning”     

We welcome the Rev. Holly Adams to the pulpit this weekend.  Holly retired as pastor of the UCC Church in Norwalk.  She has served as the Moderator of the Fairfield West Association.  You may remember Holly when she was a Chaplain in the skilled nursing facilities of Greenwich.  Holly received her divinity degree from Yale, holds an MSW degree from Fordham University, and did her undergraduate study at Smith College.  

February 18


First Sunday in Lent  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Genesis 9:8-17;  Mark 1:9-15

Text:  “The time is fulfilled; the kingdom of God is at hand.”  Mark 1:15

Sermon: “Society For All”  

Tease:   On Tuesday, February 20, the United Nations will be observing its annual Day of Social Justice.  Throughout the week, delegates will address issues of global poverty, unemployment and discrimination.  A phrase that has come to be identified with this Day of Social Justice is - “A Society for All,” - which coincidentally bears remarkable similarity to the Kingdom that Jesus pronounces “drawing nigh” in Mark 1:15.  But then, perhaps this resemblance is no mere coincidence at all.

February 11

  "The Transfiguration" by Giovanni Bellini

"The Transfiguration" by Giovanni Bellini

Morning Worship 

10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 50;  Mark 9: 2-9

Text:  “And his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.”  Mark 9: 3

Sermon:  “Get Your Sparkle On”

Tease:   It’s no mere coincidence that the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration comes to us in the midst of  Carnival  -  the raucous festival  preceding the sober observance of Lent.  As we follow Jesus up a mountain and witness his face “shining like the sun and his garments become like white light,” we’re being reminded to get our own sparkle on…get our bodies moving to the rhythms of  the Spirit … and let the shimmering light of God’s grace shine in our hearts and give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory - already shining in the face of Jesus of Nazareth.”  It’s time to Samba!!

February 4

  Jesus at Capernaum by Domenico Ghirlandaio

Jesus at Capernaum by Domenico Ghirlandaio

Holy Communion  10:30 a.m.

 Lectionary Readings:   Psalm 147; Mark 1: 29-39

Text:  “And the whole city was gathered around the door.”  Mark 1: 33

Sermon:  “This American Pie”

Tease:   Within hours of Jesus’ first appearance in the synagogue at Capernaum, we’re told “all the people of Galilee” were at his doorstep, many with friends and relatives hoping to be touched by his healing hand.  Anticipation is rampant. The young rabbi is capturing the hearts and imagination of a new generation.  But, as we know all too well, reality often falls short of expectation.   What can the past teach us about maintaining confidence and hope in tomorrow, even in the midst of disappointment, or impatience?

January 28

  Healing in Capernaum Synagogue by James Tissot

Healing in Capernaum Synagogue by James Tissot

Morning Worship

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 111;  Mark 1:21-28

Text:  “And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?”  Mark 1:24

Sermon:  “Heckle and Hide”

Tease:    We follow Jesus to a local synagogue where his first public sermon is rudely disrupted by a heckler.  “What have you to do with us?” the man shouts.  “Are you here to destroy our way of doing things?”   We’re told that the man is possessed by an “unclean” spirit – a term that is used extensively in scripture and can refer to anything from mental illness to institutional tyranny.  I find it interesting (and by no means coincidental) that our Lord’s first public confrontation with society’s “darker” side takes place in a house of worship.  As He says in another version of this incident, “Physician … you must first heal yourself!”

January 21


Morning Worship  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Jonah 3: 1-5;  Mark 1: 14-20

Text:  “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”  Mark 1:17                  

Sermon:  “Fish out of Water”

Tease:   The metaphor of “fishing” is appropriate for Jesus to use as he teaches his disciples about discipleship.  Most of them had first-hand knowledge of what was involved with the job of fishing.  But what implications does this image have for those of us who now experience fishing only as a recreational pastime, if at all?  What are we actually being summoned to do?  Though my list of suggestions will not be exhaustive, it promises to get us thinking about what it may mean to follow Jesus and his directive into this new year.

January 7


Epiphany Sunday  10:30  a.m.     Holy Communion

Lectionary Readings:  Isaiah 60: 1-6; Mathew 2: 1-12

Text:    “…Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.”   Matthew 2:1

Sermon:   “On the Fourteenth Day of Christmas”

Tease:   Once again, we join ranks with those strange men from the East, who journey from afar - field and fountain, moor and mountain. They bear gifts that are tools of the magian tradition.   In fact, the word “magi,” simply means wise ones.  Through the millennia, these “wise ones” have become shrouded in myth.   And yet, their appearance in the birth narrative bears profound symbolic significance as the “Old” Testament begins blending with the “New.”

December 31

 Presentation in Temple by Andrea Mantegna

Presentation in Temple by Andrea Mantegna

First Sunday after Christmas  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 148; Luke 2: 22-40

Text:  “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel.”  Luke 2:34

Sermon:   “Baby … It’s You!”

Tease:  We share a tender moment as Jesus is presented in the Temple and the aged prophet Simeon takes the infant Jesus in arm and makes an astonishing claim regarding the child’s future.  If true, his words introduce us to the entirely new and unexpected way God acts in the world.  Simeon’s predictions not only place trust in God, they place considerable  trust in us, as well.

December 24


Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Sunday Evening, December 24 at 5:00 p.m.

At the magical twilight hour, we gather to hear the story of Jesus’ birth.  Our traditional service of lessons and carols will include special music.   The anthems will be the traditional “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming and Don Besig’s haunting “Advent Carol.  The evening offertory will Felix Mendelssohn’s “Song Without Words" with Carlos Avila on piano and Mihai Marica on cello.

Rev Garren will deliver a short meditation, entitled “Comfort and Joy.”

It is a joyous, yet reflective hour, guaranteed to put you and the entire family in that Christmas spirit.

There will be no morning service.

December 17


Third Sunday of Advent   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Isaiah  61: 1-11;  Luke 1: 46-55

Text:  “He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich empty away.”  Luke 1:53

Sermon:   “Mary, Quite Contrary”

Tease:   From the moment the strange messenger brings greetings to Mary of Nazareth, she remains demure and quiet.  But, then, in a moment of sheer inspiration … she speaks.  And what a speech!!   God might have chosen a more mature, stronger woman of better background to play this daunting role. Yet, the choice of a young, poor and vulnerable peasant girl may tell us something far more important about God …and ourselves.


Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols

Sunday Evening, December 24,  5:00 p.m.

At that magical twilight hour, we once again gather to hear the story of Jesus’ birth.  Our traditional service of lessons and carols will include special music and a short, inspirational message.  It’s a joyous, yet reflective hour – guaranteed to put you and the entire family in the Christmas spirit. 

There will be no morning service on December 24.

December 10

 The Sermon of John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder 1566

The Sermon of John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder 1566

Second Sunday of Advent  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Isaiah 40: 1-11;  Mark 1: 1-8

Sermon:  “The One Who Comes After”   Rev. Dr. Michael Ciba

We welcome Senior Regional Minister, Rev. Dr. Michael Ciba to the pulpit this Sunday.  Michael has served on the staff of the Connecticut Conference since 2005.  He is a graduate of St. John’s College in Maryland and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He has served as pastor of two congregations, the most recent in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Annual Christmas Luncheon    Join us afterward for a Turkey Fête.  Council members Peter and Kerry Linderoth will be grilling the bird and we will provide all the trimmings.  Please bring one (or more) of the following to share :  Stuffing, Potatoes, Gravy, Cranberry creations, or Vegetables.  We will have a Bûche de Noël for dessert.  If someone wants to bring a Figgie Pudding, don’t be shy.  And how about some  Razzleberry Dressing, just for good measure?

Sunday, November 26


Morning Worship   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:   Psalm 95;  Matthew 25: 31-46

Text:  “And he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.”  Matthew 25:33

Sermon:  “Hotel California”

Tease:   “This could be heaven, or this could be hell.”  So goes Don Henley’s line from the 1977 Grammy Award winning song describing a traveler’s sojourn at a remote desert inn.   Jesus, of course, never uses the words, “heaven” and “hell” in any of his teachings - even this week’s infamous story of a King separating sheep from goats.  As we take a closer look at the words our Lord actually uses, we may be in for a few surprises.  Welcome to the Hotel California!

Sunday November 19

Service of Thanksgiving   10:30 a.m.


Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 100;   Matthew 25: 14-30

Sermon:  “Risky Business”

Text:  “He who received the one talent dug in …hid his master’s money.”  Matthew 25:18

Tease:  Our passage introduces us to two very clever and successful entrepreneurs.  They show us how to undertake ventures with skill and confidence, even in the face of certain risk.  Their rewards  are enviable..  But, success is never a sure thing.  Often, like a third entrepreneur in our story, fear of failure can get the better of us. Terrified that he will lose the small sum entrusted to him, this worker does nothing.  Sadly, his “return and reward” aren’t so enviable.  Yet, within the startling, if not uncomfortable narrative, we do learn what Thanksgiving is all about. 

Sunday, November 12

 Five "Prudent" Virgins

Five "Prudent" Virgins

Morning Worship  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 78;  Matthew 25: 1-13

Sermon:   “Bridesmaids”

Text:  “But when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them”  Matthew 25: 3

Tease:   Ah… the bridesmaid story.  Five are prudent.  Five are not.  When  it’s to join the wedding party, the “foolish” ones are turned away because their wicks aren’t trimmed!   It always seems to me that the prudent ladies are a snooty bunch.  And, the fact that they aren’t willing to share their resources seems contrary to the gospel message.  And yet, there’s a verse in this passage that turns this disturbing story completely inside out.

Sunday, November 5

 Reproving The Pharisees by James Tissot

Reproving The Pharisees by James Tissot

Holy Communion   10:30 am.

Lectionary Readings:   Psalm 43;  Matthew 23: 1-12

Text:   “…but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they  teach.”

Sermon:  “Hypocritic Oath” 

Tease:   We love to castigate hypocrisy!  Catching prominent leaders not living up to their principles is an American sport.  The unfortunate result of these feeding frenzies is a general reluctance to commit to any kind of principles, for fear that others may accuse us of being a “phony”.  As Jesus once again takes on the Pharisees, we may just conclude that hypocrisy is the risk we all take every time we try to commit ourselves to doing something good.

Sunday, October 22


Morning Worship  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:   Psalm 96,  1 Thessalonians 1: 1-10

Text:  “We always give thanks to God for all of you.”    1 Thessalonians 1:2

Sermon:  “Gratitude Attitude”

Tease:  As we prepare to enter the Thanksgivng Season,  the Apostle Paul reminds us how nurturing an attitude of gratitude,  is always the first step in restoring the balance and harmony that we all anxiously seek in our daily lives.