“No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”
Sunday Worship Services
Weekly Sunday Worship
Sunday Worship Services September through June:
– 8am in the Chapel
– 10am in the Sanctuary
– 5 pm Sacred Spaces: alternative, contemporary, participatory worship gathering for all ages.
During July & August – there is one Sunday morning worship at 9 am.
The heart of First Congregational Church is Sunday morning worship. From September through June, the 10:00 a.m. Sanctuary Service provides a larger number of worshipers with an uplifting experience of both traditional forms and newer elements. The 8:00 a.m. Chapel Service is intimate, with 30 to 40 people sharing in prayer, hymns accompanied by piano, and a sermon. Regular attendees to the Chapel Service appreciate the opportunity to worship on a smaller scale and in a quieter environment.
During July and August (2018) there is one worship service at 9am featuring guest musicians and periodically, guest preachers.
At 5pm each Sunday an alternative, contemporary, participatory worship service, “Sacred Spaces” is offered. This is a new model for worship, a new way of creating sacred space in community.
Preaching is central to our worship tradition as is symbolized by the Pulpit’s central and elevated location at the center of a raised chancel that is integral to the historic architecture of the 170-year-old Sanctuary. Through the litanies, prayers, moments of silence and hymns, the people of God worship together. The Scripture, Sermon and Pastoral Prayer provide spiritual insight and support for life’s increasingly complex realities. Click here for Sermons Online.
At our 10:00 a.m. service, music is the thread that weaves the various elements together. Church bells ring, and the organ begins a prelude, inviting us into a spirit of worship; the choir sings an introit to begin worship and processes to their place. The Children’s Choir sings most Sundays; once a month the Bell Choir plays; each week the Sanctuary Choir sings at least one anthem. The congregation sings three hymns that are selected primarily from the New Century Hymnal, but also from the Pilgrim Hymnal, and occasionally from other sources. Following the Benediction, there is a choral response and an organ Postlude. At special services, including Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, horns and other instruments supplement the magnificent sound of the organ.
Worship typically includes a “Word of God for all Ages.” Children are invited to join the minister at the front of the Sanctuary for their special time, and then are escorted to their Sunday School classes.
Baptism, the Sacrament of Initiation into the Christian Community, is celebrated during Sunday worship when the gathered community is present to welcome the baptized infant, child, or adult into the church family and to pledge to support his or her growth into full Christian discipleship. Although some families choose godparents, in most instances, the entire congregation serves as a community of godparents for the child and her or his parents.
The Sacrament of Holy Communion, also known as The Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist, takes place on the first Sunday of each month. Loaves of bread and cups of grape juice are consecrated through reciting the words of Christ and served by the Deacons to all present. All who profess faith in Jesus Christ are welcome to the meal. Children, with the assent of their parents, are also welcome to take part. On special occasions, Holy Communion is served by the ancient practice of intinction when persons are invited to approach the Table, take bread and dip it into the Cup.
Throughout the year, a number of services with unique sacred character are celebrated including Faithful Friday Worship & Dinners (first Friday of the month September thru November and January thru June); the Advent Worship and Italian Dinner (first Thursday in Advent), Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, and Maundy Thursday. A pulpit exchange that began in the 1950’s with Ohavi Zedek Synagogue continues annually. In celebration of our enduring relationship, we periodically schedule a joint worship service with the New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church who worships in our Chapel year-round on Sunday afternoons. Lively toe-tapping, hand-clapping Jazz Sunday in June has been a First Church tradition for more than 25 years.