First Congregational Church is welcoming and affirming of all who wish to seek peace and know God. Whether it is your first time as our guest or you are returning after some time, you may wonder what goes on behind those doors on Pleasant Street. Here as some things for you to know so that you can be at ease when you come.
First, no matter who you are or what your religious or spiritual background is, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, finances, nationality, ethnicity...you are welcome to be in God's presence at First Congregational Church.
- The best way to enter for Sunday services is on Pleasant St. There is plenty of on-street parking on Pleasant Street as well as Broad Street. All free on Sundays. There are also some public parking lots off Pleasant St. The banks on Glidden St have also welcomed cars when they are not in business.
- Once you come to the building, you have a choice of walking up a few steps or entering to the left of the Pleasant St entrance via a ramp. Once in the building, there is an elevator that accesses all floors and all restrooms.
- Do not worry about what you wear to Sunday services. We want you to be comfortable.
- When you enter the sanctuary, you may sit anywhere. Do not worry about taking someone's appointed pew. We even have rocking chairs to use and an area in the back where kids could roam. We are flexible and can sit anywhere even if we are used to a certain part of the sanctuary. Feel free to sit next to someone who is already there and introduce yourself as a guest if you would like.
- Our service begins with quiet music a few minutes before 10 am. We hope that all will sit quietly and listen though sometimes people need a little time to chat with others quietly during the music.
- There will be a program for you to follow throughout the service. Where there is an asterisk (*) we encourage you to stand if you are comfortable with that. We use two hymnals, The New Century Hymnal and The Pilgrim Hymnal. Sing along or just listen if you want. The pew Bibles are there for your use. If you would like to take one with you, please feel free to do that. Here is a sample of our Sunday service.
- The service leadership is shared by a lay participant and our Spiritual Care Leader, The Rev. Karen Lipinczyk.
- The service includes a time of offering our gifts, both our talents and financial support of the church. We do not pass a plate but rather invite those who are able to drop an offering in the plate at the front or back of the sanctuary. If you do not want to get up and do this, you may place an offering in the plate as you leave or not at all. The time of our service is a reminder that no matter what our finances, we call have something to offer to support the work of Christ's ministry. During the offering, our church musician, Carla, will play some special music.
- The first Sunday of every month we share communion. All are welcome, regardless of church membership, to partake in the Lord's Supper. But you do not have to partake if you don't want to for whatever reason. We use juice and bread to symbolize the essence of Christ's body and blood.
- The service ends with folks facing each other and singing a final "going forth" hymn.
- People sit down after that hymn and listen to the church musician play a final musical reflection.
- Sometimes after services we have opportunities for discussion. If not, folks sometimes stay a while to visit or go on their way.
- If you want to receive information during the week via email from the church, please let anyone you see know that before you leave.