Sunday mornings at First Church weave together celebration, education and community connection.
At 9 am we gather in the Large Assembly, which is our open meeting space. The setting is friendly and informal?you are free to bring your coffee or breakfast from the FCCB Caf? with you.
This service lasts about 45 minutes. It tends to be interactive, with opportunities for congregation members to bring in their voices, prayers and experience. We don?t use a printed order of service (in part to conserve resources) and words and images are projected on a large screen. Hearing enhancement devices are available for those who need them.
We find insight, depth, spirit, humor and transformation in a variety of ways, sometimes full of energy and enthusiasm and sometimes more meditative and reflective. Each Sunday we celebrate the power of gathering together as a community and each Sunday we share communion. All are invited to the table.
We sing accompanied by piano, percussion, other instruments and a wonderful group of vocalists. The youth choir also sing in this service on occasion.
Tables and a rug are set up for families with children who are welcome to stay in the service. We provide supplies for coloring for the younger ones and often the artwork produced is brought to the table at communion time. We also offer childcare for the littlest ones upstairs in the Nursery.
At 11 am we gather in the Sanctuary for a service that weaves together powerful and uplifting choral and organ music, hymns both traditional and contemporary, insightful preaching, scripture shared in a variety of ways and elements of community life and service. The children and youth choirs often sing in this service. The service is about an hour long.
Preaching is highly valued at First Church. The Senior Ministry, Molly Baskette, preaches at both services. Other ministers on the staff also preach regularly along with occasional guests. We have been honored to host members of the national setting of the United Church of Christ in our pulpit.
The Sanctuary is large, open and full of light. It is often graced by banners that speak through color and design. We use two different hymnals to support a wide range of congregational singing. The Chancel Choir, which is open to any singers who are interested, sings most Sundays between September and May. Vocalists and instrumentalists of all sorts share their special gifts with us.
We celebrate communion during the service on the first Sunday of the month and all are invited to the table. Communion is offered on all other Sundays after the service in the Chancel for those who choose to gather.
Classes for children grouped by age are offered during the 11 am service. The classes weave together progressive Christian education, spiritual awareness and development, peace and justice issues, and community connection. Children are given a variety of ways to interact and explore. Children go to the Sanctuary with their parents, then after the first part of the service, they leave with adult leaders for classes divided into three levels: preschool/kindergarten, 1st-3rd grade, and 4th-5th grade. Parents pick up their children right after the service in their classrooms. The entire service is about an hour long.
Childcare for the youngest ones is also available all morning in the Nursery. If your child stays with you during the service and needs to move around or make noise, you are free to sit with them in the Hall of Entrance where you will still be able to see and hear the service.
At 10 am each week, we offer a Learning Hour with opportunities for both intergenerational and adult education.
Childcare is also offered for infants and toddlers in the Nursery. Children?s choir rehearsals also take place during this time.
Adult Education programs are also presented, usually in the Large Assembly, on a variety of topics. Special speakers from both within and outside the congregation often provide presentations.
On the second Sunday of the month, First Church gathers for ?Meet in the Middle,? a special time for intergenerational activities for all ages. These events are a great way to connect in new and fun ways. On other Sundays of the month, children hang out with their parents during the Learning Hour.
The Learning Hour is also an important time for community connection between those who worship at the two different services. The 9 am crowd stays on after church and the 11 am folks come early to take advantage of this opportunity to see each other either in an education offering or hanging out in the Caf?.
No time to grab breakfast before you run off to church? Don?t worry?the First Church Caf? is open each Sunday from 8:30 to 11:00 am in the Small Assembly. It offers delicious, nutritious and inexpensive food specially prepared each week. Payment is by donation. The Caf? is a great place to eat and chat before, between and after services. It is a hub of friendly energy throughout the morning.