Ministries

At the First Congregational Church of Reading, the ministries of our church are supported by the active commitment of our members and friends, bringing our community of faith to life with each person contributing his or her unique talents and skills to carrying out these important ministries in name of Jesus Christ.

Worship

Worship is central to life at the First Congregational Church of Reading. Each week we gather as a faith community to share a common experience as we individually and collectively love and magnify God. We invite you to join us this Sunday for a worship service that can provide both a joyous and reflective setting for our busy lives.

Sunday Mornings

Sunday worship begins at the First Congregational Church at 10:00 a.m. As you enter our historic sanctuary, you’ll be greeted and welcomed into our worship of God. The weekly bulletin will guide you through the service which includes:

  • Greetings, announcements and opening worship music.

  • Childrens' message: A chance for children and youth to participate in worship in their own language.

  • Music: The service integrates varied and inspiring music; may include traditional and newer hymns; organ, piano, and instrumental music; as well as musical selections from our chancel, hand bell, children’s and youth choirs.

  • A sermon by one of our Pastors that applies scripture to our everyday lives.

  • Prayers and concerns of our congregation.

 

Mission

Activities for the 2014 - 2015 Program Year

July 27          Cycle for Shelter: as in past years, we donated $100 to FCCR Peddlers (a team formed so we could make one donation to multiple riders).  Also as in past years, Mission provided picnic-type food to Emmaus House on the day of Cycle for Shelter.  We’ll probably do both again.

August 24     Common Cathedral: we were the only church providing the lunch that day, but we prefer that, so we can bring as many people as we want, and because so few other churches want to do summer Sundays.  Also, Ecclesia Ministries’ new director volunteered to preach, and Lisa will contact her.

October         We joined Andover Newton’s collection for Ebola supplies.  Mission was seeking some way to help with the crisis, and Lisa put us in touch with ANTS. Sharon bought and mailed $60 worth of protective gloves.

                       We also responded to an emergency request from the Friends of Boston’s Homeless for a clothing collection for residents displaced from the Long Island shelter.  Our collection ran two weeks, and then the items were delivered to Boston.

November 23     Thanksgiving Food Pantry collection: as in past years, we’ll have it during the church service.  We’ll split with the Food Pantry in Lawrence again; items to be divided by suitability.  Volunteer will deliver Lawrence’s share to its warehouse in Andover.

December     Advent collections: as in past years, we’ll have the first two weeks devoted to the CMS Christmas shops; the third week assigned for toiletries for Emmaus, Inc.; and the fourth week for the Reading food pantry.  We discussed the idea of having only one week for CMS and using the other week for another collection, but we decided it was too late to change for this year.

                       Christmas Eve collection: as in past years, we decided to have Mission’s share of the plate go to the Christmas Fund, which helps retired clergy and lay people.

January 17   Mission will again participate in the MLK Jr. Day of Service.

February       We agreed to participate in the “Souper Bowl of Caring,” which involves putting out two receptacles, one for each team; people show support for their preferred team by donating cans of soup (and other food items) into their team’s box.

                       Emmaus Linens Collection: we decided to expand to include the Mission of Deeds; new pillows will be sought for Emmaus House, and general bedding for Mission of Deeds.

March            Volunteers have been identified to head up our CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets; we will try for 6 buckets, due to the critical need for them (most churches want to do the easier kits).

May 3            As in the past, we’ll hold our One Great Hour of Sharing collection early in this month.

Next FY         July: We will probably support Emmaus House in the same way as we did this past July.

                       August: We decided to provide the lunch to Common Cathedral around our usual time, which would be either August 23 or 30.  We need to make sure that our own church service doesn’t run long, so we can get down to Boston on time.               

Other Ideas

Habitat for Humanity – workers on house-building projects; it also has a bike ride

Host a Speaker from the Public Voice Project (CMS)?

Investigate the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, which focuses on youth and young adults

Investigate the Women’s Lunch Place – seeks collections of items, money, service

Horizons for Homeless Children – seeks volunteers to play with homeless children in family shelters in Lowell, Lawrence, and Lynn.  Probably not something we can support.

 

 

Resources

Enlisting and engaging people and financial resources of the Church to help fulfill the Church’s mission. The Administration Commission also provides the coordination and supervision of the activities of the following ministries:

  • Leadership Ministry discovers leadership potential to identify and match skills that support various phases of Church life.

  • Investment Ministry invests and manages the permanent funds of the Church

  • Property Ministry provides for the care and maintenance of historic Church property and grounds.

  • Stewardship Ministry provides stewardship education for the congregation to encourage pledging and give an understanding of how dollars are spent.

For more information on the Ministries of the First Congregational Church of Reading, please call, email or visit us this Sunday morning.

Opportunities

Hunger and Homelessness

  • Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian movement dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Houses are built and sold at cost to economically disadvantaged families on the basis of need, regardless of race or religion.

  • Emmaus House is located in Haverhill, and serves homeless families and individuals by providing a structured family environment, counseling, and referrals to outside agencies. It is run by Emmaus, Inc., assisted by individuals, churches, and other charitable groups.

  • Rosie’s Place – Eighty-four cents of every dollar donated to Rosie’s Place goes directly to services for the women and children who come to them for help. They not only provide over 6,500 nourishing meals a month, short-term housing for hundreds each year, and other emergency services—from lawyers and doctors to rape counselors and housing advocates—but they seek to create solutions to homelessness.

  • Reading Food Pantry – Under the auspices of the Reading Clergy Association, the Reading Food Pantry serves residents of Reading and members of Reading churches. In addition to a monetary donation, we collect food and help to staff the pantry.

  • OXFAM America is dedicated to creating lasting solutions to hunger, poverty, and social injustice through long-term partnerships with poor communities around the world. As a privately funded organization, we can speak with conviction and integrity as we challenge the structural barriers that foster conflict and human suffering and limit people from gaining the skills, resources, and power to become self-sufficient.

Peace

  • Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) seeks to replace violence, war, racism, and economic injustice with nonviolence, peace, and justice. We are an interfaith organization committed to active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change. We educate, train, build coalitions, and engage in nonviolent and compassionate actions locally, nationally, and globally.

Education

  • Andover Newton Theological School – founded in 1807, is the country's oldest Protestant graduate school of theology. Today its students include more than 500 men and women from 45 Protestant denominations, as well as the Roman Catholic and Jewish faiths.

  • Boston Cambridge Ministry in Higher Education – Campus ministry truly is the church’s presence on our college campuses. Students need the presence of a caring Christian community to help them deal with college pressures. The campus is where today’s values are being formed, and as today’s students prepare to be tomorrow’s leaders, the church must be present. Because God is at work on college campuses, we as a church must be at work also.

  • Chikore Secondary School, Zimbabwe was established in 1955 in Zimbabwe, then known as Southern Rhodesia. Donald and Jeri Abbott had been appointed to serve as missionaries in Southern Rhodesia in 1950, and by 1958, Donald was the principal at Chikore. That was the year when Dan Hall, a former member of our church, took his young family to teach at Chikore.

  • Peki Seminary, Ghana is run by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Ghana. It prepares lay leaders and musicians for positions of responsibility in churches throughout Ghana.

Counseling

  • Interfaith Counseling Service of Reading, MA – This program offers counseling services to individuals of all ages and faiths who are suffering from emotional problems. It has the advantage of combining pastoral counseling with psychotherapy.

  • Interfaith AIDS Ministry is for people with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, serves the Greater Boston Area and strives to bring a fuller understanding of God's love for persons affected by AIDS and to serve as a bridge between caregivers and congregations.

Social

  • Elon Homes for Children is located in Elon College, North Carolina, is a private, non-profit corporation with close ties to the UCC. Elon Homes provides programs that include: residential care for court-ordered children, two charter public schools, community based services for children in foster care homes, a family care program, and a center for child development.

  • City Mission Society – The mission of this organization, founded in 1816, is: "to work with the urban poor to fashion a vision of wholeness of human life against the realities of economic, racial, and social injustice."


Local and National Conference

  • MACUCC (Mass. Conference of the United Church of Christ) these dollars are used to support programs for ministers, local resources, youth resources, etc.; further, a large portion of those dollars goes to the national UCC where they provide both National and International financial support to those in need

  • Turner Falls

  • One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) is an annual interdenominational offering for disaster relief, economic development, and refugee resettlement in more than 100 countries across the world, including the U.S.

Learning and Faith Exploration

Growing Faith

Providing programs that introduce and promote the growth of persons into the life and mission of the community of Christian faith, providing education for children, youth and adults. 

Learning occurs throughout the span of human life as we ask about, and live with, the fundamental questions of existence, both of which open opportunities and occasions for education. Learning occurs in a variety of ways: in study and reflection, in action and contemplation, in practice and discipline, in worship and sacraments, in prayer and celebration.


Church School Program - Sundays 10 - 11  

Join us in a welcoming, fun and safe environment with classes led by parents and volunteers. We use the United Church of Christ (UCC) Faith Practices curriculum, with topics ranging from "Encountering Scripture" to "Playing and Living Joyfully." Classes range from K-8. See: www.ucc.org/ faith-practices

Typical Sundays – Children start in the sanctuary though our Children's Moment, then depart for classes.

Communion Sunday (1st Sunday of the month) – children start in class, then 3rd grades and up join service for communion.

School Holidays – during school holiday weekends, our special program of Art in the Sanctuary allows children and youth to contribute to service in a very special way.

Nursery Services – a Sunday nursery is provided during service for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.


Christmas AdVENTure!

Having trouble finding time for meaning during the hectic Christmas season? Our multi-age "drop in" program runs every Sunday in December, recreating parts of the Christmas story. See the results on Sunday, Dec. 21st or Christmas Eve at the 5pm Family Service.

Easter AdLENTure!

Another multi-age "drop in" program, this time for the Lenten season, Sundays leading up to Easter.


Service Opportunities and Our Broader Church Mission

We offer many opportunities throughout the year for children and youth to participate in service activities.

Heifer International Marketplace –known as "Heifer Sunday" it's a can't-miss-it Sunday for kids to put mission into action, right here in Reading. Scheduled for March 15, 2015.

Reading Changes Lives – Continues our tradition of "all-church" mission programs, focusing on literacy this year. Begins this fall and culminates in March 2015.

 

Growing Faith Opportunities

What’s Brewing?  This year we have begun two new and unusual opportunities to share reflections on life and faith, over a cold beer or a mug of coffee. Our "beer is our brew" events take place on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at Portland Pie on Haven St.  Java (or tea) brews occur on the fourth Monday mornings at Starbucks on Main St., Reading, at 10 a.m. Hope to see you for libation ‘n conversation! For further information, please contact Rev. Lisa.

Congregational Care

Caring for the community and the world

At the First Congregational Church of Reading, we strive to care for one another - we are members of a real family of faith.  To that end we have many ways in which to care for and support one another.  Our Visitation Group visits those who are homebound, keeping them in touch - in person - with happenings at the church and news about friends.  We have a "Yarning to Care" group which knits and shares prayer shawls for those both in and beyond the church family who are in special need, blankets which are given to each family with a baby who is baptized at church, hats for shelters and preemies, and various items to support our Heifer Marketplace in the spring.  In addition FCCR boasts a Care Ministry which meets monthly to assess the status of individuals who have been hospitalized, suffered illness or loss.  That group oversees meal support (with thanks to a large number of volunteers from the congregation) as well as transportation to appointments when needed.

 

Welcome to All!

churchNo matter where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!

The First Congregational Church of Reading, United Church of Christ welcomes you. Whether you are new to the Reading area, searching for a place where you belong, or are perhaps at a crossroad on a personal journey, our church offers you and your family a spiritual home.

We invite you to joyously discover the vitality of an active, friendly congregation committed to our local and world community. Learn more about a place for people of all ages and backgrounds. No matter where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here.

Join us for any Sunday morning!  ...And check us out on Facebook too.                                     

This Week

25 Woburn Street, Reading, MA 01867

781.944.0205

Office hours M-Th, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

 

Sunday worship begins at the First Congregational Church at 10:00 a.m.

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