Outdoor Prayer Services

We will be gathering outdoors for a brief 30-minute prayer and meditation service this fall. Everyone will be socially distanced at 6-feet apart, requiring masks, and we invite you to bring your own beach or camp chair. This short prayer service will allow us to see one another from a distance, hear a meditation, and pray together with some acoustic music.

Our outdoor prayer service schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, October 7 at 5 PM – location TBD

Wednesday, October 21 at 5 PM – on the church lawn

Sign up is required. This will allow us to keep our group size below 16 people & help us with contact tracing (hopefully not necessary). 
Sign up for the October 7th service by filling out the form below:


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Sign up for Virtual Sunday School

Since COVID began, we’ve been meeting each Tuesday for a Story Time on Zoom, and it’s been a lot of fun! Now, we are excited to kick off a new re-imagined Virtual Sunday School, which will meet Sundays at 12 PM on Zoom. Families will receive a special Sunday School delivery next week to help you have Virtual Sunday School at home.

Interested in joining? Register for Virtual Sunday School by clicking the link below!

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COVID-19 Update

September 9, 2020 Update

Earlier this summer, the COVID team determined that we would refrain from any in-person gatherings at the church during the summer months, including worship and meetings. During this time, we’ve been able to host vibrant virtual ministries and connecting while staying apart.

We’ve shown that we can be the church even when we’re not gathering together in our building. Through prayer, discernment, and statistics, we have determined that it is still unwise for us to return to in-person worship on Sunday mornings. After discussing the safety and the science, we asked ourselves “how would this benefit our ministry?” While we miss seeing one another, the reality of returning to in-person worship on Sundays would mean enough changes that it wouldn’t feel like the way we do church:

  • There would be no singing
  • There would be no passing of the peace
  • We wouldn’t be able to have coffee hour and socialize
  • We would have to limit how many people would be allowed

Most importantly, we wouldn’t want to put anyone in our community at risk. Rather than offer a quiet, music-less, limited worship space, we recognize that we continue to accommodate more than 60 people each week on virtual worship through Facebook Live and Zoom with music and virtual choir.
For this reason, Sunday mornings will remain virtual.

However, safety measures have been put in place so that people may return to the building in limited ways. State guidelines limit the capacity of people in reach room of the church significantly (for example, under current guidelines as of August 25, we can only accommodate 7 people in the Chapel), masks are required at all times while in the building, and instructions for sanitization help keep our space clean and safe. Three new hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed (two by the bathrooms up by the Town Hall Parking Lot entrance, and one by the office).

Small groups and ministries are allowed to schedule a room with the office to meet in-person. The office will be scheduling outside groups and church groups with timing, occupancy, and distance in mind so that there won’t be too many people in the building at once. If your ministry or group would like to return to meeting in-person, we ask that you ask the following:

  1. Would meeting in-person help the ministry of our group?
  2. Is everyone in the group comfortable with meeting in person?

Please contact the office if your group would like to inquire about scheduling an in-person meeting in the church. Please limit the number of people in your group to a maximum of 10, wear masks at all times, and attempt to limit your time together.

We will also offer small outdoor prayer services this fall. Beginning September 23, there will be a Wednesday evening prayer service held in an outdoor space every other Wednesday. We recognize that the ministry of Sunday morning versus a small prayer circle serve different purposes. These small and short outdoor gatherings will allow …

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Virtual Church now on RCTV

Access worship services from your couch throughout the week!

If you live in Reading, MA, go to your RCTV Public Access Channel. Times listed below.

Comcast Channel 9
Verizon Channel 31

Sundays: 8am, 7pm, 8pm, 10:40pm
Mondays: 5:30am, 9:10am, 10:30am, 2:15pm, 8:15pm
Tuesdays: 11am, 12:30pm, 1pm, 2:38pm, 8pm, 9pm
Wednesdays: 9:33am, 11:45am, 1:40pm, 3:00pm, 7:40pm
Thursdays: 10:30am, 5:02pm, 10:15pm, 10:30pm, 11:30pm
Fridays: 8am, 2:30pm, 4:32pm, 8:30pm, 9:30pm
Saturdays: 10:30am, 2pm, 4:02pm, 9:33pm, 11:02pm

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One Great Month of Sharing!

This August, we encouraged you to give back all month long! Here are just a few of the results (and ways you can learn more and continue to give back!)

School Kits for Church World Service

We collected supplies to pack 45 kits for children in need of school supplies! Thank you for your donations and thanks for our volunteers who practiced social distancing while packing and prepping!

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Lunches for Common Cathedral

Each year we pack, deliver, and serve lunches before attending the Common Cathedral worship services on Boston Common. It’s a beloved intergenerational tradition. The need for food for the unhoused in Boston which Common Cathedral and Ekklesia Ministries serve is great during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we couldn’t attend their service on the Common, we were able to pack 160 lunches and deliver them while practicing social distancing and safety measures. Thank you all who donated lunches!

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Hearing from City Mission

We normally hear about City Mission in December, as we donate to the annual Christmas Shop. This month, we heard from Seminarian in the City Jess Acosta, who shared with us the challenges City Mission and the people the organization serves has faced during the pandemic.

One Great Hour of Sharing

We also learned more about how One Great Hour of Sharing is providing relief globally and locally, providing relief efforts for multiple disasters (including COVID-19, the explosions in Beirut, and hurricanes here in the United States, Caribbean, and Puerto Rico. One Great Hour of Sharing does so much more, and we were glad to learn more in worship on August 30. Please read more and consider making a donation today.

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Virtual Silent Auction coming soon!

Our annual Olde Redding Faire will be getting a 2020 makeover — with virtual options galore. Including taking our Silent Auction online! Did you know we partner with local nonprofits and charities each year to support with the funds we raise? Stay tuned to learn more. …

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Update from the COVID-19 Team

Over the past six or so weeks, the COVID-19 team has been working diligently to review guidelines and advice surrounding how we might “be the church” during this time. Here’s an overview of what we’ve been working on:

When am I going to be able to go back to church?

Having considered the advice of the leaders of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ, we agreed that it would be best to refrain from any in-person gatherings this summer. We agreed that, since September 13th would have been our usual “Welcome Back Sunday,” we would keep that date in mind as a benchmark to consider. As the summer months continue, we will be using this time to collect resources, create procedures, implement infrastructure, and make sure safety is in place for any kind of in-person meetings at church, including meeting for worship. There is no guarantee that we will be back on September 13th. This will be dependent on the number of COVID-19 cases at the end of the summer, and if there is a continuous downward trend in case numbers. At this time, case numbers are not decreasing within the county or state. 

What will worship look like if we return?

We have also been asking ourselves the question, “does this aid us in our ministry?” No matter what, when we are able to safely meet together for worship, it’s going to look very different. There cannot be any kind of in-person singing (by a soloist, choir, and certainly no congregational singing). We wouldn’t be able to pass the peace the way we wish we could. We wouldn’t be able to gather for coffee hour afterwards. On top of this, we want to be mindful about how many people would be able to enter the space (and would want to discourage members of our community who are the most vulnerable to stay home). No matter what, worship just wouldn’t look the same. You can be sure, however, that whenever we do go back to meeting in-person, it will be a hybrid of virtual & in-person worship.

What about the Faire?

We are discussing ways the Faire might continue this year but using our collective congregational creativity so that it will definitely look different but still have the same spirit! Stay tuned for more information about Faire planning and questions. In the meantime, you can contact Betsy Schneider ( betsyschneider7@gmail.com) for more information.

Is the building closed?

We are limiting staff presence in the building, encouraging working from home as much as possible, to help reduce any traffic in the building. Additionally, we have been asking ourselves what it means to represent “love of neighbor” at this time. First and foremost, loving our neighbor means protecting the most vulnerable in our community and limiting exposure to the virus. However, many of our building users are beginning to inquire about returning to the space. After much discussion and working together with Creative Arts, we have decided …

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Videos of Virtual Church

Were you not able to join us live for worship on Facebook or Zoom? No problem. You can watch all our worship videos right here after they are posted!

Virtual Church

Welcome to virtual worship! No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here.

Posted by First Congregational Church of Reading UCC on Sunday, September 13, 2020
Virtual Church

Join us as we celebrate and bless all the sharing we have done in August, and learn more about One Great Hour of Sharing!

Posted by First Congregational Church of Reading UCC on Sunday, August 30, 2020
Virtual Church

This week we hear from guest preacher Jess Acosta from City Mission Boston reflect on scripture and the work for City Mission. No matter where you are on life's journey you are welcome here!

Posted by First Congregational Church of Reading UCC on Sunday, August 23, 2020
Virtual Blessing of the Animals!

We join with Truro's First Parish Church/Congregational Meetinghouse this Sunday blessing our pets and the animals that bless our lives. No matter who you are — whether you have paws or claws! — you are welcome here.

Posted by First Congregational Church of Reading UCC on Sunday, August 9, 2020

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