Pressing Pause Returns

Pressing Pause is a once-per-month meditation prayer service on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Each month we “press pause” and find a moment to recharge our spiritual needs in quiet in the middle of the month on a weeknight. Each service follows the same format. Come for 10 min of quiet or stay for the whole hour.

6:30 PM – the Sanctuary is open with quiet meditative music and candlelight for quiet meditation
7 – 7:30 PM – a brief meditation service is offered with a different theme each month

Upcoming Dates include:
October 18 – Walking the Labyrinth
November 15 – Lectio Divina

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Sept. 18 – Blessing of the Backpacks

September 18 is Homecoming Sunday — when we all come back from our summertime adventures and vacations to join together to kick-off the program year at church. Worship will begin at 10 AM in the Sanctuary and online (on Zoom and Facebook Live).

It’s also the kick off to Sunday School, and a special Blessing of the Backpacks! Bring your backpack, tote bag, work bag, briefcase, laptop bag — whatever it is you daily carry to get to school and work. We’ll bless these bags together as we bless bags of school supplies going to kids in need through Church World Service.

See you there!…

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The Olde Redding Faire is back!

The Faire is on Saturday, October 1 from 10 AM to 2 PM. But you don’t have to wait to get your fall favorites! Order mums, food, peanut brittle, and fudge online and check out the silent auction online, too (bidding starts Sept. 24). Click here!

Interested in getting involved? Click the link above for information on how to donate books, puzzles, jewelry, and baked goods for the faire.

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Summer Worship – Hours & Locations

Hands holding the word summer

During July & August 2022 we will worship in a variety of locations each Sunday at 9 AM (in-person and online), unless otherwise noted.

Please note locations may change based on weather;
check the weekly e-news to make sure you are in the right place! Email to sign up for weekly e-news mailings.

August 7Communion Sunday – Outdoors* on the lawn on Sanborn St.
*weather permitting; in Guild Hall downstairs in case of inclement weather
August 14
@10 AM
Worship with Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading 
(239 Woburn Street) in their fellowship hall (air conditioned). This Sunday we will explore what it means to be in relationship together as a wider community of many faiths.
August 21DIY Sunday – Outdoors* on the lawn on Sanborn St.
*weather permitting; in Guild Hall downstairs in case of inclement weather
August 28
@ 10 AM
Worship on the Cape
We join our coastal neighbors on the Cape at First Parish Truro for worship this Sunday. Click here if you’re interested in carpooling (as a driver or rider). Spend the day on the Cape or join us online. There will be no in-person worship on site in Reading this week.
September 4 Communion Sunday/Labor Day Weekend
Outdoors on the lawn on Sanborn Street (weather permitting; in Guild Hall in case of inclement weather)
September 11Outdoors* on the lawn on Sanborn St.
*weather permitting; in Guild Hall downstairs in case of inclement weather
Reading Street Fair after church
September 18 @ 10 AMHomecoming Sunday – We return to our 10 AM time and worship in the Sanctuary

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Our CWS School Kit Collection Is Underway

The box is beginning to be “fed” by your generosity of spirit. Thank you for thinking of those who are in need. School supplies seem like such a simple thing – something youngsters in our communities might not find exciting. Fresh paper, pencils, crayons, and related items will undoubtedly bring smiles to the faces of the children who receive our kits.

We are in need of the items listed here, or financial donations to off-set related expenses.

One pair of blunt scissors (rounded tip, only)
Three 70-count bound notebooks or notebooks totaling 200-210 pages (no loose-leaf or filler paper)
One 12” ruler
One hand-held pencil sharpener
One large eraser (no pencil cap erasers)
Six new, unsharpened pencils with erasers
One box of 24 crayons (only 24)…

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Common Cathedral

On Sunday, August 14th, we continued our partnership with Common Cathedral. Together we supplied 164 sandwich bags filled with turkey, ham and cheese, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and numerous snacks.

We distributed food receiving many thanks from recipients. We then listened to a heartfelt memorial service for one of their own Common Cathedral artistically gifted community members who passed recently of a heart attack.

Common Cathedral shares their gratitude for our community’s continued partnership and financial support, requests that we become storytellers sharing the power of the Common Cathedral experience, and invites us to be in prayer with their community as their team also prays for those participating in the previous week’s service at their Wednesday meeting.

With our commitment to support, storytell, and pray with the Common Cathedral Community, the Reading FCCR partnership continues.

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Wow! Look what we’ve been up to so far this Summer!

Despite it being a hot summer, volunteers across our church community have shown up to help out to make some BIG changes. News just too good to share, we couldn’t wait for another newsletter!

Operation clean-up from that fall water leak has continued thanks to the many hours of work from our Property Ministry, including the installation of a new drop-ceiling in Pilgrim Hall.

Sustainability work doesn’t stop in the summer! The teams have been meeting and working. Volunteers have been putting things in motion, including dipping our toes into our first two “pilot programs” of our arts initiatives.

When was the last time you went upstairs?

Volunteers have been cleaning up and clearing out upstairs rooms to make way for new potential! The first “pilot” of our Sustainability vision (a costume artist needing studio space) is moving in soon to use the old Youth Room.

Over the spring and summer months, this room has received a face-lift: moving out old couches, fixing plaster, and electrical work. Do you even recognize it?!

Volunteers have also dedicated time to cleaning and organizing all kinds of supplies, materials, and resources which had lived in the old CE room and the old Associate Minister’s office (which has become a storage space for the time being).

A preview of what’s to come
The Chapel got a change, too! The Northeast School of Ballet held summer classes for three weeks in the Chapel. Looking for a more dedicated space, we are trying out a pilot of offering the Chapel as a temporary dance studio.

The Chapel has transformed back to it’s original worship set-up this past Sunday, and it will still be available for us to use in August.

But wait! There’s more!
Remember the 1920s Philathea motto? “We do things” is alive and well here at First Congregational Church! In addition to all the above, we also have had volunteers helping to mow, weed, and garden this summer! 

Our calendar may have slowed down for the summer, but our work certainly hasn’t! There’s still much more to come and more to do. We’re looking for volunteers who can help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to the office for all projects big and small, much of which we hope to complete before the FAIRE! …

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Lunches for Common Cathedral

So far, we have volunteers signed up to make the following sandwiches:

  • PB&J: 50/50
  • Ham & Cheese: 30/50
  • Turkey (no cheese): 40/50

This year there is also an opportunity to serve lunch and attend Common Cathedral in Boston Common.

As Paula Ewenstein, Common Cathedral Lunch Coordinator says: “Hello, we are delighted and grateful that your congregation will be visiting common cathedral! First, thank you for your continued support of common cathedral. Your contribution is keeping people fed physically and spiritually throughout this global pandemic. For Summer 2022, we’ve made a few updates we’d like to share with you.

Click on the boxes below for more information:

Donating lunches: We are continuing to ask for pre-made lunches and are currently requesting the following supplies: 
  • 150 brown paper bag lunches
  • With sandwiches – We will prepare PB&J, turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, and tuna for some of our loyal sandwich makers          
  • 2-3 snacks inside (chips, fruit, cheese sticks, cookies) [Please put snacks in small zip locked bags if they aren’t already wrapped]

    “Adding a tomato, pickles, lettuce, anything extra makes it a meal, not just a sandwich.” –John, community member
Donating Supplies: If you are looking to support us in other ways, check out our Amazon Wish list:

Click Here! It is updated monthly with seasonal items needed as indicated by our community. For example, ankle socks for these hot summer days! 

Safely making sandwiches: Some people have expressed concern about making lunches during this COVID-time. Please *do* take extra precautions when making the food.

Have individuals make them at home and drop off with one central person who will be doing the delivery on Sunday. Remind lunch-makers to sanitize the surface on which they make the food, to wash hands often, and to wear gloves. The virus itself is *not* food-borne but rather the danger is in particles coming into contact with the food items being prepared. 

Important note: People are hungry right now, as many meal programs have closed or simplified their operations. It’s harder to get food if you are homeless or income-insecure. This is why we are requesting these items. 

Contact the church office if you have any questions at (781) 944-0205 or

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School Kit Time Has Arrived!

Maybe you’re an early bird shopper. If so, the collection box is in place just inside the exterior office entry on Sanborn Street. You may bring your items to worship on Sunday, or drop them off Monday-Thursday between 10 am and 1 pm. The school bags have arrived so we are good to go!

If shopping is not your thing, or getting out to stores is a challenge, we will also need financial donations. We will need to send $2 for each kit we ship (this will cover CWS shipping costs to end recipients). The bags we purchased cost approximately $60. And because there are no drop off points in the greater New England area in the fall, we will be shipping the completed kits at a cost of somewhere between $75 and $100. That’s a total of about $200. Any amount you can donate will be a great help. Please note “CWS Kits” in the memo on your check. (Financial donations should be sent or dropped off in the office, not the box.)

We are already receiving a number of donations. At present, notebooks are our most needed item. We’ll keep you updated! By way of reminder, this is the full list of kit supplies:

  • One pair of blunt scissors (rounded tip, only)
  • Three 70-count bound notebooks or notebooks totaling 200-210 pages (no loose-leaf or filler paper)
  • One 12” ruler
  • One hand-held pencil sharpener
  • One large eraser (no pencil cap erasers)
  • Six new, unsharpened pencils with erasers
  • One box of 24 crayons (only 24)

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