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Join us for Advent & Christmas 2023

Advent is a special time within the church when we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas. Through Sunday morning worship, special prayer services, and other activities at First Congregational, we hope to enrich your experience of this sacred season and give you opportunities to experience the living God in a new and vital way. Please join us!

First time visiting us? Read about what to expect at a typical service.

Learn more about this week’s worship service and access our livestream link.

Worship Services

Hanging of the Greens
December 3, 10:00 AM

Lighting of the 1st Advent candle, the candle of Hope

At Advent, we enter into a 4-week season of waiting and preparing for Christ’s coming at Christmas. It’s a season of ever-greens and wreaths, of lights and colors, of gifts and sacred story. Join us on Sunday for our annual Hanging of The Greens worship service at 10 AM in the sanctuary and online and learn about these traditions in an interactive festive family service for all.


Advent Worship: Lessons & Carols Featuring Vivaldi’s Magnificat, with strings, organ and soloists
December 10, 10:00 AM

Lighting of the 2nd Advent candle, the candle of Peace

Please join us on Sunday, December 11 at 10:00 am. for First Congregational Church’s annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, a beloved Advent tradition from England in which God’s word is proclaimed and contemplated in word and song: a special sequence of readings, prayers, choral anthems, and congregational carols.


Service of Light
Thursday, December 15, 7:00 PM

Join us in Ripley Chapel for a time of prayer, candle lighting and music. Designed to move from darkness to hope, the service opens us to God’s quiet presence. Read more…


Advent Worship:  A Children’s Pageant
December 17, 10:00 AM

Lighting of the 3rd Advent candle, the candle of Joy

Share in the love, hope, and joy of the Christmas story as the children & youth stage the annual Christmas Pageant during the worship service. Families should look for more information from Maggie about how they can be involved in this year’s pageant.


Christmas Eve Services

Advent Worship:
December 24, 10:00 AM
Ripley Chapel

Lighting of the 4th Advent candle, the candle of Love

We will gather on Christmas Eve morning in Ripley Chapel for an intimate brief service of worship that moves us from the season of Advent to the coming celebration of Christmas. Note:  No Stepping Stones or nursery care that morning. Join us in person or online.

Candlelight Service
Sunday, Dec. 24, 5:00 PM

A beautiful Christmas Eve service with participation from some of our children and the traditional lighting of candles in the darkened sanctuary to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child! Join us in person or on-line.


Candlelight Service
Sunday, Dec. 24, 9:00 PM

Our traditional Candlelight Service with scriptural lessons and sacred carols, special music from the choir. We’ll end the service by lighting candles in the darkened sanctuary as we sing together Silent Night, Holy Night. Join us in person or online.



Faith Formation

Join Us for a Family Advent Storytelling Series
Starting on Wednesday, November 29 in Ripley Chapel

In collaboration with Sparkle Stories and How to Story, First Congregational Church presents live storytelling with master storyteller, David Sewell McCann.  The stories will be collaborative. They will be spontaneous. They will sometimes involve music, sometimes ritual and sometimes movement.  Participation is always optional. All ages welcome.  Join us live or online for one or all the evenings!…Read more and purchase tickets here

Junior Forum Early Christmas Spectacular!
Sun. Dec 3 at 6 PM

We invite our Junior Forum to join us for an evening gathering of fun and fellowship! We will meet in the Forum room to enjoy snacks, play games, and make Christmas decorations for the Ripley Chapel tree.

Cookie Walk
Sun. Dec 11 after worship in Chidley Hall

Bakers Wanted! Junior Forum and Forum are asking bakers to donate homemade cookies or any number of specialty items such as truffles, seasonal breads, confections, etc., for their annual Cookie Walk. This fundraiser helps support the youth mission trips and service projects. Interested bakers can contact Maggie Keeler with any questions.  PLEASE NO NUTS.


Forum Progressive Dinner
Sunday, Dec 17 at 7:00 pm

Forum will move progressively from one house to another to enjoy a multi-course meal, catch up, and sing Christmas carols.


Epiphany Gathering
January 7th 5:00 PM

Join us on January 7th 5:00 PM for a family-friendly Epiphany celebration. We will begin with a potluck dinner and traditional king cake and then journey through the church to find the final resting place of the star.  Once there, we will share a blessing for Epiphany.




Community Events

Women’s Advent Gathering
Monday, Dec. 4, 7:00 PM, Palmer & Tucker Rooms 

All church women are invited to an evening of fellowship and peaceful contemplation. As a special gift this Advent season, invite your sisters, mothers, daughters, trans and non-binary individuals and friends to join you-in person or on Zoom…Read More




Ripley Presents Travails to Triumphs featuring Sarah Bob, piano
Friday, December 8, 7:30 p.m.

Ripley Chapel & Livestream

Please join us in Ripley Chapel for Travails to Triumphs: an evening of fortitude and hope through music. Hailed as “sumptuous and eloquent” (Boston Globe) and that “dynamic player…superstar” (National Sawdust), Sarah Bob joins us for an evening of extraordinary solo piano repertoire and interpretations…read more





Service of Light: A Service of Prayer, Candle Lighting and Music
Thursday, Dec. 14, 7:00 PM

Join us for a time of prayer, candle lighting and music. Designed to move from darkness to hope, the service opens us to God’s quiet presence. Come in the face of life’s challenges, anxieties, and fears. Come when grief or loss disrupts life. Come to remember those whom we hold dear. Come during the rush of the holidays, or invite a friend or loved one facing difficulties. Read more…



Opportunities to Help Others

The Outreach Commission sponsors these annual events. Please participate in any or all of the collections as the spirit of the season moves you. Donations should be dropped off at the church.

Christmas Ornament Fundraiser

The Children and Youth Faith Formation Ministry is selling custom Christmas ornaments to support service projects and mission trips for our children, families and youth. Ornaments can be purchased online for $12 and picked up at the church office during normal business hours. The youth will also be selling ornaments during coffee hour in December.

The Giving Tree

During the holiday season, our church provides gifts to some of our neighbors. This year we will provide gifts for children and youth at Woburn Council for Social Concerns and YVLifeSet in Arlington. We are also collecting warm socks for the for the men and women who call the Lowell Transitional Living Center home. Read more and sign up to bring a gift

Cookie Walk
December 10, after worship, Chidley Hall

Bakers Wanted! Junior Forum and Forum are asking bakers to donate nut-free cookies, truffles, seasonal muffins and confections for their annual Cookie Walk on Sunday, December 101th. This fundraiser helps support the youth mission trips and service projects.

Please label baked goods with your name and ingredients and drop them off in Chidley Hall before the service on Sunday, Dec 10th. The youth will box assorted goodies to be purchased during hospitality hour after the service for $10/dozen.  We hope to create gluten-free boxes for those with food sensitivities too. Contact Maggie Keeler with any questions.

Poinsettia (Cuetlaxochitl) Dedications
A Christmas Tradition of Joy!

Orders are due by Wed. Dec. 13. If you would like to donate a chancel Christmas poinsettia as a memorial, or in honor of someone, please fill out this form. You can mail a check to the church office, use Venmo, or PayPal. (Please indicate “Christmas plants” in the memo field). New this year are special Flower Offering envelopes in the narthex and office lobby. The plants are $20 each.

The Dwelling Place
Saturday, Dec 16 at 5 PM

We support The Dwelling Place in Woburn every third Saturday, providing dinner and hospitality to those in need of a meal. Thanks for supporting this outreach to our community! Sign up as a family, find a few others in our church community to join you, or simply ‘come as you are’ and enjoy serving with others!

The Outdoor Church
December 31, 2 PM

Please lend a hand this holiday season with the Outdoor Church. There are many ways you can make a difference! On December 31, we will receive donated ingredients, make sandwiches and send them with a few church members to Cambridge. You can participate this holiday season by filling up our sock collection bins in the lobby. Place new in package white tube socks for men and women in the bins so the team can distribute them in January.