Join us for Advent & Christmas 2017

advent-exteriorAdvent 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 prayers 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.

Worship Services

Hanging of the Greens
December 3, 10:00 AM

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

This family-oriented service is our festive annual kick-off to the season of Advent when we don the church with decorations and through word and song share the religious origins of wreaths, evergreens, poinsettias, the Christmas Tree and even Saint Nicholas.  “O Come all ye faithful!” Read more…

Advent Worship
December 10, 10:00 AM

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

On the second Sunday of Advent we light the second candle of the Advent Wreath, the candle of Peace. Our service will focus on preparing for the birth of the one the prophets referred to as the Prince of Peace.  “And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

Lessons & Carols
December 17 at 10:00 AM

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

Join us for the church’s annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, a beloved tradition from England where God’s word is proclaimed and contemplated in a special sequence of readings, prayers, choral anthems and congregational carols and hymns. This year, the Senior Choir presents Magnificat, BWV 243 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1723-33), scored for choir and chamber orchestra. Read more about this year’s program.


Service of Light
Thursday, December 21, 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. Read more below…


Christmas Eve Services

Worship: 4th Sunday in Advent
Sunday, Dec. 24, 10:00 AM

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


Family Candle Lighting & Pageant
Sunday, Dec. 24, 5:00 PM

A festive worship service where the children present the story of Christ’s birth, carols are sung, and together we light candles of peace and hope to brighten the darkness and welcome Christmas. “Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her king!”


Candlelight Worship
Sunday, Dec. 24, 10:00 PM

A beautiful and joyous Christmas service with carols, the Christmas story, prayer, and candle lighting to warm and brighten the cold winter with the shared joy and celebration of Christ’s birth.  “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.”

Epiphany Dinner
Saturday, Jan. 6, 5:30 PM

We celebrate Epiphany with a simple potluck meal which includes a special dessert. Afterwards, three Wise Men (or wise women, boys, or girls) will lead us by flashlight through the darkened church in search of the baby Jesus. Join us for this fun and family-friendly event! Read more…


Community Events


Bean Soup Community Supper
Thursday, November 30, 5:00-7:00 PM

It’s the new and improved Bean Supper, now called the Bean SOUP Supper! It’s healthy and simple and a completely free gift from us to the wider community. Join us downstairs in Chidley Hall on and enjoy delicious soups (meat, vegan, gluten-free), bread, cider and cookies. Bring your friends and family for this festive event, and then head to the Town Tree Lighting across the street on the Common.


Women’s Advent Gathering
Monday, Dec. 4, 7:00 PM, Chidley Hall

Begin your spiritual preparation for the busy Christmas Season by centering yourself. Invite a friend, teenage daughter, sister or mother to join you for this tradition of fellowship, reflection and music. Read more…


Service of Light: A Service of Prayer, Candle Lighting and Music
Thursday, Dec. 21, 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…

College Kids Home for the Holidays
Wednesday, Dec. 27, 6:00 PM

This event is for our young adults, college students (freshmen/women through PhDs) and our recent graduates who are home with their families for the holidays. Join Ben, Rev. Judy, Rev. Will, and Kathleen for a Ripley Chapel Service. After the service, we will move to the Forum Room for pizza and some catching up with each other. The evening begins at 6:00, pizza probably around 6:30 and we’ll end no later than 7:30.  Hope you can join us!

RSVP to Ben or text 717-974-4131 – just so we can have a head count for the pizza.

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.

cookie-wCookie Walk
December 10, 11:30 AM, Chidley Hall

The Rite 13 class will once again be hosting our annual Cookie Walk. Here’s how it works:
  1. Families and individuals sign up beforehand to bring in a plate of nut-free cookies.
  2. Those cookie plates come in before church and the Rite 13 class sets up a display of the different cookie trays.
  3. After the worship service everyone comes down, grabs an empty plate, and selects a variety of different cookies..
  4. The class beautifully wraps up your plate and you provide a small donation which goes to a local charity.

Advent Visitation
December 10, 11:30 AM

Would you like to reconnect with elders and other congregation members who can’t routinely make it to Sunday worship? Consider joining us for Advent Visitation Sunday. Read more…


City Mission Society Christmas Shop

Each year, we partner with City Mission to give gifts of time, talent, and treasure to families and children in need in the Boston area. Our church will again host the annual Christmas Shop downstairs in Chidley Hall on three Sunday afternoons in December. Read more… 


giving_8718a-1The 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 the Germaine Lawrence School. We are also collecting warm socks for the congregation at the Outdoor Church and warm clothing for the men and women who call the Lowell Transitional Living Center home. Read more…


The Outdoor Church Mission Opportunity
December 31, 12 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. Another way we are supporting the Outdoor Church is through the Advent Worlds of change boxes. Read more...


The Dwelling Place needs volunteers for Saturday, December 16!

Would you like to make the holiday season a little brighter for individuals and families in need? Please think about putting on your angel wings and jingle bells and joining the FCC “crew” at The Dwelling Place on Saturday, December 16th. We have one volunteer (Yay!) already but we could use 3-5 more volunteers to prepare and serve a meal for about 25 people. Read more…



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