Join us for Advent & Christmas 2019

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 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 1, 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 8, 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.” Read more…


Advent Worship
December 15, 10:00 AM

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

Join us for the third Sunday of Advent as we light the candle of Joy on the Advent Wreath and reflect on the ancient Christian prayers of Christ’s advent known as the O Antiphons. Unfortunately due to Jane’s absence, we needed to forego our traditional Lessons and Carols on this third Sunday of Advent, but we’ll still gather for a joyful worship service. The choir will still provide a beautiful anthem and Susan Navien will treat us to a piece from the Messiah. We hope you will be with us!

Service of Light
Thursday, December 19, 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
December 22, 10:00 AM

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

Another beautiful Advent service, the last Sunday of the Advent season, when we light the candle of Love leaving only the Christ Candle to be lit on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve Services

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

Come join us for a beautiful, joyful family service on Christmas Eve. The first half of the service is a lively re-enactment of the Christmas story replete with 4 year-old angels, 8 year-old shepherds, teenage narrators, a real-life baby Jesus, and more. The second half of the service is a candle lighting ritual as we celebrate the birth of Christ, the light who comes into our darkness! We hope you can join us.


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

Come join us for a late evening candlelight service as we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. We’ll sing Christmas Carols, hear the familiar Christmas story told, offer prayers to a world in need and light candles “to disperse the gloomy clouds of night”! We hope you can be with us.

Epiphany Celebration
Sunday, January 5, 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!


Community Events

Unite with Light Winchester Luminaries
December 8

Join the youth after church to put together 100 luminaries for Unite with Light Winchester, a town-wide Luminaria Night event organized by the children of Winchester to celebrate the beginning of the winter season and raise money for a charity that will strengthen our community and our world.  Proceeds from the sales of luminaria kits will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, MA & RI chapter. Read more…

Advent Women’s Gathering

Monday, Dec. 9, 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…



Dominique Dodge

Ripley Presents Dominique Dodge, Celtic Harper
Friday, December 13, 2018, 7:00 PM

Join us for an inspiring evening that features seasonal holiday music as well as material from Dominique’s new album, Cànan nan Teud (The Language of the Strings). The concert explores the relationship between Puirt-à-Beul (Gaelic mouth music) and traditional dance tunes from Scotland and Cape Breton. Gaelic songs and 18th century Irish harp tunes will provide moments of rest and ease between lively jigs, reels, and strathspeys. A deep love of Gaelic music and culture brings this material to life through a combination of harp, song, and story for all who enjoy traditional music. Read more and purchase tickets


Service of Light: A Service of Prayer, Candle Lighting and Music
Thursday, Dec. 19, 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.

City Mission Society Christmas Shop
December 1, 8, and 15; 12-6 PM

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…

Advent Visitation
December 8, 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.

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

Outdoor Church
December 13 and 14

On the second Friday of every month, the youth gather after school to make 50-75 sandwiches for the Outdoor Church. Sandwiches and supplies are then delivered to people in Cambridge, in partnership with our friends at Temple Shir Tikvah. If you can help by donating sandwich ingredients or helping to deliver in Cambridge, contact Ben Pulaski.


Cookie Walk
December 22, 11:00 AM, Chidley Hall

Join the youth for their annual Cookie Walk. For those who are new to the Cookie Walk here’s what it is all about! We ask people to bake their favorite (nut free) Christmas cookies and drop them off before the service starts on 12/22. After the service we invite the whole congregation to make a donation and receive a dozen cookies of their choice. The money that we raise supports the youth mission trip.


A Christmas Tradition of Joy!

Spread Christmas Joy by delivering a poinsettia to a member of our faith community at home and in a local care center. Plants will be available on Sunday, December 22 after worship in the front of the sanctuary. Deliveries can be made on Sunday or during the first few days of the week.



The Outdoor Church
December 29, 12 PM

Please lend a hand this holiday season with the Outdoor Church. There are many ways you can make a difference! On December 29, we will receive donated ingredients, make sandwiches and send them with a few church members to Cambridge.