Join Us for Lent

Lent at First Congregational Church in Winchester is a season of reflection, prayer, and ritual that deepens our journey along Jesus’ way and renews our commitment to God’s work in the world. We encourage various spiritual disciplines during the six weeks of Lent, offer opportunities for study and prayer together, and celebrate with joy the resurrection of Christ and the analogous rebirth of Spring that comes on Easter morning.


Ash Wednesday Service

March 2, 7:00 PM, Ripley Chapel

Join us on Wednesday in Ripley Chapel from 7-7:30 for an Ash Wednesday service with special music from Rob Skinner (flute), Beth Welty (violin) and Jane Ring Frank (piano). Chants, special readings and the imposition of ashes will remind us of our mortality, call us towards repentance, and open us to the 40 day journey through Lent. We hope you’ll come.

Join us in Ripley Chapel for Ash Wednesday. This service will not be livestreamed.


Return & Renew

Starting Tuesday, March 8, 10 AM on Zoom or 7 PM in person or on Zoom

Sign up now to join a small group for a six-week Lenten discussion!
FCCW is offering an opportunity to regather and reconnect in small groups during Lent. For six weeks, randomly gathered groups will consider spiritually-grounded themes that “relate to” and “reenergize” our lives — virtually or in person — in groups of eight to twelve. Investing in each other like this builds beauty and healing strength and can carry us through this Lenten season of renewal! This spiritual experience is more about connecting and relating and less about teaching and learning. We hope you can join a group for the full six weeks in order to develop deeper relationships among yourselves and with God. Read more and signup here

 

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Celebration of the Palms

  April 10, 9:15 AM, Town Common

At 9:15 we will gather on the Town Common to experience our own version of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  We will hear the scripture story of this day that marks the beginning of Holy Week.  Following a palm strewn path, we will sing and wave our own palm branches.  This joy and hope are genuine as Jesus comes on a humble donkey, signaling the movement from power that comes from wealth and position to a world where the last shall be first and love and humility are the signs of power.  This outdoor gathering will provide families an opportunity to come together and celebrate both the waning virus and the rising triumph of love.  

Palm Sunday Worship Service

  April 10, 10:00 AM, Sanctuary and Online

Remembering Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem for his final week and his passion, our worship opens the gate to Holy Week and prepares us for the coming Friday and eventually Easter Sunday.  Palm leaves are distributed, songs of praise lifted and a foreshadowing of what is to come draws us prayerfully toward the heart of our faith.  We will worship live and in-person; and the service will also be live streamed.  If you plan to worship from home, palm leaves will be available from April 7th in the church lobby.

 

 


Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service 

April 14, 7:30 PM, Sanctuary

Gather with us in person or through live stream as we share in the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples before his death and then listen to the story of the Passion according to the Gospel of John as candles are extinguished and we gradually descend into the darkness with Him. At the end of the service, we’ll depart in silence as the 15 hour overnight vigil begins.

 


The Christ CandleGood Friday Overnight Prayer Vigil

April 14, 9:00 PM – April 10, 12:00 PM, Sanctuary

From the close of the Maundy Thursday evening service through Good Friday at noon, we keep watch in the sanctuary before the single candle lit at the end of the Tenebrae service. This reproduces for us the experience the disciples being asked to watch and pray with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was Crucified. This year, despite the continuing pandemic, we will still maintain the sanctuary vigil since we can do so in a safe, socially distanced way. Beginning at 9:00 PM the Sanctuary will be open for vigil. Slots will be for 1 individual or 1 pod at a time. Each slot will be 45 minutes long allowing for time in between for the air to settle and to ensure safety during change overs. A link to the sign up is below. Details and guidelines will be emailed to those signed up.

Sign up for here for the Maundy Thursday Vigil 

 


Good Friday Overnight Vigil Closing Service

April 15, 12:00 PM, Sanctuary

After almost 17 hours of prayer from Maundy Thursday through the wee hours of Good Friday. We come to a simple and quite moment where we read of Jesus’ death, share reflections from our Vigil experience, and offer prayers of thanksgiving and hope. Whether you followed the Vigil or not, you are invited to join us in the sanctuary at noon as we close the Vigil Service. There is no live stream for this service.


Easter Lily Memorials & Distribution

You are invited to donate a chancel Easter plant as a memorial or as a gift. Plants will be distributed to our shut-ins on Saturday, April 16. The cost of plants is $25.00 each. All orders are due by Palm Sunday, April 10. Paper forms and envelopes are available in the church office lobby and at the back of the Sanctuary. Or you can pay and order using this JotForm.

Saturday, April 16 10:00 AM   Easter Plant delivery

You can pick up a plant at the church (Dix Street Door) on April 16 from 10:00-10:15 AM. Names and locations of recipients will be available at the church.


Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Saturday, April 16 at 10 AM, Church Lawn

Children (babies – 5th grade) are invited to come meet the Easter Bunny and hunt for eggs. This event is held entirely outside. Please bring your own basket and gather in the Vine Street parking lot by the Reno Garden. The hunt begins when the Easter Bunny says, “Go!” Church Youth will be on the lawn to ensure safety during the event.

 


Easter Sunday, April 17

Wright Locke Farm
5:30 AM Yoga in the Barn; 5:45 AM Worship Outside

As the women gathered around Jesus’ tomb in the very early hours of the Sunday after He had been buried, we will gather for a joyful and celebratory service. When we greet the sunrise we know that there is also the eternal Son Rise of our Savior. A spiritual and inclusive half hour of Yoga will prepare us for welcoming Jesus’ resurrection.  

10:00 AM Easter Morning Worship Service, Sanctuary and Online

Easter is the most sacred and the most meaningful of all the Christian Holidays. We will hold a traditional and joyful Easter service. Our hymns are familiar yet each year they proclaim Christ’s Resurrection with new enthusiasm. The Sanctuary will be fragrant and beautiful from the Easter flowers. This family service will include a Time for the Young and will end with our usual singing of the Hallelujah Chorus in a little different bit of configuration to prevent Covid exposure. Join us in-person in the Sanctuary or on our livestream.  

 

Please join us!