Join Us for Lent

Important Notice: Beginning March 15, we will be suspending in-person worship due to public health concerns. Join us via Livestream here at 10 AM on Sundays.


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 then celebrate with joy the resurrection of Christ and the analogous rebirth of Spring that comes on Easter morning. This Lent each of our Sunday worship services will feature a Lenten Sermon Series. We will delve into the Seven Last Words of Jesus, featuring a coordinating movement from Haydn’s dramatic cantata, with choir, organ, and the Aryaloka String Quartet. Read more….


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

Ashes & Grounds

February 26, 6:30 AM, Winchester Center Train Station

The Ministry Team offers ashes, coffee and warm greetings to early morning Winchester commuters at the train station on Ash Wednesday.


Ash Wednesday Service

February 26, 7:00 PM, Ripley Chapel

Join us for a brief service in a candle-lit Ripley Chapel to begin Lent this Wednesday at 7 pm. The service is a time of preparation and reflection for the 40 days to come when we remember our human mortality and dependence upon God.  We’ll gather in the round and share in scripture, song, and prayer and conclude with an imposition of ashes on the forehead with the blessing: “From dust you have come to dust you shall return, receive God’s blessing for these 40 days.”


Tuesdays with Jesus

March 3-April 7, 6:30-8:00 PM, Ripley Chapel and Tucker Room

Each Lent we have a series of Tuesday night gatherings that begin with Centering Prayer at 6:30. This year we’ll be praying in Ripley Chapel. Then we’ll adjourn to the Tucker Room for a simple supper of soup and bread. This year we will adopt the practice that many monasteries use. One voice will read while everyone enjoys the soup and the calm that comes from listening. We will take some time at the end of the evening’s reading to share some thoughts. We will be reading On the Brink of Just About Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old by Parker Palmer. Our plan is to complete the book by Holy Week. The other possibility was Barking to the Choir – which for various reasons didn’t work – we urge you to visit NPR On Being and listen to an interview with Greg Boyle, the author.  We plan to conclude each Tuesday by 8:00 p.m.

The Open Door of Blessing: A Contemplative Lenten Retreat

Saturday March 14, 2020 from 10 am to 2 pm, in Ripley Chapel

The Beatitudes are a doorway to contemplation. They place the word “blessing” (“beatus”) into the middle of our lives. They open the door when life comes forward with pain and challenge.  We will treat the Beatitudes, a brief passage from Jesus’ first sermon in the gospel of Matthew, as a beautiful, ancient text for slow reflection.  Rev Jonathan Carey Goodell will lead the retreat sponsored by Health Ministry. Register and learn more

Ecumenical Blessing of the Palms on the Town Common

Choirs from Winchester Churches

Ecumenical Blessing of the Palms

April 5, 9:30 AM, Town Common  

On Palm Sunday many churches from around Winchester gather at on the Town Common for a joint blessing of the Palms before they return to the respective sanctuaries for Palm Sunday services. It is a wonderful way to remember our unity in Christ, especially as we set into the most sacred week of the Christian year.



Palm Sunday Worship Service

April 5, 10:00 AM, Sanctuary

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 of Good Friday and eventually Easter. Palms are distributed, songs of praise lifted, and a foreshadowing of what is to come draws us prayerfully toward the heart of our faith.

Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service 

April 9, 7:30 PM, Sanctuary 

Gather with us in the sanctuary 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 vigil begins.

The Christ CandleMaundy Thursday/Good Friday Overnight Prayer Vigil

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

From Maundy Thursday evening through Good Friday at noon, we keep watch before the single candle lit at the end of the Tenebrae service. This commemorates for us the disciples being asked to watch and pray with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was crucified.  


Good Friday Overnight Vigil Closing Service

April 10, 12:00 PM

After almost 17 hours of prayer vigil from Maundy Thursday through the wee hours of Good Friday we come to a simple and quiet moment where we read of Jesus’ death, accompanied by mournful cello and prayers of thanksgiving and hope. 

Bagels & Bunnies Easter Egg Hunt

April 11, 9:30 AM, Church Lobby and Front Lawn

Foreshadowing the next day’s celebration of Easter, we invite children and families to join us for an exciting egg hunt (eggs being a symbol for new life). The Easter Bunny joins us for picture taking and bagels before the children set out on their search on the front lawn. All eggs are nut-free, and donations benefit the High School & Middle School Mission trips.

 Easter Sunday, April 12Yoga in the Barn

Sunrise Yoga in the Barn, 5:30 AM, Wright-Locke Farm
Dress in comfortable layers and join us for standing poses, light movement and meditation. No mat is necessary.




Sunrise Service, 6:00 AM, Wright-Locke Farm

On Easter morning before the sun has risen, we gather at Wright-Locke Farm to hear the resurrection story, to sing together, and to celebrate the Risen Son as we watch together the rising of the sun. Parking is available at Mullen Field. (82 Ridge Street lot is unavailable due to construction of their new all seasons barn.)



Easter Family Worship 9:00 AM Sanctuary

This year our first Easter service will be oriented a little more towards families.  It will still contain the elements that make for a dramatic and beautiful Easter celebration – the familiar hymns, the Easter story, a choral anthem, and the Halleluja Chorus but will be a little shorter and engage the children in a special way.  Of course, anyone and everyone is welcome to come!

Easter Worship 11:00 AM Sanctuary

At 11 am on Easter morning we’ll offer our traditional Easter worship service in celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. We’ll gather with song and praise, reflection and prayer as we remember Christ’s victory over death, our part in the unfolding drama of this new creation, and the promise of uncontainable life and love which in God has no end. The adult choir and bell choir will be offering beautiful musical pieces, we’ll sing together the familiar Easter hymns, hear the culmination of “the greatest story ever told” and how it speaks to our lives today and conclude with the Halleluja Chorus!

Please join us! Learn more about our worship services.

First time visiting us? Read about what to expect.