Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Welcome to First Congregational Church in Melrose
United Church of Christ
We Are an Open and Affirming Congregation


Welcome to First Congregational Church in Melrose, United Church of Christ!

Ours is a church where you are welcome as you are for who you are and for who can become. Here you will find judgement left at the door as we celebrate the diversity of God's creation in the many paths that intersect in our sanctuary each Sunday morning. First Congregational Church is a congregation of over 275 members and we take seriously our call to bring the richness of our Protestant tradition to modern times through innovation and creativity.

Along with our vibrant Church School, two youth groups and dynamic music program, there are a myriad of ministries which are available to you as a means of activating your faith and making your discipleship tangible. We are also eager to hear how God is working in your life and what new ministry you are being called to begin in our midst.

In this world of great challenge and anxiety, I welcome you to a true wellspring of the spirit where together we embody the living Christ in a community of healing and empowerment.

See you in church,

Rev. Dominic Taranowski

First Congregational Church in Melrose is a member of the Metropolitan Boston Association in the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.

What's New?
Thursday, June 23, 2016 - Interim Music Director Update

Interim Music Director Update

We are very pleased to announce that our church has secured the services of an Interim Music Director who will begin working with us on September 1st.  Her name is Mariko Matsumura and she is currently the Music Director/Conductor for Chorus Boston, on the faculty of the Franklin School for the Performing Arts, and is also on the faculty of Creative Arts in Reading.  She has served as Music Director for various churches in the area; most notably the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Malden.  She is currently the Organist/Choir Accompanist at the Brooksby Village Interfaith Chapel in Peabody.  She lives in Stoneham.

Along with being a pianist, soprano, and conductor, Mariko is an outgoing and engaging person who can't wait to get started with us in the fall as she works with our choir and other musical groups in our church!

Mariko will be with us for the next program year.  This extended Interim period was agreed upon for several reasons: It will allow for a less hectic pace for the Music Director Search Committee as they not only look for a permanent Music Director but first, and more importantly, assess our music ministry from top to bottom in order to create a vision of where we would like to go in the coming years in terms of our music ministry.  This work will allow us to choose the most appropriate person.  It was also felt that, given our experiences with past Music Director searches, more candidates are likely to be looking in the spring rather than mid-year.  Most musicians work on either a church program year or a school year and changes in employment typically then happen in the spring.  It is for parallel reasons that Mariko also requested this timeline.  Further, the length of search processes are unpredictable and an extended interim allows for a cushion of time to work with.  It also prevents us from ever having to scramble to find week to week coverage for Sunday mornings which has been problematic in the past.  Lastly, envisioning the Search Committee trying to interview a limited pool of candidates during the busy Christmas season became more and more difficult.

The search process for the Interim Music Director was undertaken by Rev. Dominic and Beth Gzegorzewski with the help of our Senior Deacons Hans and Sallie Klemm and our Human Resources Trustees Becky Fuentes and Darby Drafts.  A huge thanks to everyone for their work that will ensure stability for our music ministry going into the next program year!

We look forward to welcoming Mariko Matsumura in September!

--Rev. Dominic

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - On Orlando...

As an Open and Affirming Church, the tragedy in Orlando, Florida is not only devastating but profoundly important.  Our church has made it clear that we accept gay and lesbian people into the full life and ministry of the church and do so without hesitation.  What happened in Orlando is a reminder that this kind of openness and validation is not shared by everyone.

          The tangled reasons for this evil act (ISIS and apparently the shooter’s own confusion over his sexual identity and hatred of gay people) highlight the fact that though great strides have been made by the LBGTQ community in recent years, it is still dangerous to be gay. 

          This event is sad and angering on many levels.  That people enjoying what is a long-overdue “new normal” (simply having a good time at a gay nightclub) could be gunned down simply for their sexual orientation, is abominable.   It is also sad that while this makes the need for greater gun control laws obvious, that seems unlikely.  If the execution of over two dozen first graders in Newtown can’t bring that about, it is hard to see how this will. 

          It is also sad to see some Christian communities not just silent about this, but implying that this is to be expected if homosexuality continues to become acceptable. 

          So what is to be done?  The next right thing.  Really, that is what discipleship and life in general call us to; the next right thing.  For some that will mean advocating for greater gun control, for others it will mean legislative action in favor of equal marriage (it is hard to believe that this is still the object of debate in many states).  For me the next right thing means making sure this church stands as a beacon of anti-hatred, of inclusion and celebration of diversity because I know the world world would be a darker place without the light we emit at FCC.  Only you can decide what the next right thing is for you.

          The bottom line is that we can’t go on like this.  We really can’t.  Things need to improve not deteriorate and it feels very much like we stand at the crossroads of just that kind of choice.  We need to be part of the improvement.

Gun violence has to change and we need to do everything we can to proclaim that being gay is not a crime punishable by death.  That such a basic truths need to be proclaimed at all is perhaps the saddest thing of all.

But the good news?  We’re better than this.  We can improve things.  We can, by making more noise about the kind of church that we are, be part of the answer; part of the antidote to hatred and fear. 

We may not turn the tide overnight, but we can do the next right thing.  We can take our anger and our sadness and mix it with love and begin painting the kind of world we want to live in; a world Jesus called the kingdom of God.

 --Rev. Dominic

Saturday, June 27, 2015 - Marriage Equality Cause for Great Celebration!

The Supreme Court's decision to legalize same gender marriage in all 50 states is a victory for equality and democracy of huge proportions!  Whether one is gay or straight, this decision makes our country far more inclusive and is another expression of the equal rights that are at the heart of the American experience.

It is a source of pride to many that actualizing marriage equality began in our own state of Massachusetts over a decade ago (2004) when the first same sex marriages began to legally take place.  It is also worth noting that the movement for equal social standing for gay and lesbian people extends much farther back in the United Church of Christ.  Rev. William Johnson, the first openly gay person to be ordained in a mainline Protestant denomination, was ordained in the UCC in 1972.  This is in keeping with other "firsts" in the UCC including the first African American to be ordained (Rev. Lemuel Haynes in 1785) and the first woman to be ordained (Rev. Antoinette Brown in 1853).  These are examples of the ways in which our United Church of Christ has played an important role in bringing about many important improvements to our society.

This decision brings to 20 the number of countries around the world where gay marriage is now legal.  There are, of course, many other countries where it is still illegal and, sadly, where simply being gay is a crime.  Religiously, there are yet many religions faiths and many Christian denominations where gay and lesbian people are systematically excluded.  Consequently, while we celebrate this decision for marriage equality we continue will continue to work for equality for all people wherever they may be.

--Rev. Dominic
Monday, November 2, 2015 - Turn your everyday online shopping into a donation to First Congregational Church!

Sign up for iGive, a free service to causes and members. It’s free, it’s easy, and every purchase you make generates a donation to First Church! http://www.iGive.com/FCCMelrose 

Since 1997, iGive has grown to 350,000+ members supporting 50,000+ causes and raised almost $8Million!

iGive really is as simple as it sounds.   

iGive members can generate donations by shopping at any of our 1,500+ Stores.  

There are no costs, obligations, nor any hidden fees.

You don't need to enter any codes, notify the store, or iGive. It's all automatic!

Shopping via iGive is essentially a store rebate program where iGive members have the opportunity to donate their rebate to their chosen cause.

Start by going to http://www.iGive.com/FCCMelrose to make First Congregational Church your “cause”.

Ways to Use iGive:

Install the iGive Button

Install the iGive App for iPhone, IPad or Android (visit the App Store and search "iGive" - free)

Use links in the iGive Newsletters

Search the Web via iSearchiGive.com

After using an iGive link to the store's website, you shop as you normally would. There are no extra steps, no iGive notifications when making payments.  

The surest way to get a donation from Amazon purchases is to use the Amazon link in your iGive Button drop-down, or link to the store directly from the iGive site, www.iGive.com/Amazon

Thursday, November 6, 2014 - Rev. Dominic's E-Mail Address
A reminder that Rev. Dominic's e-mail address is 
revdominic121@gmail.com. His previous address, 
pastor@fccmelrose.org, is no longer a working address.

iGive.com    iGive.com

Our church participates in an on-line fund raiser with iGive.com. Click on the link above to go to iGive.com and do your on-line shopping with any of over 600 retailers, knowing that iGive.com will make a donation to the church just because you linked through this web site!

Our church also raises funds by hosting a "GOT BOOKS" collection box that you'll see at the front corner of our parking lot. When you're doing your spring cleaning, bring those dusty old books to the book box. The church receives money for those books by the pound!

Church Activities
6/27/2016 6:30 PM SARP
6/28/2016 6:30 PM SARP
6/29/2016 7:30 PM AA
7/2/2016 9:00 AM AA
7/4/2016 6:30 PM SARP
7/5/2016 6:30 PM SARP
7/6/2016 7:30 PM AA
7/9/2016 9:00 AM AA
1968 drawing of FCC Melrose
121 West Foster StreetMelrose, Massachusetts 02176
Phone: 781-665-2111Fax: 781-665-8824

Comments, questions, suggestion? Email us at info@fccmelrose.org
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