I’m Reverend Dominic Taranowski and I’d like to welcome you to the First Congregational Church in Melrose, United Church of Christ. A lot of churches say “come as you are,” but we really mean it. It doesn’t matter your age or your background or your story: you are welcome here. We’re an intergenerational church with something for everyone: from our vibrant worship service on Sunday morning, to our Sunday school program, to our mission work, to our public advocacy presence. We’re always about the work of faith formation and discipleship.
We strive to create a deeper relationship with God but also an outward expression of that faith in the wider world. The church provides opportunities for both of those. You can renew and strengthen your relationship with God and also find ways to live out that faith on a daily basis. We are a casual, committed, progressive church and we welcome you here.
See you in church!
In my nearly 25 years in parish ministry, I have never experienced a program year with as many baptisms as this one! In fact, I would venture to say that very few UCC churches have celebrated as many baptisms from September to June.
This year we have had 11 baptisms (including the upcoming baptism in June). That is to say, we have had at least one—sometimes two–baptisms every month this year. Said differently, we have celebrated the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at First Congregational Church more often than the Sacrament of Holy Communion this year.
That is surely a sign of a healthy, dynamic church that is in touch with the movement of the Holy Spirit!
Emily Krueger, Caitlyn Krueger, Yenna Lee Lumbra, Ayva MacDonald, Margaret Almeida, Olivia Wallace, Aidan Violanto, Lincoln Shank, Danni Hughes, Jane Silva, and Roman Meehan. Those are the names that have been proclaimed with joy from our baptismal font this program year.
And remember this: Each time we have had a baptism, your own baptism has been renewed during the service. That means that 11 times this year (provided you were in worship!) you experienced the restoration of your faith through the waters of baptism.
In baptism, we are claimed by the Holy Spirit. Hope comes alive in baptism and joy abounds! We say “yes” to God and find tangible evidence that God is alive and well and working in our world.
This year, I hope you have felt the renewal of your faith at FCC. I know our church as a whole continues to harness the winds of the Holy Spirit to be a beacon of God’s love, healing, grace, and power in the world.
In baptism, you are given a special role play in the ministry of Christ. I hope you will allow that call to come to fruition through the many ministries we undertake here at our church—a place that is awash with the grace of God and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
See you in church,
This Sunday, in the United States, Italy, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and Turkey, is Mother’s Day.
Each country has its own origins for this holiday, but in our country it is traced back to Julia Ward Howe; a staunch abolitionist and poet best remembered for her poem “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Back in 1890, Howe composed a “Mother’s Peace Day Proclamation”. For many years thereafter, she was instrumental in organizing festivities in Boston.
The mantle was picked up later by one Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia who, in 1907, began a seven-year campaign to have Mother’s Day recognized as a national holiday. President Wilson finally consented and signed legislation to this effect in 1914.
Today’s Mother’s Day bears little resemblance to Julia Ward Howe’s post-civil war vision. For the most part, we honor our mothers on this day with brunch, cards, flowers, and candy. Apart from the commercialization of it all, there is nothing inherently wrong with this, of course. It is just interesting to take stock of how this important day has evolved.
For the record, then, here is Julia Ward Howe’s original, 1890 Proclamation. In her own impassioned words, she shares her goals for the original holiday:
“Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”
See you in church,
In depth review
Church blogger George Parks recently attended our congregation and had this to say: “This is a warm, active, community church, that provides space for personal growth and contemplation, as well as advocacy for the greater good of the community. Melrose and the surrounding communities are very lucky to have FCC of Melrose contributing to the greater good.” Read his review here.