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!
Audio and VIDEO Updates
Here’s a great way to check in: Reverend Dominic is posting regular updates to connect with the congregation. You can find these under the “AUDIO & VIDEO MESSAGES” tab at the top menu on any of our website pages.
Mariko’s music recordings
Want to worship from home? Please go to the tab “WORSHIP AND MUSIC” at the top menu to listen to recordings made by our music director, Mariko Matsumura. You can view Videos posted on our private friends-and-members Facebook page, the Virtual Narthex of First Congregational Church in Melrose UCC.
- 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
- 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Early in the new year, I received approval from our Board of Deacons to take a sabbatical. A sabbatical, for those who may not know, is typically a four-month time away from pastoral duties every seven years for personal and professional enrichment.
I am very grateful for this opportunity for a couple of reasons. First, I am four years overdue for this benefit (my own doing!) and, additionally, I had some exhaustion induced health struggles this year that I need to address.
This was all set in place in January. Then the pandemic came along and threw many things into question; not least of which was planning a new approach to delivering worship to the congregation and how to carry on the day to day work of the church. These questions persist and will be particularly necessary to address in new ways at the end of this summer.
With that in mind, I have considered foregoing the sabbatical entirely. Upon reflection, however, I believe that it is still necessary and can be done with little disruption to the church. Consequently, I intend to push on with the plan.
As discussed and approved by the Board, I will be dividing my sabbatical between the summer of 2020 and the summer of 2021; taking two full months each summer. This coming summer will be for personal rest and restoration after a challenging year. This time away will be spent re-centering and re-grounding myself in my own spirituality and emotional wellbeing.
The summer of 2021, I would like to spend in a way (as yet to be determined) that will have a more personal/professional enrichment focus.
This strategy will have a minimal impact on the church; something that is of primary importance to me. The main obligation of the church will be to provide pulpit supply for each summer’s Union Service that I would typically lead. Those worship services have, of course, been cancelled for this summer so that obligation will only be for 2021.
Following the 2021 portion of this sabbatical, I will share with the congregation (either via worship or adult education classes) what I gained during my time away and how this benefits First Congregational Church.
The sabbatical time for this summer will begin on Monday, June 22nd and conclude on Tuesday, August 25th. Due to the pandemic, it remains to be seen what, exactly, I will be able to do and where, exactly, I will be able to go but I am confident that I can use this time to its fullest.
I am so very grateful to FCC for providing this benefit! It allows for a time of restoration and recommitment and is a sure sign of our mutual ministry in Christ. I constantly feel blessed to lead this congregation; not least because of the tremendous support and encouragement you all provide. It lays the groundwork for many exciting things to come!
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.