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In-person worship is on hold again, sadly, as the Covid-19 numbers continue to rise.

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Black Lives Matter at FCC (click to read more)

Congregation2017Welcome!

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 experience our music ministry 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.


News

Join Us for Worship 1/17/21 at 10 am

Please join us by watching the broadcast on MMTV or as we live stream from the sanctuary at 10 on YouTube. The link is:

https://worship.fccmelrose.org/Jan-17-2021

The hymn #s for this week are: 159 (v1, 3) “As with Gladness Those of Old,” 448 (v1,4) “Take My Life, God, Let It Be,” & 495 (v1,4) “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service.” Sing along using your borrowed hymnal, or access the password protected hymns on our Google Drive (link provided in the Messenger).

Christmas Eve Worship at 7 pm: Worship Link

Virtual Worship at 7 pm on YouTube & MMTV
Christmas Eve (with communion), December 24, 2020 link:

 https://worship.fccmelrose.org/Christmas-Eve-2020

Special Note about Christmas Eve service: 

This is a communion service, so be sure to have your bread and juice elements available.  Please remember the hymns are uploaded weekly to our google drive.   You may wish to download the lyrics sheet for the familiar Christmas Eve carols in addition to/in lieu of the sheet music, here.  In following our tradition, please light a candle and sing along during the singing of the final carol, Silent Night.

Christmas Eve Offering

By tradition, our Christmas Eve Offering is received as a straight mission offering during the service. That is, it is divided equally between Bread of Life, The Servant’s Heart Food Pantry, and The Pantry of Hope. This year, because we are unable to worship together in person, we are asking folks to make a direct donation to either or all of these important ministries. The addresses and websites for each are as follows:

Bread of Life:   Click here  54 Eastern Avenue, Malden, MA 02148 

A Servant’s Heart:  Click here  200 Franklin St, Melrose, MA 02176 

Pantry of Hope:  Click here to donate through First Baptist, 561 Main Street, Melrose

Christmas in 1918 and 2020

Like every holiday since St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas this year is another strange one; not least because we are still unable to gather for in-person worship.

But, we will get through this!  I say that because people got through a very similar kind of Christmas during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918.

That Christmas, people did not attend worship at our church either.  And, unlike today, there was no live streaming of anything so people just missed out altogether!  

The Spanish Flu was handled on the local level much more than Covid 19 is today.  Remember, the CDC didn’t come into being until 1946.  Still, the methods used to combat the Spanish Flu were remarkably similar to what we are advised to do today:  Wear a mask.  Limit social gatherings (including worship).  Wash your hands.  Quarantine if you have been exposed.

Back then, people were much more likely to obey directives from local, state and federal authorities than they are today.  After all, the war effort was still an active part of people’s lives.  So compliance was high.  

Unlike today, however, there was no vaccine on the way.  The Spanish Flu ended because it eventually could not find enough hosts to spread any further.  For those who, today, might advocate for “herd immunity”, it is important to remember that while 1.5 million people worldwide have died of Covid 19, the Spanish Flu took 30 million lives.

So Christmas in 1918 was a somber one and it may be for you as well this year.  One thing that they had going for them back in 1918 was that the “pods” that people lived in (the people with whom they lived and essentially quarantined with) were much larger.  Extended families still got together for Christmas because they got together every day.  Generations lived together in the same houses.  That’s not the case for us today and I am aware of how lonely this Christmas will be for many who will literally be on their own.

Yet the truth of Christmas in 1918 and in 2020 remains the same and it’s meaning is more powerful than in other years: God is with us as one of us.  

I hope that truth sinks deep into your heart this Christmas; especially if you are alone or struggling with your health.  God is with us as one of us.  That means that God is born anew in your life this Christmas like never before.  You don’t have to go searching for God because God could not be closer.  

There is no need for physical distancing when it comes to the incarnation.  And in that nearness there is comfort, healing, light and love.  

It may not be a raucous Christmas this year and that’s okay.  In the subdued spirit of this year, remember that it was into the most challenging of times that Christ was born.  

And because of his arrival, a new life and a new world are possible.

Merry Christmas,

–Rev. Dominic

Finding Stillness - “A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat the boat. … Jesus rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”  Then the wind ceased,… Read more "Finding Stillness"
Fascism Alive and Well - This week we welcome a new president to the White House and with him, a new beginning.  That new beginning could not come soon enough. Had the… Read more "Fascism Alive and Well"
Taking the Long View of Things - Raise your hand if you’ve had it with this pandemic.   Honestly (or dare I say “Honest to God”), we over a year in and the waves keep… Read more "Taking the Long View of Things"

Click here to see ALL of our news (present & past)

Click here to see ALL of Rev. Dominic’s weekly notes (present & past)

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.

Join us weekly at 10 am for worship

Join us in-person Sundays at 10 am (by pre-registration), or live on MMTV and YouTube at 10 am.

All links to services can be found here: https://fccmelrose.org/our-worship-and-music-ministry/

Get to Know Us

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We seek to foster the joy, love, and fellowship that are part in parcel in our Christian community. We have a great time when we’re together. Our hope is that our church will brighten lives and not subtract joy.

These are exciting days for our church as we grow in the spirit and love of Christ. We have much to celebrate at First Congregational Church. We are an Open and Affirming Congregation with a growing membership. Our youth are engaged and eager to contribute to our church missions. We have innovative and exciting ministries that involve both new and lifelong members of our church family. We have a wealth of history that reflects our members’ desire to make a difference! Please click one of the links below to find out more.

Children & Youth


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From newborns to graduating high schoolers, our church provides a dynamic programs with an active enrollment of children and youth. Taught by members of the congregation, our church school teaches the basic values and stories of our faith and encourages a questioning attitude on the part of students. The goals of the program are to help children claim the Christian faith as their own and instill in them the truth that they are valued by God and the community.

Our church has two youth groups for Middle School and High School aged youth. Recreation, service and faith development hallmark this important ministry.

Children & Youth News

Find us/Contact us

Address
First Congregational Church
United Church of Christ
121 W. Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176
phone: (781) 665-2111 – fax: (781) 665-8824
Office email: info@fccmelrose.org
Reverend Dominic email: revdominic121@gmail.com
Click here for all staff members email addresses
Church Office Hours
Monday through Friday 8:45 am – 1:45 pm

From Route 93 South:

  • Exit 35 “Park Street/Stoneham/Melrose” (Two exits south of Rt. 128)
  • Left at the bottom of the ramp, under Route 93, right at stop sign.
  • Continue straight through set of lights at Friendly’s
  • Road becomes two lanes at Zoo, stay left.
  • Take first left after Zoo onto Pond Street. (Don’t take the Pond Street before the zoo.)
  • Continue straight through set of lights.
  • At next set of lights, turn left onto Main Street.
  • Follow Main Street to second set of lights, turn left onto West Foster Street.
  • Church is on right after stop sign.

From Route 93 North:

  • Exit 33 “Rt. 28 Stoneham/Melrose”
  • Follow Route 28 signs staying to the right. Turn right on Elm Street.
  • Continue to rotary, “turn left” by going three quarters of the way around the rotary.
  • Road becomes two lanes, stay right.
  • Take second right after Hospital onto Pond Street. (If you go past the Zoo, you’ve gone too far.)
  • Continue straight through set of lights.
  • At next set of lights, turn left onto Main Street.
  • Follow Main Street to second set of lights, turn left onto West Foster Street.
  • Church is on right after stop sign.

From Route 1 South:

  • Exit “Essex Street, Saugus/Melrose” at Walgreen’s and Dunkin Donuts.
  • Follow Essex Street over Route 1, past Square One Mall and into Melrose.
  • Essex Street becomes Upham Street in Melrose.
  • Take left at second set of lights onto Main Street.
  • At next set of lights, turn right onto West Foster Street.
  • Church is on right after stop sign.

From Route 1 North:

  • Exit “Essex Street, Saugus/Melrose” after Square One Mall and Corners.
  • Follow Essex Street, past side of Square One Mall and into Melrose.
  • Essex Street becomes Upham Street in Melrose.
  • Take left at second set of lights onto Main Street.
  • At next set of lights, turn right onto West Foster Street.
  • Church is on right after stop sign.