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!


News

Last Service of 2018-2019 Program Year!
This Sunday is our last service of the 2018-2019 program year… and is our annual congregation cook out… which will be INDOORS because of the potential for thunderstorms… so, come regardless of the weather!
 
And we’ll see you at the union services in town and when we resume services for the 2019-2020 program year on September 8.
Being Aware of your Expectations

A woman was too ill to attend worship one Sunday morning so she sent her young daughter to church and told her to remember the text for the sermon.  When she came home, the little girl said that the text was “Don’t be scared.  You’ll get your quilt.”

The woman was perplexed by this and finally called the pastor for clarification.  She was informed that the text was “Fear not.  Your comforter will come.”

Sometimes we get things mixed up.  Sometimes things get lost in translation.  And sometimes we even miss the point entirely.  And nowhere is this more the case than with the bible.

It is often said that the bible can be used to support any position or cause and that’s true.  The bible holds the foundational stories of our faith.  It was written over a considerable length of time by many different people with different agendas.  Many things that were written in the same vein but were not included in the bible.  In the end, though, the whole enterprise of reading the bible should have one simple goal: To get to know God.

This begs the question: What kind of God is revealed in the bible?  A wrathful God?  A loving God?  An absent God?  A present God?  A partisan God?  A universal God?

The reality is that these questions can only be answered by the person reading the bible.  And the truth is, each person tends to arrive at their answers—their picture of God—by finding what they are looking for.

That is to say, if you are looking for a wrathful God in the bible, you will find one.  If you are looking for a loving God in the bible, you will find one.  The God of the bible is often too-long-absent from human affairs and at other times ever-present.  God chooses sides and plays no favorites.

You find what you are looking for in the bible.  So, what are you looking for?  What are you expecting to find?

This is why reading scripture requires being in touch with yourself.  It is really the only way the bible can be of value.  By acknowledging your own bias, you are better able to broaden your connection to God through scripture.  Then, if you expect God to be judgmental, you may be surprised by God’s abundant love.  Similarly, if you expect God to be all-loving, the times when God seems to act unfairly in the bible are opportunities for discernment and growth.

Our faith is rooted in the bible we should have a keen interest in it.  Out of that interest should come one’s own encounter with a God who journeys with us on our path to a deeper connection to the divine.

See you in church,

–Rev. Dominic

Summer Office Hours!

School’s out, so the summer hours will be shifting!

Our reduced summer schedule of Mondays & Tuesdays from 9-2 begins in July. The office will be closed however on July 1, 2, 8, 9, and August 12 & 13.

Beginning on August 19, we’ll be open weekdays from 9-2, and beginning on August 26 we’ll resume our traditional hours of 8:45-1:45 pm, Mondays – Fridays.

Don’t forget, you can always view the google calendar on our website, which lists the office hours.

background beam beautiful close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Last Service of 2018-2019 Program Year! - This Sunday is our last service of the 2018-2019 program year… and is our annual congregation cook out… which will be INDOORS because of the potential for… Read more "Last Service of 2018-2019 Program Year!"
A Restorative Time - Our June Cook Out is this Sunday!  I hope you can join us for this great time of worship and fellowship; rain or shine! Also, please take… Read more "A Restorative Time"
Praying for and Against - Last week a special invitation was made by Rev. Franklin Graham to pray for president Donald Trump.  It is not unusual for religious leaders to ask parishioners… Read more "Praying for and Against"

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

A Restorative Time - Our June Cook Out is this Sunday!  I hope you can join us for this great time of worship and fellowship; rain or shine! Also, please take… Read more "A Restorative Time"
Being Aware of your Expectations - A woman was too ill to attend worship one Sunday morning so she sent her young daughter to church and told her to remember the text for… Read more "Being Aware of your Expectations"
Praying for and Against - Last week a special invitation was made by Rev. Franklin Graham to pray for president Donald Trump.  It is not unusual for religious leaders to ask parishioners… Read more "Praying for and Against"
The Holy Spirit Defined - Most people acknowledge two major holidays in the Christian tradition: Christmas and Easter.  Maybe that’s thanks to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but these two holidays… Read more "The Holy Spirit Defined"
Balance - There is a good deal of discussion within the United Church of Christ, and among clergy in general, about what makes for successful parish ministry.  It is… Read more "Balance"
Fifty Years! - Fifty years ago this spring, the cornerstone was laid in place to build our current church building. You can see that cornerstone each time you enter our… Read more "Fifty Years!"

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.

Get to Know Us

fccexterior1266

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


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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.