FAQ on Church Activities

What are your office hours right now?

Visits into the actual office are discouraged. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:45 am – 1:45 pm.  The office phone is (781)665-2111 and our email is info@fccmelrose.org

When can we meet again in person at church?

Beginning on November 1, 2020, we were thrilled to have begun welcoming our congregation back into the sanctuary.   We sent out a unique registration link delivered weekly in our Messenger newsletter, also available by clicking on “Worship & Music” tab above to register to attend Sunday worship with us at 10 am. Unfortunately, Covid-19 cases continued to rise and beginning on November 29, we had to revert to worshipping exclusively by live streaming on YouTube and broadcast on MMTV.

Our policies and procedures to keep you safe can be located here.

When you are unable to attend in person or we can not permit congregants, we air on YouTube (we are listed as First Congregational Church in Melrose, UCC) and also live on the local tv station MMTV Sundays at 10 am. We have lay readers, varied musicians at different times, a children’s sermon, scripture readings, a sermon, and every traditional part of worship.  On Communion Sundays, which we celebrate the first Sundays of the month, we partake in communion together.   All that is needed to celebrate at home is something to drink and something to eat. Tea and a cookie? Juice and popcorn? Whatever you have is perfect. Come as you are, and join with our community.  When it is safe, we’re here to worship with you in person.
Reverend Dominic also creates Video Messages throughout the week that post on YouTube, and which we link right on our website, under the menu tab “Audio and Video Messages.” https://fccmelrose.org/media/

Are you providing social opportunities to connect with one another? We miss in-person time!

We miss you as well!  Please sign up to attend worship in person at 10 am once it is available again; we will keep you posted of this in the Messenger. We always host a virtual Coffee Hour every Sunday after worship, at 11 am.  Contact the office to be added to the list and receive the Zoom link.  
Besides worshipping together remotely (or serving as a lay reader in our live streamed model), we offer different activities in-person; sign up for our newsletter to learn more as events are released.  Current groups still meeting in-person regularly include Circle 4, the youth group who do a variety of social activities and mission activities, youth choir/ukulele, and bell choir.  (Children pre-k through high school continue their Sunday School lessons with virtual programming this year with the theme “Everyone has a story.”)  We are also making and delivering and serving food for Bread of Life and would love your assistance! We continue to gather for Mission Work, such as participating in our recent MAAV (Melrose Alliance Against Violence) walk.  We had a fall cleanup late in November as well, which is always a great opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, and get our church ready for the winter. We offered caroling, Secret Santa pairings, and creative offerings for our Youth and children.   Let us know how we can help you get involved or jump right in!

I am a member and need some help during this time.

Please rest assured, we’re here for you now as ever.  It is a top priority for us to be responsive to the needs of our members; please contact Reverend Dominic for a confidential discussion about how we can best help you.  Whether you are feeling isolated, suffered a loss, recently had a medical procedure and need extra help with groceries or meals, or if you are in need of some financial assistance, we will continue to do our best to care for you in this extraordinary time.  Please contact us.  Reverend Dominic’s email is revdominic121@gmail.com. Office phone: 781-665-2111.

The Gould Fund

A prominent Melrosian and founding member of our church in 1848, Levi Gould’s spirit and memory live on in our church through the fund that bears his name.  The Gould Fund of FCC is available to church members who are in financial need.  During this time of pandemic upheaval, if you are a member of our church and are in need of financial assistance, please let Rev. Dominic know.  Please let him know of others within the church who may need such assistance as well.  Confidentiality is maintained.     

I am not yet a member, but I am interested in joining your church.  During Covid, how can I become a member?

We are thrilled you are interested in membership here at FCC!  Please reach out to Reverend Dominic and identify yourself as an interested new member, and begin attending worship regularly if you haven’t already.  Sign up to receive the Messenger to learn about opportunities for fellowship and begin to find out how you can get involved based on your own unique talents and strengths. 

We offer a series of classes for New Members throughout the year that you will be invited to attend to learn more about us and the greater United Church of Christ church, which will also help us get to know you.  Every person is truly valued in our church, at every stage of your religious journey and life.   We can’t wait to meet and welcome you!

How do we request prayers to be shared?

Please email or call the office to share the name of the person you need prayers for, and it will be mentioned in our next Messenger.  If you are praying for a church member and wish for us to include these prayers in the Messenger, please make sure first that they authorize us to share their name publicly.  If not, we will pray for them without releasing their name to the wider community.  

I am a member and would like to participate as a lay reader, Greeter, usher, or musician. How do I get involved?

Thank you for asking! Whether it’s you or your children wishing to share your time and talents, contact the office and we will put you in touch with the corresponding Deacons depending upon your request. We will make this as easy and safe for you as possible!

What is the best way for FCC to receive our monthly pledges, or any special donations?

We want to make sure that everyone is aware of the online giving option that is now available through our church website. It is an important and easy way to keep your financial commitment to our church current when we are not able to worship in person. Our church plays a special role in our lives during this pandemic and we need to make sure that we keep FCC vibrant and its ministries impactful now and in the days ahead. Just click the button at the top of the page to give. You can also contribute through Venmo by using the Venmo app on your smartphone to: @FCC-Melrose (the first-time confirmation code is 7073) We are still gladly accepting pledges in the mail as well. Thank you for helping us reach our greater community!

Food Pantries

How are you supporting food pantries right now?

In this Covid-19 time, the Deacons of Christian Mission are picking up all food donations received weekly and delivering them to Bread of Life in Malden (they are currently serving out of the First Baptist Church in Malden, 493 Main Street) for distribution.

How can I donate food to support the Food Pantry ministry at FCC?

  1. Contact FCC and schedule a time to come by and drop off shelf-stable food donations. We want to make sure we’re in the office to receive you, when you arrive!
  2. Ring the bell, enter the main front glass doors off of West Foster Street, and place your donations in the bins.

What is Bread of Life most in need of right now?

They are serving far more families than usual and people who have never needed assistance before; numbers served have at least tripled. Most food resources (pantries and meal serving) in the community have closed entirely, so BoL has become a central hub to serve others. The demands are great. BoL has requested the following, in particular: *peanut butter *detergent *granola bars/power bars *jelly *toothpaste & toothbrushes *canned food *juice *shampoo *paper towels & toilet paper *cereal – cold or hot *diapers and feminine hygiene products *fresh fruits & vegetables *mayonnaise (small jars) *new socks & underwear *shelf-stable milk (e.g. 32 oz. Parmalat) and small cartons for kids *disposable gloves *hand-sanitizer, soap *pasta & pasta sauce *juice boxes *canned fruit.

I’d like to support the Food Pantry with a financial donation instead. What is the best way to do this?

  • You can Venmo a donation to us using the Venmo app on your smartphone to: @FCC-Melrose (the first-time confirmation code is 7073).
  • Send a check to the church with “Covid Mission Work” in the memo section.

Can I volunteer to serve or prepare meals at the Bread of Life?

Absolutely! They have changed from the in-person sit-down meals to take-outs only. The food still needs to be cooked, arranged into take-out boxes, and distributed. Food can be brought by weekly on Tuesdays at Bread of Life, which will be distributed through Friday. Contact us at the office to join our church group efforts directly (we may collect cooked/baked/prepared food contributions at the church for a single delivery point on Tuesdays) and assist in-person on the Third Thursday of the month in the preparation of take-out meals at their First Baptist Church in Malden location. Or, contact Bread of Life directly by phone or email to volunteer even more regularly.
If you are interested in preparing food at home,  some ideas Bread of Life has provided are: macaroni and cheese, cooked chicken, roasted vegetables, rice and beans, lasagna, pasta salad, or desserts. They wouldn’t expect anyone to make enough to feed all of the people, just to supplement what they have.  
Your health is protected there with maintaining social distancing, wearing hair coverings, masks, and gloves at all times, etc. Supervised youth is welcomed to volunteer as well. Please consider volunteering if you are able, as many of the time-honored volunteers are unable to assist currently because they are in a high-risk category.

What is going on with support groups meeting at your church?

We have been diligent in keeping everyone safe and are still proudly providing the essential service of maintaining space for the Al-Anon and AA support groups to meet. We have worked with the Board of Health and regularly communicate with support groups to make sure we are in adherence to the laws to keep people healthy. Groups therefore are limited to twenty five people per meeting (reduced to 10 people per meeting again as of Dec 26, 2020 until further instruction), and chairs are spaced more than 6 feet apart from one another in a large circle with floor decals to assist.
These rooms are disinfected daily (doors, floors, the nearby restroom, etc.) and members of the groups disinfect their chairs at the start and end of each of the meetings. No one is allowed in the building without a mask and guidelines such as about not coming in if you are sick are posted. The two support group rooms are not used for any other function, and their space is protected by barriers. We have communicated that social distancing and proper mask wearing (covering both nose and mouth) must continue in the parking lot as well, though mask breaks may be taken outside when needed.
Our support groups have overwhelmingly taken the regulations seriously, accommodating as the laws have changed since mid-March, and we are thankful for their adherence. Because of this, they are able to continue to meet during the Covid-19 pandemic. Groups out of compliance will be counseled to fix their behaviors to remain in compliance of State Regulations & the Melrose Health Department, and keep our space safe for all who enter. Violation of these rules directly risks the health of many dozens of people coming in need of support weekly, and endangers that group being allowed to continue to use our space; one group has been cancelled thus far. We wish for everyone seeking a support group to be able to safely attend a meeting in our building, but it does require adherence of our clearly posted rules by everyone, at all times. Thank you to all of the meeting members who have followed the inconvenient guidelines as required by law (and educated/reminded their associates of the rules). We are glad you are here receiving the support you need, and hope you can continue to meet in this space! Please continue to help us to help you.

How can I learn more about your church?

Please visit the other tabs on our website to learn more, or learn more about us on our Facebook page.  This FAQ section is meant to address unique questions and issues that arise during this pandemic. You are of course also welcome to call or email us.