Latest Blog

  • Live Stream Link for Sunday, Oct 18 at 10 am (10/15/2020)
    Join Us as We Live Stream Worship on
    Sunday, October 18 at 10 am:

     Please join us online this Sunday as we live stream from the Sanctuary on our YouTube channel! 
     https://worship.fccmelrose.org/Oct-18-2020

    You’ll find the live streamed service stored on our YouTube video page at the conclusion of worship (it may take them up to 12 hours to process the video).

    Don’t forget: we’re now playing live on MMTV at 10 am also!
    view this email in your browser
  • Worship Services (since Sept 2020) (10/6/2020)

    You can view our past worship services as listed on our YouTube page: https://youtube.fccmelrose.org/all, or click to view individual services below.

  • In His Own Words (10/6/2020)

    For decades, the United Church of Christ has recognized Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day.  Still, many states and communities—not to mention the federal government—still struggle with the idea of setting aside the celebration of Christopher Columbus.

    Maybe this will help.

    Columbus kept an extensive journal about his expeditions.  In his entries, he did not mince words about his intentions toward the Arawak natives in the Bahamas in 1492.

    After his first encounter with them, he described the meeting this way:

    “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things … They willingly traded everything they owned … They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features …. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance.  They have no iron.  Their spears are made of cane. … They would make fine servants. … With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

    Later he added: “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”

    Columbus made his voyages with two goals in mind: to find slaves and gold.  After his first trip to the Caribbean, Columbus returned with 17 ships and 1,200 men. 

    In 1495, in a large slave raid, Columbus and his men rounded up 1,500 Arawak men, women, and children, and put them in pens. They selected what they considered the best natives and loaded them onto ships back to Spain. Two hundred died en route.  After the survivors were sold as slaves in Spain, Columbus later wrote:

    “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

    The Spanish monarchy expected Columbus to return with gold.  Columbus and his men mistakenly believed that there were gold fields in the province of Cicao on Haiti.

    He and his men ordered all natives in that area 14 years or older to collect a certain amount of gold every three months. Natives who didn’t collect enough gold had their hands cut off.  It was an impossible task because there was no gold to speak of in the area.  Many natives fled and were consequently hunted down and killed by the Spaniards.

    Father Bartolome de las Casas, a young priest who participated in the conquest of Cuba and wrote a history of the Indies, adds further description regarding the treatment of the natives:

    “Endless testimonies … prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives. … But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then…. The admiral, it is true, was blind as those who came after him, and he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians …“

    Las Casas describes how Columbus’ men rode on the backs of natives and how they “thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades.  Two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys.”

    Facing extermination, the Arawaks attempted to fight back against the Spaniards but with little success.  The Spaniards hung or burned the Arawaks that they took captive.

    By this point, the Arawaks began committing mass suicides. They fed poison to their infants to save them from the Spanish.  In two years, half of the 250,000 natives on Haiti were dead, either through murder, mutilation or suicide.

    By 1650, the Arawaks had been completely wiped out from the island.

    Why do we continue to celebrate this man?  Even the elementary school premise is incorrect: “Columbus discovered America.”  He wasn’t in what we consider to be “America” today and, even if he were, other Europeans had been there first.  (And that is setting aside the truth that you can’t “discover” a place where people have been living for generations!)

    He and his men were, however, the first Europeans to commit horrendous atrocities against America’s indigenous people including pillaging, torture, murder and genocide.

    Maybe most troubling of all is that these crimes against humanity were committed in the name of our faith.

    It is long past time to jettison this terrible “holiday” and replace it with a solemn time of remembrance to honor those who were taken into slavery, killed or forced to commit suicide to escape the hell the Columbus brought.

    In Christ,

    –Rev. Dominic

  • Registration is Open! (9/17/2020)

    It’s time to register any babies or children who participate in our church!  We think you’ll like our online sign-up this year; we have strived to make it user friendly. Please visit the registration form here:  https://tinyurl.com/FCCCE2020 or you can find it under this website’s “Children and Youth” tab.

  • Hours of Operation (9/17/2020)

    Regular Office Hours

    (Closed for Federal Holidays)

    Monday
    6:45 am – 1:45 pm
    Tuesday
    8:45 am – 1:45 pm
    Wednesday
    8:45 am – 1:45 pm
    Thursday
    8:45 am – 1:45 pm
    Friday
    8:45 am – 1:45 pm
    Saturday
    Closed
    Sunday
    Closed

    Music Office Hours

    (current Sept. 2020)

    Monday
    Closed
    Tuesday
    4:30 pm – 5:00 pm
    Wednesday
    Closed
    Thursday
    9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
    Friday
    9:00 am – 2:00 pm
    Saturday
    Closed
    Sunday
    8:00 am – 9:00 am
  • Virtual Coffee Hour after Worship (9/11/2020)

    Join us after worship on Sunday at 11 am for our Virtual Coffee Hour! If you didn’t receive an invitation by email and wish to join next week,  please click here on a business day so that your request may be processed. 

  • STATEMENT ON RACIAL JUSTICE PROTESTS – Not Out of Nowhere (6/2/2020)

    June 2, 2020

    Dear Friends,

    The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the protests that have followed, and the riots that have come on the heels of those protests, have all combined to draw our country into a deeper state of chaos and hardship beyond the pandemic. It can feel like we are experiencing one crisis after another with little end in sight. I would submit, however, that these events place on the verge of positive improvements.
    It is important to keep in mind that while this looks like chaos, none of this came out of nowhere.

    The killing of Mr. Floyd didn’t just happen in isolation. It was part of a pattern of racially motivated violence against black people that dates back centuries. While former officer Derek Chauvin committed the act, he is actually a small cog in a very large wheel of white privilege and white supremacy that has become normalized not only within policing but in wider society.

    Consequently, the protests that have followed this brutal act have also not come from nowhere. They are a natural, appropriate and too-long-delayed reaction to this kind of endemic injustice. They are cathartic expressions of grief, anger, and hope.

    The riots that have followed have, additionally, not come from nowhere. They are a predictable extension of the anger that too many have felt for too long. To be sure, rioters are not trying to make a constructive statement—just the opposite in fact. Still, the anger is real and has been allowed to simmer for too long. Now it is boiling over. But it isn’t just the small business owners who are feeling the devastation from these riots. All of those who are peacefully protesting are as well because their constructive message is being overshadowed by the destructive riots.

    Our country is wounded and hurting and divided. Healing and evolution will come about through changes in elected officials, changes in policing, and changes to ensure the safety and equal social status of black people. Healing without change isn’t healing at all.
    Ultimately, the change that is needed can’t be legislated (although that will certainly help). It comes about through the expansion of our social heart. It is about letting go of taken-for-granted ways of being, acting and organizing society so that new ways can be embraced; ways that celebrate our common humanity and the gifts we all bring to this life.

    I believe it starts with our own acts of compassion, advocating and community building which have always been at the heart of First Congregational Church and always will be.
    –Rev. Dominic

    Below is a link to a commentary on this topic from the General Minister and President of our United Church of Christ, Rev. John Dorhauer.

  • In-Person Worship Suspension Reminder (5/19/2020)

    5/19/2020

    In order to avoid confusion, please know that First Congregational Church will continue our virtual Sunday worship services despite Governor Baker’s announcement this week that houses of worship may return to in-person worship.  At this time, we feel that a return to our sanctuary would jeopardize the health and well-being of our parishioners and the wider community.  Our virtual Sunday worship services will continue through June 21st and we will re-evaluate the situation in late summer so that we return to worship in the best format possible in September.

    In the meantime, we do indeed invite you to worship with us each Sunday at 10 am by visiting our YouTube channel here: https://tinyurl.com/FCCMelroseYT

    Thank you!

  • Diaper Drive (5/8/2020)

    The community of Chelsea has been especially hard hit with COVID-19: nearly 2000 cases and 98 deaths as of April 28. Among the greatest needs right now are diapers for quarantined families. 

    Chelsea Community Connections is in need of diapers and funds to supply diapers on a weekly basis. They are working collaboratively with the City of Chelsea, food pantries, and community-based agencies to ensure families have access to diapers when they request the need.   All money raised is for the purpose of supplying the four diaper distribution sites  in Chelsea, plus families that are quarantined with diapers.  ANY DONATION amount is supportive and helpful. 

    https://connect.clickandpledge.com/w/Form/6b283041-a725-439e-93cf-e851a9011c8a?prv=823144

    You may choose to write “First Congregational Church in Melrose” in the In honor of line.
    If you would prefer to contribute diapers directly, please contact Barbara Krol-Sinclair (barbaras@bu.edu, 617-407-1030) and she will take the donations to Chelsea.

    Thank you for your help.

  • 3/25/20 Update to Sunday Worship (3/25/2020)

    March 25, 2020

    Dear Members and Friends,

    This is to let you know that we are extending cancellation of Sunday worship services and all other church activities at First Congregational Church through Easter and until further notice.

    Scheduled Church Office hours will remain in place for the time being, but we ask that you restrict you communication with our Office Manager to email and phone until further notice.

    Our hope had been to return to our regular schedule of worship services and other activities following the two week suspension recommended by our Southern New England Conference, UCC and the City of Melrose. It is apparent, however, that the need to contain the coronavirus Covid-19 is ongoing and we intend to do our part. Updates will be given as needed but at the moment we are planning to use the Melrose Public Schools as our guide to returning to in-person worship and activities. When they return to regular operations, we hope to do the same.

    Right now we want to continue adherence to social distancing and the governor’s request that people stay at home as much as possible.

    That said, please see our website at http://www.fccmelrose.org (“Audio Messages” menu tab, audio recordings of music under “Worship & Music” tab) and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FCCMelrose/) for news about ways you can help out.

    There will also be news there about new ways we will be communicating with everyone for worship and other things.

    Thank you for your understanding and patience. Know that I hold you all in prayer during this difficult time and ask for your continued prayers as well for our church, our city, our state and beyond.

    May you feel the light of Christ surrounding you each and every day.

    –Rev. Dominic