Latest Blog

  • Summer Office Hours & Music Director’s Hours (6/16/2020)
  • Summer Office Hours as of 6/29/2020 (6/16/2020)
    Monday
    9:00 am – 2:00 pm
    Tuesday
    9:00 am – 2:00 pm
    Wednesday
    Closed
    Thursday
    Closed
    Friday
    Closed
    Saturday
    Closed
    Sunday
    Closed
  • Sabbatical Plans (6/2/2020)

    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 Christ,

    –Rev. Dominic

  • 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.

  • Invitation to worship with us on Pentecost & Graduation Sunday (5/31/2020)

    Please join us for worship at 10 am. Look forward to seeing you there!

  • 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

  • Sunday Worship Cancellation Notice (3/13/2020)

    3/13/2020

    Dear Members and Friends,

    I am writing to share with you the decision that has been made to cancel Sunday worship services and all other church activities at First Congregational Church for the next two weeks beginning today.

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

    This was a difficult decision made by our Senior Deacons, Worship Deacons, Church Staff and myself on the advice of our Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ and the City of Melrose.  We are doing this in tandem with other Melrose churches.

    We do this in order to help stem the tide of the coronavirus Covid-19 in our community by limiting public gatherings.  The hope is to aid health care services by preventing a sharp rise in coronavirus cases that may overwhelm these services.

    Church leadership will re-evaluate the situation prior to worship on Sunday, March 29th and communicate an update at that time regarding whether or not worship will resume.

    In the meantime, please add the church website and Facebook page to those online places that you check regularly.  I will be posting further messages and interim updates there as we create new ways of strengthening our faith community during these challenging times.

    I invite you to keep our church, our local communities, our commonwealth, our country and our world in your prayers.  As you navigate the many social changes that are upon us, be assured of Christ’s accompaniment with you each and every day.

    –Rev. Dominic

  • Pastoral Letter on Unity (2/19/2019)

    Our General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, Rev. John Dorhauer, has shared the following Pastoral Letter with our churches.  His important words speak to the role of the church in reclaiming community and hope in these challenging times.

    See you in church,

     

    –Rev. Dominic


    Dear Partners in Christ:

    The vision of a body united – in purpose, in mission, in vision – is one that inspired the birth of our denomination. All of our spiritual impulses reverberate in an effort to call us into a more perfect union. Throughout our shared history as a people of faith and as a part of the Body of Christ, we have challenged ourselves to widen the circle of inclusion. Widening the circle has always come with growth pains as we shed old skins and welcome those whom we had previously thought unwelcome. And, with each new articulation of a more fully expressed Body of Christ we have realized new joy. Through it all we remain focused on the call to be one and committed to meeting the challenges inherent in that call.

    We are now living in and through a season when the threats to unity are legion. Talk of walls that mark refugees as threats, labels like ‘terrorist’ that attach too easily to Muslims, overt racial bias that normalizes fear and hatred, a pandemic of abuse to women with the trigger reflex to forgive the men who author that abuse have turned America into a land many of us no longer recognize and that too many of us are finding harder and harder to reconcile with our faith.

    Now more than ever, the Holy Spirit of the Living God and the Risen Christ is seeking to partner with anyone committed to unifying the human community. The gospel mandate to love our neighbor as we love ourselves resonates deep within us. It calls for the better angels among and within us to always resist impulses to hate, to condemn, to vilify, or to castigate. In such a time as this, the United Church of Christ’s call to fulfill the prayer of Jesus, that they may all be one, stands as an urgent mandate to disciples who envision a just world for all.

    United with you in God’s service,

    The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
    General Minister and President, UCC