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Oct 3 / Nancy



At the sign of the rose, we’re happy to announce that our new season of Vespers quiet time for prayerful meditation and peace, wonderful reflections from the Reverend John Hughes, candle-lighting at the altar, and perfect music, resumes this fall. All are welcome.

The Sanctuary opens at 6:30 for meditation

& prayer; our service is from 7 – 7:30 PM, followed by ten minutes of music.

Starting in the Fall on Weds. evenings when there is no Vesper program join us in our candlelit sanctuary for an Hour of Tranquility, 6:30 PM

A place of tranquility to enjoy peaceful music and private meditation, all faiths are welcome to join in this space.

For further information, call 978-526-7661.

Fall 2016

Weds., Sept. 21 – Vespers: “hallelujah” psalm 146


Weds., Oct. 5 – Vespers: “wait patiently” psalm 40

Weds., Oct. 19 – Vespers: “no slumber” psalm 121

Weds., Nov. 2 – Vespers: “delights in people” psalm 149

Weds., Nov. 30 – Vespers: “peace within” psalm 122

Spring 2016

Weds., Jan. 6 – Vespers: Epiphany


Weds., Feb. 10 – Vespers: Ash Weds.


Weds., Feb. 24 – Vespers: “shall I be afraid?” psalm 27


Weds., Mar. 9 – Vespers: “covered sins” psalm 32

Mar 9 2016

Weds., Mar. 24 – Vespers: Maundy Thursday


Fall 2015

The Sanctuary opens at 6:30 for meditation

& prayer; our service is from 7 – 7:30 PM, followed by ten minutes of music.

For further information, call 978-526-7661.

 Weds. Sept. 23 – Vespers: “let evil recoil” psalm 54


Weds., Oct. 7  – Vespers: “nothing hidden” psalm 19

Weds., Nov. 4 – “blessed is…” psalm 146

VesperBulletinNov4 2015

Weds., Nov. 18 – “I take refuge” psalm 16

VesperBulletinNov18 2015

Weds., Dec. 2 – “do not remember my sins” psalm 25

Fall 2014

Wed. Sept. 24th- remember the wondersPsalm 105:1-6

VESPERS September 24 2014

Wed. Oct. 8th-w/o speech or languagePsalm 19

VESPERS October 8 2014

Wed. Oct 22nd-a world firmly establishPsalm 96

VESPERS October 22 2014

Wed. Nov. 5th- why cast down?Psalm 43

VESPERS November 5, 2014

Wed. Nov. 19th-look to the Lord” Psalm 123

VESPERS November 19, 2014

Wed. Dec 3rd:make your face shine” Psalm 80

Vespers December 3, 2014

Jan 8 / Nancy

Worship Bulletins

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Confirmation Jun 5 2016

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Apr 3 2016 Membership

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Mar 24 2016 Maundy Thursday

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Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

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Jan 24, 2016

Jan 17, 2016

Jan 10, 2016

Jan 6, 2016 Vespers Epiphany

Jan 3, 2016

Jan 1 / Nancy

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Dec 19 / Rev. Marlayna Schmidt

Nothing says Christmas like the sound of a kazoo band! 

Dear Members and Friends of First Parish Church, Congregational UCC— Nothing says Christmas like the sound of a kazoo band! Those of you who attended the Dec 3rd holiday concert, held in the church prior to the Community Friendship Tree Lighting on the green, know what I’m talking about.  For those of you who weren’t there, you may know that every year the church hosts this holiday “kick-off” event, sponsored by the Manchester Woman’s Club, where children and youth choirs and bands from Memorial Elementary School and Manchester Essex Regional High School perform Christmas and Hanukkah music.  This year, the chorus from the high school played kazoos during one of their songs.  It was marvelous!!  (And, for the record, the whole concert was marvelous—not just the kazoos—the young people at the concert were so talented!!) As the interim pastor of the host church, I was asked to give a welcome.  As I was writing the welcome, I thought of the 300th Anniversary of the church that the congregation celebrated last year.  One of the things that means is that for 301 years, the church (the people and its buildings) has been hosting not only worship gatherings, but also secular meetings for the town.  (And the December 3rd concert—with various types of holiday music--was an interesting blend of sacred and secular.) It also struck me, on December 3rd as I sat in a pew watching the concert, what a wonderful gift the church has to offer the town:  the gift of hospitality.  Hospitality is a gift that is praised throughout the Bible.  In fact, the book of Hebrews reminds us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”  (Hebrews 13:2) As I was giving the welcome that day, I looked out at the “standing room only” crowd, and I spotted at least a few dozen church members interspersed among the people gathered there.  Plus, there were members of the Sunday School and youth groups in every group that performed.  So, not only is our building offering hospitality, but all of you—young and old-- are ambassadors of God’s Love as you participate in town events. It is my hope and prayer that you/we (pastor and people) consciously see ourselves as God’s ambassadors and continue to offer hospitality to the people we interact with every day—through our church building, programs, and the friendship/care we extend.  And if there are people we meet who do not already have a faith community, may we respectfully invite them to come and experience the Love of God that we see revealed in Jesus during our Advent/Christmas worship (Sunday morning 10 am, Saturday evening 5:30 vespers, Christmas Eve 10 am, 5 pm, 7 pm.) I enclose a Christmas offering envelope if you wish to give an extra gift to the church for the Christmas season to help us continue all of this good work. Blessings, Rev. Dr. Marlayna Schmidt
Oct 31 / Nancy

Church Council

Committee Directory

Committee Directory with Contacts

Current Bylaws



Third Congregational Meeting

Topic:  Drafting a One-Sentence Mission/Purpose Statement (which is like a slogan or motto that describes, in a memorable way, the primary work of our church)

Sunday, January 21st, 11:20 to 1 PM In the Chapel, A light lunch will be served

All members and active congregants invited! Come and help shape the future for FPCC!


INTERIM VISION PROCESS  To the 41 people who participated in our second (of four) “Whole Church” Congregational meeting that took place after worship last week—THANK YOU for your input!  We had a very thoughtful, inspiring, and respectful conversation about VALUES, that is, the principles or standards of behavior that are most important to us, that drive the ministry and mission of our church.  We looked at both “current” values (values we currently reflect by our actions as a congregation) and “aspirational” values (values we would like to live into in the future.)  We then participated in a group exercise where we prioritized our top values and described what they mean to us.  The Transition Team has drafted a statement based on those descriptions. (See insert in today’s bulletin) Please keep our VISION process in your prayers, and please mark your calendars for the NEXT meeting in our process, which is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, January 21st.    Your Transition Team (Paul Driscoll, Lauren Gudonis, Mary Lumsden, Jeff Parker, Jason Smith, Lelly Smith) VISION SCRIPTURE FOR JANUARY to create a Biblical foundation for the Vision Process, the Transition Team is spending a few minutes at their meeting each month prayerfully discussing a different Scripture reading.  The Team invites the congregation (and its various boards, committees, and groups) to join them in this practice, reflecting on the following questions for each reading:  1) How does God give vision in this Scripture to God’s people?  2) How might God give our church vision for the future?  The reading for January is:   Isaiah 6: 1-8 (Isaiah has a vision of angels where God asks him, “whom shall I send?”)      Church Council minutes, Congregational Meeting minutes and documents can be found online.


Interim Vision Process Meeting 1 - History

History Highlights - table form

History Key Events - table form

History Struggles - table form

History - Reflective Sentences

Church Council Minutes & Committee Reports

Sept 2017

Sep 29 / Rev. Marlayna Schmidt

Silent Prayer Awareness Walk

Rescheduled to Nov. 5

Your Interim Pastor, Transition Team, [and Prayer Team], invite you to join them in a brief walk around the neighborhood on October 8th, 11:30 to 12:15.  In case you’ve never been on a walk like this, here’s what it entails:  A small group of us silently walking around Manchester for half an hour or so, simply being aware of what we see.  For example:  Are there tricycles in the driveways?  Trampolines in the yards?  Moms/dads with strollers on the sidewalks?  Elderly people sitting on porches?  Houses with peeling paint?  Handicap ramps?  Halloween decorations?  Shops with creative signs/displays in their windows?  etc, etc.  At the end of the walk, we gather in the sanctuary and “report back” what we noticed.  Then, we pray for the well-being of the people we’ve seen.  Note:  Prayer walks are not a means of evangelizing our neighbors; prayer walks are a means for God to open our eyes and hearts to the people around us.  (Also note:  We won’t be conspicuously praying while we are walking, so anyone taking notice of us won’t view us as religious zealots; to the average person, we will simply look like a small group of people out for a Sunday stroll :).
Sep 25 / Nancy

Christmas Fair by the Sea 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

9 AM  2 PM

Learn more here 

Sep 19 / Nancy

Seaside Parish Knitters

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words    

Below are photos of our handmade items and knitters during our  get-togethers on the 1st and 3rd Thursday afternoons in the Chapel Parlor. Over the years we have enjoyed our time knitting and crocheting items for baptismal events at the church, shawls and blankets for friends at home, scarves, neck gators, and helmet liners for our veterans in Afghanistan; and mittens and hats for Cape Ann children. We all love to knit/crochet, but more importantly we have been  rewarded with helping others by sharing our handwork. We would love to have you join us, Sandy, Bonnie, Millie, Sally, Martha, Lauren, Eleanor, Jean, Jan, Mary K., Penny, Cheryl, Mary L., Wendy M., Carol, Doris, Muriel, Liljana, Marianne, Wendy S., Shirley  
Sep 1 / Nancy

Transition Update

At the Aug 29th meeting, our Church Council appointed a Transition Team, whose “job” will be to work with the Interim Pastor to carry out the Vision Process.  The Team represents what Council feels is a “good mix/balance” of the congregation in terms of current/recent church involvement, as well as gender and age and outlook.  The group includes people who volunteered to serve—who put their names in to be considered by Council, as well as people whom we approached and asked if they were willing to be considered.  The Team will begin meeting in September, and one of their first tasks will be to set the dates for the 4 “Whole Church” Congregational meetings (2 in the fall, 2 in the Winter/Spring) where people will be asked for their input.  The input given—combined with prayerful reflection on Scripture and demographic material--will lead to:  a Vision for Ministry, Goals for carrying out that Vision, and a Profile to help the church search for a Settled Pastor, whose gifts and skills match the Vision. The Team members are as follows:
  1. Paul Driscoll
  2. Lauren Gudonis
  3. Mary Lumsden
  4. Jeff Parker
  5. Jason Smith
  6. Lelly Smith
Aug 30 / Nancy

Zimbabwe Mission – 2017

Packing Party Thursday, September 7th at 6 PM! Join us in the Chapel.

In August we will once again begin collecting for our sister church, South Down Church. South Down is a UCC church located in Chipinge, Zimbabwe where there is also a school and a clinic. Zim Collection list 2017 Donations can be dropped at the Chapel 9- 12 Monday-Friday, or in the Narthex. Please contact Dan at or after worship with questions. Financial contributions are also welcome to offset shipping cost.

A Letter From Zimbabwe (photos below)

Dear Dan We have the breaking news this morning that Southdown primary school boys were number one in the district soccer foot ball competition yesterday played at Grass Flats play grounds . This is great news to the school as well as to the parents and this is record breaking . Over the year these boys either do not even dare to compete or they were the last. As you might be aware that these are children from Mozambique , a much backward country and the children also looked down at themselves . Today they are number one in the district and what made them to be number one? In our 2016 container there were some soccer boots and we gave them to Southdown boys. When they were given the boots, they feel equal to other boys in the district and this have them confidence in themselves and they practiced harder. This also gave the trainers zeal to want to do more and here we are SOUTHDOWN NUMBER ONE. My question is- had it not been not of the container, could my school ever been number one ? I want to thank the whole church, non church members , Dan and all the leadership for making this happen - thank you. You brought pride to the school and the community . This year is a different year after a lot of rain fall on the ground, we have enough food harvested from our fields and people are happy. It is going to be colder but not to that of New England and most of our rivers will flow all year round and this is new. I led a team of volunteers to Beira in Mozambique early June for a week and we had good time. This was an outreach ministry and we were staying in homes. In one of the towns we visited, I met a man without both feet due to a land-mine, this man is a leader in one of our UCCM in a church called Chamba. It was raining and he was doing his leadership role despite the the unfriendly weather and it gave me a home work. Here we have one wheelchair we keep for temporal disabilities , is goes out and comes back to the church when the person is fine. I am seeking your blessings  that I give this wheelchair to this man in Mozambique .Our team will be going back to Mozambique late August . How are you? We are keeping well. Greetings to all friends Rev Mutsumbei  
Jun 29 / Nancy

Summer Worship Hours 2017


July 2 through September 3 Worship begins at 9 AM