First Church has a long tradition of placing poinsettias on the altar during the Christmas season which are donated in memorial of loved ones, or in celebration of anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Print and fill out the online form and your sentiments will be included in the bulletin at the service of worship for the last Sunday in Advent and the services of worship on Christmas Eve.
A donation of $15.00 is requested for each plant. All orders must be in the church office by December 10.
Poinsettias are delivered to the home bound and nursing home residents after Christmas. You may print out this form and submit it to the church office to donate a poinsettia, or call the church office (567-6287).
Featuring the book:
Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill
(available on amazon)
We’ll use different translations of the bible and consult commentaries on the Psalms by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Merton and more to explore these ancient poems and songs, and experience them as a pathway to prayer.…
The members of the Islamic Society, Imam and the Board, wish you all God’s Abundant Blessings during your Holidays.
We are also shocked by the news of Barbaric killings of worshipers in two churches on this Palm Sunday. What a shame. We had just deliberated on the Book by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Not in God’s Name, Confronting Religious Violence, and here the adherents of this group ISIS, have committed this heinous act in God’s name.
Muslims all over the world condemn this terrorist act and stand with members of Christian Community in Egypt, and elsewhere.
The Islamic Council of New England has quickly released a statement which is shared by the Islamic Society of Western Mass, and I wanted to share it with with all of you.
May the Almighty God send His Blessings and PEACE on Earth.
Islamic Council Statement on Church Bombings in Egypt
The Islamic Council of New England, which is an umbrella organization for many of the Islamic Centers in this geographic area, expresses its profound outrage at the barbaric slaughter of innocent Egyptian Coptic Christians celebrating Palm Sunday services within the sanctuaries of their churches.…
We gathered on Homecoming Sunday, September 11, 2016 to plant a tree on the Longmeadow Green to commemorate the 300th Anniversary of First Church. Rev. Dr. Jay Terbush delivered a prayer:
A Prayer of Dedication
God the Divine Gardner, 300 years ago you planted a tree in the soil in this area, which was called the church of Jesus Christ—it was just a fragile seedling.
Who could have foreseen that from that small beginning, it would grow and spread its influence, that it would minister to people’s spiritual needs, that in the shade of its branches people would find a place of solace, comfort, friendship, education and service. That tree’s branches have spread the gospel message literally all around the world from this place to Springfield, from Mt Salinda in Africa to Port au Prince, Haiti. Who could have imagined the thousands of people who would sit in its shade and feel the presence of God’s Spirit and be blessed.
That tree, like this one that we are planting today, thrived in the good soil of people’s faith and God’s loving presence. This tree, like the church it represents, will survive storms and threatening conditions, and grow stronger and healthier and better, because of those tough conditions expanding its influence and presence.…
First Church is currently seeking a Communications Director.
First Church is now taking applications for a Communications Director. This is a part-time position for someone with experience in website maintenance, online publishing, e-mail distribution and creative design.
From Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances Islamic Society of North America
In the name of God Most Loving and Most Caring,
We want to extend our greetings to our Christian brothers and sisters in America and around the world, on the day of Christmas. Our love and respect for Jesus is central to our faith. We believe that the immaculate birth of Jesus Christ is a historical landmark in the creation and in the history of mankind.
The chapter 19 of the Quran is dedicated to this blessed event of the birth of Jesus Christ and the entire chapter is named after his mother Maryam (Mary). The name of Jesus is mentioned 25 times in the Quran. We are told in very clear words how blessed and joyful the event of his birth is for the whole human family (Quran 19:33). This is a belief that Muslims and Christians of the world share earnestly and our love and respect for Jesus binds us together for the service of God, service of mankind and the service of His entire creation.
We reject those interpretations and that understanding of our scriptures that set us up against each other and misdirect our energies and God given resources.…
I am writing on behalf of the Interfaith Council of Western Massachusetts. Our “council” includes representatives from the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Unitarian and Baha’i faith communities.
We are writing to express our concern over recent comments from presidential candidates, particularly Mr. Trump, and members of the U S. Congress about Muslims in America. The recent attacks in Paris and again in San Bernardino have amplified anti-Muslim rhetoric. It has been suggested that Muslims are not reliable and patriotic Americans and that all Muslims should be denied entry to the United States.
We object most strongly. Muslims are our friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members; they participate in charitable events in our communities, work with us in countless ways to improve society and bring many blessings to all of our lives.
Disrespect for Muslims is an affront to all of us. America is built on the promise of free and diverse religious practice based on respectful dialogue. All of us are proud to call America our home. Let us be thankful for the religious diversity of our Nation. We cannot tolerate accusatory and hate-filled speech directed at the Muslim community. Any candidate who abuses his or her moment in the spotlight by speaking disrespectfully of Muslims will not get our vote!…
Transforming from Members to Disciples by Susan Kennedy
Below you will find a diagram representing the evolving new structure concept. Circles represent clusters of Ministry Teams with similar missions. Within each circle are examples of the teams included in each cluster. In the center is the Leadership Team consisting of Pastor, Moderators, Clerk, and a Liaison to each of the clusters. The Liaisons keep communication flowing among the teams in their cluster and to and from the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team holds up the Vision of the church, deliberates issues that arise, authorizes new initiatives, works with the Budget Development Team to prepare a budget to be approved by the Congregation, and keeps things running smoothly. The Leadership Team is elected by the Congregation. Meetings are open for all to attend, just as Council meetings are now.
Within the clusters, the Ministry Teams set their own purpose, schedule and agenda. Some are very permanent, such as Called to Care; others will do a project and be done, such as the 300th Anniversary Team. All are accountable to make their meeting times and places public, choose a contact person, keep in close communication with their Cluster Liaison, collaborate with other teams in their cluster, work for a purpose in keeping with the Vision of the church, and support their members on their spiritual journeys.…
New Structure Concept Explained for June 1 2014 Congregation Gathering
The Leadership Team will:
Be elected by the Congregation. Will serve a longer term for continuity.
Include Pastor, Moderator, Past Moderator, Future Moderator as needed, Clerk/Membership, and 6 Liaisons representing six foundational missions of the church
Will have regularly scheduled meetings
Develop, with input from Congregation, the overall and long-range vision of the church, and encourage others to hold the vision as their reason for being
Authorize, support, and shepherd new initiatives and new Ministry Teams
Consult with Budget Development Team to build budget to be recommended to Congregation (As Church Council does now)
Deliberate issues, consult with Congregation when needed (Example: Executive Committee held meetings to discuss engaging in a longer transition in preparation for Congregation meeting at which the decision was made)
Communicate with and listen to Congregation by many means, including frequent after-church gatherings and more use of website
Read, attend workshops etc. to improve their leadership and knowledge
The Liaisons to Clusters will:
Encourage communication and collaboration among teams in their cluster
Communicate news, information, questions etc. to Leadership Team from cluster
Listen to cluster members
Support new initiatives with extra attention and resources
Encourage development of leadership skills, training, use of resources
Bring all members of Teams in their cluster together once or twice a year to build relationships and common vision
Ministry Teams will:
Include time for relationship building and spiritual encounter in their meetings
Develop stated purpose for their group which fits into overall vision of church
Choose their own meeting schedule, location, designated contact person and publicize information on website so others may join in, know what is happening.